December 18th-20th 2017 – Once upon a long time span…

Iddo, our baker par excellence, has patiently and professionally developed a new gluten-free sourdough bread! This new guy on the (bread) block has aced great scores in top-level taste tests, a tribute to Iddo’s talents and his determination to reach the highest standards in product creation.

The new bread uses green buckwheat culture, millet and tapioca as its base, and contains teff flour, organic tapioca flour, organic green buckwheat flour, organic olive oil, salt, a trace sugar, yeast and xanthan gum.

Don’t wait! Add this super-bread today for delivery via our order system.

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The “Minhat Ha’aretz” flour grinders, firm believers in baking your own products for winter, hereby offer a very special deal for the next month. Over Tevet (beginning this week through the middle of January,) all local flours (whose seeds are grown in Israel) will be on sale, including: organic wheat flour, organic corn flour, organic chickpea and teff.

The discounted prices are updated in our order system. Enjoy your baking fiesta!

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All of a Kind Family

Now and over the upcoming weeks, it’s time to happily greet many members of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Hanukah celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

 

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much speedier than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/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 wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. 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, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

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

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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 distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

A hearty mazal tov and best wishes for joy and happiness to Dror and Naomi as they greet their newest member of the family, a baby boy and a gift of Hanukah light.

Wishing us all a week of wonder and diversity, of faith, determination and patience.

And may the very near future bring us the blessing of rain!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/totsoi, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/ baby radishes/daikon, beets, scallions/leeks, broccoli/snow peas, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: eggplant/ green bell peppers. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, Swiss chard/spinach, Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, cabbage.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/cabbage, eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, celery/celeriac. Special gift: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/daikon/turnip, beets, Swiss chard.

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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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 #229 December 29th-31st – bye bye 2014, Happy new year!

The month of December is nearing its end, as is 2014. At the end of this week we will bill your cards for this month’s purchases and endeavor to have the billing updated by the beginning of next week. Make note that this month had five Mondays and five Wednesdays, so your bills will most likely be higher than usual. 

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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Eliezer, of the distinctive Shorshei Tzion Raw Food Medicine, has informed us that he must raise his prices due to the rise in raw material costs. There are also new products that will soon be available. Check our online order system for details!

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A Family Tale

Lately I have been thinking a lot about differences and development, learning how much patience, time and slow rhythmic pace must be devoted to the changes we undergo as human beings, specifically those dealing with repair: growth, opening up, connecting and healing. It seems so often that destructive actions are fast and immediate, while building and repairing require placing stone upon stone, moment by moment, demanding diligence and perseverance as well as faith and hope.

These thoughts, together with the birth of our fourth daughter Noga almost two weeks ago, brought to my mind a newsletter I wrote a decade ago about the beloved Brasiccae family that is in our boxes throughout the whole winter. It dealt with the changes the Brasiccae underwent over many years, thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers. So here it is, in a renewed version. For me, this family newsletter is my own circle closing, as I wrote it right after the birth of my eldest, Neta, almost ten years ago…

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,

Enjoy the dry sunny days till the blessed rain returns, hopefully at the beginning of next week!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Scallions/leeks, spinach/kale, tomatoes, fennel/kohlrabi, cauliflower/ cabbage, parsley, cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce/arugula, celery/celeriac, beets/ carrots. Small boxes only: pumpkin/sweet potatoes

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/totsoi, garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke, coriander/nana (mint), daikon/radishes

Wednesday: spinach/kale, tomatoes, fennel/kohlrabi, cauliflower/ cabbage, parsley, cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce/arugula, celery/celeriac, pumpkin/eggplants, beets/ carrots. Small boxes only: scallions/leeks

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/totsoi, garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke, coriander/nana (mint), daikon/radishes/turnip

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, 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!

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!

Aley Chubeza #146, Febtuary 4th-6th 2013

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: lemon-mint, passion fruit, kiwi, apple-ginger, guava, pomegranate and more. 30 NIS per scroll.
  • * Leather Mishlochei Manot  – including four wonderful flavors: 10 NIS per package

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Happy families are all alike

-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, line 1

 

A Tale of One Family

Lately, I have been pondering the nature of changes and developments. Personally, I’m learning how much patience, time and slowly-measured tempo one needs to allow the changes we human beings undergo, and specifically those dealing with rectification: growth, opening up, connecting and healing. It seems that frequently, destructive actions are fast and immediate, whilst correction takes place at an excruciatingly slow pace, stone by stone, moment by moment, requiring persistence and forbearance as well as faith and hope.

These thoughts and recent joyful harvests brought to mind a newsletter I wrote some eight years ago about the beloved Brassicaceae family which has held an honored place in our boxes over these wonderful winter months. About the development, changes and slow difersification it has been undergoing over long years, thanks to the curiosity and confidence of loyal, devoted farmers. So here it is, a renewed version, dedicated with love to my Neta. These words were first written eight years ago, close to the day she was born and made me a mother. Happy Birthday, my sweet baby!

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, Ya’ara, Bat Ami and the Chubeza crew

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, parsley root, cucumbers, fennel or kohlrabi, parsley, leeks (small boxes only)

In the large box, in addition: cabbage, broccoli leaves, potatoes, radishes.

Wednesday: cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, fava beans or peas or beets, carrots, cilantro / parsley, tomatoes, radishes – small boxes only

In the large box, in addition: parsley root, broccoli, peppers, leeks

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, olive oil and bakery products 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 #5, January 25th-27th 2010

This week you’ll find in your box a new offer from Rona and the Yotav Dairy crew. Up to now you’ve been able to make individual orders from Rona, but today she is giving the opportunity to order a regularly delivered box at a specially-reduced price–and at the frequency you choose. Full details here and in your boxes.

After several introductory weeks, the English newsletter will now join its Hebrew sibling, appearing weekly as a translation (with some additions here and there.) Behind the scenes, we are working on our new bi-lingual Internet site to include an archive of   information on a host of vegetables and their recipes. In the meantime, we will continue focusing each week on one of the seasonal vegetables in the box, gradually building up the English-language archive.

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An Unwelcome Guest

This week we found many lovely little flowers growing amidst our carrot patch:

 

After our initial delight, we discovered that this pretty flower has not been so kind to the carrot, to say the least. More accurately, the chummy beauty was actually extorting the carrot’s water, nutrients and vitality. When we dug it up, it looked like this:

 

Of course, the deadly embrace made us think twice before we smiled at that plant again. Mohammed’s grim countenance added to our concern “This plant is called alouch in Arabic,” he explained, “If it attacks the fava bean, the plant won’t produce even one pod.” And all of a sudden, the beauty of this plant was only skin-deep; its cruelty shone through. We quickly went to check the rest of our crops and our concern intensified. Indeed, there is broomrape (Orobanche) in our fields.

The Orobanche is a complete parasite (holoparasite). A parasite is an organism living within or on top of another creature (the host) from which it acquires food and other materials necessary for its existence and reproduction. A holoparasite has virtually no chlorophyll and thus cannot perform photosynthesis, which is why it takes water and nutrients from its host’s tissues. Are you beginning to grasp the full problem here?

The tiny seeds of the broomrape or Orobanche (one quarter of a millimeter) can remain unseen and dormant in the soil for many years, even a decade, until stimulated to germinate by certain compounds produced by living plant roots. Broomrape seedlings put out a root-like growth, which attaches to the roots of nearby hosts, penetrates, and begins the process of fusion. Once attached, the broomrape robs its host of water and nutrients. By the end of the growth, the broomrape develops a light yellow stem that emerges above surface. By the time this stem appears, the host has already been damaged. Each of these plants produces hundreds of thousands of seeds; spread by water, wind, animals, farming tools, plant residues– anything that passes through the field.

Within the botanical term Orobanche are hundreds of species. In Israel there are around ten, most of which reside in natural habitats. In nature, hosts of the various broomrapes are scattered throughout varied plant and environmental conditions, which is why they only rarely meet the Orobanche parasites. Even when these encounters occur, usually only one of the parasitic species turns up, so the damage is not great. However, in farms the situation is quite different. The hosts are densely exposed, and the growth conditions are improved, enabling the Orobanche to thrive to the point where a collection of parasites cling to one host, strangling it till it wilts.

Four of the Orobanche parasites existing in Israel settle in fields and attack agriculture: the Orobanche crenata (bean broomrape) which parasites legumes, carrots and celery; the Orobanche cernua (nodding broomrape) which adores the solanaceae: the tomato, eggplant, potato and tobacco; the Orobanche cumana which latches onto sunflowers, and the cruelest of them all, the Orobanche aegyptiaca, Egyptian broomrape, that is willing to parasite everything: tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, sunflowers, peanuts and many other crops. The Orobanche we discovered on our carrots, and more recently, in the pea patch as well, is most probably the Orobanche crenata. Its damage to the carrot is characterized by a dramatic decrease in the sugar level, which nullifies sweetness and damages quality.

The broomrape is major pestilence in agriculture. Some of you may remember that last year we planted wheat in our rotating field that had previously grown sunflowers. One of the reasons we chose wheat is that the Orobanche, that adores sunflowers, cannot latch onto wheat, thus reducing the parasite in the field. For some crops, the broomrape is deadly. In northern Israel there are vast fertile areas where previously tomatoes were grown, now abandoned because of the Orobanche. Researchers are seeking solutions, including the usage of hardcore chemicals, but also in developing resistant species that can better withstand the Orobanche.

In organic farming, the main solution is solar disinfection, i.e., spreading a transparent plastic sheet over the ground in the peak of summer heat, causing the earth to reach very high temperatures, and the fungus, pathogens, weed seeds (and also some beneficial earthly creatures) to cook to death. The result is a disinfected and “clean” earth, just before the start of the fall planting and seeding. We don’t love this method, and hope that the variety we grow and the constant crop rotation (the fact that one type of vegetable replaces another) will aid in preventing the surge of Orobanche to the point of an epidemic.  

In the meantime, we decided to use a preventative method: we collect the broomrape flowers to remove as many seeds as possible from the field. Next season, we will not grow tomatoes and legumes in the contaminated areas in the field. Like good farmers, despite our concern, we put faith in the poly-cropping vegetable garden system, and hope for the best. Please keep pulling for us!

At the end of this week, the trees will celebrate their birthday and begin a new cycle of blossoming, ripening and great joy. The best birthday present for them – and for us – were the bountiful rains our area received this past week, with more wet abundance in the forecast. We wish our green friends a happy birthday, and many seasons of health, strength, flourishing and fertility.

Wishing us all a good week,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

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This week’s basket includes:

Monday: lettuce, carrots, leeks, cilantro/dill, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, cauliflower, fennel, cucumbers, red or green cabbage.

In the large box, in addition: radish, celery, clementines

Wednesday: cauliflower/radish/carrots, red or green cabbage, tomatoes, dill, celery, broccoli, fennel, leeks, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers.

In the large box, in addition: beets, parsley, spinach

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Happy families are all alike

-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, line 1

A Tale of One Family

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.

One of the processes emerging from this breeding was the domestication of plants. The slow, persistent plant selection conducted by ancient farmers led to a dramatic transformation in certain wild plants to produce plants with more desirable traits–which rendered them dependent on artificial (usually enhanced) environments for their continued existence. The practice is estimated to date back 9,000-11,000 years. Many crops currently cultivated are the result of domestication that occurred about 3,000-5,000 years ago. 

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.”

Other farmers 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. 

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Recipes:

 Alice Waters’ Spicy Cauliflower Soup

 Crispy Cauliflower with Olives, Capers and Parsley

 Broccoli Gratin

 Mushroom & Broccoli Quiche Recipe with a Gluten Free Potato Crust

– sent to me by Margie from Jerusalem

3 or 4 red potatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 scallions, chopped
450 gram mushrooms, quartered
1 head of broccoli
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. soy milk (or whatever type of milk you have)
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
Pinch nutmeg
up to1 1/2 cups cheese, grated (use whatever you have on hand)

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Slice the red potatoes very thinly – around 3mm thick. Layer them around a pie plate, starting in the middle and trying not to leave any spaces where the filling might run through. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

2. Begin heating the oil in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Clean the mushrooms with a slightly damp cloth. Remove the stems and then quarter them with a sharp knife. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and stir frequently until they are golden brown.

3. While the mushrooms are sautéing, chop the florets off of the head of broccoli and separate into small pieces. Then use scissors to finely snip the green part of the scallions. Add the broccoli florets and sauté until they are bright green, and then remove the skillet from the heat.

4. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, and egg yolk together until they are slightly frothy. Season the egg mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

5. Now it is time to construct the quiche. Your potato crust should be ready by now, so

evenly sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese over the crust. Then spread the mushrooms and broccoli over the cheese, and top with the remaining cheese. Finally, pour the egg mixture over everything else, and place the dish in the over for 30 to 35 minutes. When the quiche is ready, the center should be firm, and the top should have started to brown. (I probably could have left mine in a bit longer, but we were really, really hungry!) Take the quiche out of the oven, and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Korean cabbage kimchee

 World’s best braised cabbage – by Molly Stevens