May 22-24 – The Fragrance of Hay

zahidiHow sweet it is to be loved by you…

As a pre-sizzling-summer deal, we’re offering a great sale on the extraordinarily delicious organic Zahidi dates from Kibbutz Samar: 7.5 NIS per 500 gram package, 70 NIS per 5 kg box. Order this sweet treat now via our order system!

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Note Shavuoth holiday delivery changes!

Next week – Monday deliveries as usual.

Wednesday deliveries move to Thursday, June 1.

Our order system will close for changes on Monday, May 29th at 9 pm.

Reminder: Open Day at Chubeza will take place on Isru Chag of Shavuoth, Thursday, June 1, between 3-7pm in our field at Kfar Bin Nun. The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special arts and crafts and cooking activities.  A more detailed schedule will be provided next week.

We look forward to your visit!

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This week, the stage goes to Smadar, a veteran client, telling you about a healthy alternative to tampons and new hope for African women:

Close your eyes for just a moment and imagine you’re in Africa. Not Cape Town or Johannesburg, but rather in a distant remote village where dirt trumps paved roads and air outplays the internet. For me, this image arouses emotions of longing for a different kind of life and existence.

Now, imagine you have gotten your period, and there are absolutely no tampons or pads, no washing machines or driers for cloth pads. Nothing.

What now?

Young girls and women worldwide deal with this question every month. The solutions are not great. Usually, the young girl will be forced to stay home, miss a week of school every month, fall behind in class, and perhaps eventually even quit school. Here is where the Ruby Cup comes in. A group of Danish women with vast experience working in Africa realized that menstruation is a key to good education for local girls, allowing them to break the circle of poverty, advance, choose who to marry and how many children they bear.

And they created magic in the form of a cup. Just soft enough, and just stiff enough. Made of gentle silicon, with no animal experimentation carried out in the manufacturing process.

For each Ruby Cup sold, they donate one to a girl in Africa, along with conducting workshops on health, sexuality and hygiene. And now, the revolutionary Ruby Cups are available for purchase in Israel, simultaneously providing young African girls with the opportunity to advance. Over the month of May your donation goes even further! For each cup sold, you will be contributing *two* cups, changing the lives of two girls. Isn’t it well worth it?

http://www.nashiuti.co.il/p/RubyCup

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The Fragrance of Hay

Over the past few weeks, the wheat fields surrounding us have been harvested. Early, pre-Shavuoth harvest is a sign of disappointment. In a rainy year, when the stalks of golden grain fill with chubby seeds, the wheat is harvested by a combine which harvests the stalks while separating the seeds from the hay, which is later gathered into bales for various uses. But in drier years, like this one, the seeds do not sufficiently fill up to justify the effort of separation, and thus the field is harvested as a whole and packed up in bales of hay (containing hay and seeds together.) The high quality protein in the thin seeds which remain in the stalks will feed animals that will graze on the hay. So these rectangular bales look so pastoral and serve as a beautiful backdrop for the upcoming Shavuoth festival, but our hearts ache a little at their sight.

But in our field, a different type of Chetzir (Hebrew for hay) is now growing. Any guesses?

The Children of Israel recalled it wistfully when they complained of what they missed from Egypt, “We remembered the chetzir and the onions and the garlic.” As this mysterious chetzir is mentioned in conjunction with the other vegetables eaten in Egypt, the biblical commentators understood this to mean that it is not the animal fodder hay being craved, but rather a dearly beloved vegetable. Unkelus terms it kreti while Yonatan Ben Uziel  calls it Kaplutia, Rashi prefers forilsh and Maimonides goes with karat. But a modern translator or interpreter would simply call it krisha, and in English it would be the lovely leek.

She is the fair sister of the garlic and onion, much like them in many ways, but then again, so different. True, the onion and garlic are the more popular of the siblings, while she, the genuine aristocrat, is somewhat of a snob and an infrequent visitor in our kitchens. Here in Chubeza, however, she has graced our fields from the very beginning.

In Hebrew, she goes by krisha, or many other monikers such as luf, prasah, piro, karti, or her formal name shum-hakarah. The leek is an easy vegetable to grow, unfettered by cold or heat. It does have to contend with the occasional pest, weed, and disease, but usually breezes through those encounters with valor. Yet to enjoy the luscious leek, one must exercise extreme patience. From the day the seedlings are placed in the soft earth till the day they are picked, at least five to six long months will pass. But it’s well worth the wait.

The leek is a tasty delicacy, far milder than its acrid siblings, the onion, scallion and garlic. What’s more, the leek is less pungent and will not bring tears to your eyes. In contrast to its relatives, the leek usually cannot be eaten fresh and must be cooked. But there are so many ways to cook it (steamed, boiled, roasted, baked, fried), and so many ways to prepare it (see Recipe Section) that some leek dishes should come with the warning, “Caution: may be addictive!”

The leek is an honored guest at the Rosh Hashanah table, symbolizing the blessing, “May our enemies be cut down,” by virtue of its paraphrasing the word karti, which sounds similar to: “Karat = cut down.” Six months later, leeks assume their place on the festive Pesach table. Leek fritters (made with matza meal or matza farfel) are a favorite, filling hors d’ouvre during Passover. Leeks can take starring roles at these two such varied holidays because they grow year round. Despite the cold of winter (in Europe they grow beneath the snow) and the heat of summer, they survive and flourish. Just give them some time.

Leeks have been growing in our region for over 2000 years, and even then they were quite popular. Excavations in Egypt have revealed dried specimens of ancient leeks, as well as their depictions in wall drawings. The Greeks and the Romans were convinced that leeks were beneficial to the vocal chords. Emperor Nero, an aficionado of singing and music, was passionate about consuming a bowl of leek soup a day to improve the timbre of his voice, gaining him the nickname “leek eater.”

The Romans brought the leek with them to each locale they conquered, including England, where the leek attained a place of honor among the Welsh population. It is associated with the patron saint of Wales, Saint Dewi, a devout vegetarian who subsisted on bread, water, herbs and leeks. In a battle between the Welsh and the Saxons that took place in a leek field on March 1, 1620, the Welsh faced a major peril when they discovered that both armies were wearing identical uniforms. According to legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to wear the leeks on their helmets to identify themselves. Naturally, they were victorious in battle. To this day, March 1st, Saint Dewi’s Day, Welsh soldiers adorn their helmets with a leek stalk, and Welsh citizens don a sprig of leek in their lapels. Since that time, much water has flowed under the Thames, but the national colors of the Kingdom of Wales have remained the green and white of the valiant leek.  British one-pound coins bear the design of a leek, in testimony to its special standing amongst the Welsh people.

חוביזה פברואר 231

Growing leeks begins with inserting thin seedlings into the earth, following the “deeper the better” rule of planting. The edible part of the leek is the white section at the base of the stalk, hidden under the earth’s cover and thus unexposed to sunlight and lacking chlorophyll’s green. The deeper the leek is planted in the earth, the longer the white sections it produces. To expand this white section, there are those who hill the plants with soil two or three times, higher with each hoeing. But not at Chubeza, due to a lack of time and a profusion of leeks.  We’re satisfied with the natural length of the white, but if you’re growing leeks in your own yard, pamper them and cover the stalk in the ground, thus “blanching” a longer part of the stalk.

After planting the leeks, one must ascertain that they are given ample water, sun and weeding. But the leek will do all the rest……. just very slowly. For here is the real test (of nerves): just giving the plant all the time it needs, lots of time, to grow extremely slowly at its own rate. After five or six months, it will indeed reach the desired height and width for harvest. In our first years at Chubeza, we lacked both experience and patience, and “somehow” our leeks always remained stunted in growth. A consultation with Iris Ben Zvi, a veteran organic leek grower, revealed the error of our ways. “Before five months have passed,” she explained, “I don’t even check on the leeks. Only after five months do I first venture into the field to see if it’s time to harvest.” A lesson in patience.

Despite the fact that the white is its most coveted part, its green leaves rate mention in Mishnah Brachot, in Rabbi Eliezer’s response to the question of when it is permitted to recite the Shma prayer in the morning. According to the rabbi, the answer is at the very moment when there is sufficient light to distinguish between azure and “karti,” with “karti” indicating “leek green.” And indeed, the hallmark of fresh spring leeks is the verdant green of its leaves and the lustrous white of its stem. As mentioned, the leek can grow all year, but spring is its magic moment. Winter’s cold temperatures and rains have cloaked it in luxury, and perhaps it is also the general rhythm of winter which matches the slow, relaxing pace of the leek. In any case, the leek sails through a growing season unfazed by such ills as extreme temperatures, growing juicier all the time. Spring finally jolts even the dawdling, slow and easygoing leek and she is ready for harvest. You’ll meet its springtime vitality in your boxes over the next few weeks.

And what’s good for Emperor Nero, Saint Dewy, and the Children of Israel is good for us as well! Leeks can be made into delicious soup, patties, salads, or stuffed, or added to pasta, or used as a substitute for onion in any dish. Here are several tips for storing and using Lady Leek:

  • Just as it’s hardy in the field, so it is in storage. Leeks can easily keep for two weeks in the fridge. (You could wrap them in a plastic bag or store in the vegetable drawer.)
  • To preserve leeks for even longer, they can be blanched for three minutes in boiling water, drained and sealed in a container in the freezer.
  • Remember that one part of the leek—the white section—grew underground. Before using, it’s important to wash the area well to remove any remaining dirt particles.
  • Young leeks (not like those that we send you) can be used in fresh salads.
  • Conventionally, it’s recommended to discard the green part of the leek, which is a pity. The green leaves make an excellent seasoning and outstanding “raw material” for soups and sauces.

And in keeping with the second, more optimistic half of the Omer countlet us conclude with a positive blessing for the leek, making up for the negative one she is given on Rosh Hashanah: may we like each other with all our hearts, may we build bridges and ties as strong and enduring as a leek on a spring day.

Have a good spring week,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/mint, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, parsley/coriander, tomatoes, leeks, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/acorn squash, garlic, fakus.

Monday: Cabbage/acorn squash, fakus+cucumbers, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, lettuce, zucchini, parsley/coriander, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets.

Large box, in addition: Garlic/leeks, mint, melon.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!

Aley Chubeza #335, May 15th-17th 2017

Shavuoth is around the corner, and the Izza Pziza – Zaban Dairy invites you to a festive fair of cheese, wine, art and great music!

This will take place on Friday, May 26th, 2017 between 9am-4pm, in Moshav Tal Shachar.

Come one, come all!

See link for further details.

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It’s Mint to be Touched (and smelled and tasted)

 

This past few weeks you have been receiving “in-between-season” boxes, as the winter vegetables grow scarcer each day. This week we bade farewell to the fennel, kohlrabi and celery. The cabbage, too, has reached the end of its season. On the other hand, make way for the arrival on the scene of the spring-summer vegetables, albeit at a slower pace: the spring squashes, fakus and potatoes. Another harbinger of spring is the very fragrant mint. As spring approached, the mint beds burst into bloom and now need regular trimmings, which is why in the midst of a bountiful harvest and nice, full boxes, we’re adding a gift of mint as a fun bonus. At Chubeza, mint is an unmistakable sign of spring, living proof that the winter slumber is over and spring is here in all its glory!

Mint belongs to the Lamiaceae family, a prominent tribe containing such other important seasoning and medicinal herbs as hyssop, thyme, sage, Melissa, rosemary, white-leaved savor, basil and more. This family has an interesting characteristic: their square stem. If you haven’t yet noticed this phenomenon, it’s simply fascinating. Take a branch and look at it closely. The round part is not round, as you would expect, but rather has sharp edges that form a square.

Mint is perennial, growing repeatedly from year to year. Occasionally it may take a short leave of absence and shut down for the winter, but once spring arrives, that mint is totally out there. When you raise mint in a small-sized home garden, it is recommended to limit its growth to prevent it from taking over the rest of your plants. Mint is bounding with energy, strength and chutzpah.

At Chubeza, the mint bed belongs to the single perennial beds. In wintertime we mow it down and place a white Agril covering over it to allow the mint a good winter’s rest. In springtime, it bursts out in vivid fragrance and color that warms your heart, shouting out to the world, “Spring is here, and so am I!”

In Israel there are four types of mint: horse mint, squaw mint, water mint and fragrant mint. As a cultivated growth, many different varieties of mint have already been developed, with soft or hard texture, round or elongated leaves, plants that grow tall or those that spread out. In cooking, there are those who differentiate between nana and mint, but this is definitely an artificial distinction between the more mild-flavored varieties called nana and the piquant variety, rich in menthol, coined mint.

The fact that mint arrives with hot weather (sometimes in a major heatwave) is a blessing, as the menthol – which comes in assorted concentrations in the leaves of the various mint types – bestows the extraordinary characteristic of “cool spice.” We are used to treating spicy flavors as intensely hot, but the menthol molecule works on the endings that are sensitive to temperature, increasing their sensitivity to cold weather. This small molecule can penetrate the epithelium layer of the human pharynx and reach the nerves responsible for the sensations of warmth and cold. The slight cooling that occurs when inhaling after the menthol acts on the nerve endings will intensify to create a cool, refreshing sensation.

In the starring role of the myth about the creation of mint is a sharp-tongued girl named Minthe who lived in the underworld of the dead and demons. Minthe was the first girlfriend of Hades, the Greek Lord of the Underworld and Ruler of the Dead. She loved him a lot, but he preferred the prettier Persephone.

One day, Hades invited Persephone to his castle, kindling Minthe’s anger. “Who is this ugly witch?” she yelled at the king. “Am I no longer good enough for you?”

“And you,” snapped Minthe as she turned to Persephone, “You get the *** out of here or I shall personally rip you into small shreds!” Highly offended by Minthe’s nasty verbiage, the beautiful Persephone proceeded to slug Minthe and tore her to pieces. Hades regretted the misfortune he had caused Minthe, and turned her into a fragrant plant with a red-hot flavor that bears her name to this day.

Minthe’s power – formerly expressed in seething anger – is now channeled to healing, relaxation and health. Mint is known as a plant that can aid digestion (drink mint tea at the end of a meal), great for vanquishing heartburn and easing pain and spasms in the digestive system. Like the rest of its family members, mint is also an anti-bacterial plant and is thus an important component in the oral hygiene industry (toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.). It helps alleviate headaches, toothaches, earaches, stomach and joint pains by increasing blood flow to the afflicted area. (For that very reason, mint may stimulate contractions and therefore is not recommended in excessive amounts for pregnant women.)

This is a long list of medicinal uses of mint (Hebrew).

On the culinary end, we enjoy drinking mint in tea (or adding some tea to our mint, depending on just how much we adore it) but also adding it in cooking, baking, salads, desserts, etc. Mint will always enhance and enliven boring, all-too-familiar recipes, adding a touch of mischief and an unexpected twist. Check out our recipe section and recipes on the net for a wealth of ideas.

We are sending you great big bundles of mint, which don’t keep for too long. Just in case you don’t get a chance to use it all at once, here is how to dry the leaves so they don’t rot and blacken. Enjoy!

Wishing you days full of daring, freshness and renewal!

Shavua Tov,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S FRAGRANT BOXES?

Monday: Mint, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers/fakus, zucchini, tomatoes, green garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage, parsley/dill, leeks.

Wednesday: Mint, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, leeks. Small boxes only: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, cucumbers/fakus

Large box, in addition: Cabbage, parsley/dill, green garlic, cucumbers and fakus

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!

Aley Chubeza #334, May 8th-10th 2017

To celebrate the approach of summer, some happy new stuff from our small producer affiliates:

“Udi’s Sprouts” is proud to announce the birth of a new sprout variety: pea sprouts – green peas for salads. Here’s a picture of the newborn:

You are welcome to add him and other members of the wonderful Udi’s Sprouts family via our order system, beginning next week. Reminder: sprout orders close Sunday morning for Monday deliveries, and Sunday night for Wednesday deliveries.

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Manu, our baker par excellence, never rests…

After many attempts, she has developed a brand new gluten-free leavened bread made from teff flour. This loaf is buckwheat culture and teff flour-based, and also contains tapioca starch, olive oil, salt, apple vinegar, and xanthan gum. The yeast content is less than 2 grams per kilo of flour.

As the bread is homemade and thus not baked in a gluten-free environment, it is not meant for those with celiac disease. The bread is baked on the morning of delivery and arrives pre-sliced.

For a delectable, healthy treat, add this new bread to your deliveries, beginning next week, via our order system.

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Focus on Fakus

Shavuoth, the festival of the first fruits, is still a month away, but the new fruits are already arriving in Chubeza’s fields! Last week, we harvested our first beds of fakus, aka “Arabic cucumber.” I know that I will soon be getting phone calls claiming that “this week I received two portions of zucchini and no cucumbers.” To help you make the distinction, this week we will be sending a mixed cucumber and fakus portion so you can receive the cousins alongside each other. They are used in an identical manner.

In addition, for the future and for the benefit of those who receive fakus and cucumbers in separate bags, I recommend the test I learned from Tzipi of Jerusalem, a veteran client: the fakus stem resembles that of a cucumber, not zucchini! If you received a light-colored elongated vegetable you cannot define, check out its stem (the part where it attaches to the plant): if it is wide and star-shaped like a zucchini, well… it’s a zucchini. If it’s thin and willowy like a cucumber, then say hi to our friend the fakus.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is The Fakus in all its glory:

At the heat of the day in the scorching Sinai desert, the Israelites craved the Egyptian fare, reminiscing, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons…” (Numbers 11, 5). The cucumbers they missed were most probably fakus. And to be honest, I totally understand them. Fakus is definitely worth craving. Thus every summer, we descendants of those Jews in exile are proud to bring to you the vegetable hankered by our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents….

Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus was also known for his fondness for cucumbers. He would eat cucumbers every day of the year, necessitating the Roman farmers to develop artificial methods to grow the vegetable year-round. According to The Natural History of Pliny, by Pliny the Elder (Book XIX, Chapter 23), “Indeed, he [Tiberius] was never without it; for he had raised beds made in frames upon wheels, by means of which the cucumbers were moved and exposed to the full heat of the sun; while, in winter, they were withdrawn, and placed under the protection of frames glazed with mirrorstone.”

However…

Tiberius was probably not munching on the cucumber we all know and love, i.e., the Cucumis Sativus, but rather on the light and somewhat hairy fakus, aka Armenian cucumber, which is actually…a melon. Also coined the “snake melon,” in botanical terms this is the Cucumis melo var. flexuosus melon. However, we do not let the fakus mature like our melons—we pick it in its crunchy sweet youth, like the cucumbers (which is a good thing, really, because the fakus just wouldn’t ever become a real tasty melon at full maturity).

There are all sorts of fakus varieties grown worldwide: light green, striped, long and curved, or short and light. At Chubeza we grow two types: the small fakus (about the length of a cucumber), and one which is long and curved, resembling its English name “snake melon.”

Melons and cucumbers belong to the same family, but they are two different entities with diverse characteristics. When you look at the leaves, you can tell that fakus leaves are rounder and less serrated, similar to their melon brothers. Its taste and appearance are closer to the cucumber, which is why it is easy to confuse the two, but not really: the fakus is not thorny at all. It is covered with soft fuzz and is sweeter and crunchier than the cucumber. However, like the cucumber, it is picked in its youth, before its seeds mature, which is why it is not as soft as a melon.

Like the cucumber, the fakus sometimes tends to be bitter. Various attempts to overcome this bitterness have proven that we must carefully choose the plants whose seeds are to be kept for next year, making certain that they are non-bitter plants. We hope you will not receive a bitter fakus, but to be on the safe side, when you slice them up into a salad, first nibble at the point where the fakus was attached to the plant. That’s where the bitterness begins. If you like what you taste, slice away, straight into the salad bowl. If it’s bitter, take a bite further down. Sometimes the bitterness remains contained at the end.

The fakus is lauded by chefs as part of the trend to return to local, homegrown “baladi” food. It does resemble the cucumbers eaten here in the past, before the arrival of the garden cucumber. Several years ago we were visited by Dr. Moshe Ra’anan, who has written many articles about plants and animals in the Bible. He photographed our nice fakus varieties and wrote a few words about them (in Hebrew). I learned from him that during the Mishnaic period there was actually a verb “to fakus” (“לפקס”), related to the ripening of the fakus. Our commentators offered two different interpretations for its definition: 1. the stage at which the fuzz is shed from the fruit 2. the stages at which the flower dries up and falls from the fruit.

Either way, when the fakus’s are fakused, you can wash, slice, add some salt if desired and joyfully bite into it, or you may preserve it, just like a cucumber, producing delicious pickles, and even fry or stuff it like a zucchini. And all this while being …a melon!

Check out our recipe section for some delectable fakus recipes.

Confused? That’s OK, as long as you eat in joy and good health!

Wishing you a great week. Keep cool, drink a lot!

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

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WHAT’S JOINING THE FAKUS IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, parsley/dill, tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/ Swiss chard/ nana mint, cucumbers+fakus, fresh onions, carrots, beets, zucchini, garlic, potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, daikon/turnips/ cabbage, celery

Wednesday: onions, zucchini, cucumber+fakus, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, parsley/dill/nana mint, beets, garlic, celery/Swiss chard, potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Leeks, daikon/cabbage, New Zealand spinach.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!

Aley Chubeza #333, April 24th-26th 2017

Changes in deliveries next week:
Monday deliveries move up to Sunday, April 30th.
The order system will close for changes this Thursday at 9:00 pm.
Thus, there will be no bread-baking on Sunday.

Wednesday deliveries take place on Wednesday, as usual, but the order system will close for changes Monday at 9:00

Sprout deliveries for next week (for Sunday & Wednesday) may be made till this Wednesday night (today).

Thank you! Our best wishes for calm, happy days! _______________________________________________

SAVE THE DATE:

Our Open Day will take place on Isru Chag Shavuot, Thursday June 1, between 3-7pm in our field, with lots of fun activities for children, a cooking area and tours of the field for big and little feet. Plus, a mini-shopping market in our packing house. Stay tuned for a more accurate schedule, coming soon.
We look forward to your visit!
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Winning at Squash

One of the very first vegetables to accompany the undependable Spring weather is the very dependable squash. Perhaps you have already noticed him in your boxes. If not, you’re sure to see a lot more in the near future: the light Galilean squash and dark green zucchini are coming! Their pals, the yellow and striped zucchini have already been seeded and will soon be ripening, right on time for our second round of the squash harvest. As the leader of the band, we happily dedicate this newsletter to this remarkable vegetable.

Squash belong to a quite prominent family – the Cucurbitaceae’s, a very diverse and widespread clan whose members are grown primarily for food, but also for other interesting uses. Within the subdivision of cultivated plants, the family tree splits off into five main branches: the cucumber, fakus and melon; watermelon; various types of pumpkins and squashes; the decorative, inedible pumpkin that is used for decorations and to make serving utensils and musical instruments; and the Lupa pumpkins, whose skin is used to prepare natural sponges.

As mentioned, pumpkins and squash are close cousins, except that the pumpkins are harvested at maturity after a long growth period of 3-5 months, when their shell is hard and the seeds within are stiff and plump. Conversely, squash are harvested young, after only one or two months of growth. Their rind is still soft, and chafes easily. Their seeds are thin and barely discernable, which is why there’s no need to remove them before eating.
Squash and pumpkins are natives of Central America. Columbus introduced them to the Europeans, who first grew them only in botanical gardens, enjoying their beautiful blossoms. The Israelites, pleading “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the squash, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…” apparently were not craving what we call squash, but probably the fakkus, their African/Mid-Eastern cousin.
Even within its very own family, squash vary from one sibling to another. The Mid-Eastern squash is chubby and light green. His longer and thinner brothers the zucchinis received their name from the Italian zucca for pumpkin, thus “a small pumpkin.” Chubeza grows dark green, yellow and striped zucchini. And there are also round squash varieties used to stuff, and even beautiful flower-shaped squash.

Squash is low in calories and high in dietary fibers. It contains magnesium, potassium and folic acid, Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Zucchini has a fresh, neutral flavor (some will call it bland), but no need for a PR campaign: its neutral taste is probably the ingredient that made zucchini a favorite child in almost every country. In France they are used in ratatouille and quiches; in Italy they are prize components of caponata, frittata, antipasti and pasta primavera. The Italians also harbor a special love for stir-fried zucchini flowers. Romania and Bulgaria cook it in a givetch, in Turkey it stars in patties, in the Middle East one can stuff it with rice and chopped meat, and Iraqis use squash generously in kubeh soup or sauce. In the Far East, zucchini and squash are stir-fried together in a wok, while in the United States they make their way into to yummy bread and zucchini jam……
But hey, zucchini can also be eaten with no cooking whatsoever, nor frying or baking – Just squeeze them to make squash juice, a great detox for the body. At Chubeza, when a cucumber shortage struck, we used to happily chop zucchini to fill our family lunch salad, and then scrape the bowl clean.
Wishing you all a safe, wonderful week,
All of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, cabbage, leeks/fresh onions, fennel, carrots, beets. Special gift: spinach/nana mint
Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi, Swiss chard, radishes/fresh garlic

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, cabbage, radishes/fennel, carrots, beets, potatoes/kohlrabi. Special gift: spinach/nana mint
Large box, in addition: Swiss chard, leeks/fresh onions, fresh garlic

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!

What’s in the box this week?

To mark the coming of Spring – the “Derech Hashatil” Nursery in Shoham is offering a planting kit of organic summer vegetables for your home garden. This special nursery grows organic vegetable plants in cooperation with the Shekel non-profit organization, employing only special-needs individuals. Derech Hashatil produces excellent quality organic plants for your vegetable patch, placing top priority on the quality and health of the plants.
The summer vegetable collection includes five seedlings from each of these vegetables: melon, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Cost per kit: 132 NIS.


To order, either send an email or a text message to Chubeza, and we will send the kit along with your next Chubeza delivery.

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This week we did not manage to write a Newsletter, but we shall resume regular publication next week.
In the meantime, we wish everyone a good week and a smooth Return to Routine Life!
And a hearty Chag Sameach greeting to our Thai workers who last week celebrated the Thai New Year which begins in spring!
From all of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Tuesday: cilantro/dill, zucchini, Romaine lettuce/leaf lettuce, cucumbers, kohlrabi/artichoke, tomatoes, cabbage, leek/onions, cherry tomatoes/fava beans, carrots, beets.

Large box, in addition: cauliflower/broccoli, celery, fennel

Wednesday: Fennel, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, Romaine lettuce/leaf lettuce, cabbage, beets, leeks/fresh onions, artichokes. Small boxes only: coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition: Fava beans/cherry tomatoes/green garlic, kohlrabi, cauliflower/Swiss chard, celery.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!