Aley Chubeza #95, Happy Hanukkah – December 19th-21st 2011

Thanks to all of you who wrote or called to discuss the change in box prices. Most of you were encouraging and understanding, and once again it was heartwarming to realize what a supportive and loyal community we have.

Please note that price rise only goes into effect from next month, January 2012. Payment for December boxes is at the usual rate.

Beginning January, a small box will cost 85 NIS, a large box 110 NIS. The price of deliveries will remain unchanged (20 NIS for home delivery, 5/10 NIS to pick-up point).

This conclusion was reached after much thought, and with the fervent wish to serve you better without hurting you or your pockets. It is important to us to continue working according to what we have always believed in: hiring veteran, reliable workers to whom we can promise a stable job, paying them fair salaries (regardless of their nationality) and promising them full benefits. We strive to fill your boxes with products grown in our fields, picked fresh for you, without having to buy a large amount of supplemental vegetables from outside. And we strive to bring together more and more small, local, communal producers into a Chubeza-based community.

Last, and of utmost importance, it is crucial for us to maintain an open, honest dialogue with you.

We wanted to inform you of this decision in advance of the price rise, but this doesn’t mean the end of discussion between us. If you would like to voice your opinion, you are very welcome to do so. We are listening…

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In perfect Chanukah timing, we are pleased to introduce you to the latest addition of cottage-industrialists joining Chubeza’s circle of associates, Didi and Shira Amosi, producers of organic olive oil from Rotem. We will be sending you their flyers soon, but in the meantime, here are Shira’s words to you:

Simply Olive Oil

“We are delighted to meet you via our olive oil that bears the taste of daily, family labor, simply and with love and happiness.

So what do we do when we wake up in the morning? We walk over to our orchard. We know every tree like a friend, enjoy meeting animals that come to visit, differentiate between our benefactors and our pests, giving the right amount of fertilizer and water each season. We grow with the orchard, fixing the occasional pipes, mending split fences and showing the way out to deer and porcupines which “invite themselves over for a meal.” We watch our trees bloom, and the flowers turn to fruit.

In the beginning of the winter the party begins, a celebration of family harvest accompanied by lots of prayers, excitement and thankfulness.

And you’re invited too! On the day the fruit is harvested, it arrives fresh, ripe and vigorous to the olive press. We painstakingly carry out the careful process of cold pressing as we prepare the olive oil.

The finished product is extra virgin olive oil, prepared under strict supervision, respecting the environment, free of pesticides and sprays, with a maximum of 0.5% acidity. Sakal is the organic supervisor, and it is certified kosher and kosher for Passover. The oil is produced from a variety of species, including barnea, picual, leccino, kurtina and kortini. And it tastes absolutely delicious….”

These days the harvest is still in progress, but despite the pressure, Shira came by yesterday and left us some olive oil for you.

Costs: A 0.750 ml bottle of Picual 45 NIS; a 2 liter can of selected mix varieties: 95 NIS; a 4 liter can of selected mix varieties: 180 NIS.

Chag Sameach!

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Winter in the Field and in Your Boxes

Our field is craving rain. It was so excited by those first good showers several weeks ago, but since then only brief scattered showers have dripped through. We’ve been promised rain a few times since then, but it’s thought better of it. Someone from Ben Nun told me this week, “When they say it’ll rain in the north, all of a sudden we’re south, and when they say the south will be stormy, we move up north…” And still we wait. Now there’s talk of a possibly rainy weekend, so here’s hoping.

In the meantime, our vegetables receive water through the irrigation system, and the winter vegetables continue to ripen and renew. Without us noticing, our “flowers,” the cauliflower and broccoli, have become permanent visitors in our boxes. The stems– kohlrabi and fennel– have thickened, and they, too, are making a striking appearance.

In the winter roots department, there is a parade of tastes: radishes of all types in a splendid array – radishes, small radishes; daikon and baby daikons (this is a special type that you meet in your box in bunches); their sweet and spicy (and ever so aromatic) relative, the turnip, who straddles the center of flavor, proving that it is possible to enjoy both worlds and to balance the flavors; the beet and carrot, there to add sweetness to your taste buds. And of course, the cute sweet potatoes that grew at the end of summer (they’re planted in July) but ripen now, add sweetness and health to our winter boxes.

For two weeks, our sweet carrot was MIA, due to a bed that was almost totally consumed by pests (maybe even a mole?) who nibbled at the sweet roots. But now it’s back! When you receive nice big carrots, you can tell that the bed was thinned out well, leaving all of them lots of room to grow and fatten up. When the carrots are small and medium-sized (although sweet and wonderful!), this is a sign we were late in thinning out the bed and the carrots were squashed up against each other, sort of like Israelis standing on line, and thus remained relatively small. Sometimes we bunch them up in a bundle, but there’re weeks when the box is so full of greens, it is hard for us to shove in carrots-with- leaves, which is why they stay with us to share with the animal growers on the moshav.

Speaking of greens… you must have noticed the boxes are chock full of leaves of all sorts, colors, textures and flavors. Those who thought the winter is gray, think again. Our winter is totally green. Sometimes the exact variety can be confusing, so if you’re having problems identifying them, here is a link to the Greens Newsletter, containing photos. If you’re not sure, you can always ask me.

This week we begin the Festival of Lights. I wish you all the ability to keep your inner light intact, spread it outwards, and notice other lights shining their radiance at you!

A happy and delightful holiday to us all,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza Team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Sweet potatoes, arugula, green or red mustard greens, kohlrabi or beets, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet red peppers, parsley, scallions, lettuce, dill, radishes

In the large box, in addition: cauliflower or red cabbage, carrots, turnips

Wednesday: lettuce, mustard greens, arugula, green or red cabbage, turnips or radishes, cucumbers, dill or cilantro, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, broccoli or cauliflower

In the large box, in addition: beets, fennel or kohlrabi, carrots

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers and organic olive oil too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon.

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LATKES FROM CHUBEZA VEGETABLES

In tribute to the virtuous Chana Zelda (and the weary Rabbi Kalman), we’ve decided this week to send you some suggestions for levivot (latkes) made from the contents of our latest boxes to save you a trip to the shuk.

Have a yummy Chanukah!

Green Latkes

Ingredients:

400-500 grams of greens (for mustard greens, boil and drain before cooking)
1 egg
3 egg whites
3 T. regular flour
3 T. bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Trace of ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Oil for frying
1 container 3% yogurt
Handful of chopped chives or green onions

Preparation:
-Steam greens for around 10 minutes in a skillet. Drain, squeeze, and chop into strips.
-Transfer to bowl.
-Add additional ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
-Lightly oil a skillet, heat over medium flame.
-Form 8 latke patties, frying on both sides.
-Mix yogurt with chives, and serve with latkes.

 

Beets and cauliflower latkes

Turnip latkes

Sweet potato latkes and a second option

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