Some Pre-Spring Messages:
- § There will be no delivery over Chol Hamoed, Monday, April 14, and Wednesday, April 16.
- § Deliveries scheduled for the Monday after Pesach will be moved to Tuesday, April 22.
Those who wish to expand your box or make a special holiday order, please inform us ASAP.
Subscribing to our weekly newsletter:
The best way to receive messages and updates is via our weekly newsletter, which is published on our website and arrives directly to your email inbox. Those who do not receive the newsletter and wish to do so, please advise. If you prefer to receive a hard copy along with your box, please notify me.
Open Day at Chubeza:
In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a Chol HaMoed “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.
The Pesach Open Day will take place on Thursday, April 17, the 17th of Nissan, between 1:00 PM -6:00 PM. For those of you who not yet haven’t experienced it, the Open Day gives us a chance to meet, tour the field, and nibble on vegetables and other delicacies. Children have their own tailor-made tours, designed for little feet and curious minds, plus activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (So can the adults…)
On the Open Day, we also have a stand for vegetable sales, so you can replenish your vegetable supply.
Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure to check this out re heading our way.
Chag Sameach from all of us. We look forward to seeing you!
The month of March is at its close. At the end of this week we will bill your cards for this months’ purchases (including Monday, March 31), and endeavor to have the billing updated by this Tuesday.
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 and sprouts 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.”).
Somewhere between Pesach cleaning and taking care of the kiddies who are home from school, it may be nice to keep in mind that there’s an Acharei Hachagim to look forward to. After Pesach, Eliezer of Shorshei Tzion invites you to fascinating workshops where you can learn how to preserve food in the ancient healing method of fermentation. The workshop will take place in Beit Shemesh. This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced and talented professionals about the advantages of live ferments, various methods, tools, material and tips. For more information, see attached document. Highly recommended!
We sadly bid a temporary farewell to Maggie’s excellent sprouts. Due to various developments, logistics have become very complicated over the recent period. Maggie has been with us for over five years in great friendship and cooperation, but right now technicalities have made it too difficult to continue. We hope to find a solution soon and renew our partnership.
In honor of spring’s arrival, Chubeza’s fava bean pods are filling up, and nice quantities of fava have been filling our harvest buckets and your boxes. It’s time to celebrate! Not all of you will receive a fava delivery this week, but it will soon be a regular visitor at your residence. For now, this Newsletter is dedicated to this distinguished son of the venerable legume family, whose chubby pods are covered with a soft, cottony lining.
Dry and fresh fava beans have been consumed in the Middle East and in North and South Africa for thousands of years. Fava fossils have been found in archeological sites in the Middle East from as early as 6500 BC! It served as an important, essential food for all classes. Fava is rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fibers. It contains a good amount of iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
And yet, “Stay away from fava!” cautioned Pythagoras.
What did the renowned sixth century BC Greek philosopher have against one of the most popular vegetables of the time? Pythagoras aficionados and interpreters have offered many suggestions for this sharp warning. One is that fava is hard to digest, said to be “full of spirit, and takes a part of your soul, and if you stay away from it your belly will be less loud and your dreams calmer.” And yet, one should not forget that fava contains less sugar and other hard-to-digest fibers than its fellow legumes, such as the green bean.
Another possible reason for Pythagoras to disqualify the fava could have been the ancient belief that the spirits of the dead wander into the fava’s buds, making it a popular dish for funeral meals. Possibly the connection between the fava and the afterworld has to do with the fava allergy, also known as Favism (from the Latin Vicia faba). This allergy is extremely serious, deriving from a genetic deficiency in the G6PD enzyme, and commonly affects populations from the Middle East and Mediterranean (in Israel, it is most prevalent among Iraqi Jews). Fava consumption among some 20% of humans lacking this enzyme can result in acute anemia and even death. On the other hand, the fava possesses chemical components similar to those in quinine medicines used to treat malaria, a once-common disease in Greece and southern Italy. It seems that fava fights malaria in a similar way to the anemia resulting from the G6PD deficiency, i.e., by reducing the amount of oxygen within red blood cells. The season for picking fresh fava, springtime, is also the breeding season of the malaria-transmitting Anopheles mosquito.
Another reason why fava should be part of our natural medicine chest is to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Fava naturally contains the L-Dopa amino acid, which becomes the Dopamine neurotransmitter upon reaching the brain. This acts to improve the condition of Parkinson sufferers, a disease resulting from Dopamine deficiency. Even 250 grams of cooked fava has proven to significantly boost the level of Dopamine in the blood, improving the patient’s condition. The largest concentration of L-Dopa is in fresh fava and its pods. Dry fava contains much less. Research is still in the early stages, and those considering fava for treating Parkinson’s should consult with their doctor.
In Israel, there are two varieties of fava, the larger Cypriot or Italian fava (which we grow in Chubeza), and the Egyptian fava, which is smaller, almost the size of a pea pod. In Egypt, fava is called “Ful Hamam” for a fascinating reason: in Medieval times, preparation of the fava was exclusively carried out by those who lived in the area surrounding “the princess baths,” the public baths at the site of the Fountain of Mohammed Ali Pasha in Cairo. By day, the water in the great basins was heated for bathing. By night, when the burning coals were still ablaze, the great basins were filled with dry fava beans which cooked on the coals overnight to provide breakfast for the residents of Cairo. During Chubeza’s first years, we grew both varieties, but several years ago we met an “in-between” species with medium sized pods, which we now happily grow.
The fava’s tale began last autumn. There is something beautiful about it, something that returns us, with our world of endless possibilities, to the restraints of seasons and time, and slower and softer rhythms of life. We seed the fava at the end of autumn from September to December in four rounds, every month or so. We try to bury it deep in the earth before the first showers hit. On one hand, we want to avoid watering, but if we seed too early, we’ll lose our crop to the field animals stocking up at that very time on food for the winter. The raindrops cover the fava with earth, greeting with fanfare the big, familiar seeds, their friends from last year.
This encounter results in quick germination of the fava, which courageously bursts forth and continues growing even as the winter grows colder and rainier. The growth is slow and calculated. It takes its time, growing over an entire winter, patiently and steadily, inching a little taller every week. Favas cover the earth and protect the soil from erosion and the ravages of strong rains. It grows densely, preventing weed growth. Favas do not require fertilizers, for like the legume family, fava beans can fix nitrogen for a do-it-yourself fertilizer, enriching the earth within which they grow.
After months of rain, wind and cold, the fava feels something moving inside. Its faultless plant instinct senses the seasons changing, the days growing longer, the changing light, the sun’s locale, and then it knows – it’s show time! The fava debuts with beautiful fabacaea butterfly-like flowers. They are gentle and strong at once, like the fava itself. In confident pastel festivity, they overtake the garden beds as if to say, we’re all clean and dressed up, and something wonderful is about to happen. Even when the fava blooms, it takes its time. Why hurry when you can look around, smell the fava, and enjoy life?
The fava bed still looks like it stopped at the flowering stage, while on the surface nothing else has changed. But slowly, almost imperceptibly, a small green boat appears in the flower. This boat will thicken and fatten up until it becomes a seed-carrying pod. We pick them before they fully ripen and dry, when they’re still green, fresh, sweet and juicy. And that’s when we know spring is nearly here. Right here, in our field, in your plate.
There are many ways to prepare fresh favas, and despite the suggestion to peel the fava bean (double peel), you can certainly cook and eat fava beans within their pods!
Some simple uses:
– Cook in unsalted water (similar to blanching peas–the salt hardens the skin).
– Steam in water and olive oil, or sauté onion and garlic, then add fava, boiling water, and lemon juice. Cook for 15 minutes till liquid is absorbed.
– Fava may also be cooked slowly in the oven on low heat, together with garlic and such fresh herbs as rosemary, thyme or za’atar on a lightly olive-oiled baking sheet. When the fava is very soft, crush together with the garlic and herbs and spread on bread.
In our field, “fava in the pod” is Majdi’s specialty: he chops up some garlic, stir-fries it in olive oil, adds favas in the pod (cut each one to 2-3 pieces), seasons with salt, pepper, cumin, adds raw tahini, water and lemon, and the dish is devoured!
But I must admit, though the recipes sound great, I usually don’t get around to preparing them. In our house, the fava is eaten fresh, like the peas, popped out of the pods and joyfully gobbled up, fresh and raw.
Wishing you a great week!
Alon, Bat Ami, Maya, Dror and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Red or green lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, radishes/kohlrabi, beets, cucumbers, coriander/parsley, celery, Swiss chard. Small boxes only: cauliflower, carrots,
Large box, in addition: snow peas /fava beans, parsley root, zucchini, leeks, kohlrabi/broccoli
Wednesday: kohlrabi, carrots/zuchinni, cucumbers, celeriac, cilantro/parsley, beets, Swiss chard/red beet greens, Romaine/red leaf lettuce, cabbage/cauliflower, tomatoes, parsley root – small boxes only
Large box, in addition: leeks, fava beans/snow peas, garlic chive/green garlic, 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, 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!
FRESH FAVA BEAN DELIGHTS: