June 8th-10th 2020 – Squish Squash

This is the wondrous hour of the Cucurbitaceae family, and in its honor, the Ish shel lechem bakery is offering a very special seasonal bread: pumpkin and rosemary sourdough wheat!

The dough combines grated pumpkin and rosemary leaf slices to create the gentle hint of pumpkin in this rich, delectable loaf.

Celebrate spring! Add this amazing bread to your order via our order system. Bon appetite!

_________________________________

Summer is almost here, and for some weeks now you’ve been receiving one of the first vegetables spring arrivals – the squash. And there’s more varieties on the way! Squash comes in a range of colors, including the light Galilean squash and dark green zucchini as well as the yellow and striped zucchini. As the leader of the band, we happily dedicate our exuberant end-of-Spring Newsletter to this remarkable vegetable

Squash belong to the prominent Cucurbitaceae family, a very diverse, widespread clan whose members are grown primarily for food, but also for other interesting uses. Within the subdivision of cultivated plants, the family tree splits off into five main branches: 1. cucumber, fakus and melon; 2. watermelon; 3. various types of pumpkins and squashes; 4. the decorative, inedible pumpkin that is used for decorations and to make serving utensils and musical instruments; and 5. Lupa pumpkins, whose skin is used to prepare natural sponges.

Pumpkins and squash are close cousins, different treatments affect their characteristics:

Pumpkins are harvested at maturity after a long growth period of 3-5 months, when their shell is hard and the seeds within are stiff and plump. Usually we seed them before cooking. Conversely, squash is harvested young, after only one or two months of growth. Its peel is still soft, and chafes easily. The seeds are thin and barely discernible, which is why there’s no need to remove them before eating.

Squash and pumpkins are natives of Central America. Columbus introduced them to the Europeans, who first grew them only in botanical gardens, enjoying their beautiful blossoms. The Israelites, pleading “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the squash, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…” apparently were not craving what we call squash, but probably the fakus, their African/Mid-Eastern cousin, as we explained last week.

Even within its very own family, squash varieties vary from one sibling to another. The Mid-Eastern squash is chubby and light green. His longer and thinner brothers, the zucchinis, received their name from the Italian zucca for pumpkin, thus “a small pumpkin.” Chubeza grows dark green, yellow and striped zucchini. And there are also round squash varieties used to stuff, and even beautiful flower-shaped squash.

Preparation for squash season starts here at the end of winter. We sow our squash seeds in the beginning of February when it’s still mighty cold.  To protect them, we cover the earth with a plastic surface, and cover the seeds with another plastic cover to insulate them from the cold. The result is a sort of tunnel that heats up from the sunrays and acts as a shield from the biting frost and any end-of-winter storms. Usually in the first rounds, we use transplants as well as seeds. The seeds need relatively high temperatures in order to sprout, while transplants have priority since they are more mature and can grow in lower temperatures as well.

In the annals of Chubeza, there were years when our first squash crops suffered a mysterious disappearance due to the young sprouts being eaten, probably by crickets or other earthy inhabitants. This was another reason to choose transplants during this season, attempting to outwit the pests.

When wintertime makes room for spring and it gets too hot under the plastic, we cover the squash plants in Agril – a cloth made of non-woven material. These sheets are very thin but insulated. They are not opaque, allowing the sunrays to penetrate, but are relatively strong. In winter we use Agril to protect the delicate greens from possible hail damage, and in springtime we spread it over the Cucurbitaceae family in the first stages of their growth to protect them from insects.

These aren’t your average vegetarian insects who need to feast on some squash greens, but rather flies, mosquitos and other fly-by insects who merely wish to land a hand or leg on the squash. The problem is that they aren’t great about hygiene, and therefore transmit viruses and diseases that damage the young squash plants. The viruses and leaf diseases are the worse problems this gourd family encounters, with the squash, fakus, melons and various small pumpkins being the most sensitive of all. Which is why we cover them with cloth as they start their lives in the world, just like we would put up a screen at home to prevent flying insects from entering our living space. Once the squash begins to bloom, we remove the cover, because it’s a whole new concert now, and for this segment we do need the humming of flying insects…

So how does squash move from being a green, impressive plant to actually ripening and bearing fruit? Along the way, there are the big, beautiful yellow flowers, lovely to look at and particularly attractive to yellow-loving pests. The squash plant bears two types of flowers: male and female (everything written about squash holds true for pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, fakus and the rest of the Cucurbita or gourd family). Both types of flowers resemble each other from afar, but when you look closely, the differences are evident.

This is what the male flower looks like:

    squash-male-far

and here it is close up:

male-squash-blossom

And this is what his female counterpart looks like:

squash-female-far

Close up:

female-squash-blossom

The insects, thrilled by the bright yellow, enter the male flower, have their fun, and gather some nectar and pollen that look like this:

pollen-on-male-squash

Then they continue on to frolic in the next nearby playground, the female flower, spreading the male pollen all over. The now-fertilized female flower closes and shrinks, and at the end of the process looks like this:

pollinated-zucchini

If you look closely, you will see that at the edge of this flower, a fresh, new little squash is growing. It’ll only take him a few days before he is ready for careful and delicate picking, so as not to scratch or damage the shiny, delicate peel. Squash grow so quickly that we harvest them daily. A squash forgotten on the bush will be discovered a few days later in monster-like dimensions…

Squash is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. It contains magnesium, potassium and folic acid, Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Zucchini has a fresh, neutral flavor (some call it bland), but no need for a PR campaign: its neutral taste is probably the ingredient that made zucchini a favorite child in almost every country. In France they are used in ratatouille and quiches; in Italy they are prize components of caponata, frittata, antipasti and pasta primavera. The Italians also harbor a special affection for stir-fried zucchini flowers. Romania and Bulgaria cook it in a givetch, in Turkey it stars in patties, in the Middle East one can stuff it with rice and chopped meat, and Iraqis use squash generously in kubeh soup or sauce. In the Far East, zucchini and squash are stir-fried together in a wok, while in the United States they make their way into yummy bread and zucchini jam……

But hey, zucchini can also be eaten with no cooking, frying or baking whatsoever. Just squeeze them to make squash juice, a great detox for the body, or enjoy them fresh in your salad, a la cucumbers. On days when cucumber shortages struck Chubeza, we cheerfully chopped zucchini to fill our family lunch salad, which was polished off in seconds.

And on this hopeful and yummy note, we wish you a good, calm week,

From all of us at Chubeza

_____________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Zucchini, potatoes, leeks/garlic, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, acorn squash, yellow string beans, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

Large box, in addition: Fakus/melon, eggplant/bell peppers, cherry tomatoes/butternut squash/slice of Napoli squash.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, nectarines, peaches. Small box: Red or white cherries. Large box, in addition: Red and white cherries

Wednesday: Zucchini, potatoes, leeks/garlic/onions, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, acorn squash, yellow string beans, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, butternut squash/slice of Napoli squash.

Large box, in addition: Fakus/melon/carrots, eggplant/cherry tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, nectarines/avocado, peaches, apricuts/cherries

May 6th-8th 2019 – Zucchini time!

NEW FROM ISH SHEL LECHEM (“The Bread Man”)

Three new, delicious types of crackers made from organic whole flour and seeds. Great to nosh straight from the package, or topped with your favorite spread.

Each cracker & its own special style:

Whole spelt crackers – with sesame & nigella seeds

Whole rye cracker – with sunflower & flax seeds

Teff cracker (gluten free!) – with sesame, sunflower­ seeds & a touch of curry

Each variety comes in 150-gram packages, now ready to arrive direct to your Chubeza box for delivery!

___________________________________

LOST & FOUND CORNER

After our Pesach Open Day, these items were left behind: A Doggy-Shaped tik backpack, hats & sunglasses. To reclaim your lost goods, drop us a line and we’ll send ‘em home in your next Chubeza delivery.

We also have multi-purpose water bottles and hats that were left behind on the Sukkot Open Day. If this jogs your memory for one of these long-lost items, write us and we’ll be happy to send it your way.

 ______________________________________

One of the very first vegetables to accompany the unpredictable Spring weather is the very predictable squash. You have already noticed him in your boxes, and you’re sure to see a lot more in the near future: the light Galilean squash and dark green zucchini as well as the yellow and striped zucchini. As the leader of the band, we happily dedicate our exuberant mid-Spring Newsletter to this remarkable vegetable.

Squash belong to quite a prominent family – the Cucurbitaceae’s, a very diverse, widespread clan whose members are grown primarily for food, but also for other interesting uses. Within the subdivision of cultivated plants, the family tree splits off into five main branches: the cucumber, fakus and melon; watermelon; various types of pumpkins and squashes; the decorative, inedible pumpkin that is used for decorations and to make serving utensils and musical instruments; and the Lupa pumpkins, whose skin is used to prepare natural sponges.

As mentioned, pumpkins and squash are close cousins, except that the pumpkins are harvested at maturity after a long growth period of 3-5 months, when their shell is hard and the seeds within are stiff and plump. Conversely, squash is harvested young, after only one or two months of growth. Its rind is still soft, and chafes easily. The seeds are thin and barely discernible, which is why there’s no need to remove them before eating.

Squash and pumpkins are natives of Central America. Columbus introduced them to the Europeans, who first grew them only in botanical gardens, enjoying their beautiful blossoms. The Israelites, pleading “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the squash, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…” apparently were not craving what we call squash, but probably the fakus, their African/Mid-Eastern cousin.

Even within its very own family, squash vary from one sibling to another. The Mid-Eastern squash is chubby and light green. His longer and thinner brothers the zucchinis received their name from the Italian zucca for pumpkin, thus “a small pumpkin.” Chubeza grows dark green, yellow and striped zucchini. And there are also round squash varieties used to stuff, and even beautiful flower-shaped squash.

Squash season starts here at the end of winter. We sow our squash seeds in the beginning of February when it’s still mighty cold.  In order to protect them, we cover the earth with a plastic surface, and cover the seeds with another plastic cover to insulate them from the cold. The result is a sort of tunnel that heats up from the sunrays and acts as a shield from the biting frost and any end-of-winter storms. Usually in the first rounds, we use transplants as well as seeds. In the annals of Chubeza, there were years when our first squash crops suffered a mysterious disappearance due to the young sprouts being eaten, probably by crickets or other earthy inhabitants. This was another reason to choose transplants during this season, attempting to outwit the pests.

And why do they need protection from insects? These aren’t your average vegetarian insects who need to feast on some squash greens, but rather flies, mosquitos and other fly-by insects who merely wish to land a hand or leg on the squash. The problem is that they aren’t great about handwashing, and therefore transmit viruses and diseases that damage the little squash plants. The viruses and leaf diseases are the worse problems this gourd family encounters, and the squash, fakus, melons and various little pumpkins are most sensitive of all. Which is why we cover them with cloth as they start their lives in the world, just like we would put up a screen at home to prevent flying insects from entering our living space. Once the squash begins to bloom, we remove the cover, because it’s a whole new concert now, and for this segment we do need the humming of flying insects…

So how does squash move from being a green, impressive plant to actually ripening and bearing fruit? Along the way, there are the big, beautiful yellow flowers, lovely to look at and particularly attractive to yellow-loving pests. The squash plant bears flowers of two types: male and female (everything written about squash holds true for pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, fakus and the rest of the Cucurbita or gourd family). The flowers resemble each other from afar, but when you look closely, the differences are evident.

This is what the male flower looks like:    squash-male-far

and here it is close up: male-squash-blossom

And this is what his female counterpart looks like:   squash-female-far

Close up female-squash-blossom

The insects are thrilled by the bright yellow, enter the male flower, have their fun, and gather some nectar and pollen that look like this:

pollen-on-male-squash

Then they continue on to frolic in the next nearby playground, the female flower, spreading the male pollen all over. The now-fertilized female flower closes and shrinks, and at the end of the process looks like this:

pollinated-zucchini

If you look closely, you will see that at the edge of this flower, a fresh, new little squash is growing. It’ll only take him a few days before he is ready for careful and delicate picking, so as not to scratch or damage the shiny, delicate peel. Squash grow so quickly that we harvest them daily. A squash forgotten on the bush will be discovered a few days later in monster-like dimensions…

Squash is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. It contains magnesium, potassium and folic acid, Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Zucchini has a fresh, neutral flavor (some call it bland), but no need for a PR campaign: its neutral taste is probably the ingredient that made zucchini a favorite child in almost every country. In France they are used in ratatouille and quiches; in Italy they are prize components of caponata, frittata, antipasti and pasta primavera. The Italians also harbor a special affection for stir-fried zucchini flowers. Romania and Bulgaria cook it in a givetch, in Turkey it stars in patties, in the Middle East one can stuff it with rice and chopped meat, and Iraqis use squash generously in kubeh soup or sauce. In the Far East, zucchini and squash are stir-fried together in a wok, while in the United States they make their way into yummy bread and zucchini jam……

But hey, zucchini can also be eaten with no cooking, frying or baking whatsoever. Just squeeze them to make squash juice, a great detox for the body. The day a cucumber shortage struck Chubeza, we cheerfully chopped zucchini to fill our family lunch salad which was polished off in seconds.

Wishing you a wonderful, calm week,

The entire Chubeza team

_______________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Zucchini, carrots, lettuce, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley/parsley root, celery, kale/Swiss chard, coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition:  Fennel/kohlrabi, spinach, garlic/leeks/onions.

FRUIT BOXES: Clementinot, bananas, apples, shesek (loquats)

Wednesday: Zucchini, carrots, lettuce, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, New Zealand spinach, coriander/dill/parsley, leeks/onions.

Large box, in addition:  Fennel/cabbage/cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard, garlic/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES: Clementinot, bananas, apples, shesek (loquats).

Aley Chubeza #333, April 24th-26th 2017

Changes in deliveries next week:
Monday deliveries move up to Sunday, April 30th.
The order system will close for changes this Thursday at 9:00 pm.
Thus, there will be no bread-baking on Sunday.

Wednesday deliveries take place on Wednesday, as usual, but the order system will close for changes Monday at 9:00

Sprout deliveries for next week (for Sunday & Wednesday) may be made till this Wednesday night (today).

Thank you! Our best wishes for calm, happy days! _______________________________________________

SAVE THE DATE:

Our Open Day will take place on Isru Chag Shavuot, Thursday June 1, between 3-7pm in our field, with lots of fun activities for children, a cooking area and tours of the field for big and little feet. Plus, a mini-shopping market in our packing house. Stay tuned for a more accurate schedule, coming soon.
We look forward to your visit!
______________________________________

Winning at Squash

One of the very first vegetables to accompany the undependable Spring weather is the very dependable squash. Perhaps you have already noticed him in your boxes. If not, you’re sure to see a lot more in the near future: the light Galilean squash and dark green zucchini are coming! Their pals, the yellow and striped zucchini have already been seeded and will soon be ripening, right on time for our second round of the squash harvest. As the leader of the band, we happily dedicate this newsletter to this remarkable vegetable.

Squash belong to a quite prominent family – the Cucurbitaceae’s, a very diverse and widespread clan whose members are grown primarily for food, but also for other interesting uses. Within the subdivision of cultivated plants, the family tree splits off into five main branches: the cucumber, fakus and melon; watermelon; various types of pumpkins and squashes; the decorative, inedible pumpkin that is used for decorations and to make serving utensils and musical instruments; and the Lupa pumpkins, whose skin is used to prepare natural sponges.

As mentioned, pumpkins and squash are close cousins, except that the pumpkins are harvested at maturity after a long growth period of 3-5 months, when their shell is hard and the seeds within are stiff and plump. Conversely, squash are harvested young, after only one or two months of growth. Their rind is still soft, and chafes easily. Their seeds are thin and barely discernable, which is why there’s no need to remove them before eating.
Squash and pumpkins are natives of Central America. Columbus introduced them to the Europeans, who first grew them only in botanical gardens, enjoying their beautiful blossoms. The Israelites, pleading “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the squash, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…” apparently were not craving what we call squash, but probably the fakkus, their African/Mid-Eastern cousin.
Even within its very own family, squash vary from one sibling to another. The Mid-Eastern squash is chubby and light green. His longer and thinner brothers the zucchinis received their name from the Italian zucca for pumpkin, thus “a small pumpkin.” Chubeza grows dark green, yellow and striped zucchini. And there are also round squash varieties used to stuff, and even beautiful flower-shaped squash.

Squash is low in calories and high in dietary fibers. It contains magnesium, potassium and folic acid, Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Zucchini has a fresh, neutral flavor (some will call it bland), but no need for a PR campaign: its neutral taste is probably the ingredient that made zucchini a favorite child in almost every country. In France they are used in ratatouille and quiches; in Italy they are prize components of caponata, frittata, antipasti and pasta primavera. The Italians also harbor a special love for stir-fried zucchini flowers. Romania and Bulgaria cook it in a givetch, in Turkey it stars in patties, in the Middle East one can stuff it with rice and chopped meat, and Iraqis use squash generously in kubeh soup or sauce. In the Far East, zucchini and squash are stir-fried together in a wok, while in the United States they make their way into to yummy bread and zucchini jam……
But hey, zucchini can also be eaten with no cooking whatsoever, nor frying or baking – Just squeeze them to make squash juice, a great detox for the body. At Chubeza, when a cucumber shortage struck, we used to happily chop zucchini to fill our family lunch salad, and then scrape the bowl clean.
Wishing you all a safe, wonderful week,
All of us at Chubeza

___________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, cabbage, leeks/fresh onions, fennel, carrots, beets. Special gift: spinach/nana mint
Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi, Swiss chard, radishes/fresh garlic

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, cabbage, radishes/fennel, carrots, beets, potatoes/kohlrabi. Special gift: spinach/nana mint
Large box, in addition: Swiss chard, leeks/fresh onions, fresh garlic

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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 #289, May 2nd-4th 2016

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I take great pleasure in beginning this newsletter with our heartfelt thanks to all those who made our Open Day last Wednesday such a great event:

*To S/He in the heavens who controls the weather, for treating us to a beautiful day with mild sunrays, a delightful breeze and great air

*To the Hazel Hill Band with their contagious smiles and genial demeanor, who opened the day with their happy, fun music

*To Talor, who expertly led us on a wild plant foraging walk among the bountiful abundance surrounding our “cultivated” field

*To Matan, who added rhythm, music and lots of fun and joy with his great drumming workshops

It was truly a fine day, and we loved hosting you and the great talents, knowledge and skill of Chubeza community members. We look forward to our next adventures!

And of course – before, during and after – thank you to our wonderful crew who singularly made it possible to host you in our very productive and fertile fields, who cleaned and put together the meeting area and hoisted the shade net in honor of the Open Day. To Gabby, who worked the tractor with so much care and effort; to Majdi and Ali who chopped and dressed and whipped up a steady flow of vegetable nosh for all; and to Mohammed and the Thai Workers Team who harvested and sold the vegetables, thank you all so much!

And lastly, our thanks to you all for coming, young and old from near and far. You delighted us with your shining faces, appreciation and gratitude, with your curious questions, creations in mud, good words and smiles. These days always give us strength to continue and make us happy with our work, which is indeed home, family and friends.

So thanks again to all, and may your Return to Routine be smooth (for only few days, till the next balagan begins…).

Alon and Bat Ami

_________________________________________

This week, you will start receiving our products in new Chubeza boxes! We’ve begun with the small boxes, and the large ones will follow soon. After over twelve years of sending you vegetables in secondhand cartons, we have finally reached the point where we do not have enough boxes to recycle for use. Following deliberation, we decided to graduate! Henceforth, your veggies will be dispatched in our very own Chubeza boxes.

Since we are still very keen on reusing these boxes as many times as possible, kindly leave your empty boxes outside the door on the day of delivery. For your ease and convenience, the cartons are fully collapsible. Just remove the sticker, unfold the cardboard, and keep the carton flat till our delivery person arrives to retrieve it.

Thank you for your cooperation!

___________________________________________

And one last message – a reminder –

Next week, Wednesday deliveries will take place a day early, on Tuesday, May 10th, due to Yom Hazikaron.

_______________________________________

 

Squash, anyone?

It hasn’t even been two weeks since our journey out of Egypt, and we are now wandering in the parched desert. When I try to picture myself meandering through the wilderness saddled with luggage and relying on the heaven-sent manna, despite its excellent PR, this doesn’t sound like great fun to me. Somehow supernatural fast-food that changes its flavor upon demand may sound tempting for a day or two, but hey, it’s not the real thing, that authentic fresh-grown juicy produce sprouting forth from the land… Yup, I can certainly identify with the Israelites plea: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11, 5-6) Usually they are viewed as ungrateful, ridiculed (“hey, it’s free and you’re complaining?”), and preached at: “The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin, the people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil…” and yet, I can identify with them. With all the hope and ideals and future in the offing, beginning summer without some juicy zucchini, without its beautiful yellow flowers, sounds too difficult to me. I’m glad we’re done with this wilderness episode.

This week’s newsletter is dedicated to our new squash harvest, happily heralding the changing of seasons from winter to spring and then summer, and the promise in store: the rest of the summer vegetables are lining up to follow! The spring potatoes are plumping up (give them a week or two), mint has renewed itself and come for a visit, and soon such relatives of squash as the fakus will hop on the wagon. The rest of the gang is on their way: the flat bean, green and yellow beans and lubia, eggplant, corn, melon, watermelon, green peppers are all planted and growing in the field.

Squash season starts here at the end of winter. We sow our squash seeds in the beginning of February when it’s still mighty cold.  In order to protect them, we cover the earth with a plastic surface, and cover the seeds with another plastic cover to insulate them from the cold. The result is a sort of tunnel that heats up from the sunrays and acts as a shield from the biting frost and any end-of-winter storms. Usually in the first rounds, we use transplants as well as seeds. In the annals of Chubeza, there were years when our first squash crops suffered a mysterious disappearance due to the young sprouts being eaten, probably by crickets or other earthy inhabitants. This was another reason to choose transplants during this season, attempting to outwit the pests.

Despite the relative youth of the plants, after the weather warms up a little and it gets too hot under the plastic, we cover the plants with Agril cloth – a cover made from unwoven material that resembles tablecloths or wipes in color and texture. Agril comes in transparent thin but insulated sheets, which allow sunrays to penetrate, but remain fairly strong. In the winter we use  Agril to protect the fragile greens from hail, and in spring we cover the squash and sometimes other family members in their early days, protecting them from insects.

And why do they need protection from insects? These aren’t your average vegetarian insects who need to feast on some squash greens, but rather flies, mosquitos and other fly-by insects who merely wish to land a hand or leg on the squash. The problem is that they aren’t great about handwashing, and therefore transmit viruses and diseases that damage the little squash plants. The viruses and leaf diseases are the worse problems this gourd family encounters, and the squash, fakus, melons and various little pumpkins are most sensitive of all. Which is why we cover them with cloth as they start their lives in the world, just like we would put up a screen at home to prevent flying insects from entering our living space. Once the squash begins to bloom, we remove the cover, because it’s a whole new concert now, and for this segment we do need the humming of flying insects…

So how does squash move from being a green, impressive plant to actually ripening and bearing fruit? Along the way, there are the big and beautiful yellow flowers, lovely to look at and particularly attractive to yellow-loving pests. The squash plant bears flowers of two types: male and female (everything written about squash holds true for pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, fakus and the rest of the Cucurbita or gourd family). The flowers resemble each other from afar, but when you look closely, the differences are evident.

This is what the male flower looks like: squash-male-far

 and here it is close up: male-squash-blossom

And this is what his female counterpart looks like  squash-female-far

Close up:  female-squash-blossom

The insects are thrilled by the bright yellow, and they enter the male flower, have their fun and play, and gather some nectar and pollen that look like this:

 pollen-on-male-squash

Then they continue on to frolic in the next nearby playground, the female flower, spreading the male pollen all over. The now-fertilized female flower closes and shrinks, and at the end of the process looks like this:

pollinated-zucchini

If you look closely, you will see that at the edge of this flower, a fresh, new little squash is growing. It’ll only take him a few days before he is ready for careful and delicate picking, so as not to scratch or damage the shiny, delicate peel. Squash grow so quickly that we harvest them daily. A squash forgotten on the bush will be discovered a few days later in monster-like dimensions…

So, at the end of the Holiday of Matzah we happily wish you a season of “real” food— the kind that grows and breathes, the seasonal type that you miss when it’s not around, even though it’s not a supernatural food whose taste changes upon demand and is ready-made upon gathering, as if it “fell out of the open skies”…

It’s always great to end with good news and blessings –

Dear Ali is marriying Jihan this coming Saturday – Many good wishes and love from all of us to Ali, Jihan, Muhamd, Muhamadia, Majdi and the rest of the family.

And to Melanie and Aliza, our wonderful translators – Mazal tov for a new grandson and nephew!

May we have a good week, between heatwaves and perhaps surprise raindrops and the upcoming events of the following weeks.

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

______________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Green lettuce/curly lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, Swiss chard, cucumbers, onions/leeks, cabbage/ potatoes, beets, squash, celery stalk, parsley root, Free Gift: coriander/dill

Large box, in addition: Scallions, carrots, artichoke/New Zealand spinach

Wednesday: lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, Swiss chard, cucumbers, onions, cabbage/ potatoes, beets, squash, celery stalk, parsley root/scallions.

Large box, in addition: leeks, New Zealand spinach, carrots

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 #241, April 21st-22nd-23rd 2015

Squash, anyone?

It hasn’t even been a month since our journey out of Egypt. When I try to picture myself wandering through the wilderness saddled with luggage, relying on supernatural-fast food doesn’t sound like great fun to me, and surely it is no substitute for fresh-grown produce… Oh, I can certainly identify with the Israelites plea: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11, 5-6) Usually they are viewed as ungrateful, ridiculed (“hey, it’s free and you’re complaining?”), and preached at: “The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin, the people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil…” and yet, I can identify with them. With all the hope and ideals and future in the offing, beginning summer without some juicy zucchini, without their beautiful yellow flowers, sounds too difficult to me. I’m glad we’re done with this wilderness episode.

This week’s newsletter is dedicated to our new squash harvest, happily heralding the changing of seasons from winter to spring, then summer, and great summer vegetables that follow. You’ve already welcomed our spring potatoes, mint has renewed itself and come for a visit, and soon relatives of squash, the cucumber and fakus, will hop on the wagon. The rest of the gang is on their way: the flat bean, green and yellow beans and lubia, the various tomatoes, eggplant, corn, melon, watermelon and other old favorites already planted and growing in the field.

Squash season starts here at the end of winter. We sow our squash seeds in the beginning of February when it’s still mighty cold.  In order to protect them, we cover the earth with a plastic surface, and cover the seeds with another plastic cover to insulate them from the cold. The result is a sort of tunnel that heats up from the sunrays and acts as a shield from the biting frost and any storms at winter’s end.

Usually in the first rounds, we use transplants as well as seeds. In our experience, there were years when our first squash crops suffered a mysterious disappearance due to the young sprouts being eaten, probably by crickets or other earthy inhabitants. This was another reason to test out transplants, as opposed to seeds, during this season.

But how does a squash move from being a green, impressive plant to actually ripening and bearing fruit? On the way, there are the big and beautiful yellow flowers, lovely to look at and particularly attractive to pests. The squash plant bears flowers of two types: the male and female flowers (everything written about squash holds true for pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, fakus and the rest of the Cucurbita family). The flowers resemble each other from afar, but when you look closely, the differences are evident.

This is what the male flower looks like: squash-male-far

And here it is close up: male-squash-blossom

And this is what his female counterpart looks like: squash-female-far

Close up: female-squash-blossom

The insects are thrilled by the bright yellow, and they enter the male flower, have their fun and play, and gather some nectar and pollen that look like this:

 pollen-on-male-squash

Then they continue on to frolic in the next nearby playground, the female flower, spreading the male pollen all over. The now-fertilized female flower closes and shrinks, and at the end of the process looks like this:

pollinated-zucchini

If you look closely, you will see that at the edge of this flower, a fresh, new little squash is growing. It’ll only take him a few days before he is ready for careful and delicate picking, so as not to scratch or damage the shiny, delicate peel.

So, wishing you a season of “real” food— the kind that grows and breathes, the seasonal type that you miss when it’s not around, even though its taste doesn’t change upon demand and it is not ready-made upon gathering…

May we have a good week, tiptoeing between the surprising raindrops that fell on us, the ones that may still surprise us, and the upcoming events of the following weeks.

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

_________________________________

What’s in This Week’s Boxes?

Monday: Zucchini, kohlrabi/fennel, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, leeks/onions/garlic, carrots, celeriac/celery, cucumbers, parsley/coriander/dill, lettuce, beets, mint

Large box, in addition: Turnips/daikon/ fava beans, parsley root, cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower

Wednesday: beets, garlic, kale/Swiss chard, tomatoes, lettuce, fennel/daikon, cucumbers, carrots, celery/celeriac, dill/cilantro/parsley, leek/onions, mint

Large box, in addition: zucchinni, cabbage/kohlrabi/artichoke, root parsley

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, 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!