February 3rd-5th 2020 – Singing after the rain

Tu B’Shvat Treats

A special offer from Melissa of Mipri Yadeha: buy two fruit leather rolls or dry fruit and receive the third one free (only this week and next)

The Ish shel Lechem bakery will prepare special Tu B’Shvat bread this week and next week with yummy nuts and dried fruits in a 70% wheat flour dough.

Happy Birthday, Nature!

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Last Thursday we had the opportunity to actually plant our first spring plants (!) before once again getting drenched by showers… So this newsletter is blessedly rainy and muddy yet once again.

What is this rain descending from above, anyway? If you ask the Polynesians, they would tell you these are the tears of Rangi, the sky and the father of all things, mourning the separation from his wife, Papa, the earth. The Druze will tell you that on winter nights, along with the raindrops are salamanders that fall from the heavens, named “Abu Raflin” (father of puddles), which is why they are black as night and the lightning shines yellow spots on them. If you ask scientists, they will explain that vapor has condensed into tiny drops that join together to create greater drops. Once they become too heavy, gravity makes them fall, collecting more drops on their way down.  Contrary to all we know, the raindrop is not at all shaped like a drop… Raindrops are either round or elliptic, sometimes oblate. They descend to the earth extremely rapidly, at over 7.5 meters per second, a surprising performance for such a little drop which could be as miniscule as only a few millimeters.

In our family, we have a tradition of extreme loyalty to the rain. When it falls, we do not run. We allow it to tickle our nape, to trickle down our ears. Even our little Noga has already learned to put out her hand and let the rain wet it, and that the best thing you can do is lift your face upwards, open your mouth wide, and lick those wet and cold raindrops. Or, you can opt to just sing in the rain.

On rainy muddy days, and a day or two afterwards, we try to reduce our work in the field. The soil does not like being fondled when saturated with water. This is true especially for the heavy Chubeza terra rossa soil, characteristic to the area. As you’ve noted in your boxes, this is thick, red clay-like soil, rich in iron oxides and common to the mountainous areas of limestone and dolomite in which the weathering creates clay. As the rain washes it off the mountains, it slowly accumulates in the adjacent valleys, including our very own Ayalon valley. This red soil is also the material comprising terracotta, and it is the thinnest soil material (tiny grains smaller than 0.004 mm). When this earth is wet, it retains water and becomes extremely muddy. It also retains several minerals, which is why the soil is found in various colors in nature. As it dries up (relatively slowly), it shrinks and naturally crumbles into small lumps, allowing root, water and air to penetrate. This is great planting soil, with pores, ventilation and water retention abilities, in addition to being rich and fertile thanks to storing such oxides as iron, potassium, calcium and even nitrogen.

However, if you play with its clumps while wet, the soil’s hidden desires to become art awaken and it hardens and stiffens, complicating the seed’s ability to burst and the plant within it to grow. Which is why we try to take a break and resume planting and weeding only after the moisture is more or less absorbed and the earth is not so muddy. Prior to the rains, we were able to prepare the soil for end-of-the-winter planting by plowing open the land with a chisel-plow, a long fork that pierces the earth to make deep notches into which the rain can permeate. (In nature, the roots of trees and other plants with deep roots are used as natural “drain openers,” but in a field of annual plants like ours, we need to do this artificially.) Upon carrying out this procedure, we distributed compost and turned over the earth, but after the many rains that re-constricted it, we must loosen the ground anew to crumble up the earthen clods to prepare a proper platform for the new plants.

In its current saturated condition, we will not loosen the earth, but to enable planting in a timely fashion (last week), we needed to somehow ventilate the earth. This is where Gabi came to the rescue, as usual, with a great idea: he borrowed a blade clod-crusher, one with short and straight blades allowing it to only crumble the soil’s top layer without penetrating deeper into the wetter layers so as to prevent over-disturbance of the mud. Thus, after light cultivation we spread out the cover sheets and very gently planted the first zucchinis of 2020!

Wishing us all a nice sunny week with dry skies that allow us to plant again before the weekend’s big-time return of the rain.  We will appreciate your adding your hopes to ours in a Chubeza-style “rain pause” dance.

Shavua Tov to all,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach/kale, broccoli, scallions/onions/leeks, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, carrots, parsley/mizuna/arugula, lettuce, cabbage/cauliflower. Small boxes only: Kohlrabi/fennel.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichokes/peas, daikon/baby radishes, beets, totsoi

FRUIT BOXES: Pomelot/oranges, bananas, kiwi/avocado, clementinot 

Wednesday: Swiss chard/totsoi/New Zealand spinach/kale, broccoli, scallions/onions/leeks, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley/mizuna/arugula, lettuce, cabbage/cauliflower, red beets, celery/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi/fennel, daikon/baby radishes, Jerusalem artichokes/peas.

FRUIT BOXES: Oranges/red apples, bananas, avocado, clementinot 

December 2nd-4th 2019 – Here comes the rain again

The Breaking of the Drought

Listen! ­—it rains; it rains!
The prayer of the grass is heard;
The thirsty ground drinks eagerly
As a famished man eats bread.
The moan of the trees is hushed,
And the violets under the banks
Lift up their heads so gratefully,
And smilingly give thanks.

-Frederick J. Atwood

On Monday morning we were greeted by fields washed with rain, saturated earth breathing a sigh of relief, and invigorated plants, dotted with raindrops. What a thrill! Three hours of calm rain fell across our fields by night, and 9 millimeters of water accumulated in our water gauge. Very impressive and incredibly encouraging. Naturally we need more rain, and await the arrival of the next round, God willing, over this week, in just a few days. Meanwhile, we’re basking in the beauty of our wet vegetables and the clear, crisp air.

Come enjoy along with us:

And with the blessing of the rain – also a Mazal tov blessing to our English translators – grandma Melanie and auntie Aliza, for the birth of a new granddaughter and niece!  May she be blessed with happiness and healthy growth!

And may we be blessed with a nice wintery week, with more rain to fall, as we breathe deeply of the fresh, clear air. Shavua tov!

Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team, waiting anxiously to wallow in mud

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach/totsoi, beets/eggplant, sweet potatoes, scallions/celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli/ cauliflower/cabbage, carrots, parsley/dill, lettuce/arugula/mizuna. Small boxes only: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/Jerusalem artichokes.

Large box, in addition: Fennel/turnips, daikon/baby radishes, kohlrabi, red/green bell peppers.

FRUIT BOXES: Red apples, bananas/avocados, oranges/ red pomelit, clementinas.

Wednesday: Fennel/kohlrabi, turnips/daikon/baby radishes, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach/totsoi, beets, scallions/celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, lubia Thai yard-long beans/okra/Jerusalem artichokes/eggplant.

Large box, in addition: Sweet potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage, red/green bell peppers.

FRUIT BOXES: Red apples, bananas/avocados, oranges, clementinas.

November 18th-20th 2019 – Craving rain

TO YOUR HEALTH!

Rose of “Shoreshei Tzion” sends you this easy recipe for pure and tasty Almond Milk using Shoreshei Tzion’s outstanding Almond Butter.

Most of the packaged almond drinks on the market are essentially filled with rice milk, sunflower oil, sugars and other low-cost fillings. The healthiest and purest almond drink is the one you prepare at home!
Try this wonderful 2-minute, super easy recipe today:

Ingredients:
4 T. almond butter (Shoreshei Tzion’s Almond Butter is 100% sprouted and cold-pressed)
3 cups water
2 – 4 seeded dates (optional)

Preparation:
Pour the water into a blender, add the almond butter and dates. Mix until smooth, making certain that the dates are well blended.
Pour the Almond Milk into an insulated container and keep refrigerated for up to four days.
Delicious with grains, granola, chia pudding and/or cashew butter.
This recipe is ideal for use with Shoreshei Tzion’s other spreads, including Hazelnut Butter of Cashew Butter.
For a sweeter, more chocolaty drink, try Shoreshei Tzion’s Hazelnut Chocolate Butter.


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It’s not over till the old man is snoring

The Rain

Pitter-patter, raindrops,
Falling from the sky;
Here is my umbrella
To keep me safe and dry!
When the rain is over,
And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud,
And grow and grow and grow!

– Anon

If there was anything we wished to shout out to the strong winds of this past week, it’s Raindrops, please come pitter-patter on our umbrella! Now!!!

Aside from warmer-than-usual temperatures (which have thankfully dropped a bit this week) and a critical shortage of moisture from the skies, the past few weeks have flown by – literally. Everything flew: the plastic crates piled high near the packing house, the crates that collect our harvested veggies, the empty cartons you returned to us. The shade nets still protecting several vegetable beds and the plastic covers over the growth houses sway noisily in the strong gusts, and anything we put down on the ground immediately fills up with dust and sand.  There were moments last week when we felt that the air was so thick that we’d have to physically force it open to walk through.

Aside from the discomfort, these winds are also drying up our greens, most of which are already winter vegetables which desperately need moisture and are painfully grappling with the dryness. Every ounce of morning dew dries up in just moments due to the winds. We open the irrigation system to water those plants who need to grow even if the weather is not cooperating, and pine away for a change of winds (literally!) and the blessing of rain, which unfortunately is nowhere on the horizon of the current forecasts. So far, we have had 18 mm of precipitation, not enough for autumn in the field. W we desperately need hydration. We can only dream of watching little flowers starting to bud “and grow and grow and grow.”

But since we plant by calendar, our fields are switching from summer to winter, with only a few summer crops still waiting to be picked. The eggplants, peppers and lubia black-eyed peas are producing their final yields, the okra is nearly gone, as are the cherry tomatoes whose quantity lessens by the day. The pumpkins from which you receive slices were gathered at the end of summer into our cute little pumpkin shed at the end of the field. Each week we grab another group of them and share slices with you, as the pile dwindles away. Sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, both of which we began harvesting at the end of the month, have hit the season half-way mark and will join the boxes in month or two, after which they too will bid us farewell for now.

On the other end of the field, the winter veggies are celebrating as they take over the surface in the form of cabbages and broccoli in various states of growth – from baby plants to mature ones that will crown with their beautiful buds or head of tight curls for you to nibble on. Fennel and kohlrabi, celery and scallion – themselves thin and gentle (picture the wild wind blowing a bed of such wispy, delicate plants) while a small distance away their older brothers are thickening and fattening up, rounding and accumulating the crunchiness indicating they are ready to be picked. Meanwhile, six feet under, the various summer root vegetables lie in waiting: carrot and beets, celery root, parsley roots, turnips and radishes. At least they are somewhat protected within the soil as they shoot out their green tendrils to face the winds.

The winds are supposed to die down a tad over the next few days, and hopefully the ensuing silence will allow our cry to echo loud and clear: Raindrops, please come! NOW, ALREADY!!

Although we’ve lacked being showered us with actual rain, unfortunately last week we were “showered” by unheavenly cascades when sirens wailed in the Ayalon Valley preceeded by actual hits. We pray and long for quiet to return, and for only raindrops to descend upon us from the skies.  Wishing everyone a calm, relaxed weekend,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai, Orin and the entire Chubeza clan

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Beets, sweet potatoes/pumpkin, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/cabbage, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/mizuna, scallions/celery, fennel/kohlrabi. Special gift: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, totsoi/arugula, baby radishes/daikon/turnips.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates, apples, clementinas, oranges.

Wednesday: Beets, eggplant/red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli/cabbage, carrots, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce/arugula, scallions/celery, fennel/daikon/turnips. Small boxes only: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Iraqi lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes/pumpkin, totsoi/mizuna, baby radishes/kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES: Pomegranates/avocado, apples, clementinas/banana, pomelit, oranges.

December 17th-19th 2018 – Satisfied Fields

With the end of the olive harvest season, we have replenished our supply of the incredible Ein Harod olive oil. But that’s not all! Last week Hillel came to personally bring us fresh Barnea olive oil and a completely new stock of almonds, chickpeas, teff seeds and honey from the kibbutz apiary. Plus, delicious  eucalyptus honey to add to the already outstanding selection of jujube, citrus, avocado and thistle honey.

Order Ein Harod’s amazing array of field crop and apiary products today via our order system.

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And this is a perfect opportunity to remind you of the other excellent products you may order along with your vegetable boxes – all products of very special small manufacturers and farms from all over the country. You will find organic fruit; natural juices, ciders and jams; apple vinegar, olive oil, honey, date honey, almonds, dates, chickpeas and teff seeds, crackers, olives, tahini, coffee, cookies, chocolate, seasoning, flours, sour-dough breads, sprouts and goat dairy products.

Our website has a short description of each of the products and manufacturers. Read all about them and make your order via our order system.

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Singing in the Rain

Over the past weeks we have been blessed with wonderful allotments of rain. The field has received a nice big rainfall at least once a week, satiating the earth and bringing joy to the vegetables and farmers. Around a week and a half ago, the rain began on Thursday at 9:00 am and did not stop until late afternoon on Sunday! To our great delight, the steady continuous rain was not too strong in its intensity. Despite minor flooding at the edges of the vegetable plots, we did not experience any major erosion, with most of the water joyfully absorbed into our very fertile soil.

Arriving at the field on Sunday, we discovered that we had to think twice before taking each step to work in the field. Our feet eventually pulled out, but our boots were deeply buried in the mud…

Subsequently, after several days in which the sun came up and dried up all the rain before another rainfall came last Thursday, we can now work peacefully in our field. This week, too, we are enjoying the wintery sun and happily awaiting the approaching rain.

In honor of these thrilling rains and to share the beauty with you, I asked Avraham, a loyal worker and a skilled photography enthusiast, to snap some photos of the after-rain field.  Thank you, Avraham!

Our drenched field (note the unused irrigation hose resting on the far-end, staring dumfounded at all this rain…)

After the tractor plows the soft earth, deep furrows form. Here’s a close-up of the new Chubeza Brown Canyon…

The moisture caused even our tractor to grow tiny sprouts in between the weights hanging on its front. What will be next?!

One last photo, taken before the downpours, but still – so beautiful I cannot resist. One of the reasons these raindrops make us so very happy: the healthy, fresh and vigorous growth of arugula sprouts in our field.

Wishing us all a wet season blessed with steady welcome rain and peaceful happy days.

Shavua Tov, Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai, Orin and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Fennel, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, kohlrabi/beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, spinach/totsoi/kale, coriander/parsley/dill, Swiss chard. Small boxes only: celery/ celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli/red or white cabbage, sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, radishes/baby radishes/turnips.

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, oranges, apples, bananas.

Wednesday: Fennel, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, kohlrabi/beets, cucumbers/peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower/broccoli, spinach/totsoi/kale, radishes/baby radishes/turnips, Swiss chard, celery/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: red or white cabbage, leeks, coriander/parsley/dill

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, oranges, apples, bananas.

December 25th-27th, so long 2017 – May all your wishes rain true!

Last Thursday was the 21st of December, the official Beginning of Winter. Followed by a weekend that was warm and hazy. Bummer!

Then they promised rain on Sunday. Indeed, the skies were wintry and it was cold. Shivering, we anxiously combed the heavens for any sign of anything wet. Personally, we welcomed the cold weather   The unnaturally warm weather over the past few weeks has not been good for the winter veggies in our field. The broccoli and cauliflower have rushed to ripen too fast, bent upon opening up into great big bouquets and forgetting they are supposed to be heads of cauliflower and broccoli. Various warm-climate pests are convinced that this is their day in the sun, wreaking havoc on the vegetables who were just settling down for a seasonal cool-weather respite from the pests. Thank God it’s cold again.

Alas, Sunday brought only chattering teeth and no rain. Although Micha called in the afternoon to gleefully report a real flood in Tel Aviv, the Ayalon clouds over Chubeza remained dry and shuttered. Only at the end of our workday, as darkness fell upon our field, did the rhythmic concert of tiny raindrops bouncing against the tin roof of the packing house begin, creating loud percussion and the illusion of a lot more rain. We love this music to our ears that swells our chests with happiness, expands our lungs to let us breathe again, and relaxes our worried face muscles as the joy of the showers enters the rooms of our soul and stays for awhile.

        

As usual, we prepared in advance for the rain, and on Sunday hurried to harvest Monday’s vegetables to avoid dealing with a muddy field. The packing house was lined with abundantly-filled boxes: kohlrabi, fennel, turnips, green and purple vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli, red peppers, green cucumbers, carrots, beets, daikon and radishes, gentle green snow peas, onions, leeks and lots of leafy green delights. This assortment never fails to astonish me – such plenty and such blessing from the fertile field.

But as I was walking among the boxes, basking in the glory of the packing house, placing the stickers on the empty boxes for the next morning, flagging them to their various delivery routes, counting and recounting, well – the vegetables were not impressed at my awe. They stood chattering among themselves, as if they were on line at the post office. Every once in awhile a chuckle could be heard, or a throat being cleared or a hum, but all in all, they were definitely feeling good about themselves. At the end of the workday they were separated from one another – some were refrigerated for the night, others waited around the cool-of-the-night packing house. In the morning they will report for duty and be distributed to your boxes.

Although the rest of this week is dry and sunny, perhaps another rain awaits in the wings next week. Or not. This season it’s hard to know what lies ahead, but just in case the rain needs some encouragement, please join us as we cheer loudly, clapping and jumping up and down, begging the rain to not be shy. Rain, rain, don’t go away, come again another and another and another day!

Rain / Shel Silverstein

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

Season’s greetings to all those celebrating, and to all of us – rainy days and a nice wintry week,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, sweet potatoes/carrots, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/cabbage, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, scallions/leeks/onions, broccoli/snow peas/cherry tomatoes. Small boxes only: celery/celeriac.  Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/baby radishes, Swiss chard, beets, eggplant/green bell peppers.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill/parsley, sweet potatoes/carrots, cucumbers, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, celery/celeriac, broccoli. Small boxes only: beets. .  Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/baby radishes/cabbage, spinach, eggplant/green and red bell peppers, Jerusalem artichoke/snow peas/cherry tomatoes.

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!