Aley Chubeza 150, March 4th-6th 2013

Some pre-Spring messages:

  • There will be no delivery over Chol Hamoed, Wednesday, March 27, and Monday, April 1.
  • Deliveries scheduled for the Monday before Pesach will be brought up to Sunday, March 24.

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, March 28, 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!

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In preparation for Pesach, Asaf Nov from Minchat Ha’aretz will be selling soft Shmura Matza, handmade from organic Israel wheat. The matzot are under the supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat. Price: 110 NIS per kg.

Contact Asaf: 052-6493837

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And in the holiday spirit: Melissa announces the 500 Leather Campaign.  As we draw closer to the sale of leather #500, it will be given free to the lucky person whose order hits the magic number. We won’t tell which is the most popular flavor, but the privileged leather will be appropriately marked… Good luck!

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Over the next couple of weeks, there will be a temporarily lack of barhi dates. But not to worry, it will soon be back. We expect a delivery from Samar by the end of next weekend. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.

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And lastly, for those who are not familiar with our web-based order system – now is the time to check it out. Here we regularly update the prices and supply, and present an array of distinctive products you can order through us from small, high-quality Israeli cottage industry manufacturers.

Through the system you can track your order and bill, so that if you have any questions regarding your last invoice or credit card bill, you can see a full detailed breakdown in our order system.

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Garlic Breath

Can you recognize the vegetable in the photo?

At first glance, this green garlic may look like a medium-sized leek, but somehow it smells like garlic… Its head is bigger than a scallion’s (but not as big as the mature garlic) and its leaves are long and flat, not hollow like the scallion. This is one of the last seasonal vegetables: it turns up in Israeli markets at the end of February, just when winter is beginning to ebb and spring glimmers here and there between winter storms. It remains only a short while, till the beginning of April. Green garlic is a unique vegetable, a childish, gentle and innocent version of its pungent older brother, bringing to my mind – as a garlic lover and mother of young daughters – thoughts of the power of gentleness and tranquility, of childhood and maturity. We have been growing green garlic in Chubeza since our very first season, where it made a debut in our first spring boxes.

Garlic is seeded in mid-September. We actually plant garlic like potatoes, by pushing garlic cloves into the earth. You can do it yourself! Even regular store-bought garlic can be used as a seed to spawn a new head of garlic. Naturally, we use organic garlic cloves grown especially for this purpose, choosing the stronger and bigger cloves, and also because the seeds are (supposed to be) free of pathogens (this is very hard to determine). The garlic shoots out a root, sprouts, settles in nicely under earth before winter, and then begins the wait. Just like the onion, their cousin from the Liliaceae family, the garlic wait patiently for their cue–the first signs of the days growing longer and warmer– to begin to thicken and develop a bulb.

Despite garlic’s sterling reputation as an insect repellent (and rightfully so– insects do not really care for it), growing green garlic in the field is not a simple task. The garlic, whose leaves are erect and straight, needs our help in battling weeds, and garlic beds require constant weeding. It is also prone to various fungi and other diseases which strike, all exacerbated by warm winters, since fungi thrive on heat and moisture. Even in a relatively dry winter, there is enough moisture in the air and earth for the fungus to develop, particularly when temperatures are not low enough to deter them. Thus, for some years now, fungi have damaged our garlic by rotting out their roots and drying and yellowing their leaves.

In organic (as well as conventional) agriculture, it is recommended to confront imminent threats to the garlic first and foremost by prevention: only plant garlic or other Liliaceaes in the same plot in five-year rounds, and use seeds from a reliable pathogen-clean source. There are also those who advise sterilizing the earth before seeding. In organic farming, this means solar sterilization: spreading clear plastic sheets over the ground, causing the earth to heat up to that temperature which kills the disease-causing elements, while still allowing the survival of microorganisms within the soil. And above all, the most crucial requirement is to create and maintain a strong, fertile earth. Accordingly, at Chubeza we rotate our garlic plots in the field, and buy seeds from a reliable source. This past summer, we also carried out a solar sterilization for the first time in various beds in the field, where we later planted the garlic.

The fungus usually strikes towards springtime, when temperatures rise. Picking green garlic at this time is, traditionally, our way to try to beat the system: once we detect signs of fungus-damage in a specific bed, we begin selectively picking the garlic whose roots have been harmed, but whose bulbs are already round and not yet infected. We pack them in bundles for use as fresh garlic. The garlic that was not struck continues to grow in the bed, now enjoying a more spacious area underground to spread out. Once they hit maturity, we pick them and dry them in the sun (not direct sun, but under a blanket of leaves).

To our delight, this year’s garlic crop is beautiful and unharmed. We planted it in a new plot with good irrigation, hoping to prevent the development of fungus, who thrive on moisture and dampness. One of the beds seems weaker, and from this bed we will harvest the young green garlic you’ll be receiving in your boxes over the next few weeks. The rest of the beds will wait, together with us, with throbbing hearts and a silent prayer, as they grow into impressive garlic heads which we will pick and dry.

The Glorious Virtues of Garlic

In the meantime, some words of praise for this smelly but important and beneficial vegetable, its pedigree, glorious past and how it may be stored and used:

Garlic originates from the prestigious Liliaceaes family, cousin to the onion, leek, chives and asparagus. Its love-hate relationship with human beings began over 5000 years ago. Garlic is one of the most ancient cultivated plants, which makes it hard to determine its origins. It probably comes from the area of southwest Siberia, from where it migrated to southern Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and then Asia. In all these areas, it remains well- loved and highly revered, which you will soon understand why.

Garlic is considered to be a powerful, magical plant: healing, warding off evil spirits, inspiring courage, arousing passion, cleansing the body, and bringing luck. Natural medicine terms it “Nature’s antibiotic.” And it is considered to be an insect repellent, capable to cure stings and poisonous bites, as well. Here are some additional examples that attest to its virtues:

☺ In Arabic tradition, legend claims that when Satan left Eden after Adam’s sin, garlic grew from the place his left foot touched, and onion in the place of his right foot.

☺ Ancient Egyptians used onions and garlic as symbols for the constellations and zodiac system. Garlic was used as sacraments and in ceremonial oaths. Tutankhamen was buried with garlic and onions, which kept amazingly well over thousands of years.

☺ Greeks would place garlic heads atop a pile of small stones at crossways, as a meal-offering for the small, triangular goddess.

☺ Roman soldiers would eat raw garlic in order to muster courage. (Anyway, that probably repelled their enemies fast enough.)

☺ Tractate Baba Kama glorifies garlic as “satiating, warming and joyful, having many seeds and killing the louse within the intestines.” Ezra the Scribe instructs eating garlic on the Eve of the Sabbath, as it “brings love and eliminates lust.” (Talmud Yerushalmi)

☺Writers from the 11th and 12th centuries recommended garlic to protect from harmful sunshine and desert storms.

☺In Sicily, garlic is placed on the birthing bed, to ensure an easy birth.

☺Gerard, a 16th century British plant researcher, tells about miners in Germany who hung garlic on their body to ward off any netherworld dwellers roaming the depths of earth.

☺A European folk belief claims that if one of the runners in a race chews garlic, he will be unbeatable. Hungarian horseback riders will sometimes place a piece of garlic in their horse’s mouth to guarantee that any horse trying to overtake will veer off from the malodorous whiff.

☺To this day, British royalty abstain from garlic so as not to emit bad-breath odor, Heaven forbid. Consequently, all staff and workers at Buckingham Palace do not eat garlic.

Garlic’s Secret Ingredient

And why does this strong, stinky-smelling-lilac have such an influence on us? Whole garlic contains an inactive substance called “alliin.” When garlic is sliced and its cells are damaged, it becomes an active sulfur compound called “allicin,” which is the antibiotic within. Allicin is an antiseptic, beneficial against infections, parasites and inflammations. It allows garlic to help remedy coughs and the common cold, infections (lungs, digestive system, eyes, ears, teeth), intestinal infections, and even fight very aggressive germs, like those of tuberculosis.

Garlic contributes to lowering blood pressure as well as levels of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol, while raising the levels of “good” cholesterol. It also relieves thrombophilia and successfully dissolves clots, thus reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. Other components of garlic are beneficial in treating melanoma and preventing intestinal cancer. It can also assist in offsetting the ill effects of diabetes, and prevent fat build-up in the body.

Green garlic is milder than dry garlic (which is more mature and also undergoes drying, becoming more concentrated, spicier and harder), and not as fetid. You can also enjoy its greens/stems, at least 6-15 cm of the juicy greens sprouting from the fresh garlic base. Like the leek, fresh garlic greens generally contain clusters of earth, and it is recommended to wash well before use. You can store fresh garlic greens in your refrigerator for three to four days. After you have used the greens, you may store the garlic head in a ventilated basket in the kitchen, without refrigeration.

Green garlic can be added to salads, omelets, sauces, baked goods and doughs, made into a spread, be grilled, blanched, sautéed in olive oil, or any other use you can think of. Its mild taste makes it a super candidate for garlic soup. In this week’s recipe section, you will find many ways to use fresh green garlic.

And what’s really nice is that garlic can easily grow as a plant outside your window: stick a garlic clove in the earth, water it and give it time, and it will sprout beautiful greens you can chop from time to time and add to any dish that is enhanced by yummy, mild garlic.

May we all enjoy a wonderful week,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GARLIC-SCENTED BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, parsley root/fresh garlic, peas/ fresh fava beans, tomatoes, beets, carrots, fennel/kohlrabi, cucumbers, broccoli, celery, purple or green cabbage (small boxes only)

In the large box, in addition: Potatoes, leeks, coriander, cauliflower

Wednesday: beets, daikon/fennel, cucumbers, parsley/cilantro, snow peas or garden peas, cauliflower/cabbage, potatoes, green garlic/leeks, carrots, tomatoes

In the large box, in addition: broccoli, celery, fava beans

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil and bakery products 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!

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RECIPES FOR GREEN GARLIC GOODIES :

Pasta with green garlic

Green garlic pesto

3 green garlic recipes – hummus, soup and salmon

Green garlic festival: bread, soup, chicken, dip, pasta, soufflé – from the NYTimes – recipes on the left

3 more recipes – vinaigrette, soup, soufflé

Green garlic butter

Barley Salad With Green Garlic and Snap Peas

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