Aley Chubeza #134, November 12th-14th 2012

It’s a Date!

We still have some end-of-the-season Dekel Nur dates in stock, but last week we received a brand new delivery of Kibbutz Samar dates.

This time, Gili sent us the Zahidi variety, which arrived just in time to keep us from being bereft of dates, Heaven forbid… We hope to soon receive a new stock of Dekel Nur from this year’s harvest, and, of course, the indescribably delicious Barhi variety.

In the meantime, let’s meet the new kid on the block: Zahidi is a gold-colored, dry, sweet round date, rich in iron and the richest of the other dates in dietary fibers. Alon and I made a scientific taste test, and Zahidi passed with flying colors: sweeter than Dekel Nur, less sweet than Barhi, dry and soft. An excellent date to remember! Order via our order system.



So… someone’s been reading our newsletter, because the weekend most definitely brought with it our first rain. Therefore, this week’s newsletter will be dedicated in its entirety to this precious precipitation.

The forecasters promised rain on Friday, and thus I promised my daughters. My Shachar went to gan clad in a coat, mittens, a wool hat, a scarf, boots and an umbrella, to cajole the rain into making a genuine appearance. The day was cool but sunny, dotted by only an occasional raindrop. But even the rain could not resist Shachar’s pleas (and her apparel), so a joyful, steady shower began. By 7:30 AM, our reporter-in-the-field, Melissa, dispatched this news: “Rain in Kibbutz Gezer, probably in Kfar Bin Nun as well!” At 8:15, I received the next newsflash: “Sun’s out again. It was a nice and refreshing wash-up, but not that serious. Further updates to come, if needed.”

And indeed, we needed updates: at the end of the pleasant Friday, a truly rainy night followed; then a sunny Shabbat, and once again– a stormy Saturday night and Sunday. The adjacent Kibbutz Gezer measured 5 mm of rain on Friday, an additional 18 on Saturday, and on Sunday another 47 mm! What puddly, wet joy!

Chubeza’s field is already spotted with puddles at its corners, and we are enjoying the mud prints we leave in our little office. We’re discovering which rain-suits are already dripping and should be replaced, and remembering what it’s like to maneuver in the rain between work in the packing house and in the fields (requiring decisions and predictions fit for gambling halls in Vegas: Will the rain get stronger or weaker over the next few minutes? Should we go out for another round of harvest, or is it better to go indoors to do packing and other wintery, indoor activities…What are the odds?).

On rainy, muddy days, and for a couple of days after the rain, we attempt to minimize our activities in the field. The earth does not like being handled when it is full of water. Especially our type of heavy soil, which decides to fulfill its artistic dreams when we touch its clumps—it becomes harder and clay-like, preventing the seeds to break through and grow. We therefore try to leave the earth alone and resume the work of planting and weeding only after the water has been more deeply absorbed, and the ground is not as muddy.

This type of rain (temporarily) washes away the gnawing concerns of the farmer: What will this year be like? Will the rain ever arrive? Will winter remember to grace our little country with precipitation in a dry Middle East? And lo and behold, here it comes: great big drops and a nice steady flow, as if someone opened a huge faucet above, deluging us with a great, huge shower. Of course, we can now start worrying whether or not the rain will continue and return soon, but we would rather imitate little Shachar’s actions and simply convince the rain that it had better come! We will soon plant broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and kohlrabi in beds without irrigation tubes, just to show the rain how we’re totally counting on it to satiate these plants. We really hope it won’t disappoint us……

In two days, it’s supposed to get sunny and warmer again, allowing the field to breathe, absorb its newly-received moisture slowly and moderately, and to store it in reservoirs under the roots, which are stretching out their shoots to drink the water and benefit from its nutrients. Sunny-after-the-rain days are so much cleaner and better. Everything is shiny, and you get the feeling you can actually enjoy the bright weather, as the field has already drunk away and winter has indeed begun.

Leah Goldberg did an excellent job of describing the happiness and sigh of relief in the well-known children’s song whose words drip with rejoicing and relief. If you click on the link you can also listen to the beautiful rendering of the song by Dorit Farkash.

Unfortunately, an English translation does not do credit to Leah Goldberg’s beautiful poetry. But we offer instead these images by John Richard Vernon, from The Beauty of Rain, 1863:

And at last it comes. You hear a patter… you see a leaf here and there bob and blink about you; you feel a spot on your face, on your hand. And then the gracious rain comes, gathering its forces—steady, close, abundant. Lean out of window, and watch, and listen. How delicious!… the verandah beneath losing its scattered spots in a sheet of luminous wet; and, never pausing, the close, heavy, soft-rushing noise…

May we all have a wonderful week, may peace be disturbed only by the sounds of the earth awakening to life, not by the rattle of swords.

Alon, Bat Ami, ya’ara and the Chubeza team



Monday: Lettuce, arugula, carrots, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, parsley, cucumbers, beets, daikon or turnips, eggplant/red or green bell peppers/zucchini, (small boxes only), scallions (small boxes only).

In the large box, in addition: cauliflower or broccoli, kohlrabi, leeks, sweet potatoes, cilantro

Wednesday: scallion, arugula or tatsoi, slice of pumpkin, radish or daikon, kohlrabi, parsley, cucumbers, beets or turnips, carrots, Swiss chard, tomatoes

In the large box, in addition: eggplants / leeks, cauliflower or sweet potatoes, cilantro

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, eggs 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!