Aley Chubeza #201, June 2nd-5th, Happy Shavuot

 Due to the holiday, Wednesday’s deliveries will be moved to Thursday, June 5th.

Bread lovers, please note: As rye bread preparation takes two days, there will be no bread delivery this Thursday.

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What to do with all the bountiful yield of the fields? Eliezer of Shorshei Tzion invites you to fascinating workshops where you can learn to preserve food in the ancient, healing method of fermentation. The workshops will take place in Tel Aviv over the next month. This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced and talented professionals about the advantages of live ferments, various methods, tools, materials and tips. For more information, see attached document. Highly recommended!

Wishing you a joyous Festival of First Fruits!

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This year we can now definitely discuss spring. As the scorching heat waves of the Mideastern summer are preparing to make their grand entrance, we are enjoying beautiful sunny, albeit breezy days. The vegetables are loving the generous amounts of light, yet not groaning under the burden of heat. The entire field is dancing joyfully, blooming and ripening in green and blossoms. What a great time to celebrate the Festival of the First Fruits!

The vegetables, enjoying moderate days and gentle evenings, are ripening at a satisfactory tempo, yielding new vegetables almost weekly. Take a look at the list of vegetables you got last month, and you will realize that the in-between-season is behind us, and the transformation is complete. The field has renewed, and the new fruits are officially here.

In the greens department, we have begun harvesting mint, New Zealand spinach (not at all related to the Chenopodiaceae family, to which the spinach belongs, but rather a very tasty green that flourishes in the Israeli heat and is used as a friendly spinach replacement), and scallions. Very soon you will also be receiving sage and thyme.

The fakkus in the open field and the cucumbers in the net house are ripening rapidly, as evident in the large quantities you have been receiving. This week, large boxes will receive cucumbers and fakkus. If you cannot make do with such large quantities in salads or Tzatziki, we suggest you pickle them in brine. They’re ready in a week, and irresistibly so.

Squash and potatoes, the first fruits of spring, are still with us. They started a couple of months ago in a slow trickle, first one variety–light squashes and yellow potatoes—that were later joined by the green striped zucchini. The red potatoes are ripening and will be arriving shortly.

The eggplants have commenced earlier than usual (as they were planted earlier this year), due to their coping with the cold weather in the beginning. First they ripened midsize and in small quantities, but we kept noticing more and more fruits on the bushes that are simply taking their time in this moderate springy spring and ripening at their own pace. Last week they had a sudden growth spurt, and the eggplants have reached their summer size. They will be with us, like the rest of their family (the sun- loving Solanaceae‘s) throughout the summer till autumn.

The green bean seemed at first hesitant, waiting, debating, until she too decided to go for it, and basking in the warm sun, yielded good-sized quantities. We also enjoyed the yellow bean, which also grows on bushes in the open field. Soon, the flat bean (Hilda), climbing tall in the growth-house, will ripen, juicy and delicious. Try the beans raw or lightly boiled. They are at their prime, and we can’t help nibbling away as we harvest and pack…

And among the summer fruits, our melons have begun ripening, juicy and dripping sweetness, emitting intoxicating scents in the packing house and delivery cars, and probably in your refrigerators as well (if you manage to keep them there over a day.) Most of our melons this year are of the “orange pineapple” type, an elongated melon with orange, soft and juicy fruit. The first melons were planted at the end of February, and since then we have planted two new rounds, alternating between those that are more suitable for early spring and the later-spring-early-summer types.

We try to harvest the melons at their maximum ripeness, when they detach easily from the bush. Melons should not be picked too early, but if you wait too long it’s not too good either. Melons are tricky: if they’re left even a little too long in the field, they can go rotten at their ends. We happily harvest them for immediate use – i.e., Chubeza lunches.

And last but not least, our new fruit of the new fruits- the artichoke! This is our first year of growing artichokes, bringing us a little something to add to our repertoire… thorns. This charming little plant is actually a thorny guy, and you are eating its thorny flower. It is a perennial plant, and we will be able to harvest artichokes from the same plot for a few years now. I promise to discuss him more when the quantities grow and more boxes can enjoy it. In the meantime, our artichokes are yielding larger and larger quantities. Welcome, newcomer!

And before we say goodbye, welcome sweet little Na’ama, daughter to Boaz and Tzippi, who breathed new life into the recipe tab in our website and is also my very own sister, and to Na’ama’s big brother Yotam. We wish you joy and happiness as you greet your very own ceremonious basket of new fruits.

Wishing you all a happy Festival of First Fruits, full of gratitude and love. May you be granted bountiful blessings, celebrate happily with friends and loved ones, and enjoy the holiday break!

Chag Sameach from all of us at Chubeza!

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S SHAVUOT BOXES?

Monday: Nana (mint)/coriander, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, beans/artichoke, fakus, parsley, melon, zucchini.

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard, leeks/scallions/chives, cucumbers.

Thursday:  Nana (mint)/coriander, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, beans/artichoke, parsley, melon/acorn squash, zucchini, small boxes: cucumbers/fakus.

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard, leeks/scallions/chives, cucumbers and fakus.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, 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!