Aley Chubeza #190, February 24th-26th 2014

Well, February is at its close. At the end of this week we will bill your cards for February purchases and endeavor to have the billing updated by Sunday.

You may view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. It’s easy. Simply click the tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed. Please make sure the bill is correct, or let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words סה”כ לתשלום: 0 (total due: 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. We always have our hands full, and we depend on you to inform us. Our thanks!

Reminder: The billing is two-part: one bill for vegetables, fruits and sprouts you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is “תוצרת אורגנית”, organic produce). The second part is the bill for delivery and other purchases (This bill does include VAT. The title of the bill is “delivery and other products.”).

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Manu, our expert baker, is back from a very short maternity leave, with the help of Tamar. From this week, you may resume your orders for her breads and pastries. Glad to have you back, Manu!

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At the end of this week we will be launching a new, improved order system. As with every change, here too we are hopeful yet a bit wary. We hope the change will go smoothly. On your end, there will be no major changes, but internally the new system should bring improvements and fewer (technological) bugs.

In order to transfer all the data, we will be closing the system for several hours this Thursday. Upon completion, it will be accessible once again for you to update your orders as usual.

Thank you, Amir, the man behind it all, for all your efforts, ongoing availability and constant readiness to always help and fix. And thank you all for your patience.

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With the month of Adar upon us, let’s hope it will bring joy and gladness to all!

Melissa from Mipri Yadeha is preparing a special, creative line of yummy products for Mishlochei Manot:

  • The Scroll of Esther–distinctive, hand-fashioned leather scrolls in a royal package: fruit leather in select flavors: peach, clementine, apple-ginger, persimmon-carrot, guava, pomegranate, apple-date, orange-apple and more. 10 NIS per scroll.


 


A Tale of One Family

Over the past few weeks, our lists look like a jigsaw or crossword puzzle– this vegetable or that one, one type for the small boxes, another for the larger ones… This has resulted from our attempt to juggle between the large varieties of this season’s vegetables with those which grow in smaller quantities, as is characteristic of the end of the season. This month’s sunny weeks made the vegetables ripen nicely, thus catching up on the two preceding months, which were frozen and slow. But the unpredictable weather disrupts our plans, where beds ripen one after another. We make our plans to coincide with cool and wintery weather, and this spring leap changes our rhythm.

So some of the vegetables ripened quickly and were harvested, but the next bed we planted thinking we would be returning to in two weeks’ time, is not yet ready for harvest. On the other hand, other beds quickly ripened, and other vegetables which we did not expect to harvest just yet are smiling at us, ripe and happy. This mess, on top of the fact that the end of winter is nearing and the yield is changing, leads to a large variety of vegetables ripe and ready for your boxes.

For example, the arugula and daikon are back this week, and the fava is back for a short while. Celery stalks are replacing their cousin the celeriac, which has been accompanying us thus far. So you may not all be getting all of the vegetables, as the quantities are not sufficient for all the boxes. Our two varieties of peas are enjoying the dryness. Usually the surplus of water in the earth, causing a tightening and saturation around the pea’s roots, makes it weak and yellow, and it is prone to various diseases. This year, the earth is not at all saturated, to our great sorrow and the pea’s great joy, which is why it has been abundant over the past few weeks.

To the contrary, the carrot, beet, fennel and kohlrabi have been consistently with us, but their quantities are not large, thus you have been getting a little of each. So too the cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, which were planted in November and are only now beginning to finally ripen (in cold months it can take up to four months). We try to vary the family members, so usually you receive two out of three.

In honor of the Brassicaceae family, which has been with us for some months now, I now bring its story once more. Yes, it happens in the best of families…

Every once in awhile, we hear about the scientific development of a new vegetable or other edible plant. It’s possible that the pace of change is much faster now than in the past, yet 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’s choosing and collecting seeds from the plants 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 man understood the genetics of plants, his actions caused small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they brought about actual 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. Sometime after the plant was domesticated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the biggest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collards. 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. Its actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time, in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short and thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, in choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, caused the former cabbage 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, 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. The cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. The broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And the last member of this extended family: we each have our own taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assembly 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 unique vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. It happens in the best of families. 

Wishing us all a week of wonder and variety, of patience and faith,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots/ beets, cucumbers, parsley, arugula/kale, potatoes.  Small boxes only: cabbage/cauliflower, snow peas/fava beans.

Large box, in addition: Daikon, leeks, celery, garden peas/ snow peas, fava beans

Wednesday: potatoes, fennel, cucumbers, red or green cabbage or cauliflower, parsley, broccoli, snow peas, kohlrabi/daikon, lettuce, tomatoes, kale – in small boxes only

Large box, in addition: leeks, cilantro, celery, garden peas/fava beans

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, pomegranate juice and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

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