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April 8-10 2024 – WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

These weeks before Passover are days of heavy-duty cleaning and a scrutinous inspection of every item accumulated at home to determine what to toss. To the contrary, this brings me to the concerted efforts we make in Chubeza in how not to throw away the growths of the field, but rather to take full advantage of our crops, in creative ways as well. The passion to use vegetables to the fullest, and to utilize every crop that emerges from our plot of land, stems from the respect we have for the land that grows the produce. We are aware of how much energy and effort is invested in growing vegetables – not only human, but also a great deal of work and activity by all our partners in growing vegetables: the soil and its microbes, the cows that produce the manure, the basis of our compost, the beneficial insects that pollinate and prey on the pests.

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April 1-3 2024 – A leaf inside a leaf inside a leaf inside a leaflet

Love is Like a Cabbage

My love is like a cabbage
Divided into two,
The leaves I give to others,
The heart I give to you.

(Author Unknown)

Cabbages are a phenomenal creation of nature. From the start, the cabbage plant grows “normal” open leaves for a good while. When it reaches the precise, certain moment – as if heeding an internal biological clock – the cabbage leaves suddenly begin to grow folding inward, forming a loose ball. In time, more and more inner layers of leaf-upon-leaf grow, compressing the round head from the inside, forming a perfectly tight sphere. Truly incredible! I never fail to be fascinated as the flat leaves once again perform their acrobatic feat to curl up into ball… 

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This year’s Purim celebrations were not easy at all. It’s hard to paste a smile on your face, and hard to dance and rejoice. Yet despite it all, these actions bring with them a fervent hope for change, a potential to reverse this difficult situation from sorrow to joy – as in the days of Mordechai and Esther, as their sorrow was turned to joy and their mourning to a day of celebration.

May we soon be blessed to hear good news, to the speedy release of our hostages to their homes, and to the war’s end with the granting of security and peace to all residents of Israel and the region. Halevai!

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Often kohlrabi is likened to an alien, perhaps due to its green color and outreached arms. Indeed, our friend sports a rather exceptional shape, perhaps because he is an unconventional phenomenon in the vegetable world. Our kohlrabi star is a stem. It never grew underground and is not a root. Rather, it is the lower part of the plant’s stem that has thickened and rounded.

Kohlrabi is the son of a prominent, longstanding family, the Brassicaceae.
At the start of its growth, the kohlrabi plant resembles a cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli or kale plant. It sprouts lovely green leaves on an upright stem. But upon maturity, the kohlrabi searches for its own individual identity. Suddenly its stalk thickens, and becomes ball-shaped until a round kohlrabi sits upon the earth (not under it!), light green (or purple, depending upon the variety), sweet and juicy.

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March 11-13 2024 – PATIENCE AND HOPE

The Spring-Is-Nearly-Here seesaw has already started to swing. These past weeks careened between rain and sunshine. This week’s pleasant, sunny days are predicted to be followed by the return of cold and rain coming soon, probably once again alternating with beautiful sunny days and then more cold weather. The greens in Chubeza’s field are fairly overwhelmed by this cold-hot-dry-wet ordeal, giving us one hard time to pick sufficient quantities. Some of them forlornly turned yellow from over-saturation of the soil, others grew verrrry slowly, and some opted to begin flowering, rendering them unsuitable to pick. You probably felt this from the decreased quantity and selection of greens in your boxes. The fresh Spring garlic made its Chubeza debut last week, joined by another distinctive vegetable which traditionally arrives this season but for the past few years has begun yielding in winter – this year already in December. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the fava bean!

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March 4-6 2024 – JUST STAY HEALTHY!

When I was just a little girl, my Grandma Sarah, a woman who exuded love and anxiety, would get nervous at the slightest sneeze, cough or cut. She would immediately pounce on us with a hot drink, murmuring all the while, “Just stay healthy, little one.”

“Grandparent words,” I thought as a kid. But as I grew older, I discovered just how right she was and how much truth these words carry. Just stay healthy!

In recent years, the appearance of the Corona virus (and advanced age…) rendered Grandma’s words more relevant than ever. This winter, abounding with flu viruses, health issues became a constant subject of discussion and thought. At Chubeza, we continue to strive to keep you healthy via our vegetables. To prove just how serious we are, we are sending representatives of a health-inducing family which protect your respiratory organs and prevent common colds: meet Dr. Leek, Dr. Onion and Dr. Garlic. Their special spring representative, smiling below:

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February 26-28 2024 – Hold strong, my little leaf

Hold strong, my little leaf
It’s not always clear outside
Hurricane winds and thunderstorms happen.
Remember and be strong, I am with you!
Hold strong, my little leaf.

 (From: My Little Leaf – Words and melody – Ishay Lapid. English: Avraham Fried)

For so many long months, my heart and my thoughts remain with the hostages in Gaza. I so want to transmit to them in any possible way a request and a fervent hope – be strong, we are with you. Today I’m writing about greens, and I thought about a little leaf attached to a tree. Sometimes caught in a fierce wind or under a hailstorm, so weak and lost. Yet, the petiole (leafstalk) which connects it to the tree is strong, with nutrients and strength flowing steadfastly through it. If we look closely, this little leaf seems to be part of the vast, green foliage – and it is not alone.

Over the past few weeks, there are fewer greens dotting the field. We are left with only the most resistant of the bunch – lettuce, Swiss chard and kale, parsley and cilantro – which loyally stick around year long and also grow slowly this season. At times like this, we attempt to augment the green sections of your boxes with greens that come along with root and stem vegetables. Thus, you get to meet beet greens, turnip greens, daikon greens, radish greens, and of course – the greens that come with the celeriac and parsley root.

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February 19-21 2024 – What is essential is invisible to the eye

The little prince crossed the desert and met with no living soul except one flower.

“Where are the people?” the little prince asked politely.

“People? I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, from The Little Prince

One of the vegetables that signals the middle of winter for us is the parsley root, which takes its good time to reach maturity.  Though we seed it in the beginning of autumn, it is only ready for harvest in mid-winter when its arrival gladdens our hearts. The parsley root then finally shows up to join her good friend and distant cousin the celeriac, which we plant and do not seed, thus he arrives earlier.

This week we turn the Newsletter spotlight to these two spectacular roots. Although concealed from view, when they finally come out of hiding, it’s time to bring out the soup pot and celebrate (and not only with soup)!

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February 12-14 2024 – The Very Hungry (and royal) Caterpillar

Around two months ago Yemima joined us to help with the daunting task of weeding the field. At the close of the day, she showed us a beautiful caterpillar she found when weeding the garlic bed. This was an unusual caterpillar, not one of the familiar ones in our field. It didn’t resemble any of the gluttonous caterpillars that love to nibble on our vegetables. Determined to investigate, we began searching for pictures resembling this caterpillar’s distinctive appearance. Finally, we determined that it was…

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