December 21st-23rdh 2020 –  A Tale of a Carrot

COVID had changed so many of our old viewpoints (may they return to their routine very soon!) The tale of Saba Eliezer who tugs the big carrot out of his garden with the help of Savta Yocheved, granddaughter Avigail, the dog, cat and mouse would not have passed the rules: I doubt they cleansed their hands with alcogel prior to going out to the garden and there is no chance they kept a 2 meter distance or wore a mask while they tugged and pulled at a huge root… I worry that at the end of this endeavor the whole family would have gone into bidud (at least they had enough carrot for 14 days….)

It’s been over a year since we saw you last and we miss your visits in the field. One of the joyful things about open days are the “field trips” (excuse the pun…) we take you on, and the moments of wonder when one identifies a vegetable hiding in great big leaves or peeking out from stems. But the greatest excitement and fun have to do with the veggies waiting patiently underground, as if waiting in a dark room moments before they are yanked out and declare “surprise!” So this week we’ll devote our newsletter to one of those roots, the carrot, who has been visiting your boxes from the middle of autumn.

In a ponderous 1904 letter to his beloved wife Olga, Anton Checkhov writes, “You ask, ‘what is life’? That is the same as asking, ‘What is a carrot?’ A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.”  Over a century later, we can no longer say that “a carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.” Countless research studies have been conducted to examine this basic veggie, so common and beloved, generating a wealth of information on the carrot’s healthy components and its ability to maintain our health and to spur healing.

But Chekhov did articulate a hint of the mystery lying in the root. What meets the eye as we stroll by the carrot bed is only its bad-hair-day and the edge of its scalp. But when we tug it out of the soil – voila! Orange happiness retrieved from the dark underworld…

Winter is its season. The carrot does not appreciate warm weather, but adores the cold. It can even grow under a blanket of snow. Now that the weather has cooled off at last, the carrot has finally become a frequent guest in our field and your boxes. We seed several carrot beds every few weeks, and after several months pull out bed after bed of juicy orange corkscrew roots, week after week.

The carrot (Daucus carota) belongs to the Umbelliferae family, home to such vegetables and spices as celery, parsley, fennel, dill and cilantro. Various wild carrot species have grown in many areas in the world, specifically in five continents: the Mediterranean, South Asia, Africa, Australia and America. The origin of certain domesticated species is probably Afghanistan and Turkey. The Arabs introduced the carrot to Spain, where it spread to Europe. Its first domesticated varieties came in a range of colors: red, purple and yellow-green. Later, yellow and white carrots were developed. In the 18th century, the Dutch grew orange carrots, which are today’s most common variety. In Israel, the carrot has been raised from the beginning of the Jewish settlement. The Arabs used to grow dark purple carrots, which can still be found today to a small extent, mostly for aesthetic use.

The wild carrot is known in English as “Queen Anne’s lace,” a name which originated in a fairy tale about how the wild carrot’s flower got its distinctive look: a sort of white lace embroidery, with a dark red-purple dot at its center. Legend has it that Queen Anne (wife of King James I), who reigned as Denmark’s queen in the 16th and 17th centuries, was an expert at lace tatting. One day she pricked her finger in the process, and a drop of blood rolled onto the center to create this special flower. Although the tale only appeared in writing some 200 years after Anne’s death, it could be associated with the 17th century custom for ladies to smartly adorn their hats with wild carrot flowers.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Carrots are usually biennial. At the end of their first year of growth, they develop leaves and a root. When the root is well-developed and the plant has received its necessary dose of cold weather, the next season leads to the development of a stem which grows rather tall. As the stem branches out, it produces peripheral branches which end in an inflorescence resembling an umbrella. The seeds remain in the dry fruit, one seed per fruit. They contain ethereal oil which provides their unique scent. When a carrot is grown for food, we are interested in its taproot, which is why it should be picked before reaching flowering and seeding – for by then the root is too old and becomes grainy.

The root develops in three stages, beginning right after sprouting when a long skewer-like root grows. At the second stage, the root thickens and becomes longer, gaining its orange color. At the third stage, the downward growth stops and the root only thickens.

The root consists of a central stele, the endodermis and the cortex. The endodermis is surrounded by tissue, which creates the inner cortex and the outer phloem. This tissue is rich in color substance and sugars. A carrot’s quality is determined by the thin texture of its central stele in comparison to the cortex tissues. In difficult growing conditions, or as the plant ages, the central stele becomes wood-like and the carrot is no longer fit for human consumption.

carrot cut

The carrot from inside to the outside: the endodermis, the cortex and the phloem.

The carrots in your boxes were seeded three-and-a-half to four months ago. Never one to rush, the carrot sprouted slowly: first its two long ears, the cotyledons, peeked out of the earth. Afterwards the plant actually grew “real leaves,” the type we can identify as carrot greens, a true bunny gourmet treat.

carrots sprouting
The Cotyledons, first sprouts
carrot-sprouts1
First real leaves

The carrot needs a lot of space to breathe and grow, in both length and depth and preferably from all four directions. But its seeds are tiny and hard to seed accurately and well-spaced. Thus, as soon as they begin to grow, we start thinning the plants and pluck out lots of tiny carrot sprouts to allow the remainder to grow nice, bountiful roots. Last week, as I was thinning out the carrot beds in my little Noga’s kindergarten vegetable plot, I found out that children enjoy being bunnies, too, as they happily consumed the tiny carrot plants we tugged out of the earth.

carrot thinning

The orange of the carrot is known for its medicinal qualities: research highly acclaims it as a cancer and heart disease fighter. Carrots maintain healthy eyes, fortify the immune system, protect your skin, and generally boost human growth and vitality. Its healing powers come from the yellow-orange caratanoid pigment group: the alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. 

Beta carotene, the most researched and popular pigment in the carrot, belongs to the carotenoid group, which becomes Vitamin A when consumed. For this reason they’re termed “pro-vitamin.” Vitamin A, aka “retinol” due to its benefits to the retina, plays a crucial role in healthy vision.  A Vitamin A deficiency can impair the function of the photo-pigments in the retina and cornea, causing blindness or night blindness. Vitamin A promotes skin health and epithelial cell growth, and in pregnancy contributes richly to proper fetal development. Current research indicates that Vitamin A is critical to the process of learning and memory, probably by enriching the area of the brain responsible for memory function.

Vitamin A keeps the immune system working, whereas a deficiency can increase the risk of acquiring viral infections. In infectious diseases, a Vitamin A deficiency can aggravate the disease and increase the mortality risk. In Chinese medicine, carrots are known to strengthen the spleen and blood in anemia. Medical research supports this as well, recognizing that Vitamin A is beneficial in absorbing iron and relieving the symptoms of anemia.

Proper Vitamin A consumption has been linked to reducing the threat of many types of cancer, including eye, breast, large intestine, prostate, skin and liver.

Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural pesticide which the carrot probably develops against harmful fungi by delaying the creation of material which encourages fungus growth. In a like manner, falcarinol hinders the creation of components which foster the growth of cancerous tumors, thus delaying their development.

Carrots are also rich in excellent “traditional” nutrition components: potassium and such B vitamins as folic acid, vitamins C, K, E and dietary fibers. In short, it is full of great stuff. Give the carrot a place of honor in your menu!

Beyond the orange beta carotene, carrots come in rainbow colors. How beautiful are these?

Overdosing on carrots may cause carotenemia – a temporary yellowing of the skin, caused by excessive consumption of beta carotene from fresh carrots. This is not dangerous, only a little strange-looking, and it disappears several weeks after going cold turkey on beta carotene.

Carrot Tips

– If you receive carrots in a bunch, complete with greens, the best way to store them is by removing the greens. Otherwise they will draw water from the root and cause it to shrivel.

– Carrots should be stored in the coldest place in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag or in the vegetable drawer.

– The carrot is best unpeeled. You can lightly scrape the peeling, or not at all. The peeling is tasty and nutritious.

– Like the tomato, a cooked carrot is more nutritious and healthier than a raw carrot. The level of vitamin A rises as the cooking – and even a light scraping – breaks down the cell walls. It is best to cook carrots in a small amount of water, so the vitamins are not diffused in the cooking liquid.

Check out our recipe section for nice diverse ideas for carrot cuisine.

* Adding a small amount of oil to the cooking liquid will increase the absorption of antioxidants.

– It is recommended to combine carrots with foods containing vitamin E, such as peanuts, pumpkin, leafy vegetables and whole grains.

When you purchase carrots in the supermarket, they are already meticulously sorted out with only the right sizes and shape surviving the selection and placed on the shelves. (The rest usually become “baby” carrots…) But in the field, the carrots grow in various shapes, revealing the playfulness and grace of the charming carrot that loves to dance, hug, hang out and make funny faces. Here are some vivid examples:

Wishing you a great orange week – in health, happiness and good living!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror and the entire Chubeza team

____________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/kale, lettuce, kohlrabi/baby radishes, broccoli/cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips/beets/daikon, fennel/potatoes, coriander/parsley/dill, carrots, sweet potatoes. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichokes/garden peas, scallions/ celeriac/celery, spinach/totsoi

FRUIT BOXES: Avocado, oranges/pomelit, bananas, clementinas, red apples/kiwi.

Wednesday: Swiss chard/kale, lettuce, kohlrabi/beets, baby radishes/daikon, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel/turnips, coriander/parsley/dill, carrots, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes/garden or snow peas/green fava beans. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli/cabbage, scallions/celeriac/celery, spinach/totsoi

FRUIT BOXES: Avocado, oranges/pomelit, bananas/lemons, clementinas, green or red apples/kiwi.

December 9th-11th 2019 –  A Tale of a Carrot

Last month we took advantage of the rain’s tardiness and hosted several groups of children who were happy to take a tour of the field, try to guess what vegetable is hiding between the leaves and enjoy the experience of picking cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, kohlrabi and other veggies. And always, in every single tour, there was one charmingly youthful relentless question: “What about the carrots? Do we get to pick some carrots?”

Carrots are usually the highlight of our field tours. Something about yanking the pointed root out of the earth is akin to the discovery of a treasure. And extracting a carrot is not an easy task. It doesn’t hop out eagerly like the beet or turnip, so we must stake out the earth with a pitchfork (another exciting attraction of the life of a farmer!) and then proceed to move the root around while still underground, holding tight to the bundle of leaves adorning its head. Only then will the protracted fella come out in one piece. Now we can be impressed by it majestic features, and the children’s shining eyes prove that despite technology overtaking their cushioned daily lives, the magic of a single carrot can be something tremendously exciting.

So this week we’ll give the full honor due by dedicating this newsletter to His Majesty, The Carrot.

In a ponderous 1904 letter to his beloved wife Olga, Anton Checkhov writes, “You ask, ‘what is life’? That is the same as asking, ‘What is a carrot?’ A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.”  Over a century later, we can no longer say that “a carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.” Countless research studies have been conducted to examine this basic veggie, so common and beloved, generating a wealth of information on the carrot’s healthy components and its ability to maintain our health and to spur healing.

But Chekhov did articulate a hint of the mystery lying in the root. What meets the eye as we stroll by the carrot bed is only its bad-hair-day and the edge of its scalp. But when we tug it out of the soil – voila! Orange happiness retrieved from the dark underworld…

Winter is its season. The carrot does not appreciate warm weather, but adores the cold. It can even grow under a blanket of snow. Now that the weather has cooled off at last, the carrot has finally become a frequent guest in our field and your boxes. We seed several carrot beds every few weeks, and after several months pull out bed after bed of juicy orange corkscrew roots, week after week.

The carrot (Daucus carota) belongs to the Umbelliferae family, home to such vegetables and spices as celery, parsley, fennel, dill and cilantro. Various wild carrot species have grown in many areas in the world, specifically in five continents: the Mediterranean, South Asia, Africa, Australia and America. The origin of certain domesticated species is probably Afghanistan and Turkey. The Arabs introduced the carrot to Spain, where it spread to Europe. Its first domesticated varieties came in a range of colors: red, purple and yellow-green. Later, yellow and white carrots were developed. In the 18th century, the Dutch grew orange carrots, which are today’s most common variety. In Israel, the carrot has been raised from the beginning of the Jewish settlement. The Arabs used to grow dark purple carrots, which can still be found today to a small extent, mostly for aesthetic use.

The wild carrot is known in English as “Queen Anne’s lace,” a name which originated in a fairy tale about how the wild carrot’s flower got its distinctive look: a sort of white lace embroidery, with a dark red-purple dot at its center. Legend has it that Queen Anne (wife of King James I), who reigned as Denmark’s queen in the 16th and 17th centuries, was an expert at lace tatting. One day she pricked her finger in the process, and a drop of blood rolled onto the center to create this special flower. Although the tale only appeared in writing some 200 years after Anne’s death, it could be associated with the 17th century custom for ladies to smartly adorn their hats with wild carrot flowers.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Carrots are usually biennial. At the end of their first year of growth, they develop leaves and a root. When the root is well-developed and the plant has received its necessary dose of cold weather, the next season leads to the development of a stem which grows rather tall. As the stem branches out, it produces peripheral branches which end in an inflorescence resembling an umbrella. The seeds remain in the dry fruit, one seed per fruit. They contain ethereal oil which provides their unique scent. When a carrot is grown for food, we are interested in its taproot, which is why it should be picked before reaching flowering and seeding – for by then the root is too old and becomes grainy.

The root develops in three stages, beginning right after sprouting when a long skewer-like root grows. At the second stage, the root thickens and becomes longer, gaining its orange color. At the third stage, the downward growth stops and the root only thickens.

The root consists of a central stele, the endodermis and the cortex. The endodermis is surrounded by tissue, which creates the inner cortex and the outer phloem. This tissue is rich in color substance and sugars. A carrot’s quality is determined by the thin texture of its central stele in comparison to the cortex tissues. In difficult growing conditions, or as the plant ages, the central stele becomes wood-like and the carrot is no longer fit for human consumption.

carrot cut

The carrot from in and out: the endodermis, the cortex and the phloem.

The carrots in your boxes were seeded three-and-a-half to four months ago. Never one to rush, the carrot sprouted slowly: first its two long ears, the cotyledons, peeked out of the earth. Afterwards the plant actually grew “real leaves,” the type we can identify as carrot greens, a true bunny gourmet treat.

carrots sprouting
The Cotyledons, first sprouts
carrot-sprouts1
First real leaves

The carrot needs a lot of space to breathe and grow, in both length and depth and preferably from all four directions. But its seeds are tiny and hard to seed accurately and well-spaced. Thus, as soon as they begin to grow, we start thinning the plants and pluck out lots of tiny carrot sprouts to allow the remainder to grow nice, bountiful roots. Last week, as I was thinning out the carrot beds in my little Noga’s kindergarten vegetable plot, I found out that children enjoy being bunnies, too, as they happily consumed the tiny carrot plants we tugged out of the earth.

carrot thinning

The orange of the carrot is known for its medicinal qualities: research highly acclaims it as a cancer and heart disease fighter. Carrots maintain healthy eyes, fortify the immune system, protect your skin, and generally boost human growth and vitality. Its healing powers come from the yellow-orange caratanoid pigment group: the alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. 

Beta carotene, the most researched and popular pigment in the carrot, belongs to the carotenoid group, which becomes Vitamin A when consumed. For this reason they’re termed “pro-vitamin.” Vitamin A, aka “retinol” due to its benefits to the retina, plays a crucial role in healthy vision.  A Vitamin A deficiency can impair the function of the photo-pigments in the retina and cornea, causing blindness or night blindness. Vitamin A promotes skin health and epithelial cell growth, and in pregnancy contributes richly to proper fetal development. Current research indicates that Vitamin A is critical to the process of learning and memory, probably by enriching the area of the brain responsible for memory function.

Vitamin A keeps the immune system working, whereas a deficiency can increase the risk of acquiring viral infections. In infectious diseases, a Vitamin A deficiency can aggravate the disease and increase the mortality risk. In Chinese medicine, carrots are known to strengthen the spleen and blood in anemia. Medical research supports this as well, recognizing that Vitamin A is beneficial in absorbing iron and relieving the symptoms of anemia.

Proper Vitamin A consumption has been linked to reducing the threat of many types of cancer, including eye, breast, large intestine, prostate, skin and liver.

Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural pesticide which the carrot probably develops against harmful fungi by delaying the creation of material which encourages fungus growth. In a like manner, falcarinol hinders the creation of components which foster the growth of cancerous tumors, thus delaying their development.

Carrots are also rich in excellent “traditional” nutrition components: potassium and such B vitamins as folic acid, vitamins C, K, E and dietary fibers. In short, it is full of great stuff. Give the carrot a place of honor in your menu!

Beyond the orange beta carotene, carrots come in rainbow colors. How beautiful are these?

Overdosing on carrots may cause carotenemia – a temporary yellowing of the skin, caused by excessive consumption of beta carotene from fresh carrots. This is not dangerous, only a little strange-looking, and it disappears several weeks after going cold turkey on beta carotene.

Carrot Tips

– If you receive carrots in a bunch, complete with greens, the best way to store them is by removing the greens. Otherwise they will draw water from the root and cause it to shrivel.

– Carrots should be stored in the coldest place in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag or in the vegetable drawer.

– The carrot is best unpeeled. You can lightly scrape the peeling, or not at all. The peeling is tasty and nutritious.

– Like the tomato, a cooked carrot is more nutritious and healthier than a raw carrot. The level of vitamin A rises as the cooking – and even a light scraping – breaks down the cell walls. It is best to cook carrots in a small amount of water, so the vitamins are not diffused in the cooking liquid.

Check out our recipe section for nice diverse ideas for carrot cuisine.

* Adding a small amount of oil to the cooking liquid will increase the absorption of antioxidants.

– It is recommended to combine carrots with foods containing vitamin E, such as peanuts, pumpkin, leafy vegetables and whole grains.

When you purchase carrots in the supermarket, they are already meticulously sorted out with only the right sizes and shape surviving the selection and placed on the shelves. (The rest usually become “baby” carrots…) But in the field, the carrots grow in various shapes, revealing the playfulness and grace of the charming carrot that loves to dance, hug, hang out and make funny faces. Here are some vivid examples:

Wishing you a great orange week – in health, happiness and good living!

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

____________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/kale, kohlrabi/turnips, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, daikon/baby radishes, carrots, parsley/dill, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, beets/fennel. Small boxes only: scallions/onions

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, New Zealand spinach/totsoi, broccoli/ Jerusalem artichokes/Lubia Thai yard-long beans, cabbage/eggplant/green bell peppers.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, red apples, pomelit, oranges, clementinas.

Wednesday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, sweet potatoes, scallions/fresh onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli/eggplant/green bell peppers/cabbage, carrots, parsley/dill, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, daikon/baby radishes, kohlrabi/turnips.

Large box, in addition: Kale/totsoi, beets/fennel, Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichokes/peas.

FRUIT BOXES: Red apples, bananas/avocados, oranges, pomelit, clementinas.

November 12th-14th 2018 –  A Tale of a Carrot

Autumn is positively here, the assortment of organic fruits is limited to bananas, avocados and citrus fruit, and the good news is – the price of winter fruit is far lower than summer fruit! This enables us to assemble an impressive fruit box for you at a much lower price.

Thus, starting this week, there will no longer be large or small fruit boxes, but one uniform-size box filled with juicy, delicious fruits. The cost: 70 NIS.

Have a happy, sweet autumn!

_________________________________

You ask, “What is life?” That is the same as asking, “What is a carrot?” A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more. 

     -Anton Chekhov in a letter to his beloved wife, Olga Knipper Chekhov (April 20, 1904)

Over a century has passed since that April 1904, and by now we can no longer say that “a carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.” Countless research studies have been conducted to examine this basic veggie, so common and beloved, generating a wealth of information on the carrot’s healthy components and its ability to maintain our health and to spur healing.

But Chekhov did articulate a hint of the mystery lying in the root. What meets the eye as we stroll by the carrot bed is only its bad-hair-day hairdo and the edge of its scalp. But when we tug it out of the soil – voila! Orange happiness retrieved from the dark underworld…

Winter is its season. The carrot does not appreciate warm weather, but adores the cold. It can even grow under a blanket of snow. Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, the carrot has finally become a frequent guest in our field and your boxes. We seed several carrot beds every few weeks, and after several months pull out bed after bed of juicy orange corkscrew roots, week after week.

The carrot (Daucus carota) belongs to the Umbelliferae family, home to such vegetables and spices as celery, parsley, fennel, dill and cilantro. Various wild carrot species have grown in many areas in the world, specifically in the Mediterranean, South Asia, Africa, Australia and America. The origin of certain domesticated species is probably Afghanistan and Turkey. The Arabs introduced the carrot to Spain, where it spread to Europe. The first domesticated varieties came in a range of colors: red, purple and yellow-green. Later, yellow and white carrots were developed. In the 18th century, the Dutch grew orange carrots, which are today’s most common variety. In Israel, the carrot has been harvested from the beginning of the Jewish settlement. The Arabs used to grow dark purple carrots, which can still be found today to a small extent.

The wild carrot is known in English as “Queen Anne’s lace,” a name which originated in a fairy tale about how the wild carrot’s flower got its distinctive look: a sort of white lace embroidery, with a dark red-purple dot at its center. Legend has it that Queen Anne (wife of King James I), who reigned as Denmark’s queen in the 16th and 17th centuries, was an expert at lace tatting. One day she pricked her finger in the process, and a drop of blood rolled onto the center to create this special flower. Although the tale only appeared in writing some 200 years after Anne’s death, it could be associated with the 17th century custom for ladies to smartly adorn their hats with wild carrot flowers.

Carrots are usually biennial. At the end of their first year of growth, they develop leaves and a root. When the root is well-developed and the plant has received its necessary dose of cold weather, the next season leads to the development of a stem which grows rather tall. As the stem branches out, it produces peripheral branches which end in an inflorescence resembling an umbrella. The seeds remain in the dry fruit, one seed per fruit. They contain ethereal oil which provides their unique scent. When a carrot is grown for food, we are interested in its taproot, which is why it should be picked before reaching flowering and seeding – for by then the root is too old and becomes grainy.

The root develops in three stages, beginning right after sprouting when a long skewer-like root grows. At the second stage, the root thickens and becomes longer, gaining its orange color. At the third stage, the downward growth stops and the root only thickens.

carrot cut

The root consists of a central stele, the endodermis and the cortex. The endodermis is surrounded by tissue, which creates the inner cortex and the outer phloem. This tissue is rich in color substance and sugars. A carrot’s quality is determined by the thin texture of its central stele in comparison to the cortex tissues. In difficult growing conditions, or as the plant ages, the central stele becomes wood-like and the carrot is no longer fit for human consumption.

The carrots in your boxes were seeded three to four months ago. Never one to rush, the carrot sprouted slowly: first two long ears, the cotyledons, peeked out of the earth. Afterwards the plant actually grew “real leaves,” the type we can identify as carrot leaves, a true bunny gourmet treat.

carrots sprouting   carrot-sprouts1

  The carrot needs a lot of space to breathe and grow, in both length and depth and preferably from all four directions. But its seeds are tiny and hard to seed accurately and well-spaced. As soon as they begin to grow, we start thinning the plants and pluck out lots of tiny carrot sprouts to allow the remainder to grow nice, bountiful roots.

carrot thinning

The orange of the carrot is known for its medicinal qualities: research highly acclaims it as a cancer and heart disease fighter. Carrots maintain healthy eyes, fortify the immune system, protect your skin, and generally boost human growth and vitality. Its healing powers come from the yellow-orange caratanoid pigment group: the alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. 

Beta carotene, the most researched and popular pigment in the carrot, belongs to the carotenoid group, which becomes Vitamin A when consumed. For this reason they’re termed “pro-vitamin.” Vitamin A, aka “retinol” due to its benefits to the retina, plays a crucial role in healthy vision.  A Vitamin A deficiency can impair the function of the photo-pigments in the retina and cornea, causing blindness or night blindness. Vitamin A promotes skin health and epithelial cell growth, and in pregnancy contributes richly to proper fetal development. Current research indicates that Vitamin A is critical to the process of learning and memory, probably by enriching the area of the brain responsible for memory function.

Vitamin A keeps the immune system working, whereas a deficiency can increase the risk of acquiring viral infections. In infectious diseases, a Vitamin A deficiency can aggravate the disease and increase the mortality risk. In Chinese medicine, carrots are known to strengthen the spleen and blood in anemia. Medical research supports this as well, recognizing that Vitamin A is beneficial in absorbing iron and relieving the symptoms of anemia.

Proper Vitamin A consumption has been linked to reducing the threat of many types of cancer, including eye, breast, large intestine, prostate, skin and liver.

Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural pesticide which the carrot probably develops against harmful fungi by delaying the creation of material which encourages fungus growth. In a like manner, falcarinol hinders the creation of components which foster the growth of cancerous tumors, thus delaying their development.

Carrots are also rich in excellent “traditional” nutrition components: potassium and such B vitamins as folic acid, vitamins C, K, E and dietary fibers. In short, it is full of great stuff. Give the carrot a place of honor in your menu!

Beyond the orange beta carotene, carrots come in rainbow colors. How beautiful are these?

Overdosing on carrots may cause carotenemia – a temporary yellowing of the skin, caused by excessive consumption of beta carotene from fresh carrots. This is not dangerous, only a little strange-looking, and it disappears several weeks after going cold turkey on beta carotene.

Carrot Tips

– If you receive carrots in a bunch, complete with greens, the best way to store them is by removing the greens. Otherwise they will draw water from the root and cause it to shrivel.

– Carrots should be stored in the coldest place in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag or in the vegetable drawer.

– The carrot is best unpeeled. You can lightly scrape the peeling, or not at all. The peeling is tasty and nutritious.

– Like the tomato, a cooked carrot is more nutritious and healthier than a raw carrot. The level of vitamin A rises as the cooking – and even a light scraping – breaks down the cell walls. It is best to cook carrots in a small amount of water, so the vitamins are not diffused in the cooking liquid.

Check out our recipe section for nice diverse ideas for carrot cuisine.

* Adding a small amount of oil to the cooking liquid will increase the absorption of antioxidants.

– It is recommended to combine carrots with foods containing vitamin E, such as peanuts, pumpkin, leafy vegetables and whole grains.

Wishing you a great orange week – in health, happiness and good living!

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

____________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Eggplant/potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, radishes/daikon/baby radishes/turnips/ kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots/Jerusalem artichokes, Thai yard-long beans/red bell peppers, spinach/Swiss chard, coriander/dill, arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery, kale/totsoi, broccoli/cabbage/beets.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, pomelit, oranges, clementinas.

Wednesday: Sweet potatoes, lettuce, radishes/baby radishes, broccoli/cabbage/kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, spinach/Swiss chard, coriander/dill/parsley, arugula/mizuna. Small boxes only: Celery.

Large box, in addition: Thai yard-long beans/red bell peppers, potatoes/Jerusalem artichokes, kale/totsoi, beets/turnips.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, apples, clementinas.

Aley Chubeza #230 January 5th-7th 2015

You ask, “What is life?” That is the same as asking, “What is a carrot?” A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more. 

–       Anton Chekhov in a letter to his beloved wife, Olga Knipper Chekhov (April 20, 1904)

It’s been in your boxes for weeks now, our lovely and wintry carrot—steady, loyal, and pledging continuity and security. True, the carrot’s been around for quite awhile, but in the beginning its taste was still mediocre. It’s never been thrilled by warm weather, thus the beginning-of-the-season carrots are always just so-so. But now it has reached its peak: sweet, juicy and heartwarming. This week’s newsletter is a tribute to The Carrot.

Genealogy first: the carrot (Daucus carota) belongs to the Umbelliferae family, which includes such vegetables and spices as celery, parsley, fennel, dill and cilantro. Various wild carrot species have grown in many areas in the world, specifically in the Mediterranean, south Asia, Africa, Australia and America.

The origin of certain domesticated species is probably Afghanistan and Turkey. The Arabs introduced the carrot to Spain, where it spread to Europe. The first domesticated types came in a variety of colors: red, purple and yellow-green. Later, yellow and white carrots were developed in the 18th century. The Dutch grew orange carrots, which are today’s most common variety. In Israel, the carrot has been harvested from the beginning of the Jewish settlement. The Arabs used to grow dark purple carrots, which can still be found today, to a small extent.

The wild carrot is known in English as “Queen Anne’s lace,” whose name originated in a fairy tale about how the wild carrot’s flower got its unique look: a sort of white lace embroidery, with a dark red-purple dot at its center. Queen Anne, wife of King James the First who served as Denmark’s queen in the 16th and 17th centuries, was an experienced lace tatter. One day she pricked her finger while sewing, and a drop of blood rolled onto the center, creating this special flower. Although the tale only appeared in writing some 200 years after Anne’s death, it could be associated with the 17th century custom for ladies to smartly adorn their hats with wild carrot flowers.

 

Carrots are biennial. At the end of their first year of growth, they develop leaves and a root. When the root is well-developed and the plant has received its necessary dosage of cold weather, the next season leads to the development of a stem which grows rather tall. When the stem branches out, it produces peripheral branches which end in an inflorescence resembling an umbrella. The seeds remain in the dry fruit, one seed per fruit. They contain ethereal oil which provides their unique scent. When a carrot is grown for food, we are interested in its taproot, which is why it should be picked before reaching flowering and seeding – for by then the root is too old and becomes grainy.

The root develops in three stages: at the first stage, right after sprouting, a long skewer-like root grows. At the second stage, the root thickens and becomes longer, receiving its orange color. At the third stage, the downward growth stops and the root only thickens. The root consists of a central stele, the endodermis and the cortex. The endodermis is surrounded by tissue, which creates the inner cortex and the outer phloem. This tissue is rich with color substance and sugars. A carrot’s quality is determined by the thin texture of its central stele in comparison to the cortex tissues. In difficult growing conditions, or as the plant ages, the central stele becomes wood-like and the carrot is no longer fit for human consumption.

The carrot appearing in your boxes was seeded three to four months ago. Never one to rush, the carrot sprouted slowly. In the beginning, two long ears, the cotyledons, peeked out of the earth. Afterwards the plant actually grew “real leaves,” the type we can identify as carrot leaves and which bring joy and delight to every bunny. The carrot needs a lot of space to breathe and grow, both lengthwise and depth-wise and preferably from all four directions. But its seeds are tiny and hard to seed accurately and well-spaced. As soon as it begins to grow, we start thinning the plants and pluck out lots of tiny carrot sprouts to allow the remainder to grow nice, bountiful roots

And though we have learned by now to avoid being merciful and stingy in the thinning- out field, it’s so hard to thin out those plants. We take pity on up-and-coming carrots and do a superficial thinning. But then we’re forced to come back at a later stage to “really” thin the carrot beds, regardless. Actually the earlier carrot harvest can also be considered thinning, since we do not pick the whole bed. Instead we attempt to pick only certain carrots from the crop, giving some well-needed living and breathing space to the remaining residents of the bed.

The orange of the carrot is known for its medicinal attributes: research has granted it high acclaim as a cancer fighter and in battling heart diseases. Carrots maintain healthy eyes, strengthen the immune system, protect your skin, and generally boost human growth and vitality. Its healing powers come from the yellow-orange caratanoid pigment group: the alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. In Chinese medicine, carrots are known to strengthen the spleen and blood in anemia. Medical research supports this too, realizing that vitamin A (whose source is in beta carotene) is beneficial in absorbing iron and relieving the symptoms of anemia.

Despite the orange beta carotene, carrots don’t only come in orange. Look at this picture of carrots in rainbow colors. How beautiful are they?

Overdosing on carrots may cause carotenemia– a temporary yellowing of the skin, caused by excess consumption of beta carotene from fresh carrots. This is not dangerous, only a little strange looking, and it disappears several weeks after going cold turkey on beta carotene.

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 Carrot Tips

– To store carrots, remove the green leaves, otherwise they will draw water from the root and cause it to shrivel.

– Carrots should be stored in the coldest place in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag or in the vegetable drawer.

– The carrot is best unpeeled. You can lightly scrape the peeling, or not at all. The peeling is tasty and nutritious.

– Like the tomato, a cooked carrot is more nutritious and healthier than a raw carrot. The level of vitamin A rises as the cooking breaks down the cell walls. It is best to cook carrots in a small amount of water, so the vitamins are not dissipated in the cooking liquid.

– Adding a small amount of oil to the cooking liquid will increase the absorption of antioxidants.

– It is recommended to combine carrots with foods containing vitamin E, like peanuts, pumpkins, leafy vegetables and whole grains.

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Welcome back, good rain from last week. Here’s hoping for continued plentiful rains, a not-so-terrible storm, and a blessed and good winter to us all!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Pumpkin/carrots, scallions/leeks, spinach/Swiss chard/kale, tomatoes, daikon/radishes, cauliflower, parsley, cucumbers, lettuce, beets/turnips/fennel. Small boxes only: broccoli

Large box, in addition: Arugula/“baby” greens, garden peas/Jerusalem artichoke, celery/celeriac, cabbage

Wednesday: Slice of pumpkin/carrots, leek/scallions/green garlic, spinach/Swiss chard/kale, tomatoes, small radishes/daikon/turnip, green or red cabbage, parsley, cucumbers, broccoli/cauliflower, lettuce, beet/fennel

Large box, in addition: Mixed baby greens/arugula, snow peas/Jerusalem artichoke, celery/celriac

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!