The Fares family started to press oil in in 1822 in baino, a mountain village in the rural region of Akkar. In 2004, Youssef Fares an agronomic engineer from the University of Holy Spirit of Kaslik took on the reins of the family business. He had just completed a Masters in International agri-food management at the ESSEC Business School in France. The direction was clear: modernization.
He launched Zejd, with the view of becoming an ambassador of high-end quality Lebanese olive oil on the international market. The task was daunting and the changes were sweeping: laboratory tests, a new storage area using stainless steel tanks under nitrogen, a full, back to back control over the olives and olive oil production chain, certification of 24 hectares of land as organic agriculture, certification of the production process as environmental friendly in collaboration with the Lebanese Cleaner Production Centre, a traceability system in collaboration with the UNIDO program and ISO 22000:2005.
The efforts paid soon. In 2007, less than 3 years after its launch, Zejd won the first prize for the Best Tasting Lebanese Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Horeca, Lebanon’s largest hospitality and food exhibition. Few years later, in 2014 Zejd became the first Lebanese Olive Oil to win a gold medal at the famous Biol International competition for Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Puglia, Italy.