WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES (AND WHAT ALMOST ISN’T)?

NEW YEARS 5783 – CHANGES IN CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULES:

Next Week:

  • There will be no Monday deliveries (except for those whom we will personally inform)
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, September 29

DURING THE WEEK OF YOM KIPPUR:

  • Monday deliveries as usual
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, October 6

DURING THE WEEK OF CHOL HAMOED SUKKOT there will be no deliveries. 

THE WEEK OF SIMCHAT TORAH:

  • Monday deliveries move to Tuesday, October 18th
  • Wednesday deliveries as usual

We emailed and texted you personally with details of your orders. If you did not receive the messages or have encountered a difficulty understanding, please contact us.

Over Chol Ha’Moed there are not deliveries, but we anxiously await your visit to Chubeza on our Open Day in the Field – scheduled for Thursday, October 13 (3rd day chol hamoed), between 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxing and meaningful year.

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This week, Chubeza – along with the entire organic market – is experiencing an acute shortage of tomatoes. Usually, when our harvest quantities are low (as happens mainly during the transitional seasons, like now) we can purchase supplemental vegetables from other growers. This year, however, there’s been a serious tomato shortage for the past several weeks. We had been lucky till now, thanks to an abundance of tomatoes in the field, but this week a serious, annoying pest, the “Tuta absoluta” tomato moth, has struck our tomatoes and forced us to sort many of the less-than-perfect crop. (We now have an abundance of Grade B tomatoes….). Thus, this week’s box contains only a small quantity of tomatoes, which we truly hope is a temporary condition. Hopefully the situation will improve over the weeks to come.

AND WHAT ELSE IS IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Thursday: Onions, sweet potatoes, slice of pumpkin, parsley/coriander, red bell peppers/chili peppers, lettuce/”baby” greens assortment/arugula, cucumbers,  tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, eggplant, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, okra/  long Thai lubia beans/green soy (edamame).

Large box, in addition: Zucchini/Jerusalem artichokes, butternut squash, leeks/ garlic/ popcorn.

FRUIT BOXES:  Yellow apples, mangos, pears/avocadoes, bananas/pomegranates/pomelit.

September 19-21, 2022 – The Squills Go White, the Citrus Gold

NEW YEARS 5783 – CHANGES IN CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULES:

Next Week:

  • There will be no Monday deliveries (except for those whom we will personally inform)
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, September 29

DURING THE WEEK OF YOM KIPPUR:

  • Monday deliveries as usual
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, October 6

DURING THE WEEK OF CHOL HAMOED SUKKOT there will be no deliveries. 

THE WEEK OF SIMCHAT TORAH

Monday deliveries move to Tuesday, October 18th

Wednesday deliveries as usual.

We emailed and texted you personally with details of your orders. If you did not receive the messages or have encountered a difficulty understanding, please contact us.

Over Chol Ha’Moed there are not deliveries, but we anxiously await your visit to Chubeza on our Open Day in the Field – scheduled for Thursday, October 13 (3rd day chol hamoed), between 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxing and meaningful year.

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Every year the grass grows green
The sun comes up, the rain falls cold
Every year the earth renews
The squills go white, the citrus gold
Each year people are born to this earth
To love and resentment, sadness and mirth,
And someone who wishes that this year too
Is a time of pure happiness and rebirth. 

– Leah Goldberg
(English: A. Raz)

A new year awaits on the threshold, awaiting its grand entry.

In Jewish tradition, there are, in fact, four new years: (Nissan, Elul, Tishrei and Shvat) with each ‘new year’ serving a different aim: The month of Tishrei is our very own Rosh Hashana – for the farmers growing vegetables in the fields. The perfect logic of this timing is something we actually can feel. Our bodies, which sweltered over the long, exhausting summer days, are softening and cooling down a bit, basking in the lower temperatures (take our word for it, they are falling, despite the extremes) and earlier sunsets. Autumn is when the field completes its annual cycle: summer yields are ending, and autumn plants are already acclimated in the field, awaiting the first showers and new beginnings. Chaperoning these winds of change are hopes and wishes for a blessed, fruitful and rain-abundant year of health and comfort, growth and livelihood.

These hopes are tangibly expressed in the blessings and symbols of the holiday. The Talmudic sage Abaye, who was probably in charge of the Holiday Food Column, is the one who invented the symbolic dishes for the Talmudic table. In Tractate Krittut 6, 1: “Said Abaye: Now that you have mentioned that the siman has significance, every Rosh Hashanah, one should eat a pumpkin, lubia, leeks, beet greens and dates.”

The Simanim express the seasonal variation that the holiday table offers, bringing together guests of all sorts: from the leafy greens (Swiss chard), the legumes (lubia beans), the princess of onions (leek) and the gourds. Plus, of course, the pomegranate and dates, apples, honey and fish – all showcasing the bounty that this blessed land naturally provides each season.

And as we sit round the festive table, this year especially, and think about the passing year (what we resolve to discontinue) and look forward to the new year (and what we hope it will bring), the seasonal meal suggests we linger in the present, eat something that is in fact here and now, being harvested in our fields as we speak. And together with what was and what will be, to experience that which is presently on the tip of our tongues and taste buds, crunching in our mouths, as we smack our lips in pleasure, remembering that amidst the challenge, hardship and concern, we are surrounded with so much growth, abundance and goodness.

In keeping with the ancient Chubeza tradition – each year we attempt to fill your boxes with all the simanim available in our field, and join their wishes for a good and blessed year!

Blessings-from-the-Chubeza-Box, Rosh Hashana 5783 

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

Sweet Potato: May we enjoy sweet surprises that ripen covertly and then burst into life, sweet and full.

Leek: May we have the patience to grow unhurriedly and diligently, and the understanding that sometimes, in order to reach ripeness, one must grow very slowly. And spring no leeks. (*leek takes a minimum of five months to ripen!)

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

Pumpkin: May we allow ourselves to let go and allow the good fairy to lead us to the grand ballroom and dance till we drop.

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

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

Silka (beet greens, Swiss chard): May we beet off self-doubt and undermining criticism, and may we cultivate a confident, strong, supportive spine as oh-so-stately as the chard’s.

Cucumber: When others are in a dither, may we develop the sensitivity and ability to add just the right tinge of sweetness, as we remain calm, level headed and cool as a cucumber.

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

Cherry Tomatoes: May we appreciate the little ones, and remember that sometimes the smallest of things are the sweetest, juiciest and most wonderful of all.

Zucchini Squash:  We bade farewell from the spring zucchini at the peak of summertime, but it will return in autumn. May we remember that in the cycle of nature, a period of difficulty and scarcity is followed by growth and abundance.

Lettuce: Lettuce know to appreciate and not take for granted the loyalty of those who remain with us, now and forever.

Green Herbs: May we always notice fragrances of bloom, ripening, fresh meadows and well-satiated soil. May we stop to fill our lungs with the fragrances and remember to cherish our breathing, so easily overlooked and taken for granted.

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

Soy beans (edamame): May we sow and unsew ourselves out of our pods (or hearts), to be bursting with wholesome energy and goodness.

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

Popcorn: May we enjoy a year of happy, humorous and yummy surprises, just like that innocent looking kernel that explodes into a snack to share with others.

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

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

Wishing you the fulfilment of your hopes and prayers, for good and for blessing, for happiness and growth, for health, for a good life and for peace. Shana Tova!

From the entire Chubeza crew in the field, the packing house, the office and on the roads: Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Einat, Adi, Elior, Gili, Orin, Mohammed, Majdi, Vinay, Shar, Nopadol, Sam, Swisak, Ruhgsamon, Yang, Melissa, Ruthie, Alon, Chana, Eyal, David, Lior, Tal, Ziv, Matan, Barak, Melanie and Aliza

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THE VEGETABLES BEHIND THE BRACHOT IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES:

Monday: Green soy (edamame), onions, parsley/coriander, popcorn, eggplant/zucchini/potatoes, leeks/garlic, slice of pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce/”baby” greens assortment.

Large box, in addition: Okra/cherry tomatoes/chili peppers, red bell peppers/Swiss chard, long Thai lubia beans.

FRUIT BOXES:  Mangos, bananas, apples, pomegranates. Large box, in addition: Larger quantities of the above, plus nectarines.

Wednesday: Green soy (edamame), parsley/coriander, popcorn, eggplant, leeks, garlic/slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce/”baby”lettuce mix, red bell peppers. A special gift: Swiss chard/basil.

Large box, in addition: Okra/zucchini/butternut squash, chili peppers/onions, long Thai lubia beans.

FRUIT BOXES:  Mangos/avocado/pear, bananas/nectarines/grapes, apples, pomegranates.

September 12-14, 2022: COOK’S STRONGEST ALLY

NEW YEARS 5780 – CHANGES IN CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULES:

DURING THE WEEK OF ROSH HASHANAH:

  • There will be no Monday deliveries (except for those whom we will personally inform)
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, September 29

DURING THE WEEK OF YOM KIPPUR:

  • Monday deliveries as usual
  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday, October 6

DURING THE WEEK OF CHOL HAMOED SUKKOT, we will not be packing boxes or delivering. 

Over Chol Ha’Moed, we invite you to an Open Day in our Field – a celebration of joyful agriculture. Stay posted for further details. 

DURING THE WEEK OF SIMCHAT TORAH:

  • Monday deliveries move to Tuesday, October 18
  • Wednesday deliveries as usual

FROM THE WEEK FOLLOWING SUKKOT AND SIMCHAT TORAH, ROUTINE DELIVERY RETURNS! Those who wish to increase the size and/or contents of your pre-holiday box, please inform us as soon as possible.

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When I was alone, I lived on eggplant, the stove top cook’s strongest ally. I fried it and stewed it, and ate it crisp and sludgy, hot and cold. It was cheap and filling and was delicious in all manner of strange combinations. If any was left over, I ate it cold the next day on bread.

Laurie Colwin

Our eggplants are just now making their debut at Chubeza. They’ll be hanging around till autumn, as the sweltering outdoor temperatures remind them of their birthplace: Southern India and Sri Lanka. The eggplant first migrated from India to Burma and then China. In ancient Chinese writings, eggplants are mentioned as early as the fifth century. From there, they migrated to the Middle East, where they became prominent ingredients in the local cuisine. The Muslim Moors of North Africa who conquered Spain in the eighth century brought eggplants with them, and the Italians made their acquaintance with the exotic vegetable via commercial ties with Arab merchants in the 13th century.

The eggplant, so adored in Israeli cuisine, is one of the vegetables grown in hothouses during the cold season in order to maintain a constant supply to its Israeli aficionados. At Chubeza, we bid it farewell in winter and delightfully welcome it back with the great heat of summer. We plant eggplants in our field when winter is turning to spring, at the beginning of April, when the zucchinis and pumpkins have already been in the field for a couple of months. This is when the first eggplant seedlings acclimate in the ground, youthful and sleek with silky leaves.

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

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

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

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

Eggplants arrived in Israel long before the Hebrew pioneers, for, as noted, this vegetable was – and still is – an important component in the Arabic cuisine. Archeological excavations in the Givati Parking Lot uncovered eggplant seeds over 1,000 years old!  A popular eggplant recipe from that era appears in the earliest Arabic cookbook Kitab al-Tabikh (The Book of Recipes) written in ninth-century Baghdad, is the buraniyyah, “the eggplant of Buran,” named after the wife of Calif Al-Ma’mun – apparently quite a talented chef in herself: “Choose small eggplants, pierce them with a knife, remove their tops and place in salted water. In a small pot, mix olive and sesame oils and fry the eggplants until cooked. Sprinkle some mori [a fermented wheat-based sauce, which probably tasted like soy sauce], black pepper and caraway seeds. Top with chopped figam leaves, and praise the Lord.”

But the love affair between eggplants and the Israeli cuisine was more complex. During the era of austerity after the State of Israel was established, eggplant recipes were invented and designed to take full advantage of this vegetable’s three most admirable characteristics: availability, low price and an amazing ability to absorb flavors. In Israel’s early days, the eggplant was used as a convenient replacement for the real thing. If liver is expensive, why don’t we just liver-flavor the eggplant (remember mocked chopped-liver?!). Are tomatoes scarce and expensive? One tomato, ten eggplants, and voila: a tomato-flavored eggplant! There is even a dessert dish: sugar-coated eggplant, baked like a strudel and occasionally served in Israeli restaurants. And alongside these wonder foods, the eggplant always starred in Mideast cuisine as a component in various salads, or sliced and fried to one day become, in Israeli culinary jargon… antipasti!

There will always be those who claim the eggplant as king of the local vegetables, but in any case, it is definitely a guest of honor in the emerging Israeli kitchen and one of the most deeply-rooted homegrown representatives of this area.

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

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

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

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

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

Throwback Wednesday: if you were around in the eighties, you’ll enjoy this Zehu Ze about eggplants and other worldly issues. Enjoy!

Wishing you a great week,

Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

This week we picked and pruned the chard and basil beds, whose green leaves are by now a bit weak and dishevelled. Since we prefer to let these crops regenerate and regain their vitality, we’re sending you a free gift (in addition to the veggies in the box) of a bunch of this less-than-perfect-condition chard or basil. Instead of disposing of them, we salute their dogged efforts to grow, despite it all. Give these brave guys a smile. And the upcoming round looks very promising indeed…

Monday: Red bell peppers/zucchini/cherry tomatoes, onions, parsley/coriander, popcorn, eggplant, garlic/chili peppers, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce/”baby” greens assortment. FREE GIFT: Basil/chard.

Large box, in addition: Green soy (edamame)/okra, butternut squash/ corn, long Thai lubia beans.

FRUIT BOXES:  Apples, mangos, peaches/nectarines, pears.

Wednesday: Red bell peppers, onions, parsley/coriander, popcorn, eggplant, garlic/chili peppers, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce/”baby” greens assortment. FREE GIFT: Basil/chard.

Large box, in addition: Green soy (edamame)/okra/zucchini, butternut squash, long Thai lubia beans.

FRUIT BOXES:  Apples, mangos, peaches/nectarines/plums, pomegranates.

September 5-7 2022 – Popcorn dance!

The start of the school year is a very exciting time, but sometimes it can be scary and hard as well – moving to a new school, unfamiliar educational challenges, trying to find your place in a group of kids you don’t know (yet)…..This takes time, and trust, and knowing that you need lots of patience and hope for the “new” to soon become familiar and wonderful.

This week’s Newsletter is devoted to that hard, shrunken corn that you received in your box (or will receive in the coming weeks), the popcorn that proves that if you give even the hardest, most rigid clench a little warmth, patience and trust, it will bounce and burst and find its very own inner softness as well.

Traditionally, the end of each summer heralds the popcorn season. Over the next few weeks, you will be receiving smaller and stiffer corn cobs than usual. Don’t toss them out figuring Chubeza’s crop went bad this week. These are actually rare, delectable treats. It’s popcorn!

To celebrate this joyous corn creation, we are proud to present our traditional Popcorn Newsletter. Settle back in your chairs and enjoy the show!

Back around 3500 BC in a cave in North America (somewhere central-west of today’s New Mexico), the guys were hanging out together, glued to the TV of the era, the blazing campfire. As the flames danced and brought joy to their hearts, they had to nosh on something. But for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery, they somehow did not polish off everything from their plates. Remains of that late-night-nosh were discovered over 5000 years later by archaeologists in 1948, in what became known as world’s oldest popcorn. (It still looked quite crunchy and yummy, but a tad too stale to nibble on.)

The popcorn is indeed a special species of corn, small and hard. They were seeded in March along with the first round of corn, but after the plants grew dark red-bearded cobs, we cut off their water and allowed the cobs, smaller than the sweet corn variety, to fully mature and dry on the stalk. Last week we picked the dry, hard cobs and stored them in our warehouse for further drying and hardening. How wonderful to munch on food that bears a history of thousands of years of noshing!

Popcorn comes in many colors and forms. Here are a few of them:

A particularly cute type is strawberry popcorn, which looks like this:

Native Americans used popcorn even before they discovered the corn we know and love so well. They probably fell onto popcorn by chance, as some random kernel rolled into the fire and suddenly popped. This surely led to attempts to reenact the wonder, and later to make it an institution. In ancient times, they would roast the popcorn by heating the cobs over a direct flame or in a pit in the ground filled with sand and heated to a high temperature. The cobs were placed into the pit whole, and the kernels would pop on the cob, wrapped in its sheaf and protected from the sand. Prehistoric cooks also made special utensils to roast this snack, clay pots with feet to place atop the fire.

Primeval Americans used the popcorn not only as nosh. They made soup and beer out of it, and used popcorn as a decoration in ritual ceremonies as well as for jewelry and head ornaments. Tlaloc, the Aztec God of Rain and Fertility, was adorned with popcorn-string necklaces, and the God of Water and Protector of Fishermen would receive an offering of “hailstones” made from popcorn. Europeans who arrived ashore were also welcomed with gifts of popcorn necklaces, and to this day there are those who decorate their Christmas trees with fresh, aromatic popcorn.

One modern, non-conventional popcorn-based attempt—which ultimately failed—was to use popcorn as an ecological, biodegradable substitute for Styrofoam packing material. You must admit that this is a very captivating idea, yet sadly the popcorn’s natural appeal attracted insects and other pests and organisms to the party. The popcorn completely lost its beneficial packing qualities when wet, and was prone to flammability. Alas.

Popcorn, or in its scientific name, Zea mays averta, is a subspecies of flint corn. Flint corn got its name from its hard-as-rock shell, one of the required components for popping. Also required are a proper level of humidity and a high level of starch within the kernel. Due to the kernel’s hard shell, when it’s heated, the moisture locked inside turns to steam and the pressure builds up. The starch inside the kernel gelatinizes and becomes soft and pliable. The pressure continues to mount until reaching the breaking point of the hull:  the steam forcefully explodes, exposing the soft starch. The starch expands and dries rapidly to become the dry, crispy, puffy foam we call popcorn.

Watch this movie demonstrating the process in very dramatic slo-mo

Some Tips:

– For the foam to dry quickly, place the kernels in a pot in a thin layer to create crispy popcorn that will not reabsorb the moisture from the pot.

– FYI, popped popcorn kernels expand exponentially beyond their original size. Two tablespoons of raw popcorn kernels produce 2 ½ cups of the popped product!

– In its natural form, popcorn is an excellent choice for a healthy snack. Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber, low in calories and fat, and is both sodium and sugar free. This, of course, relates to clean, fresh popcorn, minus the addition of butter and oil, salt or caramel that transform it from a handsome prince to a scary toad.

Storage: Popcorn kernels might look tough, but they won’t stay that way unless you treat them properly. Storing popcorn in the fridge may dry it out or make it too moist to allow popping. Best to keep popcorn kernels in a dry, dark cupboard away from heat, moisture and light. It is advisable to separate the kernels from the cob and store in sealed jar, ceramic container or sealed tin.

Here is how you do it, starring: Chubeza Popcorn as himself, AND Talia’s hands, the hands which rock the Chubeza website. (Talia doubles as our website-wizard…)

Making quality popcorn is an art in itself. The quality and quantity of the popping depends on the rate at which the kernels are heated. If heated too quickly, they’ll explode before the starch in the center of the kernel can fully gelatinize, leading to half-popped kernels with hard centers (formerly the hull). The tip of the kernel, where it attached to the cob, is more sensitive than the rest of the hull. Heating too slowly will crack the tip and allow steam to escape, preventing the build-up of pressure and the ultimate popping. In the past, making popcorn in a pot was a task that required training, specialization, and great skill. In today’s era of the microwave and automatic popcorn-popper, everything is so much simpler, but still it’s a good idea to put aside a few kernels and try the old-fashioned popping method of yesteryear.

Popping Instructions:

In microwave: Place small quantity of kernels (approximately 2 T) into a paper bag you received in your box (make sure it’s dry and not torn), and fold the edge of bag to seal. (At last: a way to re-use those paper bags!) Set timer for 2-3 minutes, and listen carefully. After a few seconds the kernels will start popping loudly, setting the bag into a lively, throbbing rumba. When 3 seconds without any popping have elapsed, remove paper bag from the microwave. Caution! It’s hot. Make a small opening for ventilation; allow steam to escape, and then cool. Add the seasoning of your choice and nosh away.

In a pot: (from the website of Kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan)

You will need: Popcorn. A pot. Oil.

We all know the black and sooty telltale spots shamefully lining the pots, reminding us of unsuccessful popcorn, or the sad “old maids,” the un-popped kernels that will never receive another chance.

Here’s how to avoid these embarrassing failures, step by step:

The Pot: Use a wide, tall pot so the kernels have room to expand.

The rule is 3 T oil for each ½ – ¾ cup of popcorn. The oil should cover the bottom of the pot and coat each kernel. (You can combine oil and butter, if desired.)
Step 1: Pour the oil and wait a bit till it warms up. (Can use one or two kernels to test.) When oil-bubbles form around kernel, it’s time to start.
Question: Should we toss the kernels?
A: In the beginning of the process, you can give the pan a little shake to arrange the kernels in one layer and for the oil to cover.
Step 2: Leave the kernels on medium heat. When you start hearing the first to pop, lower the flame.
(Babysitter: Keep an eye on them. This is no time to check your email.)
Listen to the sound of the popping kernels. When the popping diminishes, it’s time to turn off the flame. Do not open the pot till you hear the silence of the all-popped popcorn.

To all kids in the Chubeza Family who are starting First Grade this year, and those who are moving up to Junior High or High School, we wish you – and all new students – years of wonder and fascination, of friendship and fun and happiness!

And to our Dror, who together with his wife Naomi are escorting their daughter to the chupah this week, we are so excited and happy for you!!

And now, a message from the Chuzbeza Family to Bat Ami and Yisrael: A loving mazal tov to you on the occasion of the Bat Mitzvah of Talia Sorek-Danczinger. May Talia be blessed with happiness, good health and the joy of reaching her dreams!

Wishing a good week to all! Enjoy the gentle autumn breezes that are now in the air…

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Red bell peppers/Ramiro (long) sweet red peppers, onions, parsley/coriander, sweet corn, okra/Thai lubia, eggplant, butternut squash/zucchini, green soy (edamame), tomatoes, cucumbers, head of lettuce/”baby” lettuce mix.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin/cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes/potatoes, garlic/chili peppers/popcorn.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Apples, mangos, grapes, pomegranate. Large boxes: Greater quantities of all of the above, plus peaches/red plums/European plums.

Wednesday: Red bell peppers/Ramiro (long) sweet red peppers, onions, parsley/coriander, sweet corn, Thai lubia, eggplant/cherry tomatoes, butternut squash/zucchini/chili peppers, green soy (edamame), tomatoes, cucumbers, head of lettuce/”baby” lettuce mix.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes/okra, garlic/popcorn.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Apples, mangos, grapes, pomegranate. Large boxes: Greater quantities of all of the above, plus pears.

August 29-31 2022 – Here Comes the Sun

The raspberry and blueberry season has come to an end. We bid farewell to months of sweetness and health and sadly say goodbye to the tiny and sweet fruits – until next year….

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The end of summer is here, with slightly cooler mornings and breezier evenings. That is, they were like that until this heat wave descended upon us….

End of summer heatwaves take me back thousands of years, reminding me that crazy weather and global warming are not the sole cause of heatwaves. Thousands of years ago, the Talmud discusses a shockingly hot end-of-summer: “The heat of the end of summer is more oppressive than the heat of the summer itself.” (Yoma 29a)

But other than wearily griping about the heat, we at Chubeza try to harness the scorching sun’s power for soil solarization.

Why should we disinfect the farmland to begin with? For the same reason we wash our hands with water and soap – to prevent the transfer of and infection from viruses, fungus and germs. Pathogens exist in the ground as well, and they stress and harm the plants. One of the most infamous is the fungus that caused the Irish potato blight of 1845, devastating the crops and bringing on the greatest famine in Ireland’s history. Some one million people died of hunger, and a similar quantity emigrated to the U.S. Here at Chubeza, we meet soil-borne diseases every year. Fortunately, they are not on a large scale, and of course, they do not cause disasters of Irish potato-famine proportions. Sometimes the problem is manifested by non-uniform growth in the bed – some parts of the bed have hearty plants, while in other sections the growth is sparse. In such cases, we attempt to regain soil balance and renew the helpful organisms within by disinfecting the soil.

Soil solarization means taking a preemptive step. The idea is to cleanse the earth of pathogens before seeding, in order to prevent attacks on the plant. There are several methods to sanitize the earth. The first, developed at the end of the 19th century by German researchers, is to heat up the earth and disinfect it using steam. Subsequently, a chemical method was developed in which the earth is cleansed by volatile chemicals, particularly the strong, familiar (and extremely toxic) methyl bromide. Chemical fumigation was very popular and common in large agricultural settings, where it seemed essential and irreplaceable.

But chemical soil fumigation is also very problematic, to say the least. The immediate problem is clear: these chemicals are extremely toxic to humans, animals, insects and earth. Methyl bromide also injures the ozone layer and is therefore forbidden.  But chemical fumigation has other disadvantages as well: unfortunately, the disinfectants are not so picky about who and what they disinfect. They frequently harm the beneficial natural enemies together with the pathogens, thus destroying the earth’s positive micro bacterial texture and violating the soil’s biological balance. The result is an ecological blight to the earth and the environment. Upsetting the balance can be a double-edged sword: the moment the “good soldiers” are destroyed, the earth and plants no longer have any protection against diseases or pests which swoop in after the disinfection.

In 1976, an alternative method was developed by Professor Ya’akov Katan and his colleagues: disinfection by heating the earth via solar rays. The idea is that the ground will reach a sufficiently high temperature to kill disease-causing organisms and cleanse the earth of future ills. Weed seeds are also destroyed by the heat, which is why this method can be used successfully to rid an area loaded with weed seeds, and start off “on the right foot” with fewer weeds-in-the-making.

Soil solarization is gentler towards the biological processes conducted within the soil. Research has shown that the temperatures reached by the earth (40-45 degrees Celsius) do not destroy all the pathogens and certainly do not kill the earth’s biological activity. Another development of the method, where compost is dug into the earth prior to the solarization, contributes to the increase of the microbial activity.

How is soil solarization conducted?

  • Wait for the right season, i.e., summertime (July and August). Prepare the earth as you would prepare it for seeding and planting: clean remnants of previous plants, loosen the earth and add compost; form beds.
  • Water the ground, usually with sprinklers. The moisture conducts the heat deeper and encourages biological activity. The earth should be saturated to a depth of 70 centimeters.
  • After the earth is sufficiently wet, cover it with a clear plastic sheet to heat it up.  This should be done very early in the morning, when there is no breeze and it is not too hot, and we are as patient and precise as possible. The sheet is pulled and stretched across the earth, then sealed by dirt along the sides to create a vacuum.
  • Then wait. It is recommended to keep the sheet cover over the earth for four to six weeks.
  • We use soil solarization to disinfect the growth houses, beginning by recycling the plastic that had covered the tunnels. It’s no longer entirely transparent since it’s second-hand, yet we prefer to recycle, even at the cost of a slightly-lower temperature for disinfecting. We removed the roof from several of the structures, thus the full power of the sunrays floods the soil with warmth. Others are still covered in plastic, with less radiation, but much, much hotter….

    Here are some photos.

During this time, the earth heats up slightly more than the outside temperature, and strong gases accumulate within the vacuum under the cover. These materials are naturally secreted from the compost mixed into the soil, but thanks to the cover they do not evaporate. Instead, they convene in the earth at higher levels than usual, leading to an extermination of pathogens. The result is a weakening of the pathogens, and an induction of “soil resistance”- basically bolstering the earth’s immune system. Unlike other disinfections, no “biological void” is created with soil solarization, nor is the biological balance violated within earth. Of course, there is shock and a change from the previous condition. Instead, a different microbial deployment occurs in the earth, one that is still rather balanced.

At the end of the process, we remove the plastic sheets, give the earth a bit of time to recuperate, and let its positive microorganisms return to operation. Then it’s time to begin autumn seeding and planting. (Yes! There is an autumn on the horizon.) We shall report our progress in the near future.

At the end of the soil solarization process, we remove the plastic sheets, allowing the soil to recuperate and the positive microorganisms within it to resume their blessed activity once we soon begin our autumn seeding and planting. (Yes! Autumn is on the horizon!)

May we all have a breezy-sunny week. Good luck to all the students who are beginning the school year this week. (Amen!)

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Red bell peppers/long red bell peppers, onions, parsley/coriander, corn, okra/Thai lubia/cherry tomatoes, eggplant/potatoes, slice of pumpkin, green soy (edamame), tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce. FREE GIFT: New Zealand spinach/basil.

Large box, in addition: Butternut squash/spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes/zucchini, garlic, chili peppers.

FRUIT BOXES: Apples, mangos, grapes, peaches/plums. Large box, in addition: Larger quantities of all the above + pears.