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May 20-22, 2024 – Focus on Fakus

Over the last few weeks, we began harvesting our first beds of fakus, aka “Arabic cucumber.” For years, this event was followed by messages from you like, “This week I received two portions of zucchini (or cucumbers) in my box!” Thus, this year we hope to introduce those unfamiliar with the wonderful fakus, and ease its recognition by those in the know, by distributing the fakus alongside its cousins the zucchini and cucumber. (For now, the beginning of the fakus harvest, not all boxes will receive them.)

To properly meet the fakus and easily distinguish him from the zucchini, here’s what I learned from our longtime client Tzipi from Jerusalem: the fakus stem resembles that of a cucumber, not zucchini! If you received a light-colored elongated vegetable that kind-of-resembles-zucchini-but-kind-of-doesn’t, check out its stem (the part where it attached to the plant): if it is wide and star-shaped like a zucchini, well… it’s a zucchini. If it’s thin and willowy like a cucumber, then say hi to our friend the fakus.

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May 12-15 2024

DANDELION

The first of a year’s abundance of dandelions

is this single kernel of bright yellow

dropped on our path by the sun, sensing

that we might need some marker to help us

find our way through life, to find a path

over the snow-flattened grass that was

blade by blade unbending into green,

on a morning early in April, this happening

just at the moment I thought we were lost

and I’d stopped to look around, hoping

to see something I recognized. And there

it was, a commonplace dandelion, right

at my feet, the first to bloom, especially

yellow, as if pleased to have been the one,

chosen from all the others, to show us the way.

Ted Kooser

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May 6-8 2024 – SQUASH, ANYONE?

Over the past few weeks, you’ve been receiving one of the first vegetables of spring – squash! The good news is that this is just the beginning – there are more varieties on the way! As the pioneer of its family, we happily dedicate this rainy spring Newsletter to this remarkable vegetable.

Squash (zucchini) belongs to the prominent Cucurbitaceae family, a very diverse, widespread clan whose members are grown primarily for food, but also for other interesting uses. The Cucurbitaceae family tree splits into five main branches: 1. cucumber, fakus and melon; 2. watermelon; 3. various types of pumpkins and squashes; 4. the ornamental, inedible pumpkin used for decorative purposes and to make serving utensils and musical instruments; and 5. Lupa pumpkins, whose flesh is used to create natural sponges.

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April 30-May 1 2024 – MAY DAY!

This week we mark the first of May, today known primarily as International Workers’ Day, but this date commemorates an age-old traditional holiday for the workers, primarily the women. The Roman goddess Maia (AKA Bona Dea, the “good goddess”), the goddess of Spring, of fertility, healing, and growth, gave her name to the month of May. The literal meaning of Maia (and consequently the month of May) is “greater,” apropos for Spring – with greater daylight and higher temperatures that transform nature into a bevy of green. Every blade of grass and every tree begins to thrive, bursting with the energy of growth.  May 1st and May 15th became major pagan celebrations honoring the goddess Maia, revolving primarily around plants, flowers and water sources. These celebrations were strictly For Women Only, with no men allowed. Surrounding her temples, Maia’s priestesses cultivated gardens of medicinal plants with which they treated the sick.

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Passover eve, April 21, 2024, A wish for a freedom & spring holiday for everyone

True, we grow vegetables in Chubeza’s field, but alongside and between them they are accompanied by a parade of flowers. Sometimes these are flowers growing on the plant itself which turn into vegetables picked for your boxes. And there’s an amazing assortment of wild flowers in the field all dressed up to celebrate.

In honor of the Passover Spring Festival, we’re delighted to share a glimpse of our field’s Flower Finery throughout the seasons. Our thanks to Chana Cohen-Netzer who captured closeup of these beauties.

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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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March 25-26-27 2024 – POST-PURIM HOPES & SPECIAL WISHES

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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