Aley Chubeza #281, February 22nd-24th 2016

A Reminder – Upgrading!

We are pleased to inform you that Chubeza’s Customer Relations efforts are making progress: this time in the area of bills and invoices. I know that some of you have been baffled in opening our invoices or understanding the two-invoice system. Moreover, our system was not secure enough to be able to trust it with your credit card details. Today, however, we embark upon a new era…

Our billing system has been upgraded and is now connected to the Ishurit Zahav system of CardCom, a secure system which encodes the details of payment with full safety. Soon we will graduate to an invoice program that will produce one comprehensive invoice which includes all your monthly purchases (taking into consideration the various VAT levels). The invoices should now be opened easily, with no further difficulties.

So, now that Chubeza has taken these giant steps, we need your help! Please visit your bill in our order system (instructions for using the order system can be found here), and click the “personal details” tab. On the bottom of the page, there should be a line saying (in Hebrew): “הכנסת פרטי אשראי לחיוב חוזר: קישור לטופס מאובטח” Click the link, then enter your credit card info. Now your card is encoded and saved in the secure system.

Only one week left till the end of the month! We will be very grateful if you enter your payment details as soon as possible so we can bill your cards on time at the end of this week.

If you have any questions or could use some technical assistance, please call or email.

Thank you!

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It’s almost the end of February, and this month we will bill your cards at the end of this week, before Monday deliveries go out. Monday delivery, 29/2, will thus be included in your March bill. So we will charge your cards at the end of this week, and attempt to update the payment by the beginning of next week.  At the end of last week we charged your cards for January purchase.

Your bill is updated on our order system and you may view it by clicking the tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed. Please make sure, at the beginning of next week, that the words  סה”כ לתשלום: 0  (total due: 0) appear at the bottom. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. We always have our hands full, and we depend on you to inform us. Our thanks!

Reminder: The billing is still two-part: one bill for vegetables & fruits you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is תוצרת אורגנית, “organic produce”). The second part is the bill for delivery and other purchases. (This bill does include VAT. The title of the bill is “delivery and other products.”)

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Purim is around the corner, and in preparation for Mishloach Manot season, Dora Levy invites you all to a Vegan Baking Workshop for Purim. Dora has been a friend for many years, ever since she joined her family as a young girl/teenager to help us out at the packing house and in the field on harvest days. Today, Dora has her own family and specializes in cooking delicious, nutritious vegan food. She is willing to share her secrets and tips with you too! Here are the details of the upcoming workshop

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honey ein harodAnd in honor of Adar Alef, to increase happiness and sweetness, we are delighted to welcome a delectable line of pure honey from the Ein Harod apiary to Chubeza’s growing array of products available for purchase. A friend of ours who happened to be in Ein Harod, tasted this wonder and became totally addicted. We approached Hillel of the Ein Harod Meuchad field crops who sent us to Uri, the beekeeper, and we now invite you all to become addicted as well.

At nearly 80 years, the Ein Harod Apiary is one of the oldest in Israel. Their beehives are located throughout the country, from Gdera and farther northward, in the midst of a variety of types of flowers. Depending on which flower nectars are in the vicinity of the hive, the busy bees produce a range of honey varieties. We will begin by offering jujube honey and thistle honey, which you can order now via our order system. These are 100% honey, with no sugar or other additives. This healthy honey is not heated and therefore solid. Prices: 45 NIS for 1 kg, 24 NIS for 500 g.

Welcome!

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Lettuce ask some existential questions

It is a well-known fact that opposites attract, and sometimes that’s actually for the best. The question is, what happens when you reach the important issues in life?

My husband and I agree on most marginal issues such as religion and State, politics, raising children, women’s lib, life after death, etc. The trouble comes with the more important issues, the type upon which empires (and marriages) rise and fall. We belong to two separate schools of thought. These issues are gastronomical, of course, and one daily annoying example is the existential question of The Salad.

 To include lettuce or not, that is the question!

When I make our salad, I always begin with a bunch of fresh lettuce leaves, and I also enjoy a salad composed of lettuce leaves only. This habit of mine makes my husband begin his meal by fishing only the “real vegetables” out of the dish, wondering all the while why I still think he is a rabbit! He feels lettuce is intended to decorate tables, and then to be pushed aside once the real food arrives. He claims I am leading everyone astray when I happily nibble on the “decoration.” The bowl is filled with lettuce in order to create volume, when in fact the dish contains nothing. Or does it? Well, in order to uproot the conjecture that lettuce is in fact Styrofoam disguised as a vegetable, we shall dedicate this weeks’ Newsletter to a song of praise for lettuce.

“Lettuce” in English, “laitue” in French, all stem from the Latin Lactuca, because when we cut open the core, it secretes a lactic resin. The Greeks viewed lettuce as bearing medicinal attributes, and Hippocrates, the patron of medicine, believed it to be beneficial to one’s health. The doctor of the Roman Emperor Augustus endeared this healthy vegetable to the Romans and their successors, who believed it to regulate bowel movement in young people, and help older people sleep soundly.

Today we know that this lactic liquid, whose scent is similar to opium, contains alkaloids, and that all the lettuce varieties are somewhat narcotic. There are those who say that eating large quantities of lettuce can lead to stupor and even loss of consciousness. But in normal quantities, lettuce settles the digestive tract, relieves pain, encourages sleep and curbs coughs. A warm lettuce leaf extract eases asthma attacks and bronchial spasms.

Folk medicine employs a potion comprised of a lettuce-leaf infusion to relieve coughs and skin burns. Eating lettuce leaves or drinking a lettuce seed brew can benefit eye infections, nephritis, hepatitis and stomachaches. Lettuce has a rich water-content, therefore prevents thirst and encourages urination. Lettuce is recommended for nursing mothers to boost lactation. Nissim Krispil writes that lettuce is beneficial for those suffering from anemia, hair loss, constipation, liver malfunction, and insomnia.

Green lettuce is rich in vitamins K, A, and the B vitamin group, including folic acid. It also boasts some vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron content. Dark-leaf lettuce is a source of the antioxidant Lutein, which is said to improve vision. Purple lettuce contains Anthocyanins, antioxidants which slow the aging process.

Various lettuce varieties grow wild in Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Asia Minor and India. It is thought to have originated in Southeast Europe and Western Asia. Lettuce was cultivated and raised by the Chinese and Egyptians in ancient times, where it was an honored and respected vegetable. The Egyptians dedicated it to the God of Growth, and the Persians, who viewed lettuce as a delicacy, served it to their kings. It appears in the Bible, where it is coined Maror (bitter herb), which you remember well from your Passover Seder. Mishna sages name five types of bitter herbs that are considered “Maror.” One such type is “chasah,” for God had mercy (“chas”) on the People of Israel (Pesachim 39, 1). This is probably the origin of the modern Hebrew word “chasah” for lettuce.

There are almost 100 lactic resin weeds belonging to the Lactuca variety scattered across the Northern Hemisphere. Most can only be used for decorative purposes, as they are bitter, toxic and inedible. Only the Lactuca Sativa includes all the edible lettuces. Salad lettuce is not a plant that grows wild (like hyssop or sage, which you can find on a picnic in the Jerusalem Hills, very similar to what you grow in your garden). It is not clear when lettuce arrived in the world, but archeological findings place it in ancient times, when Egyptian gardeners began changing the wild lettuce for a cultivated variety. Years of selection, growing only the less-bitter lettuce and keeping its seeds to pass on to the next generation of gardeners, created a different plant from its wild ancestor. And yet, in honor of its ancestral merits, the salad lettuce retained two of its ancient characteristics: when it blooms and creates seeds, it is bitter and inedible. Difficult growing conditions, like heat waves and the like, will also produce a bitter lettuce. Another characteristic: lettuce seeds find it very difficult to sprout if they are covered in earth. They need light to sprout, so when you sprout lettuce, cover the seeds with a very light layer of earth or don’t cover at all.

Some different varieties of lettuce:

Romaine lettuce, originating in Italy.  Israelis call it “Arab” lettuce. Its leaves are elongated and fleshy in the center.

Iceberg letuce: originally from America, thus also termed “American lettuce.” It resembles a head of cabbage, with dense, crispy and juicy leaves.

Butterhead lettuce, in green or purple: of Dutch origin, with round, soft, delicate leaves.

Oak leaf lettuce, green or purple, with long green lobed leaves.

Green or red leaf lettuce: originally from Italy, its curly leaves are green on the bottom and purple at the edges.

Romaine lettuce grows year round in Israel. Each season we plant a different variety according to the temperature. Though lettuce thrives in summer and winter, it still needs support and protection: usually we grow it in our open fields, but during wintertime we guard some plants in our nethouses while others in the plastic tunnels. In summer we spread a shade net to protect the lettuce plants from the heat. The red lettuce, curly green or red leaf lettuce and the icebergs are much more delicate and only agree to grow in autumn or spring, which is when we enjoy a larger selection of lettuce varieties in our boxes.

So although lettuce is a permanent guest, don’t take her for granted! Give her a little rub of appreciation and tell her that although she’s almost always there for us, you still notice her every week and are happy to see her. Rest assured, she will generously express her gratitude. You can find surprising recipes for lettuce in our recipe section. Give it a peek.

Wishing us a good week, one in which we continually appreciate the steady components among us,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Broccoli, coriander/parsley, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach/kale/Swiss chard, cucumbers/long Dutch cucumbers, carrots, leeks/scallions, potatoes, cabbage/beets. Small boxes only: celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Baby greens (mesclun mix), white turnips/radishes, fennel/fava beans, onions.

Wednesday: leeks/scallions, potatoes, green/red cabbage, cucumbers/bell peppers, coriander/parsley, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach/kale/Swiss chard, carrots, Small boxes only: celeriac and white turnips/radishes/daikon

Large box, in addition: Baby greens (mesclun mix), broccoli, onions, peas, fennel/beets.

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 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!

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EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW—BUT NEVER DARED TO ASK– ABOUT COOKING WITH LETTUCE:

Creamy lettuce soup (chicken broth can be replaced with vegetable broth)

Wilted lettuce

Lettuce and green garlic soup

Stir-fried lettuce with tofu and red peppers

Pickled lettuce

Lettuce wraps