“Spread the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior”
Food for the Body
At the Berry Barn, in addition to growing berries, pumpkins, and other produce, we also grow Ohio wheat for use in our Pastry Mill products. Wheat is a type of grass which bears its seed head or “ear” at the top of a stalk, with the edible grain encased in a protective husk.
Before the advent of modern agricultural machinery, harvesting wheat required three separate steps. The first step was reaping in which the ripe wheat stalks would either be pulled up by hand or cut close to the ground with a scythe or sickle, and the stalks would be tied into bundles called sheaves. After the sheaves were dry, the next step was threshing, in which the stalks would be beaten or trodden to release the wheat berries from the seed heads. Any long stalks of straw that remained amongst the wheat berries would be removed by raking, leaving husks and small bits of straw, known as chaff, mixed in with the grain. The final step of winnowing was required to separate the wheat from the chaff. This was often done by tossing in a way that would allow the heavier grain to fall and be caught after the chaff blew away.
When you visit the Berry Barn, ask us to show you how we separate wheat from chaff at our Pastry Mill.
Food for Thought
Knowing how wheat was harvested, you will better understand the Bible when it speaks of wheat and chaff, both in the Old and New Testaments, to contrast that which is righteous or saved by grace from that which is unrighteous and condemned. In the Book of Matthew, however, Jesus talks about something that begins before the time of harvest:
Parable of the Wheat and Tares
Another parable he put forth to them saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” The servants said to him, “Do you want us then to go and gather them up?” But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘first gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”
The word “tares” can be used to describe any weeds that grow among cultivated grain, but Jesus may well have had a particular type of weed in mind. Lolium temulentum, commonly referred to as darnel, often grew in fields of wheat. Darnel is almost indistinguishable from true wheat when the plants are young, but the two can be distinguished by their seed heads as the plants begin to mature. Darnel is undesirable because it is readily infected by a kind of fungus that makes its grain poisonous for humans. Although it causes nausea and can lead to death, infected darnel was sometimes used deliberately in ancient times to produce a state of intoxication, often accompanied by hallucinations.
Parable of the Tares Explained
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteousness will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Wheat and chaff are used as metaphors to contrast that which has value and is saved from that which has no value and is destroyed. The parable makes a similar contrast, but by drawing on the imagery of tares, Jesus gives the parable a more complex and deeper meaning.