Aley Chubeza #308, September 26th-28th 2016 – Shana Tova!

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

During the week of Rosh Hashanah:

  • There will be no deliveries to those scheduled to receive a box onMonday, October 3rd.
  • Wednesday delivery will be moved to Thursday, October 6th and the ordering system will close (for that Thursday) on Wednesday, October 5th at 9:00.

The Week of Yom Kippur:

  • Monday delivery as usual (October 10th)
  • Wednesday delivery moves up to Thursday, October 13th and the ordering system (for that Thursday) will close on Monday, October 10th at 12:00.

During Chol HaMoed Sukkot:

  • There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 17th and 19hof October.

On the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah:

  • Monday deliveries move up to Tuesday, October 25thand the ordering system (for that Tuesday) closes on Sunday, October 23rd  at 9:00.
  • Wednesday deliveries as usual (October 26th)

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

Open Day at Chubeza
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Thursday, October 20th, the 18th of Tishrei (third day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00- 5:00 PM. 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 activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova from all of us at Chubeza.
We look forward to seeing you all!

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A Chubeza Tale for the New Year

Two events led me to write this newsletter:

Last week Amos, a veteran client who comes to Chubeza each week from Rishon Lezion to purchase vegetables, asked me: “Bat Ami, are you happy with what you do?” It took me a second to understand his question and decide to answer with uttermost gravity and candor: “I am very, very, very happy.”

I mean it. I really am happy and grateful for the place I am in and the privilege to be here, in our fields, with our Chubeza team, with the clients who come here every week and with the friends to whom we deliver our vegetables.

The second story:  In preparation for the New Year, we received a request from the Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association to write the Chubeza story for their newsletter distributed to members of the organization and other interested parties and individuals. Each edition features a column introducing a different organic farmer telling his or her story, and Chubeza’s time has now come.

With Amos’s question in mind, and as I wrote our story for the Bio-Organic Agriculture Association, I realized that it is apt to tell you our story as well. True, many of you have been with us for a very long time, and we have already told you our tale, as does the weekly vegetable box you receive. And yet, over the last year many new members have joined Chubeza’s growing community. When I glanced at our numbers, I discovered that over 1,000 families are now members of Chubeza. It’s time to share the story of Chubeza to all, a story that is both ours and yours, one that begins in autumn some thirteen years ago, and a constant reminder to me that it is worthwhile follow your dreams. Indeed, fairy tales can come true… and it happened to us.

As I sat down to write, memories and thoughts poured forth and I typed away, adding more and more lines to the growing newsletter. So I will split the story which will be featured over this week and next, as we glide into year 5777.

Here goes:

Who are we?

Alon Efrati, Bat Ami Sorek and a very devoted and professional crew containing younger and older individuals, Israelis, Thais and Palestinians, volunteers and paid workers, all toiling together in the field to plant, seed, harvest, collect, pack, plan and deliver.

Alon is the manager, responsible for the fields. He is married to Maya and the father of three girls and a boy. As a descendent of two of the nearby Moshav Yad Rambam’s founding families, cultivating the fields of Emek Ayalon is a homecoming experience for him. Alon holds a degree in agricultural studies from the Hebrew University’s Rechovot Faculty, but when he began his work at Chubeza he discovered that his experience growing his home vegetable garden is actually more practical than the long hours he put into the university labs.

Bat Ami is the client manager, married to Yisrael and mother to four girls. She founded the farm upon returning from the U.S. West Coast where she began studying and specializing in organic agriculture, working in two organic farms in the heart of Silicon Valley. She specialized in various ways of direct marketing from farmer to consumer. With a background and experience in the realms of education and therapy, choosing agriculture that involves connecting with people was a perfect combination.

Today, Chubeza employs eight workers: five from faraway Thailand: Ding, Hoth, Tom, Kampon and Ratfung, and three Palestinian workers from nearby Beit Likia: Mohammed and his two sons, Ali and Majdi. Mohammad is in charge of the team that works in the field.

Gabi is our tractor man, a true farmer who knows everything about the newest improvements, tool care and future dreams. He is always there to help with anything: fixing, transporting, advising and procuring. And he is the one who encourages us to think ahead, be more efficient, develop and fear no changes.

In the logistic department of client management, we are blessed by the assistance of our families: Dror, Alon’s brother, whom we can thank for the efficiency of packing and delivering, and Yochai, Bat Ami’s brother, who greets all new clients.

On packing days we are fortunate to be assisted by volunteers who have been with us for many years: Melissa and Ruthie (Alon’s aunt) who are here every week, and Alon and Einat. Behind the scenes and keyboards we have volunteers who have been with us from the very start (and even before that) – Talya, our website wizard who solves any technical problem, makes it pretty, teaches us and brings order to the website; and Aliza and Melanie who translate the newsletter into English week after week. Even when they are away or on vacation, they somehow find a way to hook up and connect with the world to translate the newsletter for the English speakers among us. This is another great opportunity to thank you all!

And lest we forget, the people who connect us with our community, our loyal delivery people, Amit, Shlomi, Oren, Tamir, Eli, Alon (yup, another Alon), Keren, and Yochai and Dror (see above.)

How did it all start?

We first laid eyes on our field in October 2003, and immediately fell in love. The thorny weeds were man-high and they covered the earth, but we knew this was a sign of fertile land and great promise.

From the very start we were fortunate to be accompanied closely by the support of the Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association (veterans Rafi Rudman, Moshe Ze’evi and Uri Adler) who encouraged us, offered information and counsel. They also attempted to save us from ourselves, explaining that “a surprise box of vegetables” is unsuitable for Israeli consumers who like to choose their own vegetables and not be duped. Despite long conversations with a concerned Rafi who urged us to give up and instead grow 10 acres of paprika for export, we were stubborn and wanted to give it a try.

We realized that it is important for customers to know where, how and by whom their food is grown and to get to know us. No one doubts the direct link between our health and the food we eat, and we assume that choosing a family farmer is as important as choosing a doctor, lawyer or rabbi. From our side, we too placed importance upon knowing our clients personally. We take our responsibility very seriously to grow your food because we know who you are. Your satisfaction is of utmost importance to us. We always welcome your visits to our field, and during Pesach and Sukkot we hold Open Days to invite all to come take a tour of the field and celebrate with us.

After thirteen years, it turns out there are many Israelis who choose not to be cynical and suspicious and are willing to depend on us, the farmers growing their vegetables, to maintain our commitment to grow a variety of great vegetables and pack them up nicely for our clients.

More about this… next year!

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In the New Year spirit and inspired by the traditional Rosh Hashana blessings, here are some special Chubeza New Year blessings to you all:

Dates: May the dates we determine to plant, water, and harvest our crops be not too early, not too late, but just right.

Black-eyed Pea: May our shiners be only from this pea.

Leek: May all the pests, leaf nibblers, tunnel diggers and other little menaces “leek” away, or at least remain under control…

Beets: May blessed rains “beet” upon our fields, saturating our earth (but not sweeping it away with its seeds), filling up the reservoirs and watering the plants.

Pumpkin: May we pump up many beds with seeds, may we empty many trays of plants that will fill up the beds, and may we persevere, as the pumpkin, to the end of the vine.

Pomegranate: May our hands be filled with bountiful earthly missions, as the seeds of the pomegranate.

Apple and Honey: May we have crisp, juicy and sweet produce (or tart, spicy, and invigorating).

Fish Head: May we know to take action from our heads and hearts, and never forget one or the other.

Mallow (Chubeza): This year, may we try to remember when life was sweet and oh, so mallow. Renew our days, as of old!

Wishing you a good and blessed year, bountiful in happiness, success and fulfillment!

Alon, Bat Ami and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S NEW YEAR’S BOXES?

Monday: Sweet potatoes, pomegranates, leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/basil, bell peppers/eggplant, Thai lubia/lubia, lettuce. Small boxes only: Onions/tomatoes.

Large box, in addition: Scallions, okra/cherry tomatoes, coriander/parsley, corn

Wednesday: Sweet potatoes, pomegranates, leeks, cucumbers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, bell peppers/eggplant, onions/tomatoes/okra,  Thai lubia/lubia, lettuce, corn.

Large box, in addition: Potatoes, scallions, coriander/parsley.

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, apple juice, cider and jams 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