NOTICE & REMINDERS:
- · Wednesday, Yom Yerushalayim: Deliveries as usual (to Jerusalem as well)
- · Shavuot: Monday, 17.5 delivery as usual. Wednesday delivery to take place on Thursday, 20.5.
- An additional item, unrelated to food or farming, but sent to me by some of our oldest friends– and related to my daughter Netta’s school: Over the weekend of October 14th and 15th (Friday-Saturday), a sale of original, signed lithographs will be held at the Kesem school in Kibbutz Ma’ale Hachamisha. All proceeds go towards the establishment of a “green” school building in the Jerusalem Mountains for the Kesem children. The lithographs were donated for the cause by an art collector who wishes to remain anonymous. All are invited to see the creations of Naftali Bezem, Yair Garbuz, Oded Feingersh and many other artists, and of course, to buy their work at reasonable prices.
For details (Hebrew…):
Made in Israel- Part 2:
Last week I told you about Dani and Galit’s Granula, Maggie’s sprouts and Helaf’s fruit. The granola sprouts and fruit are usually sold on the basis of weekly/bi-weekly subscription, like our vegetable boxes. This week we shall continue with our parade of associates, today focusing on those that sell by personal order, according to your requirements and on the dates that suit you. Of course, a subscription can be acquired with them as well, as some of you have already arranged.
(As in last week’s newsletter, I’m adding Hebrew-language links for each producer with full details and prices for their products. From next week, an English-language link will be added for Yiftah’s sprouted spelt bread products. If you need further details in English on any of our “associates,” please call me at 054-6535980)
At Shavuot, the holiday of the wheat harvest, it feels good to go back to the beginning, to the grains of wheat that are harvested this season and collected to be ground into flour, that fundamental staff of life upon which humankind has depended for tens of thousands of years. Domesticated wheat, one of the first agricultural products that man learned to develop and grow, began its course right here in the Fertile Crescent area, with Israel almost at its direct center. This domestication symbolizes the cradle of intensive farming here and worldwide.
I think wheat and its local history deserve their own newsletter, and will perhaps devote one to them in the near future. Today I want to tell you about the opportunity we offer for organic flour, ground by Assaf from “Minchat Ha’aretz,” located in the Jordan Valley village of Rotem. This flour is especially wonderful, because it is ground from Israeli organic wheat, growing mainly near Assaf in the Beit Shean Valley fields. From the moment it is ground, the flour is maintained at a cool temperature to prevent the development of insects and various maggots. Aside from 100% whole wheat flour, Assaf grinds the wheat into semolina and also prepares 70% wheat flour, as well as flour made from spelt and rye seeds (imported). All the flours are organic and of excellent quality.
And while in praise of the Land of Israel, our next three colleagues personally fulfill the blessing of making it a Land of Milk and Honey. In the spirit of Shavuot, we’ll start with the milk, which in this case (and probably as in days of old) is goat milk from natural pastures. Rona of the Yotav Dairy collects milk from various flocks in the country, some of which graze in tiny farms, others in slightly larger locales. In all places, the goats are first and foremost nourished from the grass that grows in their pasture areas. After the milk is collected at the small dairy in Moshav Ness Harim in the Jerusalem hills, Rona prepares a wide variety of milk products including milk, yogurt, and soft and hard cheeses. You can order from the various products, or ask Rona for one of the goodie-baskets they assemble for you at the dairy.
From milk to honey– starting with bee’s honey, made by the bees, of course, and assisted by Tamir and Daniella of “Father’s Honey,” on moshav Sha’al in the Golan Heights. As a beekeeper, Tamir is continuing the heritage of his father in Ethiopia. In keeping with family tradition, Tamir insists on adding no sugar to the bees’ food, not warming the honey, and abstaining from any artificial, unnecessary interference, so that the product is perfectly natural and simply wonderful. The farms and nature of the Golan Heights provide bees with a host of flowers to feast upon, enabling Tamir and Daniella to offer a variety of honey flavors: wild-flower honey, eucalyptus honey, raspberry honey, blueberry honey and even kiwi honey. Honey season just started at Tamir and Daniella’s, so you can also order honeycombs by weight (1 kg, 1.5 kg or 3 kg), or by the jar. If you’re interested in a honeycomb, please advise. I will be getting the prices for honeycombs soon.
But the “honey” in the land of milk and honey is really date honey, and a few months ago we were approached by Kibbutz Samar with an offer hard to resist: organic dates. Kibbutz Samar in the Eylot region raises a wide variety of date species. We started with the Brahi type, known also as the yellow “wet” dates sold in clusters at the beginning of the season. We met them in their dried state, characterized by a unique, startling sweetness. Every week or two Gili, the marketing director, sent me a kibbutz member from Samar to renew our stock of Brahi dates in packages of 5 kg.
As of now we have run out of Samar dates, and are exploring the possibility of receiving a new stock. If you’re interested, please advise so I can prepare the order in advance. The dried Brahi date season begins in November, and we will meet them once again (and maybe we’ll also be able to offer new dates…) I promise to keep you informed.
We started this week’s newsletter with grains, and we’ll close with them as well. Our two last partners, also the youngest in the Chubeza circle, are returning to the basics, but from a different angle: crackers and sprouted bread.
Yiftah from Rechovot is a very special baker. Every two weeks he begins a long, gradual process of preparing sprouted spelt bread in his kitchen. I say “preparing,” not “baking,” because with Yiftah’s spelt bread the baking comes only at the end of the long process. Unlike “regular” bakers, Yiftah meets the bread and cultivates it from its absolute “seed” state to a full loaf. The first step is washing the spelt organic seeds over and over again, after which they’re placed for a germination period whose duration varies due to the outside temperature, humidity, and other factors. Several days later, small seeds peek from the earth, and it’s time to grind them. The product looks nothing like regular flour, although it’s basically made out of the same raw material. Yiftah adds to the basic spelt grind such additions as oats, olives, seaweed, nuts, and dry fruits or seeds. The loaves he then designs are baked for a long stretch of time, resulting in compact loaves of rich, compressed bread in various flavors. Yiftah bakes the bread every other week, according to a schedule I try to remind you of in advance.
And last but not least, you received yummy samples of the Lev HaTeva crackers in your boxes last week, from a small factory in Kibbutz Kfar HaNasi. Zohar and Assaf’s organic crackers are made of basic ingredients: flour, grains and seeds, with no sugar, additives or preservatives. The crackers at Lev HaTeva come in three different flavors: wheat, rye and spelt. Aside from the quality and health they embody, these crackers are prepared in the nation’s economically hard-hit north, enabling more jobs. For me, this is a significant factor in choosing whether to buy these crackers or the imported type.
As previously clarified, we are certainly pro-blue-and-white products which paint this country and its residents with the entire array of colors needed to live a full and happy life. This is without Assaf and Zohar and the rest of the Kfar HaNasi workers, Tamir and Daniella the beekeepers, Danny and Galit from Granula, Gili and the date people from Samar, Maggie from Nataf, Helaf from Karmei Yosef, Assaf from Rotem, Yiftah the baker, Rona and the dairy crew from Ness Harim- without them all working “for us.” We’re happy enough to see them working in good and productive jobs which show respect to those who work there– specifically since we enjoy their excellent products.
And last, we extend warm wishes to Tom, who became an uncle (again) a few weeks ago, to Mohammed on the birth of his fourth granddaughter (only girls at Chubeza), and to Tamir and Daniella, our honey people, who were married several days ago. Mazal Tov, and much happiness!
Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team
This week’s basket includes:
Monday: cucumbers and fakus, zucchini and squash, beets, potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, cilantro, lettuce, garlic, green onions
In the large box, in addition: fennel/turnip, red Russian kale, dill
Wednesday: cucumbers and fakus, zucchini and squash, beets, potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, celeriac, cilantro, iceberg lettuce, garlic, green onions
In the large box, in addition: red Russian kale, dill/parsley, green cabbage
RECIPES FOR THE VEGETABLES IN YOUR BOX
At the end of the last round of fennel, Alon from Beit Shemesh, who works with us each Monday, sent this recipe. I saved it to share with you during the Return of the Fennel, which will be leaving us really soon. Alon admits he’s not crazy about the natural taste of fennel, but this particular recipe transforms it to an artichoke flavor.
FENNEL COOKED IN SWEET-AND-SOUR SAUCE (from mevashlim.com)
4 large fennel bulbs
Juice of 2 large lemons (around 3/4 cup)
4 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
– Cut a thin slice from the base of the fennel bulbs. Remove the rest of the stems, leaving any greens.
– Place the fennel slices and greens in a large, wide pot. Add all remaining ingredients, plus enough water to cover 2/3 of the fennel’s height.
– Bring to a boil and cover.
– Cook at a hard boil for 50-60 minutes, till fennel is soft. The cooked sauce will be sweet and sour.
Mitch and Tali sent me this recipe, which Mitch says may sound like a “kvetch,” but is quite delicious.
PUREED CELERIAC AND POTATOES
Olive oil (or butter)
– Peel potatoes and celeriac and slice into quarters.
– Bring to a boil and cook till fork pierces easily.
– Drain liquid, add olive oil (or butter), garlic and chopped parsley, and mash till smooth.
Shacham, who returned to work with us after studying at Kibbutz Naot Smadar, told me about humous made from zucchini that he used to make when he worked in Mitzpe Alumot.
ZUCCHINI HUMOUS, FROM MITZPE ALUMOT
(Makes 10-12 portions)
2 large zucchini or 4 medium
4 T. olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 t. cumin
Pinch of hot chili pepper
2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. Atlantic salt
1 1/2 c. sesame, soaked 4 hours in water
1 1/2 c. tehina
1 thinly sliced tomato
1 c. alfalfa sprouts
1 head of lettuce
– Mix all ingredients together in blender, except sesame and tehina, till pureed.
– Add sesame and tehina and mix till puree is smooth.
– Serve on a bed of lettuce, garnished with chopped tomatoes and alfalfa (or other) sprouts.