Arizona Is Fertile Ground for New York Matzo
YUMA, Ariz. — Here, on a Christian farmer’s land five miles from the Mexican border, lies the holiest of fields for some of New York’s most observant Orthodox Jewish communities. Wheat harvested on these 40 acres is destined to become matzo, the unleavened bread eaten by Jews during the eight days of Passover.
It is not an everyday plant-and-pick operation, and the matzo made from this wheat is not everyday matzo.
Yisroel Tzvi Brody, rabbi of the Shaarei Orah synagogue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, stood at the edge of one of the fields on Monday, stooping to rub a grain of wheat between his wrinkled thumb and index finger.
Removing his glasses, he brought the grain close to his eyes and turned it from side to side, like a gemologist inspecting a precious stone.
“It is to ascertain that it’s not sprouted,” Rabbi Brody explained. “If it has, it’s not valid.”