Rosh HaShana 5778 – Shana Tova!

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

This week: Wednesday delivery was moved to Tuesday, September 19th .

– The week of Sukkot: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, October 3, and the order system will close (for that Tuesday) on Monday, October 2 at 9:00 am.

– During Chol HaMoed Sukkot: There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 9th and 11th of October

Back to normal schedule on the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

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Open Day at Chubeza
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 10, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-5:00 PM. The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova. We look forward to seeing you all!

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In honor of Rosh Hashanah, we have received special new flavors of honey: from the Ein Harod apiary, citrus blossom honey has joined their already-amazing assortment of flavors: Ziziphus/avocado/thistle blossom honey. Tamir from Ramat Hagolan, who hails from a long line of beekeepers, has introduced two intriguing flavors: lychee blossom honey and caper blossom honey, joining the wildflower/blueberry honey from his apiary.

What a sweet way to start the year! Order via our order system.

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Kosemet

Our New Year is commencing with sharing and generosity, thanks to veteran client and vegan chef extraordinaire Dora Levy’s generous offer to share her creative holiday recipes. You can download the file free of charge via this link.

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Each year the grass grows green

The squills go white, the citrus gold

Every year the earth renews

The sun goes up, the rain falls cold

Each year so many new are born

To happiness and grief, to laughter and tear

And someone who wants only good to prevail

…this year.

–       Leah Goldberg

(translation: A. Raz)

These pre Rosh-Hashanah days are festive indeed for Chubeza. We try to plan the harvest so it includes as many symbolic vegetables as possible for your holiday tables: Kara (squash), Rubia (black-eyed peas), Karti (leek), pomegranate (from Helaf’s orchards), carrots (from Kibbutz Alumim) and Silka (beet leaves, Swiss chard), but just a small quantity of the latter since these crops were not harvest-ready in time for Rosh Hashanah.

I like the holiday symbols, not necessarily because of their blessings (I can definitely do without all the curses and abuse to our enemies. Not my idea of an optimistic holiday atmosphere…), but because of the seasonal variation that the holiday table offers, bringing together guests of all sorts: from the green leaves (Swiss chard), the legumes (black-eyed lubia peas), the princess of onions (leek) and the gourds, the summer kings. Plus, of course, the pomegranate and dates, apples, honey and fish – all demonstrating the wealth of this season in its blessed nature.

The Talmudic sage Abaye, who was probably in charge of the Holiday Food Column, is the one who invented the symbolic dishes for the Talmudic table. In Tractate Krittut 6, 1: “Said Abaye: Now that you have mentioned that the siman has significance, every Rosh Hashanah, one should eat a pumpkin, black-eyed peas, leeks, beet greens and dates.” In a different place, someone on a major diet must have edited him and decided that one could only feast his eyes on the holiday table. In Tractate Horayot 12, 1: “Everyone should look at them.”

Of course, I don’t think looking at them is enough, but maybe we should stop for a minute and glance at the colorfulness and the amazing variety of long green pods, round orange (or green) peels, green leaves with a white stem, white onions, red juicy seeds and oval brown-golden fruit. What a holiday for the senses, and what a collaboration of leaves, bulbs, roots, stems, fruit and pods. A true song of praise to the vegetable garden that brings together a vivid host of vegetables and fruit!

The simanim also reflect so much hope and truth regarding the upcoming year (and the one that is ending), wishes that contain a little of everything, in a mixture and variety: a little bit of this, a little bit of that… depth and shallowness, simplicity and complexity. May it be easy and hard, funny and sad, emotional, annoying, exciting, boring, depressing, elevating. May we experience success and failure, mistakes and correct choices, acceleration and deceleration, a treading then a sprint…This perfection of an imperfect, mixed salad, made of tiny slices of life.

In honor of the New Year, we are sending you a box of greetings comprised of Chubeza vegetables, varied and rich in colors and fragrance, despite the difficulties of the end of summer, in-between season we are now experiencing. This is our Rosh Hashanah seder, some of it an adaptation of traditional holiday symbols, and others our very own Chubeza blessings, part aimed towards growth in Chubeza, others – at our very own growth.

Sweet Potato: May we enjoy sweet surprises that grew and ripened far from the naked eye, and may they bring with them wholeness and happiness.

Lettuce: Lettuce learn to accept the changes that even the known, accepted rituals undergo in hue, texture and flavor. Lettuce know to appreciate and not take for granted the loyalty of those who remain with us, now and forever.

New Zealand Spinach: May we acknowledge our strengths to survive and flourish in green freshness, even when the heat is on.

Pumpkin: May we persevere, as the pumpkin, to the end of the vine.

Potato: May we learn from mistakes made in the past, of others and of our own. May we remember to vary our fields with many yields, and not only count on the simplest and most common (you can find an explanation right here)

Leek: May we have the patience to grow slowly and diligently, and the understanding that sometimes, in order to reach ripeness, one must grow very slowly. And spring no leeks.

Cucumber: When others are in a dither, may we develop the sensitivity and ability to be calm, levelheaded and cool, as the cucumber.

Coriander: May we rejoice in the difference in people’s tastes, in the differences between us, in the wonderful variety and vibrancy that create a symphony of opinions, varying faces and opposite choices.

Parsley: May we allow the good things to enter, fill and cleanse us from the poisonous and harmful. And may we live sparsely, as the parsley.

Eggplant: May we try and succeed to see the light, whiteness and faint but beautiful purple hue within the murky dark.

Pepper: May we be blessed with the skill to pepper our speech with just the right phrases, without overdoing it. And when life gets salty, may we stand beside it to add some spice.

Onion: May we be granted the wisdom to acknowledge the many and varied layers that life is comprised of, that people are made of, and that reality is created from. May we strive to gently, with consent, peel them off, rejoice in the many echelons, and arrive at the sweet heart.

Okra: May we gaze at the stars at least one night every so often to feel the lightness of our minuteness and the strength of being part of the vast cosmos. (slice the okra horizontally to see stars)

Tomato: May our experiences be homegrown, ripened on the vine, full of juice, color and sweetness.

Pomegranate: May our hands be filled with bountiful earthly missions, as the seeds of the pomegranate:

Black-eyed Pea: May our shiners be only from this pea.

Scallion – May we maintain the willowy green freshness of youth, innovativeness, mindfulness, energy and a bold whiff of fragrance.

Garlic – May we never stop asking questions or experiencing wonder in seemingly mundane surroundings, changing from acrid to sweet when the occasion arises.

Carrot – May we add scintillating color, crunch, vitamins and a dashing green top to reach grate heights.

Popcorn: May we never cease to feel the excitement of life, as our hearts rise, thump and burst with the joy of beautiful moments of happiness and love.

Mallow: This September, may we try to remember when life was sweet and oh, so mallow. Renew our days, as of old!

So here’s to the New Year, to great expectations and very wet showers — please, oh please, may they come in due time, in the proper measure and quantity. May they satiate the human salad of this country, and the animals crying out for drink, the dusty plants growing grey at the edges, the flying insects, the crawlers and jumpers, the rocks and clods of earth that so deserve the blessing of rain.

And, beyond the rain, we wish you the fulfillment of your hopes and prayers, for good and for blessing, for happiness and growth. Shana Tova!

From the entire Chubeza crew in the field, the packing house, the office and on the roads: Mohammed, Ali, Majdi, Noam, Hott, Thom, Vinay, Montray, Melissa, Gabby, Moshe, Eli, Tamir, Amit, Opher, Alon, Eyal, Ruthie, Dror, Yochai, Melanie, Aliza, Alon and Bat-Ami

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Even though we’ve already revealed What’s in This Week’s Boxes, here’s the list in detail:

Monday: Parsley/coriander, pomegranates, leeks, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes/ potatoes, yard-long beans(lubia) okra, eggplant, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions. Special holiday gift: popcorn!

Large box, in addition: Scallions/garlic, red bell peppers, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/carrots.

Tuesday: Parsley/coriander, pomegranates, leeks, cucumbers, lettuce, yard-long beans(lubia)/okra, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions, red bell peppers/carrots. Small boxes: tomatoes/potatoes. Special holiday gift: popcorn!

Large box, in addition: Scallions/garlic, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

 

September 11th-13th 2017 – With a little help from my friends

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

  • – During the week of Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, September 19th and the ordering system will close (for that Tuesday) on Sunday, September 17th at 1:00.

– The week of Sukkot: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, October 3, and the order system will close (for that Tuesday) on Monday, October 2 at 9:00 am.

– During Chol HaMoed Sukkot: There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 9th and 11th of October

Back to normal schedule on the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

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Open Day at Chubeza
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 10, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-5:00 PM. The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova. We look forward to seeing you all!

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Bon Appetite and enjoy!

This week we continue to introduce you to our associates, those whose products you are welcome to add to your boxes. All these enterprises and their products appear in our order system, and soon will be formally added to our website on the “Other Products” tab. They would all be delighted to establish direct contact with you, are happy to tell you about themselves and their products, answer your questions and explain how they work. Some will be attending our Open Day on Sukkot to get to meet you. We look forward to hosting you all!

So this week, we shall continue introducing you to the new kids on the Chubeza Associates block, beginning with Orly and Shachar who prepare amazingly delicious natural handmade honey candy.

Honey Candy

Orly and Shachar are close friends, he – an avid kitchen lover, she – a lover of sweets that are chemical-free. Their business evolved from a search for the nostalgic flavor of honey candies which actually contain honey, leading to combining their talents to reach a tasty, high-quality product. The results? Take a look in this week’s boxes for a delightful sample! Try one and savor the delicious flavor and the unforgettable taste of the honey candies of your childhood.

Here’s Orly and Shachar to introduce their product:

We make our honey candy out of pure natural products, by hand, candy by candy. They all contain pure honey and natural flavor concentrates, and come in the following flavors: Natural honey, mint honey (refreshing), aniseed honey (intriguing) and ginger honey (energizing).

   

Honey Candy comes in aluminum boxes (25 per box) that are easy to store, keep and take anywhere. (on extra hot days we recommend refrigeration)

B’Teavon! Orly and Shachar

Order Honey Candies via our order system at 38 NIS per box.

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Last week we told you about Tomer and Hamutal, and this week Tomer informed us that two new ciders have joined their jolly crowd. Here are more details from Tomer:

Tomer and Hamutal’s Apples is a seasonal factory for fruit processing, i.e., we work alongside the farmer at the time of year when the fruit is harvested from the trees.

Our factory processes deciduous fruit – apples, pears and nectarines – all of which are summer fruit.

So what do we do in between seasons?

Well, we rest a little and plan the next season by renewing machinery, exploring various production processes and dreaming up new products to develop. This summer we are proud to introduce two new products: dry alcoholic apple cider and semi-dry alcoholic pear cider.

These two join the familiar alcoholic semi-dry apple cider which has been available from the Chubeza virtual shelf for almost a year.

The two new products are refreshing and summery, slipping across the tongue with a little sizzle and just the right level of sweetness. They’re perfect to enhance a meal or late afternoon indulgence on your porch. As always, all of our products are 100% fruit with absolutely no additives or artificial flavoring. Just pure fruit and yeast.

Don’t miss these great ciders, juices, jams and apple cider vinegar, all easy-to-order via our order system.

Eliezer and Rose of Shorshei Zion never sit still, and in honor of the New Year, they are offering two brand new granolas.

They’re called Grawnola that’s raw granola, and as such its basis is not oats but rather sprouted buckwheat. Each grawnola contains its own special healthy and tasty surprises which provide its unique flavor.

The two veteran grawnolas (Flavored Date-Walnut and Cocoa-Berry-Almond) are now joined by the Super Berry Grawnola, and in honor of Rosh Hashanah – Apple-Ginger Grawnola. In keeping with Shorshei Zion’s sterling reputation, these too are extra-special products, original and uncompromising: healthy, tasty and top quality.

The Grawnolas are a small part of the excellent Shorshei Zion line, made in a hidden factory in Beit Shemesh, joining the impressive assortment of raw foods that includes sprouted crackers, sprouted walnuts and almonds in various flavors, plus wonderful chocolate and dessert. Check out their products today via our order system.

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Mi Pri Yadeha

After a short break over summer, Melissa is back with lots of sweet surprises – dried fruit and fruit rolls (“leather”) all produced from 100% fruit, with no additives, no sugar, no preservatives, but bursting with love, sunny summer, blessings and abundance. Now in stock: apricot fruit rolls, nectarine, plum and various flavor assortments, plus dried fruits including figs, apples, plums, peach and watermelons. Order them via our order system today!

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 The Beit Lehem Bakery

We are excited to inform you that Ido of the Beit Lehem bakery is ready to start baking delectable sourbread loaves for you, be it from flour – spelt or rye, “clean” bread, or the kind laden with seeds and other surprises.

Take a look at the various breads to order via our order system.

Enjoy!

Samar Dates

 Last but not least – our beloved Samar date supply is almost depleted, so don’t miss these great mouthwatering sweeties for the last time this season. As our stock dwindles, we are holding a sale: 1/2 kg dekel nur dates for 8.5 NIS and 1.5 kg for Zahidi dates for 7.5 NIS only!

May these dates sweeten your New Year and eradicate wrongdoings and bitter flavors!

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Shana BaGina Calendars

 The New Year is around the corner and this is the last call for the spectacular Shana BaGina calendar. Only a very few copies remain available in Hebrew and English. This special calendar is in fact a monthly instructor on home gardening and Israeli harvesting. This year it comes in two new publications and two different languages: Chaverim Ba’Gina (Hebrew) and “The Porcupine Edition” (English).

More about these calendars on the Shana BaGina website.

Place your orders via our order system under “Chubeza Vegetables.”

To conclude this sweet newsletter, a little reminder regarding other associates: Udi’s Sprouts, The Izza Pziza Dairy, the Ein Harod Apiary and Field Crops, Tamir’s Honey, Minhat Ha’Aretz, Lev HaTeva and “Tahina”. At the same time, here’s hoping for a nice, easy farewell to 5777 and an exciting, joyful arrival of 5778.

Mazal Tov to Ali and Jihan who happily introduce their first son. Congratulations to Uncle Majdi and the proud grandfather, Mohammed.

Shavua Tov,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, red bell peppers, scallions/leeks, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes/ cherry tomatoes/ potatoes, edamame (green soy) /okra, eggplant, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions.

Large box, in addition: Corn/garlic, yard-long beans, New Zealand spinach.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, red bell peppers, scallions/leeks, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes/potatoes, edamame (green soy)/okra, eggplant/corn, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions.

Large box, in addition: garlic, yard-long beans, New Zealand spinach.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

September 4th-6th 2017 – Friends indeed…

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

  • – During the week of Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, September 19th and the ordering system will close (for that Tuesday) on Sunday, September 17th at 1:00.

– The week of Sukkot: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, October 3, and the order system will close (for that Tuesday) on Monday, October 2 at 9:00 am.

– During Chol HaMoed Sukkot: There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 9th and 11th of October.

Back to normal schedule on the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

—–

Open Day at Chubeza
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 10, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-5:00 PM. The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova. We look forward to seeing you all!

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Strong Friendships

Today our vegetables take a step back to make room for our friends. As life moves back to normal, there’s lots of new excitement in our Additional Products section. This Newsletter is thus dedicated to introducing you to some new friends, new products and old acquaintances in a new form.

We are big believers in direct contact between consumers and manufacturers, and in the value of being close to those who grow and develop our food. Over the years, a number of small and medium-sized manufacturers from across the country who create quality products from excellent raw materials have become members of the Chubeza community. They are all masters of simplicity – no preservatives or additives needed.

Wandering among the additional products which may be added to your Chubeza boxes is a sensual experience. Among the myriad of colors, flavors and fragrances, you will find organic flour ground in Hadera; goat cheeses from Tal Shachar; honey from the Golan Heights; olive oil, hummus and organic almonds as well as honey from the Jezreel Valley; organic madjhoul date honey, juices and health bars from the southern Negev; sprouts from the Hefer Valley; dates from the Arava; tahini and coffee handground at Karmei Yosef; unique live products from Beit Shemesh; crackers from the northern Galilee, and juices, jams, apple cider and fruit vinegar from the hills of Jerusalem. This prominent parade is joined by two newcomers this week:

The first, wearing the apron of our new baker, is Ido, a talented baker from the “Beit-Halechem” bakery. When searching for a new Chubeza baker, we received a very warm recommendation for Ido, and after we met him we understood why. Here are his own modest words:

“My name is Ido Blaustein. I love baking and absolutely adore fresh, healthy food from excellent raw materials. In my bakery, I bake sour dough bread from organic whole wheat, never adding yeast, sugar or oil. I try to make sure all the additions to our breads are organic, though sometimes, due to price constraints there are exceptions (nuts or olives, for instance). I’m certain to inform clients of all the ingredients.

I am happy and excited to join the circle of Chubeza associates. Please feel free to contact me with any questions: 054-8191514

Ido gave us the simple version, the “bread and water” (so to speak), but I must add that so far everyone who has sampled Ido’s pastries sings his praises and gives thanks to the day he began baking, testifying to the fact that his love of baking is quite apparent in the outcome… In addition to baking bread, Ido also prepares excellent granola. Welcome!

Ido begins baking for us next week, and we will inaugurate his entrance to the Chubeza scene with a nice variety of breads, all organic and locally ground. It is possible that changes will be made in accordance with your requests. Check out the variety

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We welcome Michal and Avigail from the grinding mill Tahinna. They recommend you rediscover food you thought you knew really well, but do you really?

 Tahinna is located at a boutique factory situated in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Heh in the Judean plain. The factory was established by Michal Melamed, a kibbutz member and clinical psychologist who decided to turn her life upside down. Big time.

Research and setting up the enterprise took five long years and included learning sesame and its unique characteristics, getting to know traditional methods for preparing Tahini and setting up machinery that could meet the qualifications for production.

At Tahinna, we believe in simplicity, health and flavor. We love doing things at the right pace and time. All in all, we prefer to stay out of nature’s way, going back to the basics, just like old times.

What does this mean? We do not remove the seed’s shell, do not roast it, or add a thing.

So what do we do? We clean the sesame and soak it pre-sprouting. Afterwards, we slow-dry it at a low heat (up to 40 degrees). In the end, it arrives at our grindstones where we grind it whole (shell included).

This unique, untouched process creates a new flavor – strong and lively and even wild!

The nutritional value of Tahinna is exceptionally high, abundant in calcium, iron, and vitamin A, with only a slight sodium content. Thanks to this unique process, the nutritional value remains intact and is more easily absorbed by the body.”

Tahinna is available in two sizes: 350 gr – 23 NIS/ 700 gr – 41 NIS. Try it now for an amazing discovery of something new, surprising and tasty!

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And after we have introduced the new kids on the block, let us welcome the veterans renewing just in time for the New Year with great new products designed to make us happy:

Tomer and Hamutal have resumed processing apples in their production factory in Givat Ye’arim in the Judean hills. This year they added a new line of organic pear products. As you may recall, they use the deprecated fruit left on the ground after harvest to transform to delicacies: fresh juices, ciders, vinegar and sweet jams.

In autumn, both organic apple juice and now pear juice join the durable products which hang in there all year long (cider, vinegar, jams). Soon, we will be informing you of new alcoholic pear cider joining its apple cider cohort.

Tomer and Hamutal’s juices are only with us for a few months, so don’t miss them! For all the details (in Hebrew), click here.

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Udi’s impressive team of sprouts in Moshav Ahituv is being joined by a bunch of very special guys, redheads at that – the amaranthus sprouts. Amaranth is a wild plant used for food and medicine in ancient cultures, returning to its full glory these days as a superfood containing protein, vitamins and minerals and no gluten.

The flowers and seeds of the plant are arranged like a remarkable stalk of grain on the stem, which is why it adorns many home gardens just for its beauty. The red seeds were used by the Hopi Indian tribe to produce the color red. Try Udi’s amaranthus sprouts to add a splash of color and flavor to any salad or sandwich. Here, take a look at these beauties from Udi’s Sprouts:

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With the abundance of ripening fruits in the orchards, Kibbutz Neot Smadar brings us fresh new organic juices from the Deep South. They’re now introducing small bottles of grape juice, grapefruit juice and peach nectar (in 1 liter bottles.) The juices contain no additional sugar (beyond the nectar’s natural sugar) and are all simply delicious. These beverages join Neot Smadar’s great organic date honey created from madjhoul dates (and only dates), and their yummy health bars.

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And one last Associate for this week

After a break and in perfect timing for the New Year, our apiarist Tamir from the Golan Heights has renewed his honey stock. Tamir cultivates beehives and bees in the southern Golan, producing amazing honey. This week we received brand new jars of wildflower honey and blackberry honey.

Tamir is a descendent of Ethiopian apiaries, learning the profession in childhood as he watched his parents work. Read more about him in this nice article (Hebrew) and enjoy his honey by adding it to your boxes.

That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for a close look at our other fine partners. And the good news is that autumn is right around the corner, so don’t despair at the hot weather attempting to set foot in your doorway. Its days are numbered….

Wishing you a great week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Cucumbers are back! The cucumber bushes have begun yielding nice quantities, and although the market remains in the throes of a shortage, we are happily distributing fresh, yummy cucumbers from our very own farm. Thank you for your patience. Enjoy them, they’re great!

Monday: Parsley/coriander, corn, yard-long beans/okra, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach/lettuce, tomatoes, edamame (green soy), eggplant/cherry tomatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin, scallions/leeks, red bell peppers.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, corn, edamame (green soy)/okra, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, lettuce, eggplant, butternut squash/potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, red bell peppers.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin, scallions/leeks, yard-long beans/tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

August 28th-30th 2017

Beautiful shiny eggplants

The Gonenim-Mekor-Haim Bookstop in Jerusalem is delighted to invite you to our upcoming five jam sessions celebrating creativity, community and the love of music. For details check out these ads (Hebrew and Arabic) or contact Aliza at bookstop.mh@gmail.com

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September is right around the corner, marking your very last chance to purchase the beautifully detailed and illustrated “Shana Bagina” calendar – a monthly guide to home gardening and local harvests. This year in two new editions and two languages: “Friends in the Garden” (Hebrew) and “The Porcupine Edition” (English)

For further details and a preview glimpse at the calendar, check out their website. You are welcome to order via our order system under “Chubeza vegetables”

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Our eggplants are beginning to emerge, and will remain with us from mid-summer till autumn, as the outdoor temperatures remind them of their birthplace: Southern India and Sri Lanka. The eggplant first migrated from India to Burma and then China. In ancient Chinese writings, eggplants are mentioned as early as the fifth century. From there, they migrated to the Middle East, where they became prominent ingredients in the local cuisine. The Muslim Moors from North Africa who conquered Spain in the eighth century brought eggplants with them, and the Italians made their acquaintance with the exotic vegetable via commercial ties with Arab merchants in the 13th century.

The eggplant, so adored in Israeli cuisine, is one of the vegetables grown in hothouses during the cold season in order to maintain a constant supply to its Israeli aficionados. At Chubeza, we bid it farewell in winter and are happy to welcome it back with the great heat of summer. The eggplant is considered a long annual or biennial crop. We once visited Iris Ben-Zvi, a veteran organic farmer from Emek Yizrael, who showed us how to keep eggplants in the field during wintertime: at the end of their yielding, prune the plants and leave them in place for their winter sleep. In springtime they bloom again. We did try this method, but it was hard to determine whether or not the results justified the effort. So we continue to replant our eggplant crop annually.

We plant eggplants in our field when winter is turning to spring, around April, when the zucchinis and pumpkins have already been in the field for a couple of months. This is when the first eggplant seedlings acclimate in the ground, young and youthful with silky leaves. Two months later we plant the second round, and six weeks later in the middle of June, we plant the third and last round.

The plants grow calmly, strong and healthy, and grace us with lovely purple flowers that start peeking out of the leaves around two months after being planted. (A personal thanks – again – to Chana for the very beautiful photos in this newsletter.)

Within a few weeks, the flowers are fertilized and they grow round dark fruits. That is when we harvest. We prefer to pick them at a medium size and not wait for huge fruits that have passed their climax. To determine if the eggplant is ready, we measure it, but also apply slight pressure to check its softness. An unripe fruit will be hard and unresponsive to fingertip pressure. A ripe fruit is more flexible, but not soft.

The eggplant is an androgynous plant, meaning every flower is both female and male. The flowers usually ripen themselves, but sometimes they get by with a little help from friendly fly-by insect:

And that reminds me, I’m duty-bound to refute the Number One Urban Legend: there is no such thing as a male (fewer seeds, less bitter) and female (more seeds, more bitter) eggplant. The difference in seed quantity has to do with spraying using vegetal hormones (Auxin) in order to prevent the leaves and flowers from falling, particularly during the cold months. (Naturally, in organic agriculture and in our fields we do not use those methods…)

Eggplants arrived in Israel long before the Hebrew pioneers, for, as noted, this vegetable was an important component in the Arab cuisine. The idea to match the eggplant with the charcoal grill must have arrived in the area just about the time the wheel was invented. But the love affair between eggplants and the Israeli cuisine was more complex. During the era of austerity after the State of Israel was established, eggplant recipes were invented and designed to take full advantage of this vegetable’s three most admirable characteristics: availability, low price and an amazing ability to absorb flavors. In Israel’s early days, the eggplant was used as a convenient replacement for the real thing. Liver was expensive, so let’s liver-flavor the eggplant (remember mocked chopped-liver?!). Tomatoes scarce and expensive? One tomato, ten eggplants, and voila: a tomato-flavored eggplant! There is even a dessert dish: sugar-coated eggplant, baked like a strudel and served in Israeli restaurants during interesting times. And alongside these wonder foods, the eggplant always starred in Mideast cuisine as a component of various salads, or sliced and fried to one day become, in Israeli culinary jargon… antipasti! There will always be those who claim the eggplant as king of the local vegetables, but in any case, it is definitely a guest of honor in the emerging Israeli kitchen.

The first important test for basic essentials in the local kitchen is the Long-Term Adaptability Test, i.e., will this food appear over the years in simple and popular recipes alongside the “gourmet” recipes of prosperous times? The eggplant passes this test with flying colors: from various eggplant salads in nearly every meat meal, to eggplant-mocking chopped liver during austerity, from popular fast-food—the sabich–to high-falutin’ eggplant rolls in goat cheeses, eggplant cream, eggplant jam, and more.

There are many types of eggplants in the world, in various shapes and colors. In Israel we are acquainted with the big dark purple elliptic variety, and over the past years, the striped zebra type as well. But eggplants also come in green and yellow, in elongated or round forms and in various sizes. The name eggplant refers to the fact that the fruits of some 18th-century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs. (The hen is for illustrative purposes only. Trust us, those are eggplants):

To please the eye and paint the summer green (purple and black), take a look at this array of eggplant shapes and colors:

This year we will be growing three different types of eggplants – two of the “classic” variety, and one Baladi (local) variety that connotes a cross between an eggplant and a fancy prom dress: wider (but not chubbier), with flowing curves along its length. Here’s one:

The first eggplants, members of the Solanaceae family, were received cautiously and suspiciously by the Europeans. The solanaceae is home to the tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and certain non-edible plants, some of which are lethal. Because of the eggplant’s genetics, they were suspected to be toxic as well. Even today there are those (macrobiotic enthusiasts, for example) who do not eat vegetables from the solanacea family. The harmful components are not as prominent in eggplants, and therefore pose no danger to most people. (The hazardous components exist to a higher degree in the leaves and stems.) It took some time until the Europeans could fully trust the eggplant, so in its early days it was used only as an ornamental plant, sporting its spacious leaves, impressive shape and lovely purple flowers.

Today the eggplant is acknowledged for its medicinal and nutritional benefits as well: it contains elements which shrink blood vessels, and is therefore considered to be beneficial for treating hemorrhoids and bleeding wounds. Eggplants promote secretion of liver and gall bile and are advantageous for anemia, constipation, stomach ulcers and infections of the large intestine. The eggplant contains antioxidants that can help prevent strokes and bleeding, and the phytochemical monoterpene which assists in preventing heart disease and cancer. Researchers have been examining the eggplant’s possible influences on battling cancer by reducing the steroid hormones which encourage the development of tumors, and preventing the oxidization of cells that lead to cancer’s spread. A folk cure for scorpion bites is a slice of raw eggplant applied directly to the sting, and to relieve frostbite, eggplant tea is chilled to room temperature and its compresses are placed over the burn.

But the most popular use of the eggplant is for food: steamed, toasted, baked (if fried, use only a little oil, because its sponge-like texture absorbs large quantities of oil), grilled, chopped and diced, stuffed, sliced or cut into cubes. Your dependable peacemaker, it goes nicely with cheeses or meat, tehina or tomatoes, but also does very well on its own with some coarse salt, lemon juice and parsley.  Bon Appétit!

And apropos eggplants – some very local, very Israeli, 80’s nostalgia.  Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a gentle, summery week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley, corn/cherry tomatoes/potatoes, yard-long beans, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, edamame (green soy), leeks/garlic, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, scallions/onions.

Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach/coriander, okra, butternut squash.

Wednesday: Coriander, cherry tomatoes/bell peppers, potatoes/eggplant, corn, yard-long beans,  tomatoes, edamame (green soy), leeks/garlic, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, scallions/onions.

Large box, in addition: Parsley/New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, okra, butternut squash.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

August 21st-23rd 2017 – Silly, Slow, (no) Cucumber season

Augustus Caesar, who gave this month his very own name, probably did so in order to glorify himself. Somehow Caesar did not take summer in the Holy Land into consideration, where the mere mention of “his” month evokes an instant moan, groan and a brush of sweat off the brow. Or perhaps a wish to disappear from the near-inferno till August ends.

Its Hebrew equivalent, the month of AV, received a more appropriate title deriving from the word Abu, Acadian for “stalk” (or stem). Probably because this was the time of year when the harvesting of the stalks ended and the trees – dry from the hot weather – were chopped down and stored for personal needs and for use in the temple services. In Babylonian, the word translated to “fire” (no further explanation required…)

Our fields are cooking away in the heavy heat. Most of the crops are, of course, summer vegetables, but they too need some occasional relief from the heat. We help them out by irrigating frequently, covering the earth to prevent the moisture from evaporating, and covering certain beds with shade nets. Some of the vegetables you have been receiving in your boxes over these summery weeks are those which harden and dry up upon ripening, thus they have been extracted from the earth, stored at Chubeza and gradually distributed to you. Such are the pumpkins, onions, potatoes and garlic. The veggies growing in the field are the juicier, greener members of your boxes – tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lubia, okra, New Zealand spinach and Swiss chard, the herbs, sweet potatoes, zucchini, leeks and scallions.

Others grow in the wide open field – the tender greens are protected under black shade nets which somewhat lessen the radiation, and vegetables with more stamina courageously brave the hot sun in the open field. Our growth houses – the big hothouse and smaller tunnels– accommodate the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and peppers. The tunnels, too, are covered with black nets which limit the radiation, somewhat easing the heat in the already hot structure. In the field, many of the summer vegetables we bade farewell to have been replaced by watermelon, melon, pumpkin, and onions. Other parts of the field stand empty, dry and brown, storing the earthly cool with its hidden virtues that await the next rounds of seeding and planting – for winter vegetables, which started this week.

Because, though August is still at its peak and the heat prevails, our fields are already dotted with autumn and winter plants: for some weeks now, light green lettuces have been confidently growing in the shady tunnel, and this week we were excited to start planting the first round of such autumn plants as cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, beets, celery and celeriac. We also seeded carrots and beans, which will be joined next week by autumn greens and fresh roots: totsoi, arugula, turnips, daikon and autumn onions. Next in line: broccoli and kale. So, after a few weeks bereft of planting, we are back to filling up the clumps of earth with plants and seeds. And although the heat beats down on us and our mouths are parched with thirst, we feel fresh within as we wait for these young’uns with an autumny-wet-kind of happiness.

And what about the cucumbers? Well, mid-summer is not their best of times. Though they are summer varieties, cucumbers are not as heat resistant as their “tough” summer vegetable colleagues, and they are quite vulnerable to extreme heat waves. The July heatwaves harmed cucumber hothouses all over the country. Organic and non-organic, we cucumber growers all share the same hardships…. The regular market compensates for the shortage by importing cucumbers, making the local blight go nearly unnoticed. In the already small organic market, every loss of hothouse produce is felt. Last year we were lucky, as our cucumbers did very well over this period, so we did not feel the lack that hit various organic markets. This year, our cucumbers suffered and then wilted, and due to the general shortage we been unable to purchase enough cucumbers to supplement your boxes.

New fresh cucumber bushes are already growing nicely in the tunnel, but we will only begin gradually harvesting them in a few weeks’ time. We hope the great cucumber famine will end soon and we will be able to purchase cucumbers for your boxes until ours yield, but at this point we’re not sure exactly when this will happen. We are thoroughly enjoying the rest of the summer vegetables filling up the baskets, but miss the cucumbers dearly and hope for their speedy return.

And till then we wish you all a pleasant end-of-summer, despite the heavy heat. Drink up and take cover from the hot sun!

Wishing us good days,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, butternut squash/white pumpkin, yard-long beans, bell peppers, eggplant/ potatoes, tomatoes, corn, onions, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: leeks/garlic.

Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, okra, scallions, edamame (green soy)/cherry tomatoes.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, butternut squash/white pumpkin, yard-long beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn/potatoes/cherry tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, leeks/garlic, edamame (green soy). Small boxes only: scallions.

Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, onions, eggplant, okra.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!