Got Shabbat in the Mishnah Garden

Shabbat Breirote March 30, 2012

By Cheryl Kollin and Frank Lipson

We started Shabbat by saying the blessing only recited once a year for the beauty of the blossoming trees. I asked our Torah study group to name a reference about agriculture, food, or eating mentioned in the Torah or other Jewish text. The group offered a variety of references—starting with Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. As a result, God commanded that they would forever grow their own food by the sweat of their brow. Others mentioned leaving the corners of your fields for the poor to glean; kosher laws of not eating meat with milk, the Jubilee year of letting your fields rest once every 50 years.

 We discussed the inherent taste qualities of just picked produce from local farmers markets and our gardens that inspire cooking and eating more healthily. The torah’s gleaning lessons remind us of our call to action to provide fresh food for those in need—as we grow and harvest food for Manna, our local food bank. This year we will invite those with home gardens to bring their extra produce to send to Manna as well.

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Twenty kids and adults planted spring herbs and early crops in the Mishnah Garden while eight of us made horseradish from the root dug in the garden.  Several more people walked by and commented on how great the aroma was! We packed 27 bags of horseradish samples for people to take home. A dish of Adat’s Own horseradish accompanied the Gefilte fish on the Oneg table next to some from a jar. The homemade one was much brighter in color and packed a wallop of flavor!

Don’t discard your Seder plate horseradish root if you want to try planting it in your garden. According to the University of Maryland Extension Service, “You can plant horseradish root as long as it was not grated. Plant a whole root or a piece of a root. Keep the root moist in shredded newspaper or peat moss until you plant.”  After the Seder, plant the root piece in a sunny location so that the top is at ground level in a trench 3-to-5 inches deep. Before planting, work in plenty of rotted manure or compost. Harvest next spring, before Passover. Remove only the largest roots, leaving the small ones to survive another season; roots that are more than three years old should be discarded as too tough. To learn more about horseradish, visit the International Herb Association’s website HERE.

Click here to see photos and recipe for Horseradish.


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