Aley Chubeza #56, February 14th-16th 2011

Important: We would like to remind you that every request or message regarding your box should be made by the morning before delivery (i.e., Sunday for Monday boxes, Tuesday for Wednesday boxes.) We prepare our lists that day, and any message arriving later can get lost or cause unnecessary confusion. Please, please try to inform us ahead of time (even a great deal ahead of time), so we can fulfill your requests. Many thanks.

We’re now taking orders for Yiftah’s bi-weekly baking. Please send your orders by Friday. Yiftah finishes preparing and baking the loaves next Wednesday, and they will be delivered in the boxes of February 23th and 28th. Yiftah has now introduced a new line of “synergetic breads.” In his words, “Synergetic breads, all made from organic sprouted spelt, contain a variety of additional components, carefully selected, that act according to the rule of synergy: effective cooperation. The combination of nutrients and their active components improves and increases effective absorption in our bodies—thus, the whole that is produced by the total of its parts. These breads express the principle of nutrition for a healthy life, with each bread containing its own special feature.” You can order Yiftah’s hand-baked, sprouted breads via our order form or via email/telephone.


The Green, Green Grass of Home

For two weeks now, it’s actually been winter. Joy! The skies have been dropping rain in steady syncopation, and our irrigation system is shut down and resting peacefully. The field is filling up with weeds, as is every bare patch of earth in the country and city. Enjoy these weeds that paint the place green, liven up the environment and smile upon us. It is in salutation to three very special cultivated green weeds from one family that we will devote the next three newsletters. The stars: parsley, coriander and dill, which we actually grow year-round, but wintertime is their season to shine.

This threesome is part of a greater group of plants, the culinary herbs, which include two main groups: spices and herbs. Spices are usually dry, can be kept over time, and also preserve food, which was one of their historic tasks. They are extracted from various parts of the plant: dried flowers (clove, saffron), seeds and fruits (mustard, cumin, cardamom, vanilla, poppy and sesame), the bark of the stem (cinnamon), and roots and rootstocks (horseradish and ginger).  Herbs are plants with tasty, scented leaves that are traditionally used fresh and green, but of course can be chopped and dried, even frozen.

Seasoning food is one great merit, but the piquant fragrance of culinary herbs is an equally potent advantage. Their aromas helped gain the herbs various mystical functions – as ghost busters who could ward off evil spirits. Aside from their culinary and defensive qualities (against supernatural demons), herbs are vital to our health for their rich compositions of vitamins, minerals, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant materials. Many herbs also contain elements that fortify the activity of the immune system, aid in cancer prevention and fight heart disease, and even some substances that sharpen the memory. It is no surprise, therefore, that from time immemorial these weeds have been widely used for medicinal treatment and are a central element in today’s natural medicine. From our threesome, parsley is known to be very effective in treating kidney and urinary tract ailments. Coriander is effective in battling cancer, and dill is wonderful in easing indigestion and stomachaches. Chinese medicine, too, respects and praises herbs, recommending integrating them in the daily menu through cooking or brewing.

Here’s what is so nice about herbs: they are so simple to grow! They do not demand a lot of space or especially deep soil. They will thrive in a sunny window box, and there’s nothing like picking a sprig from off the windowsill, rubbing it between your fingers, inhaling the fragrance and adding it straight to the salad or the pot. Here is a short article with simple instructions on how to grow herbs on your windowsill or porch (Hebrew).

Our three starring herbs that grow during wintertime belong to the Umbelliferae family. This wintry-scented family includes the carrot, fennel, celery (leaves and root), parsley (leaves and root), parsnip, dill and cilantro, as well as other edible plants we don’t grow at Chubeza, such as anise, cumin, caraway, etc. The family’s name was coined from the shape of its flowers, resembling small parasols or umbrellas. Here’s a look:


Each of these Umbelliferaes consists of a few small umbrelliferaes called umbels, with tiny white or yellow flowers. And five is their lucky number: each flower has five sepals, five petals and five stamens.

Numerous insects are drawn to the nectar secreted by the myriad of blooms, and they pollinate the flowers. The sweet umbrella also attracts many beneficial insects, like ladybugs, parasitic wasps and predatory flies that hunt and consume insect pests on nearby plants. This nice crowd that visits our farm during wintertime, particularly at the blooming stage, encourages those omnivorous beneficial insects that are essential to creating our agriculture’s balance in the field and avoiding unnecessary crop spraying. Thus, even after the early-blooming dill or coriander finish their job as a seasoning herb, we let them grow wild in the field: Aside from the pleasure we derive from their gentle fragrance carried in the wind, they play a major role in helping to maintain the ecosystem in the field.

Winter herbs are sown from tiny seeds, usually with our hand-seeder, and then we wait for them.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

We exercise great patience until finally catching sight of our little sprouts, which resemble two thin tongues peeking from the ground. With herbs, we usually don’t need to thin out the sprouts, but they do require a clean bed. We do our best to clean the area up for them until they grow and are able to produce dense sequential rows of grassy “hair” which blocks the path of “wild” weeds. After they have grown, the herbs are reaped at different heights to allow their re-growth. Coriander and dill are reaped at the height of a few centimeters above earth. They will grant us two to three harvests during the cold winter. Parsley, which is actually a biennial plant, can be harvested many times and withstand a year or more in the field. It is harvested “crew cut” style: we chop it as low as possible, almost at earth height.

These fellows beneath the parasol give off quite an array of scents and aromas. Reaping the cilantro or dill can be a very pleasant experience. Imagine that with every slice you make, the air is filled with one of these whole-bodied winter fragrances.

Wishing us a week full of fragrances, health and green wintry health,

Alon, Melissa, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

What’s in this Week’s Boxes?

Monday:  lettuce, beets, parsley, Swiss chard or kale, red cabbage, celeriac, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, daikon, broccoli

 In the large box, in addition:  fava beans, cauliflower, scallions

Wednesday: fennel or kohlrabi, parsley, cucumbers, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, celery or celeriac, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, beets

In the large box, in addition: scallions, green garlic, fava beans or peas, mustard greens  

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers of these organic products: granola and cookies, flour, sprouted bread, sprouts, goat cheeses, fruits, honey, crackers. You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us to begin your delivery soon.


I know that there were lots of nice cauliflower recipes in the last two Newsletters, but here’s one so delicious that we can’t leave it out. Thanks to Miriam from Rishon L’Tzion for sending it!

Based upon: Aharoni’s Chicken Cutlets and Cauliflower (from Seven Days)

Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, separated into florets—soften for 9 minutes in microwave, or cook in water and cool 1 onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves 5 sage leaves 2 eggs ½ c. breadcrumbs Salt, black pepper ½ t. nutmeg

-Blend all ingredients till smooth. -Add 500 grams ground chicken breast (I use a mixture of ½ ground chicken breast and ½ ground turkey) -Combine cauliflower mixture with the chicken. -With wet hands, form large-sized cutlets, coat with breadcrumbs, and fry till golden.

Cutlets are now ready. If desired, add them to this sauce (or any other sauce of your choice): 3 T. olive oil 3 c. chicken broth (I use water) Salt, black pepper ¼ c. lemon juice (I added pickled lemon and 3 T sweet paprika)

– Place all ingredients into skillet, bring to a boil and add cutlets. Partially cover the pan and cook over low heat for ½ hour. Enjoy these soft, delicious, slightly-sour cutlets!


RECIPES WITH COLINARY HERBS—What’s so nice about these recipes is that you can use the herbs you have around the house this minute, whenever you want and whatever taste you crave. 

Broccoli with green herbs sauce

Fresh herbs bread

Herbs quiche

Pasta salad with arugula and herbs