Aley Chubeza #285, March 21th-23th 2016 – Happy Purim!

“And who knows whether at a time like this you will attain the kingdom?”
I want to see you be brave!
In honor of Purim, Mpri Yadeha is delighted to present Megillat Esther: A special assortment of fruit leather that’s a sweet reminder of what a brave woman can do! (Only 10 NIS apiece!)

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Purim’s Here!

In the Hebrew calendar, Purim is not considered one of the agricultural holidays. At first glance, Purim seems to be a holiday unrelated to nature and agriculture, rather an urban holiday with no customs related to harvesting or seeding, and a costume carnival seemingly unattached to a specific season. But anyone who tends the field during this time of the year realizes exactly how much Purim is suited for this season, especially in our tiny little country.

The weather is acting as if it’s guzzled down a bottle of wine or two or three, staggering in its walk, driving itself into a drunken stupor. After a cold, rainy winter, suddenly the weather ups and changes, thrusting itself between summer and winter, cold and warm, wet and dry. Three summer days, then one rainy day, followed by two dusty heat waves and then some more fog and cold weather. What a mess!

Our winter field is contemplating dressing up in a spring costume, a salad mix of winter and summer. The cauliflower, broccoli, peas, fava, greens, beets, carrots, leeks and scallions, celeriac and parsley roots, artichoke and garlic, veteran tenants going way back to wintertime, have been sitting in their beds calmly, chatting away for months. Suddenly, from beneath the plastic covers emerge new saplings peeking out at the world! There’s squash, butternut, pumpkins, melons, fakkus, beans, cucumbers and even tomatoes, the first batch to be planted after the autumn bushes were damaged by the frost and had to depart from us prematurely.

Along with the field, we too are getting excited about the transformation: almost like the butterflies in our tummy as we put on our costumes. One minute it’s my daughter checking herself out in the mirror and all of a sudden she disappears and someone else appears, familiar but new, and it’s her, but she too is now different, and her appearance changes the way she feels. Walking around the field that has been wintery for a good while evokes similar excitement as the gourds make their appearance and the beans are sprouting. Change is in the air, and it’s a joyful change.

And the joy and laughter are accompanied by a sense of unease as well: somewhat of an embarrassment to be seen outdoors wearing the costume, hoping all goes well, that nothing falls apart and the smile remains on our made-up face. In the transformational field as well, our heart skips a beat as the field slips into this summer costume, mostly because of the drunkard weather that can keep making us crazy. Thus we send out our children and vegetables all dressed up and neat, and hope we meet them at the end of the day in good spirits, their makeup a little smeared and their mouths chocolaty, but with laughing eyes.

In honor of Purim we suggest such interesting and joyful mishlochei manot from your vegetable boxes as:

Carrot Cake

Chocolate beet cake

Parsley pesto

Green fava spread

Tomato jam

Vegetable sticks and dips

Vegetable fritters

Kale chips

Or simply a fresh bag of snow peas

Wishing us all a happy and silly Purim, full of embraces and easiness,

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

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WHAT MISHLOCHEI MANOT ARE WE SENDING YOU IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, coriander/parsley, tomatoes, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, fava beans, celeriac/parsley root, snow peas/garden peas. Small boxes only: Fennel/beets.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/artichoke, nana (mint)/dill, leeks/fresh onions, baby greens (mesclun mix).

 Wednesday: Red or green lettuce, dill/parsley, tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, fava beans, celeriac/parsley root, fennel/beets. Small boxes only: snow peas

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/cabbage, nana (mint), leeks/fresh onions, baby greens (mesclun mix).

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

 

Post-Purim- What’s In Your Boxes

We remind you that for the third year in a row, Asaf and Arik from “Minhat Ha’aretz” offer their handmade Matzot shmurot made from Israeli organic wheat. This year they are selling crispy or soft matzot, as well as handmade matzot from spelt flower (non-organic). Click this info page for further details (in Hebrew).

Prices: 125 NIS per kg organic wheat shmura matza, 140 NIS per kg spelt matza. For orders: email or text us by March 27th. The matzot will arrive at your home the week before the holiday (April 7 or 9)

Chag Sameach!

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Last week’s showers made us super happy. The field received good quantities of precipitation, and we entered Purim on a light, albeit muddy, step.

Last week we somehow took a glimpse at the leftover Chubeza calendars on hand, and in the spirit of Purim, we’ve decided to send them to those of you who joined after we distributed the beautiful calendars at the beginning of this year. Since we don’t have enough for all you newcomers, again- in the spirit of Purim, the distribution will be according to lottery (or luck, since we don’t really know how to conduct an actual lottery). Enjoy!

We are still getting over Purim, wine, costumes, and parades, so this week we will make do with only the list of vegetables filling your boxes.

Happy Post-Purim!

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Cauliflower, fennel/beets, lettuce/red lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic chives/fresh garlic, cucumbers, dill/coriander, peas/ snow peas.  Small boxes only: celery/celeriac, fava beans/garden peas

Large box, in addition: Parsley, leeks, spinach/mizuna/bok choy, carrots, purple or white cabbage

Wednesday: beets/carrots/radishes, garlic chive/green garlic, cucumbers, cauliflower, cilantro/dill/parsley, fava beans/garden peas, snow peas, Romaine or red leaf lettuce, celery/spinach, tomatoes, small boxes – broccoli or cabbage.

Large box, in addition: broccoli and cabbage, rucola, leeks.

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!

Aley Chubeza #191, March 3rd-5th 2014 – Happy month of Adar!

Over the past weekend, our online order system was upgraded. On the surface, it resembles the previous version, except for some minor changes: the order page looks slightly different, and when you click “end order” after you’ve finished your shopping, there is an additional step where you must click “send order” to complete your order. We also encourage you to use the order system to inform us of any changes in your regular delivery, which is a great boon to our efficiency. We will happily guide you in using the system and to solve any problems that might arise.

We did prepare for this change, but of course, beginnings are always difficult. There may still be bugs or minor changes which will surface over the next few days. Please be patient with us, inform us of any problems, and accept the limitations of technology. We promise to listen and eliminate any bug (organically, of course…).

Once again, thank you Amir, our loyal programmer who has worked so hard to improve our system and make it more efficient. This is hard, complex work, and Amir is always around to help, explain, and save us. The Chubeza staff and members thank him profusely.

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In two weeks’ time, Purim is scheduled to joyfully arrive. In order for us to prepare for harvest day, the order system will close down for Monday changes (Shushan Purim) earlier than usual– by Thursday, 9:00 PM. This will enable us to prepare on Friday. Please, please do not send in late requests. On Sunday we will be unavailable by email or phone. Please let us know of any orders or changes in your boxes ahead of time—-and have a wonderful Purim celebration!

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Melissa from Mipri Yadeha is preparing a special, creative line of yummy products for Mishlochei Manot:

  • § The Scroll of Esther–distinctive, hand-fashioned leather scrolls in a royal package: fruit leather in select flavors: peach, clementine, apple-ginger, persimmon-carrot, guava, pomegranate, apple-date, orange-apple and more. 10 NIS per scroll.

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About heavy haze, no rain, and… happiness

This week began with a heavy haze. In the late afternoon on Sunday it was hard to spot the olive orchard at the end of our packing house. A dirty, dusty cloud of haze sat on us and choked our souls. Unusually, the field was dry and thirsty in the morning, unlike previous mornings when the dew dampens the leaves and the field is fresh and awake. It feels like the weather, with its “no rain” decree, has decided to take it one step further and dump a dusty heat wave upon us.

Still, it’s the month of Adar, so we must be happy…?

The yucky weather made me think of half-full and empty glasses, and about the dictate to be happy. Can you even command someone to be happy? Maybe it’s a matter of character. There are those who come into this world full of happiness and a positive outlook, while others are naturally pessimistic. Or is it about choosing the right glasses to look through? Do we look at the dusty pane and get upset about not being able to see the horizon, or do we enjoy the many varieties of green we can see up close, in the nearby field?

Sure, the no-rain situation is very worrisome. We are irrigating, and every time there’s rain predicted, we hope for a major rainstorm. But by the time the clouds reach our field, they are already exhausted and empty. If we’re lucky they share a last, lame drizzle. And yet, the dampness in the air is great, and every morning the field is full of dew that delights our vegetables. The storm we experienced at the beginning of winter is already so far behind, but it did saturate the earth to the extent that even a small amount of irrigation meets underground moisture that is sufficient for the greens.

The dry weather is good for the peas, fava beans and other crops that usually suffer from too much water and dampness. And the healing sun provides the vegetables with strength and vitality. So, despite our great sorrow and craving for a real winter, and despite the many just complaints, there is also a good side to this winter. Then again, we can get upset about the sun encouraging the weeds to take over the field…

And that’s how it is with happiness. It’s not that reality is void of happy events, but that these happy events carry a measure of sad and painful sides as well, which we tend to amplify at times. This week we had visitors at our field from the permaculture course. When I told them how we started Chubeza and how I dared to fulfill my dream, I mentioned that this happened shortly after my return from California, where I was so full of the American confidence and faith that you can make a dream come true. Thankfully, I started to work as soon as I got back, because had I waited just a few more months, the Israeli cynicism and criticism would have probably paralyzed me, and Chubeza would never have happened.

It’s not that Americans or Israelis are right or wrong about the way they view reality. Dreams do not always come true, but sometimes they do. There’s a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. When we plant a wide variety of vegetables in the field at different times and rounds, some are a great success, and some fail miserably. The question is- what do we remember, how happy are we with the success, and how sorry are we about what didn’t work? Do we get really upset when the plant nursery sends us chicory instead of lettuce by mistake, or do we treat this as an opportunity to try something we would have never dared to try (and probably won’t in the future…)?

Yochai and Dotan from the charming organic field in Kibbutz HaMa’apil told me about a mistake some of their amateur workers had made by erroneously planting a double amount of cauliflower plants, half of which were intended for elsewhere, and leaving no room in the bed for the broccoli plants. So they ended up not growing any broccoli in that round, but the cauliflower turned out so yummy and beautiful that at some point they were thrilled with that mistake. So it’s a question of the way you look at things, at the half-full or empty glass, at choosing sorrow or happiness.

In order to be organic farmers, sometimes we simply have to wear those pink glasses. So much is in the hand of nature, and every once in awhile we have to accept the fact that a bed drowned in a sea or weeds not cleared in time, that we have absolutely no way to protect the little ones from the stings of the lesser pumpkin fly, that the leek is once again struck by a fungus or that the neighborhood dogs romped in our fields and tore the cover we’d spread over the greens. We acknowledge and constantly experience our limited control over what takes place in the field, and must decide how to respond to failures, mistakes or unforeseen and unknown problems. Should we be upset and despair, or take a long look at the field and see all the good that is still within it, focus on new vegetables we’re trying out and note how beautifully they are growing, and be happy with the plenty our field is yielding and how lucky we are to work in a place such as this.

So, although the haziness hid the wonderful abundance of the field and the surrounding nature, and though we coughed a lot to clear the dust from our throats, and though the dryness upset the plants already addicted to their daily dew portion, perhaps it came to remind us that sometimes beauty, abundance and diversity are hiding in the dark, concealed, or covered. The question is if we work hard to find them when we’re sure they’re there, and if we convince ourselves that something must, simply must, improve soon.

May we have a happy, hopeful month of Adar, full of half-full glasses (preferably brimming with rain…)!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Maya and the Chubeza team, praying for a v’nahafochu rainstorm.

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Broccoli/cauliflower, fennel/ daikon, lettuce, tomatoes, kohlrabi/ beets, cucumbers, coriander/parsley, carrots, garden peas/snow peas. Small boxes only: celery, purple or white cabbage

Large box, in addition: Kale, leeks, fava beans, dill, potatoes.

Wednesday: carrots, fennel/daikon, cucumbers, parsley, fava beans, snow peas/garden peas, kohlrabi/beets, lettuce, mizuna/pac-choi, tomatoes, small box: broccoli/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: leek, dill/cilantro, celery, cabbage/cauliflower, broccoli

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!

Aley Chubeza #148 February 18th-20th 2013

Last pre-Purim reminder- Melissa’s Mishlochei Manot!

 Melissa of Mipri Yadeha is preparing a special, creative line of delectable products for Mishlochei Manot:

  • § The Scroll of Esther–distinctive, hand-fashioned leather scrolls in a royal package: fruit leather in select flavors: lemon-mint, passion fruit, kiwi, apple-ginger, guava, pomegranate and more. 30 NIS per scroll.
  • § Leather Mishlochei Manot  – including four wonderful flavors: 10 NIS per package

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V’NahafoChubeza

So last week’s chubeza-leaves-in-the-box aroused many questions and quandaries, in an attempt to figure out what those strange leaves were (one client described them as “a huge parsley”). I hope that after a short bafflement, you managed to figure a way to make good use of it.

On the other hand, there were those who rejoiced at the change in routine, rolled up their sleeves and began cooking. I want to share two happy comments received this week:

Leora wrote: “I wanted to share with you the ‘gift’ you sent in our last box- the chubeza (mallow). As a child raised on a moshav, I was used to eating its fruits. So I was no stranger to the plant, but I never bothered to taste its stems and leaves. Now, based on your recommendation, I decided to prepare cutlets according to the recipe you included. I chopped up onion and garlic, added chopped mallow leaves and tossed them all into a bowl. When I took a look at the bowl, all that yummy fresh chopped stuff made me crave a fresh salad, so I added some olive oil, salt and lemon and got the most amazing salad! The sweetness of the mallow stems and leaves along with the lemon’s bitterness and the garlic’s spiciness combined to make one marvelous, delicious work of art. Add to that the many virtues and medicinal benefits of the mallow, and I scored big-time! And to think I used to weed out this delicious and nutritious green….. Thank you!”

Noa, an instructor of creative ecological programs for children in Tel Aviv is spreading the word: “Thanks to you, the children in my program will be taking part in a chubeza scavenger hunt in the neighborhood. Based on the info in your last newsletter, I prepared four notes they will find in all sorts of creative ways, and the parents will be given recipes. And we will definitely be picking the chubeza, despite the urban soot… It is so plentiful in the garden and all around…”

Here is a photo taken by Noa from an urban picking/gathering tour led by Uri Meir Chizik. Chubeza is an especially popular attraction—- what joy!

  

So thanks to those who dared and tried, and of course, to our very dear chubeza-mallow. It will be returning to your boxes next year, but do go out and pick some on your own!

Meanwhile, back at the field, it is full-blast winter. The vegetables are growing slowly, the earth is saturated with water, and the days are mostly cloudy with occasional sunbeams surprising us from behind the clouds. The winter vegetables are bounding with health and flavor, as they are drawn from the clods or picked off the muddy stems.

Reminder: Soak muddy roots in water. After a 15-minute soak, they’re much easier to rinse off, dry well and store in the fridge. Leave the greens “as is,” wrap them a towel and return to the bag. Wash them only just before using.

In honor of the upcoming Purim holiday, I recommend you read some interesting stories about masquerades in nature by Boaz Shacham, ecologist and zoologist, from the SPNI website (Hebrew). Notice another link at the top left corner of the page to an article about plants that dress up.

Wishing you all a good week, full of laughter and fun, joyful turn-abouts, amusing pranks and bountiful joy and light!

Alon, Bat Ami Ya’ara and the Chubeza team

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, leeks or scallions, purple or green cabbage, tomatoes, parsley root, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, potatoes, coriander or parsley, kohlrabi (small boxes only)

In the large box, in addition: Peas, fennel, kale, cauliflower/beets

PURIM

PURIM TIME!

To bring us cheer in honor of Purim, Gil and Ayelet of Kibbutz Samar stopped by Chubeza to replenish our stock of their perfectly delectable dates. Currently we have two varieties to offer: “Barhi,” incredibly sweet and soft, and “Dekel Nur,” slightly drier and mild-tasting. We’ll be delighted to send them to you to include in your Mishlochei Manot, or for everyday merrymaking.

And, in Purim’s honor as well, we are doing a small “nahafochu” by not writing a Newsletter this week. We can just tell you that our field was blessed with plentiful quantities of rain throughout the recent storm, and we are now reveling in mammoth quantities of mud.

We invite you to look back and enjoy previous Purim Newsletters here and here.

May you have a week abounding with happiness, laughter, healthy frivolity, pranks, and lots of friends and family to share these with!

Happy Purim from us all—Alon, Bat-Ami and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S PURIM DELIVERY BOX?

Monday: Potatoes, lettuce, celery, broccoli or cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, Dutch cucumbers, fennel, daikon or beets, coriander or parsley, scallions

In the large box, in addition: fava beans, red kale, green or red cabbage

Wednesday: cauliflower or cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, parsley, fennel, fava beans, cucumbers, carrots or peppers, tomatoes, green onions, potatoes

In the large box, in addition: celery, peas, beets