Aley Chubeza #260, September 7th-9th 2015. Shana Tova!

Preparing for the holidays…

Changes in delivery dates over the holidays: There will be no deliveries to those of you scheduled to receive a box on Monday, September 14th. However, deliveries in Modi’in, Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and South Tel Aviv will be made on Thursday, September 17th. You will soon receive a detailed email regarding the holiday delivery schedule.)

* Wednesday delivery will be moved to Thursday, September 17th and the ordering system will close on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:00.

The Week of Yom Kippur: Monday delivery as usual (September 21st). Wednesday delivery moves up to Thursday, September 24th and the ordering system will close on Monday, September 21st at 12:00.

During Chol HaMoed Sukkot, there will be no deliveries, thus you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 28th and 30th of September.

On the week after Sukkot and Simchat Torah:

*Monday deliveries move up to Tuesday, October 6th and the ordering system closes on Sunday, October 4th at 9:00.

* Wednesday deliveries as usual (October 7th)

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 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 1st, 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!


It’s raining calendars, ladies and gentlemen! Hopefully to be followed by real rain… Dora, an old friend who worked at Chubeza as a young woman (together with her very special family) told me about a unique calendar she and her family are putting together.

It’s a Hebrew-English calendar (there is also an English-Hebrew version) where they combine healthy and vegan recipes, pictures of our beautiful little country and photographs of some delectable dishes.

In order to publish this calendar, Dora invites you all to take part in this initiative by supporting it via headstart. Read all about the idea that led to this enterprise, support the project, take a sneak peek and donate to receive a calendar or other fun gifts. (If you wish to receive the English-Hebrew calendar, make sure to note that in the comments.)

The calendar will be published next week (even if they do not meet their campaign goal on headstart.) Dora and her partners have a Facebook page where you can order the calendar as well.

(note: the orders are via headstart of Facebook)


It’s been nearly a decade since I told you a Rosh Hashana story about pomegranates and people. Since it’s such a beautiful story, full of hope and pomegranate juice, I decided to do a remake and resend it. Enjoy!

A Rosh Hashana Story

In honor of the New Year, let me share a beautiful, touching story I heard from a botanist friend, the kind that can name every single plant by name (Latin, popular, even nickname), who loves plants with all her heart. A few months ago, her eyes sparkling, she told me about a book she’d read telling the story of Dr. Gregory Levine, a botanist from Turkmenistan (north of Iran and Afghanistan, south of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, along the Caspian Seashore. Dr. Levine, a punecologist (I know you have no idea what that means. Be patient…), was a native of Leningrad. He had been a lover of gardens since the tender age of 8 when he planted his first one (potatoes, of course). As time went on throughout Levine’s life in the rollercoaster 20th century, everywhere he went he was always drawn to gardens and plants, charmed by them.

Upon completing his post-doctoral studies at the beginning of the 60’s, he received a post as the head of a sub-tropic fruit culture lab in Garrigala (south Turkmenistan), on the Iranian border. Levine then devoted his life to the study and gathering of Germplasm (the living genetic seeds or tissue that carry the hereditary values of various plants), focusing on… pomegranates, of course. You know, we told you he is a punecologist, and punicology originates from the Latin word for pomegranate. “Punica” is the study of pomegranates. In forty years of work in the Garrigala research center, Dr. Levine was able to collect 1117 DNA samples of pomegranate species from 27 countries spanning four continents. This constitutes the greatest collection in the world. Many of the species were acquired in complicated ways, including actual treks the good doctor took, sometimes endangering his life, in the Central Asia and Caucasus Region, the birthplace of the pomegranate and the only place in the world where pomegranates still grow wild.

Most of his work was supported by the Soviet government when Turkmenistan was within the realm of the Soviet Union. But in 1991 when the Soviet Union went under, Dr. Levine’s funding was halted and he could no longer finance his research. His irrigation system was cut off and the great collection of pomegranates, persimmons, pears, apricots, apples, figs and grapes were dying of thirst, as the workers tried desperately to save them, watering each tree individually from water pails they carried from the nearby Sumber River. Brokenhearted at the loss of his life’s work, in 2002 Dr. Levine joined his children in Israel. A short while after he left the lab, the government issued an order to uproot the trees and plow the land. Today, lackluster vegetables grow in place of the rare, unique species.

Would a gal like myself leave you with such a sad story before the New Year?

Just before he left Turkmenistan, in an act of desperation, Dr. Levine sent cuttings from his collection to scientists at the Ben Gurion University down south and to the Agricultural Department of the University of California in Davis. The cuttings were planted and well-received, and Dr. Levine’s legacy, well, our legacy, was rescued (at least partially). Many of the species grow today at the agricultural lab at California University, and every fall a small group of scientists, growers and some other lucky people attend a “pomegranate tasting” festival for black, white, pink, purple, spotted, tiny, sour and sweet pomegranates from the Turkmenistan collection.

The pomegranate is indeed a wondrous fruit, and though it is deeply-rooted in Jewish tradition, from the Song of Songs to the priestly garments to the “seven species,” it’s not a local fruit. As detailed above, the pomegranate’s origins are the Caspian Region-Iran-Turkmenistan, where it first appeared some 4,000 years ago. Since the Middle East does not host the proper pollinators, the pomegranate doesn’t grow wild, but upon being planted it can survive wild even without cultivation. There are those who think its Hebrew name “rimon” comes from the word “rumman,” the Syrian God of Wind, Rain and Thunderstorms, and the pomegranate does ripen at the end of autumn, right before these appear. Another thought is that the Hebrew name derives from the Hindu god Rama.

The pomegranate is a symbol of prosperity, creativity, beauty and fertility (specifically of the feminine type). However, there may be painful consequences to its seductive abilities. One of the versions of the story of Eden is that Eve actually seduced Adam with a pomegranate, not a mere apple. Hades, the God of the Underworld, only needed a few pomegranate seeds to seduce Persephone. He then abducted her to the Underground where she is trapped in an annual circle every winter, killing the growth, and only coming up for air in springtime to bring about blossom and renewal. And then again, winter and summer, the circle of seasons, a new year starts, a new beginning.

From the health perspective: In folk medicine, the pomegranate has always been lauded for its beneficial qualities. Now, in recent years, science has acknowledged that the pomegranate is indeed important for the heart and blood vessels. A daily consumption of pomegranate seeds or juice contributes to the decrease of “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL), blood pressure, to improve blood flow to the heart and even a remission of Atherosclerosis. Its red pigments, the Anthocyanins, have antioxidant value to fight infections. Together with other protectors contained in the pomegranate such as the tannins, they slow down the aging process and work to prevent cancer. The pomegranate contains a high level of elements called Polyphenols which transform pomegranate juice into a very powerful antioxidant, thus slowing down the development of cancer cells.

Folk medicine holds the red pomegranate to be a good source of iron, recommended to those suffering from anemia. Chinese medicine as well views it to be a blood fortifying fruit. In alternative medicine, the pomegranate is used specifically to eliminate intestinal worms and other parasites (by making a concentrated drink out of the crushed peeling). Pomegranate juice is great for wrinkle smoothing, and it aids in decreasing congestion of the liver and eases arthritis. Some even believe that pomegranate consumption can prevent osteoporosis and treat diseases deriving from excess acidity. Due to the high quantity of tannins in the pomegranate peeling, the peelings are recommended for fighting hemorrhoids and anal fissures. The tannins shrink tissues, hastening the recovery process. You can find a list of home remedies employing pomegranates for medicinal use here. However, those suffering from kidney stones should not drink too much pomegranate juice due to the excessive oxalic acids it contains.

Pomegranates may also be used to dye cloth. Sometimes unintentionally, as testified by the many new clothes spotted and stained by pomegranate juice splayed all over them… But, it’s your health that counts.

At the end of his book, Dr. Levine writes: “What does future hold in store for the pomegranate?…It will become significant to chemists and for medical research, because within its hard shell lay hidden qualities that can perhaps free us from many illnesses and renew our health in a world maimed by contaminants. The pomegranate will eventually resume its rightful place once held in the Old World of the west and east…But most of all, it’s a fruit. A beautiful, decorative object. It is an aesthetic simile of our world, in its beauty, unity, uniqueness, defense and vulnerability. I honestly don’t know if the pomegranate was lucky to receive me as a researcher, but it was definitely a stroke of luck that brought me to the pomegranate, to listen to its energy and devote my thoughts and actions to it over many years. I hope the kingdom of pomegranates will continue to thrive forever. I recommend that you, the reader, get to know it better.

As the New Year approaches, we wish you all a very good year, one of prosperity, growth, renewal, beauty and fertility. Once again, we thank you all for the support and partnership within the Chubeza community, and invite you to the traditional Open Day taking place on Sukkot (see above). We look forward to seeing you, having a chat, meeting new friends, taking a tour of the field together and showing off our great plants!



Monday: Red/green bell peppers, coriander/mint (nana)/ parsley, pumpkin/butternut squash, potatoes, tomatoes, basil, leeks, popcorn, pomegranates, cucumbers, Thai beans/ okra/cherry tomatoes.

Large box, in addition: Scallions, eggplant, corn.

Wednesday: eggplants/sweet potatoes, cucumbers, parsley/cilantro/mint/garlic chive, tomatoes, corn, okra/Thai long beans/cherry tomatoes, popcorn, basil, pumpkin/butternut squash, pomegranates, leeks.

Large box, in addition: scallions, green or red peppers, 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 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!