Aley Chubeza #83 – September 19th-21th 2011

Halt! Don’t scroll down this page so quickly! We need your assistance:

Next week will be a busy week, with two successive harvest days and the end of the month. For this reason, we will attempt to get our paperwork and administration issues prepared ahead of time, and bill your credit cards at the beginning of next week. Please let us know by this Wednesday if you will be making any changes in deliveries.

Thank you for your cooperation!

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Changes in delivery dates:

* During the week of Rosh Hashanah:
Monday, September 26: Delivery as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Tuesday, September 27th
* On the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur:
Deliveries as usual for both Mondays and Wednesdays
* During the week of the first holiday of Sukkot:
Monday, October 10th: Delivery as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Tuesday, October 11th.
* During Chol HaMoed, there will be no deliveries, i.e. you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 17th and 19th of October.

For all who receive bi-weekly boxes, Chol HaMoed will create a three-week gap. Even if you weren’t scheduled to receive a box during the week of Chol Hamoed, your delivery will be postponed a week.

If you wish to change delivery dates to prevent this gap, please contact me a.s.a.p.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please let me know as soon as possible.

Open Day at Chubeza: In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.

The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 18th, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 11:00-16:00. The Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours, designed for little feet and curious minds, plus activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “About Us.” Please make sure you check it out before heading our way.

Wishing you a Shana Tova! We look forward to seeing you all!

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This week, too, you will find Melissa’s flyers describing her homemade fruit leather. After a decade with the Ministry of Agriculture, Melissa has opened a new chapter in her life as a producer of natural snacks. She chose to start on the sweet side, rediscovering the health inherent in creation. And so was born Mipri Yadeha (the fruit of her labors), dried fruits and specialty leathers, lovingly crafted from 100% fresh fruits and herbs, with no additives of any kind. Each leather packet (6 sheets) begins from about a kilo of fruit. The result: an explosive burst of taste and energy with each healthy bite. This is Melissa’s great way to “celebrate the local abundance, spread natural sweetness and preserve the good of the land.”

You can find details on the variety of flavors and packages available, both in the attached information flyer and on our order form. Bon Appetit and L’vriut!

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Transitions…

So, over the past few weeks you’ve surely been deliberating additional uses for butternut squash (paperweights? bowling pins? bookends?). The boxes during this time of changing seasons are not very diverse from week to week. The vegetable contents tend to be the same, mostly “the basics,” and not as unique or exciting as other times we’ve known. There’s the routine onions, potatoes, pumpkin and squash—these and other vegetables who have been with us for a good while. Even the beautiful corn which brings joy to our hearts and palates has been MIA over the past few weeks, due to a gap between two beds: one has finished yielding fruit, while the other needed some additional time to ripen, probably because of the cooler evenings and mornings.

Changing seasons are definitely challenging. Perhaps there are some of you who are a bit disappointed or bored with the boxes, feeling that they’re a little emptier or that they’re simply not very exciting. But those of you who visit health food stores may have noticed their sparsely-filled shelves as well, although they do stock some hothouse vegetables and fruit. In general, the entire organic market anxiously awaits autumn.

So I thought I’d tell you what’s going on in our field during this transition period. Actually, it’s a lot like what goes on with people. Remember how we were so happy at the beginning of the season, when the days grew longer and warmer and the sun sent out her radiant beams? And now, aren’t we all tired of the heat, the humidity, and summer? This is more or less what our field has been experiencing. In the beginning of the season, the plants were so excited with the nice springtime and summer and the quick pace they could grow, given all that light and heat. The seasonal diseases and pests were still in their winter stupor, thus the plants, full of energy and vitality, burst into their robust “growing” dance.

As time passed and the temperatures climbed, the pests arrived together with other diseases, and some of the vegetables checked out: the squash, cucumbers, green beans, Swiss chard, spinach and other greens. Other vegetables coped, but like us, with diminished energy and beauty. The tomato plants have been suffering from various viruses, the leafy greens that survived the summer are trying to catch little heated breaths, and the green bean and okra plants have taken on a different, more mature look. Meanwhile, more and more beds have emptied their summer crop load, and await their upcoming refill.

This exhaustion is evident in your boxes: the cucumbers are bought from hothouses, the tomatoes are not all ours, and we have also been buying some potatoes for you. The rest of the box is comprised partially from vegetables picked over the summer that have been waiting in our warehouses: onions, pumpkins, butternut squash. The fresh, field-picked vegetables have been reduced to those that survived till the end of summer: okra, green beans, red peppers, eggplant, seasoning herbs, lettuce, and of course, the king of kings: corn. And still there are newcomers at the end of the summer, the popcorn you met last week and the sweet potatoes that are almost ready.

In the field, new events are taking place. After weeks of empty beds and mature crops, we have now begun the new seeding and planting. The field is filling with sprouts and young plants dotting the beds in green lines, rejoicing for autumn. It will take some time before they make it to your boxes, but the hope embodied in a field-turning-green is delightful and exciting and a clear expression of change and abundance.

As I see it, these seasonal changes are part of the essence of Community Supported Agriculture. Veteran clients recognize this fluctuation, while newer ones may be surprised or disappointed at first. We try to explain and understand. Sometimes it seems like we are just another vegetable delivery service, but during these seasons we see the difference, and, I think, the strength of a community which supports the field and small farming endeavor. We do not offer a discounted deal for organic vegetables, but we do offer you to take part in accompanying us and the field throughout the year. During some seasons, this means a nice, full and abundant box, while other seasons have their more monotonous moments till they are renewed once more. Such is the field, such is life, such is the food on our plates.

Thank you again for being with us this year (and in past years). We look forward to your visiting us over Sukkot to meet and partake of our young greens – the next generation!

Wishing you a great end-of-summer,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

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What’s in This Week’s End-of-the-Season Boxes?

Monday: Basil, yard-long beans or cowpeas (lubia) or okra, lettuce, red and green peppers, popcorn-on-the-cob, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, butternut squash, potatoes, corn

In the large box, in addition: eggplant, oregano, pumpkin

Wednesday: yard-long beans or cowpeas (lubia) or okra, lettuce, red and green peppers, popcorn-on-the-cob, tomatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash, potatoes, corn, lemon verbena (Louisa) or mint, scallions, parsley or cilantro

In the large box, in addition: Eggplants, onions, pumpkin

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, sesame butter and dried fruits and leathers too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon.

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No recipes this week, but I’m happily inundated with a pile of great recipes. I promise to sort them out and start sending the best ones your way next week.