July 24th-26th 2017

Summer fruits are ripening in the orchards, and sweet fragrances fill the sultry air. And right along with them, another seasonal fruit is maturing, one that has become a Chubeza tradition: the Shana Ba’gina calendar (“Home Garden”), created by the very gifted Ilana. For those as yet unacquainted, this beautifully detailed and illustrated calendar walks you through the year, describing in pictures and words the annual cycle in your home garden and surrounding nature. Each month introduces the changes in the field and forest, garden and nutrition.

Ilana is a collector, cook, gardener and very talented illustrator. These talents all come to the fore in her calendar, chockful of information, ideas, recipes and fun, accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations. All you need to do is to pick and harvest from the abundant store of information presented.

Now in its third year, the new edition of Shana Ba’gina is, as always, brand new, with new illustrations, innovative professional tips, recipes you haven’t yet encountered and new topics such as growing vertical plants, succulents and cactus and more.

In our family, this calendar has become a permanent resident for the past three years, accompanying us in its colorful beauty every day, bringing the outside world indoors and taking us outdoors as well, changing something about the feverish pace of life to allow a slowing-down, grabbing our attention and steering our glance to new and exciting activities. We highly recommend it.

This year Ilana offers two editions in two different languages: a new “Friends in the Garden” calendar for 5778 with new content, illustrations and recipes, as well as a new and special English edition “The Porcupine Calendar”.

For further details, check out the Shana Ba’gina website.

Prices:

Shana Ba’Gina calendar: 75 NIS each
Two calendars: 140 NIS
Three calendars: 205 NIS
Five calendars: 340 NIS
Eight calendars: 488 NIS
Ten calendars: 600 NIS

You are welcome to make your orders via our order system (under “Chubeza vegetables”). The calendars will arrive during August.

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Days of Farewell

Manu, our baker par-excellence is relocating to the north, and we must bid her and her talented products farewell.

This week will mark the final week in which Manu’s products will be delivered, and we will greatly miss her.

We are now in touch with various bakers from the area, and hope to be the bearer of good news regarding a new cooperative effort with a local baker as we near the High Holidays.

In the interim, I’m sure I speak for you as well as I thank Manu for years of excellent cooperation, with wonderful baked goods, professionalism and true integrity. We wish Manu, Yoni and the kids a smooth move and integration in Kiryat Tivon, and if you have friends and acquaintances you love – tell them about the wonderful baker moving near them, so others can enjoy her too.

Thank you so much, Manu, and good luck from all of us!

And also – renewing acquaintances:

The Ein Harod farmers are joyfully harvesting their chickpeas, and Hillel brought us a wonderfully fresh stock of excellent organic chickpeas.

If you haven’t yet experienced it, this is a whole new experience to cook with fresh, homegrown chickpeas, nourished from the Jezreel Valley earth, which absorbed the abundant winter rains and then dried up in the summery Israel sun.

I highly recommend giving them a taste, but beware – once you try it, there is no going back. You will no longer be able to eat any other kind of chickpeas….

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 Mama Edamame

The green soy, or edamame, has been with us from the very beginning of Chubeza’s days. I had successfully grown it in California, and thought it would be no big deal growing it here as well. Turns out, we had to endure quite a few years of failed attempts till we were able to successfully grow edamame in the Holy Land. Initially, we imported seeds from the U.S. and seeded them over the hot summer months, just as I had done in the States. Success was partial, not amazing. Though the pods were green and beautiful, they only half filled with the round peas we worked so hard for. Many of the pods remained green, hairy, flat, and sadly – empty.

Henceforth, we attempted to treat the edamame like her cousin, the green fava bean. We purchased organic soy seeds at the store and tried to seed them, hoping they would yield chubby green pods. The pods were indeed chubbier, but the soy dried up easily and very soon developed a yellowish hue. Even the peas within them aged slightly. After a few unsuccessful years, we decided to give up and take a little break…

Until last year when one of the seed companies we work with suggested we try a better variety of green soy, we decided to give it another chance. Only one or two beds to begin with. We also changed the date of seeding. Turns out, green soy prefers to be seeded at the beginning of spring or the end of summer/beginning of autumn. In the past, we aimed for growth at the heart of summer’s heat. We thought that was how she liked it. (Wrong.) Which teaches us a lesson about always reexamining presumptions and impressions. Last year we seeded the edamame towards the second half of summer, and surprise, surprise:  it grew strong green bushes, yielding green, chubby pods!

So we stuck with this successful new variety, and seeded it in early spring (with a reasonable though not exceptional yield), and we are continuing with more consecutive seedings all the way to the end of summertime so we can prolong our edamame enjoyment. It is such a beautiful, green and vital vegetable, resembling the green bean though its leaves are different – rounder and not sharp-edged. Here, take a look for yourselves:

soy-field

We will be harvesting edamame in bunches, and you will need to separate the pods from the branches, but this is most certainly a worthwhile task.

In China, soy has been considered one of the five most sacred types of grain for some 5,000 years, essential to Chinese culture (together with rice, wheat, barley and millet). It was actually deemed essential by the legendary Caesar Shennong, the divine farmer, considered to be the father of Chinese agriculture. Its origins are in North China, from a wild plant named Glycine Ussuriensis.

The process of soy domestication, probably one of the first crops to be cultivated by man, began around the 11th century BC, both as food and for medicinal purposes. By the first century, soy arrived to South and Central China and to Korea. By the 7thcentury, it could be found in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal and North India. It took till the 18th century to arrive in the West.

It’s fascinating to ponder what this ancient crop had to endure from the time it was grown in Chinese fields over 5000 years ago, mainly to be used as green manure to improve the soil and enrich the earth for future crops. Today soy is also used as glue, dye, synthetic fiber, soap, ink, candles, lacquer, a rubber substitute, and of course, biodiesel fuel. From a sacred and dignified seed to a genetically-engineered, labeled, patented prisoner.

Like corn, almost everything we eat contains soy, from baby formula to the popular soy oil, through meat and fish (soy is one of the components in animal and fish food),  soy flour in various pastries, soy protein in milk substitutes, soy fibers and soy lecithin in virtually every processed food that requires pasting, inflating and “modeling.” It is almost strange to say that food “contains” soy, as in truth it contains various separated components, taken apart and processed to their final drop of protein. Can this actually be called soy? I don’t know. Too philosophical a question for these scorching days… To me it sounds more like amputated, soul-less body parts…

Soy belongs to the legume or Faboidae family, whose distinguished members include beans, peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas (lubia), fava beans and others. It takes around four months for the plant to fully ripen, harden, dry up and produce brown seeds that look like this:

At this stage they are picked to begin their final journey, during which they will be disassembled, extracted, bloated, fermented, ground, distilled and submitted to other tortures.

But most of our little soy poles are picked when they are green and still deserving of the title edamame (eda- twig, mame- bean).

edamame-bunch

Soybeans in their natural, original form abound in health benefits: they are rich in protein, containing 60% of the recommended daily consumption (and this protein is similar to that of meat). Such protein is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar levels and aids in reducing the risk of diabetes. In addition, edamame contains vitamins C, A and K, and such minerals as iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It is rich in dietary fibers (40% of recommended daily consumption) that can latch onto toxins and cleanse them from the body. Soy contains lecithin, which assists in balancing cholesterol levels and can prevent arteriosclerosis. Lecithin is also an important component for weight loss, as it helps break up fats. In addition, soy contains choline and inositol, elements which improve memory function and the smooth transmission of receptors within the nervous system.

Soy protein also includes sapogenins, renowned for being effective in preventing cancer and cardiac diseases. Edamame is rich in isoflavones, the plant-form of estrogen, and can improve such menopause-related symptoms as hot flashes, heart disease and the loss of bone density, specifically in the spine and thighs. In addition, edamame includes a peptide called lunasin which reduces cholesterol levels in the body by both delaying the production of cholesterol and working to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).

Upon its arrival to Western World, soy achieved a place of honor in the realm of natural food, and like many trends, became most admired and considered a “health bomb,” and a punch line in cholesterol and tofu jokes. Can billions of Chinese be wrong?

Over the past several years, some controversy has developed between the soy advocates, supported by the good health of Chinese and Japanese (and lots of cash… over 50% of the world’s soy is produced by American companies; over 70% of the products in your local supermarket somehow contain soy) and the scientists who wonder whether so much hormone, even if it is vegetal, is indeed healthy. The latter blame soy for increasing various types of cancer (alongside those it prevents), changes in the function of the thyroid gland, harming fertility and brain activity in men, causing congenital defects and even the early sexual development of girls in Western countries.

Part of the blame is placed on the genetic engineering of the majority of the soy grown worldwide (most of which is intended to bolster soy against various herbicides), and the resulting excessive spraying. Although others claim that the fermentation process most soybeans undergo in the Far East to produce such products as tempe, tofu, miso, etc., actually destroys many of its naturally detrimental components, making it safer for use. The jury is still out on this debate, and the evidence is not conclusive enough to make the call.

And once again I am left to quietly ponder the problems of totality, extremism, exaggeration and wholeness, as I share with you the enjoyment of nibbling on some delicious green soybeans, the Oriental snack, and vote for moderation.

Check our recipe section for some great edamame recipes

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Wishing our Majdi hearty congratulations on his birthday and best wishes for the upcoming birth of his firstborn daughter, together with his beloved Saffa. May all go well and joyfully.

After a week of tragedy and upheaval, may we be blessed with calm, safety, and peaceful days for all.

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

WHAT’S  IN THIS WEEK’S SUMMER BOXES?

The recent heatwave literally burned our cucumber bushes, and we are experiencing a cucumber shortage, as is apparent in the entire market these days. This dearth is felt everywhere, but even more in the organic market, and we are finding it hard to purchase supplementary cucumbers to make up for this shortage. For this reason, you will be receiving a smaller quantity than usual in the cucumber department. We hope that our later-planted cucumber bushes will quickly grow and ripen so we can soon restore your usual quantity of bountiful summer juicy cucumbers.

Monday: Coriander/dill, Japanese squash, yard-long beans/okra, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, edamame, melon, lettuce/ New Zealand spinach. Special gift: nana mint.

Large box, in addition: Parsley/ parsley root, potatoes/pumpkin, cherry tomatoes.

Monday: Parsley/dill, Japanese squash, yard-long beans/edamame, okra/cherry tomatoes, cucumbers/peppers/onions, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, eggplant,  melon/potatoes, lettuce/ New Zealand spinach. Special gift: nana mint.

Large box, in addition: Coriander, parsley root/leek, butternut squash/sliced pumpkin.

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, 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!