Some Spring Messages:
Delivery changes over the holiday:
During Chol Hamoed there is no delivery, so we will be skipping Monday, April 9th, and Wednesday, April 11th.
Those who receive a box every other week, please note that this means a three-week gap in delivery. If you wish to change delivery dates to prevent this long absence of Chubeza vegetables, please contact me ASAP.
Those who wish to expand their boxes for the holiday, please notify me ASAP.
Updating your email address:
This month we begin working with a new software system, designed to dispatch an email to Chubeza members at the end of each month containing a detailed bill for vegetables and products supplied over the month.
To send this type of bill, we require your current email address. If you do not receive our invoices and messages to your most updated email, kindly inform us of the details at: [email protected] .
In the grand Chubeza tradition, we invite you for the annual “Pesach Pilgrimage” to the field to celebrate our Open Day. This year the festivities will take place on Tuesday, April 10, the 18th of Nisan, between 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM. On the Open Day we get a chance to meet you, and you get a personal tour of the field and a great opportunity to socialize as you nosh on vegetables. The kids have their very own tour of the field, tailor-made for small feet and curious minds, plus creative activities, cooking, and a wide, open space to run free.
The Open Day features a vegetable stall where you can purchase vegetables, in the absence of Pesach deliveries.
Before you set out for Chubeza, please check the updated travel instructions on our website, under the category “contact us.”
Wishing you all a Chag Sameach!
Ruth from Jerusalem invites the Chubeza community to a Seed Exchange meeting, this Friday in Jerusalem. See attached form for details.
This week’s newsletter is in memory of Kfir, who was with Chubeza from its very start. Even after he moved up north, he came to visit and work at every opportunity. We miss you, Kfir.
As we planted the very first seeds in our new field this week, it’s high time to make the introductions:
This year, we have added a new plot to the veteran Chubeza land, located almost five acres away on the outskirts of the moshav. Our veteran fields all within walking distance from the packing house, while this young’un is out yonder, a 10-minute walk or a short drive away. This plot has started it’s “convertion to organic growth” before wintertime, and will retain this status for some time.
In order for land to be certified organic, it must be totally clean of toxins and chemicals. This involves two stages:
- Examining the soil thoroughly to determine that there is no residue of pesticides.
- Imposing a “cooling-off” period from the last season that this land grew conventional crops. This two-year cooling off is called a “conversion period” in which the plot undergoes a process of conversion from conventional to organic farming. During this time, planting and growing in the field is done in accordance with all rules of organic farming. In no way does this interim period mean we can cut corners. To the contrary, we farmers treat this soil-under-conversion exactly like any other organic plot, from the first stage of preparing the earth till we harvest and clean the beds.
For us this is an important time, less for the earth (which, as noted, was examined and found to be free of pesticides), but more for us as farmers to realize once more that there is no immediate, easy leap or shortcuts. The transformation requires a waiting period and patience.
Before winter set in, Gabi cultivated the new plot using chisel plough, a huge fork that plows open the earth, allowing the rain to permeate. In a rainy, stormy winter like we’ve had, chisel plough cultivation is even more essential. Thanks to this method, we experienced no flooding or soil erosion in this plot, even though it lay empty all winter long. Over the winter, we installed a new water point, water clocks and an irrigation system, to fully equip the new field for irrigating.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve tilled the field and divided it into beds. Two weeks ago we spread compost over the entire plot. Last week we laid the irrigation pipe to the beds: a thick, main pipe; smaller pipes to distribute water to individual beds, and drip pipes positioned within the beds. A true work of art, crisscrossing the field in black stripes.
With great toil and effort, we mulched the beds in plastic sheeting in anticipation of spring and summer planting. With the earth as saturated as it is at this winter’s end, its weight is enormous, and the work of mulching is very slow. But at last, we reached the long-anticipated climax of planting our first seedlings. This plot will host a wide, colorful variety of cucurbits: pumpkins of 3 different sizes (this year’s range goes from giant to medium and small-sized), the acorn squash, the spaghetti squash, the kabocha squash in two colors, green and orange, and of course, the familiar and beloved butternut squash.
Soon we will plant Jerusalem artichoke (Sunroot) bulbs within the mounds we formed on this plot and also “regular” artichoke. These two vegetables are not related at all, except for a strange connection in name only. I promise you a comprehensive report on the topic sometime in the future.
This additional Chubeza plot allows us flexibility with our planting and seeding in the various parts of the field, more possibilities in terms of crop rotation, and the opportunity to allow different parts of the field to get some rest. Seeding in rotation is one of the most important ways to maintain the earth’s fertility and health in such intense, varied work as our field demands. In every cycle of planting or seeding, we rotate the type of crop in that specific part of the plot. Various plants drain substances from the earth, while some add needed elements. The earth takes time to reproduce the matter required for these plants (carried out by microbial activity within the earth).
In organic agriculture, specifically the non-industrial type, we do not add specific nutritional matter to the earth, but rather attempt to cultivate earth that is rich and balanced, healthy, and laden with microbial activity. It is thus vital to vary the types of crops without repeating their growth in the same spots, which will lead to a reduction of soil resources. It is also important to allow rest periods for different plots, to enable the tiny, intelligent creatures living within the earth to do their job undisturbed and to rehabilitate the earth from previous growths.
So, to our new plot, welcome to Chubeza! Good luck in your first steps along our mutual journey!
May we all have a good week,
Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Potatoes, lettuce, kale or Swiss chard, celeriac, garden peas or snow peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, parsley, fava beans
In the large box, in addition: Fennel, kohlrabi, cabbage or scallions
Wednesday: potatoes, lettuce, kale, celeriac, sugar and snap peas, tomatoes, Dutch cucumbers, carrots, beets, parsley, fava beans
In the large box in addition: kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower or scallions, Swiss chard
Recipes corner will be back after passover