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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.”)

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 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

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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!

 

Aley Chubeza #266, November 2nd-4th 2015

Hail to the Mighty Kale!

For the past few weeks now, you have been receiving these strange greens, which are surely a mystery to some Chubeza clients. They look like this:

kale red russian.jpg

These are kale, aka borecole–a magical vegetable with super powers, albeit bitter, tough, and possessing a taste that must be acquired. But I assure you, after you overcome those obstacles and fall in love, there is no looking back. You’re addicted.

Kale belongs to the venerable Brassica oleracea family, which is making its grand autumn entry to your boxes as we speak. Brassica oleracea are the makers of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kohlrabi. Of all the family members, kale is the most primitive and definitely the toughest. It survives beautifully in all types of earth, provided it enjoys good drainage. Kale is really the primal cabbage, the first of its genus before it developed into the leaves of a cabbage head, the inflorescence of broccoli or cauliflower or the thickening of its stem to kohlrabi or Brussels sprouts. All these developments occurred in the Brassica family over the cultivation of farming, as a result of farmers’ meticulous choices. But kale remained as is, and it’s a good thing, too! Kale’s Latin name is Brassica oleracea acephala, meaning “a headless cabbage.”

Kale is one of the first in its family to herald the coming autumn and cold weather, and then remains with us for the whole season! Cold and wintery weather does not deter Mr. Kale. On the contrary, he thrives well in the cold, and even gets sweeter. Pests and diseases are not attracted to kale, and when they are, they hardly faze him. Last year, our kale fell victim to an aphid attack, which was pretty scary. At some point all its youthful leaves were covered with the tiny black creatures. We thought this was goodbye, but a vegetable like kale does not go gently into the good night. When cold weather came, scaring away the aphids, the kale experienced a miraculous recovery. The leaves revived to renew the crop with a fresh, strong and completely clean yield.

In this candid shot from our field, the kale is posing right next to his friend, Swiss chard. In the boxes, they usually alternate (Thank you, Chana Netzer, for the beautiful photograph):

kale and chard

This strength is evident in kale’s health virtues. It is considered to be one of the healthiest of foods, containing a huge quantity of Vitamin A, in addition to good amounts of calcium, Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin K, lutein, dietary fibers and cancer-fighting antioxidants. To make a long list short, it’s good for our eyes, bones, digestion, and fortifying the body against various diseases.

And, over the years, kale has protected those who have grown it in their gardens: saving frozen Europeans from starvation in frosty winters when nothing else would grow, and black slaves in the U.S. south who grew it easily in their yards and cooked kale with scraps of meat from their white master’s kitchen to stave off malnourishment. During WWII, kale was promoted in the Dig for Victory campaign, aimed at encouraging the urban Brits to plant gardens anywhere possible to produce their own food for times of siege and distress. Today, once more, within the leanness of our opulence, among all the processed and preserved food, kale is gaining new vigor in a host of recipes of all types.

In Israel, kale is also gaining popularity. When I wrote about it twelve years ago in the first (!) Chubeza newsletter, I had no Hebrew sources and all the recipes had to be translated. When I researched kale this week, I found a variety of excellent “local” suggestions for its yummy and joyful use. We have not lost hope. And truly, kale is a multi-versatile vegetable. Use it as a stuffing leaf, in a filling, wintery soup, in a rich salad, in veggie fritters, as baked chips, processed into green crackers, in a dish of greens, and even a green shake (But in a shake blend it in gradually. Its bitter flavor is dominant and takes some getting used to…) We have many recipes for you today in our recipe section, but you can find them almost anywhere.

Melissa, our neighbor from Kibbutz Gezer (and a loyal member of Chubeza from Year 1) sent me a great story about Gezer’s attempt to grow kale almost 15 years ago… (Hebrew) True, these unusual leaves have been through a lot over the past decade, from being the food of weirdos to starring in haute cuisine and upscale markets.

Kale comes in a bevy of varieties differing in color (from dark to light green, pink and purple), size and texture (frizzled, smooth, curly) and somewhat in flavor. Here’s a picture showing the array:

kale varieties1

After experimenting with a number of types of kale over Chubeza’s first year, we have been growing the Red Russian variety for the past eleven years. The title was given in America, where it was brought by Russian merchants. Its purplish-red hue completed the picture. This species has softer thinner leaves which are less bitter and thus “user friendly.”

So true, for those of you who are not yet acquainted with kale, it requires some getting used to, some risk-taking, some searches for the right recipe, and as always, an open mind. But those who open their hearts and mouths to this vegetable will find it to be good and nutritious and healthy. Definitely worth it!

Wishing you a week of experimenting, of daring to take a chance, and of great flavors. And most of all – may kale regale!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, coriander/ mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, radishes/turnips/daikon, potatoes/carrots/ tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, baby greens (mesclun mix)/mizuna/totsoi/arugula, beets/fennel/ kohlrabi. Small boxes only: eggplant/bell peppers.

 Large box, in addition: Mustard greens, leeks, Thai beans/okra, Jerusalem artichokes/ corn

Wednesday: Lettuce, coriander/ mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, radishes/turnips/daikon, eggplant/carrots/ tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, baby greens (mesclun mix)/mizuna/totsoi/arugula, potatoes/bell peppers, fennel/ kohlrabi

 Large box, in addition: beets, leeks, Thai beans/Jerusalem artichokes.

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!