January 14th-16th 2019 – It’s soooo COLD

What a red-letter month for mushroom gatherers (myself included)! In this blessed rainy season, buckets of delectable wild mushrooms are sprouting up everywhere. Nothing like a mushroom hunt for one great adventure on a dry not-so-cold day! These wondrous mushroom creations are neither plant nor animal, but occupy their own special category, unique and amazing to ponder, pick and eat.

And in perfect synchronization with nature’s current abundance, we are pleased to introduce Udi’s Sprouts (and fellow growers) organic mushrooms which you can now add to your Chubeza boxes. Their impressive assortment includes Eryngii mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms   and organic forest mushrooms. Each 200 gram package sells for 19 ₪.

Beside mushrooms, the diligent sprout growers have added a new and unique type of sprout – Leek sprouts:

Reminder: orders for Udi’s sprouts and mushrooms (as wells as Izza Pziza’s dairy products) may be made up to 10pm on Sunday. Don’t wait! Add sprouts and mushrooms to next week’s deliveries via our order system.  

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Winter Slumber

It’s been sooooo cold over the past weeks. We find ourselves mummified in our coats throughout the day, constantly rubbing our hands together, jumping up and down to warm up those toes… Even on sunny days its hard to defrost, and most of the times the warmish weather is temporary – only two to three hours in the afternoon, after which the Arctic cold plunges down on us once more. Even our vegetables feel this cold – sweet potato yields that need at least 10 degrees have been tugged out of the earth and completely distributed. The rest of them are growing, but it’s happening verrrrrrry slowly. True, carrots and beets are accumulating sugars in their root bulbs and we love their wintry sweetness, but they too are taking their sweet time till they thicken and get ready for harvest.

We are familiar with this time of year, taking pains to prepare for it in advance by feverishly seeding and planting during the warmer months of autumn. As the vegetable beds constantly filled up, most managed to grow satisfactorily prior to the bitter cold. Over these weeks, between December to the beginning of February, we don’t do much planting, as we discovered that vegetables planted or seeded in cold weather don’t really go far. If the weather is not too extreme, i.e., frost or hail, for the most part the veggies are not harmed. On the other hand, they don’t make much progress either. Similar to winter slumber, they slow down their breathing and cell distribution rhythm and grow very, very slowly.

This week, we’ll be including broccoli greens in your boxes.

Usually we only pick the broccoli heads and leave the leaves in the field. But like all vegetables, the “regular” Chubeza greens have been growing quite slowly and tending to doze off a lot. The past sunny periods have somewhat roused them from their slumber, but at this stage this resembles my attempts to wake up my daughters in the morning (“Yes, Mom, I heard you and I’m waking up, only it’s happening under the quilt…”). From my personal experience, we need a lot more sun rays, cajoling, encouraging and scolding to goad our greens into a growth spurt. In all fairness, we admit that over the entire season we do our share of disturbing them, periodically cutting off bundles of greens to add to your boxes.

In the meantime, the broccoli leaves that were planted in autumn and grew on the sturdy bushes managed to flourish as they became the sun catchers which yielded great broccoli inflorescence. Now, after the broccoli has been harvested, we’re sharing some of its fresh leaves with you.

Here in the Middle East, it’s not customary to eat broccoli greens, but overseas in Italy or in the Far East, there are broccoli varieties grown specifically for their leaves, like broccoli rabe (AKA broccoli raab/rapini/brocolini):

Usually these are types which do not grow a dense scalp like the broccoli head, but rather grow immediately in a delicate inflorescence. Their leaves are picked when they are young and tender. They are frequent additions to pasta or stir-fry dishes. The broccoli greens in your boxes are mature leaves. Use them as you would use kale or Swiss chard, but note that they are thicker and must be cooked longer. (They are most similar to kale in flavor and use). These greens are highly nutritious, rich in vitamins (A, B-complex and C) and in minerals (iron and calcium).

Before we part (to build a snowman?), we send love and hugs to Maya and Alon upon the birth of their brand new daughter, born on Sunday. Mazal Tov!

May we enjoy a great week of sun and rain, tranquility and storm, and acceptance of them all,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the wintry Chubeza crew

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Celery/celeriac, lettuce/mizuna, broccoli, turnips/baby radishes/kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower/cabbage, Swiss chard/kale/broccoli greens, coriander/dill/parsley. Small boxes only: Leeks.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/onions, beets, artichoke/snow peas or garden peas, potatoes.

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, bananas, red oranges, clementinas.

Wednesday: Lettuce, broccoli, turnips/fennel, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/broccoli greens/mizuna/New Zealand spinach, coriander/parsley, potatoes. Small boxes only: Leeks/scallions/onions.

Large box, in addition: Celeriac, cabbage, beets/kohlrabi, artichoke/snow peas or garden peas.

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, bananas, red oranges, clementinas.