November 20th-22nd 2017 – Occupant of Interplanetary Most Extraordinary Craft

Next week, Ido, “Beit Halechem’s” baker-man will be attending a short course in an organic bakery in Budapest. This is very rare for Ido, who never ever delays baking, but this is a golden opportunity to learn and improve. Which is why next week there will be no bread-baking on Monday the 27th and Wednesday the 29th. Baking resumes at the beginning of December. Yes, we will miss him terribly, but we wish him a great journey. Can’t wait to enjoy his tasty new products!

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Derech HaShatil is a small nursery in Shoham that grows organic vegetable plants, working together with the Shekel Foundation, employing only people with special needs. In the hothouse, the nursery cultivates organic high-quality plants for vegetable gardens, fastidiously maintaining the plants’ quality and health.

As winter approaches, Derech HaShatil is offering a planting kit for your winter vegetable garden with an assortment of 45 organic plants: red cabbage, kohlrabi, New Zealand spinach, parsley, coriander, red lettuce, bok choi, arugula. Price: only 50 NIS!

What a great chance to help plants, food and people grow!

You can order this planting kit via an email message to Chubeza, or add it to your boxes beginning next week via our order system (under the category of “Chubeza Vegetables).”

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Hilaf of “Melo Hatene” has renewed our supply of his absolutely divine techina and coffee. He hand-grinds organic whole sesame using 300-year-old millstones which originated in Syria, reaching their long journey to Land of Israel via Turkey.  Use our Order System now to add these great products to your box: Whole organic or regular techina, and coffee ground for coffee machines/macchinetta or “black coffee.”

We’ve missed this!! A warm welcome back to Hilaf’s amazing products!

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Hands Up, Veggies Hands Up!

kohlrabi-faces

Often the kohlrabi is likened to an alien, perhaps due to its green color and outreached arms. Our friend is indeed rather strange looking, and that is because he is a very unconventional phenomenon in the vegetable world. We know vegetables that are the fruit of the plant (tomato, cucumber, squash, pepper, eggplant etc.,) or the leaves (Swiss chard, cabbage, kale, arugula, parsley, etc.) or the flowers (broccoli and cauliflower) and even the roots (beets, sweet potato, radishes or carrots). But this little guy is a stem, a rarity shared by only two other vegetables, from other families: the celery and the fennel. But they’re a whole different story.

Kohlrabi is the son of a prominent family, the Brassicaceae’s, which count among their members such well-loved vegetables as the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprout. Though these are the family members that hog the spotlight, the bashful kohlrabi is delicious, and it chalks up a champion score in the medicinal value department.

In the beginning of its growth, the kohlrabi looks a lot like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli or kale plants. It sprouts green leaves on an upright stem. But upon maturity, the kohlrabi searches for an individual identity, and suddenly its stem thickens, curves up and becomes ball-shaped until a round kohlrabi sits on the earth (not under it!), light green (or purple, depending upon the type), sweet and juicy.

The origin of its name derives from German: kohl=cabbage, rabi=turnip. But it isn’t really a hybrid of the two. The name was given perhaps because the vegetable belongs to the cabbage lineage, but looks like a turnip or a similar bulb. But that too is misleading, because the kohlrabi is neither a root nor a bulb, but rather a thickened stem.

kohlrabi1

The geographic distances the kohlrabi has traveled over the years wouldn’t shame the most frequent flyer. Like the rest of its family, the kohlrabi’s ancestor is the wild cabbage, or curly cabbage, whose origins are quite ancient. In the first century, Roman agronomists and cooks wrote about it.  Roman Emperor Karl the Great demanded that kohlrabi be planted in his kingdom. From Europe it traveled to North India in the 17thcentury, where it became a main component of the Hindu diet. From there, our vegetable migrated to Northern Africa, the Middle East, China and Africa, and later to the United States–specifically, to the southern kitchen. To this day, kohlrabi is a main favorite in Indian, Asian, German and Hungarian cookbooks.

The kohlrabi is speedier than the rest of his family, because we don’t have to wait for the plant to flower in order to get to the edible part (like the cauliflower or broccoli) or for the leaves to close (like the cabbage.) As a matter of fact, the kohlrabi should be picked early, when it hasn’t yet matured. A big kohlrabi means it was picked too late, and its texture is liable to be fibrous. This is also the reason you occasionally receive tiny kohlrabies. Sometimes the winter halts their growth, but a longer wait would have harmed the juicy, crispy texture, which is why they are picked small. The good news is that small-sized kohlrabis do not have to be peeled, as their skin is very soft and delicate.

Kohlrabi can be eaten in any form. It is customary to eat it raw, but it’s delicious grilled or roasted in the oven or on an outdoor grill. It is super tasty when cooked or steamed, not only in soup, but stir-fried in butter or baked with salt, white pepper and sage. Kohlrabi can even be pickled. In Chinese-food recipes, it can substitute for radish or turnips and for water chestnuts. Its leaves are similar in taste to kale and can be used similarly and added to soup, pasta sauces and stir-fries. The stems are hard and unusable. Take a peek at our recipe section to get ideas of non-conventional ways to use kohlrabi.

Health-wise, the kohlrabi possesses all the medical merits of the Cruciferae family. It is an outstanding source of Vitamin C (one cup of sliced kohlrabi supplies the recommended daily portion), and like the cauliflower, is a great source of nutritional fiber. Kohlrabi also contains high levels of potassium, folic acid and calcium. In folk medicine it is considered to cleanse the blood and kidneys, as well as being beneficial for the lymphatic system and for digestion. Nissim Krispil writes of Moroccan Jews who make kohlrabi and honey juice to remedy hoarseness and congestion. In natural medicine kohlrabi is mixed with other vegetables to make a juice that treats asthma, improves lung function, sinus problems and the thyroid gland. Adding carrot juice will improve the taste of kohlrabi juice.

kohlrabisSo the kohlrabi is picked young, in some seasons less than two months after being planted. But it is in fact a bi-seasonal vegetable, meaning that in order to arrive at a complete growth cycle climaxed by seed production, it must undergo two growing seasons. In between is a rest period, or “incubation,” after which it will flower and produce seeds over the following springtime.

Being a winter vegetable, Kohlrabi favors a cool climate. We try to lengthen the season as much as possible and begin planting it at the end of August. But we’re always plagued by doubts whether it’s the right time, as the first round of kohlrabi in our fields finds itself trying to battle the end of summer heat. When the poor vegetable suffers heat stress, it is more vulnerable to insects and other problems. The white fly is a most annoying tiny aphid that is very fond of kohlrabi and loves climbing all over it.

The white fly has a special passion for the brassicas, literally strangling them with love. It situates itself on their leaves, accompanied by its very-extended-family, and totally blackens their faces. The pest is nurtured by the plant and weakens it, while secreting large quantities of honeydew, a sticky sugary substance that attracts the sooty mold fungi which covers the leaves in black and decreases their ability to undergo photosynthesis. When this hits the kohlrabi, the result is white tasteless fruit and a very small yield. (Thankfully, we haven’t encountered that yet this year…)

The good news is that as the temperatures plunge, the fly becomes lethargic, and thus the later-growing rounds are much less infested. Our little friend must be snuggling tight under its winter slumber covers. The current kohlrabi yield is quite fine, and the vegetables are green, juicy and delicious. This is the present harvest of our cool-rabi, so give it due respect and make room for it on your plates. That kohlrabi overcame a great deal to reach your homes and make your hearts and bellies sing.

We’d like to take this opportunity to send our warmest wishes to Mohammed on the engagement of his youngest daughter (warm wishes to the proud brothers Ali and Majdi as well), and to Melissa on the occasion of the Bar Mitzvah of Itamar, her youngest son.

May happiness and love shower our days, and may this week be a calm and wet one!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/parsley, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/arugula, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, carrots, baby radishes/daikon/radishes, kohlrabi/fennel, red or green bell peppers/ eggplant.  Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichoke/ yard-long beans.

Large box, in addition:  Sweet potatoes, cabbage/broccoli, beets, celery/ leeks.

Wednesday: Coriander/parsley, Swiss chard/kale, cucumbers, mizuna/tatsoi/arugula, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, carrots, baby radishes/daikon/turnip, kohlrabi/fennel, red bell peppers/eggplant, cabbage/broccoli. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichoke/ yard-long beans.

Large box, in addition:  Sweet potatoes, beets, celery, scallions/leeks.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

November 13th-15th 2017 – A peppery tale

After our longing and pining away for them, the “Neot Smadar” health snacks have returned! Wonderful organic non-gluten delicacies, with no added sugar (sweetened with organic apple concentrate), these are ideal for dessert or for any time of the day or night.

 

The snacks contain a variety of organic nuts and seeds in the following flavors: date, coconut-date, apricot and plum. Each box contains four snacks

Yummy! Enjoy!

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A reminder: Beginning this week there is a new guy on the block who you can invite to join your veggies – Lechem Pele (Wonder Bread) – naturally leavened bread made from grains and legumes, gluten free! Moshav Hogla’s Shirley Rohel’s breads are super-delicious and filling, contain vegetal protein and a sourdough culture for leavening, and are handmade with no yeast, sugar or oil.

Why then are they “wonder breads”? Well, because they contain only gluten-free whole grains, sprouted legumes and flax, ground by millstone and kneaded and fermented in traditional ways. This amounts to nutritious, delicious bread, high in full vegetal protein, containing low glycemic-level dietary fibers.

Purchase Lechem Pele today via our order system.

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Derech HaShatil is a small nursery in Shoham that grows organic vegetable plants, working together with the Shekel Foundation, employing only people with special needs. In the hothouse, the nursery cultivates organic high-quality plants for vegetable gardens, fastidiously maintaining the plants’ quality and health.

As winter approaches, Derech HaShatil is offering a planting kit for your winter vegetable garden with an assortment of 45 organic plants: red cabbage, kohlrabi, New Zealand spinach, parsley, coriander, red lettuce, bok choi, arugula. Price: only 50 NIS!

What a great chance to help plants, food and people grow!

You can order this planting kit via an email message to Chubeza, or add it to your boxes beginning next week via our order system (under the category of “Chubeza Vegetables).”

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Pecks of Pickled Peppers, Anyone?

The faithful peppers have been with us for a few good months by now. Each time, their starring Newsletter role is eclipsed by an account of an exotic or new or other exciting vegetable. Well, this week as an amazing array of multi-color peppers roll into your boxes, this is our cue to clear the stage for them. Here they are in full glory:

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, 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) originated in India, and its name is 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 as “Pilpelin” or “pilpelet.” Its spicy flavor became synonymous with a quick tongue and a sharp brain (thus, in Hebrew, a Talmudic – or other – discussion is termed hitpalpalut).

When Christopher Columbus attempted to discover a shortcut to the Indian spice route, he was unwilling be confounded 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 was a merchant and sophisticated marketing man who was hoping to sell it for a pretty penny in his mother continent, so he 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 little sibling which tastes sweet (actually a bunch of sweet siblings), but the name was already given and would not be changed. So these were coined “sweet peppers.”

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 pepper and use it 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 gamut from sweet, bittersweet, and spicy to sweet-and-spicy, etc. There are also a host of combinations in their shape: 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. And, of course, there are the hot ones, 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 not only. 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 dark red! The sweet-and-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.

  

In the past, we begin harvesting the peppers when they were still young and green. The pepper harvest is in fact a harvest and thinning out at the same time. 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. This year, the first ripening was scarce and diffused, thus we did not need to do any thinning and we did not harvest green peppers in the beginning of the season. Upon ripening, the green peppers start turning red, first one cheek, then the other, and slowly become completely blanketed under a cover of red. 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 harvest.

The ripening process takes about three weeks. In warm temperatures, the reddening occurs faster and consecutively, similar to that of the tomato. But during these weeks, as the temperatures drop and the nights grow longer, peppers stay green for a longer while, which creates a perfect opportunity to deliver peppers in two different colors to you.

      

The hot pepper gets its powerful flavor from an organic compound called capsaicin. In fact, the spiciness has nothing to do with the taste buds, but rather to your sense of touch… This is not, in fact, a flavor but a burning sensation. The capsaicin works on the heat receptors in sensitive parts of your bodies, making the body respond as if it has been exposed to very high temperatures. The spiciness encourages sweating, which in turn encourages body cooling. Hence, the popularity of hot, spicy food in warm climates worldwide.

All peppers are very rich in Vitamin C, making them natural anti-aging agents which also fight to prevent heart and blood vessel ailments as well as different types of cancer. Peppers are vital for immune system function, and they improve intestinal iron absorption. Peppers also contain Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant which protects the body and cell tissues from oxidation, helps prevent cancer and heart and blood vessel diseases, and also contains the anti-aging component. Vitamin A promotes good night vision and is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, cells, tissue, mucoid and skin.

Red peppers also contain lycopene, considered a very powerful antioxidant. The green pepper contains chlorophyll, which assists in the healing of tissues and apparently contributes to protection from the cancerous material in red meat. This week, your boxes contain green, red and peppers yellow peppers as well.

To cook the pepper or not to cook? Like the tomato, the process of cooking reduces the level of vitamin C, but doubles the amount of lycopene in the red peppers, another very important anti-oxidant. Bottom line: both are fine.

Anxiously awaiting some rain, and wishing us all a pleasant autumn week,

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

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 WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GREEN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, baby radishes/daikon/radishes, kohlrabi/fennel/beets, sweet potatoes, red/green bell peppers. Small boxes only: cabbage/carrots. And, a special gift: mizuna/ arugula/tatsoi.

Large box, in addition:  Yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/eggplant, winter spinach, cabbage and also carrots.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/kale, New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, sweet potatoes/onions, red/green bell peppers. Small boxes only: baby radishes/daikon/radishes. And, a special gift: mizuna/ arugula/tatsoi.

Large box, in addition:  Yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/okra, eggplant/beets, cabbage/broccoli, celery.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

November 6th-8th 2017 – Green Autumn

This week we take pleasure in introducing you to a new, unique product available for purchase from Chubeza and delivery in your boxes – Lechem Pele (Wonder Bread) – naturally leavened bread made from grains and legumes, gluten free. This week’s boxes will contain an information sheet describing the product. Its creator, Shirley Rochel of Moshav Hogla, worked many years as an administrator and consultant in major organizations before deciding to make a career change. Here’s her story:

A wise lady helped me reach an insight: it is my turn to do good to those around me. And so I decided to develop a type of bread that is protein, tasty, filling and guilt-free. The need was very clear to me: to develop and market a new, long-needed food product at a fair price which is also nutritious and tasty. However, the means to reach this goal were not simple and involved endless reading and learning about nutritional values and benefits, while researching the anthropology and nutrition habits of various nations worldwide. Plus, of course, long months of trial and error. And now at last I can happily introduce you to Lechem Pele. We’re starting small, hoping to grow gradually, aiming to be a business with social and ecological conscience, one which is fair and will make you feel good (as food is such a significant factor in maintaining a vital body and balanced soul).

Shirley’s super-delicious and filling “wonder breads” contain vegetal protein and a sourdough culture for leavening, and are handmade with no yeast, sugar or oil.
Why then are they “wonder breads”? Well, because they contain only whole grains without gluten, sprouted legumes and flax, ground and kneaded by millstone and fermented in traditional ways. This amounts to nutritious bread, high in full vegetal protein, containing low glycemic-level dietary fibers.

The grains used in our loaves – rice, quinoa, teff, millet, Amaranth and sorghum – contain no gluten. These grains, along with the ground flax, buckwheat and legumes, are soaked and sprouted in water for hours at a time in order to take maximum advantage of the nutritional values they contain. Lechem Pele – Wonder Bread is a food closest to the natural state of the vegetal raw material, thus allowing for extra high nutritional value.

Our breads follow the Indian, African and South American traditional techniques of baking and production, while at the same time are quite suitable for our modern Western eating habits.

The breads are rich in high water content, creating a crispy crust and dense loaf. The long rising process allows for a stronger expression of the bread’s flavor.

Lechem Pele is vegan, made in an allergen-proof environment approved by the World Health Organization. The loaves are sent fresh from the freezers, and should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Perfect for sandwiches and toast.

Lechem Pele Wonder Breads can be added to your boxes beginning next Monday via our order system. Don’t miss them!

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The Greenhorns!

We anxiously await the rain. Over the past few weeks we’ve enjoyed scattered showers, a proper appetizer for the real thing, and now it’s high time for the main course! The skies are beautifully adorned with clouds, and the winds push them vigorously to and fro, scattering dry leaves and lovingly teasing the greens in our field.  But alas, the rain is not yet a regular. Thus it’s time for our little Chubeza Rain Dance to beseech the skies to shower us with their treasures!

The last of our summer crops are celebrating their final weeks in the field. We shall soon bid farewell to our black-eyed peas (lubiaI), okra, eggplants and pumpkin. The corn, too, will be striking its final chords this week and next. These vegetables now pass on the torch to the winter crops, as the beets, carrots, radishes and turnips, kohlrabi and fennel are already skipping happily to the packing houses, with the celery and cabbage not far behind. The cauliflower and broccoli, meanwhile, are growing great big leaves and beginning to prepare themselves for the cherished buds.

I always know its wintertime when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the subject, “What ARE the green leaves in my box this week!?”  Indeed, winter generates a broad variety of greens dotting the Chubeza clods, filling up your boxes. Some of you are delighted with the plethora of greens over the winter, and even request we avoid removing the beet and turnip leaves so as to make use of them as well. Yet others of you are a bit overwhelmed, and wonder what can be done (again) with all those greens.

For those who are still wondering, I am proud to present:

“Chubeza Winter Greens – A Guide to the Perplexed”:

Swiss Chard

A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. Perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even used fresh in a salad.

Here is a wide variety

of recipes.

Tatsoi (Spinach mustardSpoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy)

A traveler from the Far East, member of the choy or soy family, belonging to the Brassicaceae dynasty. Its flavor is just slightly bitter, not spicy, but very distinctive. Goes perfectly well with piquant flavors (mustard and black pepper), ginger, sesame and sweet fruit varieties.

Like mustard greens or Swiss chard, tatsoi can be used fresh in salads, tossed or cooked, in soup, quiche, omelets, etc.

Here are some thoughts about tatsoi, and a recipe. Scroll down and you’ll find some links to other recipes.

New Zealand Spinach

As indicated by its name, its origins are in New Zealand and Australia. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken on voyages to fight Vitamin C deficiency-caused diseases. New Zealand spinach is ideal for our local climate because it loves warm weather. It sprawls and spreads, and its leaves are small and meaty.

New Zealand spinach can go with any recipe calling for mustard greens, but is definitely suitable as a Swiss chard replacement. To prepare for cooking, one must remove the leaves from the stem which is hard and inedible. Unlike regular mustard greens or Swiss chard, it is not recommended to eat New Zealand spinach raw, but rather first soaked in hot water for a few minutes, then washed with cold water.

Recipes for New Zealand Spinach

Winter Spinach

Depending on the season, the bed in which it’s grown, and the timing of its harvest, spinach can sport huge leaves or resemble “baby” spinach.

It definitely tastes green (I used to be surprised when people described a flavor as “green”), just slightly bitter and then just a little sweet, chockful of rain and freshness flavors.

Like its cousin Swiss chard, spinach can go fresh in a salad or can be cooked, added to soup, a quiche, dumplings, an omelet or warm salads. They all work.

Here are some examples

Arugula

This yummy green goes by many names: arugula, rucola, roquette and rocket lettuce. Its flavor is piquant, typical of the Brassicaceae family. Like spinach, arugula can come in many forms, from huge and meaty to small and dainty.

The arugula leaves are spicy, but they have their own distinctive type of piquant flavor which can give a dash to a salad, even together with sweet fruit. Cheeses go quite well with arugula, and a very light cooking can temper the spiciness.

You can find many recipes if you conduct an internet search for “arugula” or “rocket lettuce.”

Kale

A green belonging to the Brassicaceae family, considered to be one of the healthiest foods around. An acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to and falling for.

Due to its relatively rigid texture, kale is usually cooked or added to a green shake, but you can make chips from it or eat fresh in a salad—-it’s great!

Songs of praise and kale recipes to be found here

 


Mizuna

  

A green member of the Brassicaceae family, otherwise known as Japanese spinach or Brassica rapa. Mizuna sports long, thin leaves with serrated edges and a gentle, sweet-like flavor. The plant was cultivated in Japan back in ancient times, but probably originated in China.

Mizuna’s flavor is neutral, making it a perfect decorative addition and basis for appetizers and main dishes, as well as a great salad herb. It tends to star in the “baby” mesculun mixes (ours as well), but also stands on its own and is even great stir-fried.

Mizuna and daikon salad (thank you to Julie from Tel Aviv)

Mizuna salads recepies from Mariquita Farm

and a stir-fry option

Vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you should attempt to prevent two unwanted side effects: drying up and rotting. There are a several methods for long-term storage. First, to prevent rotting, avoid wetting the greens and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, tatsoi, spinach and mustard greens should be wrapped (unwashed) in cloth or paper and placed in a plastic bag in order for the moisture to be absorbed without actually drying up.

But for all this green abundance to actually grow, we desperately need winter showers! Now, after the 7th of Cheshvan has passed and the pilgrims of old have long returned, you’re all encouraged to pray, hope, beg, insist or practice the steps to your rain dance till that rain comes to grace us with its presence.

That’s all for now! I hope the green picture is a bit clearer for you all. But never fear. Should an unrecognizable guest arrive in your boxes, we are just a phone call away for clarification. You are always welcome to pose questions by phone (054-653-5980, although often it’s hard to get ahold of us) or by email (csa@chubeza.com). Our loyal Facebook page of Chubeza members is always helpful as well for information or suggestions.

May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GREEN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, corn, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Winter spinach, baby radishes/daikon/radishes, Jerusalem artichoke/yard-long beans/okra, sweet potatoes, bell peppers/eggplant. Small boxes only: arugula/tatsoi

Large box, in addition: Beets/turnips, onions, Swiss chard/kale, kohlrabi/fennel.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, corn/carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Winter spinach, baby radishes/daikon/radishes, Jerusalem artichoke/beets, sweet potatoes, bell peppers/eggplant, Swiss chard/kale.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/onions, kohlrabi/fennel, arugula/tatsoi/mizuna.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

October 30th-November 1st – Here comes the Sun(root)!

Though autumn is officially here, our field is having separation anxiety over parting from the summer crops. The last corncobs are just about to be harvested (scheduled to arrive at your dinner tables next week), and the other summer children are still ripening in our field: peppers, eggplants, lubia and okra are being harvested and delivered to your homes, as we write. It is high time to prepare your last autumn caponatas, so if you are – like yours truly – a procrastinator, you have earned one last chance…..

At the same time, the winter crops have begun crowding your boxes: fresh salad greens and yummy cooking greens, beets, turnips and radishes – Welcome, guys! Amidst this whole colorful assortment of summer-and-winter-mixed-into-autumn, we have one very distinctive autumn vegetable, growing now, being very punctual and improving every dish…Can you guess who this is?

Yes! Introducing the incredible sunroot, aka Helianthus tuberosus, or better yet by its very confusing moniker: the Jerusalem Artichoke. But first, a clarification: the sunroot does look like ginger, but it certainly is not ginger!

We waited for them over six months, till the bushes dried up and wilted. Only then could we chop those down and begin pulling out the secret treasures buried below – delectable, satiating bulbs that will enhance every soup, quiche, antipasti or salad. And you don’t need a lot — they can be used just for seasoning. Here in Chubeza, sunroots are one of our younger products. After an experimental crop several years ago, we were pleased with the outcome. Actually, more than pleased. And ever since then, they have been steady autumn tenants.

This great photo from Gal’s blog, Ptitim:

In America, they’re commonly known as “sunchokes,” but actually the title “sunroot” is an accurate description, for the Jerusalem artichoke is in fact a species of sunflower which develops an edible root bulb. The origins of this delectable bulb are in the North American East Coast from Georgia to Nova Scotia, where it has been both growing wild and cultivated in Native American vegetable gardens for years on end. The bulb fully enjoys the American sunshine and rich, fertile earth, yielding farmers and gleaners its rich roots that abound with energy and sweetness.

The Europeans, who came to visit and stayed to conquer, tasted the sunroot and loved it. The first to describe the bulb was French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who noticed it in a Cape Cod vegetable garden in 1602. He sent some sunroots to France, from where they meandered to England, Germany and Italy in the 17th century. The Italians termed it girasole, Italian for “sunflower.” Somehow the pronunciation was distorted to “Jerusalem,” and it stuck. The “artichoke” part came from the fact that it somewhat resembles the artichoke in taste.

Like any sunflower, the sunroot adores the sun and thrives during the summer. For Chubeza, this is the sixth summer we’ve watched its growth. I say “watch,” because from the moment we placed the bulbs in the earth until we plunged the pitchfork in to remove them, we really did not have much to do (aside from occasional weeding and watering). We were rather amazed at the beautiful strength of its growth, at its ability to joyfully grow wild and dare the weeds to even think of coming close. In our field, the Jerusalem artichoke is free from pests (moles and rats are their natural nemesis), which is why we could just step aside and simply watch it grow. Patiently.

Here it is going wild, blooming, growing. The Jerusalem artichoke in Chubeza:

     

And yes, it required much patience. The plant took its sweet time for at least seven months, growing, wilting and clandestinely swelling up its unique roots. In October when the foliage had dried up, we inserted the pitchfork to examine the situation, only to discover that we needed more patience. So we waited a bit longer, regularly sampling some to gobble up for lunch. Now, a month later, we are finally beginning to pull out all these yummy, distinctive bulbs. Welcome, gals!

Though it grows underground like the potato (even if it is more stubborn and recalcitrant than the latter) and has a similar caloric value, the Jerusalem artichoke is low in carbs. Instead of starch, it contains inulin, a fruit sucrose carbohydrate, soluble in water (which is how it stores its energy in the root bulb). Inulin aids in lowering blood sugar levels, making it recommended for diabetics (contrary to potatoes!). Inulin feeds the friendly microbes in the intestines and reduces the threat of a variety of diseases. On the other hand, it may cause gas, so if you’re first beginning to eat Jerusalem artichokes, start slowly to get the body accustomed. These bulbs are an excellent source of thiamine, iron, niacin, Vitamin B3 and potassium. Chinese medicine classifies the Jerusalem artichoke as a warming vegetable which strengthens the digestive system. A great winter vegetable!

And again, contrary to potatoes, they must be refrigerated, preferably in a closed plastic bag or sealed plastic container, to prevent them from growing soft. If you wish, you may peel it. If you don’t like peeling the knobby bulbs, here are some tips from Phyllis Glazer:

The Jerusalem artichoke turns black quickly after being peeled, so it is recommended to place it in a bowl filled with water and two tablespoons of lemon juice, or simply drop into milk and cook away. Soaking in water causes the vegetable to lose the B vitamins, which are soluble. Thus it’s best to peel them and give the artichokes a quick soak, or soak from time to time in a water and lemon juice solution while peeling. You can also scrub them well and cook them unpeeled (a young Jerusalem artichoke can be eaten with peeling) and then use the soaking water for soup or other type of dish. If the bumps make it hard to peel, steam the roots for several minutes to remove the peeling with ease.

Check our recipe section for a variety of suggestions for cooking and serving the amazing sunroot, but feel free to add it to other familiar and favorite recipes in your own creative way. It really enhances the flavor in nearly every dish. Bon appetite!

Wishing us all a good and healthy week,

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

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 WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, cucumbers, red mizuna/arugula , tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/ New Zealand spinach, baby radishes/daikon, sweet potatoes, red potatoes/pumpkin, leeks/onions.

Large box, in addition: Beets, corn, Jerusalem artichoke/yard-long beans/okra

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, red mizuna/arugula/tatsoi, tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/winter spinach, radishes/daikon, sweet potatoes, onions, Jerusalem artichoke/yard-long beans.

Large box, in addition: Beets/turnips/pumpkin, corn, leeks.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

October 23rd-25th 2017 – Bewitched!

More new and wonderful signs of renewal: The Ein Harod almonds are back! Beginning this week you will be able to order excellent organic almonds from the Ein Harod Kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley. For the past several years, they have been growing almonds and selling them directly to consumers via small farms. Every year the demand outnumbers the supply, and the almond stock is exhausted in just a few months. Highly recommended! Don’t wait – order via our order system now!

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Tomer and Hamutal began producing their apple juice from fruit residuals of Kibbutz Tzuba, and in the process made some very fortuitous mistakes. An error in production resulted in their dry apple cider and apple vinegar (from over-fermented cider). You can read about their nutritious and medicinal virtues in this information page sent by Hamutal (Hebrew.) Also, check out this very sweet article about them by Ronit Vered in Ha’aretz – lots of compliments and true stories. Read all about it!

Tomer and Hamutal’s apple and pear juices are seasonal. They remain with us from the end of summer till the end of fall, after which we sit around and pine for them… Taste them now for an extraordinary treat! As usual, order via our order system.

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In honor of the return of the Brassicaceae roots (and Halloween), I am re-posting a bewitched Newsletter. Cackle, cackle…

Radish, Turnip, Eye of Newt……………..

In a popular Hebrew book that my daughters love about five witches (by Ronit Chacham), radishes and turnips are major ingredients in the brew concocted for a spell cooked up by five very amusing witches. As it turns out, not only witches crave these vegetables.  Among us mortals and muggles, the turnip and radish (along with baby radishes and daikon) can be just as vital in a potion to ease the common cold, cough, mucous buildup, hoarseness, infections and other winter ills. Winter is the season in which the members of the Brassicaceae family (formerly the Cruciferae) thrive. They are cousins, not siblings, since the radishes belong to the Raphanus genus and the turnips to the Brassica genus, but today we will sandwich them all together (or stir them in the same cauldron) and discuss their common characteristics.

So we already know that they all belong to the Brassicaceae family, along with such members as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi, mustard greens, tatsoi and others. Its former name was the Cruciferae, after the shape of its four-petal flowers, which resembles a crucifix. Here are some examples:

Wild Mustard

Erucaria

Maltese Cross Ricotia

Wild Radish

The Brassicaceaes are a venerable winter family, and we eat various parts of their plants: sometimes the flower buds (broccoli, cauliflower), sometimes the stem (the thick part, as in kohlrabi) or the leaves (mustard, cabbage, tatsoi, arugula and others) and also the roots, to whom this newsletter is dedicated today: the radish, baby radish, daikon and turnip.

Truth be told, this is a populist division. The good parts of the turnip, daikon and radish are not only found underground – a number of parts of these vegetables can be eaten. For instance, turnip greens are very tasty, and some turnip varieties are grown specifically for their leaves, not roots. Leaves of the large radish are bitter and coarse, but the greens of baby radishes have an esteemed place in the culinary arts. The French add baby radish leaves to potato soup and to add a hint of pungency to salads made of steamed spinach.

Other varieties of radishes and turnips were developed in order to make oil from their seeds. These oils were used in the past, and Maimonides mentions them in discussing oils permitted for Sabbath candle lighting (see Mishnah Torah, Shabbat, Chapter 5, halakha 11).

Radishes and turnips love the cool winter climate, which slows down their breathing and expands the quantity of carbohydrates, a process which improves flavor. Unstable conditions will produce woody roots and a strong flavor, and they will turn bitter in warm or dry weather. This is why in Israel they are winter symbols – the plants develop thickened roots and fancy leaf inflorescence on their crowns.

And now, some words on each of these vegetables:

The turnip is an ancient domesticated crop that was possibly grown in gardens of old in China, Greece, Rome, Egypt and also here. In kitchens throughout, it was a basic, common vegetable. Assaf the Physician (Assaf Harofe Ben Brakhiyahu who lived in 6th century Tiberias) praised the leaves and seeds of the turnip: “The leaves will be useful for all mental distresses and for malaria, while its seeds will be useful in treatment of pain and all sorts of ailments that lead to death.” However, even the juice produced from the root itself is known in folk medicine as beneficial in treating coughs, hoarseness, mucous buildup, and dryness of the nose and mouth. In natural medicine, turnip juice is used to treat malaise as well as kidney stones. In order to produce juice, one must press the root. Half a kilo of roots make one glass of juice. Half a kilo of squeezed leaves will make half a glass of juice.

At Chubeza, over the past few years we have been growing the familiar type of turnip,with a purplish stain on top, in addition to a special type – a white, round and very sweet turnip. Even confirmed turnip haters  have got to try this one out!

The radish, too, is ancient and prevalent like the turnip. It is considered to be an appetite stimulant and to assist digestion. Take advantage of  its refreshing flavor by serving a fresh radish salad between meal courses to cleanse your palates and prepare for the upcoming flavor. The radish’s medicinal virtues are similar to those of its cousin the turnip, beneficial in treating both respiratory and kidney ailments. In addition, turnips are friendly to pregnant women, known to intensify fetal movement (and not as fattening as chocolate) as well as decreasing gas. Soak swollen feet in a radish bath and feel the relief!

There are many varieties of radishes, differing in size, shape, color, and degree of pungency. At Chubeza, we grow radishes and daikons. Take a look at several radish beauties:

small colorful radishes

Black Radish

Daikon radish

Red radish

Instructions for Storing:

  • Radishes and turnips are roots, i.e., their function is to absorb food and water from the earth in order to supply them to the plant as needed. When picked, we disconnect the plant from its current supply, and the roots hurry to transform the material they accumulated to the plant’s leaves in order for them to continue to grow. The root itself will eventually become depleted. Therefore, when you receive a radish, turnip, or daikon   (and the same goes for beets and carrots) with leaves attached, you must cut the leaves in order to preserve the root’s contents, to keep it fresh and firm for as long as possible.

 

  • It’s best to store root vegetables in a closed container to isolate them from the processes in the fridge and the materials secreted

from other vegetables and food.

Radishes and turnips are great served fresh in a salad or sandwich, but don’t forget to use them in cooking as well. Yes, they can be baked and stir-fried, and they will warm your hearts by adding some coolness to this year’s sultry October.

Impatiently awaiting the rain, which may hopefully arrive at the end of this week. Keep your fingers crossed, like this Daikon fella from our field…

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S AUTUMN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, cucumbers, red/green mizuna , tomatoes, corn, turnips/radishes/baby radishes, slice of pumpkin/red potatoes, sweet potatoes,leeks/ onions.

Large box, in addition: Arugula/New Zealand spinach, beets, Jerusalem artichoke/yard-long beans/okra.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, beets/baby radishes, slice of pumpkin/red potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks/ onions, arugula.

Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/kale, red/green mizuna, okra/yard long beans/Jerusalem artichoke.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!