Aley Chubeza #83, September 12th-14th 2011

Messages for the upcoming New Year:

Changes in delivery dates:

* During the week of Rosh Hashanah: Monday, September 26: Delivery as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Tuesday, September 27th * On the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: Deliveries as usual for both Mondays and Wednesdays * During the week of the first holiday of Sukkot: Monday, October 10th: Delivery as usual. Wednesday deliveries will be moved to Tuesday, October 11th. * During Chol HaMoed, there will be no deliveries, i.e. you will not be receiving boxes on Monday and Wednesday, the 17th and 19th of October.

For all who receive bi-weekly boxes, Chol HaMoed will create a three-week gap. Even if you weren’t scheduled to receive a box during the week of Chol Hamoed, your delivery will be postponed a week.

If you wish to change delivery dates to prevent this gap, please contact me a.s.a.p.

If you wish to increase your vegetable boxes before the holidays, please let me know as soon as possible.

Open Day at Chubeza: In keeping with our twice-yearly tradition, we invite you for a “pilgrimage” to Chubeza to celebrate our Open Day.

The Sukkot Open Day will take place on Tuesday, October 18th, the 20th of Tishrei (fifth day of Chol HaMoed), between 11:00-16:00. 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 activities and a vast space to run around and loosen up.  (So can the adults…)

Driving instructions are on our website under “About Us.” Please make sure you check it out before heading our way.

We look forward to seeing you all!


In honor of the New Year we have renewed our honey supply from Daniella and Tamir. We now have 1 kg honey jars of wildflower, blueberry, eucalyptus flower and raspberry flower honey. In 1/2 kg jars, we have wildflower, blueberry flower, raspberry flower, eucalyptus flower and jujube flower honey. There are also 350 g jars of wildflower honey. In addition, we have honeycombs in eucalyptus or raspberry honey jars.


With great happiness and pleasure, and in honor of the New Year, we are pleased to add an additional treat to our growing list of distinctive, delicious natural products available for delivery in your boxes. This time it is courtesy of our very own Melissa, who has been with Chubeza from the very beginning. Most of you will recall how she filled in for me with great devotion and professionalism during my maternity leave.

In Melissa’s words, “After a decade with the Ministry of Agriculture, I am opening a new chapter in my life as a producer of natural snacks. I chose to start on the sweet side, and thus rediscovered the health inherent in creation. And so was born Mipri Yadeha (the fruit of her labors), dried fruits and specialty leathers, lovingly crafted from 100% fresh fruits and herbs, with no additives of any kind. Each leather packet (6 sheets) begins from about a kilo of fruit. The result: an explosive burst of taste and energy with each healthy bite. Mipri Yadeha is the ideal choice for snacks, trips, gifts (great for New Years!) and school lunches. This is my way to celebrate the local abundance, spread natural sweetness and preserve the good of the land.”

We at Chubeza relished the opportunity to serve as Melissa’s guinea pigs, diligently tasting her absolutely amazing assortment of flavored fruit leather. We’re delighted that you can enjoy “the fruits of her labor” as well! (and my girls love it so much that they won’t even share it….)

More details can be found in the attached information page, and as usual, on our order form. Bon Appetit!


The New Year is also a great opportunity to remind you of the variety of additional products you can receive with your Chubeza vegetables, on a standing order or one-time basis: homemade granola and cookies, organic flour, organic sprouts, natural goat cheeses, organic crackers, Samar’s organic dates, probiotic food and organic stone-ground tahini.

Please order in advance!


And now, after the promos, we can begin screening our film. But wait!  We’re missing something………………………………………………….. Popcorn!


The end of the summer always brings the popcorn season, and Chubeza’s ready and jumping to the beat. We’re pleased to warn you that over the coming weeks you will be receiving some rather odd corncobs in your boxes:  remarkably hard, small and bright yellow. But no, this is not a mistake, nor some terrible mutant in growth. Halt in your tracks to the garbage bin to dump this apparent corn-gone-bad. Aha! This isn’t more of our legendary sweet corn, at all. It’s popcorn!

And in its honor, we shall re-run our traditional Popcorn Newsletter. Enjoy your show!

Back around 3500 BC in a cave in North America (somewhere central-west of today’s New Mexico), the guys were hanging out together, glued to the TV of the era, the blazing campfire. As the flames danced and brought joy to their hearts, they had to nosh on something. But for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery, they somehow did not polish off everything from their plates. Remains of that late-night-nosh were discovered over 5000 years later by archaeologists in 1948, in what became known as world’s oldest popcorn. (It still looked quite crunchy and yummy, but a tad too stale to nibble on.)

The popcorn is indeed a special species of corn. They were seeded along with the first round of corn, but after the plants grew dark red-bearded cobs, we cut off their water and allowed the cobs, smaller than the sweet corn variety, to fully mature and dry on the stalk. Last week we picked the dry, hard cobs and stored them in our warehouse for further drying and hardening. How wonderful to munch on food that bears a history of thousands of years of noshing!

Popcorn comes in many colors and forms. Here are a few of them:

An especially cute type is strawberry popcorn, which looks like this:

Native Americans used popcorn even before they discovered the corn we know and love so well. They probably fell onto popcorn by chance, as some random kernel rolled into the fire and suddenly popped. This surely led to attempts to reenact the wonder, and later to make it an institution. In ancient times, they would roast the popcorn by heating the cobs over direct flame or in a pit in the ground filled with sand and heated to a high temperature. The cobs were placed into the pit whole, and the kernels would pop on the cob, wrapped in its sheaf and protected by the sand. Prehistoric cooks also made special utensils to roast this snack, clay pots with feet to place atop the fire.

Primeval Americans used the popcorn not only as nosh. They made soup and beer out of it, and it was used as a decoration in ritual ceremonies, as well as for jewelry and head ornaments. Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain and fertility, was adorned with popcorn-string necklaces, and the god of water and protector of fishermen would receive an offering of “hailstones” made from popcorn. Europeans who arrived ashore were also welcomed with gifts of popcorn necklaces, and to this day there are those who decorate their Christmas trees with fresh, aromatic popcorn.

One modern, non-conventional popcorn-based attempt—which ultimately failed—was to use popcorn as an ecological, biodegradable substitute for Styrofoam packing material. You must admit that it is a very captivating idea, yet sadly the popcorn’s natural appeal attracted insects and other pests and organisms to the party. The popcorn completely lost its beneficial packing qualities when wet, and was prone to flammability. Alas.

Popcorn, or in its scientific name, Zea mays averta, is a subspecies of flint corn. Flint corn got its name from its hard-as-rock shell, one of the required components for popping. Also required are a proper level of humidity and a high level of starch within the kernel. Due to the kernel’s hard shell, when it’s heated, the moisture locked inside turns to steam and the pressure builds up. The starch inside the kernel gelatinizes and becomes soft and pliable. The pressure continues to mount until reaching the breaking point of the hull:  The steam forcefully explodes, exposing the soft starch. The starch expands and dries rapidly to become the dry, crispy, puffy foam we call popcorn.

Here is film that illustrates the process a very dramatic, slow motion presentation:

– For the foam to dry quickly, place the kernels in a pot in a thin layer to create crispy popcorn that will not reabsorb the moisture from the pot.

– FYI, popped popcorn kernels expand exponentially beyond their original size. Two tablespoons of raw popcorn kernels produce 2 ½ cups of the popped product!

– In its natural form, popcorn is an excellent choice for a healthy snack. Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber, low in calories and fat, and is both sodium and sugar free. This, of course, relates to clean, fresh popcorn, minus the addition of salt, sugar and caramel that transform it from a handsome prince to a scary toad.

– And, please take care of the children: do not allow popcorn to children under 4!

Storage: Popcorn kernels might look tough, but they won’t be if you don’t treat them properly. Storing popcorn in the fridge may dry it or make it too moist to allow popping. Best to keep popcorn kernels in a dry, dark cupboard away from heat, moisture and light.

It is advisable to separate the kernels from cob, and store in sealed jar, ceramic container or sealed tin.

Here is a short demonstration of how to best separate the kernels from the cob. (Starring Chubeza popcorn, and the hands of Talya, our website wizard).

Making fine popcorn is an art in itself. The quality and quantity of the popping depends on the rate at which the kernels are heated. If heated too quickly, they’ll explode before the starch in the center of the kernel can fully gelatinize, leading to half-popped kernels with hard centers (what was the hull). The tip of the kernel, where it attached to the cob, is more sensitive than the rest of the hull. Heating too slowly will crack the tip and allow steam to escape, preventing the build-up of pressure and the ultimate popping. In the past, making popcorn in a pot was a task that required training, specialization, and great skill. In today’s microwave era, everything is so much simpler, but still it’s a good idea to put aside a few kernels and try the old-fashioned popping method of yesteryear.


Popping Instructions:

In microwave: Place small quantity of kernels (approximately 2 T) into a paper bag you received in your box (make sure it’s dry and not torn), and fold the edge of bag to seal. (At last: a way to re-use those paper bags!) Set timer for 2-3 minutes, and listen carefully. After a few seconds the kernels will start popping loudly, setting the bag into a lively, throbbing dance. When 3 seconds without any popping have elapsed, remove paper bag from the microwave. Caution! It’s hot. Make a small opening for ventilation; allow steam to escape, and then cool. Add salt, and the seasoning of your choice.

In a pot: (from the website of Kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan) The rule is 3 T of oil for each ½ – ¾ cup of popcorn. The oil should cover the bottom of the pot and coat each kernel. (You can combine oil and butter, if desired.) Timetable 1: Pour the oil and wait a bit till it warms up. (Can use one or two kernels to test.) When oil-bubbles form around kernel, it’s time to start. Question: Should we toss the kernels? A: In the beginning of the process, you can give it a little shake to arrange the kernels in one layer and for the oil to cover. Timetable 2: Leave the kernels on medium heat. When you start hearing the first to pop, lower the flame. Babysitter: Keep an eye on them. This is no time to go set the DVD. Listen to the sound of the popping kernels. When the frequency diminishes, it’s time to turn off the flame. Do not open the pot till you hear the silence of the all-popped popcorn.

Good luck with your popping, and Shavua Tov from Bat Ami, Alon, and the Chubeza. team


What’s in This Week’s Boxes?

Monday: Mint (nana) or verbena (Louisa), yard-long beans or cowpeas (lubia) or okra, lettuce, red peppers, popcorn-on-the-cob, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, beets, potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash,

In the large box, in addition: cherry tomatoes or eggplant, leeks, thyme

Wednesday: butternut squash, cowpea (lubia) or yard-long beans or okra, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, thyme or oregano, pumpkin, cilantro, potatoes, red bell peppers, onions, popcorn

In the large box, in addition: leeks or scallions, eggplants, beets or spaghetti squash

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 and sesame butter too! 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 soon.