May 18th-20th 2020 – Here Comes the [brutally hot] Sun

Bukra fi Mishmish
Good news from Mipri Yadeha: “Absolute Apricot” leather is back! – and like all MY products, made with love from only Israeli fruit with no additives whatsoever (no added sugar, preservatives, coloring or even water). Just 100% natural goodness.
In the family of fruit, apricots stand out as having a particularly sudden and quick season. The expression in Arabic, “Bukra fi mishmish,” means figuratively, “Anything is possible,” just as one morning we awake to the seemingly impossible appearance of suddenly ripe apricots.
So, in the spirit of joyful surprises, miracles great and small, such as back to school, a renewal of health, peace among people , we wish all bukra fi mishmish, may we wake in the morning to a world of ________ and without ______ (fill in yourselves).

Chubeza boxes containing gifts of love

The story of our delivery cartons relayed in our last newsletter evoked more fun photos from our clients (mostly cute cats who find our boxes especially comfy), but perhaps the most moving message came from Hila, a childhood friend and a Chubeza member. Hila attached these photos with the following message:

So here’s yet another use of Chubeza boxes – Over the past two months I have been taking part in a food distribution initiative to the needy. And most of our deliveries are packed in Chubeza boxes 😊

Needless to say, we were all very touched by her message, and I asked for more details. Here’s what she wrote:

The project was spearheaded by three amazing women (Alma Beck, Danielle Kantor and Leah Tunic) who joined forces to collect food and raw materials from restaurants, cafes, offices, and more which would have been thrown out during the Corona lockdown. To our great joy, the responses were overwhelming. This endeavor quickly turned into a mobile center for the collection and distribution of food cartons, followed by other basic needs we learned of (furniture, refrigerators, baby equipment and food, and more). Various associations contacted us with details of needy individuals and families – from Holocaust survivors to prostitution survivors and asylum-seeking families. We are astounded by the number of volunteers who responded to the appeal and the many people they helped throughout the country. The portable logistics and distribution centers move from place to place, situating in banquet halls and clubs which donate their space and refrigerators for collection and distribution. It is truly amazing!  

Some of the needy require cooked food, so I joined the cooking group. We get together twice a week to cook, each time for a different family or solitary individual, while a corresponding group transports the products to wherever they are needed. In order to pack up the cooked food, I requested plastic boxes from a friend who owns a neighborhood café, and they fit to a T in Chubeza boxes.😊.

In addition to this all, they have been very successful in collecting contributions earmarked to purchase tons of produce directly from farmers, as well as organizing volunteers to help with the harvest in a number of places.

Here’s a link to the website for more information about the project and donation opportunities. This is a truly remarkable grassroots endeavor that spreads love and kindness. Any and all donations help.
https://www.cultureofsolidarity.com

You are more than welcome to spread the word and take part in this amazing project.

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Heatwave

Over the past few days, we have been walking around the field feeling as if we’re directly in front of the exhaust pipe of a fiery hot compressor. The surrounding hot air stands oppressively motionless, spews out hot gusts of air, or sizzles. It’s just really, really hot. The temperatures here are nearly 40 degrees Celsius and climbing!

We make sure to drink and drink and drink, wear a hat, cover ourselves to the greatest degree with long thin pants and shirtsleeves to protect from the blazing sun. And we try to stay in the shade as much as possible. (These days, walking into the refrigeration room is like entering a different world. The 4-degree tempreture is incredible). The most difficult challenge is surviving in the outdoors, especially when the scorching temperatures are accompanied by a Levanter (aka “solano” or simply an easterly wind that blows in the western Mediterranean Sea and southern France).

What about the vegetables? They are in fact in a very similar situation. We add considerable time and quantities to our irrigation, use shade nets to cover up the needy crops and check the vegetable beds daily to ensure they’re surviving. Most are dealing quite well. One of the advantages of growing vegetables in their season is that the summer vegetables are able to brave the very hot weather. This doesn’t mean that they are not struggling, but with the proper support (water, water, water and sometimes shade), they will overcome the hardships. To our delight, most of the planted beds are in fields within the Moshav that are more protected from the wind, while in adjacent fields where the dry winds are strong, we grow them in growth structures to give shelter.

Big-leaf plants have their own way of coping, one which can deter you if you don’t know them. On hot days, the cucurbits (specifically pumpkins and squash) droop their big leaves downward, looking miserable and wilted. But in fact, this mechanism allows them to decrease the surface area exposed directly to the sun, preventing evaporation and providing some dampness to the stem and roots where the plant loses less liquids. When the temperatures and radiation drop, the leaves perk up once again and fill out. If you catch them in the early hours of the day, you will meet them fresh and healthy.

On the other hand, there are plants that suffer greatly from the heat. You can’t always recognize this happening in the process, but only after some time passes (did we not mention how similar they are to human beings?). Peppers and tomatoes, for instance, may develop a sort of “post trauma” syndrome in the shape of a black spot at the base termed “Blossom End Rot.” On occasion, in times of distress, calcium does not regularly reach the young fruit on the plant, resulting in tissue collapse at the bottom and blackening:

Calcium is soluble and requires water in order to traverse within the plant transportation system, and the amount of calcium that finally reaches the fruit is less than that received by the leaves. Thus, a shortage of water may cause this problem, especially in plants bearing young fruit. We have many greenhouses which are just now beginning to yield, and we’re inspecting them closely in these hot days to make sure they are well-satiated.

But there is also a positive angle: The viruses and various fungi find it hard to survive in the great heat, especially when it is dry, which is why a period of hot and dry weather – if survived – may provide future benefits of more enthusiastic growth and fewer leaf diseases, fungi and viruses. (How I wish this will prove true for Corona as well…)

We try to take solace from the hope implanted in the word Chamsin, probably originating from the Coptic expression Shem el-Neseem, which can mean “a passing heat.”   We hope to survive these days with no extraordinary problems or malfunctions, and to reach the other side   heatwave to meet strengthened, untraumatized vegetables.

Wishing you all a fresh, good week. Drink up and keep out of the sun!

One last thing – we extend our very warm wishes and blessings to Oren, who married Niri in a beautiful, touching wedding two weeks ago. May you enjoy good and happy times of togetherness.   Mazal Tov!

And though we are still apart – Ramadan Kareem to Mohammed, Majdi and Ali, who are celebrating this month at home in the days of Corona. We miss them and look forward to their speedy return.

Shavua Tov,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

SUMMER FRUIT BOX NOTICE: With the arrival of summer fruits and the changing assortment in our boxes, the cost of summer fruits are generally higher. Thus, from now until autumn, delicious Large Summer Fruit Boxes will be available at a cost of 100 NIS, and small boxes at 70 NIS.

Monday: Zucchini, potatoes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, pumpkin/butternut squash/acorn squash, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/kale, parsley, lettuce, coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/garlic, fakus, parsley root, cabbage.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, peaches, pears. Large box, in addition: Shesek (loquat)

Wednesday: Zucchini, potatoes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, peppers/butternut squash/acorn squash, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/kale, coriander/parsley, lettuce, scallions/garlic.

Large box, in addition: Dill, fakus, parsley root/celery.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, peaches, pears/avocado. Large box, in addition: Shesek (loquat)/cherries.