February 22nd-24th 2021 – V’Nahafochu – hopefully soon: The Purim Newsletter

To enhance your Purim, Chubeza’s amazing associates offer a wonderful assortment of Mishloach Manot treats. Mipri fruit leathers are dressing up as edible Scrolls of Esther, especially suited for Mishlochai Manot. Feel free to add dried fruit. Plus, other excellent products to add include seasoned ciders, jams, cakes and chocolates, crackers, hyssop and carob syrup, honey and dates, and many more choice items. Including, of course, the charming Shana Bagina calendar.

All these goodies (and more) can be purchased via our order system.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Purim!

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On organic agriculture, the weather and… joy…

This week began with the ecological contamination disaster of our seas and beaches along the coastline following last week’s storm. That same storm was not so kind to our vegetables either, and yet – Purim – shouldn’t we dwell on happiness?

This got me thinking about the half full/half empty glass and the imperative to be happy. Is this even possible? Can one actually instruct someone to be happy? Perhaps it’s a question of character –some are born happy and positive, while others are naturally pessimistic. Or maybe it’s a matter of choice – do we see the contamination and mourn the massive damage incurred, or enjoy the blue horizon and count on Nature’s great power of renewal to eventually return the vitality and growth and balance?

The contamination is worrisome. Our shores require very meticulous cleaning, and great injury has been caused to shore and sea animals. In a tough year like the one we just experienced, this adds to the already-heavy burden. And yet, spring is around the corner, the winter showers were abundant and we didn’t suffer too badly from floods or droughts. Nature indeed possesses the power of renewal and revival. And perhaps this disaster will make us concentrate on the more important issues in life, those that are more important than (another round of) elections and political battles from which we are all so weary.

The storm did indeed wreak havoc at Chubeza by blowing away some of the protective covers over the vegetable beds, bringing along heavy hail. The Chinese peas were damaged, and the Swiss chard chopped and punctured. Some of the small lettuce and beets were hit by great balls of hail, as were the scallions. On the other head – despite the winds, our hothouses did not bow, or lose their covers. Many beds, among them the spring growths already planted and more sensitive, remained tightly covered in protective plastic. And the large quantities of rain (over 100 mm) are saturating the soil, permeating deep and collecting in the reserves of local ground water just waiting to help us out, come summer.

And that’s the thing about happiness. It’s not that reality is bereft of joyful things, rather it has many painful, sorrowful sides that we allow to prevail more often than not. This week we received a gift in the form of a beautiful article about Chubeza and the greater story of small community-based farms that are becoming more and more prevalent. You, too, are in the article, of course…. When I told the journalist how I first started out at Chubeza and how I dared to create the whole enterprise, I remembered that after I returned from two years in California, I was American-style starry-eyed, believing all you have to do is dream to make it happen. I always say it’s a good thing I started this project immediately, because if I had waited just a few more months, the Israeli cynicism and criticism would have done me in and Chubeza would never have happened.

It’s not that only one of the concepts – Israeli or American – is true: dreams do not always come true, but many times they do. There’s always some of this and some of that. When we plant a wide variety of vegetables in the field at different times and many rounds, some are very successful while others fail miserably. The question is what do we remember, how happy are we with the success and how upset we remain about what did not happen. Are we distressed by three rainless weeks that forced us to irrigate more often, or happy about the window of time we could use to culture the soil and prepare it for spring planting?

To be organic farmers means we constantly must see the half-full side of the glass. Much is in the hands of nature, and sometimes we must gracefully accept a bed drowned under neglected weeds, or the fact that we do not have a solution to protect us from the Dacus ciliatus (lesser pumpkin fly) pest, or that a fungus has yet again struck the cabbage, or that the neighborhood dogs got a little wild and tore the cover we stretched over the greens. We’re aware of and continually experience our limited control over what happens in the field, and must decide how to relate to failures, mistakes or unexpected, unknown problems. Should we give up sadly or see how much is still left in the remaining parts of the field? Or focus on new experimental varieties and discover that they grow easily and excellently, and rejoice in all the goodness the plot is producing and our privilege to work in this very place?So, despite the fact that the clouds of gloom still prevail, and sometimes conceal the wonderful abundance of the field and surrounding nature, and despite the fact that we are living in a challenging, scary and fatigued Covid era, I try to remind myself (and you) that sometimes the abundance and beauty and variety are hiding in the dark, concealed, covered. The question is whether we continue to believe that they are there, if we make the effort to find them, and if we believe that if nothing is working, something needs to improve. As I pondered these questions on my way home, I heard this song by Arik Einstein informing me that something good has to happen! I agree.

May we enjoy a joyful, hopeful Purim abounding with many half-full glasses, lots of rain, sun, blossoms and clean fresh air and water.

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin and the entire Chubeza team, praying hard that Nahafochu is just around the corner!

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Carrots/Jerusalem artichokes/potatoes, lettuce, celery/celeriac/parsley root, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage, parsley/coriander/dill, snow peas or garden peas/green fava beans, cauliflower, leeks/green garlic.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli, daikon/turnips, Kale/Swiss chard.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, red apples, pomelit, oranges.

Wednesday: Carrots, lettuce, beets/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, white or purple cabbage, parsley/coriander/dill, snow peas or garden peas/green fava beans/Jerusalem artichokes, leeks/green garlic, kale/Swiss chard/Chubeza (mallow) greans. Small boxes: Broccoli/cauliflower

Large box, in addition: Broccoli and cauliflower, small radishes/turnips, celery/celeriac/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, red apples, pomelit/clemantinot, oranges.