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 #219, October 20th-22nd 2014

Thank you!

First and foremost, it is a pleasure to thank all of you who helped out with the Open Day: Maya, the arts and crafts wizard; Mama Devora and sister Tzipi, who kneaded the dough and baked the pitot; Mohammed, who manned the vegetable stand, Majdi, at the nosh table and various other jobs he took upon himself throughout the day; to Poom, Ding, Vinai and Poyo who harvested the vegetables for sale and nibbling, to Manu, Puah and Oded, Melissa, Yoav and Galia, who offered their yummy and/or fine products for sale (baked goods, goat cheeses, dried fruit leather, olive oil and second-hand clothing items…), and last but not least, to the one and only Hazel Hill Band that livened up the atmosphere with great, joyful and festive music. And to all of you who came to celebrate with us and all the visitors, to meet us and hear about what’s going on at the farm, to put in a good word, ask questions, take a tour of the field, and help out during the day.

It is such a pleasure to feel this supportive and stable community that has built up around the farm over the past decade. Your ongoing loyalty and support – in buying vegetables, visiting on  Open Day, rejoicing and celebrating with us and lending a hand when requested (and just going to help wherever you saw the need)  – all make our efforts worthwhile and pleasurable. We are blessed with a fine field, great neighbors and wonderful partners in this endeavor. Thank you all!

Lost and Found at the end of the Open Day: Sunglasses, baby bottle, baby hat and pacifier. If you identify any or all of these as your own, let us know and we will send them in your next vegetable box delivery.

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Sometimes “back to normal” is in itself a reason to celebrate. Efrat from Jerusalem invites you all to a celebration of sidewalk chalk drawing at the Jerusalem Messila Park this Wednesday (today) from morning to evening. Weather forecast is for a nice, clear day. Come one, come all! See this link for more details.

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Hillel from the Ein Harod Organic Field finally arrived at Chubeza, bringing with him their excellent almonds as well as a renewed supply of organic hummus and olive oil. This year, the almonds and chickpeas are sold in pre-weighed packages (chickpeas in 1 kg packages, almonds in 200 gr). Add these delectable delicacies to your boxes via our order system.

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Greens, Glorious Greens

Our back-to-routine week commenced with joyful rain. Though, as usual, Kfar Bin Nun gets only a small quantity of showers. We already know that here the rain always arrives fashionably late, so even today (Sunday), as the rains came pouring all around us, we only received scattered showers. Still, we were all excited about it. Rain!!

So yes, it is indeed autumn, and to all you “doubting Thomases” who claim there is no autumn in Israel, let me guess that none were pregnant at this precise time between summer and autumn. For any average expectant mama can tell you the exact moment when the miracle occurred and the heat burden eased, the weather gliding between heat and chill, cloud and shine. And yes, over the past few weeks it is evident that autumn has indeed arrived, nicer and better than ever (proclaimed the pregnant maiden)… The temperatures dropped a bit, a nice breeze began blowing, and autumn veggies started to ripen one after the other.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the change in your boxes. After a few monotonous weeks at the end of summer, over the past weeks we have begun harvesting sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, beets, daikon, kohlrabi, turnips, joined this week by beets and carrots as well. And of course, so many new leafy green veggies have arrived, from the smaller ones who are literally jumping out of the earth headed for your boxes, to the bigger ones, who take their time…

And if all of the above hasn’t convinced you yet, I know for a fact that it is fall when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the common subject, “What are those greens in my box this week?”  So many greens are now growing happily in Chubeza. Some of you are very happy with the plethora of greens over the winter, and even request we not remove 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. So this week we will start to tell you a little about some of the greens you will be meeting over the upcoming season, beginning with several members of the Brassicaceae (aka Cruciferae) family: mizuna, tatsoi, pak choi/bok choy and arugula.

Members of this esteemed family are able to cleanse the earth and purify it from diseases and fungi. The jury is still out on 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 diminishes 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.

When I worked in California, I learned of research regarding the growing of broccoli, cauliflower and mustard (all members of the Brassicaceae family) as a type of earth cleansers prior to growing strawberries. The outcome was good, and the method was adopted by non-organic farmers as well, since they grow other crops in the field when no strawberries are planted, so why not grow something that will eventually help and ease the life of the pampered strawberries?

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 plants taking over every available piece of earth. They must be in charge of cleaning, purifying and restoring the earth by 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 return some balance.

And thus, during in-between periods of empty soil in the net house, we grow young greens from the Brassicaceae family which will speedily grow, enjoy a protected and clean environment in the net house, and prepare the earth for our next crops. The mizuna, the bok choi and the arugula are the representatives. All of Asian origin, the mizuna is Japanese (Brassica rapa var japonica) and the tatsoi and bok choi are Chinese (rassica rapa var chinensis).

These greens are definitely mustardy, but not sharp. Their flavor is exotic, fresh, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious! The arugula leaves are a bit sharp, but their distinctive type of piquant flavor adds zest to a salad, even combined with sweet fruit. They enhance cheeses, and a very light cooking can slightly temper the spiciness.

Check out their “selfies”…

mizuna 
Tatsoi (Spinach mustard, Spoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy):
Tatsoi (Spinach mustard, Spoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy):
pak choi / bok choy
Arugula

The nutritional value of the Brassicaceae is similar to that of the cabbage and other upstanding members of their prominent family. They are rich in vitamin C, fiber and folic acid, as well as calcium and beta carotene. They can be used like other greens, Swiss chard or mustard: in cold or hot salads (steamed or stir-fried), combined with rice or pasta, as a green addition to soup, or simply as a crunchy bite in a sandwich. In any case, they are not to be overcooked. One to two minutes are more than enough.

Have a good autumn week, and an easy return-to-routine. Bon appétit, and Livriut

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Mizuna/tatsoi, beets, lettuce, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, okra/green and yellow beans/Thai beans/lubia, coriander/dill, cucumbers, eggplant, arugula, radishes/daikon.

Large box, in addition: Red bell peppers, leeks, sweet potatoes

Wednesday: cilantro/dill, mizuna/tasoi, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra/beans/lubia (fresh black eye pes), red, yellow & green bell peppers, radishes/daikon, beets, arugula, sweet potatoes, small boxes only – lettuce.

Large box, in addition: scallions/leek, piece of pumpkin, white turnip/kohlrabi, eggplants

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 #39 – October 18-20 2010

Thanks to everyone who responded to our suggestion from last week to join the endeavor to donate vegetable boxes to needy families. To date, we have collected enough for almost one large box, and we are in hopes of additional donations.

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Tatsoi Tunes: A Song of its Own

Every year I write about the greens that fill the boxes during wintertime. Usually I dedicate one newsletter to all of the greens, but this year I’ve decided to focus on several individual (but amazing) varieties. For even though all the greens look alike and are used in a similar fashion, they belong to different families, they have different tastes, and they are all little wonders in their very own right. I also harbor a secret hope that this newsletter will open the hearts of some who rejected the unfamiliar greens outright and will give them another chance.

Let us start with the tatsoi- a descendant of the esteemed “Brassicas,” a relative of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, and true knights of the winter. Tatsoi resembles its kinfolk in taste as well– not too sharp (like the mustard), but more bittersweet and mild- tasting. Before I write about tatsoi, let me say a few words about the dynasty, in order to explain the botanical genealogy: it belongs to the Brassicaceae family, within this family it is of the Brassica genus (like the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kohlrabi), and a Brassica rapa specie (like turnips).

Now it gets complicated: within this specie group are two subspecies that are named “Chinese cabbages.” One is the Pekinensis, to which the Napa cabbage belongs–the first Oriental vegetable acknowledged by the Western world and still the most common, with long green leaves and light colored veins. The leaves are densely combined, creating a small “head” (sort of a cross between lettuce and cabbage). As its title indicates, it is particularly popular in Northern China, around Beijing (formerly Peking.) This is what it looks like:

The other sub-specie, the Chinensis, includes the various types of bok choi. These varieties do not form “heads,” but rather have smooth, dark green leaf blades forming a cluster reminiscent of mustard or celery. These types are quite popular in South China and Southeast Asia. Bok choi usually have a wide spine, similar to that of the Swiss chard (an entirely different family), and become fibrous when cooked for a short time. There are short and tall varieties, some sporting a white, yellowish or greenish spine, with leaves of varying shades of green.  In short, a very wide gamut. Here’s one example:

Our friend the tatsoi, also termed Brassica rapa var. rosularis – rosette bok choi, belongs to this category. Tatsoi have spoon-shaped leaves, round leaves that are connected to a long, thin spine. Some nickname it “spoon cabbage.” Unlike the bok choi varieties, the tatsoi grows like an open-flat bouquet. This is how it looks in bouquet and in bulk form:

The various types of Chinese cabbage (those that form a head and those in the bok choi group) have been grown in China for over 6000 years. Remnants of this plant’s seeds were found in tools excavated from the new Stone Age in the city of Banfu. There is evidence that Chinese cabbage was part of the everyday menu in ancient South China. During the 14th century, Chinese cabbage was grown specifically in the Yangtze River Delta region (the Shanghai area). Sixteenth century Chinese physician and pharmacist Li Shizhen studied the Chinese cabbage and its medicinal qualities, and during his time the vegetable spread to North China to eventually become one of the area’s main vegetable crops. From China the cabbage spread to Korea, becoming the staple ingredient for kimchi, the fermented vegetable dish. At the start of the 20th century, Japanese soldiers returning from China during the Russo-Japanese War brought it to Japan. It continued to spread all over the world, first the Napa cabbage type, followed of late by the “leafy” kind— bok choi and tatsoi, who even immigrated to Israel recently.

Li Shizhen was no fool– the nutritional value of bok choi and tatsoi win them a place at the lead with cabbage and other high quality Brassicas: they are rich in vitamin C, dietary fibers and folic acid. They contain more calcium and beta-carotene than other in the cabbage family. Use them as you would use other greens, Swiss chard or spinach: tossed in cold or warm salads, combined with rice or pasta, added to soup or just in a sandwich. See some of the recipes below for new ideas. It is not recommended to cook them for too long–one to three minutes is more than enough.

Bon Appetite!
Alon, Bat Ami, Melissa and the Chubeza team

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What’s in our Green Boxes?

Monday: pumpkin, cilantro, scallions, radishes, corn, arugula, purple mustard, cucumbers, red beets, sweet potatoes, peppers
In the large box, in addition: yard long beans or okra, kohlrabi, Swiss chard

Wednesday: green beans or lubia (cowpea) or yard long bean or okra, cilantro, cucumbers, arugula, peppers, leeks, radishes or turnips, beets or radish or daikon, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, corn
In the large box, in addition: pumpkins, eggplants, Swiss chard or red mustards or spinach

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A Treasure of Tatsoi Recipe Ideas:

Roasted pumpkin and tatsoi soup

Farmers Market Greens

Asian Greens and Tofu Soup

Tatsoi With Rice Noodles

3 ideas: Stir Fry,  Salad and Risotto

Tatsoi Wilted in Mustard Dressing – from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

Serves 4

1 lb. TATSOI
2 SCALLIONS, mince the whites, thinly slice the pale green parts
2 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE
1 tsp. DIJON MUSTARD
1/4 tsp. Kosher SALT
3 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL

Rinse tatsoi, inspect for grit. Dry. Mix scallion whites w/ lemon, mustard, salt, stirring to
dissolve. Blend in oil. Pour in skillet on medium heat. Add tatsoi, toss. Cook till just wilted but stems remain crunchy—2 min. Add scallion greens, toss. Place on platter and add dressing.

GREENS & TATSOI SALAD with BERRIES & HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE – from The Farm at Miller’s Crossing’s CSA recipes (take a look at their other recipes too – there are many good ones in this beautiful website of this beautiful farm)

Serves 6

3 tbsp. OLIVE OIL
2 SHALLOTS, chopped fine
1/2 cup dried CRANBERRIES, cherries, raisins or “craisins”
4 tbsp. SHERRY VINEGAR
3 tbsp. WATER
1 tbsp. SUGAR
1/2 cup HAZELNUTS, toasted lightly & skinned
1/2 tsp. DIJON MUSTARD
1 tbsp. HAZELNUT OIL, if desired
4 cups FIELD GREENS & 2 cups baby TATSOI (or a combo to your liking)

In pan, heat 2 tsp. oil on medium flame till hot, but not smoking. Sauté shallot till golden. Stir in berries, 3 tbsp vinegar, water & sugar & simmer till syrupy—4 min. Transfer to bowl, cool to room temperature. Toast nuts w/ s&p in skillet till golden– 3min. Place on plate & cool. Whisk mustard, 1 tbsp vinegar, s&p. Whisk in both oils. Toss greens w/ vinaigrette, and divide onto 6 serving plates. Drizzle berries and nuts.