This Thursday (today) is Open Day at Chubeza!
At long last, after being postponed on Pesach. And now we literally cannot wait to see you!
Come visit us on Thursday, June 1, Isru Chag of Shavuoth, between 3-7pm
In the spirit of the holiday, we’ll have arts and crafts with stalks of grain, we’ll make pita bread on the saj, we’ll have a buffet of veggies, salads and other delicacies to nosh on while you schmooze, and you’re welcome to purchase vegetables, fruits and other products from our packing house.
Every hour we will hold a tour of the turning-summer field, and of course, we will host our favorite Hazel Hill Band who will strum their special happy music for us between 5:30-6:30 pm.
All of us at Chubeza look forward to seeing you!
For detailed driving instructions to the Open Day and produce market, check this link.
If you can’t come to the Open Day, and you happen to be in Jerusalem on Thursday, you’re welcome to join a “seed trade” meet, at the Nature Museum in Jerusalem. Here are the details.
Those who lived near [Jerusalem] would bring fresh figs and grapes,
while those who lived far away would bring dried figs and raisins.
An ox would lead them, his horns bedecked with gold and with an olive-crown on its head.
The flute would play before them until they would draw close to Jerusalem.
When they drew close to Jerusalem they would send messengers in advance, and they would adorn their bikkurim.
The governors and chiefs and treasurers [of the Temple] would go out to greet them, and according to the rank of the entrants they would go forth.
All the skilled artisans of Jerusalem would arise before them and greet them saying, “Our brothers, men of such and such a place, we welcome you in peace.”
Mishnah Bikurim, 3,3
Usually, when one thinks of the bikurim festivals, we imagine the bearers of the first fruits walking calmly amongst the rows of trees or plants, harvesting a little bit of this, a little bit of that, tying them nicely in a wicker basket and joining the festive bikurim procession. Well, it was definitely a grand ceremonial event, very impressive, but that is probably the main reason why it was not at all close in time to the harvest.
Those who arrived from nearby were certainly happy at the festive event, but for the distant pilgrims, those who came from the periphery, this was an especially thrilling occasion and a great effort to walk the route to Jerusalem with the fruits of their gardens in hand. In order to respect those coming from afar, to make them feel no-less – perhaps even more – important, the offering of the first fruits was received with gratitude if the fruits were fresh (that is, if one lived close enough), but the dry fruits were also joyously accepted.
So since there was no rush to get to Jerusalem, the pilgrims could take time to adorn the procession making its way to the Holy City. With an ox, a flute and an olive-crown they made their way under the scorching sun (remember, this was between Sukkot and Shavuot), carrying baskets in which dry figs, raisins, dates, high-quality olive oil and pomegranates peacefully rested.
In honor of the Festival of First Fruits, which places fresh produce at the forefront while holding preservation and storage of products in equally high regard, and in honor of the approaching summer, we would like to draw your attention once again to the guide to storing vegetables we prepared for you. It’s right here, and also in our recipe section, soon to be placed in a much more convenient location in our new website (which Talia and I are working on with vigor).
And, while we’re at it, here is a very informative explanation I received from Hillel of Ein Harod, who grows olives and makes olive oil. Hillel explains how to maintain the quality of olive oil. Enjoy!
A few words about the quality of olive oil, and that of the organic olive oil of Ein Harod in particular: to this day, the main parameter of quality is the level of “acidity” which denotes the percentage of free radical fatty acids within the oil, a measure easily gauged by chemical tests. The upper limit of acidity for “extra virgin” oil is .8%. Acidity in the oil varies and rises with time, but a great deal depends on the preservation of the oil. To properly preserve oil: do not allow any contact with air to prevent oxygenation; avoid contact with light and maintain a temperature of up to 20°C. In addition, it is recommended to separate the oil from all remaining residue upon refining the olive oil, as they are in fact solid particles of the olive.
In order to maintain the highest quality of organic olive oil, we take the following measures:
- The olives are sent to the olive press on the very day they were harveste, and the oil is extracted that same night.
- After we get the oil back from the press, we let it sit for two to three weeks, allowing the residue to sink. Only then do we transfer the very clear oil to special tanks.
- The oil is kept in vats which are “always full”, i.e. containing an inner lid which floats atop the oil to seal it from air penetration.
- These vats are stored in an air-conditioned room at the desirable temperature.
- Bottling the oil is carried out in a scrupulously clean process.
- It is important to understand that when our label reads: “acidity at less than .8%” this means that the oil is at the standard of “extra virgin.” We do not produce labels frequently, which is why the labels do not change according to the current level of acidity, although it usually lower. For example, over the past two years our oil acidity has been approximately .3%, though the label still read “acidity lower than .8%” I know there are producers who claim their acidity level is less than .5% while tests proved this to be fraudulent. A new law was enforced this year for the supervision of olive oil which demands an organoleptic test examining the quality of olive oil with the help of professional tasters. The criteria are very explicit, and the professional tasters are aware that for the olive oil to be categorized as “extra virgin,” it must be declared free of any deficiencies. In tests conducted this year, even before the law was instated, some 60% of the oils tested were found deficient in ways that would have prevented them from being branded “extra virgin.” Our organic olive oil from Ein Harod was found to meet the superior “extra virgin” standard. The law will be instated at the beginning of next year in order to allow the producers to become accustomed to the new standards. Being a small company producing organic olive oil, we wish to maintain our credibility and contact with our customers, and we are happy to share the results of our tests. If you believe it is important to know the level of acidity in your olive oil – please contact me.
- Another clause in the new law requires the producers and marketers to indicate the origins of the oil on the bottle, in order for buyers to know if the olive oil is local or imported and merely packaged locally. Our olive oil is proudly made from organic olives we grew ourselves in Ein Harod.
Happy Festival of the New Fruits!
Hillel Prag, Ein Harod
We join Hillel in his Shavuoth wishes. Come visit us at our Open Day this Thursday. The weather is predicted to be good to us this time…
The month of Ramadan begins this week, and we wish Mohammed, Ali and Majdi and good month and easy fast in compliant weather…
May there be good days for us all!
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team
The holiday of new fruits comes right on time, as the season renews and the much- longed for summer vegetables return. Enjoy the newcomers in our boxes – the fakkus, melon, acorn squash, green beans, parsley root (a remnant of winter, happily greeted) and our very own potatoes and tomatoes from the first harvest of the end of spring. Chag Sameach!
A little storage tip: sometimes the cucumbers arrive with the dried flower still clinging to its tip. Best to remove it from the bag or box where you store your cucumbers, lest it rot and ruin the rest of the cucumbers.
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S HOLIDAY BOXES?
Monday: Parsley/mint, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers + fakus, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets. Small boxes only: garlic.
Large box, in addition: Green beans/parsley root, leeks, melon, cabbage/acorn squash.
Wednesday: Parsley, lettuce, cucumbers + fakus, zucchini, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets. Small boxes only: garlic, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard
Large box, in addition: Green beans, parsley root, leeks, melon/acorn squash/butternut squash, cilantro/mint.
And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!