America’s Heartland
is made possible by… Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America
since 1916. Farm Credit is
cooperatively owned by America’s
farmers and ranchers. Learn more at   Croplife America…
Representing the companies whose modern farming innovations help
America’s farmers provide
nutritious food for communities
around the globe.   Hi I’m Rob Stewart. Looking for something
different on your dinner table? Stick around because we’ll
take you cross country to meet some farmers bringing
in unusual crops. Small and crunchy, sesame
seeds have been a valuable crop for
thousands of years. You’ve had them in candy and
on hamburger buns. But one farmer in Oklahoma is changing the way the crop gets
to consumers. Forget about corn or wheat
tortillas! Researchers in North Dakota
want you to try tortillas made from beans! Want to dress your salad
with olive oil that comes from a “higher” source? How about oil associated
with “Divine Intervention?” And bringing in a harvest of
sea salt headed for your dinner table. It’s all coming up on
America’s Heartland. ♪You can see it in the eyes
Of every woman and man♪ ♪In America’s Heartland
living close to the land♪ ♪There’s a love for the country
And a pride in the brand♪ ♪In America’s Heartland♪ ♪Living close
Close to the land♪ ♪♪ We’ve brought you lots of
stories about the farm and ranch families who deliver
the food, fuel and fiber so important to consumers in the
U.S. and around the world. And the numbers are impressive
when you total them up. American farmers lead the
world in corn production and have a lion’s share in
raising soybeans used in
hundreds of products. U.S. wheat goes to markets
around the globe American rice producers deliver
the white grains to markets in Asia as well its
growing popularity in the U.S. And let’s not forget
other crops like cotton, oats, and sorghum…
even maple syrup. So overseas markets are
important. Consumers just like you are
ready to try new foods and researchers are finding new
uses for old favorites. And what about those
specialty crops? Well, let’s start in Oklahoma
where our Akiba Howard says a very ancient
grain has a very bright future.>>”Open sesame” was the
magical phrase unlocking the treasures of an ancient
cave.>>Yeah, this is a healthy
looking sesame plant.>>Today, opening a sesame “pod”
unlocks a culinary treasure.>>We’re able to grow this
here because it loves the hot weather, doesn’t
need much moisture and so that really fits into
where we are today.>>Jimmy Kinder is a third
generation wheat farmer in
Walters, Oklahoma. He’d been looking for a
drought resistant economically viable crop to
rotate with his winter wheat. Sesame fit the bill.>>This is one of the unique
things about this crop is that we’re not looking for a market;
we have a market for sesame. We just haven’t been able to
grow it efficiently until now.>>That demand, along with new
seed varieties and new
technology, provided a crop opportunity for
farmers. And there’s another
benefit.>>The harvesting equipment is the same as for wheat or corn
and that’s the neat thing about sesame, there’s no
specialized piece of equipment
needed. So why hasn’t the crop been
more widely grown? Well, another word on “open
sesame”… The pods open when ripe and
spill their seeds onto the
ground. The challenge has been to
develop a pod that holds the seeds until the entire field
is ready for a machine harvest. New plant varieties have
made that possible.>>And so the variety that we
have actually stays closed until we can come in and get
a harvester to actually roll the pod open and
release the seed.>>What you’re looking at is a
unique sesame pod that exists nowhere else in the
world… non dehiscent sesame, which means
non-shattering sesame. Now the rest of the world today
is hand harvested sesame.>>Danny Peeper is an
agronomist with Sesaco, a company looking to expand
sesame production in the US. Explain a little bit about
how the sesame plant grows.>>Ok, well what we have here is
basically a little bit varying
stages of maturity. Basically the flowers come
out and they last one day. And they can put on 2 to 4 maybe
even 6 flowers a day in the peak of bloom and those
flowers last one day, fall off in the evening and
they’re replaced by small
capsules full of seed.>>From crop to consumer, Jimmy
Kinder’s sesame seeds make their way through processing
to be cleaned and sorted. Show me what’s going on
here.>>Well basically from- from the
bulk storage bin, y’know we bring- bring the seed in, uh,
through these conveyors.>>Oh OK.>>And it’s, you know, similar
to the seed you would see on a
hamburger bun.>>Right, right, right.>>And this is the first stage
in the cleaning process getting it from the bin to
the cleaner.  >>This heartland crop will be
packaged and shipped around the
world. Half the global supply is
made into oil, the whole seeds are used for
baking, candy and ethnic dishes- a market that continues to grow.>>It’s a very strong market,
you know, we’re nowhere near meeting the
demand for it. There’s not enough sesame
grown in the world to meet current demand, current
consumption levels. So there’s a huge amount of
growth that can happen.>>Here’s a story on the sesame
and the óóó.>>Jimmy Kinder’s been sharing
his sesame story with others… in a blog that
talks about agricultural advances and a crop dating
back thousands of years.>>There’s no doubt that
technology can be a great thing but farming is still
an art and I’ve been able to take
that human side, that’s been handed down from
father to son over years, then actually multiply that
with technology and we see a great benefit from
those two banks of knowledge coming
together.>>Some historians claim that
sesame seeds were the first plant to be used in creating
oils for cooking. And the ancient Babylonians
even used sesame seeds to make cosmetic creams and
lotions.  >>There’s no doubt that new
food products impact what we eat and what we demand
from producers. Farmers and ranchers respond
to those consumer demands and adjust their production
accordingly. Think about it… things like
rice cakes, microwave popcorn, barbecued
chicken pizza… even diet colas were once new
products on the supermarket
shelf. So what’s on the horizon? Well, Sarah Gardner says
farmers and researchers in North Dakota have a few
ideas… from something called
“pulse crops.” ♪♪>>Food scientists at this
North Dakota laboratory are testing recipes using flour
made from pulse crops. More than 60 grain legumes
make up the “pulse crop” family including well known staples
like beans, lentils and
chickpeas.>>And those are crops that are
gaining a lot of interest in the food world today from
the stand point that they have a great balance of
fiber, protein and carbohydrates, a
very good blend.>>Most of the breads and
pastries we consume are made
from wheat. The work here aims to
develop other flour sources… not only as an additional crop
option for farmers, but also because some people
have trouble digesting the gluten proteins that give
wheat flour its consistency.>>I think it rolls really
well. But something about the
amount of water. Maybe I should play more with
the ratio of the dried peas.>>Yeah, it looks like you’re
getting some cracking.>>Yeah, so it’s… I think it
got dry. We’ve incorporated roasted
dry pea flour inside wheat
tortillas. And that is to enhance the
nutritional value of the
tortilla product. Normally tortillas, wheat
tortillas only have the wheat flour, water, shortening,
some salt and baking powder. But by adding this it will
significantly enhance the protein content,
also fiber.>>North Dakota leads the nation
in the production of the beans, peas and legumes that make up
the pulse crop category. North Dakota State
University even holds a “Pulse Seed Day” to provide
crop information to farmers.>>Very much appreciate those of
you who have come out to spend
time with us this morning to talk
about our pulse crop research effort here at the
Carrington Center.>>Pulse seed crops are useful
in crop rotation because they not only return a good
deal of nitrogen to the soil, they also provide breaks in the
disease cycles that can affect other grain crops as well as
oilseed crops like soybeans. When you say you hope that
farmers take away information that they can
put into effect this season, give me some example of what
would you might want to see?>>One of the major research
focus that we have here is to manage plant pests, in
particular plant diseases in the pulse crops, both in
terms of improving yield, and very importantly, improving
the quality of that crop.>>That is solid.>>Farmers here also want to
know more about consumer markets for new products
developed from Pulse Crops.>>Some of the new sectors of
the marketplace that are being opened up would be
convenience food, the foods that are more
readily prepared. That would include not only
the ready made meals, but also
the snack items. [Cow mooing]>>New consumer products are
only one area of opportunity. Livestock feed is another.>>And we found that the
quality of the meat that results from beef that were
fed peas was improved. It was more tender, and it
also tastes better.>>So, someday we could look
forward to seeing a sign at the beef counter saying
“pea-fed beef?”>>Exactly. Actually, that terminology,
“pea-fed beef,” is something that I
believe is a label, is a reference, that we are
fostering the work in conjunction with the
northern pulse growers, yes.>>And we grow about 3,000
acres of pulse crops. And pulse crops would be lentils
or chickpeas, or soybeans, or
peas.>>Farmer Kevin Haas began
growing legumes some 20 years
ago. They now make up 50% of his
crops.>>A pulse crop is actually
able to fix its own nitrogen from the air and so in that
sense you don’t have to put any additional fertilizer on
and that’s always good economically and probably good
for the environment as well.>>The ongoing food project at
the Northern Crops Institute may provide insights on
incorporating pulse crop into foods
more accessible to consumers. Options that would benefit
shoppers as well as those looking to expand the crop
choices in their fields.>>They’re developing uses now,
making them into flour and different things like that
so they’re readily available you put ’em in your-
as an ingredient in your
food and cook them and you get the health benefit and you
can do it quite quickly.  >>Alright, let’s talk legumes! Along with grains, beans
were among the first crops cultivated by early
societies. Ancient Egyptians considered
beans to be an emblem of life and had temples
dedicated to them. Since beans stored well and
traveled well, they were a mainstay on long
sea voyages in colonial times, which is where “navy”
beans got their name.  >>No matter what your diet, we
know you’re consuming more olive
oil these days. The health benefits of olive oil
have prompted the food folks to use more olive oil in salad
dressings, baked goods, even
desserts. That’s good news for
growers. And it’s also good news for
a group of California nuns with some very special olive
trees. ♪♪>>Look way up there!>>Yeah, that’s right…>>I mean way at the top! A bunch up here!>>Excitement fills the air for
the Dominican Sisters of Mission
San Jose.>>But see – this one, too!>>It’s that time of the year
when their olive trees are
loaded. Cluster after cluster, hanging
everywhere in these historic
olive trees, with roots dating back to the
late 1700s and they’re still growing right
here on the original mission land where
spaniards settled in Fremont.>>Well, olives were something
native to Spain. It would be something what
would be part of their diet. So little by little, agriculture
became a big thing here.>>So Dolores, this is the
oldest remaining building?>>Of the original adobe
buildings that were part of the mission
complex.>>Wow. This dates back to?>>This one was probably built
about 1810 after the church was
finished.>>Just like most of the
original buildings, the mission crops, have
crumbled. Except for these still thriving
olive trees. This is the oldest standing
mission olive orchard in the
state, covering the land
that remainded after most of the mission property was
sold to ranchers in the 1830’s.>>We got back 28 and a third
acres of our land, some of which we have sold
off as well.>>To? To the Dominican Sisters of
Mission San Jose, who are our neighbors behind us
here. ♪♪>>Behind the mission, rows and
rows of olive trees, leading up to the Dominican’s
mother house; sort of a divine intervention
introducing the next generation of
caretakers for the crop! For decades the Dominican
Sisters would harvest the fruit, and press their very
own olive oil – by hand – for sacrment celebrations
and convent cooking. But in 1964, that harvest ended,
when the sisters could no longer handle the harsh
labor of picking and pressing. You used to pick these trees
right out here.>>But I remember
more trees being here. Uh huh. And more… not so high, because
I think they have grown.>>They were lower.>>They were lower… so I could
hide. [Laughter]>>Sister Florence Cumbelich
was one of the sisters that used to pick the olives decades ago,
back when all of this grass was covered with the
trees she loves.>>They are gorgeous, I mean
when you look at ’em and you see the silvery tops on them, the
wind, breeze blowing through
them.>>For years, it was just falling
on the ground and we were walking all over it, it was
splashing all over our habits. And it was going to waste and
that really was almost sinful.>>But that sin on the ground
became a gift from on high for sister Karen Elizabeth
Zavitz and the rest of the
dominican sisters. A saint of the soil stepped
forward when professional olive
oil maker Dan Sciabica offered up the
services of his company to pick and press the olives for
the sisters for free.>>I think staying connected to
the spiritual significance of the olive tree and also
the temporal significance of the olive tree in California
is rooted right here.>>He has such a passion… he
has a passion for the
olive trees and the olive oil and its many
properties, from the sacred to
the secular. And he’s really instilled
that in us.>>I think you’re going to have
a good crop this year and of course the olive oil will
be impeccable.>>I think that we have a lot
better harvest coming up.>>Your eye is getting trained
quickly!>>I mean, we had the trees, we
had the desire, but without someone like Dan
it would not have happened.>>This is where the sisters
olives end up, at Sciabica’s processing plant
in Modesto. And when will these be olive
oil?>>Tomorrow.>>Tomorrow…>>Is that fast
enough for ya?>>That’s not all that’s fast! The olives ride up a
conveyor belt, are dumped into a water bath and
the olive press is on! ♪♪ The water and oil are divided
and in a matter of minutes, the sisters have
liquid gold. More than a thousand bottles
of olive oil that the sisters sell to raise money
for the convent.>>When we press those olives
for mission San Jose, I mean, the feeling here is
just unbelievable and every once in a while we
get a little miracle thrown in.>>But the sisters
will tell you the real miracle is Dan Sciabica: a
man on a mission with a passion for
preserving history.>>That means by the
week after Thanksgiving we can really start
harvesting…>>Back at the mother house,
the sisters keep their end of
the bargain.>>It’ll make good olive oil.>>Absolutely.>>Tending the trees and
praying for a good crop. Each of the sisters even has
her very own adopted olive tree.>>It’s doing really well so I
must be doing something right.>>So like we like to say from
blossom to bottle, and that’s what this is- because
there’s no one in between except
God.>>And some very dedicated
women. Praying this growing
history will live on, celebrating their prized
olive oil. And this is… ‘voila’.>>That’s it. That is the
pressed…>>Olive Oil.>>Bottled, labeled, sealed,
ready to go out the door. [Laughter]>>To not have olive oil trees
in heaven would be a shame.  >>Let’s give you some olive
knowledge. All olives start out green
and then turn black or dark purple as
they ripen. And olive trees have long
lives. Olive trees have been known
to live hundreds of years. If you’re thinking of making
your own olive oil, you’ll need to press around
11 pounds of olives just to make just one quart
of olive oil.  >>Let’s switch from crops to
condiments for a moment. In addition to “gluten free”
and “no trans fats”, I am sure that you’re seeing
lots of products using sea salt
these days. And as you might expect, getting
that crop from field to table is a bit different from any
harvest you’ve ever seen. ♪♪>>At first glance it may look
like snow covered fields in a
mid Western winter. But this is late summer in
Northern California and these wide expanses of white
are salt flats on the southern tip of San
Francisco Bay.  >>We trace the commercial
operations back to about the 1850s where there were salt
works all around the South Bay in particular, but even
as far north as Napa. And through a number of
acquisitions and the like over several years
now, Cargill is the remaining salt
manufacturer here.>>The salt here comes from the
waters of the Pacific Ocean. Flowing south through the
bay, the salty water is captured in huge ponds just north of San
Jose.>>We typically bring in sea
water just during the summer
months. We don’t want to bring it in
during the winter time because there’s so much rain
water coming off the hills that it actually dilutes the
Bay and makes it less salty.>>The salty water is pumped
into what are called “concentrators”- shallow
ponds ringed by levees. Then, sun and wind
evaporate much of the water leaving behind a
salty brine. As the increasingly salty
water is mixed with brine from other concentrators, a “pinkish”
hue becomes evident in the
liquid.>>And as it gets closer to a
salt precipitation, it takes on a pink or
reddish color. And that’s because of a
alophilic organism that lives in
the brine where nothing else can
live at that high saline level. This can, and it happens to
be pink. And when we drain it off and
we wash it, then it turns back
to white.>>Pumped from pond to pond, the
“sea salt” or “solar salt” brine will sit under sun and the wind
for three to five years before it reaches the correct
level of salinity.>>So it starts at three
percent and it gets greater and greater until it get in
to the crystallizers which is where we’re standing
right now, and at this point in the process the brine is
about 25% sodium chloride.>>At the end of the
evaporative process, you’re left with a thick
layer of sea salt in large ponds known as
crystallizers. It looks like snow on a
frozen lake. A crop ready to be
harvested. ♪♪>>Each year we harvest 500
thousand tons of salt. We harvest four to six
inches in each crystalizer during the summer and during
the fall. And we try to leave the
remainder of the salt underneath as a mantle to have a good clean
cut of salt so that we’re not digging into the Bay mud
at all.>>After a grader breaks up the
top layer, a harvester moves in to fill
large trucks with tons of sea
salt.>>We do think of it as a crop. In fact we talk about taking
just the new crop from the
crystallizer, which is about
the top four or five inches, and we refer to it as this
year’s crop.>>Cargill will run the sea
salt through the first of several washes before
stacking the harvest in huge
piles some 80 feet high. All of this salt will
ultimately be processed into
various grades. Most will be used in different
food products like granules
for canning, a salt powder for butter, or
crystals for ice cream.>>As we look at the data
we find there have been about 6,000 new product
introductions in the last six years that call out with
sea salt or containing sea salt on the label or package
in some way.>>And there other uses as
well.>>There are thousands and
thousands, interestingly, uses for salt from setting
dyes in textiles. It’s used in the petroleum
industry and many other uses. Swimming pools, that sort of
thing. But much of the salt from this
facility does go to food use.>>Consumer preference has
prompted the growing number of products using sea salt. Some prefer the
texture… some the taste.>>A number of people do say
that sea salt tastes different from other salts,
even among different sea salts. It’s typically courser so
people enjoy just the feel of it when they’re cooking. It tastes different on the
tongue. So it’s not just the sense
of taste that comes into play,>>These salt flats are also
important wildlife and wetland
areas. The company has worked with
a number of groups on recreational and
environmental projects.>>We found an opportunity to
work with a number of agencies and return nearly
40 thousand acres of marsh and wetland to public use
and parks. They’re are all types of
wildlife, so it’s really neat to see
as we go out there. From birds to harbor seals
that congregate around some of
the intake areas. So again, trying to return some
of that if we’re not using it and I think it was really
the right thing to do. Such a beautiful area here
to take advantage of.>>There’s no denying that this
is a very different kind of harvest from others in the
heartland. But getting this “crop” to
market demands the same kind of
focus. And it’s a really unique place
to work. Everyone takes pride in what
they do here, in the solar plant
especially. It’s a great group to work
with. It’s a fun time of the year
during harvest when everyone
prepares. We’ve got a lot of people
here, and all the equipment is
ready. And we usually perform
really well, so we’re proud of
that.>>That’s going to do it for
us. Thanks for travelling the
country with us as we introduce
you to such interesting people and
places in America’s Heartland. We know that we pass along a
lot of information to you in every program and in case
you missed something or you just want to check out
videos from this show or others,
we make it easy. Just log on to our website
at And, of course, there’s lots
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arena. You’ll find us there as
well. We’ll see you next time, right
here on America’s Heartland.   ♪You can see it in the eyes
Of every woman and man♪ ♪In America’s Heartland
living close to the land♪ ♪There’s a love for the country
And a pride in the brand♪ ♪In America’s Heartland♪ ♪Living close
Close to the land♪ America’s Heartland is made
possible by…   Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America
since 1916. Farm Credit is
cooperatively owned by America’s
farmers and ranchers. Learn more at   Croplife America…
Representing the companies whose modern farming innovations help
America’s farmers provide
nutritious food for communities
around the globe.