In the picturesque village of Um Al-Tut, outside of Jenin, lies the dream of a Palestinian man with a vision to produce local, chemical-free, and high-quality dairy products and change the culture of food and food production. The sheep, goat, and cow milk produced on the farm are used to produce high quality cheese, both local and Italian types, gelato ice cream, yogurt and labaneh (soft cheese made from strained yoghurt). Among the exquisite Italian cheeses produced at the farm are pecorino, scamorza, fresh mozzarella and burrata.Mazen Jerbawi has built an exceptional and pioneer business model that many Palestinians could strive for. From the basics of empowering local families to work on the farm, to paying meticulous attention to cheese-making processes, he exposes the political and social benefits of believing in such work and striving to maintain an organic and beneficial relationship with what is produced. In the farm, Mazen uses chemical-free farming techniques and has moved from the use of small quantities of chemicals to none.
The atmosphere on the farm is uplifting and the quality and taste of the products is out of this world. The years of experience and dedication that Mazen has put into learning the art of cheese and gelato-making resonates in the high quality and uniqueness of his products. Mazen does not believe that mass production or market monopoly is the key to success, but rather believes that the product needs to be respected and cared for to maintain a certain level of integrity and quality. However, his vision is that farmers, businesses and others shift their mode of work from large scale, poor quality production that is the norm to a more organic, identity driven, and quality-based mode of production. To make the farm even more sustainable and self-sufficient, Mazen has installed solar panels that now cover the electricity needs of the farm.
Tarwe’ah Gelato shop: The Gelato that Mazen produces is one of a kind. Fresh, and chemical and preservative free, it has been the talk of the town and nearby university (Arab American University of Jenin- AAUP) where the gelato shop under the name of (Tarwe’ah) is based. The shop is run by locals from nearby towns and has visitors coming from all over Palestine. Mazen is proud to say that the Gelato shop has even created bonds with Palestinians living in ‘48 areas, who are either AAUP students or visitors from Nazareth, Haifa, and other places. Although the Gelato shop is located on the campus of the AAUP in Zababdeh, it is accessible for non-students as well.
Mazen’s products are now sold by placing orders, especially for the cheese. The farm is open to visitors with prior coordination with Mazen.
Product Availability: Year-round.
Volunteering Opportunities Support in farming and production of dairy products.
Product Selling Points: At source and at Issa Al-Khayat store in downtown Ramallah.