Purim is around the corner, and we are getting into the spirit. This year, too, Melissa of Mipri Yadeha is offering a sweet, ingenious treat for Mishloach Manot – Book-of-Esther-like scrolls made of natural, delectable fruit leather, free of additives. The beautifully packaged scrolls come in a range of fun flavors. Purim’s coming! Add them today to your order via our order system, at only 10 NIS per scroll! ________________________________After a break that left us craving them all the more, Orli and Shachar’s excellent honey candies are back! And special they are: natural old- fashioned honey candy, handmade from pure honey in such mouthwatering flavors as natural, ginger and coffee. Order now via our order system!
Weathering the Seesaw
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been riding the weather seesaw, as charted by this diagram. We feel it in our bones and joints: the fierce winter cold takes occasional breaks, teasing us with blue skies and sunshine so warming that we fling off our coats. And then the frigid weather swoops right back and we bundle up yet again.…
The month of Adar contains this concept in its very name, similar to the Acadian addaru meaning “darkness” of rainy days in which clouds cover the sun, and to the word U’dar in Ugarit connoting daily “courage” when battling the weather. In Babylonian Aramaic, Idar means “granary,” marking the fact that in this period following bountiful downpours and some sunny days, the waves of grain begin filling up and the harvest waits in the wings. The time has come to begin cleaning and readying the granary in preparation for the spring harvest. That’s the month of Adar for you – one day it’s dark, but then its spring-like, and upon this rollercoaster we just have to grin and bear it.
Chubeza’s field is now in-between, containing crops of both seasons: winter yields attempt to capture every warm sunray and grow after weathering the cold and hail and rainfall that sometimes flood the plots. The brassicaceae family is present in full array: the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, kale and kohlrabi are thriving. Their neighbors the Umbellifers – fennel, celery, coriander and dill – are defrosting from the freezing winter as their sister, the hearty parsley, manages to grow even in the bitter cold. The root contingent – carrots, beets, radishes and turnips, onions, leeks, potatoes, celery and parsley roots – snuggle underground where it’s less chilly, as they grow plumper or longer. The tall peas and fava beans are lifting their heads heavenward, embracing every ray of sunshine. In the nursery, the tomato is getting a nice blush after a stretch where she tried to do the impossible and redden while the storms raged outdoors.
Meanwhile, in the adjacent beds, the first of the spring veggies, the gourds– zucchini, melons and squash, and the cucumbers in their nursery – have just been planted. We begin planting anew in February, after a few months’ break during the colder season, which is our very own way to begin the transition from winter to spring. Though it may still be fairly distant, it’s just like the almond trees blooming first, reminding us that even in the wintertime we can dare to look ahead to blossoming, ripening, and yummy spring and summer fruit. As soon as we plant the first gourds at the end of wintertime, we can almost taste the sweetness of the melon which will only be harvested for you in a few months, under a full warm sun.
As of yet, it is still too cold for the gourds outdoors, which is why after we seed and plant, we stretch plastic sheets over low arcs to cover their beds by creating long, low tunnels where the temperature is slightly warmer than outside. When the weather warms up a bit, we will open a few “breathing windows” for them, and eventually remove the sheet. The field is not the only one suffering from this instability. All around us, nature is coming alive, flowers are fanning out their vivid dresses, dazzling multitudes of lovesick insects with their tantalizing color and the potential of sweetness. (Thank you, Avraham, who works in the field along with us, for these wonderful photos!)
Who said something about “snails”?
Our lettuce crop is smack in the middle of the Adar seesaw – straddling wet and dry, cold and warm. The season’s moist weather encouraged downy mildew to find an embracing home in our lettuce – as visible in the winter lettuce’s yellowish-tinged leaf tips. The recent warmer weather makes it difficult for this naughty fungus-like organism to survive, while the lettuce does better and better. Thus, we conduct a gentle negotiation with the forces of nature to make the fungi wither by attempting to cover the lettuce in the great cold weather or before a hailstorm to protect it from injury, and then hurry to uncover the lettuce as soon as it grows a little or on dry days.
But this year, as the season warms up, our brave lettuce is facing yet another challenge – the beds planted on the edges of the field have been visited by thousands of tiny snails who wandered over from the abandoned olive orchard next door where they were wintering, wide awake and starved for our lettuce. Some of them even accompanied the lettuce straight to your boxes and homes. Surprise! We will have to relinquish those lettuce beds to the snails, mostly because there are new beds ready to be harvested (they just loved the warm weather and grew fast!), as yet unvisited by hungry snail critters. We will happily place them nice, healthy and very whole in your boxes.
Enjoy the many contradictions of the month of Adar: the darkness of the upcoming storms, the courage and encouragement and preparation for spring. Shavua Tov!
Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Snow peas or garden peas, fresh onions, cabbage/ broccoli, celeriac/celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, kale/chubeza (mallow)greens/broccoli greens. Small boxes only: fresh fava beans
Large box, in addition: Potatoes, parsley root/leeks, fennel/beets, kohlrabi/bell peppers.
FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, bananas, blood oranges, strawberries.
Wednesday: Snow peas or garden peas, fresh onions, cabbage/ broccoli, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, kale/chubeza (mallow)greens/broccoli greens. Small boxes only: fresh fava beans
Large box, in addition: Celery, parsley root/leeks, fennel/kohlrabi, beets/bell peppers.
FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, bananas, blood oranges, strawberries.