February 18th-20th 2019 – A flowery tale

We are delighted to welcome back the cookies and crackers from creators Dani and Galit Marshak, who have been with us throughout their very long journey – first, as clients, then in the field. When they embarked upon a new path – opening a small home business for excellent natural granola and home-baked cookies – it was more than natural for us to keep marching together. So we tasted and responded enthusiastically and thus we our very first partnership was forged. As they expanded, we had to part for several years, but now they’re back, and we happily reintroduce them:

In 2009, after undergoing a nutritional change, the Marshak’s realized that one could eat healthy food that can be tasty and pampering as well. So they quit their day-jobs, set up a small bakery shop and made a profession of healthy baking, using whole flours, natural sweeteners and healthy oil. They prepare delicious vegan-baked goods totally free of cholesterol, additives or preservatives.

Dani and Galit now offer a full variety of products. We chose to begin by offering Chubeza clients the yummy salty spelt sticks and crispy crackers, protein-fortified cookies and gluten-free cookies. Order today via our order system under “Dani and Galit.” You’ll love them!



No Wallflower

She’s been around for some time now, arriving regularly in your boxes in her characteristic modesty. She definitely deserves some words of her own. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce present:


Her name indicates familial relations: the flower of cabbage (Caulis in Latin), and rightfully so. Apparently, cauliflower was developed from the wild cabbage during the Roman Empire somewhere in the Mediterranean Basin (Greece/Italy/Turkey–it is unclear exactly where). From there it traveled to European countries, the Middle East, India and China. When I say “developed,” I mean developed by human beings, almost like a modern agricultural start-up, only much, much slower. Some of the most incredible changes in the field of species development didn’t occur as part of a budgeted, constructed research, but rather due to the very simple act of collecting and saving seeds from the plants favored by the farmer and preferring them over seeds from lesser-loved plants. This simple act of propagating one plant and not another had a tremendous influence on the improvement and evolution of a given specie or crop.  Long before wo/man understood the genetics of plants, his/her actions generated slow, small changes in the cultivars that accumulated with time, yielding genuine results.

The cauliflower and broccoli owe their lives to the farmers (or perhaps the farmers’ wives and children who were growing bored with cabbage quiche) who developed a craving for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage. They chose the plants that produced large blossom heads, producing seeds from these plants which they then planted the next season. And this was how cauliflower and broccoli were born, both different variations of an embryonic florescence of cabbage. The proper name of the cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster” – due to its resemblance to a cluster of grapes.(Broccoli, developed in Italy, received the title var. italica).

In the case of cauliflower, like broccoli, we actually eat the immature flower curd composed of densely-clustered flower buds and stalks that thickened and became meaty. As the cauliflower grows, this head is surrounded by a dense circle of leaves that close themselves and cover it, similar to cabbage. The inner leaves bend a bit inward, protecting the developing cauliflower and preventing sun-rays from penetrating, thus blocking the production of chlorophyll and retaining its white color. This is why when we farmers select a variety of cauliflower, we give preference to choosing one whose leaves close well over the inflorescence. Sometimes, when the farmer notices that the leaves are not doing their job, he or she walks through the field and ties the outward leaves with a rubber band so that they cover the cauliflower and protect it from the sun.

Unlike broccoli, which develops additional heads on its side after the main head is harvested, the cauliflower produces only one, in the center of the plant, and does not continue to yield after this single harvest. Usually the cauliflower is picked when it reaches its maximum size, still maintaining its density and solidity (or when we notice the leaves beginning to open, threatening cauliflower “sunburn”). If we leave it in the field, the inflorescence will begin opening and separating, preparing for the blossoming of tiny yellow flowers, like a great big bouquet.

When I wrote about the cauliflower several years ago, I received an email from Eitan of Tel Aviv: “I beg to differ over one thing. I have been raising cauliflowers for two years in a row. I did not pull out last year’s plants, and sure enough, they bloomed this year as well. In addition, the cauliflower produced many branches that yielded a nice crop of cauliflowers. I pick the heads but do not pull out the plant.”

Eitan’s words reminded me that I did indeed read about the cauliflower’s ability to yield two years in a row if it is not uprooted, but because I was not experienced with this (as farmers, it is not recommended to leave vegetables for the next year because this usually diminishes crop size), I asked Eitan for full details on the second-year cauliflowers. This was his response: “The cauliflower is smaller in the second year, but still tastes sweet. The advantage is that in the second year, a bunch of cauliflowers emerge. Branches extend from the bottom part of the plant, looking like cauliflower transplants from the nursery, and the inflorescence starts there. Since I have a small garden, the cauliflowers were watered over summer but did not bloom, although I covered them with a 50% shade net. In any case, there was no evident change in the cauliflower over the summer. I recommend that whoever has enough space should leave the cauliflower and broccoli to grow a second year. These plants are bi-annuals. By the way, the broccoli, too, remained from last year, and it continues to supply me with very handsome “baby broccolis.”

So for the farmers among you, try this at home (in your garden). Keep the cauliflowers growing a second year, protect them in summer from radiation and heat, and tell us how this works. Thank you, Eitan!

Like the rest of her Brassicaceaes family, the cauliflower consumes a great deal of nitrogen. For this reason, it’s important to grow cauliflowers in fertile soil, fortified with compost, and precede its planting with the growth of legumes or “green manure” that enrich the ground with nitrogen. Following a crop of cauliflower and other Brassicaceaes, we try to grow only cultivars that require less nitrogen and can deal well with the earth that must recover from the previous high level of nitrogen consumption. The gourd family (pumpkins) that grows in springtime and summertime, after the Brassicaceaes season, are a good example of a “crop rotation” after the Brassicaceaes.

Cauliflower grows in cool seasons. In Chubeza’s first years, we planted it at the end of wintertime/beginning of springtime (February- April), but after some experimenting, we realized the cauliflower is happiest in our field during wintertime. The autumn and winter cauliflowers yielded beautiful plants, whereas the February harvests had a hard time growing, became too hard, were attacked by insects, got blotched with stains and didn’t really thrive. On the other hand, we learned to bring up the first crop planting to August, and since then we have begun planting cauliflowers continuously from August to December. In August, we plant species that do well in the heat and from September we plant winter species.

As a member of the Cruciferae family, cauliflower is packed with cancer-fighting components (as are its relatives the green and purple cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, rashad, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes). The primary anti-cancer elements they contain are sulforaphane and an indole compound.

Interestingly, sulforaphane is produced in the vegetables only when they are cut or bitten into, i.e., when an animal consumes them. Sulforaphane is an efficient antioxidant, but it also raises the level of certain protective enzymes in the body which act as “policemen” that capture the cancer-causing elements and send them into the bloodstream to be washed out of the body. These enzymes are also excellent antioxidants, and unlike regular antioxidants, they are not consumed while they work.

The indole compound in cauliflower and its fellow Cruciferae family members protects against breast cancer by influencing the estrogen hormone, although in various forms this hormone can actually encourage the development of breast cancer. Yet, on the one hand the indole compound activates the production of less active estrogen, the kind that does not encourage breast cancer, while on the other hand it reduces the production of a more harmful estrogen type. In order to reduce the threat of cancer, it is recommended to consume at least 2-3 weekly servings of vegetables from the Cruciferae family.

In addition to the photochemicals it shares with its powerful family, the cauliflower contains other photochemicals such as phytosterols and glucaric acids that contribute to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. Another cholesterol fighter comes from the dietary fibers so rich in the cauliflower, which aid digestion and prevent constipation as well as slowing down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from food. Of course, we cannot forget the venerable Vitamin C! One hundred grams of cooked cauliflower contain half of the daily-recommended portion of vitamin C.

The Cruciferae family has another connection to cancer prevention, one that is unique because it once again indicates why nature is so much more complex than simplified classifications of “good” “bad” “useful” and “harmful.” A perfect example is one of the family’s most famous pests: the cabbage butterfly. The female butterfly lays her eggs on the Cruciferae plants, and hungry caterpillars feed from the leaves of this prevalent family. They also swallow very spicy matter found in the leaves (mustard glycocids) and isolate it in their bodies. When the caterpillar grows, it uses this matter as a defense mechanism: if attacked by a predator insect, the caterpillar secretes concentrated glycocids which cause an irritation in the mouth, esophagus and stomach of the attacker. When it is pupated, the cabbage butterfly defends itself using an interesting toxin: pierison. This toxin destroys cells by breaking their DNA. All the cells die and renew themselves, except for cancerous cells. Research has indicated that pierison caused nine types of cancerous cells to “commit suicide.” Thus indirectly, by hosting the caterpillar that tortures it and eats its leaves, the martyred Cruciferae family takes an important role in battling cancer.

The cauliflower we know and love is white, and I told you how much effort we put into keeping it that way. But there are also cauliflowers that come in such diverse colors as purple, light green, orange (rich in beta carotene) and a weird-looking green variety bearing a resemblance to an Escher piece or a UFO:

Despite their different shapes and florescent colors, these cauliflower varieties are not the product of genetic engineering. They were developed in the traditional method of selecting plants of various types and crossing them with plants of other types until a colorful one evolves. Creation of this kind of species usually takes years, even decades. The result is amazing, even somewhat psychedelic.

It is recommended to store (any type or color of) cauliflower in the refrigerator, wrapped in an unsealed plastic bag (the sulphur needs to escape, otherwise the cauliflower is tainted and rots), with the stem downwards in order to prevent moisture accumulation on the inflorescence. Stored correctly, cauliflowers can keep for two to three weeks, but are tastiest during the first several days. Afterwards the sweetness subsides.

Wishing you a great wintry week!

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



Monday: Snow peas or garden peas/Jerusalem artichokes, cabbage/cauliflower, celeriac/celery/ parsley root, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes, broccoli. Small boxes only: Fresh onions/leeks.

Large box, in addition: Kale/Swiss chard/ chubeza (mallow)greens/broccoli greens, beets, fennel/turnips, fresh fava beans.

FRUIT BOXES:  Oranges, bananas, clementina, pomelit, strawberries

Wednesday: Snow peas or garden peas, cabbage/cauliflower/broccoli, celery, cucumbers/peppers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, potatoes, fresh onions/leeks, fennel/beets.

Large box, in addition: Kale/Swiss chard/ chubeza (mallow)greens/broccoli greens, celeriac/parsley root, fresh fava beans/Jerusalem artichokes.

FRUIT BOXES:  Oranges, bananas, clementina, pomelit, strawberries.

February 11th-13th 2019 – The Onion: Nothing to Cry Over…

The Onion/ Wisława Szymborska

The onion, now that’s something else.
Its innards don’t exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there’s only onion
from its top to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity…

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh (A Large Number, 1976)

The onion is a fundamental vegetable in our kitchen, our culture and probably in human existence. We attribute it to having an inner essence cloaked in hiding, associate it with tears and sorrow, courage, audacity and eternal life. And on the other side of the onion – simplicity, the elementary basicness of the common people. Of course, the onion has no clue of this. He’s totally indifferent to the big fuss, absorbed in tending to his own growth, making every effort to just be… well, an onion…

One of the most ancient of cultivated plants, the humble onion originated in Western Asia. There is even evidence that it was raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, posing as models in Egyptian art and serving as offerings for the gods, alongside being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life, thus earning it a place in the tombs of the Pharaohs. (Archaeologists found traces of small onions in the eye sockets of Ramses IV.) In ancient times, a basket of onions was considered a popular, respectful funeral offering.

Conflict has always existed between the onion’s pungent odor and its taste. The aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but devoured the tasty onion nonetheless), while in India the Brahmins abstained as the common people consumed it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy.  Alexander the Great viewed the sharp fumes of the onion as a sign of its power. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage.

Our very own national poet Hayim Nahman Bialik sings the onion’s praises in his famous composition Knight of Onions and Knight of Garlic, as being the ultimate element to spice up a meal.


In the very early days at Chubeza, we grew lots of onions in one round, but the endless weeding was traumatic to the system. When other complications piled in as well, namely battling the onion fly and futilely coaxing the seeds that simply would not yield, we entered several years of taking stock about the onion. Should we grow it or not? How much of it and when? Upon gaining some maturity and shedding some anxiety, we reached a level of confidence to slowly, systematically expand the rounds of onion planting. This year we were finally able to create a clear, consecutive schedule geared to enable us to grow onions nearly all year round.

We start planting and seeding the onion at the end of the summer. The first onion variety, Beit Alfa, is planted from bulbils (small onion bulbs) at the end of August/beginning of September. As the temperatures start to drop, we sow the Ori autumn variety, homemade seedlings we sow ourselves! As summer draws to a close, we sow a crowded “nursery” of Ori seeds and at the beginning of October we pull out the young seedlings and replant them in the spacious beds of their permanent homestead. In the middle of November, it’s time to sow the Shahar variety and conclude with the Orlando Summer variety, seeded at the end of January, harvested during summertime and scheduled to remain with us till the beginning of the following autumn.

This year we were not able to obtain the Beit Alfa bulbils to plant them at the end of summer, which created a great “no onion” gap from November. We are now pulling out the first of the Ori’s, planted at the beginning of October. These yummy onions are young and juicy, distributed to you fresh and moist, complete with their long green shoots for you to enjoy!

As you can see, some onions we plant and others we seed. The plants are actually more expensive to buy and require extra energy if prepared on our own, but they’re quite advantageous: they can be spaced accurately while planting, allowing the onion a better growth process and sparing us the task of thinning the crop. Planting eliminates certain difficulties of seeding, especially during wintertime when sprouting is harder and seeds can be whisked away by heavy showers. The plants also come in stronger to confront the onion fly, or rather Mrs. Onion Fly, who loves laying her eggs on the roots of the tiny bulbs. When the hungry onion maggots emerge, they nibble the little onions to death. However, once the onions are approximately pencil length, they are stiff enough to lose the attraction of the female flies. For this reason, the onion plants, which hit the pencil-length Finish Line much sooner, are preferable to their seeded comrades.

Still, in order to protect the gentle sprouts from these “femme fatale flies,” we cover all the new saplings sowed at the end of October till the end of January with thin white Agril covering, blocking the flies from reaching the baby bulbils and allowing the onions time to grow and strengthen. Once the plants reach the age where they can fend for themselves (i.e., pencil diameter), we remove the cover to give them some fresh air and direct sunlight, and then face the big bad outside world on their own.

Over the next few weeks you will be receiving onions – “heads and tails” included. Use them both! The fresh, moist onion is the same onion whose beautiful (and yummy) green leaves we have been ignoring over the past weeks, allowing them to dry on the field. We harvest the “to be dried” onions after they droop slightly, thus placing them in the field, covered from the sunlight, to dry up a little more. This process allows the liquid in the green leaves to descend into the onion bulb as the onion develops dry layers of peeling to keep it preserved for many months.


We do this in summertime as well, but this winter onion yield is harvested for you fresh and green. The onion bulb has almost no dry skin, and it is juicy and truly fresh, distinctive and wonderful. Another advantage is that it includes green leaves! So other than using its bulb in your cooking or sliced fresh into a salad (best ever!), use its leaves just as you would scallions. Though onion greens are thicker, they are absolutely delicious! Store fresh onions separately by removing the bulb and keeping as you would a dry onion. Then place the green leaves in a plastic bag and store them in the fridge, just like scallions.

In Knight of Onion and Knight of Garlic, upon conducting a thorough (and hilarious) inspection of this new foreign vegetable, one of the wise old men sums up its benefits saying:

The bitterness of its spiciness,
Spiciness of its bitterness
The softness within hardness
And hardness within softness
From the inner skin and the skin within.
Its fragrance is not cinnamon, flavor unlike cumin
Discharged from the radishes nor even arriving at horseradish
When the Mishkan is discussed
Its glory goes unmentioned.
Neither dry nor moist, cold nor hot
And in my opinion, though an expert I am not
It is good for stomach pain
Or back pain
Or any pain
Or …

(translation: Aliza Raz)

I fully agree.

The onion has always been a primary component in natural medicine. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B1, chromium and dietary fibers. The organosulfur compounds grant the onion very strong healing powers, as does the quercetin antioxidant. Here is a brief look at some of this fella’s therapeutic properties:

Diabetes: the onion’s organosulfur compound reduces the blood sugar level. It raises the level of insulin available to deliver glucose to the cells, thus lowering glucose level in the blood. The onion’s significant chromium content influences the stability of blood sugar levels (the body’s chromium level depletes as a result of eating processed sugar and white flower).

Heart disease: the onion’s chromium content contributes to the reduction of “bad” cholesterol and boosts the good cholesterol levels. The organosulfur compounds reduce the probability of heart disease, obstructions and cardiac arrest by preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure. The onion simulates the action performed by aspirin, thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.

Viruses and infections: the onion serves as a natural antibiotic to fight bacteria (such as bacilli, salmonella, E. coli and others), worms, viruses and the common cold. Onion is recommended to treat excess phlegm and coughing. It reduces the swelling of arthritis and decreases the potency of asthma-causing allergens.

Chronic ailments: the onion contains antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus lowering the risk of cancer by destroying cancerous cells. Among these components are various phytochemicals including quercitine, which reduces the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis and bone strengthening: the onion contains amino acid compounds (or GPCS) that prevent the development of cells which break down bone tissue.

More details of the onion’s components and their attributes can be found in this article by dietitian Merav Mor-Ophir, with some recipes (Hebrew).

Several old-fashioned onion remedies:

For phlegm and coughing: Chop an onion to small pieces and mix with two tablespoons honey. Let stand for two hours. The resulting liquid is an excellent antibiotic syrup to alleviate phlegm and hoarseness, and ease coughing and asthma. (Note: This syrup is potent for only one day!)

Pain killing and relief of chronic infections and swelling: Slice an onion, add some salt, and apply to the aching area in a compress.

To eliminate worms: Drink onion juice (the worms will flee for their lives…)

For earaches: Drip onion juice into the ear, mixed with olive oil or almond oil.

Some tips:

* Onions keep well outside the fridge in a cool, dry place. Ventilation is important. Ideally, they should be placed in a wicker or plastic basket.

* Many people store onions with potatoes, but this is not a great combination (for either vegetable). The potatoes contain moisture and emit a gas which expedites onion rotting.

* As mentioned, store both parts of the fresh onion separately:  cut off the greens just above the onion, store the onion as you would a dry onion and place the greens in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag, as you would store scallions.

To conclude, we are overjoyed to celebrate the birth of Yochai and Orin’s brand-new daughter, Nachal Edna, and wish them peaceful nights, gentle days and lots of hugs and quality time. Mazal Tov!

Wishing you all a week of health, rain showers and only good news,

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



Monday: Snow peas or garden peas, celeriac/celery, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens/broccoli greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke. Small boxes only: Fresh fava beans.

Large box, in addition: Fresh onions, turnips/beets, lettuce, parsley/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocadoes, pomelit, oranges, lemons.

Wednesday: Snow peas or garden peas/fava beans, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens/broccoli greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, turnips/beets.

Large box, in addition: Celeriac/celery, Fresh onions/leek, parsley/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocadoes, pomelit/clementines, oranges, lemons.

February 4th-6th 2019 – The root of the Matter

With the greatest of joy, we announce the inauguration of a brand new Chubeza distribution route to the Herzlia/Ramat Hasharon area. Tell your friends and acquaintances that we will begin regular deliveries to these two cities every Wednesday. Mazal Tov to all!


The little prince crossed the desert and met with only one flower.

It was a flower with three petals, a flower of no account at all.

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the flower.

“Where are the men?” the little prince asked, politely.

The flower had once seen a caravan passing

“Men?” she echoed. “I think there are six or seven of them in existence. I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”

              –   Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

We haven’t been getting very wet over the past few weeks. The constant showers we enjoyed at the beginning of winter have dwindled to a drizzle a week. We’re not complaining. Last week we received a nice allotment of rain on Monday which saturated the earth, and at the end of this week we’re hoping for more precipitation. The soil needs more to drink, and we are loathe to bid a premature farewell to winter showers. We take heart in the fact that we’re only in the middle of winter. There’s still two to three months to expect rain in our land.

One of the vegetables that signals the middle of winter is the parsley root, which takes some time to reach maturity.  Though we seed it in the beginning of autumn, it is only ready for harvest in the middle of winter. This is a vegetable that always brings us great joy when it finally arrives. The parsley root then joins her good friend and distant cousin the celeriac, which we plant and do not seed, thus he arrives sooner.

This week we turn the Newsletter spotlight to these two spectacular roots. Although their growth is concealed, when they finally emerge there’s robust reason to bring out the soup pot and celebrate (and not only with soup)!

Both the parsley and celery roots belong to the umbelliferae family (along with the carrot, coriander, dill, fennel and others). They perform a double duty for your soups: they’re yummy and filling to munch on, plus they add fragrance and flavor. Each of these roots has a green, stalk-like and faster growing “twin brother” growing above earth (leaf celery and parsley greens), which grow faster and assume different roles in the kitchen. This week we’ll go a few inches under and talk about each member of the root duo.

Every plant needs roots and leaves, of course, and each component works in opposite directions. The roots draw up the nutrients from the earth, and the leaves act as conduits to transform sun rays into available energy for the plant. This is why all parsley and celery have leaves and a root, but celeriac and celery leaves, as well as parsley root and parsley leaves (and you can add the beet root and Swiss chard greens or beet greens) are two different types of the celery/parsley/beet plants, and not simply different parts of the same plant.

Every parsley leaf boasts a root, and every parsley root has leaves, but the leaf parsley is satisfied with modest, thin roots and does not develop a thick root, while the parsley root has thicker and rougher leaves.  The varieties of leaf parsley and parsley root were developed over the years by farmers in the ongoing process of selecting preferred species and cultivating them. Some farmers kept seeds from year to year from the plants with the biggest leaves, yet the mildest or best taste or highest resistance to extreme temperatures or pests. Other farmers kept the seeds of plants whose roots thickened and lengthened. Thus the segregation of the species was born – differentiating the parsley grown for its leaves from that which we call “root parsley,” a savory delight to add to the soup.

The flavor of parsley root has been described as a combination of celery, carrot, parsley and turnip. In short, something distinctive and indefinable. Best to just go ahead and taste it! Parsley root is somewhat sweet, but also earthy (as are most roots). For those who are familiar with the parsnip (a long and elongated root, confusingly similar in appearance), note that the parsley root is not a parsnip! Though it looks a lot like the parsnip, the parsley root’s flavor is very different and less sweet.

Leaf parsley originated in the European Mediterranean area, but the root was probably cultivated more in northern Europe, perhaps due to the fact that roots can be stored for longer periods during that region’s harsh winters. The earliest mention of the parsley root is in 16th century Germany. Other names for the root attest to their geographic connections: “Dutch Parsley” and “Hamburg Parsley.” Because it was so loved in the cold European countries, it earned the nickname “Petoushka.”

Root parsley only grows in wintertime. Unlike its sister which also thrives in summer – even under the scorching Israeli sun – the root parsley hates heat, and grows in winter’s low temperatures and high humidity. It also needs a lot more time to reach maturity. The roots appearing in your boxes were seeded in autumn and have been growing underground for almost five months now (leaf parsley is ready in two to three months). The main challenge in growing root parsley is the thinning-out process. This parsley’s elongated roots need space to grow and fatten up, so it’s crucial to thin the bed which was manually seeded and thus grow plants in dense proximity. When we thin them, we remove some of the young sprouts, allowing their siblings some more “growing space.”

Both stalk celery and celeriac are domesticated species, meaning that they were cultivated over hundreds of years. Farmers sought celery’s thickened root, selecting from season to season only those varieties which produced the chubbiest, biggest roots, or rather the round roly-poly roots. For these plants, the stems remained short and thin, with a far more pronounced taste than the mild flavor of stalk celery. Often the stems are hollow, like a straw. When you look at a bed of stalk celery alongside one of celeriac, it’s easy to identify them by the different way the leaves grow. The former are erect and long, the latter chubby and spread out.

Celery is a plant which grows slowly. It starts with its teeny, tiny seeds which take their time, three to five weeks, till they sprout. After their diminutive sprouting, they need at least another two months of devoted care in the warm, pampered temperature of the plant nursery. Only after three or more months are they ready to be planted. We receive the young’uns when they’re approximately three months of age and ready to be lifted out of their black plastic cubes and placed in Chubeza’s fertile earth.

Celery loves fertile earth and lots of water. As a plant which originated in the swamps, it likes humidity in the earth and also in storage, which is why it thrives in wintertime in Israel. The Israeli summer is difficult and dry for the crisp celery plant. After three months in the nursery, it needs another three months to reach the prime age at which its leaves and stems can be harvested. The specie which develops a thick root is even more patient, waiting another month under the cozy cover of Mother Earth and refusing to be coaxed out of its warm bed to the cold, raging winter. A simple calculation leads to the conclusion that the lovely celeriac visiting your boxes this week began its growth some six months ago!

And even when their time has come to ripen, the celeriac and parsley root still hold on to the earth with all their might, and are not easily convinced to emerge. When we harvest them, we use a pitchfork to loosen the earth surrounding the parsley roots, or a knife to gently cut the slender roots surrounding the celeriac. Upon removing them from the earth, we attempt to shake them well to release the remaining clumps of earth still caught within.  After this initial cleansing, we march them proudly to our vegetable washing tubs where undergo a momentary soak. Even so, when these roots arrive in your boxes, you will most likely still see remains of dirt. Immerse them in water for some 30 minutes to expedite the final cleaning.

Holding these two yummy roots in your palms, you surely feel the urge to race to the kitchen to prepare some soup. But wait! First have a look at the great suggestions in our recipe section for a variety of delectable uses for these unique roots. A must!

Lastly, in honor of our search for roots and the beginning of the month of the joyful Adar, I remembered this charming picture sent by Daniel from Modi’in. The caption read: “Do Chubeza vegetables have a secret, enchanted life where they dance the night away?”

Wishing you a sunny and rainy week,

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



Monday: Scallions/fresh onions w/ greens, celeriac/parsley root, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke.

Large box, in addition: Fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, turnips/beets, coriander/mizuna/dill.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, clementinas, pomelit, oranges.

Wednesday: Fresh onions w/ greens, celeriac/parsley root, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens/broccoli greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli, parsley/coriander/mizuna/dill.

Large box, in addition: Fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, white turnipsbeets/Jerusalem artichoke.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, lemons, pomelit, oranges.

January 28th-30th 2019 – There is a place called Chubeza…


There is a place, called Chubeza, not far from Tel Aviv. I am told people wear black in Chubeza, and are always happy. “I don’t believe in all that crap,” said my best friend, and really, he just wanted to say that he doesn’t believe happy people exist. Lots of people don’t believe this.

–          Etgar Keret, from Pipelines

 This week we are delighted to include nice fresh bunches of Chubeza greens in your boxes.

Some sixteen years ago, at the very start of cultivating our first field, we searched for a name. My creative source for names was my spouse, Yisrael, who tossed out all sorts of ideas that were deliberated and tested. But you know what it’s like…. nothing seemed to stick.

I think it was getting close to the first scheduled delivery when I knew we would have to make a decision. It was a Saturday at the end of winter. Three of us sat together, Yisrael, my sister and me, when all of a sudden, out of the blue appeared the name “Chubeza” (mallow). Something rang true. My sister then remembered this story by Etgar Keret (one of my choice writers), something to do with happy people. The name was beginning to grow on us. We bought the book, found the story (above), and I researched mallow to find other reasons to finalize the choice.

Chubeza carries the scents of childhood, reminding us all of the small mallow fruits we would pick, peel and toss into our little mouths. The name derives from the Arabic word for bread, which made it nice, being a label for something basic, natural, simple. There was also the lore of how people prepared wild mallow cutlets during the siege on Jerusalem. Finally, the mallow is a weed, and my affinity for weeds, their survival instincts and abundance jived quite well with the concept of an organic farm living with nature without trying to subdue it.

The die was cast. That evening we celebrated with a ceremonious dinner of pastries stuffed with mallow leaves, nettle and mustard from our wild garden at home.

I’d like to share some thoughts about picking wild plants, and to ponder what it’s like to live in constant, direct barter with nature. We used to all live that way, you know. Truthfully, throughout most of the annals of the human race, we lived by collecting what nature had to give: seeds, leaves, roots, fruit, fish, wildlife…

None of us really knows what it’s like to be a hunter or “collectress” (that was the gender distribution of duties). Some of the research paints a harsh picture of a daily war of survival, the uncertainty of finding food tomorrow, and a constant, often dangerous foraging for food. Others will tell you that food was abundant, plants gave fruit, hunting was challenging but satisfying, and that our ancestors spent most of their time swinging on a hammock, playing and relaxing. I’m guessing a bit of both scenarios existed over the years. Some eras and places were probably very fertile and demanded less effort, and the various seasons played their part as well. The abundant springtime supplied an abundant yield, whereas the slow winter demanded harder, less pleasant work. I guess it also depended on where you were situated. Mexico was probably easier for the gatherers and the many fishermen populating its beaches than, say, Finland.

Let’s do some guided imagery:  The local turf is home. Not a brick house or even tent encampments. Usually home is simply nature. Earth is home, and a great deal more. Earth gives life and is the source of all that is good. In our terminology, one may say that it is “the” means of production, plus so much more. People belong to the earth, they respect it and receive its gifts with admiration and thanks. Earth holds all the plants and animals that share it with human beings, maintaining them and in essence allowing them to survive (even if sometimes unwillingly). These neighbors are, of course, very well respected, as it is clear that without them there is no existence.

Earth is also the place of the nation or tribe. Not the continent or state, but the specific territory where the tribe dwells and which it knows intimately and comprehensively. Tribe members know the plants that grow there, which of them are edible or toxic, and which tastes the very best. Of the various animals sharing the environment, the tribe knows which are easy to hunt, which are impossible and which specie is worth the effort. They are bound by the earth to their ancestors and offspring. Of course, the notion of owning land does not exist. The earth belongs to them just as it belongs to all animals sharing it with human beings. Or to be more exact, they all belong to each other.

I’m not trying to paint an idyllic picture, just to describe the situation as I imagine it. I hope I’m more or less accurate. I’m certain that life wasn’t simple: such a total dependence on Mother Earth (or any mother) is complex, containing various measures of both the good and bad. Of course, there were many disasters and difficulties, sicknesses and hardships, just like today. But at the same time, the prehistoric human being had this amazing sense of belonging and the unique feeling of capability that I miss so much today. People really knew how to exist in nature, they knew how to keep warm, keep safe, find food and water. They knew how to find fun and games and music without plastic toys or smartphones. If we were to ask them “what would you take with you to a desert island,” they wouldn’t understand the question.

Over the past few years, a weed-gathering trend has emerged. Prestigious chefs go out into nature and happily pluck weeds for their cooking, and various workshops offer guided tours to acquaint you with weeds and cooking-in-the-wild. The Arab markets in Israel are overflowing with fresh green bundles of weeds that are quickly snatched up, and of course, some people never stopped wandering and picking weeds. Only now they’re garnering some appreciation for the effort…

I love it. Although I’m somewhat cynical about the trendiness, I like thinking about the veterans of my Moshav located in in the Jerusalem hills, who routinely went out foraging for wild beet, mallow, arum or fiddle dock, which they naturally and expertly cooked. They taught me a lot about identifying weeds and their uses, and I am proud of the renewed appreciation and respect the lowly weed now commands.

Chubeza (mallow) belongs to the Malvaceae family, like its cousin the okra.  Chubeza grows all over the country in places where the earth is rich with nitrogen, in abandoned patches, at roadsides, dunghills, fallow fields and settlements. Its root is skewer-like, its stem covered with thin hair. The leaves are roundish, sometimes shaped like a hand, cut to lobes with sharpened edges.  Chubeza grows in wintertime and blooms from February to April. The flowers grow out of the bosoms of the top leaves in a bluish-pink color. The fruit is a schizocarp, meaning it separates to molecules once it ripens, and those are shaped like a cake or a small tarbush.

The chubeza is an important and very nourishing vegetable. More about this below, but along with its nutritional value, chubeza boasts medicinal merits known for years in folk medicine. Nisim Krispil quotes the Mishna which names the mallow as a plant whose stem contains liquids that were used then for preserving seeds. This is true—all parts of the plant contain a disinfecting mucous, very effective against the common cough, disturbances in the respiratory system or urinary tract, and as a proven cure for necrosis wounds, burns and skin diseases, infections in the delicate female genitalia, urinary tract and kidney diseases, and even as a shampoo and hair strengthener.

Cook 250 grams of chubeza greens in half a liter of water for 30 minutes (250 grams take up a lot of space, but they shrivel as they cook). The result will be a lump of moist spinach-like greens. Squeeze out the water (and save the liquid), then mash the greens, manually or with a food processor. Add half a cup of olive oil, and spread this balm over burns, necrosis wounds and skin irritations and diseases. The mixture can be refrigerated in a sealed glass jar. The cooking liquid is rich in nutrients as well. Drinking it is good for the common cough, eases respiratory ailments and urinary tract infections, and cures infections in the female genitalia. Washing your hair with this water strengthens the roots and prevents hair loss.

A major advantage of mallow is that it’s so easily available, growing wild nearly everywhere. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, residents of besieged Jerusalem ate the leaves and fruit (termed to this day “Jerusalem bread”) of mallow they picked and often cooked them to create chubeza cutlets. “Kol Yisrael” radio used to broadcast chubeza recipes and cooking hints. These broadcasts were picked up in Jordan, prompting Radio Amman to announce that “the Jews are eating mallow, which is donkey and animal fodder, a sure sign that the Jews are dying of starvation and Jerusalem is about to fall into our hands.” During the 30th Israeli Independence Day celebrations, children were sent on a nostalgic hunt for chubeza leaves, which were frozen by “Sunfrost” and sold at a symbolic price along with recipes from the siege. But the mallow is not only a default option. It really is delicious, and in terms of nutritional value, a real treasure: rich in iron (almost 13 mg per 100 g, compared with 1-2 mg in broccoli, for instance) and in vitamins A and C. Eating chubeza greens will improve your eyesight. Mallow contains 12 times more vitamin A than the carrot!

And one last fun fact: the abovementioned sticky mucous characteristic of the Malvaceae family is actually the primary component of the prehistoric marshmallow, prepared by the ancient Egyptians some 2000 years ago. They used the Marsh Mallow root to produce a sticky concentrate resembling natural gelatin, which they sweetened with honey and nuts to prepare ritual confections for the gods and pharaohs.

Easy and complex chubeza recipes (for mortals) can be found here in our Recipe Section.

I simply adore mallow. Like other wild plants, it manages to simply and serenely retain within itself both contradictions and differences, as if wondering why anyone would question the possibility. Mallow is an austere, unsophisticated plant, popping up everywhere, yet – in today’s new foraging trend, it is the star of hip gourmet restaurants in the kitchens of renowned chefs who hit the hills and fields at the break of dawn to gather them. It is a wild and annoying weed, the bane of farmers everywhere, an obstacle in the path to nourishing the world, and on the other hand, mallow in itself is a curing, nourishing plant, perhaps a perfect substitute for domesticated vegetables growing in the very beds she invades.

Chubeza is also very Israeli – combining within itself the deep-rooted Palestinian culture of weed gathering (hubez = bread), while at the same time connoting the Zionist lore of how brave, besieged Jerusalemites creatively survived on mallow greens when no other food was available. And there’s something so homegrown Israeli about the chubeza, a citizen of the world, yet easily spreading to any old damp patch of earth, competing against domesticized plant life with the charming chutzpa of a weed.

Right at the beginning of Chubeza (the farm) we opted to wage only limited combat against the chubeza (the weed) growing wild in our field, as it is our kin, our own flesh and blood, and its flowers are purplish and beautiful.  But also because we wish to harvest them and add them to your boxes. Enjoy!


Some Tips:

The mallow we send you is organic, from our field. But we recommend you go out and pick some for yourselves, along with other weeds (wood-sorrel, purslane, beetroots and mustard, goose foot and sparrow grass [aka asparagus]) which grow wild all over the country. If you’re gathering mallow leaves (or other wildflowers), be careful not to pick them from roadsides where they are undoubtedly polluted by auto exhaust, and try to avoid locations where you think the city or the occasional neighbor may be spraying weed killers. Best to find them in the rough, still available here and there, and in unpopulated abandoned areas where nature’s wild grows undisturbed.

Good luck, enjoy the adventure, and… bon appetite!

Wishing you more of a happy month of Shvat, and more downpours to come!

Alon, Bat Ami, Yochai, Orin and the entire Chubeza (the farm) team



Monday: Scallions/onions, celeriac, broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke/fennel, chubeza (mallow) greens. Small boxes only: coriander/parsley.

Large box, in addition: Lettuce/Swiss chard/kale, beets/white turnips/ kohlrabi, parsley root, fava beans/snow peas or garden peas.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, clementinas, pomelit, oranges.

Wednesday: Scallions/onions, celeriac/parsley root, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke/fennel, chubeza (mallow) greens, Swiss chard/kale, fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, beets/white turnips.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, coriander/mizuna, kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, clementinas, pomelit, oranges.


January 21st-23rd 2019 – Happy TuBishvat

In Honor of Tu B’Shvat, we have a joyous offers for you:

Melissa of Mipri Yadeha also announces a sweet and celebratory sale: order 2 dry fruits or one fruit “leather” and receive a complimentary sampler of mixed fruit (one per client – stock permitting).

Order via our order system.

Chag Sameach!


May this day not perish from our tongue/ Rabbi Moshe Chalua

May this day not perish from our tongue in song and melody
Tu B’Shvat, a day of greatness for each plant and tree
I shall choose a fruit of the Land and fervently pray
The Lord save it from strife and enmity
Satiate the world with glory, fill it with your righteousness
And we shall quench our hunger with sweet fruit of the Land
This year you will eat, drink, and be of joy
And I shall hide in the shadow of your wings in peaceful repose
wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives and pomegranates
of beauty and freshness to compose

This year we were able to celebrate Tu B’Shvat during a sunny week following the blessed showers – a two-week dry break from the rain, keeping us sun-washed and warm. Perfect timing! This lull allows the soil to absorb some warmth as the water permeates deep down slowly but surely, and lets the gigantic water-and-mud puddles in our field dry up. The earth regains its ventilation after a spate of sticky mud, saturated with water and blocking the air.

Tu B’Shvat, celebrating the New Year of the Trees, began in Talmudic days as a bureaucratic-appointed time, the beginning of taxation (Terumah) for the fruits of the tree. Since every year a tithe is given from the yield, it was necessary to determine the point from when the year is counted. Ultimately the 15th of Shvat was granted the honor of being the definitive date. But this explanation is rather impersonal and totally misses out on the connection, reliance and reflection between man and nature, specifically the trees.

The month of Shvat was chosen as it is the season in which the trees renew their fertility cycle. The name Shvat derives from the word “shevet”, meaning a branch. During this time of the year, the branches dance and beat with the great winds, bend under the raindrops or snow, break or flex, sometimes even stunned by lighting. The other meaning of Shvat is the delicate facet of the word, that of a branch beginning its growth anew. According to tradition, the Biblical flood ended in Shvat, and the dove dispatched by Noah brought back a young olive branch, taut and fresh from a newly-blossoming tree. Yet amidst this chaos, the tree branches begin their growth cycle: Thanks to the rains that have fallen and the days growing longer, the branches develop buds and begin to bloom and sprout new leaves in preparation for fruit.

And how is fruit born? Just like a baby.

Every fruit develops from a flower (usually following pollination). After pollination, the flower changes: its petals, stamen and calyx wilt, and the fertilized cells divide and grow into the embryo – the seed. The embryo cells divide into tissue and organs of the seed (the radicle and plumule surrounding the endosperm – a food-hoarding tissue). In Hebrew, the first stage in the ripening of the fruit has a specific name: חנטה. When it begins, water and nutrients start arriving to the cells, and they rapidly divide and grow. The ovary grows, its walls thicken and the stem surrounding it becomes juicy and grows as the seeds develop within it. Usually you can see the remains of the sepals of the dried-up flower at the top of the fruit. This stage is extremely sensitive to weather change, strong winds and rain, causing many tiny fruits to fall from the vine.

At the end of this stage, the fruit begins to ripen, and changes appear in its size, shape, scent, color, flavor, texture and softness. The fruit is the organ which contains the seeds, wrapping them in a juicy layer and peel. Fruit has pivotal significance to the continuation of the plant, as here is where the plant’s “embryo” lies, protecting it and assisting it to spread the seed and become absorbed in the earth.

This awakening in nature and the sweet promise it proclaims, together with the concern for actual fulfillment of this promise, made Tu B’Shvat a day to sing about, offer special prayers and celebrate God’s abundance by rejoicing in nature. And of course, celebrations call for food, and what better meal than one consisting of fruits of the earth, its most natural confectionary?

There is something magical about eating fruit to celebrate the tree from which it grows. Biting into a luscious fruit is tasting the sweet, thirst-quenching present, but also sensing the traces of its past: the rain and sun that caressed the tree, watered its roots and made the buds peek from the branches; the wildlife which brushed against its trunk and climbed it; the birds who built nests among its branches, the bees merrily buzzing, the flies and other pollinators who hovered over its blooms, transferring pollen from flower to flower, and the ripening – that magical moment when the pollination fertilizes and a new little fetus of a fruit is created. And in the midst of all this sweetness and juice is the seed, the hard, serious heart of the light-headed, seductive fruit, in which the future lies: the next tree, its branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, the sun, winter, rain; the hammock that will be hung from its boughs, the treehouse to be built at its crown, and of course, the joyful band of wildlife that will surround it.

This is also the month of foaling amongst the goats and flocks of sheep. Now of all times, when it’s still so cold outside, the baby lambs and kids (goats) are being born, because the world around them is bursting with greenery to eat. One look at the Chubeza beds illustrates this green outburst (and with it the constant need to weed…), streaked by wild grass that can make do with the little rain it’s gotten so far.

This beautiful holiday is very local and dependent on the climate of this country, and the warmth we already feel in the air. Ask the Europeans who are shivering from the cold or the North Americans attempting in vain to defrost their frozen hands in the warm glow of a frigid Valentine’s Day. Even the Mexicans, whose weather forecast varies from “hot” to “very hot” all year long, or the Thais, who move from extreme “wet” to “dry” will not understand my girls’ glee as they discover another almond tree in bloom along our route to school. This is definitely a local Israeli celebration, observed only in the beloved and thin slice of country between sea, mountain and desert.


In the 1880’s, with the renewal of the Jewish settlement in Israel, the need arose to find new agenda for this day, perhaps to proclaim: Now that we’re here, it is not enough to eat from the fruits of the land left to us by our forefathers/mothers (and Arab falachim), it’s time to plant new fruits. On Tu B’Shvat 1890, teacher and writer Ze’ev Yavetz led his students from the school in Zichron Ya’akov to a festive tree planting, and thus dictated the new character of Tu B’Shvat: a holiday of planting, not merely Rosh HaShana of the Trees. In 1908, the Teachers’ Union formally proclaimed Tu B’Shvat to be the holiday of planting. Later, the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet) adopted this date, and thus, Tu B’Shvat is officially a day of planting.

However, over the years things have become somewhat shriveled, and a cynical note has begun to creep into the holiday mood. Often the festive planting does not result in a forest, but rather in new plantings, same place, one year later. Azaria Alon writes, “Looking back, we can only blame ourselves, the Keren Kayemet and the Teachers’ Union, for the fact that Tu B’Shvat is not a holiday for nature but a holiday of planting. Let’s search the songs and ads for a word about what will happen to the plant after it is planted, about our commitment to the tree after we leave the planting site.” (Remember Salach Shabati?)

And so, when new content for the holiday was required, Avraham Bumi Toren, a pioneer SPNI activist of Kibbutz Maa’barot, suggested that Tu B’Shvat become the holiday of nature, and the SPNI declared it so. Thus this day, which was already viewed by our forefathers and mothers as the harbinger of the transition from winter to renewed growth, is now expressed in nature as the start of major blooming, budding, the blossoming of the almond tree, the awakening of various birds for nesting and reproduction, and other phenomena. Going out into nature to view its world has become the new content of the holiday. Another facet of this holiday originated with the popular campaign of the 70’s to save the wildflowers of Israel, stressing the rule not to harm, pick, or uproot the rare wildflowers.

Over the past few years, perhaps because we are gradually disconnecting from nature, paving paradise and putting up parking lots, Tu B’Shvat has become the holiday for the environment, in a general sort of way, and specifically in matters of recycling and educating about damage control. Not that this isn’t good–it’s creative and interesting and beneficial. But I feel a little ache in my heart as we drift farther away from my childhood memories of walking in my boots and coat to the planting site, digging my fingers into the freezing earth, taking the plant out of its black plastic jacket and placing it gently into the hole my father dug with a great big shovel. True, it is important to continue to treat this tree, to care for it and cultivate it, but it is too bad that people are fearful of this commitment, because we are losing a lot. Losing the sensual experience that accompanies planting and touching the earth, as well as the life it grants us, ingrained within the plant.

Wishing you a week of finding the time to enjoy the outdoors in its beautiful blooming green stretches dotted with flowers. Maybe you’ll even add your own plant. Chag Sameach!


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


Monday: Scallions/onions, lettuce, broccoli/cabbage, turnips/ beets/kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/broccoli greens/mizuna, potatoes, fava beans/snow peas or garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke.

Large box, in addition: Celeriac/parsley root, fennel/daikon/radishes, coriander/ parsley.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, clementinas, pomelit, oranges.

Wednesday: Scallions/onions, lettuce, broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, turnips/beets/kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, Swiss chard/kale/broccoli greens/mizuna, potatoes, snow peas or garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke, celeriac/parsley root.

Large box, in addition: Fennel/daikon/radishes, parsley, red bell peppers.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocado, lemons, pomelit, oranges.