Aley Chubeza #231 January 12th-14th 2015

Goodness gracious, great balls of ice!

So in the end… after all the preparations, expectations, concern and considerations, last week’s Great Storm came and went. We prepared our Wednesday boxes on Tuesday night, and our faithful delivery team departed the farm early Wednesday morning in a diligent attempt to beat the storm, or at least meet only its opening act. In the Tel Aviv area, they delivered the Chubeza boxes under heavy rains. In Jerusalem they ended their rounds in a white city…

On behalf of all of us, I send my heartfelt thanks to our wonderful farm team that made every effort to expedite the harvest, packing and loading to get the deliveries on the road, and of course, to our brave and loyal delivery team in the plains – Amit, Shlomi, Oren and Alon, and in Jerusalem – Yochai and Dror. All of these fine people did their utmost to have your vegetables ready for the stews and storm cooking. We thank them so much!!! And thanks to all of you who took care of them, offered hot soup or shelter from the storm. Your concern is heartwarming.

Hail – what a concept! Hard, tough balls of ice pounding mercilessly upon our vegetables, striking and injuring them. On Wednesday, two heavy barrages of hail hit our field. Most victimized were, of course, the softer parts of the plants that are exposed to the cold – the leaves and fruits. Fortunately the roots are safely concealed in the basement, under the earth, and therefore spared the blow. We protect the leafy vegetables with an “Agril” covering that we spread over the beds to shield the plants. Indeed, most of our leafy veggies were safe under the cover: lettuce, spinach and other greens. The grand greens which we grow in the net house were also well swathed: Swiss chard, spinach and “baby” salad greens.

But we weren’t able to protect them all. The strong winds that preceded the storm made covering the entire field virtually impossible, and we also don’t cover every crop. So the hail did indeed injure some of the vegetables. In these cases, we selectively harvest the vegetables, leaving the very injured leaves in the field, and then carefully sorting out the harvested produce. We peel the external leaves and chop off the edges of damaged stems. Still, I presume you will be able to identify the hail damage in your boxes over the next few weeks: it looks like white dots and lines on the celery leaves, cabbage, leeks and green garlic. The snow peas, too, are slightly dotted in white.

Some of the damage will only be evident later – kale and Swiss chard beds that were not covered and grow outside the hothouse were indeed harmed. The strong kale managed to sidestep the greater injuries, while the Swiss chard was more vulnerable. We will try to methodically “repair” the damages by removing the injured leaves and allowing the vegetables to recover and grow new leaves. Young crops were also hurt: carrot greens and young beets and leeks, and even the fava bean that had already grown tall is now bent over. From past experience we know the young plants usually recover, but it takes time for them to get over the shock, grow new leaves and stand tall again, resulting in a delay in ripening.

We attempt to receive these events with acceptance and understanding, realizing that it may be nice to have your whole season mapped out until “A mentch tracht, un Gott lacht” (Man plans, and God laughs), as they say in these parts. And in the end, there is also the half-full part of our garden-cup: many vegetables that came out of this storm unscathed will be harvested this week in a glorious winter abundance.

We wish you and our vegetables, of course, a continued good week. May we all thaw in good time with the warmer days to come.

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Pumpkin/carrots, scallions/leeks, spinach/Swiss chard/kale, tomatoes, cauliflower/potatoes, celery/celeriac, bell peppers/cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, beets/fennel. Small boxes only: garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke

Large box, in addition: Arugula/“baby” mixed greens, broccoli, coriander/parsley, daikon/radishes

Unfortunately, this week  there’s a shortage in cucumbers. We hope that this is a temporary matter, caused by the storm last week. As a replacement we bought other summertime hot house veggies that usually we do not have in the boxes at this season – peppers or zucchini, we hope you’ll enjoy them

Wednesday: pumpkin/carrots, leek, spinach, tomatoes, red or green cabbage, zucchini/peppers, broccoli, lettuce, beets/fennel/turnip, small boxes only: snow peas/Jerusalem artichoke, celery

Large box, in addition: “baby” mixed greens/kale, daikon/radishes, celeriac/parsley root, green garlic, potatoes

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