November 18th-20th 2019 – Craving rain

TO YOUR HEALTH!

Rose of “Shoreshei Tzion” sends you this easy recipe for pure and tasty Almond Milk using Shoreshei Tzion’s outstanding Almond Butter.

Most of the packaged almond drinks on the market are essentially filled with rice milk, sunflower oil, sugars and other low-cost fillings. The healthiest and purest almond drink is the one you prepare at home!
Try this wonderful 2-minute, super easy recipe today:

Ingredients:
4 T. almond butter (Shoreshei Tzion’s Almond Butter is 100% sprouted and cold-pressed)
3 cups water
2 – 4 seeded dates (optional)

Preparation:
Pour the water into a blender, add the almond butter and dates. Mix until smooth, making certain that the dates are well blended.
Pour the Almond Milk into an insulated container and keep refrigerated for up to four days.
Delicious with grains, granola, chia pudding and/or cashew butter.
This recipe is ideal for use with Shoreshei Tzion’s other spreads, including Hazelnut Butter of Cashew Butter.
For a sweeter, more chocolaty drink, try Shoreshei Tzion’s Hazelnut Chocolate Butter.


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It’s not over till the old man is snoring

The Rain

Pitter-patter, raindrops,
Falling from the sky;
Here is my umbrella
To keep me safe and dry!
When the rain is over,
And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud,
And grow and grow and grow!

– Anon

If there was anything we wished to shout out to the strong winds of this past week, it’s Raindrops, please come pitter-patter on our umbrella! Now!!!

Aside from warmer-than-usual temperatures (which have thankfully dropped a bit this week) and a critical shortage of moisture from the skies, the past few weeks have flown by – literally. Everything flew: the plastic crates piled high near the packing house, the crates that collect our harvested veggies, the empty cartons you returned to us. The shade nets still protecting several vegetable beds and the plastic covers over the growth houses sway noisily in the strong gusts, and anything we put down on the ground immediately fills up with dust and sand.  There were moments last week when we felt that the air was so thick that we’d have to physically force it open to walk through.

Aside from the discomfort, these winds are also drying up our greens, most of which are already winter vegetables which desperately need moisture and are painfully grappling with the dryness. Every ounce of morning dew dries up in just moments due to the winds. We open the irrigation system to water those plants who need to grow even if the weather is not cooperating, and pine away for a change of winds (literally!) and the blessing of rain, which unfortunately is nowhere on the horizon of the current forecasts. So far, we have had 18 mm of precipitation, not enough for autumn in the field. W we desperately need hydration. We can only dream of watching little flowers starting to bud “and grow and grow and grow.”

But since we plant by calendar, our fields are switching from summer to winter, with only a few summer crops still waiting to be picked. The eggplants, peppers and lubia black-eyed peas are producing their final yields, the okra is nearly gone, as are the cherry tomatoes whose quantity lessens by the day. The pumpkins from which you receive slices were gathered at the end of summer into our cute little pumpkin shed at the end of the field. Each week we grab another group of them and share slices with you, as the pile dwindles away. Sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, both of which we began harvesting at the end of the month, have hit the season half-way mark and will join the boxes in month or two, after which they too will bid us farewell for now.

On the other end of the field, the winter veggies are celebrating as they take over the surface in the form of cabbages and broccoli in various states of growth – from baby plants to mature ones that will crown with their beautiful buds or head of tight curls for you to nibble on. Fennel and kohlrabi, celery and scallion – themselves thin and gentle (picture the wild wind blowing a bed of such wispy, delicate plants) while a small distance away their older brothers are thickening and fattening up, rounding and accumulating the crunchiness indicating they are ready to be picked. Meanwhile, six feet under, the various summer root vegetables lie in waiting: carrot and beets, celery root, parsley roots, turnips and radishes. At least they are somewhat protected within the soil as they shoot out their green tendrils to face the winds.

The winds are supposed to die down a tad over the next few days, and hopefully the ensuing silence will allow our cry to echo loud and clear: Raindrops, please come! NOW, ALREADY!!

Although we’ve lacked being showered us with actual rain, unfortunately last week we were “showered” by unheavenly cascades when sirens wailed in the Ayalon Valley preceeded by actual hits. We pray and long for quiet to return, and for only raindrops to descend upon us from the skies.  Wishing everyone a calm, relaxed weekend,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai, Orin and the entire Chubeza clan

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Beets, sweet potatoes/pumpkin, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/cabbage, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/mizuna, scallions/celery, fennel/kohlrabi. Special gift: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, totsoi/arugula, baby radishes/daikon/turnips.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, apples, clementinas, oranges.

Wednesday: Beets, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/cabbage, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/arugula, scallions/celery, fennel/daikon/turnips. Small boxes only: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes/pumpkin, totsoi/mizuna, baby radishes/kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates/avocado, apples, clementinas/banana, pomelit, oranges.

October 28th-30th 2019 – Let There Be Rain!

Message from the Izza Pziza Dairy

Dear Customers, As always, at the beginning of wintertime our goats gradually stop producing milk as they prepare for the upcoming whelping season. During this time, the variety of products we can supply becomes decreased. We will make certain to update you on what is and is not available in our present stock.

From the month of December, you are cordially invited to come visit us and see the newborn kids.

For any questions, phone us at 08-6192876.

Thank you for your understanding!

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As autumn descends upon us, the Mitsasa team is delighted to announce the return of fresh  organic pear juice and truly delicious fresh apple juice (in 1 liter bottles). These two goodies join the delicious Mitsasa line of cider, jams and apple vinegar, all hand-produced in the Jerusalem Hills from the delectable fruits of the Kibbutz Tzuba orchards.

Order these products today via our order system!

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The first rain reminds me
Of the rising summer dust.
The rain doesn’t remember the rain of yesteryear.
A year is a trained beast with no memories.
Soon you will again wear your harnesses,
Beautiful and embroidered, to hold
Sheer stockings: you
Mare and harnesser in one body.

The white panic of soft flesh
In the panic of a sudden vision
Of ancient saints.

Yehuda Amichai   Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

As the first rain fell in our field on Sunday night, the thirsty earth lapped up approximately 15 mm of water, with a huge smile spreading across its face, and ours… What a delight to see the rain arrive just as  daylight saving time ended, at the close of Shabbat B’reshit which tells of the creation of the world, the separation of light and darkness, and the water on high and below, just as we were viewing a live show of water, light and a new beginning.

Though in days of old this kind of rain would have drenched the pilgrims on their long journey home, these days, when almost all vacationers have returned from their holiday travels (by car or plane), this timing for the first rain is perfect. Which is also a perfect opportunity to sum up our reflections on the past year, especially the rainy winter we were kindly granted.

As farmers, when we hope for rain we’re actually aiming towards a very specific target: Timely rain, i.e., not too early or late, not too heavy or too light, and evenly distributed, meaning not too close in succession or too stormy but not too sparse or too distant from the previous rain. Last winter’s rains fell in the proper quantity at the right time. Everything was perfectly balanced: with temperatures that were not too high or low, a balance was created in the quantity and timing of the pests that arrived as expected (we weren’t happy to greet them, but definitely understand that they are part of the field’s nature dance) and did not overstay their welcome.

The bountiful rainfalls presented a major challenge: the field was drenched, and some of the crops “choked” on the excess water in the earth that blocked the oxygen and ventilation to the roots. Our potatoes suffered damage from the dampness, while almost all the plants grappled with the wintery cold and frequent rains which hindered their growth. We field laborers were also challenged by the wet, frigid weather as our feet sunk in the mud and the damp body under our raincoats had to be in constant movement in order to warm up. Our favorite days were when we got to work in the growth tunnels…

However… After-the-winter is basically the time of the agricultural field’s pregnancy, culminating in the birth of one the most joyful spring seasons in the annals of Chubeza. This spring’s yields were lush, vigorous and healthy, the likes of which we don’t often see, marked by a bounty of excellent vegetables from the invigorated earth. The melons and watermelons were wonderful and their plants were almost completely intact, unfettered by the common spring leaf diseases we are used to encountering. Overall, Chubeza’s spring field yielded quantities more abundant than ever. Such a tasty, sweet and juicy experience! The sweet potatoes, too, planted in springtime on lively and joyful microbes partying in the soil, grew into a dense green carpet now yielding plentiful amounts of big, healthy, beautiful roots.

The summer that followed was also outstanding. Although the field got mighty hot, after such a remarkable winter and spring, the heat was bearable, understandable and more possible to accept. The summer yield, too, grew well with fewer problems than usual. The peppers were hardly damaged, the eggplants grew huge, handsome-looking bushes, and the lubia effortlessly climbed the trellises and yielded a bounty of green pods. A field day for plentiful, good-quality produce that continues through the autumn crops being harvested as we write.

Thank you, Lavie, for these beautiful pictures of our field at the start of autumn.

And now, facing a new winter, we fervently hope that last year’s winter was not a fluke but rather the beginning of a return to balance and to blessedly rainy years.

Wishing everyone a year of renewal, growth, deep breaths of clean air, the joy of bloom, the wonder of blossom, the sweetness of fertility and the maturity of ripening.

May the crucial cycle of balance return to habitants of Israel and the world. May you enjoy a good weekend and an easy return to the blessed routine!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin, Yochai and all the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichokes, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/Iraqi lubia, slice of pumpkin, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, beets/kohlrabi. Free gift: mizuna/arugula/tot soi.

Large box, in addition:  Cauliflower/cabbage, carrots/leeks, turnips/daikon/baby radishes.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranate, avocado, persimmons. Small boxes, in addition: Red pomelos/oranges. Large boxes, in addition: Green apples

Wednesday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichokes, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, cauliflower/cabbage, slice of pumpkin, arugula/parsley/coriander, lettuce, beets. Free gift: mizuna.

Large box, in addition:  Lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/Iraqi lubia, carrots, turnips/daikon/baby radishes.

FRUIT BOXES: Red pomelos/oranges, avocado, persimmons. Small boxes, in addition: Pomegranate. Large boxes, in addition: Green apples.

October 22nd-24th 2018 –  Autumn thoughts

Pleasant Sounds

 John Clare

The rustling of leaves under the feet in woods and under
hedges;
The crumpling of cat-ice and snow down wood-rides,
narrow lanes and every street causeway;
Rustling through a wood or rather rushing, while the wind
halloos in the oak-toop like thunder;
The rustle of birds’ wings startled from their nests or flying
unseen into the bushes;
The whizzing of larger birds overhead in a wood, such as
crows, puddocks, buzzards;
The trample of robins and woodlarks on the brown leaves.
and the patter of squirrels on the green moss;
The fall of an acorn on the ground, the pattering of nuts on
the hazel branches as they fall from ripeness;
The flirt of the groundlark’s wing from the stubbles –
how sweet such pictures on dewy mornings, when the
dew flashes from its brown feathers.

Autumn is a time of awakening in our field. The ants recognize the drop in temperature and are feverishly busy marching to and fro in long processions. In a like manner, we at Chubeza are scrambling to keep up with the very long list of Autumn tasks: clearing out plots of vegetables who have retired for the season, moving irrigation pipes in preparation of tractor cultivation work, spreading compost, loosening earth, preparing beds, re-laying irrigation pipes, planting, seeding, and in the more mature plots – weeding, weeding and yet more weeding. The drop in temperature is good for us, reminding us that autumn is here and there’s lots to get done before the weather turns cold, but mostly – it relieves us from sweltering in the heat of the field.

During summertime, the plants remind me of a hike in the desert on a scorching hot day. Remember how you drink and drink but your thirst will not be quenched, and you feel the liquid evaporate from your bodies the second it’s gulped down? That’s the way I see our vegetables during summertime: they’re hanging in there, thirstily drinking up every single droplet, hiding under foliage or a shade net, passing out from the heat.

From the middle of July till the middle of August, we put a hold on new planting, as there is a limit to what you can ask of tiny seedlings. We also worry about them not liking their new habitat in its summery conditions, and prefer to just cancel their checks and let them take their business elsewhere. In the middle of August we take the chance, beginning with initial plantings of stronger autumn varieties, almost entirely under shade nets. But we promise them upon arrival that it’ll be hard at first, but if they persevere till autumn, things will be just peachy!

And now, walking through the field, I feel like I’m in an enormous delivery room, cuddling babies as they pour in on the scene. Each week we receive seedling-filled trays from the nursery, and the beds are now dotted with thousands of tiny plants taking their first steps in the earth of the Ayalon Valley, enjoying the cloud cover floating slowly across the sky, the gentle ventilated earth nice and loosened up for them, indulging themselves in the aroma of compost and a quaff of trickle-irrigation. The general atmosphere is one of fresh beginnings after desperately surviving the summer, reducing all vital signs to save energy for endurance. At last, the fields abound with a huge breath of fresh air in a merry dance of movement.

The field is beginning to remember the beloved acquaintances it bade farewell to several months ago: broccoli, cauliflower, green and red cabbage, kohlrabi, carrot, beets, big and small radishes, turnip and daikon, peas, fava beans, green beans, garlic, yellow and red potatoes, onion and scallion, leek, fennel, celery, parsley and celery roots, juicy winter lettuce and a bevy of greens in a verdant spectrum and marvelous shapes: arugula, totsoi, mizuna, Salonova lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, spinach… each at its time, making its entrance when it’s ready, almost like a class reunion. Those who arrived at the party earlier greet them with a wink and a smile from the adjacent beds, filling the newcomer in on the location of the refreshments and entertainment schedules and who to turn to in times of need. Welcome back, old friends!

Rumor has it the much-anticipated rain will arrive this Thursday. We so need that First Rain! We’re all set and ready for it. The plants stand erect, stretching their little heads to get a better look at the distant clouds and make sure they’re nice and gray and heavy with precipitation so they can hurry up and tell their buddies that the big day has arrived. We share their sentiments and excitement.

Join us for a personal and communal rain prayer – pleading with the rain to come and wash the dust off the leaves, quench the root’s thirst, awaken the earth’s teeny tiny microbes, and resuscitate the field that craves it.

One of our delivery people is ill this week, therefore some of the delivery routes in Tel Aviv will be manned by substitutes. We appreciate your patience and understanding. We wish our loyal delivery man, Amit, a full recovery and good health.

Wishing you a pleasant autumn week. Here’s hoping it will culminate in glorious, plentiful rain!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team.

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BETWEEN-SUMMER-AND-FALL BOXES?

These days, there’s an abundance of greens in our boxes. To help identify them, see our Green Newsletter

And, once again, there’s popcorn in the box. Don’t cook it – pop it!!  Here are some words of explanation about this champion nosh.

Monday: Corn/eggplant, potatoes/sweet potatoes, lettuce, zucchini/ beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin/carrots, bell peppers,   New Zealand spinach/ kale/Swiss chard/ totsoi, parsley/coriander/dill, arugula/red mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Thai yard-long beans/okra, baby radishes/daikon, popcorn.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples, avocados.    Small boxes: Oranges. Large boxes:Pears, clementinas.

Wednesday: Potatoes/eggplant, sweet potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, bell peppers, New Zealand spinach/kale/Swiss chard/ totsoi, coriander/dill, arugula/red mizuna. Small boxes: beets/radishes/daikon

Large box, in addition: Corn/zucchini, Thai yard-long beans/okra/carrots, beets and radishes/daikon.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples, avocados.    Small boxes: Clementinas. Large boxes:Oranges, yellow plums.

October 16th-18th – Post holiday season

The Izza Pziza Dairy informs us that they are entering a “dry” period during which almost no milk or milk products will be produced till the end of December. Therefore, expect a temporary two-month break in product availability. All dairy farms in Israel, large and small, experience a major reduction in milk and dairy products during this time of the year, out of consideration for the circle of life and goat health. This is done in order to allow the young kids to nurse for at least a month and drink the “first” milk, aka colostrum, which is thicker and richer in nutritious antibodies crucial for the development of the baby goat’s immune system. Thus despite the inconvenience and economic loss of adhering to this “time out” period, the Izza Pziza Dairy is giving top priority to the welfare of the kids and their moms.

“Promise me one thing, Nils, always remember: the sky, the earth, the lakes, the mountains were not given only to humans. They were also given to the animals – birds and fish and all who live and breathe.    Never forget this, Nils!”

– The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson

Nature teaches us a lesson in modesty and humility. The Izza Pziza Dairy wishes you a happy “acharei ha-chagim!”

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An invitation from Talor Cohen, Shvil HaLikut:

Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?

This thought has been with me for quite a while. I toyed with it in my mind for some time until it became my reality: I began checking the labels on products, then grew my own vegetables or purchased from local producers. In this process, I discovered a new and exciting world. The planet of foraging. The simple thought of collecting wild plants and turning them into rich and wholesome food became my passion.

In the foraging course we will get to know many edible or medicinal wild plants, and together we will enjoy their flavors and virtues. We will tour the area – specifically that of the plain, and get to know nature via our plates and bellies.

The course will include ten meetings over ten months, on Thursdays for five hours. For further details, check out our website or call 050-6544566. Come enjoy the vast bounty that nature has to offer!

Talor Cohen, Shvil HaLikut

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Autumn Day
Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
And let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one
anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long
time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Well, we no longer have the temporary houses that were our sukkot, and this end-of-the-holiday-season has turned loose the winds, opening the door to autumn. I’m always so amazed by the quick change. Not yet winter, therefore no dramatic change, but the autumn train has definitely left the station. The sun is gentle, no longer scorching, the breeze light and pleasant, with an occasional drizzle. And of course, autumn vegetables are now frequenting your boxes.

If you visited Chubeza on our Open Day, you got a firsthand look at the cauliflower beds, the cabbage and celery, carrots and fennel, turnip and daikon – all growing nicely, each at its very own pace, and all on their way to join your table. You also met and gathered vegetables that were ready to be harvested – arugula, beets, radishes, tatsoi, Swiss chard, kale, dill, coriander and more. You even had an opportunity to thank those summer vegetables still hanging around and bid them farewell: Corn will be here till the end of the month, and the last of the summer pods – okra, soy and Thai yard-long beans – are still producing chubby green pods. The pepper is blushing away in its bed, the eggplant snoozing under the leaves, rhythmically ripening – no summer haste with this guy, and all in all, our field is peacefully embracing autumn.

We love the “post-holiday season” with life resuming its familiar routine, allowing us to get back to the endless work of weeding without having to stop every other day. We are putting much effort into clearing the beds that filled up rapidly with beautiful green weeds now standing in the way of the vegetables. The plantings and seedings are at full force here. Some of our vegetables commenced growth at the end of summer, and we had to ease their absorption by hanging net shades across them. But now they’re loving the comfortable weather and no longer need the shade. We are waiting for pea seeds scheduled to arrive soon so we can place them safely in the earth before the cold weather settles upon us. And of course, among the mounds are representatives of the strong winter clans: greens, juicy roots, chubby stems and the prominent fancy Brassicaceae’s.

But wait, before we run ahead to resume our weeding, planting and other autumn tasks, let us thank you all for visiting Chubeza on last week’s smiley Open Day. It was great to meet familiar and new faces, connecting eyes and smiles to voices and emails, to create direct human contact. Your participation in the Open Days is a significant part of the Chubeza community, so thank you for coming again and again.

Thanks to all the busy manufacturers who came to meet you: Ofri (Tomer’s brother) representing Tomer and Chamutal and their apple and pear team of cider-juice-vinegar-jams. To Orli (and Tahel) bringing the sweetness of honey candies. To Melissa who brought her tasty handmade dry fruit rolls, and to Ido, the baker from “Beit Halechem” and Hofesh, his loyal helper, who treated you to delicious fragrant breads.

A special thanks to my mother, Devora, who worked hard, as always, and to our partners Maya and Yisrael, who were single parents for two days. And of course, thanks to all the wonderful Chubeza staff – Mohammed, Ali, Majdi, Hott, Thom, Vinai, Montri, Idit and Noam – who executed this event flawlessly and joyfully.

Wishing you a happy post-holiday season, full of renewal and energy,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the whole Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S AUTUMN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, Swiss chard, tomatoes, beets/radishes, slice of pumpkin/potatoes, sweet potatoes, arugula. Small boxes only: New Zealand spinach/edamame (green soybeans)/okra.

Large box, in addition: Eggplant, corn, kale/totsoi, leeks/ onions.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, Swiss chard/kale/arugula, tomatoes, beets/radishes/daikon radish, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tatsoi/mizuna, potatoes/okra/yard long beans.

Large box, in addition: Eggplant, corn, leeks/ onions.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy 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!

Aley Chubeza #315, November 28th-30th 2016

ein-harod-olive-oilAfter a dry spell in Chubeza’s olive oil division, we are happy to welcome this golden oil back! Last week, Hillel of “Ein Harod Gadash” visited us with a brand new stock of excellent organic olive oil, Barnea variety, produced from the trees of Ein Harod Meuchad’s groves in the Jezreel Valley.

The highest level of acidity measured prior to harvest was under .25, and we await results of the final measurement soon. In any case, the level of acidity is quite low.

Order in tins of one or two liters, via our order system.

Samar organic dates are here too!samar

Three varieties:
Dekel Nur – long, half soft, nutty taste, high anti oxidant content.
Zahidi – small, light, the richest in dietary fibers and iron.
Barhi – known for it’s special caramel-toffee texture and taste.

Here’s a short glimpse to the dates harvest in Samar.

Order in 5 kg packages or in 0.5 kilo packages via our order system

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Fire, Earth, Air (but where is water?)

Last week we joined in the terrifying, suffocating days of raging fires. The flames in the Jerusalem hills painted the overcast skies in the east a smothering grey, and the smell of fire filled the air and scorched the throat. Thankfully the fires did not reach our fields, though all around us – in Neve Shalom, Harel, Maccabim and Kfar Shmuel – almost every corner of our farm was ablaze.

fire

The strong gusts of wind and dry air caused last week’s radishes and turnips to wilt in just a few hours, even before they reached you. If you receive soft turnips or radishes, it is not because they are “old.” They were harvested a mere day before delivery, but the dryness sucked the moisture from them, leaving them limp and miserable. Place them in cold water to restore their moisture, improve their spirits, and get them back to themselves in no time.

Other vegetables suffered as well from the strong winds, specifically the winter vegetables who are more sensitive to heat and dryness. Perhaps your broccoli lived a shorter life than usual and your lettuce is a bit forlorn. Try to be understanding…While we can tuck ourselves safely between walls to protect from dryness, dust and winds, these vegetables stand there outside, somewhat bent over, absorbing the dust and ash particles in their faces, holding onto the earth in a fervent attempt to suck life from it and grow.

We tried to maintain our routine. On Thursday we planted and seeded broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, radishes and beets. Planting and seeding amidst the strong dry wind is a very strange, difficult experience. First of all, communication between those of us working nearby in the field demanded loud shouts to be heard over the deafening gusts. Sometimes we had to revert to hand gestures…In general, this feels like being inside a roaring capsule, detached from the surroundings. Truly odd. When the winds calmed for a few minutes, the silence that fell upon the earth was so surprising that I suddenly realized just how noisy it had been.

Chubeza’s courageous plants braved the strong winds, bending westward, thanking their lucky stars for not being any taller. It was pathetic leaving them like that. Usually just glancing at a newly-planted bed inspires such happiness and excitement. The plants always look a little timid and uncomfortable, like a child on her first day in kindergarten, somewhat confused but also very excited… This time the plants looked stunned.

I told myself that despite their gentle features, our plants are strong and resilient and will overcome (and that this wind has to stop sometime, already). The seeds we dropped one by one into the long furrow flew forward, eastward. So we bent over further and dropped new seeds with our fingers nearly touching the earth. Still they flew about, but not as wildly.

Our packing house is covered in dust, and knowing that part of it is ashes from the terrible fires in the hills makes this sadder than any other autumn heatwave dust. Our eyes are constantly darting to and fro, looking out for flames in the distance, determining whether we’re seeing the mere haziness of eastern winds or the deadly signs of fire.

And the longing for rain is greater than ever. We look forward to the rain predicted to fall this week, great big storm that it may be, and clean everything up. Autumn heatwaves are always depressing, and the anticipation for rain grows with each cold, dry day that passes. This year, the hope is pulling at our heart – something wet must come and wash it all, clean it up, and let us begin the task of renewing and rejuvenating and rehabilitating all the disaster and destruction caused by the fire.

Joining all inhabitants of the earth – who walk on two, four, and six – in a prayer for rain:

A Prayer for Rain/ the Nigun Halev Community, the Jezreel Valley

He who provides rain to the valley, and the first and last rains in due time –
Remember the overflowing Qishon and the battles of Barak and Devorah over the right sentence chosen by man,
A prophet in the Carmel, ancient fire alters and a cumulus small as the palm of a man rising from the ocean;
He who blows the wind and brings down the rain –
Remember our forefathers who came to you with full hearts and empty hands, and carved a house out of the rock, cleared a path to walk through and dug flowing wells of salvation;
Remember our mothers who came to you barren of deeds and bore a new world, created a country and sprouted grass and flowers of life;
He who drives northern rain-forming winds –
Remember only a path leveled by our feet, a tree planted by our hands and a first tractor in the field and furrows, the gold of a stalk in the field bowing in the wind, the load of kernels and bread and kindness and compassion;
He who guards the wind, seeds the clouds and harvests the rain –
Remember our proper deeds by day, and our soul bearing songs, the innocent music of the heart by night;
Remember a bed of red anemones in the valley, the crown of daffodil fragrance, and cyclamens, cyclamens… to the end of time;
Hold them in our favor,
And may we be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, producing seeds like the grass in the field and like a delicate flower in a virgin earth…
Blessed is He who hears our prayer.

Wishing us all a week bereft of fires and moist with rains. May the hot winds cease and may cloud-driving rain-forming winds grace us with their presence.

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/parsley, kale/Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce/“baby” mesclun mix, cauliflower, daikon/baby radishes/ radishes, tomatoes, broccoli/cabbage. Small boxes only: celery/celeriac/ leeks.

Large box, in addition: Carrots/pumpkin, beets, Thai lubia/Jerusalem artichokes, fennel/ turnips.

Wednesday: Coriander/parsley, kale/Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, cucumbers/Duch long cucumbers, lettuce/“baby” mesclun mix/red mizuna, cauliflower, daikon/baby radishes/ radishes, tomatoes, broccoli/cabbage. Small boxes only: celery

Large box, in addition: Carrots/pumpkin, beets, Thai lubia/Jerusalem artichokes/peas, fennel/ turnips.

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, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams 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!