September 4th-6th 2017 – Friends indeed…

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

  • – During the week of Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, September 19th and the ordering system will close (for that Tuesday) on Sunday, September 17th at 1:00.

– The week of Sukkot: Wednesday delivery will be moved to Tuesday, October 3, and the order system will close (for that Tuesday) on Monday, October 2 at 9:00 am.

– During Chol HaMoed Sukkot: There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 9th and 11th of October.

Back to normal schedule on the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

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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 Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 10, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-5:00 PM. 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 special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up. (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova. We look forward to seeing you all!

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Strong Friendships

Today our vegetables take a step back to make room for our friends. As life moves back to normal, there’s lots of new excitement in our Additional Products section. This Newsletter is thus dedicated to introducing you to some new friends, new products and old acquaintances in a new form.

We are big believers in direct contact between consumers and manufacturers, and in the value of being close to those who grow and develop our food. Over the years, a number of small and medium-sized manufacturers from across the country who create quality products from excellent raw materials have become members of the Chubeza community. They are all masters of simplicity – no preservatives or additives needed.

Wandering among the additional products which may be added to your Chubeza boxes is a sensual experience. Among the myriad of colors, flavors and fragrances, you will find organic flour ground in Hadera; goat cheeses from Tal Shachar; honey from the Golan Heights; olive oil, hummus and organic almonds as well as honey from the Jezreel Valley; organic madjhoul date honey, juices and health bars from the southern Negev; sprouts from the Hefer Valley; dates from the Arava; tahini and coffee handground at Karmei Yosef; unique live products from Beit Shemesh; crackers from the northern Galilee, and juices, jams, apple cider and fruit vinegar from the hills of Jerusalem. This prominent parade is joined by two newcomers this week:

The first, wearing the apron of our new baker, is Ido, a talented baker from the “Beit-Halechem” bakery. When searching for a new Chubeza baker, we received a very warm recommendation for Ido, and after we met him we understood why. Here are his own modest words:

“My name is Ido Blaustein. I love baking and absolutely adore fresh, healthy food from excellent raw materials. In my bakery, I bake sour dough bread from organic whole wheat, never adding yeast, sugar or oil. I try to make sure all the additions to our breads are organic, though sometimes, due to price constraints there are exceptions (nuts or olives, for instance). I’m certain to inform clients of all the ingredients.

I am happy and excited to join the circle of Chubeza associates. Please feel free to contact me with any questions: 054-8191514

Ido gave us the simple version, the “bread and water” (so to speak), but I must add that so far everyone who has sampled Ido’s pastries sings his praises and gives thanks to the day he began baking, testifying to the fact that his love of baking is quite apparent in the outcome… In addition to baking bread, Ido also prepares excellent granola. Welcome!

Ido begins baking for us next week, and we will inaugurate his entrance to the Chubeza scene with a nice variety of breads, all organic and locally ground. It is possible that changes will be made in accordance with your requests. Check out the variety

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We welcome Michal and Avigail from the grinding mill Tahinna. They recommend you rediscover food you thought you knew really well, but do you really?

 Tahinna is located at a boutique factory situated in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Heh in the Judean plain. The factory was established by Michal Melamed, a kibbutz member and clinical psychologist who decided to turn her life upside down. Big time.

Research and setting up the enterprise took five long years and included learning sesame and its unique characteristics, getting to know traditional methods for preparing Tahini and setting up machinery that could meet the qualifications for production.

At Tahinna, we believe in simplicity, health and flavor. We love doing things at the right pace and time. All in all, we prefer to stay out of nature’s way, going back to the basics, just like old times.

What does this mean? We do not remove the seed’s shell, do not roast it, or add a thing.

So what do we do? We clean the sesame and soak it pre-sprouting. Afterwards, we slow-dry it at a low heat (up to 40 degrees). In the end, it arrives at our grindstones where we grind it whole (shell included).

This unique, untouched process creates a new flavor – strong and lively and even wild!

The nutritional value of Tahinna is exceptionally high, abundant in calcium, iron, and vitamin A, with only a slight sodium content. Thanks to this unique process, the nutritional value remains intact and is more easily absorbed by the body.”

Tahinna is available in two sizes: 350 gr – 23 NIS/ 700 gr – 41 NIS. Try it now for an amazing discovery of something new, surprising and tasty!

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And after we have introduced the new kids on the block, let us welcome the veterans renewing just in time for the New Year with great new products designed to make us happy:

Tomer and Hamutal have resumed processing apples in their production factory in Givat Ye’arim in the Judean hills. This year they added a new line of organic pear products. As you may recall, they use the deprecated fruit left on the ground after harvest to transform to delicacies: fresh juices, ciders, vinegar and sweet jams.

In autumn, both organic apple juice and now pear juice join the durable products which hang in there all year long (cider, vinegar, jams). Soon, we will be informing you of new alcoholic pear cider joining its apple cider cohort.

Tomer and Hamutal’s juices are only with us for a few months, so don’t miss them! For all the details (in Hebrew), click here.

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Udi’s impressive team of sprouts in Moshav Ahituv is being joined by a bunch of very special guys, redheads at that – the amaranthus sprouts. Amaranth is a wild plant used for food and medicine in ancient cultures, returning to its full glory these days as a superfood containing protein, vitamins and minerals and no gluten.

The flowers and seeds of the plant are arranged like a remarkable stalk of grain on the stem, which is why it adorns many home gardens just for its beauty. The red seeds were used by the Hopi Indian tribe to produce the color red. Try Udi’s amaranthus sprouts to add a splash of color and flavor to any salad or sandwich. Here, take a look at these beauties from Udi’s Sprouts:

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With the abundance of ripening fruits in the orchards, Kibbutz Neot Smadar brings us fresh new organic juices from the Deep South. They’re now introducing small bottles of grape juice, grapefruit juice and peach nectar (in 1 liter bottles.) The juices contain no additional sugar (beyond the nectar’s natural sugar) and are all simply delicious. These beverages join Neot Smadar’s great organic date honey created from madjhoul dates (and only dates), and their yummy health bars.

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And one last Associate for this week

After a break and in perfect timing for the New Year, our apiarist Tamir from the Golan Heights has renewed his honey stock. Tamir cultivates beehives and bees in the southern Golan, producing amazing honey. This week we received brand new jars of wildflower honey and blackberry honey.

Tamir is a descendent of Ethiopian apiaries, learning the profession in childhood as he watched his parents work. Read more about him in this nice article (Hebrew) and enjoy his honey by adding it to your boxes.

That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for a close look at our other fine partners. And the good news is that autumn is right around the corner, so don’t despair at the hot weather attempting to set foot in your doorway. Its days are numbered….

Wishing you a great week,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Cucumbers are back! The cucumber bushes have begun yielding nice quantities, and although the market remains in the throes of a shortage, we are happily distributing fresh, yummy cucumbers from our very own farm. Thank you for your patience. Enjoy them, they’re great!

Monday: Parsley/coriander, corn, yard-long beans/okra, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach/lettuce, tomatoes, edamame (green soy), eggplant/cherry tomatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin, scallions/leeks, red bell peppers.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, corn, edamame (green soy)/okra, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, lettuce, eggplant, butternut squash/potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, red bell peppers.

Large box, in addition: Slice of pumpkin, scallions/leeks, yard-long beans/tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini 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!

What’s in the box this week?

To mark the coming of Spring – the “Derech Hashatil” Nursery in Shoham is offering a planting kit of organic summer vegetables for your home garden. This special nursery grows organic vegetable plants in cooperation with the Shekel non-profit organization, employing only special-needs individuals. Derech Hashatil produces excellent quality organic plants for your vegetable patch, placing top priority on the quality and health of the plants.
The summer vegetable collection includes five seedlings from each of these vegetables: melon, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Cost per kit: 132 NIS.


To order, either send an email or a text message to Chubeza, and we will send the kit along with your next Chubeza delivery.

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This week we did not manage to write a Newsletter, but we shall resume regular publication next week.
In the meantime, we wish everyone a good week and a smooth Return to Routine Life!
And a hearty Chag Sameach greeting to our Thai workers who last week celebrated the Thai New Year which begins in spring!
From all of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Tuesday: cilantro/dill, zucchini, Romaine lettuce/leaf lettuce, cucumbers, kohlrabi/artichoke, tomatoes, cabbage, leek/onions, cherry tomatoes/fava beans, carrots, beets.

Large box, in addition: cauliflower/broccoli, celery, fennel

Wednesday: Fennel, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, Romaine lettuce/leaf lettuce, cabbage, beets, leeks/fresh onions, artichokes. Small boxes only: coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition: Fava beans/cherry tomatoes/green garlic, kohlrabi, cauliflower/Swiss chard, celery.

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

Our open day will not take place this week

The Wheather forcast for this coming Thursday is unpleasant: dust, winds, rain…
After some thoughts we decided to postpone our open day to a future date.
We hope to invite you some Friday in the coming weeks after the Holiday.

We’re sorry for that, we’ll miss your visit during the holiday!

We wish you all a happy Pesach,
Chubeza team

Aley Chubeza #309, October 6th 2016 – Shana Tova again!

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

The Week of Yom Kippur:

  • Monday delivery as usual (October 10th)
  • Wednesday delivery moves up to Thursday, October 13th and the ordering system (for that Thursday) will close on Monday, October 10th at 12:00.

During Chol HaMoed Sukkot:

  • There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 17th and 19hof October.

On the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah:

  • Monday deliveries move up to Tuesday, October 25thand the ordering system (for that Tuesday) closes on Sunday, October 23rd  at 9:00.
  • Wednesday deliveries as usual (October 26th)

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

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 Sukkot Open Day will take place on Thursday, October 20th, the 18th of Tishrei (third day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00- 5:00 PM. 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 special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova from all of us at Chubeza.
We look forward to seeing you all!

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tamir-dvashIn honor of the New Year and the sweetness of this month, we are happy to bring to your attention a beautiful article about Tamir Azala, our honey man from Moshav Sha’al in the Golan Heights (Hebrew). May we enjoy a sweet New Year!

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And as autumn approaches, a message from Alon at Izza Pziza

izapzizaDuring October and November, our goats start preparing for calving. Some of them naturally stop producing milk, while we help out the others by gradually weaning them till they are dry so they can renew their udder tissue and produce quality milk the next season as well. First and foremost for the benefit of the kids….

The result will be a temporary shortage in fresh milk products, however we will advise you each week of our current stock. Hopefully by December our pen will fill with the sweet cries of newborn kids, and with them a renewal of fresh products. And of course, you are all more than welcome to pay us a visit.

Wishing you happy holidays and a great New Year,

Alon and the Izza Pziza crew

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The Chubeza Story Continues ….

This week, our first newsletter of 5777, we continue to tell our tale (and yours):

{if you happened to miss Part I, here it is from last week’s newsletter}

In our fields, located in Kfar Bin Nun in the Ayalon Valley, we grow a combined vegetable garden of around 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs, all organically grown. The method by which clients receive “a box of surprises” allowing a connection between farmers and community is called CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. The CSA concept was born of the turbulent ’60s in Japan, where it was termed teikei, literally “partnership,” but philosophically “food with the farmer’s face on it.” This type of relationship allows for your direct financial support of a small farm like ours, while receiving quality products in return which are tasty, fresh, and often unique and surprising.

From Day One we were rewarded by great mentors who were experienced and quite generous with their advice. The Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association’s counselors recommended we establish our farm in Kfar Bin Nun, and thus we started out in the field of the Poker family. Chaim (z”l) and Leora Poker were organic farmers who had been cultivating an organic vegetable field in their plot for 17 years before we arrived. Leora was very happy to pass over her land and all her knowledge and good advice to young farmers who would maintain the healthy, fertile organic earth. And so we found ourselves at Kfar Bin Nun, which has now been home to us for over a dozen years.

Today, our land is located on Moshe Dagan’s field. Moshe and his late wife Rachel took us under their wings, opening their hearts and backyard to our busy and sometimes noisy packing house. They escorted us step by step and helped us expand at a moderate and “organic” pace suited to our rhythm. Another kind neighbor who helped out from the very beginning is Gabi Za’afrani, an old neighbor of Bat Ami’s at the adjacent Mishmar Ayalon moshav where she lived when she first established Chubeza. Out of his own free will and good nature, Gabi did all he could to help out the amateur farmers by explaining, teaching, lending his tractor, offering advice, finding equipment and supporting us in every possible way. To this day, we are happy to say, he helps out with his tractor and is always there for us, doing everything and then a little more.

Some of our plots are located in the moshav itself, hidden among the rows of houses, mischievously peeking out from between them. Others stretch out more comfortably in plots located outside the moshav. Each plot has its own unique characteristic. One is very well drained, while the other can become swampy over winter. One hosts cultivated earth deep and easily, while another can only accommodate shallow growths. There is a plot located right next to an olive grove, while another boasts a view of a small vegetable plot belonging to the next-door neighbors. One of our plots is adjacent to a small charming tree grove, while the great big fields spread out over a small hill, overlooking the Latrun intersection and the entire Ayalon valley. Some plots are 30-year-old veterans of organic farming, while others turned organic only upon joining Chubeza within the past five to ten years.

Over the years, we grew vegetables only in the open field, as is the case in most of our fields. However, after becoming established and gaining experience in open field farming, when we felt mature enough to proceed and the opportunity approached, we renovated a tall nethouse, four acres wide, located on our field just waiting for us to take over. After two years of learning how to grow vegetables “indoors” we set up a few high Polytunnels where we grow vegetables that need more protection from the dangers of pests or extreme weather conditions.

Our crop variety repeats itself annually based on the rhythm set by the seasons. We try to grow every vegetable in such a way that it can regrow in our fields at the suitable season, from huge pumpkins to tiny snow-peas. (There are only few vegetables we attempted to grow that we had to give up on.) We try to grow several different varieties of the same vegetable for two reasons: one, to enrich the vegetable boxes you receive, and two, to maintain the original heirloom varieties. Almost every year we attempt to introduce one or two new vegetables we haven’t yet grown, or new varieties, checking out a new method or trying out a different way of growing something familiar. This experimentation provides challenges, renewal and novelty in our experiences.

Perhaps because we were assisted by so many veteran farmers who were always so quick to provide advice and experience, we place utmost importance on a readiness to listen to other farmers. As we aspire to learn from experience, helped by veteran advice, we’re quite attentive and open to the creativity of young farmers new to the organic world.

Thus, over the years, we have added more vegetables to our repertoire (sometimes surprised to discover how simple they are to grow), built growth houses, added initiated biological pest control (when you grow in the open field, biological pest control takes place on its own), expanded and improved our very simple packing house (still modest, but oh so sweet), learned to build an open-sided shelter to store pumpkins, and more….

CSA also means teaching and explaining organic agriculture, or any agriculture, seasons, animals who are our partners in the field, etc. in our weekly Newsletter and in response to questions and sometimes to angry complaints. The ultimate message we try to relay is that we are not the owners of this earth, but rather its workers, making every attempt to avoid harming it. That not everything was meant for the pleasure of human beings and needs to be speedily provided according to human preference, but rather that attention must be paid to the animals, insects, tiny microbes, and lumps of earth. Not only out of compassion and kindness, but to the contrary, because we are dependent on their activity and behavior in order to exist upon this earth.

It is important to us to make a direct connection between consumers and manufacturers, to deepen the acquaintance of consumers with the methods their products are prepared, by offering a variety of products that are natural, uncultivated and free of additives, as well as supporting the development of small, independent local manufacturers. Fortunately, over the years we have established many connections and cooperative efforts with independent manufacturers throughout the country to give you the opportunity to obtain additional products to add to your boxes, including organic fruits, organic almonds and dates, organic chickpeas, organic flour and semolina, goat milk products, raw honey, organic crackers, raw food products, dried fruits and “leather”, organic olive oil, rye bread and pastries, apple juice, ciders and jams, sesame spread and coffee.

Agriculture is difficult and challenging. We cannot control the weather, insect offensives, surprise visits of rodents or various pestilences. But this makes everything – sprouting, growing, blossoming, fertilization and ripening that occur in the field at all times in various beds, constantly changing and renewing – an amazing wonder, and a great remuneration for the exhausting efforts and awesome responsibility. We know that we are merely one part of the complex puzzle allowing this colorful celebration of life, and so happy and proud for the opportunity.

We would like to end this Newsletter with the beautiful words of Ehud Manor:

May the sun soon shine
upon us and our whole congregation
may it light the way to the source of water
from now and forever
may the wet rain fall
upon us and our whole congregation
may it make the grass and forest green
from here and forever
 
There are many places in the world
And in them all, the distance is the same
from earth to heaven
As they walk from sea to sea, carrying a light weight upon them
They aim to wander, never wishing to arrive
 
May the rainbow descend
upon us and our whole congregation
may it paint the open valley
from here and forever
may the night cast its darkness
upon us and our whole congregation
may it put fear and sorrow to sleep
from now and forever
may a star now fall
upon us and our whole congregation
may it remind us to make another wish again
 
may the moon cast its beams
upon us and our whole congregation
may it flare the current in our veins
with the fire of a great love
 
oh, may it happen in my day and time
upon us and our whole congregation, and upon everyone
oh, may it happen in my day and time
upon us and our whole congregation, from now and forever.

Wishing you a happy and blessed year. May you be inscribed in the book of kindness, peace and tranquility!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Thursday: Okra/onions/zucchini, sweet potatoes, lettuce, coriander/dill/parsley, corn, red and green bell peppers, Thai lubia/lubia, eggplant/cherry tomatoes, New Zealand spinach/kale, cucumbers, tomatoes.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/leeks, Swiss chard, potatoes.

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, apple juice, cider and jams 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 #308, September 26th-28th 2016 – Shana Tova!

New Year Preparations – Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: 

During the week of Rosh Hashanah:

  • There will be no deliveries to those scheduled to receive a box onMonday, October 3rd.
  • Wednesday delivery will be moved to Thursday, October 6th and the ordering system will close (for that Thursday) on Wednesday, October 5th at 9:00.

The Week of Yom Kippur:

  • Monday delivery as usual (October 10th)
  • Wednesday delivery moves up to Thursday, October 13th and the ordering system (for that Thursday) will close on Monday, October 10th at 12:00.

During Chol HaMoed Sukkot:

  • There will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 17th and 19hof October.

On the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah:

  • Monday deliveries move up to Tuesday, October 25thand the ordering system (for that Tuesday) closes on Sunday, October 23rd  at 9:00.
  • Wednesday deliveries as usual (October 26th)

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.

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 Sukkot Open Day will take place on Thursday, October 20th, the 18th of Tishrei (third day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00- 5:00 PM. 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 special activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “Contact Us.” Please make sure you check this before heading our way.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and Shana Tova from all of us at Chubeza.
We look forward to seeing you all!

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A Chubeza Tale for the New Year

Two events led me to write this newsletter:

Last week Amos, a veteran client who comes to Chubeza each week from Rishon Lezion to purchase vegetables, asked me: “Bat Ami, are you happy with what you do?” It took me a second to understand his question and decide to answer with uttermost gravity and candor: “I am very, very, very happy.”

I mean it. I really am happy and grateful for the place I am in and the privilege to be here, in our fields, with our Chubeza team, with the clients who come here every week and with the friends to whom we deliver our vegetables.

The second story:  In preparation for the New Year, we received a request from the Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association to write the Chubeza story for their newsletter distributed to members of the organization and other interested parties and individuals. Each edition features a column introducing a different organic farmer telling his or her story, and Chubeza’s time has now come.

With Amos’s question in mind, and as I wrote our story for the Bio-Organic Agriculture Association, I realized that it is apt to tell you our story as well. True, many of you have been with us for a very long time, and we have already told you our tale, as does the weekly vegetable box you receive. And yet, over the last year many new members have joined Chubeza’s growing community. When I glanced at our numbers, I discovered that over 1,000 families are now members of Chubeza. It’s time to share the story of Chubeza to all, a story that is both ours and yours, one that begins in autumn some thirteen years ago, and a constant reminder to me that it is worthwhile follow your dreams. Indeed, fairy tales can come true… and it happened to us.

As I sat down to write, memories and thoughts poured forth and I typed away, adding more and more lines to the growing newsletter. So I will split the story which will be featured over this week and next, as we glide into year 5777.

Here goes:

Who are we?

Alon Efrati, Bat Ami Sorek and a very devoted and professional crew containing younger and older individuals, Israelis, Thais and Palestinians, volunteers and paid workers, all toiling together in the field to plant, seed, harvest, collect, pack, plan and deliver.

Alon is the manager, responsible for the fields. He is married to Maya and the father of three girls and a boy. As a descendent of two of the nearby Moshav Yad Rambam’s founding families, cultivating the fields of Emek Ayalon is a homecoming experience for him. Alon holds a degree in agricultural studies from the Hebrew University’s Rechovot Faculty, but when he began his work at Chubeza he discovered that his experience growing his home vegetable garden is actually more practical than the long hours he put into the university labs.

Bat Ami is the client manager, married to Yisrael and mother to four girls. She founded the farm upon returning from the U.S. West Coast where she began studying and specializing in organic agriculture, working in two organic farms in the heart of Silicon Valley. She specialized in various ways of direct marketing from farmer to consumer. With a background and experience in the realms of education and therapy, choosing agriculture that involves connecting with people was a perfect combination.

Today, Chubeza employs eight workers: five from faraway Thailand: Ding, Hoth, Tom, Kampon and Ratfung, and three Palestinian workers from nearby Beit Likia: Mohammed and his two sons, Ali and Majdi. Mohammad is in charge of the team that works in the field.

Gabi is our tractor man, a true farmer who knows everything about the newest improvements, tool care and future dreams. He is always there to help with anything: fixing, transporting, advising and procuring. And he is the one who encourages us to think ahead, be more efficient, develop and fear no changes.

In the logistic department of client management, we are blessed by the assistance of our families: Dror, Alon’s brother, whom we can thank for the efficiency of packing and delivering, and Yochai, Bat Ami’s brother, who greets all new clients.

On packing days we are fortunate to be assisted by volunteers who have been with us for many years: Melissa and Ruthie (Alon’s aunt) who are here every week, and Alon and Einat. Behind the scenes and keyboards we have volunteers who have been with us from the very start (and even before that) – Talya, our website wizard who solves any technical problem, makes it pretty, teaches us and brings order to the website; and Aliza and Melanie who translate the newsletter into English week after week. Even when they are away or on vacation, they somehow find a way to hook up and connect with the world to translate the newsletter for the English speakers among us. This is another great opportunity to thank you all!

And lest we forget, the people who connect us with our community, our loyal delivery people, Amit, Shlomi, Oren, Tamir, Eli, Alon (yup, another Alon), Keren, and Yochai and Dror (see above.)

How did it all start?

We first laid eyes on our field in October 2003, and immediately fell in love. The thorny weeds were man-high and they covered the earth, but we knew this was a sign of fertile land and great promise.

From the very start we were fortunate to be accompanied closely by the support of the Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association (veterans Rafi Rudman, Moshe Ze’evi and Uri Adler) who encouraged us, offered information and counsel. They also attempted to save us from ourselves, explaining that “a surprise box of vegetables” is unsuitable for Israeli consumers who like to choose their own vegetables and not be duped. Despite long conversations with a concerned Rafi who urged us to give up and instead grow 10 acres of paprika for export, we were stubborn and wanted to give it a try.

We realized that it is important for customers to know where, how and by whom their food is grown and to get to know us. No one doubts the direct link between our health and the food we eat, and we assume that choosing a family farmer is as important as choosing a doctor, lawyer or rabbi. From our side, we too placed importance upon knowing our clients personally. We take our responsibility very seriously to grow your food because we know who you are. Your satisfaction is of utmost importance to us. We always welcome your visits to our field, and during Pesach and Sukkot we hold Open Days to invite all to come take a tour of the field and celebrate with us.

After thirteen years, it turns out there are many Israelis who choose not to be cynical and suspicious and are willing to depend on us, the farmers growing their vegetables, to maintain our commitment to grow a variety of great vegetables and pack them up nicely for our clients.

More about this… next year!

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In the New Year spirit and inspired by the traditional Rosh Hashana blessings, here are some special Chubeza New Year blessings to you all:

Dates: May the dates we determine to plant, water, and harvest our crops be not too early, not too late, but just right.

Black-eyed Pea: May our shiners be only from this pea.

Leek: May all the pests, leaf nibblers, tunnel diggers and other little menaces “leek” away, or at least remain under control…

Beets: May blessed rains “beet” upon our fields, saturating our earth (but not sweeping it away with its seeds), filling up the reservoirs and watering the plants.

Pumpkin: May we pump up many beds with seeds, may we empty many trays of plants that will fill up the beds, and may we persevere, as the pumpkin, to the end of the vine.

Pomegranate: May our hands be filled with bountiful earthly missions, as the seeds of the pomegranate.

Apple and Honey: May we have crisp, juicy and sweet produce (or tart, spicy, and invigorating).

Fish Head: May we know to take action from our heads and hearts, and never forget one or the other.

Mallow (Chubeza): This year, may we try to remember when life was sweet and oh, so mallow. Renew our days, as of old!

Wishing you a good and blessed year, bountiful in happiness, success and fulfillment!

Alon, Bat Ami and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S NEW YEAR’S BOXES?

Monday: Sweet potatoes, pomegranates, leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/basil, bell peppers/eggplant, Thai lubia/lubia, lettuce. Small boxes only: Onions/tomatoes.

Large box, in addition: Scallions, okra/cherry tomatoes, coriander/parsley, corn

Wednesday: Sweet potatoes, pomegranates, leeks, cucumbers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, bell peppers/eggplant, onions/tomatoes/okra,  Thai lubia/lubia, lettuce, corn.

Large box, in addition: Potatoes, scallions, coriander/parsley.

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, apple juice, cider and jams 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