Massaya Newsletter, January 2023

Best Wishes of Prosperity and Health for 2023
My Dream for Lebanon

   The fig leaf that hides many of Lebanon's agricultural sins is summed up in one word; “baladi”, which literally translates to "from my country", a pseudo designation of excellence. Apart from a primary nationalism, "baladi", does not distinguish between regions or know-how and does not meet any quality standards other than chauvinism! 
We obviously all know the key role of hummus in our cuisine. I would like to find in Lebanon more commonly chickpeas from Kfarmechké, Deir el Ahmar or Yanta... to highlight the producers of these regions who value ancestral traditions based on organic farming, nature respect and age-old know-how.

At the bakery, I am very happy to pay a premium for bread kneaded from local varieties of wheat such as hourany or salamouny… secular varieties, with low yields but high resistance to drought and low maintenance. Paying more for a comforting and a satisfying quality flour seems fair to me.

   Does this take us too far away from arak or wine? On the contrary, because to achieve one day the Designation of Origin for wine it is recommended to start with a consensual and comprehensive path. Chickpeas and wheat are more universal and inclusive. 
In 2023, the Designation of Origin will be wishful thinking since such a complex nomenclature requires forward-thinking and an organization to regulate and direct the classification. In the absence of an effective administration, "regulatory bodies" are highly controversial in Lebanon thus these improvements should be based on personal driven initiatives or visionary non-governmental organizations. Therefore, instead of a "Designation of Origin" -mandatory- we should settle for a "Statement of Origin" - voluntarily-. 

The mentality changes that have taken place since the economic disintegration of the last three years, and which favor local products, is very encouraging, and the next step in 2023 is to witness the Statement of Origins blossoming on the stalls of shops replacing "baladi". 
  How can Massaya contribute to this Movement?  In many ways, we have already been doing this for years by sourcing our wheat, chickpeas, lentils, zaatar... directly from local farmers. But we are ready to do more. 
We want to give back a more important place in our society to our nature and our growers. For this, we reach out to the youth of Lebanon to express our love for nature and its beauty. 

We will offer charming accommodation and a decent salary to candidates who are willing to spend a minimum of 2 months pruning, planting, picking, plowing... No agricultural experiences are required. 

So, if you are a young, willing Lebanese, wishing to experience life on a farm and want to discover the joy of rural life and the pleasure that nature gives to the eyes, the soul and the body, write us at [email protected] and we will be happy to be enrolling you in our residency program!

Lebanon is endowed with a rich agricultural heritage that was the envy of the world, no need to recall the breadbasket of the Roman Empire, just admire the beautiful terraces that our ancestors left along our valleys and hills to produce grapes, chickpeas, lentils, vegetables, to secure their daily diets!

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For inquiries:
+961 70 555 657

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