April 8th-10th 2019 – A Family Matter

No deliveries on Chol Hamoed, so you will not be receiving your vegetables on Monday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 24. But… if the vegetables don’t come to you, you can come to them!

On Wednesday, April 24, don’t miss our traditional Pesach Open Day in the field between 2pm-6pm. Stay tuned for more details!

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Many of the excellent products available through our Order System to be added to your boxes are Kosher for Pesach, including: honey, olive oil, spices, dates, tahi-na, date honey, gluten-free crackers and even some of Dani and Galit’s cookies. Contact us for further details.

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All-of-a-Kind Family

After this blessedly abundant winter (which is most probably not over yet….), the whole world is blooming around us. However busy you may be these days, it’s worth taking advantage of any small break from your chores to step outside, breathe in all of the amazing “green” that abounds, and take in the remarkable blossoming that covers our surroundings. This is also the very short time of year when two members of the Cistus (commonly known as Rockrose) family bloom at the same time: the Sage-Leaved Rockrose with its smooth white blossom and early rising, and the Soft-Hairy Rockrose blooming in a wrinkled pink flower several weeks after its brother. I love the legend about the two Rockrose brothers being invited to a party. The Sage-Leaved Rockrose shaved, got dressed and arrived promptly at the party, while his less time-efficient Soft-Hairy brother threw on his clothes in such a rush that he slid into the party wearing a very wrinkled shirt. When he caught sight of his well-groomed brother, he blushed in shame…

When I tell my daughters this story, I usually end it by saying: this is what family is all about. Composed of people who are different from one another, each with his or her own way to live their lives and with their own unique perspectives. And hey, there’s room for everyone! In the family I come from, similar to the family I have raised with my partner, we each have very different opinions and traits, preferences and choices (including politics, of course). Obviously, this diversity is not always simple and demands patience and flexibility (specifically during elections….) but that’s the general idea – always keep your door and heart open to family.

Throughout this lavish winter, we have enjoyed many a visit from many a member of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Pesach celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much swifter than it once was, but even in the distant, primitive past, farmers constantly refined their crops. Actually, many of the most amazing changes in species development came not as a result of structured research, but rather out of the simple act of a farmer choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/he favored over seeds from less-desired plants. This straightforward action of promoting one plant over another had a huge effect on the improvement and change of a specific harvest or species. Long before wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible results.

The Brassicaceae family (or “cabbage family”) is a perfect example. All family members derive from one wild plant, the brassica oleracea, which originated in the Mediterranean area and resembles the canola in appearance. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. Kale’s botanical name is var. acephala, translating to “a headless cabbage.”

Others preferred plants that produced small, denser and more delicate leaves in the center of the plant at the head of the stem, hence advancing plants with those characteristics. Over the seasons, the process of compacting became more and more prominent in those plants. Over the years, it grew and evolved into a real “head of leaves” which we call cabbage, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began to alter its greatly-thickened stem. This turned into kohlrabi, which earned the name var. caulorapa, meaning “a stem turnip.”

Over the past thousand years, wo/man also developed a passion for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage, and chose the plants that produced large-bloom heads. This is how we got cauliflower and broccoli, both different variations of an undeveloped cabbage plant. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own personal tastes, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage of dense leaves along the stems. They chose and re-chose plants that produced this sort of leaf shape, and thus brought the world Brussels sprouts, titled var. germmifera “the cabbage with gems.”

In summary, this long, winding familial tale demonstrates that without a systematic education in genetics or plant propagation, but via a simple process of seed selection and a lot of patience, more than six distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

One last thing – a great tip from Jerusalemite Michal to the extended Chubeza family. Here it is in her words and photos:

I buy fresh garlic from Mahmud in Machane Yehuda, and he recommended I grind the green garlic leaves in a food processor with a metal blade, after removing the external and harder leaves. Add fresh lemon juice and a generous amount of olive oil. You can then freeze the mixture in small cubes or containers and defrost when desired. It’s perfect for cooking or baking fish and can be used with meat as a chimichurri-like spread.

Wishing us all a week of respect and concern for all members of Israeli society, in all their wonder and diversity.

Shavua Tov!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Beets/baby radishes, green garlic/leeks, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, fresh fava beans/peas, parsley/coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/turnips, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, carrots

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.

Wednesday: Beets, green garlic/leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, carrots, fresh fava beans, parsley/coriander/lettuce.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/peppers, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, turnip/baby radishes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.