Aley Chubeza #189 February 17th-19th 2014

Some Messages – Some Additions to Your Boxes – What’s Missing – What’s New

As previously announced, our excellent baker Manu has a newborn son and is currently on maternity leave. Thus, her baked goods are temporarily unavailable for purchase via our online order system. We will update you on further developments. Wishing Manu and the family many good wishes and some sleep…

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Our flour grinders, Assaf and Arik of Minhat Ha’aretz, have informed us that over the next few months we should expect a shortage of whole wheat spelt flour, 70% and organic spelt semolina. They do have non-organic spelt flour available, but at this point we will not be purchasing it. We’ll keep you posted of any changes.

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The Menachem family, the fruit growers of “Melo Hatene,” do many more things besides tending their fruit orchards. At Melo Hatene they have an apiary, an olive orchard and an olive press, and they also produce a variety of unique and extraordinary products. Beginning next week, you will be able to use our online order system to purchase these exotic additions to Melo Hatene’s fruit assortment: tahini from Ethiopian sesame, ground by antique millstones (super special stuff), and excellent ground coffee traditionally roasted.

In addition, the fruit orders are changing slightly. From now on, the price of a large fruit box is 85 NIS, and a small box is 55 NIS. Also, you may order “surprise” fruit boxes, or specific fruits packaged in kg units (we’re sorry; we no longer can allow half kg orders). If you have an ongoing fruit order, please update it.

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We received a new date supply last week. We apologize to those who did not receive their date order last Wednesday. Please renew your order this week. The sweet and juicy dates await you.

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Honi, the circle drawer, from a book by Devora Omer

Where is Honi when we need him most?

Over the past weekend, Chubeza’s fields got approximately 7-8 mm of rain, a great accomplishment considering the drought of the past couple of months, when even the very scattered showers our country received skipped right over us. And having waited for the rain so anxiously, we couldn’t help but discard all the regular winter complaints, and even enjoyed the heaviness of our muddy shoes, prompting a “who dragged mud into the office” by a smiling Maya (who has been trying, together with Dror, to tame my messy, dirty office since they arrived).

The rains were great, but not enough, of course, and the dry week we anticipate makes me wish I could just post a lost and found ad: “Lost: an old and energetic man, stubborn but full of hope, that can draw circles in the earth and convince the Good Lord to send some rain in our direction.” At this point, it seems like all the disciples of Honi are taking a leave of absence in London, where they are now trying to convince the heavens to shut down the deluge. But we continue to pray and plead that this month will be wetter, that we will receive our own Purim miracle of blessed showers. Some say it may happen the beginning of next week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed tight.

No rain is a huge problem in the long run, of course, as the area’s water reserves dissolve, but for dry farming (without irrigation) it’s a clear and present danger: the wheat and other field crops surrounding us are already yellowing and are shorter than usual. In fields where it’s possible, farmers have been artificially irrigating to try to save the crop. In our field, we solve this problem by using drip-irrigation, which is usually resting at this time of the year. But this year, as time passes and the rain does not come, we use it quite often.

The temperatures are not that high, actually, though during the day there are some sunny warm hours. But still, the days are short, the nights are cold, and the frost continues till the late morning hours, so the winter veggies still feel at home. They bask in the cold of the night, and enjoy the light and warmth of the days, allowing them to grow nicely. Our last winter rounds are being planted as we speak, and we have already begun seeding and planting a bunch of spring vegetables: eggplant, squash, pumpkin and cucumbers are making their first baby steps in the field, under the protection of plastic tunnels that isolate them a bit from the winter outside. The melons are expected to arrive this week, and next month- watermelons!

At the margins of our field and within the beds, the weeds are beginning to party, which is, of course, a festival of beautiful blooms but also a sign that we cannot wait anymore with the weeding. Plus, along with manual work, we need to start cultivating the soil so the weeds do not arrive at the seed stage and plant themselves more comfortably in the field– along with their thousands of offspring. Our amazing Gabby thus fixed an old Aerator and renovated a cultivator which can hook onto the tractor.

קילטור ראשון בח'ביזה לפני עשר שנים...
Our first cultivation in Chubeza, ten years ago

Cultivating is the work of processing the top layer of earth in order to remove the weeds. The trick is not to cultivate too deep, in order not to bring up seeds that are buried deep below. On the other hand, do not cultivate too close to the surface so as to succeed in removing the weeds from their roots. In our case, we cultivate in beds that already have crops within them. We clean the weeds from right to left of the crops, which requires very accurate and professional work at the right rhythm, i.e., Gabby’s work. I can watch him forever as he drives, fiercely concentrating, leaving happy and clean beds behind.

Wow, the field is beautiful these days, with beds heaped with vegetables growing or ripe, alongside empty beds, brown as a chocolate cake, waiting for the spring and summer plants to be inserted. The vitality of winter and the moisture within the earth and plants still exist despite the lack of rain, and the fields all celebrate this happy season. If you’re around, by all means pop in to say hello and bask in the glory of this beauty.

Wishing us all a good week, one that will finally bring some rain!

Alon, Bat Ami, Maya, Dror and the Chubeza team

 

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Cauliflower, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, snow peas/garden peas, white cabbage /red cabbage/ broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, coriander/dill/parsley, spinach/ broccoli greens, leeks

Large box, in addition: Fennel/beets, sweet red peppers, potatoes

Wednesday: potatoes, fennel, cucumbers, red or white cabbage, parsley, broccoli/cauliflower, snow peas, carrots, lettuce, celery, tomatoes

Large box, in addition: leeks, kale or spinach, daikon or small radish

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

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