Preparing for the holidays…
Changes in delivery dates over the holidays, and a change in the Open Day date: • During the week of Rosh Hashanah: The Wednesday delivery will be moved up to Tuesday, September 23rd. (Monday deliveries as usual)
The ordering system for Wednesday delivery will close on Sunday, September 21st at 12:00
• The week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: All deliveries as usual. • During the week that Sukkot begins: The Wednesday delivery will be moved up to Tuesday, October 7th. (Monday deliveries as usual.)
The ordering system for Wednesday deliveries will close Sunday, October 5th, at 12:00
• During Chol HaMoed Sukkot, there will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 13th and 15th of October. If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please advise as soon as possible.
Subscribing to our weekly newsletter: The best way to receive messages and updates is via our weekly newsletter, which is published on our website and, in most cases, arrives directly to your email inbox. Those who do not receive the newsletter and wish to do so, please advise. If you prefer to receive a hard copy along with your box, please notify me.
Open Day at Chubeza—Note the Change in Date! 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 Monday, October 13th, the 19th of Tishrei (fourth day of Chol HaMoed), between 12:00-17:00 (and not as previously announced). 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!
In honor of the New Year, we have good news on the olive oil front! Along with the outstanding Kibbutz Ein Harod olive oil, Chubeza will now offer you the opportunity to order olive oil from Meshek 42, your favorite producers of goat milk products! For those who aren’t yet acquainted, Meshek 42 hosts goats, bees and olives alongside each other, thanks to the hard work of Oded and Puah and their crew. We are delighted to expand our cooperation with them, and invite you to stock up on these products via our order system.
Puah wrote a few words about the olives and their oil:
Our Olive Oil
We planted our olive grove twenty years ago, just next to the dairy and goat pen which we’ve introduced to Chubeza members over the past year. The grove consists of three different olive varieties (Syrian, Barnea and Picual), producing olive oil with a mild, distinctive flavor. As we harvest the olives, they mix with each other and enter the olive press together, thus creating a delightfully unique blend of flavors.
The grove is treated in organic methods, with no chemical fertilization or any sort of spraying. We fertilize the olive insects by biological methods, confusing the pests and then catching them with no need to spray. We use only organic fertilizer, and we ourselves carry out the entire process of growing and cultivating.
The olive oil we offer you is considered the highest quality, extra virgin and of course, cold press.
We welcome you to come visit our grove and roam the rows of trees.
You can order the olive oil via our order system under “Meshek 42 – Goat dairy & olive oil”.
“Said Abaye: Now that you have mentioned that the siman has significance, every Rosh Hashanah, one should eat a pumpkin, black-eyed peas, leeks, beet greens and dates.”
The Elul moon that hung round and bright in last midweek’s sky is now waning, marking the end of the year. From my house I can hear the dulcet tones of shofar practice. The morning is already crisp and the evenings carry a cool, invigorating breeze. It is autumn, and a new year is around the corner. Next week we will be greeting you with our traditional agricultural blessings, which we attempt to renew each year, but this week as I stared at the list of vegetables occupying your boxes, one of them jumped into sight – the leek, which is also used as a symbol on Rosh Hashanah.
I’m not wild about the blessing it gets (“may all our enemies and haters be ‘cut off,’” paraphrasing the word karti, which sounds similar to karat = cut down), especially in this day and age when “cut off” is used literally. It’s horrifying. But I do love the leek, and would not want to part with it at the holiday table. I believe it deserves a nice, happy blessing. I promise to think of one before next week. Your suggestions are welcome!
In addition to their gala debut at the Rosh Hashana table, six month later the leeks stride in to assume their place on the festive Pesach table. Leek fritters, keftes de prasa, (made with matza meal or matza farfel) are a popular, satisfying staple on the Balkan Pesach menu. Leeks can take starring roles at these two such varied holidays because they grow all year—despite the cold of winter (in Europe they grow beneath the snow), and the heat of summer. The leek does have to contend with the occasional pest, weed, and disease, but usually breezes through those encounters with aplomb. Yet to enjoy the luscious leek, one must exercise extreme patience. From the day the seedlings are placed in the soft earth till the day they are picked, at least five to six long months will pass. But the wait is well worth it.
The leek is a tasty delicacy, far milder than its acrid cousins the onion, scallion and garlic. What’s more, the leek is less putrid and will not bring tears to your eyes. In contrast to its relatives, the leek usually cannot be eaten fresh, but must be cooked. But there are so many ways to cook it (steamed, boiled, roasted, baked, fried), and so many ways to prepare it (see Recipe Corner below) that some leek dishes should come with the warning, “Caution: may be addictive!”
Growing leeks begins with inserting thin seedlings into the earth, following the “deeper the better” rule of planting. The edible part of the leek is the white section at the base of the stalk, hidden under the earth’s cover and thus unexposed to sunlight and lacking chlorophyll’s green. The deeper the leek is planted in the earth, the longer the white sections it produces. To expand this white section, there are those who hill the plants with soil two or three times, higher with each hoeing. This forces the leaves higher up the plant, resulting in extra long blanched stalks. But not at Chubeza, due to a lack of time and a profusion of leeks. We’re satisfied with the natural length of the white, but if you’re growing leeks in your own yard, pamper them and cover the stalk in the ground, thus “blanching” a longer part of the stalk.
After planting the leeks, one must ascertain that they are given ample water, sun and weeding. But the leek will do all the rest…….only very slowly. For here is the real test (of nerves): just giving the plant all the time it needs, lots of time, to grow extremely slowly at its own rate. After five or six months, it will indeed reach the desired height and width for harvest. In our first years at Chubeza, we lacked both experience and patience, and “somehow” our leeks always remained stunted in growth. A consultation with Iris Ben Zvi, a veteran organic leek grower, revealed the error of our ways. “Before five months have passed,” she explained, “I don’t even check up on the leeks. Only after five months do I first venture into the field to see if it’s time to harvest.” A lesson in patience.
Despite the fact that the white is its most coveted part, its green leaves rate mention in Mishnah Brachot, in Rabbi Eliezer’s response to the question of when it is permitted to recite the Shma prayer in the morning. According to the rabbi, the answer is at the very moment when there is sufficient light to distinguish between azure and karti, with karti indicating “leek green.” And indeed, the hallmark of fresh spring leeks is the verdant green of its leaves and the lustrous white of its stem.
Leeks have been growing in our region for over than 2000 years, and even then they were quite popular. Excavations in Egypt have revealed dried specimens of ancient leeks, as well as their depictions in wall drawings. Even the Children of Israel recalled them wistfully when they complained of what they missed from Egypt, “We remembered the chetzir (leeks) and the onions and the garlic.” The Greeks and the Romans were convinced that leeks were beneficial to the vocal chords. Emperor Nero, an aficionado of singing and music, was passionate about consuming a bowl of leek soup a day to improve the timbre of his voice, gaining him the nickname “leek eater.”
The Romans brought the leek with them to each locale they conquered, including England, where the leek attained a place of honor among the Welsh population. It is associated with the patron saint of Wales, Saint Dewi, a devout vegetarian who subsisted on bread, water, herbs and leeks. In a battle between the Welsh and the Saxons that took place in a leek field on March 1, 1620, the Welsh faced a major peril when they discovered that both armies were wearing identical uniforms. According to legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to wear the leeks on their helmets to identify themselves. Naturally, they were victorious in battle. To this day, March 1st, Saint Dewi’s Day, Welsh soldiers adorn their helmets with a leek stalk, and Welsh citizens don a sprig of leek in their lapels. Since that time, much water has flowed under the Themes, but the national colors of the Kingdom of Wales have remained the green and white of the valiant leek. British one-pound coins bear the design of a leek, in testimony to its special standing amongst the Welsh people.
And what’s good for Emperor Nero, Saint Dewy, and the Children of Israel is good for us as well! Leeks can be made into delicious soup, patties, salads, or stuffed, or added to pasta, or used as a substitute for onion in any dish. Here are several tips for storing and using Lady Leek:
- Just as it’s hardy in the field, so it is in storage. Leeks can easily keep for two weeks in the fridge. (You could wrap them in a plastic bag or store in the vegetable drawer.)
- To preserve leeks for even longer, they can be blanched for three minutes in boiling water, drained and sealed in a container in the freezer.
- Remember that one part of the leek—the white section—grew underground. Before using, it’s important to wash the area well to remove any remaining dirt particles.
- Young leeks (not like those that we send you) can be used in fresh salads.
- Conventionally, it’s recommended to discard the green part of the leek, which is a pity. The green leaves make an excellent seasoning and outstanding “raw material” for soups and sauces (see recipes).
May we enjoy calm days of seasons changing and new years being born…
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Maya and the whole Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN OUR END-OF-THE-YEAR BOXES?
Monday: Pomegranates, lettuce, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, leeks, parsley, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers/ okra/Thai beans, onions, potatoes. Small boxes only: Zucchini/eggplant
Large box, in addition: Butternut squash, corn/carrots, New Zealand spinach/thyme, scallions
Wednesday: cilantro/mint, potatoes, cucumbers, slice of pumpkin, tomatoes, pomegranates, onions, lettuce, leek, red and green bell peppers, small boxes only: scallions/chive.
Large box, in addition: okra/yard long beans, New Zealand spinach/thyme, butternut squash/carrots, eggplants.