May 2-4, 2022 – Wheat Lives On

Great New Products for Spring!

Spring, the season of renewal, is bringing a bevy of very special new Additional Products available from Chubeza!

Last week, we introduced Tal Ron’s outstanding Cashew Cheeses. For those who missed it, here’s a glimpse:

These very special cheeses, which Tal produces in Carmei Yosef, are available in five flavors: natural, garlic dill, fig, sun-dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. Each product weighs 180 grams, and costs 37 NIS.

This week, we are delighted to introduce you to a new cracker, brought to us through the heartfelt efforts of “Heart of Nature.” These crackers, made of flax seeds, are gluten-free and thus very low in carbs. Heart of Nature crackers are compatible with paleo/ketogenic diets, rich in dietary fiber, and free of preservatives, sugar, artificial additives or genetically- engineered products.

The crackers come in boxes of 125 gr at a cost of 18 NIS

Add these tasty, healthy treats to your Chubeza boxes via our order system

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The Wheat Still Grows

As farmers for nearly 19 years, we know that one of the most joyful aspects of agriculture is the seasonal renewal and the crops that accompany each season. Every autumn, we sow and plant the crops we longed for in summer. In spring, we sow and plant the crops that were deep in slumber over the winter. And alongside the old familiar rhythm of farming, we like to try our hand at something new every year: a new crop variety, a different growth method, an idea we haven’t tried in awhile.

This year’s newbie has already sprouted in vast areas across the field, growing wide and tall, greening then yellowing, and accompanying us throughout the entire winter all the way to spring. Because this year we grew wheat!

Which is not to say we will now be producing bread and cake or adding grains of wheat to your boxes. Chubeza’s wheat in the field is meant to be used as a “cover crop,” “green manure” or “beneficial crop.” Why a cover crop? Because these wheat plots cover parts of the field which otherwise would have remained exposed over the past winter.

Essentially, organic farming gives the crops a Sabbatical every year. After we finish growing on a particular plot, we usually let it rest for a few weeks or months (depending on how much land we have and how much we need to hurry and replant the plot). Fortunately, at Chubeza we have reached the point where there is more than enough space to allow the plots a good rest between crops.

Yet sometimes a field’s winter slumber can boomerang and create more problems than it solves. An empty field and an abundance of rain can cause a profusion of weeds which need to be cut again and again. Rainstorms can also cause major soil erosion, since (despite the weeds), the earth lacks sufficient roots to hold onto the soil and prevent it from being washed away.

This is where cover crops come in to save the day.

The only thing we asked from the wheat we planted last winter was to grow. But by mere natural coincidence, without being expected to yield vegetables, the wheat crop generated many gifts for us: because the wheat was densely sown, it expanded and filled the soil in its plots, preventing   weeds from developing. By covering the exposed soil, the wheat’s deep, strong roots prevented the soil from being washed away by the winter rain. These wondrous deep roots also ventilated the soil, improving its texture and delighting the microbes and other creatures celebrating deep down below, as well as giving the the beneficial, much-needed insects a great place to spend the winter season (much nicer than the exposed field).

A sneak peek at the sheer beauty, from sprouting to yellowing:

Our wheat was grown to feed the sheep belonging to Gabi, our tractor driver, thus we let it grow leisurely and fill its beautiful seeds bursting with proteins. This past winter has been ideal for the wheat crop (and many others as well) – abundant with timely, beneficial rains, spaced at good intervals and accompanied by nice cold spells, enabling the wheat to enjoy exuberant growth. Around two weeks before Passover, it was harvested and gathered into long mounds along the field, waiting to be bound into sheaves. Precisely at the start of the Passover festival, the harvested wheat was collected into huge, well-spaced bales. Those who visited us on the Open Day saw the full array of bales standing along the field, ready to be taken to the sheep. Here they are:

When wheat is harvested, the roots and part of the stem are left in the field. Once the fields are sowed again, they will be assimilated into the soil and slowly decompose. All this green energy composts within the clods of earth, adding health, strength and contentment.

In summer, we valiantly attempt to deal with the weeds, which fiercely compete with our crops, thus we cover the earth as much as possible. This time, the cover is over the bed where our vegetables grow, not a free, open space. During the spring and summer, along with the rapid growth of our crops, the weeds are rushing right along to grow. Cultivating the soil around the plants is an excellent way to prevent (or at least greatly reduce) the growth of weeds that will compete with crops for food and water and disturb their growth. Thus, during the summer, many beds in our field are covered by biodegradable plastic (made from corn, which at the end of the season is simply stretched into the soil where it disintegrates), in which we cut round holes in which the vegetables are planted.

This summer covering also protects the earth’s dampness and prevents the harsh summer sun from rapidly drying up the earth. If you put your hand under the covering, you’ll discover pleasantly damp soil, several degrees lower than the nearby exposed soil. Here are eggplant seedlings basking happily beneath the covering:

Hopefully these weeks, replete with days of sadness and joy for our nation, will pass well, that these pictures of renewed growth will soften the sharpness of reality a bit, and that we too will learn to find the balance between exposure and coverage and know how to grow within this balance.

Id sa’id to Muchamed and Majdi as they celebrate Id al Fitr at the close of the month of Ramadan.

Wishing you all a good week, from all of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/parsley root, carrots, coriander/dill, cabbage/fennel, beets/kohlrabi, leeks/onions, Swiss chard/kale, zucchini/peas/pumpkin, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce.

Large box, in addition: Potatoes/sweet potatoes, garlic, celeriac/celery stalk.

FRUIT BOXES:  Pears, green or red apples, avocados, bananas, pink grapefruit.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander/dill, carrots, beets, onions, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, zucchini/pumpkin, peas/potatoes/sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, celeriac/celery stalk.

Large box, in addition: Garlic/leeks, cabbage/fennel, parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES:  Pears, green or red apples, avocados, bananas, pink grapefruit.