Aley Chubeza #318, December 19th-21th 2016

As Hanukah approaches, a reminder of the festivities awaiting you at the Iza Pziza dairy farm in Tal Shachar:

Iza Pziza Invites YOU!

Just like the Chanukah candles, we get a new young goat every day!

iza-pziza-gdiHere, the holiday has already commenced, and the goat families are growing… Our Iza Pziza was so excited that she bore 5 sweet little kids – an all-time record!

We cordially invite one and all to come with your families to visit us. All ages are welcome to enjoy an unforgettable experience: a Circassian cheese-making workshop, very easy to prepare at home, along with a tour of our pen, petting and feeding the goats, and of course, a chance to personally welcome our new baby goats.

At the end of the workshop (1.5 hours), we will spoil you with a taste of our dairy’s delectable cheeses and yogurts. Each family will receive its own cheese recipe and certificate of participation, including a special a discount on our dairy products and cheese-making equipment.

You’re welcome to stay and hang out at the nice warm Visitor’s Center, before or after the workshop, and enjoy a meal of goat cheeses, breads, dips and vegetables, and coffee/tea or wine. We also have a cheese delicatessen and a beautiful boutique store where you can purchase great delicacies for your home: goat cheeses, jams, olive oil, honey, dips and more.

When are we open? Every day of Hanukah (and school vacation) between 8:30-16:30 (closed on Shabbat)
When do the workshops take place? Every day of the Hanukah vacation, at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00
Advance Registration: Register in advance by phoning 08-6102876 or  052-2589900 or e-mail  izapzizadairy@gmail.com. Pay upon arrival.
Fee: 36 NIS per participant. No charge for children under age 3. Cash or credit.
How do we get there? Put עיזה פזיזה in your WAZE app, or head out to Moshav Tal Shachar. Just before the gate to the moshav, turn left towards the Dor Alon gasoline station, and follow the signs to our parking lot.
How do we contact you? 08-6102876, 052-2589900, izapzizadairy@gmail.com, or via our website www.izapzizadairy.com. Please like us on Facebook: עיזה פזיזה מחלבת עיזים

We look forward to seeing you! Happy Hanukah greetings to all!
The Iza Pziza crew – Meshek Tzaban, Moshav Tal Shachar

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And another reminder: The “Derech Hashatil” nursery is a small nursery in Shoham specializing in organic vegetable plants, working with the Shekel non-profit organization and employing only special-needs individuals. In their hothouse, the nursery produces excellent quality organic plants for your vegetable patch, placing top priority on the quality and health of the plants.

This winter they are now offering a planting kit for a winter vegetable garden containing an impressive selection of 60 winter plants: white and red cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, arugula, dill, scallion, parsley, coriander, lettuce, bok choy and more. The price of this kit is only 56 NIS. More details can be found here.

derech-hashtil-erka

What a perfect opportunity to grow your own crops while supporting great people and partnerships. Please place your orders by emailing us. We will collate all the orders for the nursery and send you your winter garden kit in the very near future.

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Goin’ Green

True to its word, the weather forecast called for local showers, and indeed, dark clouds have adorned the skies, cold winds are a’blowing, an occasional ray of lukewarm sun breaks through, and most important – there’s rain! Our rain meter for the past few days shows 40 mm, 100 mm from the beginning of the season, and that’s before this week’s showers. As long as the temperatures remain above frost level, we’re happy with our share. Let it pour!!

I always know it’s wintertime when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the common subject, “What are the green leaves in my box this week?”  Indeed, winter generates a broad variety of greens to dot Chubeza’s fields and fill up your boxes. Some of you are just delighted with the plethora of greens over the winter, and even request we avoid removing the beet and turnip leaves so as to make use of them as well. Yet others of you are a bit overwhelmed, and wonder what can be done (again) with all those greens.

For those who are still wondering, I am proud to present:

“Chubeza Winter Greens – A Guide to the Perplexed”

Pak Choi/Bok Choy

pak-choi-red   

An immigrant from China (rassica rapa var chinensis) belonging to the esteemed Brassicaceae family. Bok choy comes in green or reddish-purple, and its unique flavor is fresh with a tinge of sweetness. Somewhat similar in flavor to cabbage (like his brother, the totsoi) bok choy is less spicy than mustard greens, and simply delicious.

Sometimes we harvest it mature, as a great big head sliced close to the earth like celery stalks or lettuce. At this stage it is perfect for light steaming or stir fries and combines well with such flavors as soy sauce, mirin, or ginger. But these past weeks we have been harvesting it young, allowing it to grow once more for an additional harvest. Bok choy’s tiny little leaves are ideal for giving every salad a boost, and blend splendidly with such sweet and sour flavors as oranges, fennel, kohlrabi, apples, cranberries, etc. Perfect!

Mizuna

   

A green member of the Brassicaceae family, otherwise known as Japanese spinach or Brassica rapa. Mizuna sports long, thin leaves with serrated edges and a gentle, sweet-like flavor. The plant was cultivated in Japan back in ancient times, but probably originated in China.

Mizuna’s flavor is neutral, which is why it goes well as a decorative addition and basis for appetizers and main dishes, as well as a great salad herb. It tends to star in the “baby” mesculun mixes (ours as well), but also stands on its own and even is great stir-fried.

Mizuna and daikon salad (thank you to Julie from Tel Aviv)

Mizuna salads recepies from Mariquita Farm

and a stir-fry option

Arugula

This yummy green goes by many names: arugula, rucola, roquette and rocket lettuce. Its flavor is piquant, typical of the Brassicaceae family. Like spinach, arugula can come in many forms, from huge and meaty to small and dainty.

The arugula leaves are spicy, but they have their own distinctive type of piquant flavor which make them an exclusive addition to a salad, even together with sweet fruit. Cheeses go quite well with arugula, and a very light cooking can temper the spiciness a bit.

You can find many recipes if you conduct an internet search for “arugula” or “rocket lettuce.”

Kale

kale red russian.jpg

A green belonging to the Brassicaceae family, considered to be one of the healthiest foods around. An acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to and falling for.

Due to its relatively rigid texture, kale is usually cooked or added to a green shake, but you can make chips from it or eat fresh in a salad—-it’s great!

Songs of praise and kale recipes to be found here

Swiss Chard

selek leaves chard.jpg

A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. Perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even used fresh in a salad.

Here are all sorts of recipes.

Spinach

spinach.jpg

Depending on the season, the bed in which it’s grown, and the timing of its harvest, spinach can sport huge leaves or resemble “baby” spinach.

It definitely tastes green (I used to be surprised when people described a flavor as “green”), just slightly bitter and then just a little sweet, chockfull of rain and freshness flavors.

Like its cousin Swiss chard, spinach can go fresh in a salad or can be cooked, added to soup, a quiche, dumplings, an omelet or warm salads. They all work.

Here are some examples

New Zealand Spinach

New_Zealand_Spinach

As indicated by its name, its origins are in Australia and New Zealand. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken on journeys to fight scurvy resulting from a vitamin C deficiency. New Zealand spinach is suitable for our local climate because it loves warm weather. It sprawls and spreads, and its leaves are meaty.

New Zealand spinach can go with any recipe calling for mustard greens, but is definitely suitable as a Swiss chard replacement. To prepare for cooking, one must remove the leaves from the stem which is hard and inedible. Unlike regular mustard greens or Swiss chard, it is not recommended to eat raw, but rather first soaked in hot water for a few minutes, then washed with cold water.

Recipes for New Zealand Spinach

Vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you should attempt to prevent two side effects: drying up and rotting. There are a several methods for long-term storage. First, in order to prevent rotting, avoid wetting them and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, tatsoi, spinach and mustard greens should be wrapped (unwashed) in cloth or paper and placed in a plastic bag in order for the moisture to be absorbed without actually drying up.

Over the last week our field has gotten very wet (and so have we), and mud is everywhere. The crops are partying away! In order for this abundance to increase, we need more generous portions of water from the heavens. So please join us in requesting, nagging, begging, insisting, praying and hoping for rain…

That’s all for now. I hope the green picture is a little clearer now. You are always welcome to question unrecognizable varieties in your boxes by phone (054-653-5980, although often it’s hard to get ahold of us) or by email (csa@chubeza.com).

May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

The recent weeks have brought a shortage of cucumbers. One of our younger cucumber beds failed to bloom, leaving us in short supply and unable to include this cool green vegetable in every box. We are making efforts to purchase cucumbers from other organic farms, but these days there is an overall cucumber shortage in both the general and the organic market. Thus, your boxes have been visited by the Saran-wrapped Dutch cucumber (grown in the north of Israel), and this week’s boxes will contain either cucumber or bell peppers. We are in hopes to soon be able to readily purchase cucumbers to supplement our supply. Please bear with us! And for those of you who don’t receive cucumbers in this week’s box, we hope you enjoy the bell peppers…..

Monday: Bok choy/mizuna/arugula, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, beets/fennel, cucumbers/bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli/ kohlrabi, daikon/turnips, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes. Small boxes only: scallions/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichokes, parsley, cabbage/cauliflower, sweet potatoes.

Wednesday: Lettuce/bak choi/mizuna/arugula, fennel/white turnip, kohlrabi, Swiss chard/kale/spinach, cucumbers/red peppers, carrots, tomatoes, scallions/celery/celeriac, beets, cilantro/parsley, potatoes/cabbage/broccoli.

Large box, in addition: Daikon radish/small radish/radish, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke/eggplants. 

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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 #265, October 26th-28st 2015

At the end of this week we will be charging your cards for October purchases and will update your bill on our order system.

 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 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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wheatThe organic spelt flour has returned!

This week we welcome back the reasonably-priced organic spelt flour of Minhat Ha’aretz: whole spelt for 18 NIS and 70% spelt (30 % of the spelt is sifted) for 21 NIS. We will discontinue the sale of non-organic spelt in order to avoid mistakes and confusion.

To your good health and good harvest!

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It’s not easy being green…

At the start of the week, the weather forecast predicted local showers. Sure enough, dark clouds decorated the skies in the morning and a vigorous wind scattered dry leaves from the grapevines to stir up a green wave in our vegetable beds. Just moments later, showers poured across our field. Welcome!!

The last of our summer crops are celebrating their final weeks in the field. We will soon bid farewell to our eggplants, black-eyed peas, okra and peppers. The corn, too, is striking its final chords. Meanwhile, across the field, the Brassicaceae’s have burst joyfully onto the scene to take over, sending us their first representative (kohlrabi). For their part, the beets, radishes and turnips are skipping happily over to the packing houses, with the carrot and fennel  not far behind.

I always know its wintertime when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the common subject, “What are the green leaves in my box this week?”  Indeed, winter generates a broad variety of greens dotting the Chubeza clods, filling up your boxes. Some of you are very happy with the plethora of greens over the winter, and even request we avoid removing the beet and turnip leaves so as to make use of them as well. Yet others of you are a bit overwhelmed, and wonder what can be done (again) with all those greens.

For those who are still wondering, I am proud to present:

“Chubeza Winter Greens – A Guide to the Perplexed”

Swiss Chard

A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. Perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even used fresh in a salad.

Here are all sorts of recipes.

 

Tatsoi (Spinach mustardSpoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy):

A traveler from the Far East, member of the choy or soy family, belonging to the Brassicaceae dynasty. Its flavor is just slightly bitter, not spicy, but very distinctive. Goes perfectly with piquant flavors (mustard and black pepper), ginger, sesame and the sweetness of fruit.

Like mustard greens or Swiss chard, tatsoi can be used fresh in salads, tossed or cooked, in soup, quiche, omelets, etc.

Here are some thoughts about tatsoi, and a recipe. Scroll down and you’ll find some links to other recipes.

New Zealand Spinach

As indicated by its name, its origins are in Australia and New Zealand. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken on journeys to fight diseases resulting from a vitamin C deficiency. New Zealand spinach is suitable for our local climate because it loves warm weather. It sprawls and spreads, and its leaves are small and meaty.

New Zealand spinach can go with any recipe calling for mustard greens, but is definitely suitable as a Swiss chard replacement. To prepare for cooking, one must remove the leaves from the stem which is hard and inedible. Unlike regular mustard greens or Swiss chard, it is not recommended to eat raw, but rather first soaked in hot water for a few minutes, then washed with cold water.

Recipes for New Zealand Spinach

Arugula

This yummy green goes by many names: arugula, rucola, roquette and rocket lettuce. Its flavor is piquant, typical of the Brassicaceae family. Like spinach, arugula can come in many forms, from huge and meaty to small and dainty.

The arugula leaves are spicy, but they have their own distinctive type of piquant flavor which can make them an interesting addition to a salad, even together with sweet fruit. Cheeses go quite well, and a very light cooking can temper the spiciness a bit.

You can find many recipes if you conduct an internet search for “arugula” or “rocket lettuce.”

Kale

A green belonging to the Brassicaceae family, considered to be one of the healthiest foods around. An acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to and falling for.

Due to its relatively rigid texture, kale is usually cooked or added to a green shake, but you can make chips from it or eat fresh in a salad—-it’s great!

Songs of praise and kale recipes to be found here

Mizuna

A green member of the Brassicaceae family, otherwise known as Japanese spinach or Brassica rapa. Mizuna sports long, thin leaves with serrated edges and a gentle, sweet-like flavor. The plant was cultivated in Japan back in ancient times, but probably originated in China.

Mizuna’s flavor is neutral, which is why it goes well as a decorative addition and basis for appetizers and main dishes, as well as a great salad herb. It tends to star in the “baby” mixes (ours as well), but also stands on its own and even is great stir-fried.

Mizuna salads recepies from Mariquita Farm

and a stir-fry option

Mustard Green /Chinese Cabbage

Abounding with medicinal and flavor value, mustard greens are among the healthiest of foods. They aid in cleansing toxins from the body, boast anti- inflammatory components, and are very rich in Vitamins B, minerals and iron. Mustard greens are used to heal the common cold, pneumonia and to reduce mucus. As an airway cleaner, mustard greens and honey are great to ease a hoarse throat.

Mustard greens run the gamut from very spicy varieties to those with a lightly delicate flavor. There are the coarse types, the smooth, the stiff and soft, and green and purple. In the past we grew the purple spicy Osaka variety. This year we attempted a new type, the Tokyo bekana with green, pale leaves, similar to lettuce, and quite mild. It is great in a salad, sandwich, or even tossed or as a stuffing.

Here are some Tokyo bekana recipes from Tucson CSA

As for the “baby leaves” (mesclun mix), re-read our Newsletter from three weeks ago for all the fascinating details.

All vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you should aim to prevent two side effects: drying up and rotting. There are a several methods for long-term storage. First, in order to prevent rotting, avoid wetting the greens, and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, tatsoi, spinach and mustard greens should be wrapped (unwashed) in cloth or paper and placed in a plastic bag in order for the moisture to be absorbed without actually drying up.

But for all this green abundance to actually grow, we desperately need winter showers! After this week’s good start, don’t forget to keep up your prayers (from the 7th of Cheshvan), practice the steps to your rain dance, etc.

That’s all for now! I hope the green picture is a bit clearer for you all. But never fear. Should an unrecognizable guest arrive in your boxes, we are just a phone call away for clarification. You are always welcome to pose questions by phone (054-653-5980, although often it’s hard to get ahold of us) or by email (csa@chubeza.com).

May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

The tomato plants are gettin’ there…..Hopefully we will very soon be able to restore their honored place in your boxes.

Tuesday: Lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill/mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, Thai beans/ okra/Jerusalem artichokes, leeks/scallions, Swiss chard/kale/mustard greens, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, baby greens (mesclun mix)/mizuna/totsoi, corn, turnips/beets.

Large box, in addition: Arugula, tomatoes/kohlrabi, eggplant

Wednesday: Lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill/mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, Thai beans/ okra/Jerusalem artichokes, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, pac choi/mizuna/totsoi/arugula, corn, potatoes/carrots/tomatoes, small boxes only: white turnips/red beets.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/scallions, mustard greens, green bell peppers/eggplants, kohlrabi/radishes

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 and goat dairy products too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. Our order system also features a detailed listing of the products and their cost.  Make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #262, October 6th-7th 2015

The first rain reminds me
of the rising summer dust.
The rain doesn’t remember the rain of yesteryear.
A year is a trained beast with no memories.
Soon you will again wear your harnesses,
Beautiful and embroidered, to hold
Sheer stockings: you
Mare and harnesser in one body.

The white panic of soft flesh
In the panic of a sudden vision
Of ancient saints.

Yehuda Amichai
(Translated from the Hebrew by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav)

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A new leaf…

Over the past two weeks, we began harvesting new greens that we’ve been pampering in our net house. These greens are not so well known, even to veteran clients, because it’s been awhile since we’ve grown them. So this week we’ll give you some information about the arugula, mizuna (or “Japanese mustard green”) and the bok choy. In Israel they are marketed as “baby greens” (a mesclun mix) because they are young and tender. Besides being low-calorie and high in nutrition, they are truly delicious, great in salads, as a nosh, in your sandwich and even stir-fried (very lightly, though.)

Here they are:

Green Mizuna
מיזונה אדומה
Red Mizuna
Pak choi / Bok choy
arugula-rokat
Arugula

So if they’re so great, why haven’t we grown them in ages? Well… growing these specialty greens requires much precision: they grow very fast, and we have to grow them clean, as greens are not supposed to be washed till just before you use them. On the other hand, we cannot wrap up and send you muddy baby greens, especially since they’re so small, and it doesn’t make sense to carry out a general cleaning. In the past we have attempted to grow such greens as mizuna, cress and others, but only the arugula, tot soy and mustard greens survived, and we started growing even them as full-sized greens, not the “mini” varieties. Apparently, the open field is not the place for young greens…

But two winters ago, things changed. We built a net house, whose raison d’etre is to open up growing possibilities which did not exist in the past: growing summer tomatoes over a longer season and with greater success (open field tomatoes are quickly damaged by diseases and viruses, and their season is very short), and growing cucumbers and zucchini in the summertime, protected from the nasty fly and other insect-transmitted viruses. Over time, we have discovered that other crops enjoy the comfort provided by the net house, which boasts warm weather in wintertime (just a little warmer, as it is a net house, not a hothouse. Still- it’s significant) and some shade in the summer. The net house protects against insects that nibble on the young plants (the kohlrabi, for example) before they even grow, and protects against flying insects that penetrate the leaves (like in beets and arugula). It now appears that the net house can be more efficient that we ever imagined.

But, of course, the space is very limited, as opposed to the open fields where the rounds easily rotate and there is absolutely no problem (quite to the contrary) to leave a certain field fallow for several months. In the net house we grow fewer varieties of crops, and thus look for the type that can grow in-between seasons, for short periods of time, and have the ability to improve the soil.

And this is where the Brassicaceae’s come into the picture. Members of this family are able to cleanse the earth and purify it from diseases and fungi. It’s still unclear exactly how this process, termed “biological disinfection” or “biofumigation” occurs, but apparently when the green content of the Brassicaceae decomposes inside the earth with the help of enzymes, some volatile matter is set loose that is poisonous to pathogens and reduces them. In order to enjoy these advantages, you can combine the Brassicaceae in your seeding rounds and upon harvest, to plow them under the earth, growing them as green-manure cover crops (i.e., without harvesting, but rather stuffing the whole plant into the soil) or even use the remains of plants that grew in a different bed and were plowed into the earth, in order to cleanse the earth before growing an exceptionally vulnerable crop.

This is a process that occurs naturally, as part of the amazing ability of nature to unbalance the balanced and stabilize conditions. It’s no wonder that we see mustard bushes taking over every available piece of earth. They must be in charge of cleaning, purifying and restoring the earth with its powers and living forces. As farmers, we know we do not work the way nature does. Farming is forever an artificial act forced upon the earth, and yet, as organic farmers we try to learn as much as we can from nature in how to tone down the extreme and bring back some balance.

And thus, two years ago, as we prepared to grow tomatoes in the net house, a newly available in-between-period of empty soil inspired us to plant young greens from the Brassicaceae family to speedily grow, enjoy a protected and clean environment in the net house, and prepare the earth for our next crops. The endeavor went well, proving itself to be yummy, efficient and successful. Since then, we have continued to repeat this process several more times.

The mizuna, the bok choi and the arugula are the representatives. All three are of Asian origin. The mizuna is Japanese (Brassica rapa var japonica), and  the bok choi is Chinese (rassica rapa var chinensis). The green mizuna and bok choi are definitely mustardy, but not spicy. Their flavor is exotic and fresh, with a hint of sweetness. The arugula and red mizuna add piquancy to the mix which turns out absolutely delicious!

Bon Appetit!

Wishing you a wonderful week, with the nice healing showers providing a great start to the “after the holidays” season.

Have an easy Return to Routine!

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

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WHAT’S IN OUR AFTER-THE-HOLIDAYS BOXES?

The tomato shortage continues. Once again, this week’s boxes are tomato-less. But with just a drop more patience, we are in hopes that they will return in full red glory in the very near future

Tuesday: Red bell peppers, parsley/coriander/dill, slice of pumpkin, lettuce,    potatoes, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, scallions/garlic chives, sweet potatoes, baby greens (mesclun mix), cucumbers. Small boxes only: Thai beans/ okra

Large box, in addition: Leeks, eggplant, kale, basil

Wednesday: sweet potatoes, cucumbers, dill/mint/cilantro, leek/scalions, lettuce, Swiss Chard/New Zealand spinach, baby greens (mesclun mix), red or green peppers, pumpkin, potatoes, eggplants/corn.

Large box, in addition: kale, basil, Thai long beans/okra

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 and goat dairy products too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. Our order system also features a detailed listing of the products and their cost.  Make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #209, August 4th-6th 2014

The Month of July has ended. Last week we billed your cards for the month’s purchases. When the billing is completed, you receive an invoice/receipt via email. 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 and fruits 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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It’s not easy being green (in the summer…) 

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that the last boxes have been riddled with “challenged” veggies – the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, green beans, okra, black-eyed peas, corn, squash, potatoes, onions and even the greens which usually pile up in the box to add padding and color – are fewer and lesser in quality and size.

I’m sure you’ve felt the burden of the July heat. And now August, which arrives every year with every intention to stay, has descended upon us, making it a dry and hot fact of life and showing no sign of departing in the near future… Well, the vegetables are experiencing similar emotions, but unlike us, they cannot flip on the AC or ceiling fan, and are dependent upon the random breeze to blow their way. They also cannot walk over to the faucet to douse themselves with some nice cold water or crawl under the nearest shady tree…

Other than joining them in prayer, we cannot help them much with the breeze, but we do attempt to supply them with water and shade. They get their water through the drip irrigation that we activate during summertime to all the vegetables, specifically the greens who are neediest of all. We also supply them with protection by shade: we spread nets over the herbs, the lettuce and other greens that are able to confront the summer (kale, Swiss chard to a lesser extent and New Zealand spinach to a greater extent).

Sometimes we try too hard, and learn via trial and error. Last year, for instance, we believed the greens would be happier in our net house, where the tomatoes and cucumbers grow, more sheltered from the harmful insects. The green leaves that are expending their energy to sustain the heat are weaker than ever, thus the flying insects bite them and punch more holes than usual (as you can see in the holey spinach and Swiss chard leaves in your boxes.) We thought that by placing the Swiss chard in the net house, it could be protected from the little nibblers.

A nice thought, but the net house is also so much more humid, and the isolation from the outdoors does not allow the natural balance of harmful and helpful insects to do their job. The consequence was a huge aphid attack that basically destroyed the poor Swiss chard. This year we learned our lesson and left him outside to conduct his battle valiantly. So yes, he was bitten and chewed on, but at least he wasn’t altogether consumed by the aphids who remained low-scale due to their natural enemies (tiny wasps, carnivorous acarids and ladybugs…).

Another attempt we made this year – also not overly successful – was to cover the lettuce in a white agril covering when the heads are still young and soft. This material (resembling cloth tablecloths or wipes in color and texture) protects our small gourds (squash, cucumbers, fakkus) in their infancy against insects that carry diseases and other viruses. We were hoping perhaps in this way the lettuce would gain greater protection against leaf diseases it contracts due to its summer weakness.

However… it turned out that the lettuce was over-protected. With the fabric too close to the lettuce and probably too sealed, we (like a parent who tries too hard) focused on protection and neglected other needs such as light and breathing space. Thus the hapless lettuce suffocated a bit under the cover and simply did not develop at all. So instead of the small lettuce heads we are used to getting in the summertime which we can harvest in pairs and send to you, we got mature but tiny lettuces that simply did not grow at all.

So I guess we learn new things every year, even after ten years, and probably after twenty. It’s important to make some mistakes, too, which we can later remedy.

We’re back to the regular protective measures: lots of irrigation, covering by shade nets and even accepting our summer greens for what they are, a little holey, somewhat weaker and smaller, but still loved by us and making us happy during the hot summer days. And, of course, we try to be patient and remember that this heat won’t be here forever and will probably ease up in a few weeks. The breeze will return in the late afternoons, the nights will get less warm, and autumn will come a-knocking…

Till then, we hope you will accept the greens with much love and renewed appreciation in your salad or summer omelet.

Hoping the upcoming days are better, more peaceful and less painful to all,

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

What’s in this Week’s Boxes?

 

Monday: Mint/thyme/sage, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, okra/Hilda pole beans/yard long beans, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, scallions, corn

Large boxes, in addition: Leeks, butternut squash, New Zealand spinach

Wednesday: parsley, okra/Hilda pole beans/yard long beans, cucumbers, slice of pumpkin, tomatoes, scallions/chive, onions, eggplant/corn, lettuce, New Zealand spinach, small boxes only: cherry tomatoes.

Large boxes, in addition: butternut squash, mint/thyme/sage, red bell peppers, leeks.

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, 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 #181, December 16th-18th 2013

Whoa! What just happened?

We are literally covered in mud. Since last Wednesday we have had over 200 mm of water and ice. The fields are drenched. So far, they have withstood the heavy-duty precipitation quite well. The water is being absorbed well, and we haven’t yet encountered any erosion or flooding in the fields, which is a cause for celebration.

Last Thursday evening’s heavy hail lashed away at our vegetables. During a hail storm on the farm, the greatest victims are the leaves. You’ll see the proof for yourselves in the greens, where the hail struck exactly the parts we consume. The frost that settled on the Ayalon Valley Saturday night then added pain to the hail injury. When we examined our plots on Sunday, we decided to give up on this week’s harvest of lettuce, whose gentle, fragile leaves had been torn by the hail and endured additional trauma in the freezing cold. We did decide to harvest the spinach, Swiss chard, kale and arugula, whose leaves bear the marks of valiant hail injuries, but are still good to eat when chopped in a salad, or cooked, of course.

The best way to protect the leafy vegetables from hail and relatively mild cold is by covering them with a very thin material which creates a protective layer from the hail and insulates them from the cold. However, last week’s heavy rains prevented us from covering all of the beds, and we only got around to finishing up that work Monday (and there are still miles to go before we sleep). The next few nights will continue to be very cold, and this week’s forecast is for very clear skies, meaning no clouds to protect us at night from this freezing cold weather. However, during the daytime hours, the sun manages to thaw the ice and warm up our wee plants, reviving them and allowing their life forces the opportunity to strengthen and breathe life back into the plant. We hope they get through these days peacefully and with as little damage possible.

The sweet potato leaves were completely destroyed by the cold. Fortunately, they are not part of the Chubeza menu, and judging by today’s harvest, it looks like the orange roots remained unscathed under the protection of Mother Earth. When the nights are so cold yet short and the sun warms the earth over the morning, the earth itself does not freeze and is able to act as an insulation layer for the sweet potatoes, who are not fond of cold weather at all. They prefer a temperature of 10 degrees at least, which is why it is best that during this season they are left inside the earth, and only gradually pulled out, on demand. The temperature falls below 10 at night, but remains warmer underground.

The potato leaves, too, were harmed. At this point, the plants have already developed branched roots, but have not yet begun growing the potatoes. We need to give them time to see how they get over the trauma by using their roots, which are also protected under the earth, and to make sure new leaves are growing. They will need to perform the crucial photosynthesis and act as the renewed engine of the plant. We hope for the best!

This week we request you receive your veggies with love and honor, and provide a warm home for them. Remember that like us, they too have endured a raging storm and are weather-traumatized. Just like some of us were disconnected from electricity gas or water, or flooded, they too had one very difficult week. Welcome them warmly, and join us in being grateful for their survival.

We would like to thank those of you who expressed concern for us and the veggies, and sent words of encouragement and love. You warmed our hearts!

May we have a quiet, good week, one of recuperation and rehabilitation!

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

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: parsley/dill, sweet potatoes, fennel/kohlrabi/beets, tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale, broccoli/helda (flat) green beans, leeks/scallions, cucumbers/red bell peppers, arugula/spinach, cabbage/cauliflower. Small boxes only: daikon/ turnips/radishes

In the large box, in addition: Carrots, celery, Jerusalem artichoke, radishes/ coriander

Wednesday: spinach, arugula/kale, cucumbers/pepers, cauliflower/cabbage, cilantro/dill, sweet potatoes, carrots/broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi/beets, radish/daikon/turnip, leeks/green onions, tomatoes

In the large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichoke/pumpkin, celery, parsley

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 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!

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Recipes for storm survivers veggies:

Fennel soup (thank you, Howard!)

Indian Spinach Dip (thank you, Inbar!)

Spinach and pasta

White bean and kale soup