January 15th-17th 2018 – Fate and Genetics

Eliezer and Rose of Shorshei Zion strike again! Over the years that we’ve been working together, they keep surprising us with new products – vegan, raw, gluten-free and paleo-friendly. What’s more, the main components are sprouted in order to produce the maximum nutrients from the seed.

Their excellent pralines and desserts have sweetly been with us for awhile. A few weeks ago, Shorshei Zion launched their new chocolate bars – raw chocolate with 75% cocoa, with debuting new flavors ginger, turmeric and coffee joining the all-star selection of raspberry, chili, orange and natural flavor.
This week they proudly present their new cookie team: vegan, raw, and prepared from sprouted buckwheat in various flavors: lemon-coconut-chia, halva, cinnamon-ginger and double chocolate. Yum!!

I speak from experience – You are in for a super healthy and delicious treat with these delicacies, all made by hand with love and care.

Order via our order system today!

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Crave no more! Orly and Shachar have renewed our stock of their delectable honey candy. You may order handmade honey candy in these yummy flavors: anise, ginger, coffee, mint or natural.

Besides being delicious treats, they’re also an ideal remedy for all those aching winter throats.

Order via our order system.

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Ido of Beit Halechem is expanding and improving his bakery, and will be taking a short break to devote to the project. This week will mark the last baking round for now. In one month when he’s done renovating, Ido will resume baking his excellent bread with new surprises at hand. Stay tuned!

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And… we’re on! Next week our winter fruit boxes appear on the scene!

The winter fruit boxes will contain such seasonal fruit as oranges, clementines, pomelo, grapefruit, avocado, and bananas. The price: 70 NIS.

You can to add these fruits to your veggie boxes via our order system (under “Chubeza Fruits and Vegetables”).

May we enjoy a sweet, ripe and juicy winter!

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The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.

-Exodus 16; 31

Winter is tricky for us farmers playing the guessing game, studying the various forecasts and hoping “our number” comes up. Will it rain this week? In what quantities? Will it be dispersed evenly over many hours in gentle, moderate showers, or douse the earth in one furious hour? I’m thinking that this is what gamblers feel – placing their chips on Lady Luck, which unfortunately has not been generous with her wet rewards to us over the past years…

Of course, lack of rainfall can be scientifically explained, with global warming or desertification or any other scholarly rationalization. But to deal with this reality, we take our cues from the heavy gamblers – cross our fingers, make vows, pray hard and hope the cards show rain. At this point, it’s a matter of fate.

At Chubeza, we actually grow an herb called “fate” or “luck,” and the opinions about it are exceedingly controversial. Introducing the “lucky charm of the field,” the Coriander, as the star of this week’s Newsletter which completes our seasoning-herb trilogy.

Fate can be favorable – and then it’s “luck” – or bad, which makes it “fatal.” Coriander fits this dichotomy, as it is a very fatal vegetable.

Almost every discussion about coriander begins with a sentence like “the world is divided into those who are crazy about it and those who despise it.” Like many foods, the “kill for” or “die of” attitude begins before the first bite, i.e., when the food’s scent is inhaled.

Coriander’s unique fragrance originates in very strong scent molecules from the aldehyde family. Some boast a fresh fragrant, while the others emit a soapy scent. Some of our noses identify their scent as fresh and green, while others interpret it as foul, soapy, dirty and disgusting. Till now, the difference was explained as an acquired preference, stemming perhaps in a childhood experience or some kind of initial encounter with coriander – specifically its fragrance. However, new research has examined fondness/revulsion of coriander using genetic variables, concluding that an actual gene is responsible for the creation of fragrance receptors of the aldehyde compounds. People with particular receptors will perceive the positive fragrance of coriander, identifying it as fresh and tempting, while others will identify it as an actual danger and recoil as if it were poisonous. The good news is that despite this congenital inclination, there is a chance to change, as genes are only partially responsible for the loathing of coriander, and even those who are born with it can change their preference.

I’m guessing that coriander’s Hebrew nickname, “the lucky charm of the field” was bestowed upon it by a member of the “ayes” group. The manna which the Israelites ate in Sinai is described as a “white like coriander seed and tasting like wafers made with honey.”  The Aramaic scholar Yonatan ben Uziel identifies the coriander seed as having given the manna its shape, making it one lucky herb thereafter. The name “coriander” originates from the Greek word for bedbug, Korianno, (perhaps because of their similar scent(. In America, coriander leaves are called “cilantro,” from the Spanish name for the plant.

Legends concerning the miraculous manna purport that when it was eaten, its taste corresponded with whatever the eater was craving at that given moment. The association with coriander may seem a little strange to some of you, but it is indeed a multi-talented seasoning herb. On the one hand, it adds a distinctive taste to salads and cooked items. On the other, it tones down the piquancy of spicy herbs, making it a mainstay of the Asian and South American cuisine. Coriander seeds are also a component in a magical delicacy, the sugarplum, which started out as sugar-coated coriander seeds.

Coriander belongs to the Umbelliferae family, sister to the dill, carrot, fennel and others. The family’s name was coined from the shape of its flowers, resembling small parasols or umbrellas. Little branches jut out of the main branch, and others emerge from them. It is an annual plant. Unlike the biennial parsley, which can be harvested many times before it blooms, coriander only allows a limited number of harvests (1-3, depending on the season) before growing a blossom pole. In wintertime this process is slower, and in summer we sometimes can’t harvest it fast enough before it blossoms.

Coriander originated in the Mediterranean Basin, but today it is an honored guest in almost every kitchen in the world. Coriander is generously sprinkled over dishes in Iran, Georgia, the Caucasians, in Morocco and Arab countries, plus certain places in Africa. And of course, coriander is having a ball in India, China and Thailand, and in Mexico you would be hard pressed to find a dish that does not contain coriander.

Coriander is one of those streamline-built plants where you can make use of all its parts: the leaves, seeds, branches and even its root. The root can replace garlic and is especially popular in the Thai kitchen, though it was once used as “bitter herbs” on the Seder plate. The leaves are the part you’re familiar with–the source of the dominant taste and smell, which is the bone of contention between lovers and loathers. The seeds, however, are not as strong. They’re sweeter and more aromatic, and they constitute an excellent seasoning herb for preserving and for slow-cooking.

Here is a look at the seeds, root and leaves:

       

If you don’t like lots of coriander, use it to season your oil. It’s milder that way:

Fill a jar with two cups of coriander leaves, lightly warm up a vegetable oil (canola, sunflower, safflower, olive), and add to the jar. Seal jar for two weeks, after which you can remove the coriander stems or leave them in the oil, depending on your preference. (If you plan to keep them in the oil, chop leaves very thin before you fill the jar.)

Julius Caesar’s soldiers used coriander seeds and leaves to preserve meat. Modern researches found out why it worked: coriander contains antioxidants that prevent the decomposition of animal fat. It also has components that prevent the development of worms, bacteria and fungi that spoil the meat.

Coriander arrived in Israel many years ago. It is mentioned often in Talmudic literature, making it clear that this was already a very popular herb during the Mishnaic and Talmudic eras. For expectant fathers and mothers, there is one source from Tractate Ktuvot that promises “fat and healthy boys” to mothers who eat coriander. One Thousand and One Nights tells of a merchant who was childless for 40 years and then became cured by drinking a potion that includes coriander… (Who knows?)

I found no scientific evidence to support coriander’s supernatural attributes in the realm of childbearing, but it definitely is high up there in the digestion kingdom. In folk medicine, coriander is known to ease insomnia and anxiety. Moreover, where digestion is concerned, coriander is a well-known remedy:  add coriander to legume dishes to reduce gas created by the beans. In conventional medicine, coriander seeds are used as a component in laxatives and to remedy intestinal diseases (indigestion, gas and the prevention of spasms in the gastrointestinal tract). For a medicinal tea, pour 1 liter boiling water over 5 tablespoons of coriander seeds, sweeten with honey, and let steep for 5 minutes. Drink 1-3 cups a day.

The prime medicinal use of the coriander is from ethereal oil extracted from the fruits of the plant. The main oil, coriandrol, is used to make vitamin A capsules and in medicines for constipation and to cleanse the stomach (for instance, before x-rays and surgery). The same quality that explained the Roman soldiers’ success in preserving meat is probably what helps kill intestinal worms, bacteria and parasitic fungus (like the infamous E coli). Recent research has found that while it is treating intestinal activity, coriander also binds itself to toxins and removes them from the body, making it efficient in cleansing the body of such toxic metals as mercury, lead and aluminum.

Another attribute of coriander has been known in folk medicine for years – it helps treat diabetes. Now there is scientific support. Research has found insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in coriander. It has been proven to be Hypolipidemic, i.e., reducing the amount of fat in the blood, thus preventing bad cholesterol and assisting in the prevention of diseases of the blood vessels.

Tips and suggestions for cooking and storing coriander:

  • To keep a bundle of coriander fresh, do not wet the leaves. Place it in a sealed plastic box and store in the refrigerator for a week and more. Wash only before use.
  • Spices made of dried, chopped coriander leaves are scentless. But also tasteless. Use fresh leaves.
  • Coriander leaves and seeds cannot substitute for one another in recipes. They taste different!
  • Add coriander to a dish only at the very end of cooking. Extended cooking dulls the taste (unless that’s your intention…)

Having read the important and interesting qualities of the “lucky charm of the field,” coriander lovers can simply rub a leaf, inhale the aromatic scent and add it to any salad or dish. But perhaps some of the loathers will take the plunge (maybe while holding their breath) and add some of this wonderful manna to his/her plate.

May we celebrate joy, health and blessed showers!

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

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 WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/dill/coriander, fava beans/garden or snow peas, onions, cucumbers, Swiss chard/spinach, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, beets/turnips/daikon, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke. Small boxes only: carrots.

Large box, in addition: Kale/totsoi, cabbage,  red or green bell peppers/eggplant, fennel/kohlrabi.

Monday: Parsley/dill/coriander, fava beans/garden or snow peas, onions, cucumbers, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, fennel, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke, carrots/beets.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/cauliflower/kohlrabi,  red bell peppers/eggplant,  turnips/daikon/small radishes.

January 8th-10th 2018

This week we continue our herb odyssey. And now, make way for… (fanfare!!!) Ms. Parsley!

Köhler’s Medizinal Pflanzen 1887

“Uncle Alber had always been somewhat of a wonder-character in our family… When he moved to the lone farmhouse, we thought he would break in a week or two, but he surprised us all. He lived alone, made his own living and even found time for hobbies – he grew poems by Francis Jammes. In the parsley beds he lovingly pruned beautiful letters, words and lines. When we visited, we always found a new poem in every bed, glimmering in modest green, and beside it, with sweat-flowing temples, Uncle Alber, glowing like a sleepy saint…”

(From: “Uncle Alber” In Beach Manors)

So parsley is a great poem-writing tool, maybe specifically poems by Francis Jammes. On one hand, for us parsley is natural, everyday and very familiar, and we nonchalantly sprinkle it over salads or garnish soups. Yet in Western culture, parsley is actually associated with such heavy-duty issues as life and death, wars and victories, and romance and heartbreak.

Parsley’s been here in the Mediterranean for many years, originating in southern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, and first mentioned in ancient Greek lore. The Greeks wore garlands of parsley to celebrate victory, and would scatter parsley leaves upon gravestones. They are also the ones who gave its name, attempting to differentiate between parsley and its cousin, the celery. The title petroselinum means “rock celery,” as opposed to heleioselinon, “marsh celery” (regular celery), which grows near water sources. Perhaps because it was a holy symbol of victory and death, Greeks never served parsley as food!

The first to actually use parsley in cooking are the Romans, but parsley owes its culinary victory to Italian princess Catherine de’Medici, who married a Frenchman but refused to leave home without her Italian spices. From there, it was a short and tasty path towards parsley’s obligatory presence in every kitchen in the area.

Leaf parsley, as opposed to that grown for its thick root, has two types of leaves: flat or curly. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. The flat leaf is the more common variety, used in cooking for its rich content of the essential oil apiol, which gives it a stronger taste.

In Greek mythology, parsley is connected to the story of baby Archemorus, son of the Nemean king Lycurgus, who was left alone by his nursemaid and bitten to death by a snake. When the nurse lifted the dead child, she found a parsley bush beneath, which legend said grew from the boy’s blood. In his memory, the Greeks established the Nemenean Games in which a eulogy was recited in memory of the dead child, and the winners were crowned with garlands of parsley. Thus parsley became a sacred plant associated with honoring the memory of the dead. In the same context, parsley was dedicated to Persephone, queen of the underworld, who spends autumn and winter in the underworld and surfaces in springtime, spurring blossoming and renewal. Another underworld creature linked to parsley is Charon, ferryman of Hades, who ferried souls of the newly-deceased across the River Acheron that divided between the worlds of the living and the dead. To encourage him to take the dead to the hereafter, it was customary to use parsley at funerals and bury it near the grave.

And in an altogether different function: Children on the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands who ask where babies come from are told that they’re dug out of the parsley patch by golden rakes. Parsley arrangements adorned festive tables in Greece and Rome. Wearing a parsley strand was considered helpful for freshening bad breath (even garlic breath), eliminating the scent of wine and for sobering up the intoxicated.

In one of his tales, Greek biographer Plutarch tells about the life of Timoleon, a Sicilian warrior from the town of Corinth, who set out to protect the city of Syracuse against the invading Carthaginians surrounding the city from the west. Timoleon was only able to muster 3,000 soldiers to face an army ten times their might. When they climbed the hill to observe the Carthaginians, they encountered a convoy of oxen laden with parsley. The frightened soldiers saw this as cause for alarm, but Timoleon delivered an impassioned speech in which he proclaimed that the gods had sent them their victory crowns. Immediately, he made himself a crown of parsley, and his officers followed suit. Sure enough, the Sicilians braved the invaders, thanks to their skill and the patronage of a sudden rainstorm that blocked the armored and cumbersome Carthaginians.

Since she has been in this region for a good while and seen empires rise and fall, seasons change, and stars be born and die, Ms. Parsley has all the time in the world. She sprouts very slowly. In cold temperatures, this can take forever. Sometimes we’re almost dismayed when a month goes by with no sign of parsley, but just then, as we’re ready to give up, soft green shoots suddenly emerge. And as soon as it sprouts, it’s here to stay. Parsley survives heat and cold, sun and partial shade, continuing to grow green leaves even after many harvests – alive and kicking long after the coriander and dill go to flower and seed. In contrast to annual plants, she is a biennial, sticking around for two years before blooming and seeding.

Parsley has always been popular in home gardens and in window boxes. Different reasons have been attributed to parsley’s growth pattern, perhaps because the seeds sprout so slowly. In cold England, the belief is that parsley seeds pay a few visits to Satan and back before they can sprout. This is why sprouting parsley seeds under glass is a good idea in cold weather, since it warms the ground and perhaps halts a visit to the underworld.

According to one ancient belief, parsley only grows in homes where the woman is dominant. Or there are others who claim that parsley only grows for witches and cruel women (dominant or not)… Plus, if your parsley has already sprouted and grown, don’t dare dig it out, as this will bring bad luck. Or – if you give someone your parsley, you give away your luck as well. So next time you move, try to find an apartment with a window box that holds parsley.

But aside from matters of luck, parsley is good for us. The first proof of this comes from my husband’s favorite childhood book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, with the story of hungry Peter Rabbit, a farmer’s nightmare: “First he ate some lettuce and some broad beans, then some radishes, and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.”

As a veteran of the Western world, parsley is known as a rich source of a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C (three times more than citrus!), folic acid, beta-carotene, pro-vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. But lately it’s been glorified yet again, this time by the Asians: Japanese research has recently discovered a new vitamin, pyrroloquinoline quinine (or PQQ). The previous new vitamin was discovered in 1948! PQQ, which is most likely connected to the vitamin B group, is involved in encouraging fertility, and researchers believe it has other health advantages as well. Good sources of PQQ are parsley, green tea, green pepper, papaya, nato (fermented soybeans) and kiwi.

Herbs in the Umbelliferae family–including parsley–contain phytochemicals, many of which have cancer-preventing attributes. These phytochemicals block hormonal activity that is linked to the development of cancer. Throughout history, parsley has been used to treat a variety of medicinal problems. It seems to be the ultimate magic potent: drinking a parsley brew is good for treating indigestion, urinary tract infections and kidney diseases. For swollen eyes, it’s best to use a compress of brewed parsley liquid. Parsley helps lower both cholesterol and blood pressure; it prevents the formation of blood clots and protects against heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Parsley eases menstrual pain and can be used externally for skin problems. In addition, parsley bolsters the immune system, acts as an antiseptic, helps purify the body of toxins and is good for preventing water retention, including edema. Parsley is helpful in preventing dysentery and is beneficial for the lungs, stomach, liver and thyroid. However, pregnant women and nursing mothers are cautioned against consuming large quantities of parsley or using parsley liquid, for it can stimulate the uterus and dry up the milk. (We’re discussing large, medicinal quantities, not small pinches…)

Tips:

  • Store parsley wrapped in paper in a plastic bag, refrigerated. The paper will absorb the excess moisture, and the plastic bag will keep it from over-drying.
  • Parsley loses vitamins in the cooking process.
  • In order to coax the most taste and nutrients from parsley, add it only at the final stages of cooking or sprinkle fresh over prepared food.
  • Chewing parsley leaves after eating garlic eliminates the garlic smell from your breath (replacing it with parsley-breath…)

While we’re at it, we’re happy to inform you that in two weeks’ time you will be able to resume orders of organic seasonal fruit! We will be purchasing local fruit from various farmers and assembling an array just for you. The winter fruit boxes will include a variety of four fruits in goodly number, at the price of 70 NIS. Unlike the Melo Hatene fruit boxes we formerly delivered, there will be only one size available  (although you are welcome to purchase more than one box), and the fruits will be of the more familiar, popular types (as opposed to the unique, exotic varieties).

If you are interested in ordering a weekly fruit box, please email or text us now or over the next week-and-a-half. Afterwards we hope to have the option entered into our order system (under “Chubeza Fruits and Vegetables”) for you to add at any time.

These muddy days at Chubeza are joyful for us – following the oh-so-needed, satiating rain. And we are looking forward to the next rain, hopefully coming soon (fingers crossed……).

May we enjoy a great wintery sunny week, breathing in the wonderfully cleansed and fresh air,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/dill/coriander, fava beans/garden or snow peas, red or green bell peppers/eggplant, cucumbers, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi/turnips, lettuce, broccoli/ cauliflower/ Jerusalem artichoke. Small boxes only: Baby radishes/daikon. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery, carrots, scallions/onions, beets.

Wednesday: Parsley/dill/coriander, fava beans/garden or snow peas/Jerusalem artichoke, red or green bell peppers/eggplant/beets, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cabbage/cauliflower, carrots, scallions/onions, lettuce, broccoli, baby radishes/daikon/turnips. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, Swiss chard, kohlrabi/fennel.

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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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!

January 1st-3rd 2018 – Spice up your year

This week I would like to open the year on a happy note (and with a request) by telling you about a very special place, The Kaima Farm at Hukuk.  This farm, situated just above the Sea of Galilee, is modeled after the Kaima project in Beit Zait to employ and empower Israeli youth who have already dropped out of school or are nearly there. Via agriculture, these youth opt instead to trust and hope, find meaning and a different way to learn and develop. They are paid to control and operate the field together, growing seasonal organic vegetables and marketing them to various distribution areas around the Galilee. Thus, these young workers gain the opportunity to experience the world of employment, assume responsibility and create an empowering, secure and respectful environment.

And we all reap the rewards: the young workers who acquire a place in which to grow, find meaning and belong; the farm staff who get to work at what they believe in and love; the residents of the area who enjoy healthy, fresh, homegrown vegetables, the ecological system in maintaining its existence; the local community gaining biological and human diversity, and the many visitors and volunteers who enjoy staying at the farm to take part in workshops and actual farming. Of course, we, the somewhat distant community, benefits as well by realizing that within the sometimes harsh reality of life, another beautiful project of goodness and growth is thriving.

The Kaima Farm has been around for a year and a half, and these days has embarked upon a fundraising campaign aimed to clear the debt they’ve shouldered since their establishment to cover expenses for the primary infrastructure. Dissolving this debt will allow their own continuation and growth, as well as that of the various circles with which they are affiliated. I implore you to visit this link, read about The Kaima Farm at Hukuk, get acquainted, donate generously, and spread the word: https://www.giveback.co.il/project.aspx?id=2241.

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Along with the large and small winter greens, this is also the ripe hour for the herbs. Every week we try to supply you with at least one contingent of the holy-but-never-boring-trinity: parsley, coriander and dill. Though they grow all year long (the parsley is the most resilient of the three), there is no comparison between the faint coriander of summer to the vigorous winter version, or a small, stubborn hot-weather parsley to its nonchalant, quick-to-bloom winter sister. Over the coming newsletters, we will showcase this fearsome threesome, so familiar, so well known, so always-there-for-us. Still, we have one or two new facts to reveal…

So…it’s time for Herb #1:

Striking a Dill

Unless you make the effort, it’s easy to overlook one of the loveliest and most beneficial herbs to grace our gardens and cuisine. Don’t let the wispy, delicate appearance of fresh dill fool you—this hearty green herb is both a powerhouse of nutrition and health benefits as well as a distinctively delicious seasoning.

The English name “dill” is derived from the ancient Nordic “dilla” or “dile,” meaning “calming and soothing.” This probably reflects the common use of dill tea in folk medicine to help babies fall asleep and to soothe their painful gums. Sometimes mothers would also bake dill biscuits to ease teething woes.  Dill tea relieves stomachaches and other digestive ills, as well as increasing nursing mothers’ milk.

Officially, the proper Hebrew name for dill is “shevet reichani” – aromatic “shevet,” but the name this herb somehow ended up with is “Shamir”, a word actually used to describe a thorny wild plant used metaphorically in the Bible when describing a farm overgrown with weeds. Amotz Cohen, teacher and nature explorer, believes that dill is really the “poterium” found primarily in abandoned fields over the country.

Dill originated in Southern Europe (the Mediterranean Basin) and Russia. It is an annual plant from the Umbelliferae family, sibling to (as we already know) such other seasoning herbs as parsley, coriander, and celery, and root vegetables like carrot, parsnip, and chunky fennel. The dill’s stem is branched and its leaves are feathery. It blossoms from the branches in a way that resembles a multi-tipped umbrella. After it blossoms, the seeds can be gathered and used for seasoning and for medicinal aids.

Dill is a plant that was probably domesticated many long years ago. Our forefathers used it to season stews and for pickling, taking full advantage of the entire plant. As the Talmud (Avodah Zara 7b) describes, “the dill is tithed, seed and vegetable and stalk,” i.e., all parts of the dill are in use and hence must be tithed. Such diversity continues to this day, with green dill sprigs being used to flavor pickling brine and to garnish soups, cheeses, salads and seafood. Its seeds are used to flavor baked goods, potatoes, vegetables, cakes, sauces and liquors. In India, powdered dill seed is a main curry ingredient.

Dill’s pungent scent may be the secret to its use as an amulet against ghosts and demons, and its integral presence in the beginner witch kit. It is also said to be an aphrodisiac, and Pythagoras recommended holding a bundle of dill in your left hand to prevent epileptic seizures (perhaps because seizures were perceived as being caused by the demon). The Greeks viewed dill as a symbol of prosperity, and flaunted their wealth by burning oil spiked with dill.

Herbs in the Umbelliferae family–including dill–contain phytochemicals, many of which have cancer-preventing attributes. These phytochemicals block hormonal activity that is linked to the development of cancer cells. Recent research has indicated that dill boasts a high level of antioxidant capabilities as well.

Other research analyses and reconfirms the virtues of dill in soothing the digestive system. It has been found to be chock full of bactericide compounds and to have a protective influence on the Gastric mucosa.

Some folk remedies:

  • To make dill tea: Pour boiling water over the dill greens and steep, or cook 5 teaspoons of seeds in 1 liter water for 15 minutes. Drain.
  • To relieve gas, regulate digestion and encourage lactation for nursing mommies, to freshen your breath and ease a cough: sweeten with honey and drink 2-3 cups per day.
  • Give colicky babies 5 teaspoons of dill tea per day.
  • To get rid of bad breath: gargle dill tea several times per day.
  • For eye infections: dip a cloth pad in the warm liquid and place on the eye.

Dill is a source of such vitamins and minerals as potassium, beta carotene (pro vitamin A), folic acid, and vitamin C.

Tips for dill use

  • The dill that grows in India is a different species. Its seeds are bigger, but their taste is milder, which is why when you are cooking an Indian recipe, it is recommended to reduce the amount of dill seeds by 30-50%.
  • To make dill-spiced vinegar, use a mild vinegar (apple vinegar, for instance), place a bundle of dill inside, add a clove of garlic and pepper, if desired. Store for a few weeks in a cool, dark spot.

You can find recipes for dill use in our ever-growing recipe section.

We delightedly welcome the blessed rains that are falling at last! Here’s hoping 2018 will bring a year of rain-blossom fragrance, spiced with a smile and no stomach, tooth or heartache. Happy New Year!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/dill, celery/celeriac, sweet potatoes/carrots/eggplant, cucumbers, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, cauliflower, red/green bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli.  Small boxes only: beets.   Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichoke/garden or snow peas/cherry tomatoes, spinach, kohlrabi, white turnips/baby radishes.

Wednesday: Parsley/dill/cilantro, celery/celeriac, sweet potatoes/red/green bell peppers, carrots/eggplant, cucumbers, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, cauliflower/cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, white turnips/baby radishes/daikon.  Small boxes only: kohlrabi/fennel.   Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichoke/garden or snow peas/cherry tomatoes, beets, spinach, scallions/onions.

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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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!

December 25th-27th, so long 2017 – May all your wishes rain true!

Last Thursday was the 21st of December, the official Beginning of Winter. Followed by a weekend that was warm and hazy. Bummer!

Then they promised rain on Sunday. Indeed, the skies were wintry and it was cold. Shivering, we anxiously combed the heavens for any sign of anything wet. Personally, we welcomed the cold weather   The unnaturally warm weather over the past few weeks has not been good for the winter veggies in our field. The broccoli and cauliflower have rushed to ripen too fast, bent upon opening up into great big bouquets and forgetting they are supposed to be heads of cauliflower and broccoli. Various warm-climate pests are convinced that this is their day in the sun, wreaking havoc on the vegetables who were just settling down for a seasonal cool-weather respite from the pests. Thank God it’s cold again.

Alas, Sunday brought only chattering teeth and no rain. Although Micha called in the afternoon to gleefully report a real flood in Tel Aviv, the Ayalon clouds over Chubeza remained dry and shuttered. Only at the end of our workday, as darkness fell upon our field, did the rhythmic concert of tiny raindrops bouncing against the tin roof of the packing house begin, creating loud percussion and the illusion of a lot more rain. We love this music to our ears that swells our chests with happiness, expands our lungs to let us breathe again, and relaxes our worried face muscles as the joy of the showers enters the rooms of our soul and stays for awhile.

        

As usual, we prepared in advance for the rain, and on Sunday hurried to harvest Monday’s vegetables to avoid dealing with a muddy field. The packing house was lined with abundantly-filled boxes: kohlrabi, fennel, turnips, green and purple vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli, red peppers, green cucumbers, carrots, beets, daikon and radishes, gentle green snow peas, onions, leeks and lots of leafy green delights. This assortment never fails to astonish me – such plenty and such blessing from the fertile field.

But as I was walking among the boxes, basking in the glory of the packing house, placing the stickers on the empty boxes for the next morning, flagging them to their various delivery routes, counting and recounting, well – the vegetables were not impressed at my awe. They stood chattering among themselves, as if they were on line at the post office. Every once in awhile a chuckle could be heard, or a throat being cleared or a hum, but all in all, they were definitely feeling good about themselves. At the end of the workday they were separated from one another – some were refrigerated for the night, others waited around the cool-of-the-night packing house. In the morning they will report for duty and be distributed to your boxes.

Although the rest of this week is dry and sunny, perhaps another rain awaits in the wings next week. Or not. This season it’s hard to know what lies ahead, but just in case the rain needs some encouragement, please join us as we cheer loudly, clapping and jumping up and down, begging the rain to not be shy. Rain, rain, don’t go away, come again another and another and another day!

Rain / Shel Silverstein

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

Season’s greetings to all those celebrating, and to all of us – rainy days and a nice wintry week,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, sweet potatoes/carrots, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/cabbage, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, scallions/leeks/onions, broccoli/snow peas/cherry tomatoes. Small boxes only: celery/celeriac.  Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/baby radishes, Swiss chard, beets, eggplant/green bell peppers.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill/parsley, sweet potatoes/carrots, cucumbers, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, celery/celeriac, broccoli. Small boxes only: beets. .  Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/baby radishes/cabbage, spinach, eggplant/green and red bell peppers, Jerusalem artichoke/snow peas/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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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!

December 18th-20th 2017 – Once upon a long time span…

Iddo, our baker par excellence, has patiently and professionally developed a new gluten-free sourdough bread! This new guy on the (bread) block has aced great scores in top-level taste tests, a tribute to Iddo’s talents and his determination to reach the highest standards in product creation.

The new bread uses green buckwheat culture, millet and tapioca as its base, and contains teff flour, organic tapioca flour, organic green buckwheat flour, organic olive oil, salt, a trace sugar, yeast and xanthan gum.

Don’t wait! Add this super-bread today for delivery via our order system.

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The “Minhat Ha’aretz” flour grinders, firm believers in baking your own products for winter, hereby offer a very special deal for the next month. Over Tevet (beginning this week through the middle of January,) all local flours (whose seeds are grown in Israel) will be on sale, including: organic wheat flour, organic corn flour, organic chickpea and teff.

The discounted prices are updated in our order system. Enjoy your baking fiesta!

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All of a Kind Family

Now and over the upcoming weeks, it’s time to happily greet many members of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Hanukah celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

 

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much speedier than it once was, but even in the distant, primitive past, farmers constantly refined their crops. Actually, many of the most amazing changes in species development came not as a result of structured research, but rather out of the simple act of a farmer choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/he favored over seeds from less-desired plants. This straightforward action of promoting one plant over another had a huge effect on the improvement and change of a specific harvest or species. Long before wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible results.

The Brassicaceae family (or “cabbage family”) is a perfect example. All family members derive from one wild plant, the brassica oleracea, which originated in the Mediterranean area and resembles the canola in appearance. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. Kale’s botanical name is var. acephala, translating to “a headless cabbage.”

Others preferred plants that produced small, denser and more delicate leaves in the center of the plant at the head of the stem, hence advancing plants with those characteristics. Over the seasons, the process of compacting became more and more prominent in those plants. Over the years, it grew and evolved into a real “head of leaves” which we call cabbage, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began to alter its greatly-thickened stem. This turned into kohlrabi, which earned the name var. caulorapa, meaning “a stem turnip.”

Over the past thousand years, wo/man also developed a passion for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage, and chose the plants that produced large-bloom heads. This is how we got cauliflower and broccoli, both different variations of an undeveloped cabbage plant. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage of dense leaves along the stems. They chose and re-chose plants that produced this sort of leaf shape, and thus brought the world Brussels sprouts, titled var. germmifera “the cabbage with gems.”

In summary, this long, winding familial tale demonstrates that without a systematic education in genetics or plant propagation, but via a simple process of seed selection and a lot of patience, more than six distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

A hearty mazal tov and best wishes for joy and happiness to Dror and Naomi as they greet their newest member of the family, a baby boy and a gift of Hanukah light.

Wishing us all a week of wonder and diversity, of faith, determination and patience.

And may the very near future bring us the blessing of rain!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/totsoi, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/ baby radishes/daikon, beets, scallions/leeks, broccoli/snow peas, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: eggplant/ green bell peppers. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, Swiss chard/spinach, Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, cabbage.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/cabbage, eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, celery/celeriac. Special gift: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/daikon/turnip, beets, Swiss chard.

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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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!