Aley Chubeza #170, August 9th-11st 2013

As the New Year dawns, we are delighted to welcome a new member to Chubeza’s associates of excellent farmers and cottage industries producing top organic products for sale. We are pleased to introduce Hillel and the rest of the “field croppers” from Ein Charod (Meuchad). Here are a few words about the Ein Charod field crops from Hillel himself:

“The organic almond grove of Ein Charod Meuchad lies in Emek Charod (the Charod Valley) at the foot of the Gilboa Mountain. Our fields of organic crops cover some 1,600 dunam (~400 acres) of wheat, hummus, corn, sunflowers and other produce, including almonds. Though we were told that “organic almonds cannot be grown in Israel,” we decided to take on the mission, despite the many difficulties. The main challenges we face are in the area of plant protection, specifically when the almond leaf mites attack us every spring, causing the trees to sob (and me along with them.) This attack ends naturally at the end of April, when the trees undergo a process of recovery. The spring months are the most important for tree growth, which is why ours are smaller than the trees that do not grow “organically,” and their yield is much smaller. To this day we have not found any solution for the mites, despite great efforts on our part. At least with the remainder of the pests, we deal quite well.

“Growing almonds organically is an interesting challenge. As a grandson of pioneers who arrived in Ein Charod in the 1920’s and became farmers and vineyard workers in the valley, I look upon organic farming as part of the protection of the valley and its habitants and of the environment in general. After many years of studying, including an MA in biological pesticides and work in the Sde Eliyahu factory that specializes in raising natural enemies, I am quite interested in organic farming and attempting to implement the knowledge I’ve acquired.

“We shake the almonds in the modern shaking alignment and send them to be shelled under the supervision of Agrior. We do the final sorting and packaging here, at Ein Charod. You should know that the Israeli almond is considered to be tastier and healthier than almonds imported from California, thanks to the varieties of almonds developed in Israel. Despite their smaller yield, they are of a superior quality. Bon Appétit!”

Have a look at the way they plant organic olives in the groves. At the very end, there is a segment on the almonds.

The price of Ein Charod’s delicious organic almonds is 84 NIS per kg. You are welcome to add them to your boxes via our order system.


Klara from Jerusalem send me the attached invitation for a morning of Macrobiotic learning, practice and more. For further details and to sign up please contact Klara at: [email protected]


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace…

In Memoriam, Lord Alfred Tennyson

It’s another New Year, and Chubeza, too, starts anew. Yet again! In Hebrew, the word for year is Shana, meaning “to repeat, to re-learn, to review.” And this is the story of circular progress, of the cycle, of the years. Another round and another cycle, and each time we’re a bit similar and a bit different to what we were.

As farmers, we feel this intensely. Each year we plant and seed the same plants, each year we plow open the earth, disk it, loosen the earth, level it— exactly the same cycle. Yet every year is different than the previous one and those yet to come.

This year, in autumn, we are in the midst of transition between summer and fall, at the peak of our planting and seeding season. We are attempting to plant the first cycle of fall plants which makes its way into the world in the hot days of the summer’s end, but the nights are cooler, the morning dew is refreshing, and the heat of the day is indeed tapering.

Our year is beginning well and differently. We are ten years old! Exactly one decade ago, my husband and I knocked apprehensively on the door of Leora Faulker, a veteran organic farmer, one of the first in Israel (17 years back then!) to discuss with her the possibility of cultivating her organic plot as a vegetable garden for Chubeza. Many rivers have been crossed since then, and for some years now we have been growing in other fields. And lo and behold, this year we are back to cultivating our first plot, Leora’s. Gabby, an excellent, longtime farmer and our farm cultivation man, who was my neighbor way back when and a loyal friend ever since we first began, said he felt very emotional driving the tractor back to the good old plot. Yet another cycle completed by the wheels of time.

This year we experienced renewal in our inaugurating the use of a net house. For the past decade, we have been growing our vegetables in the open field, enjoying the biological ecological balance the open field creates, while suffering the harsh blights of summer that accompanies this joy.  On one hand, the open field allows nature to take its course, with insects that benefit as well as harm our produce, as they coexist in nature’s balance. On the other hand, problems that can be solved only by prevention are hard to thwart in the open field.

So after several years of abstaining from growing squash and cucumbers in the summertime, and being anguished by summer tomatoes rotting on the vines, we jumped at the opportunity offered us by a deserted hothouse facility we discovered near our new farm. Gabby helped us renovate it to become a net house for growing vegetables in summertime. It was an interesting learning experience, challenging, sometimes dismaying, but definitely satisfactory and successful. Thanks to the net house, we were able to include our very own cucumbers in your boxes up until a few weeks ago, and now these are our very own tomatoes (not all of them are ours, but even some makes us happy, as this time last year we’d been buying tomatoes for several months). Thanks to the net house, we were able to grow such greens as kale and arugula in summertime, when these vegetables had been attacked severely to the point of no survival in an open summer field.

We found out—the hard way– that the great advantage of the net house is prevention. Yet as soon as a disease was discovered, it was difficult to deal with, due to the lack of a natural balance. The net house is an isolated area, and introducing natural enemies into it is a slow process and only slightly successful. In the next round of growing which begins soon, we will focus on prevention.

This year we are happy to send you an exciting gift, in honor of the holiday, the New Year, and Chubeza’s tenth birthday this Sukkot: For the past two years, a talented member of our Chubeza community, Chana Netzer Cohen, has quietly and diligently been working on a gift for us all. Two years ago at the Open Day, I chatted with her about an idea I’d heard from Joe Perry, my mentor farmer from California: a Chubeza calendar, which accompanies the months of the year and growth cycles in the field with photos and text,  I told her that Joe would begin photographing the field in January, and sometimes would even make it till February, but by spring the excessive work would push aside his dreams of photographing and by March he would dismiss the idea once again… Chana decided to take on the task.

Chana arrived at our field every month for a photo session (sometimes bringing along her husband Chaim and one of their children). In wintertime, she would plod through the muddy field, and in the summer she would nearly pass out from the heat, ever searching for something interesting, new and beautiful. Sometimes it was a small insect or a close-up of a flower, other times a panorama of planted crops or the beautiful skies. Chana has a talented eye and a steady, accurate hand as she clicks the shutter. The photos she produced are lovely and touching, and even we were struck by the breathtaking beauty of Nature.

After a year, Chana offered me a difficult challenge: to pick my choice of 13 photos from the dozens she took (thank goodness for leap months…) It took a while. My husband added his two cents (better than me at making crucial decisions), and finally the calendar was designed, decorated with photos and texts from various newsletters over the past decade, and marking holidays that pertain to nearly every religion and faith– portraying the scope of Chubeza workers and community members who span the world over.

So last week (and this week, for some) alongside the vegetables, you received another sort of fruit, that of the work of talented and dedicated Chana. We are extremely grateful to Chana and her family who accompanied her on this long journey. We were blessed!! Thank you, Chana!


And a thank you to our earth, its insects and microbes, who dedicate their days and nights with nonstop activity to give life to our seeds and plants who grow within it and yield nutritious produce. We thank the sun that feeds them from above, the water which quenches their thirst from below, and God (by whichever name you may call Him) who orchestrates this entire colorful enterprise. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this picture.

With the new year, our staff is renewing. Alongside our familiar, longtime workers Mohammed, Pumme, Ding and vinai, we bade Gil farewell after a year together. We must also say a painful goodbye to Lobsang, who has been with us for many years. Gil has moved up north to Haifa, and Lobsang is moving to Tel Aviv. They are both going to be studying, and we wish them much luck. We happily greet our new workers, Shachar from Kfar Bin Nun, and Idan from Nachson, with new energy, new smiles and laughter. Thanks to you all, we are able to continue our endeavor.

Our longtime volunteers Melissa, Eliana and Alon continued working with us this year, and their devotion has given us continued joy. Eliana has left to devote herself to the birth and care of her son Kedem, and we had Mali for reinforcement. In the family arena, Alon’s grandfather and Aunt Ruthie continue to faithfully march with us, and this year my parents, Abba and Ima Sorek, joined the volunteer forces at Chubeza. Thank you all!

Ya’ara joined us this year, and those of you who have been in touch with her have definitely experienced her charm. I personally thank her for all the support and help in working with you, in the field, and behind the scenes. She is everywhere, and I am grateful to her, in your name as well.

And a thank you to our earth, its insects and microbes, who dedicate their days and nights with nonstop activity to give life to our seeds and plants who grow within it and yield nutritious produce. We thank the sun that feeds them from above, the water which quenches their thirst from below, and God (by whichever name you may call Him) who orchestrates this entire colorful enterprise. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this picture.

It has been a very interesting year for us and for our fields and produce. In this coming year, we will attempt to toss away our excess baggage, take more steps forward, accept the steps backwards, and the strides that move simultaneously backwards and forward.

May we all have a wonderful year, one of happiness, health, and great fascination. A year of connection and love, of growth and beauty. A year of life and living!.

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



Monday: Coriander, leeks, Province pumpkin, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, cucumbers, garlic chives, eggplant/bell peppers, sweet potatoes, small boxes: lubia/Thai yard-long beans/okra

In the large box, in addition: Parsley, potatoes, lubia/Thai yard-long beans, okra/onions

 Wednesday: garlic chive/green onions, lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, cilantro, sweet potatoes, leek, carrots, peppers/eggplants/corn, Provence pumpkin, tomatoes

In the large box, in additionlubia/Thai yard-long beans/okra, butternut squash, parsley

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 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!