To usher in the upcoming Shavuot holiday marking the start of the wheat harvest season, Carol and Iddo of the Ish Shel Lechem bakery are preparing a special celebratory bread featuring 70% wheat, walnuts and dried fruit. Add this wonderful holiday treat next week only via the Chubeza order system. B’teavon and Chag Sameach! ___________________________________________
During these sad days with so many families in mourning and the heart heavy with sorrow, anger and confusion at a joyous day turned disastrous, I walk slowly through the field amongst the vegetable beds and inhale the renewed growth and the greens that do not stop blooming. There is a strong sense of renewal in this season. The compost has been scattered, the soil has been loosened and turned over, and nearly all the summer vegetables are seeded and planted in the various plots.
Summer seeding started at the beginning of March with the large-sized pumpkins and the fakus. It was still cold then, so we covered them with plastic for the first few weeks until they began to emerge and grow. Now, two months later, the plants are already stretching up and out, proving their existence. The fakus is in bloom and starting to ripen. In a week or two, we will gladly begin to harvest them and add them to your boxes.
The first round of corn was seeded at the end of March, and their erect stalks grow tall in long lines, dancing in the breeze and carrying the promise of sweetness-to-come. The yellow bean, a guest that graces us only during the spring season, was seeded over a month ago along with her cousin, the Thai black-eyed-pea. The Thai will take longer to grow and yield, but once this happens, it’s a harvest marathon that continues till autumn. The yellow bean is more of a sprinter – she’s faster and her harvest season is shorter. We seeded green beans as well, but this year a problem with the seeds obliterated the yield. But we shall rejoice in the yellow bean instead.
The Cucurbitaceae family is one of the champion summer yields. Over the last couple of months, the fakus and pumpkins were joined by squash, melon, watermelon, acorn squash and butternut. And of course, the cucumbers which proudly take their place in your boxes all year long. Each family member has its own characteristics. There are those who grow from the center like a fountain of stalks spilling to the sides, while others stretch out their stalks to form a mint-green carpet. There are those which produce big, cavernous flowers, while others boast gentle little blooms. Some are harvested young and soft, while others wait patiently till they are totally ripe and their seeds have hardened.
The Cucurbitaceous get along well with the cool spring weather, but there are some who need a scorching sun. As the weather grows warmer, the Cucurbitaceous are joined by the Solanaceae, whose family mascot is the sun: eggplants, peppers and cherry tomatoes have now joined the tomatoes growing in our field yearlong. This family loves the sun and needs its light and warmth, which is why they adore these summery days. We do not seed these family members, but rather plant them. They, too, took their first steps in the field in March, but are calmer and slower to grow than the speedy Cucurbitaceous. First, the Solanaceae establish their position in the ground and grow high. Months later, they will bloom and yield their juicy fruit.
Last year, we seeded okra in the field, using planting trays we placed in the shade and took care to water. The okra is seeded with seeds we kept from last season. At the end of last year, we collected unharvested okra pods that dried up and arrived at maturity and hardness on the plants. We stored the seeds in the pods in a dry, cool place till this spring. When seeding time came, we removed the seeds from the pods and pushed them down into their new plots. Since we are not professional seed developers and did not perform sprouting tests, etc., on the seeds, we grow plants in planting trays. Thus, if we encounter problems with the growth of the field seeds, we have the option to call in the plants that grew in the trays in the shade of the trees.
Spring in our field
Watching the growth in our field gives a measure of comfort to ease human pain and sorrow. Somehow the continuation of growth tempers mourning over the end of life, and even if after my tour of the field I return to painful reality, the memory of new green buds remains with me. Here’s hoping I was able to share some of it with you.
May we know better days, Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, Orin and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Zucchini, green lettuce, parsley/coriander, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, scallions/garlic/cabbage.
Large box, in addition: Kale/lettuce hearts, slice of pumpkin/colored bell peppers, onions.
FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, red or green apples, avocado/nectarines, loquat (shesek).
Wednesday: Zucchini, green lettuce, parsley/coriander, celery/Romaine lettuce hearts, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, Swiss chard/kale, scallions/garlic/onions.
Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach, slice of pumpkin/colored bell peppers, cabbage.
FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, red or green apples, avocado/nectarines, loquat (shesek).