And it worked. Working quickly in an intensive breeding program, Gar says, sesame breeders can create a new breed in just “60 or 70 days,” from seed to seed. By developing a breed that can be grown in the U.S., says Hickey, the company will have better control over the “destiny” of their supply chain. At DePaul, a Catholic university in Chicago, there was no referendum on hummus, just a demand for the removal of Sabra hummus by Students for Justice in Palestine, a quick acquiescence — and days later, a hasty about-face. Verstuyft worked closely with Mario Vazquez, an agronomist and senior sourcing manager at Sabra, to get the conditions just right. The first step was to gather and analyze sesame samples from around the world. While the exact details are proprietary, scientists tinker with sugar levels, protein and even moisture content in order to get the flavor and texture just right for tahini. Sabra Dipping Company was formed as a U.S./Canadian joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo. But it’s the combination of traits where things get tricky. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. “The Golani brigade is known both inside Israel and outside for human rights violations,” said Mr. Bitran, a senior who is Jewish. Sign Up - … Though Equinom’s headquarters are based in Israel, Oron says most of his work is done in the fields. Yoel Bitran, president of the Princeton Committee on Palestine, said that although the connection to the Golani brigade was not particularly direct, it was enough to warrant a boycott of Sabra products and his group’s referendum effort. Dip into delicious with Sabra hummus and guacamole. The Sabra received an artistic and symbolic representation in the form of the illustrated character "Srulik" (which wears shorts, sandals and a Tembel hat), created by cartoonist Dosh.Another such character is the Israeli children's television character Kishkashta, a talking anthropomorphic cactus; the plant is another symbol of the Sabra.. Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund, said in a statement on DePaul’s reversal that the anti-Sabra campaign revealed deep anti-Israel sentiment. “We knew that if we could combine those attributes together in the right way that we could develop...a gold standard sesame seed,” says Hickey. That’s because most of the crop grown in the U.S. isn’t right for tahini. No matter how strong, a boycott of Sabra will barely make a dent in the corporate profits. The seed is tiny, and “your plant depth is so critical,” Verstuyft explains. Sabra Most people don’t think of hummus as a food that’s ripe for innovation. Most people don’t think of hummus as a food that’s ripe for innovation. I also cover climate change, food and agriculture policy and sustainability in agricultural and food technologies. Sabra is based in Queens and Virginia, and a spokeswoman said the company had never contributed “hummus or anything else” to the Israeli military. Still, the work continues. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. At first blush, sesame isn’t such a tricky plant, says Gar. There aren’t a whole lot of seed breeding teams in the world working on sesame’s taste, which means there isn’t a large well of knowledge for breeders to draw from, says Gar. NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: A view of an Unofficial Meal event in NYC celebrating #NationalHummusDay ... [+] hosted by Lea Michele & Sabra Dipping Company at Astor Place on May 12, 2017 in New York City. We’re running to the optimum.”. Previous Next - on-the-go - Mobilize your snacking with flavorful Sabra Snackers. Sabra wanted a great-tasting sesame seed but it also had to pay attention to crop yields to persuade those U.S. sesame growers. Sabra instigated one of the fights at a publicity event in New York in 2007, where it served several hundred pounds of hummus on a plate the size of an above-ground swimming pool, prompting its executives to boast that they had produced the largest dish of hummus in the history of the world. See All On-The-Go. Email Address. The Company offers hummus, salsas, vegetable dips, guacamole, vegetarian sides, and salads. About 70 miles west of San Antonio, Texas, Nathan Verstuyft is one of those new growers. In Southwest Texas, a freak rain shower can wash herbicide into the seed, stunning the plant and forcing you to replant everything. It’s better for baked goods and sesame oil. Selling farmers on a new crop without a proven track record isn’t easy, Hickey says, so protective traits like shatter-resistance to protect the seeds are an important part of the pitch. But Verstuyft comes from a long line of farmers growing mostly corn and cotton. Weeds can alter the flavor. The goal of singling out particular products such as Sabra Hummus is to force public scrutiny of Zionist Israel. The team made batches of tahini from each of the sesame samples in order to suss out the best components from each variety. “As trivial as the determination of what hummus to serve to university students might seem, there are serious ramifications to this issue,” Mr. Kotzin said. The latest chapter in the Israeli-Arab conflict is all about hummus, the chickpea dip that is a staple of American college cafeterias. “You need to reduce some to get more of the other,” he says. Sabra’s team of scientists and researchers set out to create an entirely new breed of sesame plant, the first of its kind in the U.S. Project Destiny, as the company calls it, has been underway for six years but preliminary research started even earlier, says Susan Hickey, Sabra’s Senior Director of Sustainability and Procurement. Santa Monica, CA - A tub of Sabra hummus on sale at a local supermarket. 2 … The company was bought in 2005 by Israeli food manufacturer Strauss. (The other joint owner is PepsiCo. They were awesome,” Verstuyft says. “We’re comfortable planting it and using it for our tahini,” she says assuredly, but there’s still a way to go “before we get to the gold standard.” For now then, Project Destiny continues. I've been covering the intersection of technology and food since 2015, from cutting edge cattle feedlots to new future foods like plant-based and cultured meat. At just 31 years old, he’s been farming since high school. But one of Sabra’s joint owners is the Strauss Group, an Israeli food company that according to its Web site provides financial support to the Golani brigade, part of Israel’s military force. I’m a food and agriculture journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, OneZero, New York Magazine, Slate, Mental Floss and SELF. “They didn’t want any other company knowing that the sesame was being grown in the U.S. yet,” he says. In fact, for Sabra, a company that owns 60 percent of the U.S. hummus market, taste and texture are a serious responsibility, not to be tinkered with lightly. Though I grew up in Northern California, not too far from the farms of the Salinas Valley “Salad Bowl,” I now live in Washington, D.C. with my husband and two kids. At Princeton and DePaul Universities, Palestinian students and their supporters have challenged the sale of Sabra hummus to focus attention on … As a graduate student, he worked with roses, a plant he describes as having a far more complicated genome.

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