August 6th-8th – Midsummer day dream

The Ish shel Lechem bakery is taking a short summer break in a couple of weeks. There will be no bread baking on August 13 and Wednesday 15th. Those who wish to increase their order next week, please inform us or DIY via our order system. Wishing everyone a happy vacation!

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’TIS the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

–    Thomas Moore (1805)

Our calendars indicate that we’re now at the midpoint of summer which began six weeks ago on June 21 and ends in six weeks on September 22. A look at Chubeza’s field (through the sweat-screen) reveals a very summery crop landscape, i.e., relatively empty. The pumpkins, garlic, onion and popcorn (coming soon!) have ripened and been gathered to our shade net to be stored for the next few months. The tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are mostly planted within tunnels and growth structures, covered with shade nets protecting them from the scorching sun. The zucchinis and green beans have sealed their season. Now only the bravest remain standing in the open fields, the leafy greens that somehow are able to survive in summer: lettuce, parsley, coriander, scallions and New Zealand spinach. In the open beds the lubia, okra, eggplant, and of course, the uncontested king of summer, corn – turn their faces towards the blue skies. The sweet potatoes, which have not yet arrived in your boxes this year, are lazily spreading out to soak up the sun, alongside Jerusalem artichokes standing erect as they wait for autumn, their cue to blossom and grow their bulbs.

    

But the field is always planning ahead, with one foot in the next season, so that even what seems desolate and static is in fact forward thinking. Clear plastic sheets have been spread over the earth in our growth tunnels in a process called “soil solarisation” that cleanses the earth of pathogens before seeding, in order to prevent attacks on the plant in preparation for planting season. The piles of organic waste at the edge of our field (emitting their… hmmmm…scented fragrances) have been mixed and turned over by Gabi’s tractor. When they’re resting again, a process of decomposition will take place within, assisted by billions of microbes, tiny organisms, worms, beetles, fungi and other earth dwellers till they become excellent aromatic compost.

In Hebrew, the word summer also means “ripe fruit” – probably in regard to figs. And the fig trees in our locale of Kfar Bin Noon are indeed bowing under the burden of juicy fruit, alongside the sweet fruit of the sabres growing at the rims of our field and the field fruit that is also at its prime producing seeds. Now is the time to hold onto the seeds of pods that have ripened and dried up altogether, like our amazing okra:

The fields are buzzing with excitement, and everything is blooming: the plants flowering before they produce fruit, the weeds rushing to blossom and produce seeds before we pluck them out (we attempt to uproot them before their seeds ripen with the next generation in tow). And where there are flowers, well – there are insects paying visits, sharing information, drinking up some nectar and chattering away in insect-ish. Here are some examples of the busy bubbling activities underway in our summery field:

              

Even the empty plots which have been in bedrest for several months have been cleansed, refreshed and allowed to gather strength as they return to work one after another. You can probably imagine how hot and dry the earth is at this time. Turning over dry earth pounds the clods out till they are dust, resulting in the destruction of their ventilated and breathing texture.

Thus, in order to cultivate the earth, we dampen it with sprinklers. Only after the water is well-absorbed and the dirt is moist can we turn it over and prepare a place for the upcoming planting seasons, due to begin over the next few weeks.

So it is indeed the middle of summer, but we have only recently planted the last of the sunny season’s crops, and the fall guests are already standing at the door. So who’s marching towards the appointed plots? In the middle of August we will plant white cabbage, cauliflower, red beets, fennel, celery and celeriac, lettuce, leeks, broccoli and kale. These plantings allow us to stretch the autumn season just a little longer, but when you’re hosting guests from cold climates in the Israeli sweltering summer, you must make sure to provide wide brim hats, parasols and sufficient water. This is exactly the kind of comfort we will be providing our autumn field friends at Chubeza, under shade nets, assisted generously by the irrigation system. And just like that, every year, smack in the middle of summer, we catch a “soon in theatres near you” glimpse of the fresh harbingers of autumn – fresh fennel salad topped with lemon juice, or fresh crunchy cauliflower.

We are still in for some days of oppressive heat, but lifting the shade nets and admiring the strong cabbages and youthful celery provides some cool relief and a heartwarming glow.

Wishing you all a happy summery week, with lots of enjoyment ahead,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S SUMMER BOXES?

Monday: Bell peppers, slice of pumpkin, Thai yard-long beans, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, okra/scallions, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, parsley/coriander, lettuce.

Large box, in addition: Butternut squash, corn, New Zealand spinach.

FRUIT BOXES: Mango, pears, nectarines. Small boxes: Bananas, Large boxes: Apples

Wednesday: Bell peppers, slice of pumpkin, Thai yard-long beans, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, New Zealand spinach. Small boxes only: okra/scallions.

Large box, in addition: Butternut squash, corn, lettuce, onions.

FRUIT BOXES: Mango, plums, nectarines. Small boxes: Bananas, Large boxes: Apples.