April, come she will When streams are ripe and swelled with rain May, she will stay Resting in my arms again June, she’ll change her tune In restless walks she’ll prowl the night July, she will fly And give no warning to her flight August, die she must The autumn winds blow chilly and cold September, I’ll remember A love once new has now grown old
This point in the year between Pesach and Shavuot, Sfirat Ha’Omer, is an interesting time of transition as we count the days and weeks which pass from one festival to the other. In days of old, these days would indicate the passing of time from the first harvest of barley on Passover – seeds that were used mainly for animal fodder and basic food for the poor population – till the wheat harvest on Shavuot which constituted the main source of the refined, preferred food source. This was how they counted these days laden with barley harvests, vigorous toil, concern and hopes for the success of the wheat yield. The fickle spring always evoked great anxiety towards extreme weather, plant diseases or pests that inflict damage to the yield just before harvesting begins. Counting the days provided the farmers a soothing, tangible sense that the harvest is just around the corner and this year’s crop will be safely harvested. And then suddenly spring turns to summer.
At Chubeza, too, this is a season of counting: fewer and fewer winter vegetables in your boxes; two more broccoli beds, one more broccoli bed; three weeks of carrots, two more weeks of carrots, one more… 200 cauliflowers to go, 50, 10… The last of the peas, the garlic bundles that are dwindling as we distribute them to your boxes…
At the other end of the spectrum, we are slowly counting the additional new summer vegetables, starting small, then rapidly spurting: 10 kg of squash, 80 kg of squash, lo and behold- 400 kg! Enough for all of the boxes! In a few weeks, our spring squash will be joined by new cohorts: string beans, spring potatoes, melons, fakus, and more…
Almost every year, the transitional seasons are those where there are fewer vegetables ripe-for-the-picking in the field. Though the field abounds with planted vegetables, there are still winter vegetables and many summer vegetables seeded and planted, sprouting, growing and blooming – all at varying stages. But this may not be so evident in your boxes as yet. A bit of patience is called for, just for a few more weeks, till the long-awaited arrival of the eggplants, melons, watermelons, squashes of all varieties, and of course, the king… corn! All of them are presently concentrating their efforts upon reaching the finish line and would appreciate your encouragement. Let’s hear a hearty round of applause, and whistles and cheers from the balcony, please!
In springtime, the climate is warmer, thus growth is swift. This is great for summer vegetables—the squash are ready almost immediately, the melons are chubby and big, and the corn quickly shoots upward. Winter vegetables, however, are a little shocked by this warmth. They, too, speed up their growth, but sometimes we get the feeling they are pushed by a force greater than themselves which doesn’t necessarily take their slow, meditative pace into consideration.
This is apparent in the huge beets you’ve sometimes received lately. These are young, juicy beets, and they’re oh so sweet, but their enormousness shocks us too when we tug them out of the earth. Their leaves suffer from the heat, are attacked by insects and dry up halfway, so in this period we remove them from their roots and send you huge, leafless beetroots.
The cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are similarly shocked by the heat that rushes them to maturity. As opposed to their buddy the beet, by now they usually ripen before they have had a chance to grow, and they are extremely sensitive to every delay or tardiness in harvest. This is why you have been getting smaller cabbages and cauliflower than the winter models. The latest cauliflower is freckled and not as white and shiny as its siblings which were harvested a month ago. The cabbage displays his anguish by growing yellow at the outer edges, even while still nestled within its leaves in the bed. Like the huge beet, they’re all good and yummy, fresh and healthy, but they are pre-summer Brassicas and that’s exactly what they look like.
We know it’s a relatively boring time in your boxes, less exciting than the freshness of winter and sweetness of summer. We believe that this is also part of what Community Supported Agriculture means – A community that marches side-by-side with a farm, granting it economic stability, the ability to grow a wide range of crops, and to work with a stable, yearlong crew and not temporary seasonal workers. The meaning of your “share” as customers is that together we share and enjoy the abundance. And during the transition between seasons, we all meet the same veggies again and again… with the new vegetables waiting in the wings.
We hope you’ll greet this week’s boxes with delight, and that your spirits won’t flag when you spot the beet waiting in the box… again… But soon we’ll miss it sorely, so give it one more smile.
Renewal is really just around the corner!
We wish our vegetables a true-to-themselves growth, balanced and in sync with the weather, bugs, sunshine and other components of the symphony of spring. May growth be accompanied by good health and the ability to meet the challenges of the upcoming summer. We shall welcome each crop with joy upon its arrival.
Wishing you all a good week, of timely occurrences and the patience to let things happen at their own rhythm!
Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Zucchini, green lettuce, garlic, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes/cabbage/cauliflower, fennel/kohlrabi/beets, kale, Swiss chard, onions.
Large box, in addition: Romains Lettuce hearts, parsley root, parsley/coriander
FRUIT BOXES: Banana, avocados, oranges, clementinas, red apples/pears.
Wednesday: Zucchini, green lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, fennel/kohlrabi/parsley root,kale, Swiss chard/Romaine lettuce hearts, onions, parsley/coriander.
Large box, in addition: Beets, garlic, peppers/slice of pumpkin
FRUIT BOXES: Banana, avocados, oranges, clementinas/laquat.