Growing Kosher Spelt Teaches Mindfulness


A recent article in the New York Times tells the story of a bakery in Brooklyn, New York that specializes in producing a special kind of matzo called shmurah, which means guided or watched. The matzo is used for the first night of Passover. The watching begins while the grain is still growing in the field and continues through the harvest and preparation to ensure the grain meets kosher restrictions—mainly that it hasn’t been allowed to ferment.

OFRF board member Klaas Martens, an organic grain farmer in upstate New York, supplies the bakery with organic spelt. He has to monitor the crop closely to determine just the right time to harvest. If he harvests it too soon, the grain may not be dry enough for storage. If he waits too long, rain could cause the grain to start sprouting. The ideal moisture content at harvest is below 18 percent, which, in addition to meeting kosher restrictions, also turns out very tasty matzo.

“The requirement for close inspections of the spelt means I’m observing things that would otherwise go unnoticed,” says Martens. “I apply it to other crops, not with the same vigilance but with . . . I don’t want to sound corny, but its mindfulness. Mindfulness is a part of all my work now and it benefits just about everything I grow.”

Read the full article here.

Photo of matzo taken by Yoniah.