September 13th-14th 2021 – WHAT’S IN A SEVEN?

THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULE:

Yom Kippur Week:
Monday, September 13 delivery will be as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday, September 14.

Beginning of Sukkot Holiday Week:
Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 19.
No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

End of Sukkot Week and Beginning of Simchat Torah:
During this week, Wednesday deliveries will take place on Wednesday, September 29.
There will be no Monday delivery.

Over Chol Hamoed there will be no vegetable deliveries. But we greatly hope to renew our longtime annual tradition (so rudely interrupted by Covid) to host you at Chubeza’s Open Day at the Farm. Details to come once we receive the government guidelines. We can’t wait to welcome you back, and fervently hope that all will take place as planned.

OUR BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR A WONDERFUL, HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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The Sabbath Year, the Year of Shmitta

Welcome to the New Year 5782! Aside from it being a new year, it is also the seventh, the Shmita (שמיטה) sabbatical year. As is our custom every seven years, when we encounter another “seventh,” we give you a glimpse at Shmita and Chubeza’s mode of action throughout this special year.

Let’s start at the very beginning. In the Bible, Shmita is mentioned in two places from which the various laws eventually stemmed. The first time was at Mt. Sinai itself:

The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.  Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.  Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. (Leviticus 25, 1-7)

The second time it’s mentioned is in Moses’ speech in the Book of Deuteronomy, just as the Israelites are preparing to enter the Land of Israel:

At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. (Deuteronomy 15, 1-2)

Even at first glance, it is evident how different these two sources are. The first is agricultural and ecological, with an emphasis on the land resting, the earth taking a sabbatical and the prohibition against carrying out specific farming actions. The second source is of socio-economic relevance, with a commandment to forfeit debts and a prohibition to demand their payment.

From this very prominent difference, it may seem at first that we are discussing two very different matters that have been clumsily clumped together. On second glance, these two aspects of Shmita in fact complement each other. Shmita is asking us to forfeit our ownership of land, achievements and property, inviting us to remember that we are merely a component of the universe, not the center of it, and we are not the ones who run the business. This invokes modesty and humility. The outcome of the internalization is to refrain from forcefully working the land, even if it is a “positive” use of force, as well as from conducting forceful actions against our fellow men and women.

Tractate Shvi’it in the Mishna, a chapter dedicated to the various laws concerning the year of Shmita, commences in a discussion about the agricultural conduct over during the seventh year: “Till when does one plow the orchard on the eve of the seventh year?” (Shvi’it 1,1) As it continues, the Rabbi’s deal with the socio-economic aspect: “The Prozbul does not require the cancelling of debts. This is one of the laws Hillel instituted when he realized the people of Israel are refusing to loan money. (Chapter 10, Mishna 3)

What is this Prozbul (פרוזבול) initiated by Hillel the Elder? The Prozbul is in fact a bill of loan that bypasses (with the consent of all parties and the confirmation of the Beit Din court) the Biblical commandment to forego the debt. According to the Biblical commandment, a debt that was not repaid by the seventh year is revoked, but, as the Mishna explains, this creates a complex problem: people were refusing to loan money to those in need, for fear of their loan being annulled (similar to banks who only lend to those who are able to return the money, not to those who actually need it…). Hillel realized the Torah never intended to make life harder for the needy or the weak or anyone who simply wants to make a living. On the contrary, which is why in order to encourage loans, he instituted the Prozbul – a foregoing-bypassing bill.

Fast-forward to the days of the first agricultural settlements in Israel, some 130 years ago, when the pioneer Jewish settlers arrived in Palestine. They devised a solution that serves in many ways as a “Shmita bypass,” similar to the Prozbul – the “Heter Mechira” (היתר מכירה).

Life was not simple for the pioneer farmers of the First Wave of immigration. These novice farmers were inexperienced, the land they bought was not particularly fertile, the climate and crops were unfamiliar, etc. Although most of these early settlers adhered to Jewish law, the commandment to keep the 1889 year of Sabbatical seemed a frightening contradiction to the basic necessity for food. If they took a break from working the earth for an entire year, how on earth (pardon the pun) would they earn their bread? In addition, there was the fear that by letting the land lie fallow, their non-Jewish farming competitors would gain the upper hand.

These reasons led to the solution of a Heter Mechira, supported by rabbis from the Diaspora. The Jerusalem Ashkenazi rabbis were highly opposed to this solution, which in essence does away with the commandment of Shmita. Thus, the “Shmita Controversy” followed. What was it about? The Heter Mechira allows for a temporary sale of the land to a non-Jew. In such a case, the Jewish farmer is enabled to work the land during this year, similar to the way Israeli Chametz is temporarily sold to non-Jews every year on Passover. Selling the land to a non-Jew rids the need to adhere to Shmita, as only Jewish landowners are obliged to keep the commandment. Fruit that grows on land not owned by a Jew does not hold the sanctity of that grown during the Sabbatical Shmita year.

Supporters of Heter Mechira view the situation differently. Shmita is part of a greater commandment of Jubilees. The Shmita sabbatical year takes place every seven years, culminating after seven Shmita rounds in a fiftieth “Jubilee Year.” During this period, all the land purchase agreements which took place over the previous 49 years are annulled, kind of like “rebooting” your system, and all the lands return to their rightful owners (via the original land distribution to tribes). However, the Jubilee laws do not hold these days, only when Israel is governed by a monarchy, the Sanhedrin and other governmental and political conditions that are irrelevant today. And this is what the Yerushalmi Talmud has to say about these matters:

Vezeh dvar hashmita-shmot –there are two Shmitas, namely Shmita and Yovel. When Yovel is applicable, then Shmita is practiced by Torah ordinance, but now that the Yovel year is no longer applicable, Shmita is practiced ‘from the (Rabbi’s) words’” (Shvi’it Yerushalmi, 10:2)

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi connected Shmita and Yovel, stating that upon ceasing to obey the laws of Yovel due to historical reasons (the dispersion, etc.), Shmita, too, is not relevant.

Rav Kook, the chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and the first Jewish settlements in Israel, who supported Heter Mechira, even brought up the Talmudic precedent of taxes and Rabbi Yannai. Due to heavy taxes imposed upon the habitants of the country by the Roman government, in an economy that was largely based upon agriculture, ceasing to work your land would bear grave consequences. Rabbi Yannai thus sent the farmers to break the laws of Shmita and plant during the seventh year. Rav Kook quoted this story and claimed that the reason Rav Yannai called for seeding the land is because the land was in fact owned by non-Jews to whom the Jewish farmers were forced to pay taxes.

Today the Heter Mechira is the solution for most of the vegetables grown in this country, and we at Chubeza will be using it this year.

To conclude, I want to note one final fascinating way to allot significance to the seventh year, by a movement named “Israeli Shmita”.

In their words: The Hebrew Calendar is a cycle of six years of doing, followed by a year that is a “Sabbath of the Land.” A year in which the land itself “celebrates” the Sabbath, and each and every one of us is invited to partake. This year, property is not everything, time does not press, and nature is much more than resources to take advantage of, and we are called to be better and more empathetic versions of ourselves. Israeli Shmita is an initiative aimed towards introducing us to the ideas and values behind Shmita and allow us to accept the invitation of this special year by breathing, learning, connecting to the community and close environment and taking part in a year of healing and repairing.

Their website has a host of ideas and thoughts on this subject.

We wish you a year that holds some of the peace and release of Shmita, a time to stop and take a deep breath, and an observation of the many wonders surrounding us.

Wishing you happy holidays.

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/ okra, parsley/coriander, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn/popcorn.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, green soybeans (edamame)/cherry tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Pomegranates/bananas, mango, grapes, pears.

Large boxes: Greater quantities of pomegranates/bananas, mango, and grapes, plus nectarines.

Teusday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/okra, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/basil, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn/popcorn.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, parsley/coriander, cherry tomatoes.

FRUIT BOXES: Small boxes: Bananas, mango, grapes, pears.

Large boxes: Greater quantities of pomegranates/bananas, mango, and grapes, plus nectarines.

September 5th 2021 – A happy and healthy new year!!

THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULE:

This Week:

Monday deliveries were made on Sunday, September 5. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we have notified you differently by email)

Yom Kippur Week:

Monday, September 13 delivery will be as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday, September 14.

Beginning of Sukkot Holiday Week:

Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 19. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we have notified you differently by email)

End of Sukkot Week and Beginning of Simchat Torah:

During this week, Wednesday deliveries will take place on Wednesday, September 29. There will be no Monday delivery.

We have sent a personal email to each of you and a text message with your exact delivery schedule for the holiday period. If you do not receive the email, or if you have any questions, let us know.

As noted, over Chol Hamoed there will be no vegetable deliveries. But we greatly hope to renew our longtime annual tradition (so rudely interrupted by Covid) to host you at Chubeza’s Open Day at the Farm, on Friday, September 24th (3rd day of chol hamoed), between 10-13. We hope no surprises ruin the party. Further details and reminders in the weeks to come.

OUR BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR A BLESSED, HEALTHY & SERENE NEW YEAR!

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May this year bring an end to grief
May it begin with joy and relief
After such a grim and trying year
Welcome oh new one, at last you are here!
A new year to bestow its grace upon
Both you and me and everyone.
A good year will bring about
Peace everywhere, without a doubt
May this year bring an end to grief
May it begin with joy and relief

Anonymous (translated by A. Raz)

Wow, it’s been another hell of a year.

Each new year, just before Rosh Hashana, we customarily send festive greetings, our hearts swelling with joy and anticipation at the upcoming holidays. This year, I would like to repeat my New Year’s greeting of last year – but with a bit less gloom. Although we are still knee-deep in battling the pandemic, it is somehow more familiar now, and less scary. I hope. Despite this long, challenging time we’re enduring, the seasons continue to change, and the cycle of life is still doing its thing, reminding us that there is still cyclic motion, change and the comfort of transformation even within hardship, as the new year comes a’tapping at our doors.

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 have already acclimated in the field to await the first showers and new beginnings. Chaperoning these winds of change are hopes and wishes for a blessed, fruitful and rain-blessed 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, and smacking our lips in pleasure, remembering that amidst the challenge, hardship and concern, we are surrounded with so much growth, abundance and goodness.

May we enjoy a good and blessed year!

In keeping with the ancient Chubeza tradition – here’s our very own blessings for our Chubeza vegetable symbols:

New Zealand Spinach: May we acknowledge our strengths to survive and flourish in green freshness, even when the heat is on. (Spinach is the green that flourishes happily during intense heat.)

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.

Lettuce: Lettuce lovingly think of our grandparents celebrating alone, away from the familiar family festivities. And lettuce know to appreciate and not take for granted the loyalty of those who remain with us, now and forever.

Potato: May we learn from mistakes made in the past, of others and of our own. May we remember to vary our fields with many yields, and not only count on the simplest and most common. (And the explanation is right here).

Sweet Potato: May the color orange go back to being a joyful heartwarming color as opposed to a signal of upcoming danger as the light changes from green to red. May we view each other in a humane and united light (like the orange that brings together red and yellow) and not divided into one sector or another.

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.

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 persevere till the end of the pandemic at all hours of the day – not just till midnight, when we turn back into pumpkins…

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.

Cucumber: May we develop the sensitivity and ability to listen and feel the sweetness within what starts out seeming boring and bland.

Tomato: May we enjoy a year 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.

Basil: May we always notice the fragrance of blossoms, ripe fruit, fresh grass and rain-drenched soil. May we stop to take a deep breath of these fragrances, and remember to respect and cherish our oh-so-taken-for-granted breathing.

Coriander: May we rejoice in the difference in people’s tastes, in the differences between us, in the wonderful variety and vibrancy created by a symphony of opinions, varying faces and opposite choices. May we refuse to allow the voices dividing “us” and “them” to lead us. (Coriander may very well be the most controversial vegetable, and still it shares an honored space in your boxes.)

Parsley: May we allow the good things to enter, fill and cleanse us from the poisonous and harmful. And may we live sparsely, as the parsley.

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.

Corn: May we have a bright, sweet and delicious year! And may some dinners be as easy as just peel, bite, and bask in the glory.  (You heard it ear first….)

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, the rocks and clods of earth that so deserve the blessing of rain.

And here’s to the greatest hope and blessing of all: May the COVID pandemic end swiftly and completely, may we resume “normal” life, and may we not soon forget the insights we’ve gained through these challenging times.

Wishing you the fulfillment 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, Assaf, Orin, Mohammed, Majdi, Vinay, Montry, Nopadol, Santi, Yang, Ruhgsamon, Anu, Elisheva, Melissa, Ruthie, Alon, Chana, Eyal, David, Lior, Yisrael, Alon, Ziv, Matan, Barak, Melanie and Aliza

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

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia, parsley/coriander/basil, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, leeks, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green soybeans (edamame)

Large box, in addition: Onions/okra, corn/popcorn/cherry tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Mango, apples, pears, pomegranates. Large boxes: Greater quantities of the above fruits, plus bananas.

August 30th-September 1st 2021 – How sweet it is to be loved by you…

The New Year is upon us, and soon 5781 will make way for 5782

THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Rosh Hashana Week:

Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 5. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

Yom Kippur Week:

Monday, September 13 delivery will be as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday, September 14.

Beginning of Sukkot Holiday Week:

Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 19. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

End of Sukkot Week and Beginning of Simchat Torah:

During this week, Wednesday deliveries will take place on Wednesday, September 29. There will be no Monday delivery.

Next week, we will send a personal email to each of you with your exact delivery schedule for the holiday period. If you do not receive the email, or if you have any questions, let us know via the phone: 0546535980 or by email: chubeza@gmail.com.

As noted, over Chol Hamoed there will be no vegetable deliveries. But we greatly hope to renew our longtime annual tradition (so rudely interrupted by Covid) to host you at Chubeza’s Open Day at the Farm. Details to come once we receive the government guidelines. We can’t wait to welcome you back, and fervently hope that all will take place as planned.

OUR BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR A WONDERFUL, HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

_______________________________________________________

Ain’t She Sweet?!

Though she’s frequented our boxes for several weeks now, she actually started out with us four months ago (perhaps more). For our part, we’ve been at her side observing the various stages of her growth and snapping shots for her fashion model portfolio. So, this week’s Newsletter is devoted to giving you a glossy look at our glamorous redheaded friend – the sweet potato (aka yam).

Growing sweet potatoes is a lesson in faith, imagination and hope. This is how it works:

In the beginning of May we received a package from Kibbutz Nirim, which we opened to find this treasure:

“Well, hey there, Georgia!” we greeted our sweet potato, and happily placed the cuttings into the pre-dug mounds we’d prepared in the ground, separated from one another by 15 centimeters. Here’s how it looked like when we were done:

And close up:

A few days later, we started to notice tiny little leaves growing on those branches, and then, lo and behold – this is the scene just one week later:

Remember that naked branch? Look how well dressed she  is now!

Then, the young seedlings begin stretching out their beautiful arms, on their way to a bountiful future:

Only two weeks later, the field looks like a sea of green, with densely assembled leaves, branches and a vibrant, verdant carpet of blooms:

Posing up close:

…and zooming in even closer: look at these gorgeous little flowers, with their characteristic Convolvulaceae family purple hue at the center. The sweet potato is practically the only edible plant in this extended family that includes such decorative and wild plants as the morning glory and the bindweed.

In a neighboring bed, a wild cousin comes to visit (there’s one in every family…), extending his arms and beautiful white flowers which have an intoxicating scent. Take a whiff (and FYI – place them on your nose and inhale. They’ll stick right to it!):

And underneath this green carpet, silently but surely, the sweet potato plant shoots out roots which thicken in order to store nutrients for the winter. Four months after the start of the process, we begin exploring what’s happening six feet below. If need be, we turn off the irrigation (causing the sweet potatoes to grow just a little more) and when The Time Comes, we roll the lawn mower over the plots, mowing the heavy thicket from above to make life less tangled for us, and off we go, armed with pitchforks and a smile to dig up the luscious orange roots.

Bon appetit to you all! May we enjoy a week of faith, imagination, hope and deliciousness!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/ okra, parsley/coriander, New Zealand spinach/basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions/scallions/leeks, lettuce, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn/slice of Neapolitan pumpkin.

Large box, in addition: Eggplant, cherry tomatoes, green soybeans (edamame)

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, mango, pears. Small boxes only: Bananas Large boxes: Greater quantities of the pomegranates, mango, and pears, plus peaches.

Wednesday: Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia, parsley/coriander/basil, cherry tomatoes/okra/popcorn, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions/leeks, lettuce, butternut squash/slice of Neapolitan pumpkin, sweet potatoes, corn/potatoes, eggplant/carrots.

Large box, in addition: Bell peppers, New Zealand spinach, green soybeans (edamame)

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, mango, apples. Small boxes only: Bananas Large boxes: Greater quantities of the pomegranates, mango, and apples, plus grapes.

A list and a smile – August 23rd-25th 2021

ANOTHER WEEK OR SO AND IT’S ROSH HASHANA!!

The New Year is upon us, and soon 5781 will make way for 5782

THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Rosh Hashana Week:

Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 5. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

Yom Kippur Week:

Monday, September 13 delivery will be as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday, September 14.

Beginning of Sukkot Holiday Week:

Monday deliveries will be made on Sunday, September 19. No delivery for Wednesday customers (unless we’ll notify your differently by email)

End of Sukkot Week and Beginning of Simchat Torah:

During this week, Wednesday deliveries will take place on Wednesday, September 29. There will be no Monday delivery.

Next week, we will send a personal email to each of you with your exact delivery schedule for the holiday period. If you do not receive the email, or if you have any questions, let us know via the phone: 0546535980 or by email: chubeza@gmail.com.

As noted, over Chol Hamoed there will be no vegetable deliveries. But we greatly hope to renew our longtime annual tradition (so rudely interrupted by Covid) to host you at Chubeza’s Open Day at the Farm. Details to come once we receive the government guidelines. We can’t wait to welcome you back, and fervently hope that all will take place as planned.

OUR BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR A WONDERFUL, HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

______________________________________________

Reminding you that the New Year brings you the spectacular Shana Ba’Gina Calendar / A Year in the Garden created by artist and gatherer Ilana Stein. If you haven’t yet met this amazing creation, Shana Ba’Gina is a detailed, illustrated calendar that is also a monthly guide to domestic Israeli gardening and nature. This product celebrates the direct connection between time and seasons with local agriculture and gathering. Each month brings about changes – in the field and forest, in the garden, and in your food. With the upcoming sabbatical Shmita year, Ilana created a special edition dedicated solely to indoor home gardening: vegetables on the windowsill, greens in the kitchen, hanging plants in the bathtub, hydroponics, terrarium and many other solutions to bring nature indoors.

A Year in the Garden comes highly recommended by the Chubeza staff!

A Year in the Garden products include a hanging/tabletop calendar, a weekly journal, and magnets with seeding schedules. Take a peek at Ilana’s distinctly charming calendar right here.

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THIS WEEK’S NEWLETTER IS ON PARTIAL VACATION

But, in the spirit of our Summer Veggie Boxes, we’re happy to send you this most appropriate New Yorker cartoon (even though the vegetables pictured are more fitting for Europe/N. America).

KEEP SMILING!

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia, parsley/coriander, basil/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin, okra/green soybeans (edamame), corn/sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: Scallions/leeks.

Large box, in addition: Eggplant, onions, cherry tomatoes, Amoro pumpkin/butternut squash.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, mango, apples.    Small boxes only: Bananas Large boxes: Greater quantities of the pomegranates, mango, and apples, plus nectarines/pears.

Wednesday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/short Iraqi lubia/okra/cherry tomatoes, parsley/coriander, New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, green soybeans (edamame), corn/popcorn, butternut squash, scallions/leeks/onions. Special gift for all: basil.

Large box, in addition: Eggplant/potatoes, slice of Tripolitan pumpkin, sweet potatoes.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, mango, apples, nectarines/pears. Large boxes: Greater quantities of all the fruits.

August 16th-18th 2021 – PICKING PECKS OF PEPPERS

Next week, Ido and Carole of the Ish shel Lechem bakery are taking a well- deserved break. Therefore, there there are no loaves of bread, but the crackers, granola and other dry products can be ordered via our order system.

Rest up, guys! We’ll miss you.

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One hot summer day this week, I started thinking about summer. With so many folks out gallivanting the globe, the thought struck me that there are so many components of your summer boxes which started out around the globe as well, including from the uncharted territories of Africa and America before they were “discovered” in the 15th century. Take tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, corn, potatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes, for example – not one of these tasty vegetables appeared in the European vegetable garden or the Israeli one before the discovery of America. Okra, garlic and watermelon were born in Africa and immigrated here many years ago. The thought of a life bereft of the redness of tomatoes, the green of corn sheaves, the orange of pumpkins and sweet potatoes or the juiciness of watermelon brings to mind black and white TV. One can learn a lesson of modesty from the vegetable patch (usually a good idea): to enjoy the wealth of a colorful, bountiful summer season and to understand a few things about the wonder of difference and varieties, and the great profit and joy to be gained by allowing this variety to develop and reproduce.

(Check out this very interesting article from Masa Acher (Hebrew) about the global culinary migration.)

One of these migrants from the American continent is the pepper, which takes a starring role in your boxes these days. The honorable pepper has now come for a long visit, scheduled to stay all the way till autumn.

The pepper we know and eat in its sweet or spicy varieties, in red, yellow, green or orange (also available in purple, black and brown…) actually received its name by mistake. The word “pepper” originally referred to the pepper spice (i.e. black or white pepper), and only later was lent to the chili and green pepper vegetables.

The black pepper spice (a member of the Piperaceae family, whose black, green or pink seeds—at various stages in the maturation—produce the savory black and white ground pepper condiment we know and love) originated in India, with its name derived from the Sanskrit “Pipali.” Europe was already well-acquainted with pepper, as well as its relative, the Piper longum, which was also used as a very piquant spice. The name was translated via commerce into the Latin “Piper,” from there to the old English “Pipor,” German “Pfeffer,” French “poivre,” Dutch “peper,” and other languages. At the same time, the word was translated from Sanskrit to Persian to Aramaic, becoming known by the ancient Jewish sages. In Mishnaic Hebrew, it in known as “Pilpelin” or “pilpelet,” and in Talmudic “Pilpula.” Its spicy flavor became synonymous with a quick tongue and a sharp brain (thus, in Hebrew, a Talmudic – or other – discussion is termed hitpalpalut), and to describe vigorous diligence.

Pepper spice plant

When Christopher Columbus attempted to discover a shortcut to the Indian spice route, he was unruffled by the fact that he found something totally different.  He bestowed the spicy vegetable he met in the Caribbean (from the Solanaceae family) the same name as the fiery Indian spice he had met, thus confusing the world forever after. There is absolutely no botanical connection between the two plants. Yet the American pepper was as spicy as the Indian one, and Columbus, a merchant and sophisticated marketing man hoping to sell it for a pretty penny in his mother continent, gave them the same name. In his journal, Columbus noted that “the pepper which the local Indians used as spice is more abundant and more valuable than either black or melegueta pepper.” His enthusiasm helped the spicy vegetable travel via Spanish and Portuguese maritime routes to Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and India, and of course, to Hungary, where the ground dried pepper became the national spice, aka paprika.

Soon enough, it was discovered that this spicy vegetable has a sweet little sibling (actually a bunch of sweet siblings), but the name was already given and would not be changed. So, these were coined “sweet peppers,” in Hebrew “gamba.”

In Central America, the vegetable has a long and ancient history. Petrified peppers have been found in archeological digs in Central America dating back over 2000 years, and they appear in Peruvian embroidery relics from the first century. The Olmecs, Toltecins and Aztecs were only some of the cultures known to raise peppers and use them in culinary endeavors. Together with the spicy pepper types, the sweet varieties were brought to Europe. By the beginning of the 17th century, the Europeans discovered the rich variety of the peppers we know today, all raised and grown over the years by habitants of Central America.

Today there are hundreds of pepper varieties which span the taste bud gamut from sweet, bittersweet, spicy to sweet-and-spicy, etc. There are also a host of shapes: large and elongated; square and bell-shaped, hence the name “bell pepper;” small, long and heart-shaped like the Spanish pimiento pepper; long and yellow like a banana, or tiny, like those used for pickling; long and narrow, small and triangular, thin as a shoelace, and more. The colors also vary: they come in green, the original pepper shade, and then range in hue from light to dark green, but that’s not all. When I worked in California, we grew a pepper that started out purple on the outside and green on the inside! As it ripens, the pepper changes shades, similar to the process the tomato undergoes where the level of sugar (or spiciness) is raised and it turns a warmer hue. The most popular peppers are the yellow, orange, and of course, red, but they also come in black and maroon! The sweet pepper and the spicy peppers are harvested at different stages of their growth – from the green to red stage, thus we get to enjoy a wide range of flavors and color.

Planting peppers was actually the first time Alon and I worked together, when he joined me in spring 2004. We planted them in a totally open field, but today the first crops at the beginning of spring are well-groomed in the pampering planting tunnel, with mesh net walls surrounding them for protection, a shade net above and trellising strings that help them stay erect to climb up and away. And like well-pampered, beloved children, they produce great yields totally worth all the trouble of raising them. However, we also grow them in the open field. The summer plants sometimes suffer in the planting tunnel, thus we prefer to plant them in the more ventilated open field. Don’t worry, we pamper them, too, by planting every pepper bed between two Thai lubia beds which climb up the trellising nets on both its sides. We then spread a shade net from one end to the other, as preventative medicine against possible diseases lurking and/or exposure to sunstroke. Here at Chubeza we grow three pepper types: the Maccabi, Tolmeo and Romanetta.

 

Sometimes we begin harvesting the peppers when they are still young and green. The pepper harvest is in fact a simultaneous harvest and thinning out. As we harvest the green peppers, we pick from the denser parts of the bush to allow breathing space and growing room for the remaining vegetables. Upon ripening, the green peppers start turning red, first one cheek, then the other, and slowly become completely blanketed under a red cover. This process takes about three weeks. Now when we harvest peppers, we choose only the ones that are almost entirely red. At the end of the harvest there are still green and half-red peppers awaiting full blush, preparing for next harvest.

Over the past few years, as we learn to grow vegetables in hothouses, we try to ease some of the plant’s burden in its first stages of growth. To allow for it to invest in its growth (to help it grow taller and yield vegetables over a longer period of time), we thin out the plant at the flowering stage, similar to thinning when growing fruit on trees, allowing those that remain on the plant to develop in a thinner, more spacious environment. Thus, our first harvests are usually red peppers, which ripened on the plant for a longer period of uncrowded time.

  

All peppers are very rich in Vitamin C, making them natural anti-aging agents and beneficial in preventing heart and vascular diseases and certain cancers. Vitamin C is important for proper immune system function, and augments iron absorption through the intestines. Another important pepper component is Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant which protects body tissues and cells tissues from oxidation. Vitamin A also aids in the prevention of cancer, heart and vascular diseases, and promotes anti-aging. Vitamin A is crucial for night vision and vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, cells, tissue, mucosal tissues and skin.

May we enjoy a quiet week, where the only excitement comes from summer and fun,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/okra, parsley/coriander, cherry tomatoes/sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, butternut squash/slice of Neapolitan
pumpkin, eggplant, green soybeans (adamame).

Large box, in addition: Scallions/leeks, corn/Amoro pumpkin, basil/New Zealand spinach.

FRUIT BOXES: Pears, nectarines, apples, mango. Large boxes: Greater quantities of all the fruits above.

Wednesday: Bell peppers, Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/okra/potatoes, parsley/coriander, corn/sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, butternut squash/slice of Neapolitan
pumpkin, eggplant, green soybeans (adamame)/Amoro pumpkin.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/leeks, cherry tomatoes, basil/New Zealand spinach.

FRUIT BOXES: Pears, nectarines, apples, mango. Large boxes: Greater quantities of all the fruits above.