November 1st-3rd 2021 – Once upon a long time span…

All in the Family

This week we greet with gusto the amazing Broccoli, the last representative of the prominent Brasiccae family (“kings of winter”) to join your vegetable boxes this season. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor.

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is so much swifter than it once was, but even in the distant, primitive past, farmers constantly developedand refined their crops, slowly and patiently. 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 whatching carefully, choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/he favored over seeds from less-desired plants. This straightforward action of promoting one plant over another had a profound effect on the improvement and change of a specific harvest or species. Long before wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. 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, as they yielded a heap of dense, closed leaves on their heads. Over the years, it grew and evolved into a real “head of leaves” which we call cabbage, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica

ברוקולי וכרובית

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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 distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families.

May this week bring wonder, diversity, determination and faith that despite this very strange November weather we will soon be blessed with abundant rains.

Wishing the entire diverse family of Israel and it’s neighbors peaceful times,

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

____________________________
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES, ALONG WITH THE CABBAGE FAMILY?

Monday: Kohlrabi, parsley/coriander/dill, Jerusalem artichoke/Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/okra/short Iraqi lubia, Swiss chard/kale/ tatsoi/arugula, cauliflower/cabbage/broccoli, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/carrots, turnips/daikon/fennel, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/beets, sweet potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Red bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, scallions/ onions.

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

Wednesday: Kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke/Thai yard-long beans (lubia)/okra/short Iraqi lubia, baby greens mix/tatsoi/arugula, cauliflower, slice of Neapolitan pumpkin/sweet potatoes, turnips/daikon/fennel/carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/beets/scallions, lettuce, red bell peppers/eggplant/potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cabbage/broccoli , parsley/coriander/dill.

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

November 11th-13th 2019 – Once upon a long time span…

All in the Family

This week we greet with gusto the amazing Broccoli, the last representative of the prominent Brasiccae family (“kings of winter”) to join your vegetable boxes this season. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor.

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much swifter than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/he favored over seeds from less-desired plants. This straightforward action of promoting one plant over another had a profound effect on the improvement and change of a specific harvest or species. Long before wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. 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, as they yielded a heap of dense, closed leaves on their heads. Over the years, it grew and evolved into a real “head of leaves” which we call cabbage, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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 distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families.

May this week bring wonder, diversity, determination and faith that despite this very strange November weather we will soon be blessed with abundant rains.

Wishing the entire diverse family of Israel and it’s neighbors peaceful times,

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

____________________________
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES, ALONG WITH THE CABBAGE FAMILY?

Monday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale/tatsoi, Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/mizuna/arugula. Small boxes only: Baby radishes/daikon.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/beets, scallions/celery, fennel/turnips, pumpkin/okra.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, bananas, oranges/clementina, pomelit, kiwi.

Wednesday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale/tatsoi, Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke/okra, sweet potatoes, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/mizuna/arugula. Small boxes only: Baby radishes/daikon/turnips.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/beets, scallions/celery, fennel/kohlrabi, slice of pumpkin.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, bananas/apples, clementina, kiwi.

April 8th-10th 2019 – A Family Matter

No deliveries on Chol Hamoed, so you will not be receiving your vegetables on Monday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 24. But… if the vegetables don’t come to you, you can come to them!

On Wednesday, April 24, don’t miss our traditional Pesach Open Day in the field between 2pm-6pm. Stay tuned for more details!

_______________________________

Many of the excellent products available through our Order System to be added to your boxes are Kosher for Pesach, including: honey, olive oil, spices, dates, tahi-na, date honey, gluten-free crackers and even some of Dani and Galit’s cookies. Contact us for further details.

________________________________

All-of-a-Kind Family

After this blessedly abundant winter (which is most probably not over yet….), the whole world is blooming around us. However busy you may be these days, it’s worth taking advantage of any small break from your chores to step outside, breathe in all of the amazing “green” that abounds, and take in the remarkable blossoming that covers our surroundings. This is also the very short time of year when two members of the Cistus (commonly known as Rockrose) family bloom at the same time: the Sage-Leaved Rockrose with its smooth white blossom and early rising, and the Soft-Hairy Rockrose blooming in a wrinkled pink flower several weeks after its brother. I love the legend about the two Rockrose brothers being invited to a party. The Sage-Leaved Rockrose shaved, got dressed and arrived promptly at the party, while his less time-efficient Soft-Hairy brother threw on his clothes in such a rush that he slid into the party wearing a very wrinkled shirt. When he caught sight of his well-groomed brother, he blushed in shame…

When I tell my daughters this story, I usually end it by saying: this is what family is all about. Composed of people who are different from one another, each with his or her own way to live their lives and with their own unique perspectives. And hey, there’s room for everyone! In the family I come from, similar to the family I have raised with my partner, we each have very different opinions and traits, preferences and choices (including politics, of course). Obviously, this diversity is not always simple and demands patience and flexibility (specifically during elections….) but that’s the general idea – always keep your door and heart open to family.

Throughout this lavish winter, we have enjoyed many a visit from many a member of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Pesach celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much swifter than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/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 wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. 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, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own personal tastes, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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 distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

One last thing – a great tip from Jerusalemite Michal to the extended Chubeza family. Here it is in her words and photos:

I buy fresh garlic from Mahmud in Machane Yehuda, and he recommended I grind the green garlic leaves in a food processor with a metal blade, after removing the external and harder leaves. Add fresh lemon juice and a generous amount of olive oil. You can then freeze the mixture in small cubes or containers and defrost when desired. It’s perfect for cooking or baking fish and can be used with meat as a chimichurri-like spread.

Wishing us all a week of respect and concern for all members of Israeli society, in all their wonder and diversity.

Shavua Tov!

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

_____________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Beets/baby radishes, green garlic/leeks, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, fresh fava beans/peas, parsley/coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/turnips, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, carrots

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.

Wednesday: Beets, green garlic/leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, carrots, fresh fava beans, parsley/coriander/lettuce.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/peppers, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, turnip/baby radishes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.

December 18th-20th 2017 – Once upon a long time span…

Iddo, our baker par excellence, has patiently and professionally developed a new gluten-free sourdough bread! This new guy on the (bread) block has aced great scores in top-level taste tests, a tribute to Iddo’s talents and his determination to reach the highest standards in product creation.

The new bread uses green buckwheat culture, millet and tapioca as its base, and contains teff flour, organic tapioca flour, organic green buckwheat flour, organic olive oil, salt, a trace sugar, yeast and xanthan gum.

Don’t wait! Add this super-bread today for delivery via our order system.

__________________________________________

The “Minhat Ha’aretz” flour grinders, firm believers in baking your own products for winter, hereby offer a very special deal for the next month. Over Tevet (beginning this week through the middle of January,) all local flours (whose seeds are grown in Israel) will be on sale, including: organic wheat flour, organic corn flour, organic chickpea and teff.

The discounted prices are updated in our order system. Enjoy your baking fiesta!

_______________________________________

All of a Kind Family

Now and over the upcoming weeks, it’s time to happily greet many members of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Hanukah celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

 

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much speedier than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/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 wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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. At some point after the plant was cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. 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, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. Broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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 distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

A hearty mazal tov and best wishes for joy and happiness to Dror and Naomi as they greet their newest member of the family, a baby boy and a gift of Hanukah light.

Wishing us all a week of wonder and diversity, of faith, determination and patience.

And may the very near future bring us the blessing of rain!

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

_________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/totsoi, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/ baby radishes/daikon, beets, scallions/leeks, broccoli/snow peas, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: eggplant/ green bell peppers. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, Swiss chard/spinach, Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, cabbage.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/cabbage, eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, celery/celeriac. Special gift: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/daikon/turnip, beets, Swiss chard.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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 #273, December 28th-30th – bye bye 2015

This week marks the end of December as well as 2015.  At the end of this week we will be charging your cards for this month’s purchases and will update your bill on our order system by the end of next week. Make note that this month had 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 you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is תוצרת אורגני, “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.”)

________________________________________

 A Family Tale

Last week we experienced the sudden loss of my father-in-law, Shlomo. Shlomo was a man of many faces, but most prominent were his tenacity and determination to always stand by the decisions he made, patiently, diligently and over many years, stemming from faith in himself and in the power of small steps in order to make that great leap towards the final goal.

His death made me think 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 brought to my mind a newsletter I wrote a decade ago about the beloved Brasiccae family that is in our boxes throughout the entire winter. It dealt with the transformations that the Brasiccae underwent over many years, thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers. So here is The Brasiccae Newsletter, in an End-of-2015 version:

Every once in a while, we hear about the scientific creation 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. At some point 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 collard. 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, as for 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 distinctive 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 stubbornness, faith and determination.

Enjoy the dry sunny days till the blessed rain returns, hopefully soon!

We wish you all a happy new 2016 year!

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

 __________________________

WHAT’S JOINING THE BRASICCAE FAMILY IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Broccoli, coriander/parsley/dill, tomatoes, Chinese cabbage/lettuce, fennel/daikon/red radishes, kale/spinach/ Swiss chard,  cucumbers, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage/cauliflower. Small boxes only: celery stalk/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi, arugula/red mizuna/totsoi, beets, Jerusalem artichokes.

Wednesday: red/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, cilantro/parsley/dill, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce/Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, beets/daikon/turnips, cabbage/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichoke, fennel, celery/celeriac

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 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!