After the holidays, all will renew
Even those weekdays you thought that you knew
Air, dust, fire and rain
Even you will start over again
- Naomi Shemer, Hitchadshut
Together with you all, we anxiously await the arrival of Routine. Expecting life to go back to normal is a yearning for renewal and an awakening to life, sort of like waiting for rain at the end of summer. I feel like we’re all going through some kind of parched dryness, a personal and social drought… Even here at Chubeza, although there is always work, the general mood of heaviness cannot help but permeate. And now, as summer has made its way to autumn, how appropriate would it be to feel some drops of normality splatter across our lives, along with the actual rain that we’ve been waiting for from the minute we put away our Sukkah.
Easing the lockdown and going back to normal will be gradual and hesitating, just like the beginning of autumn: a roller coaster of weather, from hot and humid surprising days to moderate and even cool temperatures. But it’s definitely on its way, slowly but surely. Let us hope together that the season of dryness will be replaced by a wet, rainy season of life filled with friends, extended family, cultural events, movement, unintimidating breaths and growth.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens – they’re already so beautiful, with gentle clouds lining the clear translucent blue, where an occasional breeze propels them from side to side, whooshing leaves and tousling leafy green beds. We are hoping against hope that their wings bring changes as well.
For now, the last of the summer crops are celebrating their final weeks with us, handing over the stick in this relay race to vigorous winter veggies: carrots, beets, kohlrabi, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes and turnips that are already skipping happily to the packing house.
We tried valiantly to send you the cute little movie that our Chubeza vegetables made for you in honor of Sukkot, but somehow I couldn’t link it to email. Now I am trying a different method. Click this link to watch. I hope this time it works!
COLOR YOUR BOXES GREEN
I always know for a fact autumn is in full blast when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the subject, “What ARE all the green leaves in my box this week!?” Indeed, winter generates a broad variety of greens dotting Chubeza’s fields, filling up your boxes. Some of you are 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. This year we’ve actually expanded the shades of greens, making the realm even more confusing. So for those who are still miffed, I am proud to present:
A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. This year we are growing a colorful variety named “Bright Light” boasting stems in a wide variety of colors and leaves that are just a tad curlier than traditional chard.
Swiss chard is perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even tossed fresh in a salad
Here is a wide variety of recipes.
A native of the Far East, member of the choy or soy family, belonging to the Brassicaceae dynasty. This year we are growing two varieties of tatsoi in two different colors: the familiar and beloved green, and a yummy, stunning red.
Its flavor is just slightly bitter, not sharp, but very distinctive. Excellent when served with piquant flavors (mustard and black pepper), ginger, sesame and sweet fruit varieties.
Like mustard greens or Swiss chard, tatsoi can be used fresh in salads, tossed or cooked, in soup, quiches, omelets, and more.
Here are some reflections on tatsoi, and a recipe. Scroll down and you’ll find some links to other recipes.
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 sharp 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!
New Zealand Spinach
As indicated by its name, its origins are in New Zealand and Australia. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken along on voyages to fight Vitamin C deficiency-caused diseases (i.e., tetanus). New Zealand spinach is ideal for our local climate, thanks to its penchant for warm weather. Sporting small and meaty leaves, it enthusiastically sprawls and spreads.
New Zealand spinach can be used in 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, eating New Zealand spinach raw is not recommended. First soak it in hot water for several minutes, then wash with cold water.
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 greens are spicy, but they have their own distinctive type of piquant flavor which make them a distinctive addition to a salad, even combined with sweet fruit. Cheeses go quite well with arugula, and a very light cooking can temper its sharpness a bit.
You can find many recipes if you conduct an internet search for “arugula” or “rocket lettuce.”
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)
Vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you must attempt to prevent two unwanted side effects: drying up and rotting. There are several methods for long-term storage. First, to prevent rotting, avoid moistening the greens and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, 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.
By the way, lots more recommendations on how to store the various vegetables are found on our website under Storage Tips.
But for all this green abundance to actually grow, we desperately need winter showers! You are all encouraged to not only reflect but also to implore, plead, insist, beg, pray, hope or practice the steps to your rain dance till that rain comes to grace us with its presence.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our loyal Facebook page of Chubeza members is always helpful as well for information or suggestions.
May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth!
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror and the entire Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GREEN BOXES?
Monday: Basil/Swiss chard, lettuce, arugula/mizuna/totsoi, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, coriander/parsley, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/leeks.
Large box, in addition: Daikon/beets, bell peppers/Jerusalem artichokes, New Zealand spinach, zucchini/carrots/onions.
FRUIT BOXES: Green or red apples, pears, oranges, pomegranates.
Wednesday: Basil/arugula/mizuna, lettuce, New Zealand spinach/totsoi, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, coriander/parsley, potatoes/carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers. Small boxes only: lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/leeks/Jerusalem artichokes.
Large box, in addition: Swiss chard, eggplant, Daikon/beets/turnips, zucchini/onions.
FRUIT BOXES: Red apples/banana, pears/avocado, oranges, pomegranates.