April 6-7, Chag Sameach!

Delivery schedule, Pesach thru Independence Day:

This week
Monday, April 6th – Deliveries as usual
Wednesday deliveries move up to Tuesday, April 7th. Order system closed on Monday at 9:00 AM

Chol HaMoed Pesach: No deliveries.

The last week of Pesach
Monday deliveries will not take place
Wednesday deliveries move to Thursday, April 16th. Order system will close on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

From the week of April 19th – Deliveries as usual
(April 20th, April 22)

Week of Yom Ha’Atzmaut:
Monday, April 27th – Deliveries as usual
Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Thursday, April 30th. Order system closes on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

___________________________________________

There Were Times

There were times, say the elders
When a tumultuous storm would fall upon us
Shaking and trembling
A new, unknown language
The language of Kingdom, language of Eden, language of Star
And our inner self, that which has never been seen
And forbidden to touch
Expands and grows

Rivka Miriam 

It’s bizarre celebrating the festival of spring within the confines of our homes. It’s weird celebrating it in a small group without friends or family. The past weeks have evoked new emotions and an unrecognizable atmosphere. We are forced to practice patience, waiting, convergence. We must find solutions from within inner spaces, as opposed to finding the answers outside. Time takes on a new definition, one that is almost palpable, felt, present. So many new epiphanies over this period of time.

But our field is not influenced at all, moving on ahead with its ah-so-familiar and cyclic transformation to spring. The earth has somewhat dried by now, no longer saturated by rainfall, and wide strips of brown, chocolaty, marvelous earth stretch behind the tractor, preparing for the spring planting and sowing that lie ahead. With each sunny day, the field sprouts bountifully, and the vegetables (and weeds…) grow rapidly in the still-damp earth basking in increased light. This week’s box proudly bears the first spring vegetables, led by the proud zucchinis announcing with fanfare the approach of the royal Cucurbits. The field is humming with the buzz, flying and crawling of insects awakening to the bustle of a spring full of action, humming and bonding.

In the midst of it all, we workers of the earth find ourselves swinging on this spring trapeze between the sensation of time freezing, confining, narrowing, and the constant up-down-forward motion at Chubeza. The past few weeks have been intense and demanding in the field, the office and packing houses. The entire staff took on the increased workload of long hours and endless tasks. At this point, we all look forward to a much-needed holiday rest to focus on our homes, retreat inward (though we will aim for as much outdoor time as possible within the limitations, of course…) without work – and this year, sadly, without an Open Day at the farm.

Before we bid our farewell and embark upon the holiday, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the people who have been with us for many years, specifically over this period. First and foremost, Dror, who handles all customer needs. Thank you, Asaf, who helps with all the packing. They have both been working extra-hard over the past few weeks, taking on the increased workload with dedication, patience, precision and dependability. A big thanks to our loyal volunteers Alon, Einat and Melissa, who have been coming twice a week, making packing and delivery days pleasantly possible. Thank you, Ruthie, who succumbed to our entreaties and agreed to stay home over this period of time. Thanks for taking care of yourself for us.

A special thanks to our delivery people, Eyal, Lev, David, Ziv, Alon, Dror, Nethanel, Yochai and Matan – braving the elements to make sure your deliveries reach you. It is not easy to roam the streets these days, but we have been blessed with very loyal and responsible delivery people.

Much appreciation to our field workers: Gabi –constantly working to prepare the soil for planting and everything else needed to assist and organize. Thanks to our Thai workers and Israelis who have joined them: Montrey, Hott, Tham, Vinay, Nopadol, Yonatan, Oren, sok and Chal. Warm regards to Mohammed, Majdi and Ali who cannot come to work these days. We miss you.

And thanks to all of you for your kind words, flexibility, trust and gratitude. So many of you contacted us to express concern and offer assistance – something especially appreciated in this time of confinement. We feel blessed to be your partners.

And now a word from the English translators: We’re sure we speak for all of you in thanking Bat-Ami and the extraordinary Chubeza team she leads. In the uncertainty that surrounds, it’s all the more clear that these vegetables and the people who grow them and deliver them are indeed treasures to cherish. 

As we pull through this tumultuous storm, trembling and shaking, whilst embarking upon the holiday of spring and freedom, may we all learn the new, evolving language and allow ourselves to expand and grow.

Chag Sameach!

Alon, Bat Ami and the wonderful, amazing Chubeza crew

 __________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S HOLIDAY BOXES?

Monday: Cauliflower/cabbage, potatoes, carrots, green fava beans/snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, Swiss chard/kale, parsley/ coriander/dill, lettuce/lettuce hearts, green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Zucchini/slice of pumpkin, leeks/parsley root, beets/fennel/kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples, oranges, avocados. 

Wednesday: Zucchini/slice of pumpkin, leeks/onions, beets/fennel/kohlrabi, carrots, green fava beans/snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/Mallow (Chubeza) greens, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/lettuce hearts, green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/cabbage, potatoes, celery/celeriac/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples/clemantinot, oranges, avocados/red grapefruit.

March 30th – April 1st 2020 – Spring is here – despite it all…

Delivery schedule, Pre-Pesach thru Independence Day:

Pre-Pesach:
Monday, April 6th – Deliveries as usual
Wednesday deliveries move up to Tuesday, April 7th. Order system closes on Monday at 9:00 AM

Chol HaMoed Pesach: No deliveries.

Last Week of Pesach:
Monday deliveries will not take place
Wednesday deliveries move to Thursday, April 16th. Order system closes on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

From April 19th – Deliveries as usual
(April 20th, April 22)

Week of Yom Ha’Atzmaut:
Monday, April 27th – Deliveries as usual
Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Thursday, April 30th. Order system closes on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

________________________________________

Some messages:

During this very trying period, the seasons continue to change, the calendar wheel keeps on turning, and Pesach, the festival of freedom and of spring, is in the wings.

We are presently tackling an extraordinary workload, and have these requests to make of you:

  1. As of this writing, we have reached the limit of our field’s capacity, and we cannot accept any new clients. Kindly save your recommendations for your friends and family to join Chubeza till the return of calmer days.
  2. We beg you: Please make all changes to your regular order before the deadline. If you need our help, contact us by email (preferably), SMS or telephone. We are truly straining under the load.
  3. To reduce contact with our deliverymen, at this point we are no longer collecting empty cartons to recycle. We look forward to collecting them once again, when the time comes.
  4. From April we will be charging your credit cards weekly. If this creates a problem for you, let us know.

____________________________________

Quick! Order these wonderful Kosher for Pesach treats from our regular assortment of yummy products:

  • Honey Mibeit Abba (Tamir from the Golan) and from the Ein Harod apiary.
  • Olive Oil from the Tene Yarok farm in Rotem and from Ein Harod
  • Dates from Kibbutz Samar (Barhi, Dekel Nur or Zahidi) and Medjool from Kibbutz Neot Smadar
  • Tahi-Na* unique tahini from Kibbutz Netiv HaLamedHe
  • Pure Medjool (date) honey from Kibbutz Neot Smadar
  • Gluten-free crackers from Lev HaTeva (made of potatoes, hummus, rice* and corn*)
  • Gluten-free cookies from Danny and Galit
  • Apple and Pear Juice and Cider, apple vinegar and jams from HaMatsesa
  • Chocolates, desserts and sprouted nut spreads, crackers* and Granola’s* from Shorshei Zion

*contain kitniyot

_____________________________________________________

קהילה קיבוצית במיטבה - ציור של גליה רון

Illustration by Galia Ron

This week we’re happy to share a picture of the joyful, festive springtime.

Reminding us that even though this year, as spring bursts into the air while we’re cooped up at home, far from friends and family, it’s only a temporary situation. Time is still flowing, bringing change in its wake.

As the vivid colors and togetherness shine from this picture, may you feel the growth and good changes during this time as well!

Wishing everyone good, healthy and resilient days, now and in times to come.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and a happy month of Nisan,

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

_____________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Slice of pumpkin/onions, potatoes, carrots, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, parsley/ coriander, lettuce, leeks/green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/cabbage, snow peas/red bell peppers, beets/fennel.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, yellow apples, oranges, pomelit/red grapefruit. 

Wednesday: Slice of pumpkin/onions/zucchinni, potatoes, carrots, green fava beans/snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/cabbage, leeks/parsley root, beets/fennel.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, yellow or red apples, oranges, red grapefruit.

March 23rd-25th-20th 2020 – Just Stay Healthy

When I was just a little girl, my Grandma Sarah, a woman who exuded with love and anxiety, would get nervous at the slightest sneeze, cough or cut. She would immediately pounce on us with a huge hug and a hot drink with something sweet to go with it, murmuring all the while, “Just stay healthy, little one.”

“Grandparent words,” I thought, or rather – did not give it any extra thought, “Words that belong to anxious grandparents, like Grandma Sarah.” But of course, as I grew older, I discovered just how right she was and how much truth these words carry for us. Just stay healthy!

These tumultuous days have rendered Grandma’s words more relevant than ever, and health has become the number one priority. For our part, we are doing everything we can to keep you healthy via our vegetables. And to prove just how serious we are, we are sending one or more representatives of a healthy and health-inducing family which protect your respiratory organs and prevent common colds: meet Dr. Leek, Dr. Onion and Dr. Garlic. And there is no better time than now to introduce their special spring representative, smiling below:

At first glance, this fresh green garlic may resemble a great big scallion, but its garlic aroma is unmistakable… Its bulb is bigger than a scallion’s (but not yet the size of a full-grown garlic bulb) and its greens are long and flat, not hollow like the scallion. This is one of the last seasonal vegetables: it turns up in Israeli markets at the end of February-beginning of March, just when winter is beginning to ebb and spring glimmers here and there between wintry clouds. It remains only a short while, till April. Green garlic is a unique vegetable, a childish, though not entirely infantile, gentle and innocent version of its pungent older brother, bringing to my mind – as a garlic lover– thoughts of the power of gentleness and tranquility, of childhood and maturity. We have been growing green garlic in Chubeza since our very first season, where it made a debut in our first spring boxes. By now, it’s been with us for sixteen springs.

Garlic is seeded in mid-September. We actually seed it by pushing garlic cloves into the earth. (You can do it yourself!) Even regular store-bought garlic can be used as a seed to spawn a new garlic bulb. Naturally, we use organic garlic cloves grown especially for this purpose, with the stronger and bigger cloves pre-selected for us, but also because the seeds are (supposed to be) free of pathogens (which is very hard to determine). The garlic shoots out a root, sprouts, settles nicely under the earth before winter, and then begins the wait. Just like the onion, its cousin from the Liliaceae family, the garlic waits patiently for its cue – the first signs of the days growing longer and also warmer after December 21– to begin to thicken and develop a bulb.

Despite garlic’s sterling reputation as an insect repellent (and rightfully so – insects do not really care for it), growing green garlic in the field is not a simple task. The garlic, whose leaves are erect and straight, needs our help in battling weeds, and garlic beds require constant weeding. It is also vulnerable to various fungi and other diseases which may strike. Since fungi thrive on heat and moisture, over the past few warm winters the garlic crop became more and more difficult to grow. Even in a relatively dry winter, there is enough moisture in the air and earth for the fungus to develop, particularly when temperatures are not low enough to deter it. Thus for some years now, fungi have damaged our garlic crop by rotting out its roots and drying and yellowing its leaves.

In organic (as well as conventional) agriculture, it is recommended to confront imminent threats to the garlic first and foremost by prevention: only plant garlic or other Liliaceaes in the same plot in five-year rounds, and use seeds from a reliable pathogen-clean source. There are also those who advise sterilizing the earth before seeding. In organic farming, this means solar disinfection: spreading clear plastic sheets over the ground, causing the earth to heat up to that temperature which kills the disease-causing elements, while still allowing the survival of microorganisms within the soil. Above all, the most crucial requirement is to create and maintain a strong, fertile earth. Accordingly, at Chubeza we rotate our garlic plots in the field, and buy seeds from a reliable source. Several years ago, we also carried out a solar sterilization for the first time in various beds in the field, where we then planted the garlic (though we subsequently decided not to continue with this method). Naturally, cultivating the fertility of the earth is one of our ongoing tasks, and a strong, fertile earth proves itself able.

The fungus usually strikes towards springtime, when temperatures rise. Thus picking green garlic at this time is, traditionally, our way to try to beat the system: once we detect signs of fungus-damage in a specific bed, we begin selectively picking the garlic whose roots were injured but whose bulbs remain nice, round and unharmed. We then bundle them up for use as fresh garlic. The garlic that was free of fungus continues to grow in the bed, now enjoying a more spacious area underground to spread out. Once the garlic plants hit maturity, we pick them and dry them in the sun (indirect sun, under a blanket of leaves).

This year, thankfully, most of our garlic yield is nice and damage-free, though one of our younger plots is looking a bit weak. We will be harvesting the green garlic for delivery over the next few weeks, mixing those from the younger plot and its older brother. The rest of the beds will wait, together with us, with throbbing hearts and a silent prayer, as they grow into impressive garlic bulbs which we will pick and dry.

The garlic plant contains an inactive ingredient named alliin. When we cut into the garlic, thus damaging its cells, alliin turns into an active sulfur compound named Allicin, which is the antibiotic within it. Allicin is a disinfectant that is effective in fighting infections, parasites and inflammations. This is why it is successful against the cough and common cold, infections (respiratory, digestions, eyes, ears, teeth…), intestinal inflammations and even against aggressive germs, like the flu germs.

Green garlic contributes to lowering levels of blood pressure and triglycerides, battling “bad” cholesterol and raising the levels of “good” cholesterol. Another advantage is Mr. Garlic’s ability to decrease blood clotting and assist in deconstructing them, thus reducing the chance of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. Other ingredients assist in treating melanoma and preventing cancer of the large intestine. It also protects against the damages of diabetes and prevents accumulation of body fat.

Green garlic is milder than dry garlic (which is more mature and becomes more concentrated, sharper and firmer in the drying process), and not as fetid. Use green garlic as you would a scallion. Its little white bulb is nice, but its long green leaves are tasty and quite useful – at least 6-15 cm of juicy leaves stretch from the bulb. Like leeks, the green garlic’s stem can trap some dirt within it, so it’s best to give it a nice rinse prior to use. The orange-brown speckles dotting the leaves are merely traces of the puccinia – a fungus that attacks garlic leaves. It is harmless for human beings and there is absolutely no problem using the garlic leaves, though if they are very contaminated, they may be best cooked rather than fresh in a salad.

Store fresh garlic greens in your refrigerator for three to four days. After you have used the greens, you may store the garlic bulbs in a ventilated basket in the kitchen, without refrigeration.

Green garlic can be added to salads, omelets, sauces, baked goods and dough, made into a spread, grilled, blanched, sautéed in olive oil, or any other use you can think of. Its mild taste makes it a super candidate for garlic soup. Check out our recipe section for a host of wonderful ways to use fresh green garlic.

And what’s really nice is that garlic can easily grow as a plant outside your window: stick a garlic clove in the earth, water it and give it time. It will reward you by sprouting beautiful greens for you to chop and add to any dish that is enhanced by yummy, mild garlic.

Wishing you health, joy, strength and a nice, huge breath of air,

Good days,

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

___________________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Cauliflower/cabbage/slice of pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, parsley, lettuce, leeks/green garlic/onions.

Large box, in addition: Peas, coriander, beets/baby radishes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, oranges, pomelit/red grapefruit, apples. 

Wednesday: Cauliflower/cabbage/slice of pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, parsley, lettuce, beets/baby radishes/kohlrabi.

Large box, in addition: Peas, coriander, green garlic/onions.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/avocado, oranges, pomelit/red grapefruit, apples/celmantinot. 

March 16th-18th 2020 – The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

So, the world has spiraled off into unknown terrain over the past few weeks, but at Chubeza we are all in good health and continuing our routine by working outdoors in a small team with vast spaces between us. Naturally, our orders have grown and multiplied and we are working hard, but we are grateful for the opportunity to continue our work and adhere to blessed routine.

This semi-routine helps us remember that despite the drama and anxiety, life still goes on, the seasons are changing like there’s no tomorrow (hmmmmm, not the best choice of words?), the vegetables are growing and we are in the midst of a different-genre drama in the field.

Last Thursday, our field was hit by a whirlwind. A real whirlwind, not a metaphoric one: massive gusts hurled around everywhere, spinning the plants, hothouses, tunnels, and the spring saplings covered in plastic to protect them from the cold. In the annals of Chubeza history, we’ve never seen winds of this force. The metal structures of the hothouses and the tunnels braved the storm courageously, but the plastic covers flew off, damaging the young cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. The covers protecting the first spring pumpkins blew off as well, injuring some of the plants in their flight and leaving the poor things bare and exposed to the wet and cold. The fava beans, peas and other open-field crops were hit smack in the face by the strong winds, with the brave pea surviving nicely, but losing many of its tall fava bean friends.

Our delivery box shed, normally covered by a net and plastic, lost its roof to drench a great many of the boxes inside. We recovered the boxes that are still useable, and gratefully we had already ordered a new batch. Here’s hoping we’ll breeze through the shortage, so to speak.

The showers that followed those winds fell steadily from Thursday night to Saturday, delivering a grand total of 35mm of rain – Wow! The field has now returned to its muddy wintery state. On Sunday we did our damage assessment: despite our sadness over the marred and battered crops, we were cheered by the hope and restorative capabilities of the plants, who immediately activated their survival mechanisms to embark on the journey towards healing and revival.

The young cucumbers were indeed badly damaged and many will have to be replanted, but the cherry tomato is a sturdy plant which we’re counting on to speedily rebuild its strength and return to normal. (Plants, like human beings, are sometimes stronger in their youth, with their own space to recover, as opposed to a more veteran plant damaged after most of its growth has been completed.)

Unlike the unfamiliar Corona virus and the dread it arouses, weathering the weather is relatively easy: we know the challenges involved and realize that they eventually make way for sunny days (like this Sunday and Monday), bringing comfort and healing to our wounded field.

We wish to convey precisely that emotion this week – albeit things seem terrifying at times, we have healing and recovery to depend on, despite the difficulties and disruptions we are now experiencing. This crisis shall pass. Until then, the new budding growth carries solace and hope for a healthy future to come.

Wishing us all endurance, and healthy, strong and good days,
Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team

_____________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Cabbage/slice of pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/beets, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, peas/daikon/ Jerusalem artichokes, coriander, lettuce, leeks/green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, parsley, carrots.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, oranges, pomelit/red grapefruit, apples.

Wednesday: Potatoes, beets/kohlrabi/radishes, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, parsley, carrots, lettuce, leeks/green garlic. Small boxes only: peas/Jerusalem artichokes/onions.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/cauliflower/broccoli, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, slice of pumpkin, coriander.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, oranges/red grapefruit, pomelit, apples/avocado.

!March 8th-9th-11th-12th 2020 – Happy and healthy Purim!

This week we’re sending an “oldie” newsletter from several years ago, which happily and surprisingly (or not) is suitable for this year – with one small addition.

Chag Sameach!

——-

Purim’s Here!

In the Hebrew calendar, Purim is not considered one of the agricultural holidays. At first glance, Purim seems to be a holiday unrelated to nature and agriculture, rather an urban holiday devoid of customs for harvesting or seeding, and a costume carnival seemingly unattached to a specific season. But anyone who tends the field during this time of the year realizes exactly how much Purim is suited for this season, especially in our tiny little country.

The weather is acting as if it’s guzzled down a bottle of wine or two or three, staggering in its walk, driving itself into a drunken stupor. After a cold, rainy winter, suddenly the weather ups and changes, thrusting itself between summer and winter, cold and warm, wet and dry. Three summer days, then one rainy day, followed by two dusty heat waves and then some more fog and cold weather. What a mess!

Our winter field is contemplating dressing up in a spring costume, a salad mix of winter and summer. The cauliflower, broccoli, peas, fava, greens, beets, carrots, leeks and scallions, celeriac and parsley roots, artichoke and garlic, veteran tenants going way back to wintertime, have been lounging in their beds, chatting away for months. Suddenly, from beneath the plastic covers emerge new saplings peeking out at the world! There’s squash, butternut, pumpkins, melons, fakkus, beans…

Along with the field, we, too, are getting excited about the transformation: almost like the butterflies in our tummy as we don our costumes. One minute it’s my daughter checking herself out in the mirror, and suddenly she disappears and someone else appears, familiar but new. And it’s her, but she too is now different, and her appearance transforms the way she feels. Walking around the field that has been wintery for a good while evokes similar excitement as the gourds make their appearance and the beans are sprouting. Change is in the air, and it’s a joyful change.

And the joy and laughter are accompanied by a sense of unease as well: somewhat of an embarrassment to be seen outdoors wearing the costume, hoping all goes well, that nothing falls apart and the smile remains on our made-up face. In the transformational field as well, our heart skips a beat as the field slips into its summer costume, mostly because of the drunkard weather that can keep making us crazy. Thus, we send out our children and vegetables all dressed up and neat, and hope we meet them at the end of the day in good spirits, their makeup a bit smeared and their mouths chocolaty, but with laughing eyes.

In honor of Purim, we suggest such distinctive and merry mishlochei manot from your vegetable boxes as:

Carrot Cake

Chocolate beet cake

Parsley pesto

Green curry

Green fava spread

Tomato jam

Green Tahini

Tzatziki Dip

Beet spread

Vegetable fritters

Kale chips

Or simply a fresh bag of delectable snow peas!

Wishing us all a happy and silly Purim, full of embraces and calm. And good health to all!
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin, Yochai and the Chubeza team

______________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Sunday-Monday: Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley/coriander, lettuce, leeks/green garlic. Small boxes only: Bundle of beets or daikons with greens

Large box, in addition: Peas, Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac/parsley root, cabbage.

Fruit boxes: Banana, orange, clemantinot/apples, pomelit/red grapefruit.

Wednesday-Thursday: Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/cabbage, green fava beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley/coriander, lettuce, leeks/green garlic. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichokes.

Large box, in addition: Peas, bundle of beets or daikons with greens, celeriac/parsley root, fresh onions.

Fruit boxes: Banana, orange, apples, pomelit/red grapefruit.