Aley Chubeza #35 – Rosh HaShana 5770, September 6-7 2010

Ceremonial Additions to the Box:

In honor of Rosh Hashana and the holiday season, I’m reminding you that you can add Tamir and Daniella’s excellent honey from the Dvash MiBeit Abba apiary in Moshav Sha’al in the Golan Heights. At present, we have a supply in stock of 1 kg and 0.5 kg jars of honey made from blueberry flowers, jujube flowers, eucalyptus flowers (only .5 kg) and kiwi flowers (only 1 kg). In addition, there is honey from wildflowers (in 1 kg, .5 kg and 350 g jars). There are also honeycombs in jars (1 kg) in the following flavors: blueberry, raspberry, eucalyptus and wildflower. Please advise ASAP if you wish to order.

Yiftah is back, and along with him, his sprouted spelt bread. Yiftah bakes his bread every two weeks. The next baking will take place the week after Rosh Hashana, with the bread to be distributed on Wednesday, September 15th, and on Monday, the 20th. Please advise by Wednesday, Erev Rosh HaShana, if you wish to order. (Those of you who have permanent orders need not inform us again.)

Ring Out the Old! Ring in the New!


This week we bid farewell to the year 5770, and greet year 5771. In two weeks time the fall Equinox will come, heralding the start of autumn. Changes are subtle, whether they are those taking places underground, or in the emotional state of human beings, or in gradual developments in nature. Changes in our farm are also taking place behind the scenes. While the composition of vegetables in your boxes has not undergone major changes over the past several weeks, one difference is in the offing— in two weeks time, we’ll start adding the first sweet potatoes. And we can already feel autumn caressing our fields: in the plot that was empty and gathering strength over summer, the beds have been filling up with summer and winter habitants living peacefully alongside one another: corn and cauliflower, scallions and carrots, beets and cabbage, lettuce and herbs, kohlrabi, fennel, broccoli and celery, leek, spinach, kale, tot soy, mustard, rocket and chard, green beans and sweet peas. As for the products of this seeding and planting, they will only appear in your boxes in a month or two, but the process is in full force.

Over the past weeks, there is also a nice feeling pervading of renewal and the closing of circles. The New Year brought back veteran customers who had taken a summer break, and even families who had been away for up to three years—their return to Israel is also their return to the Chubeza community, which is heartwarming to us. Over three quarters of our Chubeza clientele have been with us for over a year, and half for over two years. True loyalty! In conversations and meetings we have with you, we always feel blessed to be dealing with people who truly appreciate the work we do and support the ideas and distinctive paths we’ve chosen to follow. I always say this–and it’s always true: Without you, this could not have happened. Your support fills us with pride and happiness and proves that despite the Israeli self-flagellation and constant complaints, there’s a great deal to be proud of.

Our new fields are celebrating their first birthday. At this time last year, we started planting autumn crops in their plots. At the beginning, we were strangers, but over the past year we’ve gotten to know and become accustomed to one another. By now we feel that we belong to them, learning their unique characteristics, where the earth is more or less fertile, where there is a greater or lesser slope. The edges of the field which were dotted with piles of accumulated garbage have been gradually cleared, unearthing the great potential hidden till now: a small, shady grove, a fence where we can perhaps grow perennial herbs or climbing grapevines… lots of ideas that we will realize with time.

This year we bade farewell to Eyal, our veteran foreman, who partnered with a colleague to start a CSA of their own, A Farm in the Village, in Kfar HaNaggid near Yavne. Alon Karni, an old partner, will also be leaving soon to expand his professional horizons in the field of ecological-environmental education. All growth and development of our workers is a source of happiness, mixed with the sorrow at their parting. Joining those who come to work for defined periods over the year, Shacham, Tom and Yossi, we are happy to greet Pum, in from Thailand, who joined Suwet and Mohammed, our seniors and Alon’s faithful assistants in managing the field. And of course, we salute Gabby, who has been with us from Day One, our good neighbor who is always there with advice, tractor cultivations, various tips and the wisdom of an experienced farmer.

My imminent birth has led to Melissa and Tamir’s coming aboard, both now acclimating to their new tasks, devoting efforts and energy to the onslaught of details and tasks. Once again, we wish them luck and request your patience and readiness to help them.

We’ve been blessed with loyal volunteers who come to the field to assist on harvest days. Some of them arrive occasionally, while others come on a permanent basis, like Alon’s grandfather, Alon from Beit Shemesh, Rachel and Melissa. Our ongoing backup team also consists of Talia, the philosopher, designer, creator, manager and lifesaver of our website; and Melanie and Aliza, who translated the very first text that we ever sent to our customers, then proceeded to convince me several years later to translate the weekly newsletter as well. The response from you, our English readers, is proof that they deserve many thanks. The fact that such a team of volunteers has been marching with us for so long is heartwarming, and we extend our deep appreciation to each and every one of them.

The past year was one of much learning for Alon and myself, and we will attempt to summarize some of our recent agricultural lessons from the School of Life in our next newsletter. In the meantime, allow me to end with my own symbolic Rosh Hashana greetings, Chubeza-style, for the New Year:

Dates (Tamar): May it be Thy will, that the dates and timing of our planting be acceptable and proper for this region, this season, this political and spiritual climate, and this year’s daylight savings time.

Black-eyed Peas (Lubia): Peas, may the Mighty One blacken the eye of all who may blight our crops, especially the lesser pumpkin fly that wiped out our cucurbits this year.

Leeks (Karsi): May the heavens leek abundant rainfall upon our earth, but all things in moderation…No more cloudbursts or three-day washouts, please.

Beets (Selek): May the good insects beet out the bad ones & be blessed to continue doing their part to keep the balance of nature, so essential for our wholesome organic ecosystem.

Gourds (K’rah): May the Almighty protect and gourd our crops from pestilence and from all harm that may come to them at every stage of growth, from seeding to harvest.

Pomegranate (Rimon): May the Lord bless the work of our hands to be as bountiful, sweet, delightful and beneficial as the fruit of the pomegranate.

Apples and Honey (Tapuach b’dvash): May sweet–and tart, delicious, piquant, energizing, fresh– products of our farm flourish, all the days of each and every year.

Fish Head (Rosh ha-dag): May the Good Lord bless us with the wisdom to know how to work from both the head and from the heart, without confusing which to use when…

With best wishes for a New Year blessed with happiness and growth,
Alon, Bat-Ami, Melissa and the Chubeza team

This Rosh HaShana basket includes:

Monday: pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, yard long bean or cowpea, parsley, onions, tomatoes, dill, pomegranates, red peppers, potatoes, popcorn, lettuce.
In the large box, in addition: green onions, eggplants, corn

Wednesday: pumpkin, lettuce, tomatoes, mint or dill, corn, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, pomegranates, onions, eggplants, small boxes: yard long bean or cowpea or okra
In the large box, in addition: okra, basil, potatoes, yard long bean or cowpea

Rosh Hashana Recipes:

Simanim Salad

Pumpkin Pancakes

Eggplant Roulade

Basmati rice with okra (ladies’ fingers) and dried fruit in silan

Potato Kugel Secrets

Cranberry Chestnut Green Beans (scroll down)

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