Produce from the Land. Agriculture in Ras Baalbeck: Fresh Natural Products

This year is a year that taught us a lot Getting back to the land, to the origin, all people are planting vegetables All people want to eat Lebanese food again, to eat home food storage products Today we came to Ras Baalbeck. This is not an episode of Ras Baalbeck, but it is an episode of farming in Ras Baalbeck. I will let you meet Elias Elias will take us, he welcomed us in his house, we will make cheese, we will see the goats, we will see the cows, we will se the chicken, we will eat village eggs, we will talk with the land, work with the land, we will put everything we know, in this land, in the most beautiful country in the world A long tour, very nice, in these winds, the beautiful weather in Ras Baalbeck, will start right now Hello. Good morning Good morning. How are you? All good? The mother of Elias al Naoum This is natural, we make village cheese, yogurt, and Greek yogurt. All done in the old traditional way I am promised that I’ll come to you and we will make milk and cheese. What we are seeing right now is goat milk which was boiled last night Almost, when it starts to boil then 5 minutes It should take an hour, but because you were in Beirut Before you remove it I want to show them that the yellow layer you see on top, is how much the milk is fresh, and how much fat does it have, how natural it is, and how much did this goat walk in nature and eat vegetables That’s why it looks yellow, it is very normal We removed the cream, the milk is heated a little bit And now we will start with the process of making cheese Meanwhile, I came here and I still remember from last year that I want to eat fried eggs with Kishek Let’s go get the eggs and come back Let’s go. Eggs from the chicken coop Nothing better than waking up in the mountains, waking up in the village, the winds, the sun, the. beautiful smell, unbelievable Really, we are talking about getting back to the roots There is nothing more beautiful than villages. I wish I have a house in the village I would sit relaxed, and wake up in such atmosphere everyday You wake up at 5 a.m. without setting an alarm Welcome. I am Elias Naoum Welcome here, Anthony We will take you for a small tour in our farm I will tell you how did we start everything from scratch How the idea of having everything natural has started How everything we eat at home is being delivered to markets in the best possible way, which proper and natural Welcome here, for a small tour, you will see everything What is this? It is blackberry In Arabic It is from the family of wild berries, they call it But in English, there are several known types in Lebanon There is the framboise, the blueberry, and blackberry. This is blackberry Have you told me what apricot is this? Ajami apricot This type is very unique We mostly plant the Em Hsen type and the Ajami, which the most successful types Do the birds eat these? Yes, we don’t put any drugs, so the birds will come They are welcome to eat Everything is organic Everything Everything is 100% natural When the term free range is used, what are free range eggs? we see it written in English This means they live in nature I was looking at this valley, and I am seeing it green. Maybe 500 meters square All of these are not to be picked, but to be eaten The chicken goes out and eat naturally 100% It’s not in a cage it it is free Freedom always We entered their privacy, the chicken coop. Chickens are sitting here not moving, on the eggs And there are exactly 6 eggs Exactly. 5 for me and 1 for you We will not disagree 100% village eggs They can be eaten raw, right? Now we can break it and eat it raw I’ve never done it before. Why? Do you have another shirt? I will change it no problem. Would you like some? As it is. As it is Natural. As it is This is one for you Oh my God Unbelievable how tasty it is Unbelievable how delicious it is. Similar to eggs with Reshek Warm, the chicken was just sitting on it Proteins, wow Omg, so delicious, unbelievable

All of these, all of these are just for the view, so they could fly around the house Not for eating It’s beautiful how a person can have all this quantity, look! I was telling you in the coop about the eggs, we don’t wash them, it is not good to be washed, until you want to use them The egg breathes So, no one tells me that these are dirty, they are natural as they are They stay at home like this, until you want to use them, you directly wash and use them Meanwhile the milk boils, we will make the cheese, Look how beautiful, village clarified butter, which is very white It can be used with everything done at home. And it’s natural Scrambled back to the cheese, when the milk boils, we will put some people prefer vinegar. Sometimes, we do it with vinegar Every 5 kilograms of milk need a cup of tea filled with vinegar And every 5 kilograms of milk, needs 1 cup of yogurt So cheese is made from milk with yogurt or vinegar Like soup, so warming, the eggs are like let’s say, Chinese rice, because because it’s scrambled eggs, pieces, Kishek, clarified butter, so warming so hot Very very very delicious Very delicious, the right amount of salt The right acidity, the right sourness, the feeling of sour is right Fried eggs with Kishek, nutritious and energetic, for a week ahead After they boil, you can notice when they become a bit harder, they split, there is yellow liquid which will be used for the Arishe later on, and the cheese, is put on this blanket Yes So it could Harden When they are drained we make them cheese. Great Everything can be done at home, and it’s not hard. Why we think that such things are hard? Fresh cream which we just bought with a bit of molasses on top Bread from the village, They fell Very delicious, wow. I’ve always said that Lebanese cuisine is sexy And I used to talk about Lebanese Mazza. But when someone goes into the deep details of Lebanese cuisine, and the things in villages, which are not found on the internet, foreigners do not know about, Beirut doesn’t know about Lebanon doesn’t know about them. Oh my God You made my day, now I can leave Where are you leaving, you still have this Arishe to taste We wil take a bit, stick them together, as they are, with the Arishe, no bread On one side, there is something so dense, very sticky with a hard texture, and for the other side, something as light as air, like meringue clouds What do I do? After we drained the water, there is left it’s hot we are making village cheese Yes Learning for the first time This is the Arishe, we drain it like this I removed the drain so you could film it Then I drain it in the same we that we have made cheese Using the drain or the blanket, it’s the same We will go, then come taste the cheese, and taste the Arishe, and we will have lunch together. Okay, great Waiting for you at lunchtime We are looking for a herb called Saint John, which

it shouldn’t be in Lebanon But it has started to appear in Ras Baalbeck. It grows in nature, You can google it. Saint John Saint John’s herb or the herb of Saint John Which is mainly used for treating anxiety and depression Depression patients If anyone whats to laugh like I do, be hyperactive, and jump everywhere It isn’t good for him at all The Arabs call it Arn What we are seeing here is the Obeidi This is the best leave for making stuffed vine leaves It is hard and doesn’t have a lot of water This is the only kind of grapes that row here without water It doesn’t need any water or any treatment. You just raise it above the ground so the leaves won’t touch the soil and get ruined Where are we now This is called Khedaime It is a kind of Herbal tea It grows on its own in the valley What is nice here is that you can leave your house you move around the house, you don’t go for a far tour you can do the best out of wild things You make the best infusion for the digestive system, the nerves, the heart, everything from what is available in nature, which are present for free, you just have to come and get them We are talking about flowers for herbal tea, after we were talking about picking greens, and many other stuff This is the Saint John herb, it has a very light color, we bought if from 10 minutes ago It smells normal It tastes so light, not bitter at all, very smooth, no need for sugar, straight forward. This is the same but it was made from yesterday The herb was soaked in the water. It dried, the color became much darker Tell me, so we could know. First, what is nylon used for. The nylon is spread in the beginning, after the hoses, so you make wholes and plant on the places of the drops This whole thing is don’t so you won’t spend your while time picking up wild grass from between the parsley. Fo example, this is wild, you should pick it out So you won’t spend your time doing so, in big areas. This apricot is called the golden apricot, which later on becomes yellow, and apricot jam is made This is plum, can you imagine how rich the tree is, one piece beside the other Really, this is a gift from God There is no pesticides, and you should plant in it there is a specific variety which goes well together There is a technique. For example, we are standing beside corn, we are letting it sprout so then we could distribute it This technique is called the three sisters. first, we plant the corn, then we plant the flames beens beside it, and everything related to beans, then we plant beside them pumpkins. Why does this happen, the corn grows, it makes a stick which it grows on, then the others climb on it whether it was the flat beans or any kind of beans. The pumpkins covers the ground around it which prevents the growth of wild grass Or anything which is unsuitable and these 3 plants benefit from each others and provide nutrients for each others This is a fresh zucchini. First, it can be eaten like the cucumber, It is very delicious. And this, is taken home which is fried and made like a tempura, like chips very delicious berry tree Directly Live I hear that people get pistachio from here

I didn’t know that we have pistachios in Lebanon. That is from the very few places in Lebanon which have this kind of planting It belongs to the monastery of Saydit Ras Baalbeck Related to the Aleppo monastery They bough it with them from there and they started planting it The whole mountain has pistachios, the season is not now I hope people take such ideas There is a lot of richness It is nice that Lebanon is full of pistachios It’s unexpected to find it here All is made in Lebanon We reached the gas station in the perfect timing With the last two drops Or we would have stuck in some far place Even though this episode is not for the whole village, but I could not stand in front of these homes, every time I get here. Old houses, its details and decorations I don’t think someone have captured it, it wasn’t put in any postal card, because it is damaged a bit It is amazing. The design and it is so special It differs from houses with stone bricks which we see in Keserwan Every are in Lebanon, we agree that the Lebanese house is square shaped, but every area has its own way. These flowers and decorations, are a signature for this area Deed for Ras Baalbeck This land belongs to our families, some of us are dead, and some are still alive but some aren’t even born, this land is not for sale Good morning Em Khalil Welcome Welcome my dear, my soul and heart This is how we dry wild mint leaves and thyme This is wild thyme It grows in the wild, in the mountains It is dried inside so all its benefits are preserved Here, there are 200,000 meters squares divided between barley and wheat We have started with a part of it, it was a part for planting, but because of winter, a few weeks ago, everything was gone We cultivated all over again and prepared everything The same thing on your right, 100,000 almost 100,000 meters of green thyme and wild thyme There is thyme from 100 meters from this side to 1,000 meters from that side It’s all thyme Thyme, which can give all Lebanon All the people, and everything natural, no pesticides, as it is, we are in the middle of the valley, the winds are so strong, a lot of thorns, all the land is cultivated Soon the barley will be grown Corn, thyme, were cropped, now we will see how they are all gathered The wind clears the dust from them, then they are collected, dried, and are sent to Beirut. Let’s see the wild thyme Perfume, what the difference between the several names. There is wild thyme, thyme Regarding wild thyme, in this land there is more than a hundred types

100 kinds! Then they all get mixed? Yes they get mixed How hard life is, here, I am imagining if in summer and there is a lot of strong wind. It just stopped for 2 minutes The land is dry, to an extent that this is not penetrating Stone-like I am imagining the houses over here, where workers live What kind of winds do they face in winter This means that life is so hard, so in the end, they can plant something, and deliver it to cities, so we could benefit from it You have two cows? Yes Hopefully they become more. 100% Why it is sitting still? This cow is pregnant, and it will deliver in a couple of days Between a day and the other We are leaving it alone separated from the other pair, so it could deliver slowly this year, we will not start a production of cow dairy products because we want to leave all the milk for the calf, so it would be strong, with good immunity, without causing any lifetime trouble, like other farms, where calves live indulging many antibiotics, so it won’t get sick This experience is a trial for this year, if we succeed, we will continue this way Is we didn’t succeed, we will stop having cows. These cows are grass fed 100% in the lands you just saw. All of them There is more than 1000 meters squares just barley and wheat because for the cows and goats with you will see We started it with 500 meters for goats and cows. We are preparing it, still under construction These are a mixture of more than 3 types of goats The Spanish, the village type, and Levant Which is the best type we have The milk we saw in the morning was from here? Yes from here The goats were milked yesterday in the afternoon, and we got it for my mother. She used a part for cheese, and kept the others for yogurt and Greek yogurt We came back home, an amazing lunch is ready. Elias came before me to make sure that everything is perfect for recording Let’s see what is today’s lunch Everything’s neat? Can we record? I am back When you look at the pots and pans, you will think that the food is for 50 people Rice with minced meat, this is the Ouze One of my favorite foods It is done in a way, not filling it all, but it is done flat, of a wide tray, so it cooks properly This is a presto, here there is the meat, the sheep meat that we cut, we will do the Sajieh The Sajieh is an old dish which is done in our village Goat yogurt is used, or sheep yogurt We add garlic, but since you do not like garlic, I put your portion on it’s own Great thank you People, this is Lebanese pistachio Pistachio the real, is white on the inside When you see it very very very green, it would be from abroad, or colored This cheese is from the morning, the ones we prepared The get hard They become one piece. They also get harder after an hour They weren’t fully pressed, there is still air bubbles between them The salt gives them a great taste The salt on the outside, light on the inside, very nice This is called green Kishek, but it is really white. That is how we start doing it This is the first part of Kishek. We get the bulgur and we add the goat yogurt, the large type of bulgur We add the yogurt, it absorbs it and they increase in size We add Greek yogurt, which gives the sourness In is put under the sun, then it is collected, we then mince it Then it becomes a white powder. The one we ate in the morning with eggs. This bite which took us a few seconds, takes a whole week to be done Butter, the butter How can they do them so thin? This is done by the chief who keeps thinning it until it becomes translucent. If he can’t see behind it, he won’t keep it

I usually know that Sfiha should be think with a good amount of dough Look Look how it melts Look! His dough is definitely exceptional wow The same person whom I’ve shot theist episode with? wow This is Sajieh. Dried mint leaves since last year and look at its color The unique nuts, the meat so soft like butter The yogurt, of course from village Really amazing There is nothing better than this Mary, enjoy your lunch and welcome The house is yours We prepared these two dishes because they are old, so you could taste it The kitchen of Ras Baalbeck. Chief, we really thank you for everything We thank you A beautiful day, I have learned a lot We got back to our origin, to the land Everyday, I learn from the land and I get more attached to it A bit of things and products, and yogurt The ride is long, two hours and a half to reach Beirut Ofcourse, n the way, a small stop in Baalbeck, have Nammoura Bl Ashta, and we go back Let’s go The most beautiful country of the world, we are waiting for you in summer. I hope you have enjoyed this day We will meat next week with a new episode