April 11th-13th 2022 – Happy springy tasty Passover!

DELIVERY CHANGES FOR THE PESACH HOLIDAY:

There will be no deliveries over Chol Hamoed, the intermediate days of Pesach. No boxes will be delivered on Monday, April 18th and Wednesday, April 20th.

For those who receive vegetable deliveries once every two weeks, there will be a three-week gap between deliveries.

If you wish to shorten this gap, please contact us. (Don’t add a box by yourself—this will not solve the gap problem.)

OPEN DAY: In keeping with the Chubeza tradition, we are delighted to invite you to make a “pilgrimage” to celebrate Open Day in Chubeza’s field.

This year, Chubeza’s Open Day will take place on Wednesday, April 20th.

For those who don’t yet know – The Open Day gives us a great chance to meet, tour the field, nosh on yummy vegetables and talk. Children enjoy tours specially created for small feet and inquisitive minds, arts-and-crafts projects and cooking, and wide-open spaces to run free.

On Open Day, we will offer fresh vegetables for sale to enable you to replenish your supply.

This is also a great opportunity to introduce your friends to Chubeza!

At this time, as we fervently hope to bid a final farewell to Corona, the pressure on orders has lessened. We are now open to new clients. If you have friends who would like to get to know us, invite them to the Open Day! It’s a perfect opportunity to see and understand what Chubeza is all about.

We look forward to seeing you all!

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It’s all in the Family

In honor of the upcoming Festival of Matza, and in tribute to the first representatives of our yummy spring legumes that are ripening as we speak – the amazing peas and the fava bean – let’s dedicate some words to the general major confusion in the grains and legume world of chametz:

The Grain Family is a fundamental botanical family, the Poaceae family, or the Gramineae. It is one of the most important plant families to economics and human culture, essential for daily food consumption by humans (grains constitute almost every slice of bread) and animals (as fodder and pasture), as a chief source of sugar (sugarcane and corn), as building material (bamboo in Asia) and of course, as natural ornaments (lawns and more). It is a relatively young family (55-65 million years old), characterized by grass with hollow stems (canes) usually in a node formation, which grants stability and the ability to bend without breaking. As they are fertilized by the wind, grains have no need for any colorful prissy flower to attract pollinators; their flowers are characteristically green-brown-yellow, as the color of the plant itself. The grains are usually organized in spikes.

Graminae seeds are usually monocotyledon (meaning they have one-kernel sperm). This is demonstrated by the fact that their seed does not split in half. (Think about the corn or rice kernel, as compared to fava or pea seed.) Almost all of them are edible, but many varieties are so small that they’re not widely grown commercially. Another characteristic of grains, which is problematic in farming, is that most spread their seeds by bursting the spike and whirling their kernels to the wind, which becomes a problem for those who wish to reap or gather them. Over the years, (wo)man has selected and cultivated the non-explosive grains, attempting to develop larger seeds. This has resulted in today’s wheat, barley, corn and rice (as compared to the less-cultivated amaranth, for example, or even smaller species).

Within this important family, there is a “Jewish” sub-family, the one termed “the five species of grain.” These are the grains belonging to the “wheat tribe” (the Poaidae sub-family), characterized by their ability to leaven and swell. This is generated by gluten, a general term for some of the proteins typical in the various species of grain. Gluten is distinctive for its insolubility. The origin of the word “gluten” is the Latin gluttire, meaning ‘to swallow,’ because gluten changes its spatial structure when water is added and the dough is kneaded, giving the dough mechanical strength and the ability to hoard gas (created by yeast and enzymes). In the process of kneading, the gluten is developed, creating a three-dimensional structure of a net of thin elastic filaments that act to “trap” and “withhold” the gases and water vapors formed within the dough-hollow during the rising and subsequent baking.  (Further details on gluten can be found here)

This group has special laws in Judaism, including, aside from Pesach issues, the blessing of Hamotsi before eating, reciting the Birkat HaMazon afterwards, and the mitzvah of “taking Challah.”

The four species of grain we use for daily consumption belonging to the gluten wheat tribe are (right to left): wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Four? But what is the fifth? What about the oats? Well, here is the big surprise: Oats do not contain gluten, nor do they leaven or swell. Professor Yehuda Felix has identified the oats of “the five species of grain” with a species of barley. He argues that it is impossible that oat is in oatmeal, since oatmeal does not contain gluten and was not known to our sages during the Talmud and Mishna.

On the opposing side, other scholars (e.g. Moshe Sachs, Mordechai Kislev, Zohar Amar) claim that small quantities of oats grew scattered among wheat and barley fields, and though it is indeed gluten-free, it does in fact leaven and is therefore included in the original five species of grain. Thus – the popular equivalent is correct.

Our second family, the legumes (Fabaceae), is a very dear one to farmers. I will not extol its virtues here, but that will surely come in a future newsletter. For now, let me simply note that there is no botanical similarity between legumes and the Graminaes. When we discuss legumes on Pesach, we don’t really mean the legume family, but rather the Pesach Ashkenazi “small legumes,” a varied and odd group composed of rice, millet and corn (Gramineae family) as well as beans, hummus, fenugreek, soy, lentils, fava beans, white beans, Tamarindus Indica (Fabaceae family), sunflower seeds, mustard, buckwheat, kummel and sesame (which belong to various other families). In short, the prohibition of kitniyot on Pesach includes an assortment of all kinds of botanical grains and seeds, uncovered by any fruit skin.

And why is this? Traditionally, the prohibition dates back to a European Jewish custom over 700 years ago, whose basis remains less than clear. This ban can be summarized by four main reasons, none of which derives from a direct Divine prohibition, but rather from doubts and misgivings:

* The physical resemblance: In Ashkenazi communities, grains were used in cooking (wheat and groats), and the rabbis did not trust the (women…) cooks’ ability to differentiate between rice and groats.

* Resemblance in use: As there are various kitniyot that can be used to produce flour, the rabbis worried that some Jews would allow themselves the use of chametz flour as well. Although in ancient periods the Rabbis were not concerned because the custom was very clear, the Jewish exile caused sages to fear that lack of knowledge could lead to mistakes. (At least this time without blaming the women…)

* Resemblance in storage manner and proximity: Both grains and kitniyot are stored in the same silos for relatively long periods of time, causing some concern that the kosher kitniyot would mix with wheat and barley seeds, thus inevitably leading to cooking chametz on Pesach. The wagons leading the kitniyot to market were also used to transport grains, which could result in blending.

* Proximity in fields: Over the early Middle Ages, farmers in Europe transferred to a tri-annual crop rotation: one year they planted grains, the next legumes, and the third year the field was left fallow. This method must have created involuntary growth of some grains in the legume field, which might have entered the kitniyot sacks.

In light of these fears, the rabbis decided that European Jews should be ‘better safe than sorry’ (I’m sure this sounds better in Yiddish), and prohibited legumes and other grains, seeds, kernels, granules and the like from the Pesach fare.

Thus, considering that the word seder is Hebrew for “order,” in botanical terms, the Pesach Seder is far from literal. Instead of bringing order, Pesach brings a major balagan!

Hoping you are managing to savor moments of tranquillity, rejuvenation, spring gaiety and joy in these pre-holiday days.

Wishing Mohammed and Majdi Ramadan Kareem.

Shavua Tov and Chag Sameach!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin and the entire Chubeza team!

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley root/celeriac/celery stalk, carrots, parsley/coriander, potatoes/sweet potatoes, snow peas or garden peas, fresh garlic, Swiss chard/kale/beets, fresh fava beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce. SPECIAL PESACH GIFT: curly lettuce/iceberg lettuce.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/scallions, zucchini/bell peppers, cabbage/cauliflower/fennel/kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES:  Pomelas, avocados, apples, oranges, bananas.

Wednesday: Parsley root/celeriac/celery stalk, carrots, parsley/coriander, potatoes, snow peas or garden peas, fresh garlic, Swiss chard/kale/beets, fresh fava beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce. SPECIAL PESACH GIFT: curly lettuce.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/scallions/onions, zucchini/slice of pumpkin/sweet potatoes, cabbage/cauliflower.

FRUIT BOXES:  Pomelas/lemons, avocados, apples, oranges, bananas.