April 12th-14th 2021 – Be My Pet

Ode to a Snail
s.zaynab kamoonpuri

Slug or Snail
Slow you trail
The slimy path you leave
upon bark or rail
or along my pail
Glue from your tail?
Ah bind my mail?
Be my pet not pet peeve
Don’t crawl up my sleeve.
Go mark some leaves.
Don’t glue my nail!
How do I guess your emotions?
You never smile or wail

The recent overcast, drippy weather – a rare phenomenon during this season in Israel between Passover and Shavuot – apparently was planned in cahoots with the snail lobby in the Weather Parliament. When the heat and summery dryness arrive (sooner than usual lately, it seems), the snails will have to protect themselves by going into summer hibernation. So, each extension of rainy and cold weather makes them extremely happy. This week we shall dedicate a few words to this creature who is very involved (sometimes overly so) in Chubeza’s operation, accompanying us from the very first plant.

Snails are invertebrates, meaning that they do not possess or develop a vertebral column. Instead of actual teeth, they sport radula on their head, a kind of serrated grater used to rasp food particles. Additionally, their heads don two pair of tentacles and a pair of cheeks. Their bodies contain one “muscular ventral (flat and muscular) foot” used for movement. This foot is covered by epithelial tissue secreting sticky mucus which immediately dries in the air, protecting the foot as it moves. (So, can a snail crawl across a blade without getting cut? Maybe, but don’t try it at home.) This muscular mucus-texture foot helps the snail latch onto smooth surfaces, to crawl, and even swim. Above this wonder foot, the internal organs, including gonads, intestines, heart and esophagus, create an organic mass guarded by a protective layer that covers the foot and internal organs called the mantle. The mantle secretes mucus matter which crystalizes, eventually becoming a shell. This shell is like a peel or external spiral corpse covered with calcium carbonate and aragonite crystals associated with the organic matrix. It protects our little friend from predators and provides refuge to protect him/her from dryness, as the shell is almost completely waterproof. In several types of snails called slugs, the shell straightened or totally disappeared. Most snails live in the sea, while others prefer sweet water or simply dry land.

The snails we encounter in Chubeza’s field are, of course, land snails. Similar to other invertebrates, the snail’s simple body system cannot regulate body temperature, thus s/he is affected by the surrounding temperatures. The snail’s range of temperatures to be active is between 7-28 degrees (Celsius) and 75-90% precipitation. In hot or dry weather, a snail can die, thus the local snails are mainly active in wintertime and go into hibernation during summer. At that point they close off the entrance of their shells with dried mucus (epiphragm) that hardens into tough skin. This snail-made mucus door prevents predators from harming them during hibernation and keeps them warm and cozy all winter. The epiphragm can also glue the snail to a surface, like a shady wall, rock or tree trunk. In hibernation, a snail’s heart slows from about 36 beats per minute to only three or four, and oxygen use is reduced to one-fiftieth of normal.

With the first rains, the hardened mucus melts and the snail is released from its grasp. He/she awakens, eats and eats and…reproduces. The snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they all have both male and female reproductive organs that produce both eggs and sperm. When they copulate with each other, they each contribute a sperm to fertilize the other’s eggs. This usually occurs 2-6 times per season. After a “pregnancy” of approximately two weeks, s/he lays around 80 white eggs in a damp, underground nest approximately 5 cm deep where the eggs will hatch over summertime. Here, too, the rain is of importance: if the soil is dry, the snail will not be able to dig a nest in which to lay her/his eggs in wintertime. In 2-3 years, these snails will be mature enough to have their own little families. They eat plants and any type of organic matter, making them very difficult to have around in the field. When we have a serious snail attack, we manually gather them and move them off the field to the green wild areas where they’ll find themselves other greens to nosh on.

But if you are not farmers and the snails do not threaten your garden, snails are in fact a sweet and fascinating little thing. Apparently over this Corona year, a new trend developed in Israel: people started adopting snails as pets (Hebrew). We were actually able to assist in such an adoption act when one wintery day in March we received an email from Larissa, a client from Jerusalem.

Hi Chubeza!
Last box, we received a cute tiny snail in our lettuce and decided to keep him as a pet. I read that they are social animals, so I was wondering if you might be able to send another one or two in our next box. I’m sure this must be the strangest request you’ve ever received, and I totally understand if you don’t have the time to go digging around for snails. If you do have the time, Gary the snail would be extremely happy.
Thank you so much,
Larissa

When I told my daughter Talya about this fun email, she immediately volunteered to find the perfect friend for Gary. And so I responded:

Hello Larissa,
Indeed, this is the strangest, and also most delightful, cute and heartwarming request I’ve ever received. 
Talya, my daughter, volunteered happily for the mission. She’ll look for snails for you and will take care of him/her (it’s tricky with snails) until your next box, hopefully we’ll be able to send Gary some company soon.
Gary is really lucky to have landed in your lettuce…
Thanks for your letter and request!
🐌
Bat-Ami

So Talya went out to seek The Friend. Several days later, she found a tiny little snail which she tended with true devotion for a few more days till Larissa’s Chubeza delivery day.     With fanfare, Snail #2 was sent off to keep Gary company and be his best friend forever. Larissa, now the doting mom of two snails, sent us a photo of Gary and Albert in their new abode.

May we all have a good week, one of life and hope, and may we learn from the snails that sometimes one needs to limit oneself, to move a notch down, curl up and have perfect faith that the rain will return, the wheat will grow again in the fields, the seal on the shell will melt, and life will prevail.

From all of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley root/leeks, lettuce, garlic, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes/carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, cauliflower/peas/broccoli, Swiss chard, onions.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi/fennel, zucchini, kale

FRUIT BOXES: Banana/lemons, avocados, clementinas, oranges, red apples.

Wednesday: Kohlrabi/fennel/cauliflower, lettuce, garlic, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, Swiss chard, onions. A gift for all: kale

Large box, in addition: Parsley root, zucchini, Romaine hearts

FRUIT BOXES: Banana/lemons, avocados/red apples, clementinas, oranges, red grapefruit.

April 5th-7th 2021 – Salad festival

YUMMY “AFTER THE HOLIDAYS” ADDITIONS FROM CHUBEZA

Kibbutz Samar’s amazing date groves have been preparing outstanding silan (date honey) for the past few years, and now they’re also beginning to make it available in jars so that we can offer them to you for sale! The silan is made from 100% fruit, with no additions whatsoever, in various types of dates. Now, you can select your silan from this range of Samar dates: barhi, medjul, zahidi and dekel nur, each with its own distinctive taste. Definitely worth a taste!!

Today the silan is being produced as a “homemade” product, and has yet to receive certification. As noted, it is 100% produced from Samar dates. Samar holds certification for kashrut as well as international organic certification. The silan has been laboratory tested and it is safe (and absolutely delicious). Samar is now in the process acquiring both kashrut and organic certification for the silan, which should be granted within 2021.

PRICES:
450ml jar –     25.50 NIS
850 ml jar –    38.00 NIS

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The Schiff Family of Moshav Bet Chanan grows organic fruits, which we purchase to fill some of your fruit boxes. Now they are pleased to offer shelled organic pecans from their own pecan grove:

PRICES:
250 gr package ­–    25 NIS
500 gr package ­–    61 NIS

Both wonderful new products are available for purchase – and delivered right in your boxes – via the Chubeza Order System. Order today!

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Lettuce Ask Some Existential Questions

When I slice a salad, I always start with several fresh, crisp lettuce leaves. Even a salad consisting solely of lettuce would be just fine with me. Sometimes this brings my fellow diner to try to fish out only the “true vegetables” from the bowl, while musing aloud as to why I think he is a rabbit…

There are those who believe that lettuce is a mere garnish meant to be pushed aside in order to get to real food, and that filling the salad bowl with lettuce is deceiving: the bowl full of lettuce creates volume, yet in fact this is just empty fare. Or is it? To fundamentally disprove the hype that lettuce is actually Styrofoam disguised as a vegetable, lettuce dedicate this week’s Newsletter in praise of….lettuce!

“Lettuce” in English, “laitue” in French, all stem from the Latin Lactuca, because when we cut open the core, it secretes a lactic resin. The Greeks viewed lettuce as bearing medicinal attributes, and Hippocrates, the patron of medicine, believed it to be beneficial to one’s health. The doctor of the Roman Emperor Augustus endeared this healthy vegetable to the Romans and their successors, who believed it to regulate bowel movement in young people, and help older people sleep soundly.

Today we know that this lactic liquid, whose scent is similar to opium, contains alkaloids, and that all the lettuce varieties are somewhat narcotic. There are those who say that eating large quantities of lettuce can lead to stupor and even loss of consciousness. But in normal quantities, lettuce settles the digestive tract, relieves pain, encourages sleep and curbs coughs. A warm lettuce leaf extract eases asthma attacks and bronchial spasms.

Folk medicine employs a potion comprised of a lettuce-leaf infusion to relieve coughs and skin burns. Eating lettuce leaves or drinking a lettuce seed brew can benefit eye infections, nephritis, hepatitis and stomachaches. Lettuce has a rich water-content, therefore prevents thirst and encourages urination. Lettuce is recommended for nursing mothers to boost lactation. Nissim Krispil writes that lettuce is beneficial for those suffering from anemia, hair loss, constipation, liver malfunction, and insomnia.

Green lettuce is rich in vitamins K, A, and the B vitamin group, including folic acid. It also boasts some vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron content. Dark-leaf lettuce is a source of the antioxidant Lutein, which is said to improve vision. Purple lettuce contains Anthocyanins, antioxidants which slow the aging process.

Various lettuce varieties grow wild in Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Asia Minor and India. It is thought to have originated in Southeast Europe and Western Asia. Lettuce was cultivated and raised by the Chinese and Egyptians in ancient times, where it was an honored and respected vegetable. The Egyptians dedicated it to the God of Growth, and the Persians, who viewed lettuce as a delicacy, served it to their kings. It appears in the Bible, where it is coined Maror (bitter herb), which you remember well from your Passover Seder. Mishna sages name five types of bitter herbs that are considered “Maror.” One such type is “chasah,” for God had mercy (“chas”) on the People of Israel (Pesachim 39, 1). This is probably the origin of the modern Hebrew word “chasah” for lettuce.

There are almost 100 lactic resin weeds belonging to the Lactuca variety scattered across the Northern Hemisphere. Most can only be used for decorative purposes, as they are bitter, toxic and inedible. Only the Lactuca Sativa includes all the edible lettuces. Salad lettuce is not a plant that grows wild (like hyssop or sage, which you can find on a picnic in the Jerusalem Hills, very similar to what you grow in your garden). It is not clear when lettuce arrived in the world, but archeological findings place it in ancient times, when Egyptian gardeners began changing the wild lettuce for a cultivated variety. Years of selection, growing only the less-bitter lettuce and keeping its seeds to pass on to the next generation of gardeners, created a different plant from its wild ancestor. And yet, in honor of its ancestral merits, the salad lettuce retained two of its ancient characteristics: when it blooms and creates seeds, it is bitter and inedible. Difficult growing conditions, like heat waves and the like, will also produce a bitter lettuce. Another characteristic: lettuce seeds find it very difficult to sprout if they are covered in earth. They need light to sprout, so when you sprout lettuce, cover the seeds with a very light layer of earth or don’t cover at all.

Some different varieties of lettuce:

Romaine lettuce grows year round in Israel. Each season we plant a different variety according to the temperature. Though lettuce thrives in summer and winter, it still needs support and protection: usually we grow it in our open fields, but during wintertime we guard some plants in our nethouses while others in the plastic tunnels. In summer we spread a shade net to protect the lettuce plants from the heat. The red lettuce, curly green or red leaf lettuce and the icebergs are much more delicate and only agree to grow in autumn or spring, which is when we enjoy a larger selection of lettuce varieties in our boxes.

So although lettuce is a permanent guest, don’t take her for granted! Give her a little rub of appreciation and tell her that although she’s almost always there for us, you still notice her every week and are happy to see her. Rest assured, she will generously express her gratitude. You can find surprising recipes for lettuce in our recipe section. Give it a peek.

Wishing us a good week, one in which we continually appreciate the steady components among us,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Green fava beans/snow peas/broccoli, green lettuce, fresh garlic, beets/carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/slice of pumpkin, parsley/coriander/dill, kohlrabi/leeks, Swiss chard/red lettuce, new onions. Special gift for all: kale!

Large box, in addition: Parsley root, zucchini/potatoes, white or purple cabbage.   

FRUIT BOXES: Banana/lemon, red apples, avocados, oranges, pomelit.

Wednesday: Green fava beans/cauliflower, green lettuce, fresh garlic, beets, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley/coriander/dill, Swiss chard, new onions, parsley root/white or purple cabbage. Special gift for all: kale/red lettuce!

Large box, in addition:  Snow peas/leek, zucchini/carrots, kohlrabi/fennel.   

FRUIT BOXES: Banana/lemon, red apples, avocados, oranges, pomelit/clemantinot.

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EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW—BUT NEVER DARED TO ASK– ABOUT COOKING WITH LETTUCE:

Creamy lettuce soup (chicken broth can be replaced with vegetable broth)

Wilted lettuce

Lettuce and green garlic soup

Stir-fried lettuce with tofu and red peppers

Pickled lettuce

Lettuce wraps

Springtime! – March 22nd-24th 2021

Pesach Delivery Changes:

During the week of Chol Hamoed Pesach (Monday, March 29 and Wednesday, March 31), there will be no deliveries.

Those who receive bi-weekly boxes – note the three-week gap!

See the email we sent regarding your upcoming delivery dates.

Chag Sameach!

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Springing Forward

Last Saturday marked the formal beginning of spring. Since the end of December, when we experienced the shortest day and longest night, the nights have been getting shorter. This Saturday, March 20th, we reached the equinox (Latin for ‘equal nights’) – that time of year when day and night are equal in length, astronomically marking the start of spring

The four seasons of the year are determined by the slight slant of the globe’s axis directed towards a point in space, somewhere in the vicinity of the North Star. This slight gradient causes half of the southern part of the globe to receive more sun than the northern part, while during the second half of the year, the northern hemisphere receives more sun. On a summery afternoon in the northern half (where Israel resides), the sun is high in the sky, whilst during wintery days it rises and sets in a low arch, thereby making a shorter orbit in the skies. This is why in summertime we enjoy longer hours of light from the time the sun rises, climbs high and finally sets, while during wintertime it spends less time in the sky, disappearing early and leaving us with long nights.

The two points in the year when the length of night and day are equal mark the autumn and spring. On both days, the sun is horizontal over the globe’s axis, rising exactly in the east, orbiting through the sky, and setting in the west precisely 12 hours later. Almost every place across the globe enjoys some 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. In the northern hemisphere, autumn begins with the autumn equinox on September 22-23, with winter beginning on December 21, the shortest day of the year. Spring enters with the spring equinox on March 20-21, followed by summer which debuts on June 21, the longest day of the year. Here is a nice, interesting explanation about the equinoxes, explaining why the equinox isn’t exactly what we thought (but is still a reasonable facsimile thereof).

The first day of spring is a day abounding with symbols in ancient culture, with very accurate architecture: the Mayans celebrated spring’s entry by making sacrifices near the great pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico, which stood on an angle. Thus, on the day of equinox, the sunbeams resembled a snake of light descending from the top of the upper staircase to the bottom of the lower staircase. On the other side of the globe, the mighty Sphinx in African Egypt stood facing the sunset mark on the day of the equinox. This was an attempt to capture in rock the solitary moment as well as the exchange and the direction of light.

In the Bible, the term spring (aviv in Hebrew) defines a particular stage in the development of grain, the start of ripening when the stalk begins to harden. In our region, the first grain to ripen is the barley, and the month of aviv is that month when barley reaches the stage of development called aviv. There are those who claim that the word aviv derives from the word av (father) – delineating that this is the first – head of the family, marking the very first ear of grain during the period of ripening. Indeed, at the close of the first Pesach holiday, a celebration was held to mark the barley harvest season, by the ceremonial first binding of the sheaves. This “aviv” of the grain occurs when the rains have diminished, the sun is shining and the temperatures are on the rise. The short spring in the month of Nissan is indeed a fine time to go out of Egypt for a sojourn in the Sinai Desert, or in the words of Rashi: “This is what He indicated to them: See the kindness which He has done to you, for He brought you forth in a month in which it is fitting to go forth, not (too) hot and not (too) cold, and no rains.” (Commentary on Exodus 13:4)

Others believe that the origin of the word comes from ev – a fresh, young plant which is presently blossoming, such as ibei ha-nachal, the “green plants of the valley” mentioned in the Song of Songs, (6:11) and “odenu be’ibo,” (whilst still in its greenness), Job 5:12.

And blossoming does indeed provide the pervading hue of the spring season, as the writer Eliezer Smoli wrote, “Anyone who traverses Eretz Yisrael at this time of the year, whether on foot or even by car, will be met by a flowering abundance wherever his eye shall turn. Like one vast colorful carpet covering the flat land from the north to the Negev, from the east to the west, mountain and valley, hill and dell, immersed in a swell of every varied color. A true celebration of flowering at this season of the year. Spring in the very fullness of the word. Yet one who looks closely at the sea of bloom before him will discern, at the very outermost part, at the edge of the dotted tapestry, a withering that is slowly creeping up, and here and there are signs of balding. It appears that out of intention and knowledge, as it were, the abundance of flowering is concentrated in one short, finite period, for behold, the rains are over and gone and the sun has emerged from its sheath. The power of the east overcomes the west, day by day. The rainy season, which fought a diligent, daily all-out war, surrendered at last to the sunny days. Upon the horizon, a misty heat wave rises and an idle breeze breaks through to cross the Jordan and swoop westward—with the withering and wilting in its wake.”

Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but the spring equinox and the commencement of spring is still celebrated in traditions and not-so-different holidays in various cultures: our Passover, the Christian Easter, Japanese Buddhist “Higan” (literally: the other coast) and “Nowruz” (meaning: a new day), the Persian New Year. What these holidays share in common is their stress on the significance of meetings and passages, change and inner balance, renewal and exposure to life, and the avid possibilities for growth. These holidays herald the hour in which the border between opposites is razor-thin, offering us a moment to halt in the midst of life’s fast lane, open our eyes in a way which is new and perhaps different, clearing the way for development, change and a new path, as well as finding balance and tranquility before resuming the new race – this time towards summer.

The Seder night is also one of meetings and passages. One of my favorite ceremonies is the Hillel sandwich, binding together the bitter and spicy Maror with the sweet Haroset. Mixing together fruit and vegetable. When my daughter Shahar learned about the Seder customs in school, she wondered why we dip Maror in Haroset. There are quite a few answers in the various sources, but my favorite is the explanation she herself came up with: the bitter and sweet are eaten together so we can taste the entire gamut of the story at once, the bitter with the sweet, the anxiety and happy end, the distress and happiness.

In the field, too, this is a time of meeting and movement: the winter crops abide near the summer crops, while fertilization, weeding, planting, seeding and harvesting mix together, creating a very labor-intensive season. Not a lot of time to halt in the midst of the race, but the changes that the field undergoes as it prepares for the warm season definitely inspire lots of observation and eye-opening, introspection on the past and plans for the future.

Pesach, the festival of spring, ushers in the parade of agricultural holidays in Israel, with Nissan being the first month of the Hebrew calendar. During this holiday, the farmers are fortified with strength and the many hours of sleep they accumulated over the slow winter season where they were able to rest and restore their energy (and forget how hot last summer was…). In the fall, they sowed the grain in tears and apprehension, and now the barley has ripened to herald the time to reap in joy. At the close of the first Pesach holiday, a traditional celebration was held to mark the barley harvest season by the ceremonial first binding of the sheaves.

This ceremony and this season were also accompanied by great apprehension. As the entire season’s crops are about to ripen and become ready to harvest, the volatile weather placed tremendous pressure upon the farmers. In the words of the Yalkut Shimoni, “At Pesach, one will not find simchah (joy) written even once. Why? For at Pesach, the yield is judged, and no one knows whether this year will bring a yield or not.”

We join in the hope and prayers that this holiday and this coming season will be blessed with milk, honey, and the fruit of the land, to bring health, peace and happiness.

Chag sameach!

Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Carrots, green lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, red leaf lettuce, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage/slice of pumpkin/red bell peppers, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes/kohlrabi, new onions/scallions.

Large box, in addition: Green fava beans/snow peas/green garlic, kale/Swiss chard, broccoli/cauliflower.

Fruit box: Bananas, oranges, clementinas/pomelit, apples, avocados.

Wednesday: Carrots, green lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, red leaf lettuce, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower/kohlrabi, new onions/scallions.

Large box, in addition: Green fava beans/snow peas/green garlic, white or purple cabbage/slice of pumpkin, kale/Swiss chard.

Fruit box: Bananas, oranges, clementinas, apples, avocados.

March 15th-17th 2021 – Cabbage Joy

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

We will be making no deliveries over Chol HaMoed Pesach. We’ll be on vacation from deliveries, concentrating on our work in the field.
Therefore, you will not receive vegetable boxes on Monday, March 29 or Wednesday, March 31.
For those who receive deliveries every other week, this break will create a 3-week gap in deliveries for you all. 
We’ll also be sending this message to you by email and SMS. If you haven’t received a message and you’re unclear about the date of your next delivery, please contact us.
Due to current corona constraints, we are unable to hold our long-awaited Open Day over Chol Hamoed. But – if restrictions are lifted and we can indeed invite you all to Chubeza, we’ll be delighted to let you know!

CHAG SAMEACH FROM ALL OF US AT CHUBEZA!

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Love is Like a Cabbage

My love is like a cabbage
Divided into two,
The leaves I give to others,
The heart I give to you.

The photos were taken by Chana, and just how beautiful are they?!

Wintertime marks a zenith for the amiable Brassicaceae family that grows in our field. This week we dedicate our newsletter to the “ancient” member of the bunch– the cabbage. You’ve been enjoying his visits for so long that some of you have begun treating him like a guest who forgot to leave… So, to remind you how much you should love and appreciate the humble cabbage, this newsletter is his.

The original wild cabbage originated in the Mediterranean coastal region, Southern Europe and Southern England, where it enjoyed humid weather. This primeval cabbage must have been very different from the cabbage we know today, probably a stem with few open leaves. Cabbage belongs to the very prominent Brassicaceae family which includes cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, collards and the oriental leafy vegetables bok choy, tatsoi, mustard, Chinese cabbage and many others.

The Brassicaceaes belong to the Cruciferae family, named for the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. Research indicates that vegetables from the Brassicaceae can fight breast cancer, abdominal and intestinal cancer, thanks to phytochemicals containing the indole compound. Cabbage juice is known as a remedy for ulcers, and folk remedies use cabbage leaves to bandage and calm swollen or infectious patches of the body, like post-birth breast engorgement. Cabbage is rich in iron, calcium and potassium, and contains high levels of vitamins B, C and D. Red cabbage contains higher levels of iron, calcium and potassium, as well as vitamin C and dietary fibers. This nutritional abundance makes it a very efficient bone strengthener, immune system fighter, respiratory disease defender, and skin irritation mender. On the other hand, over-consumption of cabbage may adversely affect the thyroid gland.

Read more about the nutritional benefits of lettuce here.

Pickling cabbage is a great way to keep it un-refrigerated for a long period of time as well as preserving its vitamins. Captain Cook used to ascribe his seamen’s excellent health to a daily serving of pickled cabbage.

In Northern Europe, cabbage was one of the only vegetables to grow in the frozen winter, which is why the snowy-day menu included a wide variety of cabbage dishes. This was the fare of every common Russian eater as well, which included sour cabbage soup, rye bread and a nasty drink. Pickled cabbage was brought to Poland and Hungary by Turkish vagabonds in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a common German 18thcentury meal usually included cabbage, sausages, lentils and rye bread. In the Scandinavian region, the winter menu was comprised of foods which could be preserved by smoking, drying or salting—all perfect for cabbage. In China, they would dry the cabbage leaves and store them for winter, then wet and revive them to add to soup or some other dish. The Chinese, too, served pickled cabbage as a side dish at mealtime.

     

Throughout history, the cabbage has known many ups and downs. The Greeks loved it for its medicinal attributes, but medieval aristocracy turned up its nose at the mere mention of the vegetable: In Medieval Europe, vegetables, particularly leafy vegetables, were considered harmful to your health, as they produce “wind” (gas), which was unthinkable in aristocratic circles. But still, the people continued to eat cabbage (and it’s a good thing they did!).

If you were to heed a Roman scholar from the 2nd century BC, you’d eat lots of fresh cabbage seasoned in vinegar if you intend to imbibe. The Egyptians suggested beginning your meal with fresh cabbage, including its seeds, in order to remain sober till the end of the meal. Seems like the common cure for hangovers was the consumption of more and more cabbage. The East Europeans and Turks stuff it, the Chinese add it to stir-fries, the Ethiopians cook it spicy, and the Japanese serve it pickled as an appetizer. In Germany, cabbage is a national food, in a sweet-and-sour slow-cooked dish of red and white cabbage, and in Scandinavia, the ultimate appetizer is coleslaw (whose name derives from the Dutch for cabbage “kool” and salad “sla”).

In 1984, the cabbage was finally granted its due when the UN Food and Agricultural Organization declared it one of the 20 most important foods in world nutrition.

Check out our variety of cabbage recipes in our recipe section on our website.

Like the rest of its siblings, the cabbage leaf has a unique texture, allowing it to repel the rain showered upon it in wintertime, so that the leaf does not wear thin and rot from over-saturation. In order for the water to reach the roots and quench their thirst, the face of the leaf has a waxy, water-repellent texture, thus the raindrops are not absorbed but rather drip-drop gracefully into the earth

       

“Cabbages are quite an amazing feat of nature. Cabbages plants produce normal-looking leaves for quite some time before reaching a threshold,” writes Farmer John in his cookbook Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. Then, as if they are attuned to an inner biological clock, “they suddenly start curling in,” producing a loose ball, which then proceeds to “[layer] one leaf on top of the other,” pushing the round head from the inside “until they create a tight sphere.” It is truly amazing, and I’m surprised each time it happens, when the flat leaves curl in roll up into a ball – just like last time.

    

Wishing us all wonders and a pleasant week of sunshine and rain,

Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Kale/Swiss chard, lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage/cauliflower, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes/ turnips/ kohlrabi/fennel, green fava beans/peas, new onions/scallions.

Large box, in addition:  Green garlic, carrots, bell peppers/pumpkin.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, red apples, avocados, oranges, clementinas/pomelit.

Wednesday: Lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, white or purple cabbage/cauliflower, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes/kohlrabi, green fava beans, new onions/scallions.

Large box, in addition:  Kale/Swiss chard, green garlic/peas/broccoli, bell peppers/pumpkin.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, red apples, avocados, oranges, clementinas/pomelit.

[עותק] October 29th-31st 2018 – Beeting to Its Very Own Drum

PESACH IS ON THE WAY! The amazing flour mill “Minchat Ha’Aretz” is now offering handmade organic Matzah Shmurah l’Mehadrin. The matzot are scrupulously watched from the moment of harvest and hand-baked within 18 minutes.

ORDER TODAY via email (csa@chubeza.com) or SMS (054-6535980) by this Friday March 12th.

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beet-it

This week (and last week), the weather is hard at play on its familiar swing. Even though Spring is officially two weeks away, the weather is already confounding us with its shifts from rainy days to sunny days and freezing mornings to balmy afternoons. Chubeza’s field has already been planted with a bevy of spring and summer seedlings, the first of which being the pumpkin family members: melons, zucchini, pumpkin, butternut squash and acorn squash. This week, they were joined by peppers and New Zealand spinach, the greens best fit to thrive in summer. The spring onion has been planted and is beginning to sprout. Simultaneous to the spring planting, we sowed the last of the carrot and parsley roots. And, of course, the field is still brimming with primarily winter veggies which are really enjoying the cool afternoons and mornings as well as the hot afternoon sun.

One of the vegetables that marked the beginning of autumn and will stay with us until late spring is the red sweet beuitiful beet. A veggie you can definately say is adding color and taste to life. This week he got the stage:

beauty-and-the-beets

The first half of the annals of Beet History is actually the history of Swiss chard, its immediate relative and possibly even its older brother. Their common ancestor is probably the wild beet which grows along the Mediterranean area, whose leaves and stems were gathered as an early source of food. Naturally, the first farmers to deal with the beet attempted to cultivate a plant that yields large leaves and wide chubby stems, i.e., the Swiss chard. These farmers were probably Greeks and Romans living along the Mediterranean shore, and one hypothesis holds that the family received its name “beta” because its seed pod resembles the Greek letter Beta. The Hebrew word for beet, Selek, derives from the Arabic Salak.

The beet root became edible around the second or third century. The first beet root recipes for the Roman kitchen appeared around that time, some touting such praise as “better than cabbage!” In the beginning, only young wild beet roots were gathered and cooked, and only in the 16th century do documents appear attesting to the existence of a genetic mutation in the seeds that arrived from Italy to Germany and created: the beet root. To this day, one of the beet’s nicknames is “Roman beet.” Still, even during this time, it was a scarce vegetable in Europe. At the start, it was only used medically. The red beet was known to be beneficial in treating amebic or bacterial dysentery, internal wounds, nasal congestion and hepatitis. Only in the 19th century did its culinary virtues gain recognition.

chard

The Chenopodiaceae family seeds deserve a few words as well: the beet or Swiss chard seed is in reality a collection of seeds tucked close to one another inside the dry fruit. Thus when seeded, it will grow a number of sprouts at once, meaning they must be thinned upon sprouting (some seed companies separate the collection of seeds and offer single seeds in order to allow accurate seeding and reduce the need to thin. But we go with nature…). Where there is no opportunity to thin the sprouts, the immediate results will be 10 cm-high plants whose leaves are ready to be cooked or placed in a salad. Usually the seeds sprout slowly, each at its own rhythm, over a long period of time, creating beets of various age and size. Thus, when we harvest them, we basically scan the entire bed and pull out the biggest roots, allowing more space for the remainder of the crop to grow.

In popular medicine called “like cures like” (similia similibus curentur), the belief is that plants represent their medicinal use by their shape, color or resemblance to body parts. The red beet is considered a remedy for treating blood circulation. Contrary to the purple color of other vegetables (cabbage, onion, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, basil, etc.), the purple in the beet is quite unique. Its origin is in the purple pigment category “betalain,” which contains strong antioxidant qualities and excellent capacities to battle cancer and heart disease. The beet also contains salicylic acid, an aspirinlike compound which is anti-inflammatory and contributes to the vitality of blood vessels and the heart. The beet is considered one of the “cleansing” vegetables which is highly beneficial for the liver, kidneys, and even swollen legs and constipation.

heartbeet

Unlike the internal cleansing qualities of the beet, the external experience is quite the contrary. The beet cells are unstable and they “leak” when you slice or peel the root. Cooking stabilizes the cells, which is why cooking the beet within its peel will reduce the staining. These pigments stabilize under acidic conditions, thus making pickling your beets a good (mess-preventing) idea. But beets color things other than your hands. We all know the red beet-dyed horseradish. Natural coloring extracted from beets is used as a popular food dye for pizza “tomato” sauce, pink lemonade or edible ink (the kind you might use to print on slices of meat).

Beets are usually round and red, but not exclusively. They come in many colors and shapes, ranging from striped to yellow, white, and purple. And you’re already acquainted with the elongated Chubeza beet alongside its roly-poly brother.

Despite the fact that it is a vegetable with high sugar value, and perhaps because of that fact (even higher than carrots and sweet corn), the beet is a good friend of weight watchers, containing only 30-40 calories. In addition, it is rich in folic acid, vitamin C and potassium.

Another relative is a white-root beet – the sugar beet. From the time that the Crusaders returned from their journeys, they craved the sweet flavor of the sugar they knew and loved. But sugar was an expensive commodity, imported to Europe via sea dwellers or roaming merchants. In 1747, German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf succeeded in extracting a small quantity of sugar from a beet root, then used as animal fodder. However, the process was highly labor-intensive, and the sugar content in beets was low. One of his students, Franz Achard, was more practical. He realized that if you want to extract more sugar from your beet, you just have to create sweeter beets. He then crossbred white beets and created the father of the modern sugar beet:

Tips:

  • To store beets: trim any greens (the greens pump the root dry of its liquids, like the carrot or radish), allow three centimeters of the stem, and do not cut the root. Store the beet in the vegetable drawer of a sealed container and wrap the greens in a towel and plastic.
  • In order to prevent “bleeding,” don’t cut or peel the beet prior to preparation. After cooking, steaming or baking, it will peel very easily.
  • Adding some vinegar to the cooking water reduces the smell of cooking beets and allows them to keep their color. The cooking creates a clear beet stock which can be used for food coloring (like for rice, p’titim or couscous). Beets are naturally high in sodium, thus no salt need be added when cooking.
  • When baking beets: to prevent staining, wrap in aluminum foil. It is best to add some kind of preferred seasoning, i.e., garlic, lemon slices, cumin or coriander seeds. The flavor penetrates and enriches the beet as it bakes.
  • Beets can also be microwaved: pierce an unpeeled beet with a fork (to allow the steam to escape), place in a microwavable bowl, add a bit of water and heat uncovered for 4 minutes per beet, till soft.
  • After the beets are prepared: to clean your hands of beet stains, rub with wet salt and lemon juice, then wash with soap and water.
  • When our beets come with greens, don’t trash them! Use the greens like spinach or Swiss chard for a great semi-sweet flavor.

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Carrots, lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes/cauliflower, green fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, green garlic/leeks.

Large box, in addition: Bell peppers, turnips/kohlrabi/fennel, kale/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, apples, avocados, oranges, clementinas/pomelit.

Wednesday: Carrots, lettuce, celeriac/parsley root, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes/cauliflower, green fava beans, green garlic/leeks/scallions.

Large box, in addition:  Turnips, kohlrabi/fennel, kale/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, apples, avocados, oranges, clementinas/pomelit.