Aley Chubeza #237, March 2nd-4th 2015

In honor of Purim, Melissa of Mipri Yadeha is offering delectable Scrolls of Esther fashioned from fruit-leather. These Purim delights come in an array of flavors and are packaged majestically.

You can add them to your order via our internet order system, at only 10 NIS per scroll.

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The Power of the Flower

This week we will continue to tell cauliflower tales, beginning with praise for its health and nutritional values. As a member of the Cruciferae family, cauliflower is packed with cancer-fighting components (along with its relatives the green and purple cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, rashad, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes). The primary anti-cancer elements are sulforaphane and an  indole compound.

Interestingly, sulforaphane is produced in the vegetables only when they are cut or bitten into, i.e., when an animal consumes them. Sulforaphane is an efficient antioxidant, but it also raises the level of certain protective enzymes in the body, which act as “policemen” that capture the cancer-causing elements and send them into the bloodstream to be washed out of the body. These enzymes are also excellent antioxidants, and unlike regular antioxidants, they are not consumed while they work. The indole compound in the cauliflower and its relatives protects against breast cancer by influencing the estrogen hormone (in various forms this hormone can actually encourage the development of breast cancer). On the one hand, the indole compound activates the production of less active estrogen, the kind that does not encourage breast cancer, while on the other hand it reduces the production of a more harmful estrogen type. In order to reduce the threat of cancer, it is recommended to consume at least 2-3 weekly servings of vegetables from the Cruciferae family.

In addition to the photochemicals it shares with its powerful family, the cauliflower contains other photochemicals such as phytosterols and glucaric acids that contribute to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. Another cholesterol fighter comes from the dietary fibers so rich in the cauliflower, which aid digestion and prevent constipation as well as slowing down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from food. Of course, we cannot forget the venerable Vitamin C! One hundred grams of cooked cauliflower contain half of the daily-recommended portion of vitamin C.

The Cruciferae family has another connection to cancer prevention, one that is unique because it once again indicates why nature is so much more complex than simplified classifications of “good” “bad” “useful” and “harmful.” A perfect example is one of the family’s most famous pests: the cabbage butterfly. The female butterfly lays her eggs on the Cruciferae plants, and hungry caterpillars feed from the leaves of this prevalent family. They also swallow very spicy matter found in the leaves (mustard glycocids) and isolate it in their bodies. When the caterpillar grows, it uses this matter as a defense mechanism: if attacked by a predator insect, the caterpillar secretes concentrated glycocids which cause an irritation in the mouth, esophagus and stomach of the attacker. When it is pupated, the cabbage butterfly defends itself using an interesting toxin: pierison. This toxin destroys cells by breaking their DNA. All the cells die and renew themselves, except for cancerous cells. Research has indicated that pierison caused nine types of cancerous cells to “commit suicide.” Thus, indirectly, by hosting the caterpillar that tortures it and eats its leaves, the martyred Cruciferae family takes an important role in battling cancer.

The cauliflower we know and love is white, and I told you how much effort we put into keeping it that way. But there are cauliflowers that come in such varying colors as purple, orange (rich in beta carotene) and green:

And a weird-looking variety as well, bearing a resemblance to a UFO:

Despite their different shapes and florescent colors, these cauliflower varieties are not the  product of genetic engineering. I grew such cauliflowers in an organic field in California. They were developed in the traditional breeding method of selecting plants of various types and crossing them with plants of other types until a colorful one is produced. Creation of this kind of species usually takes years, even decades. The result is amazing (somewhat psychedelic). There are those who shy away from the stark “unnatural” colors (which remain even after cooking, by the way); others delight in adding impressive new hues to the dinner table.

It is recommended to store any type of cauliflower in the refrigerator, wrapped in an unsealed plastic bag (the sulphur needs to escape, otherwise the cauliflower is tainted and rots), with the stem downwards in order to prevent accumulation of moisture on the inflorescence. Stored correctly, cauliflowers can keep for two to three weeks, but are tastiest during the first several days. Afterwards the sweetness subsides.

This week we bid farewell-for-now to Maya as she takes a break in preparation of her upcoming birth. Yochai, my brother and our Jerusalem delivery person, will fill in for her and assist Dror in the office. Thank you, Maya, and looking forward to good news. And welcome, Yochai!

Wishing you a great, sunny week (other than the pesky raindrops always there to challenge Tuesday’s Purim costumes…)

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

* In season and in your boxes is lemon thyme (AKA citrus thyme). it is great as herbal tea and also to flavor cakes and sweets, but you can definitely use as an herb for cooking, here are some examples:

Potatoes with lemon thyme

More recipes ideas and some info about lemon thyme

Basically, in any recipe that calls for lemon and thyme can use the lemon thyme for the thyme ingredient.

Monday: Scallions, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, fennel/kohlrabi, broccoli, cucumbers, parsley/coriander/lemon thyme, “baby” greens/lettuce, cauliflower/cabbage. Small boxes only: Garden peas/fava beans.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/green garlic, carrots, beets, artichoke/radishes

Wednesday: peas/fava beans, scalions, kale/spinach/Swiss chard, tomatoes, carrots/potatoes, lettuce, fennel/radish, cucumbers, broccoli, parsley/cilantro/lemon thyme, parsley root/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: leek/green garlic, beets, cabbage/cauliflower

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 #236 February 23rd-25th 2015

The month of February is nearing its end. 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. 

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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Purim is around the corner, and Melissa of Mipri Yadeha is offering delectable Scrolls of Esther fashioned from fruit-leather. These Purim delights come in an array of flavors and are packaged majestically.

You can add them to your order via our internet order system, at only 10 NIS per scroll.

____________________________

No Wall Flower

This week, as I once again reviewed the candidates for this newsletter’s “Featured Vegetable,” there she was, just as she has been over the past few weeks, waiting modestly, quietly, almost imperceptibly. The cauliflower. For some reason, this time she caught my eye. It’s been so long since I wrote about her, and surely you agree that she deserves our attention. There’s actually so much to say about her that I’m dividing the newsletter into two. This week and next week will be dedicated to the long-overlooked, yet charming Cauliflower.

The cauliflower is the flower of the cabbage (Caulis in Latin). Apparently, the cauliflower was developed from the wild cabbage during the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin (Greece/Italy/Turkey–it is unclear exactly where). From there it traveled to European countries, the Middle East, India and China. When I say “developed,” I mean developed by human beings, almost like a modern agricultural start-up, only much, much slower. Some of the most incredible changes in the field of species development didn’t occur as part of a budgeted, constructed research, but rather due to the very simple act of collecting and saving seeds from the plants favored by the farmer and preferring them over seeds from lesser-loved plants. This simple act of propagating one plant and not another had a tremendous influence on the improvement and evolution of a given specie or crop.  Long before man understood the genetics of plants, his actions caused slow, small changes in the cultivars that accumulated with time, yielding genuine results.

The cauliflower and broccoli owe their lives to the farmers (or perhaps the farmers’ wives and children who were growing bored with cabbage quiche) who developed a craving for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage. They chose the plants that produced large blossom heads, producing seeds from these plants which they then planted the next season. And this was how cauliflower and broccoli were born, both different variations of an embryonic florescence of cabbage. The proper name of the cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster” (broccoli, developed in Italy, received the title var. italica).

 

In the case of the cauliflower, like the broccoli, we eat the immature flower curd composed of densely clustered flower buds and stalks that thickened and became meaty. As the cauliflower grows, this head is surrounded by a dense circle of leaves that close themselves and cover it, similar to the cabbage. The inner leaves bend a bit inwardly, protecting the developing cauliflower and preventing sunrays from penetrating, thus blocking the production of chlorophyll and retaining its white color. This is why when we farmers select a variety of cauliflower, we give preference to choosing one whose leaves close well over the inflorescence. Sometimes, when the farmer notices that the leaves are not doing their job, he or she walks through the field and ties the outward leaves with a rubber band so that they cover the cauliflower and protect it from the sun. Unlike the broccoli, which develops additional heads on its side after the main head is harvested, the cauliflower only produces one, in the center of the plant, and does not continue to produce after this single harvest. Usually the cauliflower is picked when it reaches its maximum size, still maintaining its density and solidity (or when we notice the leaves beginning to open, threatening a cauliflower “sunburn”). If we leave it in the field, the inflorescence will begin opening and separating, preparing for the blossoming of the tiny yellow flowers, like a great big bouquet.

When I wrote about the cauliflower a few years ago, I received an email from Eitan of Tel Aviv: “I beg to differ over one thing. I have been raising cauliflowers in my plot for two years in a row. I did not pull out last year’s plants, and sure enough, they bloomed this year as well. In addition, the cauliflower produced many branches that yielded a nice crop of cauliflowers. I pick the heads but do not pull out the plant.”

Eitan’s words reminded me that I did indeed read about the cauliflower’s ability to produce two years in a row if it is not uprooted, but because I was not experienced with this (as farmers, it is not recommended to leave vegetables for the next year because this usually reduces crop size), I asked Eitan for full details on the second-year cauliflowers. This was his response: “The cauliflower is smaller in the second year, but still tastes sweet. The advantage is that in the second year, a bunch of cauliflowers emerge. Branches extend from the bottom part of the plant, looking like cauliflower transplants from the nursery, and the inflorescence starts there. Since I have a small garden, the cauliflowers were watered over summer, but did not bloom, although I covered them with a 50% shade net. In any case, there was no evident change in the cauliflower over the summer. I think whoever has enough space should leave the cauliflower and broccoli to grow a second year. These plants are bi-annuals. By the way, the broccoli, too, remained from last year, and it continues to supply me with very handsome “baby broccolis.”

So for the farmers among you, try this at home (in your garden). Keep the cauliflowers growing a second year, protect them in the summer from radiation and heat, and tell us how this works. Thank you, Eitan.

Like the rest of her Brassicaceaes family, the cauliflower consumes a great deal of nitrogen. For this reason, it’s important to grow cauliflowers in fertile soil, fortified with compost, and precede its planting with the growth of legumes or “green manure” that enrich the ground with nitrogen. Following a crop of cauliflower and other Brassicaceaes, we try to grow only cultivars that require less nitrogen and can deal well with the earth that must recover from the previous high level of nitrogen consumption. The gourd family (pumpkins) that grows in springtime and summertime, after the Brassicaceaes season, are a good example of a “crop rotation” after the Brassicaceaes.

Cauliflower grows in cool seasons. We used to plant it over two rounds, once in autumn (September- November) and then at the end of wintertime/beginning of springtime (February- April). But after some experimenting, we realized the cauliflower is happiest in our field during wintertime. The autumn and winter cauliflowers yielded beautiful plants, whereas the February harvests had a hard time growing, became too hard, were attacked by insects, got blotched with stains, and didn’t really thrive. We learned to bring up the planting to August, and over the past few years we have begun planting cauliflowers continuously from August to December. In August, we plant species that do well in the heat and from September we plant winter species.

During this season, the cauliflower (and broccoli) are contending with aphids – tiny insects that some of you may have met up with in your boxes… In the Brassicaceaes, these are usually leaf aphids, greenish or grey and mealy. The leaf aphids are nourished by marrow, that liquid within the plant cell. They suck it out via their unique proboscis. In our field they have natural enemies: parasitic wasps (that paralyze them and lay eggs within them, out of which emerge caterpillars that nourish themselves from their unwilling aphid hosts) and ladybugs (that simply eat them up). But as usual, in the first stage before their natural enemies discover that they have reason to make their home in our field due to the abundance of food, we experience a wave of aphid stings. After the carnivorous insects arrive and situate themselves, the stings will go away and the balance will be restored.

We make great efforts to keep them away from you, of course. When we harvest, we are careful to avoid bringing affected plants to the packing house, and while we assemble your boxes, we carefully examine the broccoli and cauliflowers to remove any with stings. But sometimes the tiny aphids evade our sight, especially when the broccoli and cauliflower are very dense. So if you do meet aphids in your boxes, fear not. They can easily be removed by washing the vegetable with soap and water. In any case, let us know if you encounter them.

Rejoicing together with you all over the past few wintery days and the upcoming sunny week,

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

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WHAT’S JOINING THE CAULIFLOWER IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, leeks/green garlic, kale, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, fennel/kohlrabi/ beets, broccoli, cucumbers, thyme/parsley, carrots, cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: Long, sweet Ramiro peppers, Swiss chard/spinach, peas

Wednesday: kohlrabi/fennel/beets, leek/green garlic, kale/spinach/Swiss chard, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli/cabbage, parsley/thyme, parsley root/celeriac

Large box, in addition: scalions, peppers, mixed baby greens/peas

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 #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

______________________________

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!