Aley Chubeza #94, December 12th-14th 2011

Hurrah! The Brahi dates are back! Rejoice, you confirmed Brahi lovers, the absolutely delectable date from southern Samar is making its grand return!   This weekend, we will be receiving a new batch of brahi, “the toffee date,” at a cost of 20 NIS per kg. For our many clients who have been clamoring for this rare and delicious treat, now is the time to renew your orders. Welcome back, dear Brahi. We’ve missed you!


And this week, an important letter to you. We welcome your comments!

My week began with a journey to Herodium, with an archeologist friend who works there. Herodium is a 2000- year- old site located at the fringe of the Judean desert. Upon it lie a castle-fortress-mountain, and underneath a city built by King Herod, known for his affinity to massive works of construction erected to commemorate his glory. When my friend asked how it’s going at Chubeza, I smiled and said that unlike King Herod, with us everything is transient. Nothing stays for longer than a season or two. “You’re wrong,” said he, “You’re the ones who remain, which is admirable and impressive, especially in agriculture. You’re still there – the veteran workers, the loyal customers who have been with you for years, your field that continues to produce and improve, and the idea of a partnership between agriculture and community. You’re still here.”

So yes, we are indeed happy to still be here after eight years. So much has changed over the past eight years—-From the first 20 clients, we’ve grown slowly but surely to number over 500. From a plot of 10 dunams, we now cultivate almost 50, and as we speak we’re expanding to another 20 dunam where we hope to grow larger quantities of the basic vegetables: potatoes, onions, etc. Over the years and the changes in Chubeza, we have made every effort to adhere to reasonable prices and make certain that every investment we make in upgrading our packing house or buying a new tractor or tool is well researched and considered.

However, as we develop and grow, the prices around us are skyrocketing, specifically the price of gas which influences all other equations. This causes everything involved to become more expensive, and for some time we have found ourselves grappling to meet the increased expenses. After a great deal of deliberation and reflection, we came to the difficult conclusion that we must raise the prices of the boxes. We had many doubts, as we know so well how this burdens you, and we strive to make Chubeza available to as many as possible. At the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that we will raise the box prices by only 5 NIS.  As such,

A small box will now cost 85 NIS, a large box 110 NIS. The price of deliveries will remain unchanged (20 NIS for home delivery, 5/10 NIS to pick-up point).

It is important to us to continue working according to what we have always believed in: hiring veteran, reliable workers to whom we can promise a stable job, paying them fair salaries (regardless of their nationality) and promising them full benefits. We strive to fill your boxes with products grown in our fields, picked fresh for you, without having to buy a large amount of supplemental vegetables from outside. And we strive to bring together more and more small, local, communal producers into a Chubeza-based community. Last, and of utmost importance, it is crucial for us to maintain an open, honest dialogue with you.

This conclusion was reached after much thought, and it is our desire not to hurt you or your pockets. We welcome your comments, either at the Chubeza website or by email to [email protected], or by phoning 054-6535980. Your opinion is very important to us, and we need to hear you in order to reach a final decision as the new calendar year approaches.

Wishing us all a warm, rainy, blessed and wonderful winter,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team


What’s in This Week’s Boxes?

Monday: Sweet potatoes, arugula, green or red mustard greens, carrots, cauliflower or broccoli, tomatoes, turnips, parsley, cucumbers, bunch of daikon radishes, kale or  New  Zealand spinach, garden rocket or oregano

In  the large box, in addition: Fennel, cabbage, scallions , and in addition……lettuce

Why “in addition” lettuce? The nights here in the valley are extremely frigid. Each morning, our frozen fingers lift sheets of ice from atop the vegetables. On Monday, we picked the lettuce early in the morning, as usual. However, due to the frozen leaves, we should have let it defrost a bit before picking. The lettuce was slightly damaged from the experience, so we decided to pick scallions for you instead. Yet as the day wore on, the lettuce recuperated, so we included them in the box as well for you to use and enjoy.

Wednesday: oregano or thyme or lemon verbana, mustrad greens, arugula, parsley, cabbage or cauliflower, a bunch of baby daikon or small radish, cucumbers, Swiss chard or New Zealand spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, carrots.

 In  the large box, in addition: turnips or beets, broccoli, lettuce

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, sesame butter and dried fruits and leathers 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.


Recipes for Mustard Greens—A Food Worth Knowing and Loving

Mustard greens have lately been a permanent feature in our boxes. They come in a close second after the daikon in the “Most Baffling Vegetable” contest for Chubeza’s members. Most questions relate to dealing with the mustard green’s strong, sharp taste, so we’ll start with a tip from Lobsong and add several suggestions for using these super nutritious, tasty greens.

Mustard tips: To temper the tartness of mustard greens, boil them in water for several minutes, remove and drain. Chop thinly and use in cooking   patties, vegetable omelets, soup, and more. The bitter taste disappears, leaving a healthy and delicious green.

Mustard greens and sweet onions frittata

Quiche of greens 

pickled mustard greens

mustard greens pesto