Aley Chubeza #67, May 16-18 2011

In honor of spring, the following new products are now available to be added to your boxes: spelt semolina from Minchat HaAretz, and goat cheese products such as white cheese (gvina levana), cream cheese and yogurt from the Yotav Dairy. Meanwhile, it’s bee season, and we look forward to the imminent arrival of a new stock of honey in a host of different flavors.

A complete list of all available products, new and old, can be found on our order form.


Saturday’s weather report went like this, “Did anybody say ‘spring’? Rain has been falling since early morning in the northern and central part of Israel, accompanied by thunderstorms and gusty winds. During the day, the showers will spread southward, with a chance of flooding in the Dead Sea region and in the Judean Desert.”

At Chubeza, this weather was received joyously, as we splashed in the puddles from the short, festive rain that fell upon our smiling vegetables. Sometimes I am asked if the unexpected late rains hurt our crops in any way. The answer, of course, is no. On the contrary, they freshen the vegetables and provide them an additional bonus spray of moisture before the great heat waves set in. In honor of this late rain and its accompanying cloudiness, we are dedicating this newsletter to rain showers and to late arrivals.

In Hebrew, the final rain of the season is called malkosh. Usually it arrives in April or May, parallel to the month of Nissan. The malkosh signals the end of the rainy season and the beginning of summer, the dry season in our region. The malkosh is unique to the Mid-Eastern climate, where there is no rainfall in summer. In temperate climates, the rains don’t ever stop for long, which is why there is no special significance to the last rains of the season.

In the Hebrew blog “לא שומעים!” Dubi Kanengisser ponders, “The most beautiful word in Hebrew (specifically because of its meaning) is malkosh. It is a post factum word. Every dummy can spot when the first rain comes. But in order to determine the malkosh, you have to know for certain that there will be no rain that follows. To quote Niels Bohr, ‘Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.’ Personally, I wonder if this word exists in other languages, which is hard for me to believe. This is such a Hebrew word. I can’t imagine that other nations thought of making up a word for something you cannot name until a few weeks after you’ve experienced it…”

So from where does this special word derive? The word malkosh is first mentioned in Deuteronomy as one of the blessings God promises to bestow on the nation of Israel if they adhere to His commandments: “Then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring (malkosh) rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 11, 14-17). It is interesting to observe that the language unique to our rainless country is the one that assigns different words to the different varieties of rain: the yoreh is the first rain, while the malkosh is the last rain. Sometimes a wealth of reality produces a precision of words, like the many words for snow in the Eskimo language. Here, however, it is probably the yearning, need and actual lack that creates different words for the very crucial rains of the season: the first and last.

(See our Hebrew newsletter for an extended discussion regarding the etymology and various interpretations of the Hebrew word malkosh.)

There is sometimes a feeling that the malkosh puts a damper on the warm, smiley spring. Unlike the first rain that is so refreshing after the long, dusty summer that we can’t wait for it to quench our thirst as well as the dry fields, the last rain comes late. By now we’re already tired of rain, and anxious for spring to come. Being always late myself, the malkosh is my representative in the showers society, and I am always happy with its arrival. I never am upset that the slides in the play ground are wet again; it’s like a late birthday present. Way to go, late-comers!

Our field is accepting the malkosh in perfect Spring syncopation: the last cabbages, celery, kohlrabi and carrots are already bidding their farewells. This week we are digging out our first spring potatoes, the red Désirée variety. The zucchini, radishes, cucumbers and fakus are already in your boxes, with mint and basil in the offing. The field is planted with almost all of the summer plants by now: tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, string beans, lubia, okra, pumpkins, melons and watermelons. They’re all growing very nicely. Green soy (edamame) is last, our very own malkosh. The seeds has just arrived, and will plant them this week.

Hoping that the renewal and energy of Spring are making your hearts and palates rejoice, and wishing you pleasure and happiness from these malkoshim.

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team, sighing in relief with every day that does not bear a heat wave…


What’s in this Week’s Boxes?

Monday: lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, New Zealand spinach, red potatoes, celeriac, tomatoes, cucumbers or fakus, carrots, zucchini, beets

In the large box, in addition: cabbage, leeks, basil

Wednesday: beets, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, paesley, basil, Romaine or iceberg lettuce, green cabbage, red potatoes, celeriac or celery

In the large box, in addition: leeks, mint, Swiss chard or New Zealand spinach

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers of these organic products: granola and cookies, flour, sprouted bread, sprouts, goat cheeses, fruits, honey, crackers. You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us to begin your delivery soon.


The Return of the Recipe Corner is Near, I Promise!!!!!