Date with the dates #3 : the Khadrawi

Welcome back to Date with the Dates, our informative series of the different types of dates grown here at Peace Wadi. Today we will explore the Khadrawi variety.

15021993678311527802386

This type of dates comes from Iraq. Khadrawi dates are medium size fruits with medium sweetness and cannot be eaten before it’s either Rotob stage (half ripe stage) or Tamar stage (ripe stage). It has a very much “toffee” flavour and butterscratch texture. That makes them ideal for making excellent date paste to cook different home sweets. It is also very good for dates molasses and syrup. Khadrawi dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, protein and B-vitamins.

1502199720311-978288175

Their thin papery skin has a tendency to dry out, so keep them tightly wrapped and refrigerated in an airtight container.

In the farm, we have around 30 Khadrawi dates trees. We currently sell the first rotob Khadrawi of the season freshly picked. They are so creamy and delicious, we are waiting for you !

20638248_1086734421456815_3086235815636156224_n

Advertisements

A 24-hour trip to Jerusalem

20638248_1086734421456815_3086235815636156224_n.jpgWhile helping at the farm selling dates, we thought of the idea of visiting Jerusalem. It seemed like an interesting trip, but we had little time left. When would we go? Tomorrow morning? Or why not today! Mohammad felt like a trip across the border as well, so together we took off that evening packed and ready for border and sightseeing adventures.

Our 5-hour journey, during which we also had dinner in Jericho, went smooth. Crossing the borders with their many security checks can be a lengthy task, but we were prepared well and no elaborate interrogations were necessary. After we arrived in Ramallah, Palestine, we did a quick walk around and had some great ice cream. We slept at the ‘Hostel in Ramallah’, which was a nice place with friendly people, a roof terrace with a view on the city and a good breakfast of pita’s with zaatar or marmalade. During breakfast we met a girl who traveled both Israel and Palestine elaborately, who told us about the different perspectives on the conflict.

After this introduction, we were ready to get into the field. The bus took us to Jerusalem in about an hour, so at 11 we could start exploring the city. We entered through Jaffa gate, where we found a nice tourist office and picked up a map. We found our way through the different quarters and visited the western/wailing wall and Temple mount. We experienced the Temple mount as a relaxing and peaceful public place, and were impressed by the way in which it facilitated both tourism and religion. Furthermore, we followed Via Dolorosa, visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and ended with some tasty Shawerma.

Around 17.30 we left through Damascus gate and found our way back to Jordan via Bethany and Jericho, as at non-Jordanians we had to be at the King Hussein bridge before 22.00. At 22.30 we were back at the farm after a full, but beautiful day. Hamdulillah.

Groetjes,
Cindy & Elena from the Netherlands

Spa Adventure in the Dead Sea

DSCN1650

The unofficial “Spa Adventure Tour” is one of several activities you can do during your free time if you volunteer at Peace Wadi . Mohammad took us few hours before the sunset to the Canyon in which we hiked through the source and got a bath in the hot mineral water of the valley. We could have a natural massage thanks to the strong waterfalls. We didn’t see any foreign tourists in the area, but there were lots of Jordanians from Amman looking to unwind in the water. It’s a nice way to have an authentic experience. We could meet and take pictures with Jordanian people, but above all, we were so glad to see the beauty of nature.

 

After this relaxing time, we moved to salt water and drove to the Dead Sea, which was right across the road. We found a deserted place where it seemed as if no humans had walked before. We had to hike a few minutes through the sand before reaching the sea. As the ground got more and more muddy, we knew that our target was getting close. Finally our feet touched the water as we watched the beautiful sunset over Palestine. We didn’t wait to rub the famous mud all over our bodies before we tried to swim in the salty water of the Dead Sea.

DSCN1654

The longer you keep the mud on yourself, the more you benefit from its health benefits. Plus it makes for a nice memory; and all of this for free! After applying a few mud masks and floating in the salty water, we ended our trip at a restaurant eating Jordanian Shawarma and Kebab.

It was an amazing day, all thanks to Mohammad!

Jonna, Elena, Cindy, Bryant and Yael (volunteers from Netherlands, USA and France).

D-10 before The Perseid Night at Peace Wadi

perseid-meteor-shower-peace wadi

Peace Wadi will organize the Perseid Night on the 12th of August. We will celebrate the peak of Perseid meteor shower, the debris of the Comet Swift-Tuttle that crosses our solar system every 2000 years.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known that passes by Earth, as it is 26 km (16 miles) wide. It passed around the sun in 1992 and we are able to see its debris falling into the atmosphere burning up in a bright burst of light. Those pieces of comets are travelling at around 59 km/s (37 miles/s). and there average size is the size of a grain of sand…

You can observe it from anywhere on Earth from 8/4 to 8/17, and its peak takes place on the might between 8/12 and 8/13. Make sure to bring something comfortable to sit on and wait 30 minutes before your eyes adjust to the dark. Then you are ready to see the magic of Nature.

If you are around Peace Wadi on that night, come with your friends and enjoy our beautiful spot 😉

A day with Zain al Shabab

DSCN1574

Welcome to Peace Wadi, where we hosted Zain al Shabab for a day of volunteering on the farm. We were really excited about this event because it meant the local youths from Amman could help us plant our planned Moringa tree field. This tree is well known for its nutritious and almost miraculous features, where all parts of the tree (bark, seeds, fruit, and leaves) have applications.

 

After feeding the cats, we started preparing homemade date molasses for our guests. As always, under the supervision of Mohammad.

With the trees already delivered and the molasses cooking, we were ready to welcome Zain youth.

After the Zain al Shabab members introduced themselves, Mohammad explained the concept of the farm and talked about the activities he had planned for the day. “Why plant Moringa trees?,” you might ask. This work has an educational goal as the farm should work towards sustainable and highly nutritive plant growing. And that is what our Peace Wadi wants to promote.

DSCN1591

The nutritional goal was explained by Abou Youssef, the local greenhouse operator who delivered our Moringa trees. He explained to us that the tiny leaves of Moringa could save millions of lives.  The small, rounded leaves are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition–protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium– and have been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries.

DSCN1593

 

We were then ready to start planting the trees all afternoon. Thanks to their motivation and team spirit, we managed to finish the work quickly. We also set up the irrigation system and made sure the trees were being watered in their new homes.

Everyone was satisfied and proud, and after the work was complete we went on a tour of the date farm. While Mohammad explained how to cultivate dates, the whole group were focus… well maybe not everyone.

DSCN1620

We ended this beautiful day by sharing a meal all together, prepared by our farmer, Abou Baker.

We are all very grateful to Zain al Shabab for their energy and their help. We hope to see them soon and look forward to welcoming them and other local volunteers back to the farm.

DSCN1597

Date with Dates 2: Boo Fagous

Welcome back to Dates with Dates, our informative series on all the different types of dates grown here at Peace Wadi! Today, we will explore the Boo Fagoos variety. Boo Fagoos, meaning “father of the cucumber,” is a rare Algerian variety of date that is incredibly sensitive. Unlike all other dates here at Peace Wadi, the delicate and delicious Boo Fagoos are unable to be packaged, shipped or stored. That means you have to come down to the farm to try them!IMG_8186

The Boo Fagoos fruit has a silky and delicate texture; it literally melts in your mouth, no chewing required. The taste is unique and complex, best described as medium-sweet. On the tree, Boo Fagoos dates are a shiny and lustrous yellow, with their transparent skin fading to brown only hours after they are picked.

IMG_8183
We have about 10 trees of this variety here at Peace Wadi, and each tree produces about 100kg dates. The Boo Fagoos dates are currently in the Balah stage of ripening—Abu Bakr, the hardworking farmhand, just put bags on them today to keep birds and other pests from eating them. In a few weeks, around mid-august, the dates will be ready to eat—and we want you to be ready too!IMG_8176

Dates with Dates: Berhi

 

Hello from the Peace Wadi! We are hard at work preparing for this year’s date harvest and all the excitement that comes with it. This year, we look forward to a bountiful harvest and want to share the fruits of our labor (literally and figuratively) with the community, inviting locals and international volunteers to come exchange knowledge, eat dates, and help with the harvest. We are also seeking to create a “pick-your-own” date program, where local consumers can come straight to the farm in order to receive the freshest and most affordable produce.

IMG_8038

In order to celebrate the beginning of the harvesting season and to advertise the wide variety of dates available here at Peace Wadi, we will be promoting a “Dates with Dates” campaign on social media. Every few days, Children of the Valley will upload a post about a new type of date we have available on the farm, ranging from Iraqi Berhi dates to Algerian Deglet Noor, and even some indigenous varieties not cultivated anywhere else in the world. Although the harvest is just beginning, many of our dates are ready to eat! Visit the farm now to share in our harvest. If you like what you taste, you can pay a small donation to the farm in order to pick your own fresh dates and take them home with you. Or, visit our roadside stand and pick up a box to go. Delicious dates from Peace Wadi make an excellent gift for friends and family and will store for many months in a cool, dry place.

IMG_8095

The first type of date we want to explore is the Berhi date. Berhi, also translated Barhi, are a unique Iraqi variety of date that can be eaten at the earliest stages of ripening. Dates go through three stages of ripeness: Balah, rotab, and tamar. While most dates are still green and bitter at the Balah stage, Berhi dates are sweet and crunchy. Peace Wadi has dozens of trees of Berhi dates that are edible today, even before the date harvest. We welcome you to visit us and taste the firm, crisp luxury of the Berhi date!

IMG_8091

To prepare the dates for harvest, workers Abu Bakr and Bryant are busy bagging the Berhi dates to prevent them being eaten by birds and other animals. They are also checking the dates to taste that they are ready (and double-checking, and triple-checking). We are looking for volunteers to help with the date harvest, as well as customers from the community to come buy fresh produce at cheap prices. We offer the opportunity to taste our dates off the tree for free, as well as to come and pick your own fresh dates for a low price. As we get closer to the peak of the season, we will also offer packed dates from the roadside produce stand at the entrance to the farm. Come down and enjoy the early Berhi dates yourself!

A day in the Life of a Peace Valley Volunteer

Hey again it is Mira and Min, we thought we would share our typical daily schedule so future volunteers would know what to expect. But just note we are currently in off season for any vegetables. The work here is quite flexible and you can pursue your own activities and projects. Creativity is encouraged.

Our day typically starts with a 6 am wake up call from the sun rising over Jordan. You can probably find us on the roof stretching at this time. It does sound early, but it is worth taking advantage of the day before it gets too hot. We then get ready, have a quick breakfast of dates or other fruit, and then by 6:30 am we head for the fields. The length of the workday varies day to day depending on how much there is to do, but usually we are done by 11:00 at the latest (it is way too hot to work afterwards). If there is not work to do in the fields we then do some cleaning around the farm, or other side projects. For example, work on the gray water recycling system, paint signs, work on social media outreach and so forth. Really, Mohammad encourages you to think out of the box and try to find fun ways to improve the farm.

In the afternoon, we have some down time. This is usually where you will see us napping on a couch, or reading on the terrace. Mira even just naps on her yoga mat in front of the fan! There are a bunch of hikes nearby, but since it is the hottest season we haven’t been able to do that.

Once the sun starts getting lower in the sky, we all become alive again with the cool air. We do some more computer work for Mohammad, take photos, eat some fresh fruit and play card games. Since it is still Ramadan, we wait till the sunsets and we hear call from the a nearby mosque, knowing it is time for a delicious meal – iftar, breaking the fast. We eat together, sometimes with the neighbors or Mohammad’s brother and his friends, a phenomenal meal. I think after Ramadan it is expected that we have to cook more for our little farm family. We have started our own tradition of walking into town after dinner. We usually grab a cold soda and people watch. When we get back we feed some left overs to the puppies and kittens that are still around.

Our bedroom under the stars

Our bedroom under the stars

 

Overall, it is a nice day. A lot of free time, but you can make of it what you want.

By far our favorite part is at the end of the day. It is extremely relaxing to go to sleep under the stars on the roof. We have an amazing view of Jericho city, and we get to work on identifying constellations.

Date Season coming up in the Valley of Peace

Date season is nearing in Peace Wadi, and we are all busy preparing the fields. Here are the three volunteers, Mira from Finland, Min from Greece and Pierre from France. We have been eating the frozen dates from last season nonstop. None of us could believe how good these were and how they melted in your mouth. There are so many dates, and a wide variety is cultivated here.19225299_10155523721859009_6044176568142257971_n.jpg

Currently the dates are still green hanging in bunches from the palm trees. But don’t worry every day we make sure to test them out. Mohammed said the dates won’t be ready for picking until mid-July or early August.

Seeing as last season they are so delicious frozen, imagine how good they will be in 6 weeks? Fresh off the palms, and ready for eating.

Come get your dates and if you want to volunteer let us know!

Grey Water Treatment Project

 

Salaam alaikum!

As promised, here is our introduction to the farms Grey Water Treatment Project, written by us, the current volunteers, Cecilie from Denmark and Hanna from Norway.

The Grey Water Treatment Project at the farm has been underway for some time, and is coming along nicely. This is an exciting step for our recycle-conscious farm. Soon, we will not only be reusing our organic waste (food waste) as bio-gas, but also reusing our water.

What is Greywater?

Greywater is water that has been used, but not in a heavy or polluting way. Greywater includes water from baths, sinks, dishwashing and laundry, etc. (It does not include sewage water)

In areas with water-shortage, or just in general, to spare unnecessary spoiling of clean water, it can be a big advantage to reuse the grey water. In order to reuse it, the water is treated using one of many available methods. The treatment should be healthy and environmentally friendly as well.

Treated water is often used to flush toilets, water plants and do laundry.

By reusing water, the pressure on the clean fresh water resources can be lifted.

Our take on the project

We had only heard briefly of greywater and reuse of domestic water before arriving at the farm. When we arrived here in Jordan, it became clear to us that these measures needs to be taken to protect the livelihood of people here in the future. Water-shortage is not something you often think about in Scandinavia. During our travel in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, we’ve met inspiring people and visited places which have truly opened our eyes to how privileged we are living in Denmark and Norway.  When we show our red passports almost every border is open to us, a freely chosen education is a right, we have a high level of material security and the consequences of our enormous consumption of natural resources are (unfortunately) not always present in our consciousness and everyday life. We live a privileged life and that is horribly easy to take for granted. Lesson learned: be thankful and appreciate more. With that being said, our own culture could definitely take some advice from the Middle Eastern way of life 🙂 it’s a true blessing travelling among such wonderful and openhearted people.

The idea of re-using grey water is of course suitable everywhere there is a waste of water, but in an area with a shortage of water it can be necessary. We’ve stayed at Peace Wadi for a week now and we’ve experienced to run empty on water twice – during a hot day with no water you get aware of how much water you use on small and insignificant things. Again: it’s a real eye opener. But the fact that we’ve learned to be aware of our own water consumption doesn’t change the reality here. Peace Wadi inspires by being a a place, where recycling of organic waste and (soon) grey water is a natural part of the household, setting an example of living sustainable in an area where recycling is very rare but necessary.

We’re very excited to follow the project!