November 2nd-4th 2020 – Old Friends (Sat in their Orchards like Bookends)

Strong Friendships

Today our vegetables take a step back to make room for our friends. As life moves back to normal, there’s lots of new excitement in our Additional Local Products section. This Newsletter is thus dedicated to introducing you to the extraordinary cottage industry owners who produce and maintain these products for us.

We are big believers in direct contact between consumers and manufacturers, and in the value of being close to those who grow and develop our food. Over the years, a number of small and medium-sized manufacturers from across the country who create quality products from excellent raw materials have become members of the Chubeza community. They are all masters of simplicity – no preservatives or additives needed.

Wandering among the additional products which may be added to your Chubeza boxes is a sensual experience and a journey from one end of the country to the other. Among the myriad of colors, flavors and fragrances, you will find organic flour ground in Hadera; breads baked in Ganaton, goat cheeses from Tal Shachar; honey from the Golan Heights; gluten-free bread from Emek Hefer; vegan cookies baked in Ashdod; scrumptious Tahini from Netiv Halamed-Heh; olive oil, hummus, teff seeds, organic almonds and honey from Ein Harod in the Jezreel Valley; date honey, juices, olives and health bars from Neot Smadar in the southern Negev; sprouts from Achituv; dates from Kibbutz Samar in the southern Arava; tahini and coffee hand-ground at Karmei Yosef; Olive oil from Rotem, unique raw vegan products from Beit Shemesh; organic crackers and gluten-free crackers from Kfar HaNasi in the northern Galilee, and juices, jams, apple cider and vinegar from the hills of Jerusalem.

These products and information about their manufacturers appear in our online order system, where you can get to meet each of them in the Additional Products category. They will be delighted to have direct contact with you and are happy to tell you about themselves and the products, answer your questions and explain how they work. Sometimes you can even visit them for an on-the-scene glimpse of how and where they produce these distinctive, outstanding products.

Well then, what’s new?

Samar Dates

Our beloved Samar dates are back for another sweet season. Among the delectable date grown in the southern Arava kibbutz are:  Barhi honey (small, soft and super-sweet) that earned the endearing nickname “The Toffee Date”; Dekel Nur (elongated and drier with a gentle sweetness) and Zahidi dates (big and round). This year Samar is also offering Madjhoul dates (big and juicy) –great news! Another Samar novelty is the new small, lovely packages they are offering of 1, 2 or 5 kg (except for Madjoul that for now will only be sold in 1 kg packages). Details and prices in our online order system. Enjoy!

Neot Smadar

From the southern Arava, we make our way to the Shizafon intersection that lies not far from Kibbutz Neot Smadar, a unique place full of so much goodness. Enjoy the yield of their orchards – Madjhoul dates and amazing Madjhoul date honey; fresh, natural juices from the Deep South, olives and fruit-based health bars. All these delicacies have lately been joined by Tapenade – an incredibly delicious olive spread. Lastly, Neot Smadar’s yummy grape juice is joined this week by grapefruit juice! Enjoy!

Shorshei Zion

From the south, we now climb to the city of Beit Shemesh, where in a small factory in the old industrial section, Eliezer and Sarah-Roze make unique raw vegan foods: crackers, buckwheat gRAWnola, desserts and chocolates, as well as almond and walnut spreads which joined their veteran spread friends: cashew spread, hazelnut spread, almond spread, pumpkin seeds and lately also pistachio spread. Definitely worth a delicious taste!

The Matsesa

Not far from there, at the top of the hills, Tomer’s Matsesa uses leftover fruits from Kibbutz Tzuba’s orchards to produce juices, alcoholic cider, jams and excellent apple cider. After a long wait for our beloved apple cider that took its time fermenting and souring – it’s back! I highly recommend getting to know them even by ordering a 250 or 750 ml bottle.

And just so you can see the astonishing myriad of additional deliciously healthy products made from high-quality raw materials and the daily labor of good, diligent people, to make your heart jolly and your table merry during these complex days, take a peek:

We believe in a direct connection between the manufacturers and consumers – to deepen consumers’ knowledge in the way these distinctive products are made, and offer a plethora of natural, unprocessed food, additive-free, as a healthier alternative to the consumers, producers and environment. This direct interaction contributes to the development of small, independent and local cottage industry manufacturers. During these crazy days, the importance of locality and direct contact is all the greater.

The change in season also brings about a change in our staff: after many, many years together, this month we bid our farewell to Ali, Hoth and Thom. Ali worked with us for eight years, over which he taught himself Hebrew and took part in packing up the boxes. Ali has embarked on a new path and just as he was standing at the threshold, he was able to greet a beautiful new baby with his wife Jihan. (Mazal Tov to Saba Mohammed and Uncle Majdi!)

Hoth and Thom are returning to their home in Thailand after working with us for six years. Our appreciation of their diligence and determination is combined with the understanding of the difficulty of leaving your home in order to live some years in a faraway country. We wish them both the greatest of luck. May they have a good journey home, and an easy reintegration into Thai life.

At the other end, we are happy to greet out new workers: Santi and Sa’ah, who joined the Thai workers team, both wearing smiles and working meticulously, and Einat, who after volunteering here for some years has now joined as a full member of the team. Welcome everyone! May we enjoy many years of fruitful labor and mutual growth!

Our warm wishes go out to the 1-4th grade students as they embark upon a known-yet-unknown routine, and to all of you who made your way back to work this week. May we all be blessed with gentle and good “routine” life as we are showered by blessed rains!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday:  Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale, lettuce, bell peppers/eggplant, turnips/kohlrabi/beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, coriander/parsley/dill/ basil, zucchini/carrots/onions, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: okra/lubia Thai yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichokes.

Large box, in addition: Celery, cabbage/corn, arugula/mizuna/bok choy, baby radishes/daikon/ potatoes.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, apples, bananas, oranges/pomelit/clementinas

Wednesday:  Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale, lettuce, bell peppers/corn, eggplant/potatoes, turnips/kohlrabi/beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin/onions, zucchini/carrots, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: Celery/scallions.

Large box, in addition: Parsley/basil, cabbage/baby radishes/daikon, arugula/mizuna/bok choy, okra/lubia Thai yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichokes.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, apples, bananas, oranges/clementinas

October 12th-14th 2020 – Here Comes Autumn

Autumn / Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.


Winter fruit has taken its place in your fruit boxes, with an assortment of delicious pomegranates, apples, pears, bananas, avocadoes and plenty of citrus. What’s even better is that the price of winter fruit is much lower than summer fruit, allowing us to assemble an impressive fruit box for less.

Beginning this week, the price for a box brimming with luscious fruit is 70 NIS! (One-size boxes)

May we have a sweet, pleasant sweet autumn!


The Rose is Out of Town

The holidays are now behind us, including the Harvest Festival of Sukkot. The days are growing shorter, the nights are extending, and the heat of the day gradually lessens.… In our field, Sukkot is a holiday of transformation from summer to autumn. Our tradition at Chubeza is not to deliver vegetables during the week of Chol Hamoed, but rather have you come to visit us on Open Day. Usually, we devote the time that frees up (from harvesting, packing, delivering, etc.) to all sorts of maintenance projects in the field, those that are always being put off due to the busy autumn planting schedule. Mainly weeding, weeding, and weeding. The vegetables, too, are happy to spend the whole week growing in peace, without being constantly tugged and pulled at.

This week is the one in which we cross the threshold from the End of Summer into the Autumn vegetable-boxes. True, you started getting cooler-season vegetables even before the holiday: sweet potatoes, baby greens, Swiss chard (returning after a short break), and carrots. But mainly, the feeling was that the boxes don’t change much from week to week, accompanied by their familiar, constant summer soundtrack: corn, bell peppers, okra, lubia, eggplant and pumpkin. Over the next weeks, once the vegetables have rested and grown, more young and fresh autumn vegetables will be joining, including radishes, arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, beets, Jerusalem artichokes, celery, turnips and more… Little by little, the small, delicate stems turn the page for us from summer to autumn. What joy!

Usually, the post-Sukkot newsletter is filled with thank you’s to the many people who worked hard to make the Open Day a success… But this past year has been strange in so many different ways. Among other global catastrophes, we at Chubeza went through a whole year without seeing you at our Open Day. A whole year without a visit from you, without celebrating nature’s constant, soothing rhythm together with you. And our charming vegetables did not get a chance to show off their beauty in their natural habitat. How we miss the Chubeza Festival and its joyous air of celebration!

For now, our days in the field are jam-packed with one chore after another: planting, seeding, weeding, fertilizing, trellising, spreading plastic covers or nets, fixing the irrigation, preparing lists, making phone calls and writing emails, harvesting, packing, delivering…. On Open Day we relish the chance to meet you in person, see for real the people behind the names on the stickers, and take you for a stroll around the field for an exciting close-up view of the vegetables. This year we had to forgo this traditional togetherness, and our hearts ached. Not an easy year for anyone…

Our vegetables, too, were not happy at all about this cancellation. We just happened to eavesdrop on a conversation between them as they discussed… well, you! (We included this personal message from Chubeza vegetables in last week’s newsletter, but I think it may have gotten a little lost.)

Thank you to my very own dubbers of the Sorek-Dancziger household, and a thousand thanks to the one and only Aliza who helped create this cute message from us.

We wish you a great week, one in which we gently see our way back to routine, activity, movement. And one last panoramic glance at the field being weeded away…

From all of us at Chubeza


WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

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

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes, lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra, leeks.

FRUIT BOXES: Green apples, pears, pomelit, pomegranates.

Wednesday: Swiss chard/arugula, lettuce, corn/potatoes, New Zealand spinach/totsoi/bokchoi, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, slice of pumpkin, coriander/parsley, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: eggplant/zucchini.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes, lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, basil/dill.

FRUIT BOXES: Green or red apples, pears/avocado, orange/pomelit, banana/pomegranates.

May 25th-27th 2020 – On the Road

Bukra fi Mishmish
Good news from Mipri Yadeha: “Absolute Apricot” leather is back! – and like all MY products, made with love from only Israeli fruit with no additives whatsoever (no added sugar, preservatives, coloring or even water). Just 100% natural goodness.
In the family of fruit, apricots stand out as having a particularly sudden and quick season. The expression in Arabic, “Bukra fi mishmish,” means figuratively, “Anything is possible,” just as one morning we awake to the seemingly impossible appearance of suddenly ripe apricots.
So, in the spirit of joyful surprises, miracles great and small, such as back to school, a renewal of health, peace among people , we wish all bukra fi mishmish, may we wake in the morning to a world of ________ and without ______ (fill in yourselves).
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People with a mission

We share with you a great deal of news about work in the field: cultivating the land, selecting crop varieties, growing the vegetables, braving the gamut of weather extremities – in short: the life of a farmer. But we don’t usually shift our gaze to that crucial link that connects our field and your dinner plate: our loyal delivery people, bringing our vegetables to your doorstep, come rain, shine, corona, or more. Deliveries are the type of tasks we tend to offhandedly dismiss, but there is something so incredibly meaningful and important about this mission: connecting people, waiting for a response, bringing joy to individuals and families. This week I will tell you about the delivery team we are blessed with at Chubeza, using the Newsletter as a means to bring our delivery people to your door….

In the field, we conduct the activities at hand in our own little inner circle, whilst during packing and delivery we face the exterior: you. Suddenly movement becomes less and less circular, extending its arms like a starfish to the various   directions. On harvest days, our delivery team gathers one by one in friendship, organizing their daily tasks, exchanging thoughts and suggestions, marking the boxes and helping one another load them onto the cars. And then, when all the boxes are safely in place, they each set off on their appointed routes to deliver the boxes to your homes.

Our delivery crew includes men of differing ages, hailing from various places and an array of pursuits: some devote their entire week to deliveries, while others are involved in quite different lines of work as well. Some live nearby Chubeza, while others are a long way from home. There are veteran workers who have been with us for years, and others who just recently joined us. This week, let us introduce you to them all:

North and East crew: Chubeza’s team in the Jerusalem-Modi’in area

Dror, the veteran of the group, is family (Alon’s brother), thus he has been with Chubeza for many years from the very beginning. The father of 9, he lives in Charish. Many of you know him beyond his deliveries to Modi’in, Jerusalem and the outskirts of Jerusalem, as being in charge of clients. The voice behind our phone and emails, Dror is the loyal caretaker of your requests, references and questions.

Ziv, too, mans the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion route. He lives in Teko’a, father of 4, who began as a veteran client of Chubeza (many years ago.) Aside from his work as a deliveryman, Ziv is a musician, drummer and singer who performs throughout the entire country. Plus, he lectures and facilitates groups on the vast topics of interpersonal relationships, listening and being present. Music is also a tool he uses to treat at-risk teenagers.

Ziv on his experience as a delivery person: Our home champions additive-free food, and we actually started our relationship with Chubeza as clients, enjoying the delicious vegetables for years… It is a great privilege to take part in this providential endeavor, being of service to people who support these values and enjoy the fine products. When I deliver, I leave the box by the door and move on, but when we encounter clients, my heart is warmed by the smiles and mutual appreciation!

On Wednesday, Jerusalemites are joined by another musician Matan, father of 3 who lives in Jerusalem. Matan is a drummer and producer of Simchat Ha-Ketsev (‘The joy of rhythm’) drumming circles and activities for children and youth. In addition, he sings and preforms at Nigun Mechuvan (‘The Tempered Tune”). Some of you may remember him from fun drumming circles he conducted on Open Days at Chubeza. Matan is the ‘greenhorn’ of our delivery people, joining only several months ago yet fitting in instantly with expertise and devotion.

South and West team – Our people in the coastal plain

Alon (a popular name for Chubeza staff) from Mesilat Zion has been working with us for almost 14 years, over which we saw the birth of his 3 children… Having started out in the field, he is well-acquainted with the story of each vegetable from seed to harvest. Like all our field workers, his blood and sweat are interwoven in the clumps of Chubeza soil. For some years now, Alon has been teaching agriculture and sciences for special ed. Students, and today he works with at-risk teens at the Tafnit school. We are graced by his presence on Mondays as well when he arrives to distribute boxes to the Rishon Letzion, Rechovot and Mazkeret Batya areas.

Eyal is a proud father of 3 boys and a girl, all grown up, who lives in Gan Yavneh and is a professional photographer. After many years of working as a photographer in various areas of journalism, he now focuses on agricultural photography and aspires to become a drone photographer. Aside from this vocation, he also delivers from organic farms, and brings Chubeza products to the Ono Valley, Tel-Aviv, Ramat Gan and Givatayim.

Eyal: when I was offered this job, I must admit I did not know what I was getting into. I was surprised to discover that the mission of delivery is indeed a mission in many ways. Delivery days begin very early in the morning.  I arrive at Chubeza refreshed, load the chockful-of-fresh-veggies boxes, make sure I have everything, and set off on my way while the car fills with the scent of fresh vegetables that follows me throughout the day. I enjoy working hard in the service of values and human beings, and the deliveries keep me in shape. I am happy to be the link between the organic farm and the people at home.

The road to Tel-Aviv also belongs to David, who resides in Rechovot and is father to two cute little kids 😊. David has been with us for approximately two years, but has been in the organic vegetable delivery trade for over 10 years. He works for various farms, and his many years on the road have led to a wealth of fascinating experiences.

I love deliveries, and feel there is more to it, a satisfaction I feel by being able to deliver a box of health to a client, at times against all odds.

Another driver who constantly drives into the city is Lev, our Monday and Wednesday man who delivers vegetables to Tel Aviv and Herzliya. Lev is our baby, 31 years old, living in Netanya. Aside from deliveries, he works as an advertiser and in gift branding. In his spare time, Lev enjoys water sports and is an avid lover of nature – a social activist for environmental issues.

Our fourth delivery person to the big city, on the south Tel Aviv- Jaffa route, is Netanel, father of Yair and Yehonatan, who comes to us from Modi’in Ilit. He works five days a week in deliveries, dedicating one of them to Chubeza…

Netanel: I love hearing the words “Yay! The vegetable person is here!” or “Yay! The box of surprises has arrived”! It is heartwarming to know that you make people happy with your deliveries, especially during the Corona season when the roads were devoid of cars and the streets bereft of people, and you know you were bringing food to clients who may not have ventured out to buy it themselves.

Our vegetables do a great job of growing and ripening in order to be ready for harvest and packing (and like good parents, we try to help by not interrupting them.) But all this beauty and goodness would be worthless without our excellent delivery staff bringing it straight home to you. It is truly not a given that we have been able to form such a responsible, intelligent, serious and joyful group. Their assistance and encouragement of each other, their patience with us when packing is delayed or they’re held up by tardy milk products or sprout delivery, or asked to unload half of the already-loaded boxes when we discover we forgot to add parsley… Their thoroughness in correcting inaccurate addresses or entry codes, or finding a magical solution to opening locked entrances. Their efforts to bring you the vegetables, enduring physical exertion, even at times of glitches or problems, and sometimes, as mentioned above, against all odds. Neither rain nor heat nor gloom of Corona stays these couriers from their duties, and in our name and yours we extend our full appreciation and thanks.

On a technical note – during corona days, some of you asked us how to leave a tip to your delivery person via credit card, and we finally came up with a solution. You can now add a tip to your deliveries on our order system page (under the vegetable boxes and fruits), and we will make sure to pass these on.

Best yet – greet them face to face with a good word and a smile. They deserve it!

May we have a good week, and happy harvest holiday!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin and the whole Chubeza team at the field and on the road

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Tis the season of Fakus! We promise to write about this amazing vegetable, but in the meantime – for those of you who received Fakus instead of cucumbers – how to tell the difference between Fakus and zucchini: check its stipe (the part which was connected to the plant). If it is wide and starshaped like a zucchini, well… it’s a zucchini, while if its slight and willowy like a cucumber – say hi to your buddy, Fakus.

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Zucchini, potatoes, carrots, beets, fakus/cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkin/butternut squash/acorn squash, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/kale, parsley/ coriander/dill, lettuce, scallions/garlic.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/celeriac, bell peppers/melon, yellow string beans.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, peaches, applesLarge box, in addition: Cherries

Wednesday: Zucchini, potatoes, carrots, beets, fakus/cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley/dill, lettuce, bell peppers/melon, scallions/garlic, yellow string beans/cherry tomatoes.

Large box, in addition: Pumpkin/acorn squash, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, coriander.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, peaches, apples/nectarinesLarge box, in addition: Cherries.

Thank you for coming to the Open Day! And now it’s… back to normal!

Happy Acharei Hachagim,

Here at Chubeza, we’re hard at work on a long to-do list of tasks and infinite farming demands. Those of you who visited us on the Sukkot Open Day at Chubeza got a firsthand glimpse at the urgent need for weeding the field. And now it’s finally time to get around to doing that, along with a multitude of autumn seedings and plantings.

We loved hosting and celebrating with you at the Open Day. Thank you for coming! Our daily work on the field is always action-packed, moving from one mission to another, and the Open Day allows us to stop, meet and chat, give you a tour of the field, tell you stories, answer questions and introduce you to the vegetables that call Chubeza their home.

Thank you for coming time and again, introducing yourselves in person, asking questions, showing interest and excitement over the fieldwork, and allowing us to see the beauty of the field through your loving eyes as well. It is our great pleasure (our= the field and us) to receive your compliments on the beauty and flavor of our vegetables. Blushing with pride, we are pleased to see our protegee grow up to be such a source of joy.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped make the Open Day a wonderful success:

*To the Hazel Hill String Band, who delighted us with marvelous music this year as well. The unique connection between the outstanding musicians and the field creates music that fills the heart and helps it soar.

To Neta and Shachar, Bat-Ami’s daughters, and to Bat-Ami’s parents, who in perfect multi-generational timing took up their posts at the Arts & Crafts corners, demonstrating and helping to make beautiful creations out of natural material.

To Gabi, the champion, who rigged up a genuine carriage upon which he transported endless rounds of passengers back and forth to the field, delighting groups of excited kids (and their no-less happy parents) each time anew. These deluxe Chubeza Cart Tours definitely upgraded the day, and were a welcome boon to the crazy autumn heat.

To our extraordinary workers, who toiled before, during and after the Open Day, for erecting the giant shaded structure, organizing the bonfire corner, hanging the directional signs, harvesting vegetables for sale, slicing salad vegetables, preparing dough, baking pittot, transporting equipment to and fro, setting up the activity corners and the Chubeza produce market, and the thousand other small tasks that come with this day. And all this with a shining countenance and a constant willingness to think outside the box and initiate. Truly, we couldn’t have done one iota of this without you Mohammed, Majdi, Ali, Hot, Thom, Montry, Vinai, Nufadol, Yuval, Daphna and Assaf!

To Ofri and Amir from The Mitsasa and Melissa from Mipri Yadeha who were present throughout the day with food and drink stands, all of which reflect their healthy, tasty and wonderfully special homegrown establishments fueled by manual labor of the finest degree.

Last but not least, thanks to all of you, our dear partners along the way, who came once again or for the first time to the Open Day, and as always complimented, suggested new ideas, asked sophisticated questions, and shared your own stories. It is a great pleasure to meet new and familiar faces, to hear actual voices after so much digital communication, to nosh away at a fresh, yummy salad, and to chat amicably. By virtue of your high spirits and continued support, you and others like you make Chubeza’s existence possible. For that, our hearts are filled with thanks!

Best wishes to all for an easy Return to Routine, and a joyous New Year!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

TuesdaySwiss chard/spinach, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichokes, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes/tomatoes, lubia Thai yard-long beans, slice of pumpkin, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, mizuna/arugula/tot soi

Large box, in addition: Beets, lubia//okra, leeks.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocado, mango. Small boxes, in addition: Bananas, pomelos. Small boxes, in addition: Persimmons, green apples

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

Large box, in addition: Beets, leeks/cauliflower/onions, small radishes/turnips.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocado, mango. Small boxes, in addition: Bananas, pomelos/oranges/clementinot. Small boxes, in addition: Persimmons, green apples.

October 7th-10th 2019 – Agricultural thoughts

NEW YEARS 5780 – CHANGES IN CHUBEZA DELIVERY SCHEDULES:

DURING THE WEEK OF YOM KIPPUR:

  • Wednesday deliveries will take place on Thursday October 10.

DURING THE WEEK OF CHOL HAMOED SUKKOT, THERE WILL BE NO DELIVERIES, i.e. no deliveries on Monday October 14 or Wednesday October 16.

DURING THE WEEK OF SIMCHAT TORAH:

  • The Monday delivery will be moved to Tuesday October 22.
  • Wednesday delivery (October 23) will take place as usual.

DURING THE WEEK FOLLOWING SUKKOT AND SIMCHAT TORAH, ROUTINE DELIVERY RETURNS!

OPEN DAY:

In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza’s field to celebrate our Open Day.
This year’s festive Sukkot Open Day will take place on Thursday, October 17, the 18th of Tishrei (third day of Chol HaMoed) from 12:00 noon – 5:00 PM.

The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nosh on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours designed for little feet and curious minds, plus special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (Open to adults as well…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Chag Sameach and Shana Tova to all of you from all of us. We look forward to seeing you all!

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Over the holiday season, Ish Shel Lechem will not be baking bread, although cookies and crackers are available and may be ordered at any time.

Ido and Carole will resume their regular baking schedule immediately after Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

Happy holidays!

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Pondering the Past Year at Chubeza (Part I)

The New Year is our chance to look back and do our soul-searching with the hindsight vision that was not apparent in Real Time. This Newsletter and the one to come will now give you a glimpse of the review and examination of events-in-the-field which Alon and I have undertaken.

Happily, this past year has been characterized by progress and development at Chubeza. In general, we tend to try out new things, and nearly every year we set out upon new experiments: species we haven’t yet grown, work methods we’ve heard about and opt to attempt, different growing methods and so on. We usually start small with one round of vegetables or a short time span and then draw our conclusions. This year we advanced to the second stage in some of these new endeavors, where positive results gave us the impetus to expand the scope and fine tune the implementation.

One example is our progress in the use of the hothouse. Several years ago, we worked hard to renew and renovate a very old, glum-looking hothouse and carefully learned the various methods of greenhouse  vegetable growth. Next, we constructed a number of tunnels (much smaller than a greenhouse) where we could grow our own tomatoes and cucumbers all year long. We also discovered the advantage of growing other vegetables in these settings over winter (greens, beets, cauliflower and broccoli were some of our newcomers). After new regulations forced us to fence in the entire field in order to separate it from neighboring non-organic fields (which in the past could be done by distance alone), we constructed four new tunnels which also serve as a buffer perimeter, thus gaining growth space and a separation marker at once. The new tunnels are slightly higher than the previous ones, allowing for the superb ventilation that is crucial for growing vegetables in such  structures. At this stage, the first round of tomatoes and cucumbers is approaching ripeness in the new tunnels and we are quite satisfied…

The nice green field with the new tunnels in background

This year we also performed solar disinfection in four veteran growth tunnels. This is the second year we are using the method of loosening the earth, covering it with compost, moistening it and then tightly spreading a plastic cover tucked firmly at the corners to create a vacuum and warm up the earth. This warming results in a disinfection that weakens disease factors within the earth and bolsters its immune system. Last year we attempted this on a small scale by covering only two of the tunnels for two months. Thanks to the successful results, this year we expanded to four tunnels and a three-month growing period. The new solar-fertilized veggies acclimated perfectly, and thus far are free of Pythium (a fatal fungus that can thrive in the earth which causes young plants’ stems to dry up in the closest part to earth). Another fortunate consequence of the solar fertilization method is a general fortification of the earth. At times we encounter weaker areas in the field where growth is slower and lazier for no evident reason, but after cleansing the earth we can actually feel the renewal and strength and the development, even throughout the tunnel. Perfection!

In light of this success, we decided to try cleansing another plot. The scorching summer was nearing its end, but we were willing to enjoy even partial results. We spread a clear cover over the plot at the beginning of September which will remain for a month and a half. Then we will uncover it and plant the autumn yield. We anxiously await the results and a chance to check the veracity of our instinct that a shorter span at the end of summer will prove its value as well.

This year we tried out various new species, including Salanova lettuce, a small, delicate, lovely variety which turned out to be less tasty than the better-known types and thus did not make the Chubeza grade. On the potato front, we grew four species at the end of winter: yellowish potatoes of Nicola and Vitabella varieties, as well as the red Desiree and Delila types. We have known and loved the Nicola and Desiree for years now, but Vitabella and Delila were brand new to us. Unfortunately, the potato outcome across the board was disappointing this year. The plants were thinner with fewer stems (maybe because the bulbs were smaller than usual) and did not achieve their usual standard. Perhaps the cold and rainy weather (gratefully received – except when growing potatoes) upset the potatoes, some of which developed various leaf diseases (including Bacterial speek), and achieved an overall small yield… In summing up the potato situation, we determined that the problems reflected the location in which they were planted, the small-sized bulbs and seeds and the very rainy season. And yet – we’ll try for better luck next year!

Other innovative ideas where it’s too early to measure success: new species in the fall planting – crimped Winterbor kale and the multicolored Swiss chard that yields dark green leaves in various spine colors: yellow, pinkish, light green. Hopefully you will see for yourselves as we move along this season.

Our annual contemplations have not ended. Tune in for our Post-Sukkot Newsletter where we shall continue, plus regale you with stories of Chubeza’s Winter in the Rain.

In the Yom Kippur spirit, I’d like to reshare something I wrote in the past:

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the “complementary confession” – an alternative or perhaps supplementary addition to the standard “we have sinned, we have betrayed” Yom Kippur confession which accounts for 22 sins in alphabetical order. The supplementary confession is based on beautiful words by Rav Kook: “as there is great benefit to the healing of one’s soul in confessing sins… this holds  true also towards confessions of good deeds which will gladden one’s heart and strengthen his/her good ways.”

In the complementary confession written by Rav Benjamin Holzman, the Rabbi of Kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa, each Hebrew letter receives a word of a positive nature, referring to life and deeds. And he is not the only one. Professor Vered Noam, a scholar and Talmud teacher, wrote a confession for adults which not only berates oneself for sinning, but also contains compassion, acceptance and humane, healthy self- observation. Reading these beautiful confessions inspired me to write a Chubeza confession by aleph-bet. So it’s not as well-phrased and refined, more like a salad of thoughts and emotions, as is appropriate for a farmer…

Anyway, here goes:

We have loved the land

Chosen seeds and plants

We trimmed

And thinned out

We smelled the scent of rain

Made sure the earth was moist

We seeded

Furrowed

Tasted

Sat down to take a rest

Bent our backs

Learned to cope (or to accept)

life with a new harmful pest…

We sorted out the produce

Wiped our brows

Told you the vegetables’ tales

Answered questions like “what is this petrified corn”?

We weeded, and weeded and weeded

and scattered compost

We rejoiced

and harvested

Made lists of veggies in the boxes

Delivered the vegetables to you

And thanked the Lord, the earth, the rain and sun. And we thank you for all your love and support. 

אהבנו את האדמה
בחרנו זרעים ושתילים
גזמנו
דיללנו
הרחנו את הגשם
וידאנו שהאדמה לחה דיה
זרענו
חרצנו תלם
טעמנו
ישבנו לנוח
כפפנו גו
למדנו איך להתמודד (ולפעמים להשלים) עם מזיק חדש
מיינו את התוצרת
ניגבנו זיעה
סיפרנו לכם על הירקות
ענינו לשאלות “מה זה התירס הקשה הזה”

עישבנו עישבנו עישבנו
פיזרנו קומפוסט
צחקנו
קטפנו
רשמנו רשימת ירקות בארגז
שלחנו אליכם ירקות
תודות לאל, לאדמה, למטר ולחמה, ותודה לכם, על התמיכה והאהבה.

And just before we part, we happily send congratulations to Saffa and Majdi on the birth of their second daughter, sister to Salame, niece to delighted uncle Ali and of course, granddaughter of the very proud grandpa Mohammed. A hearty mazal tov from all of us!

Wishing you all a good year. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life!

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

___________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

There’s an abundance of vegetables at Chubeza, so this week you’ll be receiving 12-15 vegetables, including a bundle of delectable greens as our gift!

B’teavon and labriut!

Monday: Red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, eggplant/potatoes, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes/tomatoes, lubia Thai yard-long beans, slice of pumpkin, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard. Special gift: mizuna/arugula/tot soi

Large box, in addition: Corn/baby radishes/beets, Iraqi lubia/okra, leeks.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, pomegranates, yellow delicious apples. Small boxes, in addition: Kubo (cactus fruit). Large boxes, in addition: Pomelit, kiwi

Thursday: Red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, lubia Thai yard-long beans, slice of pumpkin, parsley/dill, New Zealand spinach/tot soi, mizuna/arugula/lettuce, Swiss chard. Special gift: coriander.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/beets/potatoes, Iraqi lubia/okra, leeks.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, apples, Kubo (cactus fruit). Small boxes, in addition: Bananas. Large boxes, in addition: Kiwi.