This was our second year to grow sesame. The first year was 2015 and I never saw it because I was pregnant with the twins and hospitalized for most of the growing season and all of harvest.
Sesame is a remarkable plant, I’ve found it fascinating. It is a hearty plant. It likes sandy soil, requires minimal water and is drought resistant. Perfect for the desert regions of the Middle East and Africa where it is native. The end result is teeny tiny little sesame seeds like you see on a hamburger bun. The sesame we grow is edible in its harvested form. The only other crop we grow that is used for direct human consumption is rice, but it has to be milled after it is harvested; basically removing the shell. We also grow soybeans, but the variety we grow are not direct edibles. Our soybeans are used for human consumption but farther down the line from us.
Sesame starts it’s life with a striking resemblance to a problematic weed in our area, the pig weed (Palmer amaranth). With risk of sounding silly, this stressed me out. We grew over 400 acres of sesame this year and our large fields that looked like nothing but pig weeds were an ugly sight.
Once the sesame gets going though it definitely changes its look. The pants are very tall, most taller than me (5’7), and during pollination they bloom with beautiful lilac colored flowers. Lorelei’s current favorite color is purple so she especially loved all the purple flowers in the sesame fields. The stalk itself is laden with pods and inside the pods are hundreds of tiny seeds.
Since I didn’t get to see our sesame being harvested the first year Andrew grew it, I probably asked him 100 times this year how exactly the combine was going to get those tiny seeds. He assured me it was possible, but I’m a skeptic by nature. Sesame is not a common crop here so it has to be hauled out of state over 7 hours away! After that, a lot of it goes to Japan.
The first frost of the year in November killed the sesame plants and they were finally ready for harvest! The plants at the time of harvest look very similar to soybean plants. They’re much smaller, leafless, and all you can really see is the stalk and the pods. They are cut like soybeans also, the only difference is the tiny little sesame seeds going into the grain tank. I just knew for sure they would all blow away during the loading/unloading stages of harvest and hauling, but to my surprise they didn’t.
Overall our sesame crop was a success and great for the land to add a new crop to the rotation so as to not keep depleting the same nutrients season after season. Farmers are to be good stewards of the land for which the Lord has provided.