2013: Week 8, July 14 – July 20

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 8
July 14-20, 2013

If needed, please contact Richard Andres & Deb Lentz at 2510 Hayes Rd. Chelsea, MI 48118 e-mail: tantrefarm@hotmail.com phone: 734-475-4323 website: www.tantrefarm.com.

In our newsletter, we try to give you an accurate listing of the produce in your box; however, since the newsletter is published before the harvest, we may sometimes substitute some vegetables for others. The information provided here is also published each week on our website.

We try to keep the formatted newsletter to a 2-page maximum, which means that we don’t list all the share items’ descriptions every week, but refer you to previous newsletters for information on items that have already appeared in your shares.

**Also, if you’re having trouble identifying any unfamiliar produce, please look for “Veggie ID” with additional information on our website under CSA INFO or under RECIPES.

THIS WEEK’S SHARE

GREEN BEANS (Maxibel French Fillet): very slender green bean with firm texture and good taste
How to use: raw in salads, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, etc.
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for up to 1 week

YELLOW BEANS (Rocdor): long, slender, yellow bean; meaty, firm texture and no watery taste. See “Green Beans” for usage and storage information.

RED BEETS & GREENS: smooth, deep red roots with sweet flavor and medium-tall, red-veined green leaves. *The beet greens are especially delicious right now, and can be used like spinach. See Week 3 newsletter for usage and storage information.

CUCUMBERS: You will receive either Olympian (considered a slicing cucumber with dark green, straight 8-9 in. fruit; crisp with fresh flavor) and/or Little Leaf (considered a pickling cucumber with blocky, medium-length, distinctively bright emerald green fruits, which are good for fresh eating and pickling) and/or Sultan (small delicate cucumbers with thin skin, a seedless interior, and gourmet flavor). See Week 7 for usage and storage information. See feature article about CUCUMBERS!

FRESH GARLIC: a bulb of several papery white cloves; believed to help in fighting infections, cancer prevention, bolstering the immune system. See Week 6 for usage and storage information

FRESH HERBS: In general, store herbs upright with cut stems in 1 or 2 inches of water and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or wrap in slightly dampened cloth and store in refrigerator. *All shares will receive Basil, and you may choose ONE from the following 3 Herbs:
Black-stemmed Peppermint–superior fragrance and flavor; forest green leaves with deep purple veins and stems, purple flowers; leaves are good as a hot or iced tea, and adds a delicious flavor when minced and added to cooked peas, carrots, potatoes, salads, and fresh strawberries.
Italian Flat-leaf Parsley—flat, glossy, dark green leaves have a strong parsley/celery flavor for use dried or fresh; high in vitamins A and C, and other minerals, such as iron; especially good in omelets, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta and vegetable dishes, as well as, sauces to go with fish, poultry, & pork.
French Sorrel–slightly tart, lemon-flavored green; excellent for salads, soups, and sauces; can be used in omelets, breads, or cooked as a side dish; high in vitamin A and contains some calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C; Sorrel goes well with butter, soft cheeses, chicken, cucumber, eggs, fish (especially salmon), lamb, leeks, lentils, lettuce, mussels, pork, potato, salmon, scallion, shad, shallots, sour cream, spinach, sweetbreads, tomatoes, and veal; refrigerate in bag for up to 3 days.
*Genovese Basil—All shares will receive basil this week, an herb with sweet, spicy, shiny, green leaves. We supply it with root attached, so it will last up to a week or 2 when stored in a jar, vase, or glass of water on your counter or table top. Do NOT refrigerate!

KALE: You will receive Curly Kale (well-ruffled, curly green leaves on green stems; this variety makes a good, roasted “kale chip”) or Red Russian Kale (the stems are purple, and leaves are deep gray-green, purple-veined, flat, non-curled, and tooth-edged). See Week 1 newsletter for usage and storage information.

LEEKS: green leaves with white to pale green stems.
Cooking Tip: Slit from top to bottom and wash thoroughly with root facing up to remove all of the dirt trapped between the leaf layers.
How to use: white and lower part of greens can be cooked whole, chopped in slices and substituted for onions; delicious raw in salads or cooked in soups, quiches, casseroles, stews, stocks, or stir-fries.
How to store: refrigerate unwashed for 2 weeks in plastic bag.

HEAD LETTUCE: You will receive Green Leaf, Red Leaf or Romaine. See Week 1 newsletter for usage and storage information.

SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI: You will receive some variety of Yellow or Green Zucchini (gourmet golden or green zucchini with uniform, cylindrical fruits) or Yellow Crookneck (long, curved neck with a sometimes bumpy, yellow skin; buttery flavor and firm texture). *Keep in mind “zucchini” and “summer squash” are basically interchangeable in recipes. See Week 5 for usage and storage information.

SWISS CHARD: close relative of garden beets; very small, multi-colored, large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves. See Week 3 newsletter for usage and storage information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. “LULU” COOKING CLASS ON July 31! We will be offering “Cooking Classes” once a month at Tantre Farm with either our Tantre Farm crew or guest chefs. We have a large commercial size kitchen, and plenty of picnic tables for eating outside! We will be offering tips and recipes on what we are preparing, using mostly ingredients from Tantre Farm. The first class is on Wed. July 31 from 6 to 8 PM. We will be helping prepare a delicious 4-course meal with guidance from our guest chefs and fellow CSA members, Eric Lundy and Laenne Thompson. Their start up restaurant is called “LuLu” (which still has yet to find the perfect physical location!), which sources local ingredients and adds a dash of global flavor to deliver deliciousness to your mouth! A core belief and practice of LuLu is to create spaces to learn about our community and share a meal with a local food producer, so when the opportunity to teach a class at Tantré arose, Laenne and Eric were thrilled. They look forward to cooking with you! There will be a $10 fee for materials and handouts for each class. Please register by contacting us soon with your NAME, PHONE NUMBER, and E-MAIL ADDRESS in the body of the email. We have 15 spaces available, so let us know if you’re interested in joining us for a special meal together at Tantre Farm. More details about the meal may follow in the coming weeks.

2. THANKS TO THOSE WHO CAME TO THE SUMMER WORK PARTY on Sunday, July 14. What a great turnout on Sunday! Thanks so much for joining us for home made ice cream from Tantre cows, delicious potluck food, berry picking, and the wonderful ambience created by our good friend and musician, Doug Allen. It was so much fun to see so many friends, family and members show up. We collected downed apples for the animals, cleaned 18 crates of garlic, stripped dried herbs, harvested cucumbers, or just took a stroll or wagon ride around the farm. If you’d like to help out anytime, just give us a call ahead of time.

3. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED: With this rain and hot sun, we have even more weeds. We really could use some help. If you are interested–even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes before you pick up your box at the farm, come join us. Please contact us any day of the week or evenings until dark. Thanks for volunteering!

4. VACATIONS or OUT OF TOWN: Please remember to contact us at least by Sunday to make changes in pick up days or locations.

5. PICK UP TIMES & LOCATIONS REMINDER:
Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market (Wed.)–7 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Farm (Wed.)–10 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Washtenaw Food Hub (Wed.) –6 P.M. to 8 P.M.
Farm (Fri.)–2 P.M. to 7 P.M.
Community High School (Sat.) –7 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Washtenaw Food Hub (Sat.)– 8 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Chelsea Farmers’ Market (Sat.)–8 A.M. to 12 P.M.

COOL AS A CUCUMBER

The cucumber, a member of the gourd family, is a distant relative to pumpkins, squash, and melons. It is said to have originated in the Middle East. It has been eaten as an unripe fruit, since Biblical times. As a relative of melons, cucumbers are very high in water and so very refreshing, especially during these hot days of summer. They are 94% water and also contain small amounts of vitamins A, C, and a few minerals. For some, however, cucumbers are hard to digest, so seedless and “burpless” cucumbers have been bred to prevent this problem.

Our cucumbers are not waxed (to keep them from rotting for a longer shelf life) like ordinary cucumbers found in the store, so skin and all can be eaten. The skins are rich in vitamin E, so they are also known as an effective skin conditioner. Also, some of the nutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, and potassium are lost when the skin is removed. The cucumber skins, besides being good for human skin, also contain silicon and chlorophyll, making them well worth eating. If you do wish to remove the skins, you may try making “cukesicles” for the kids. At Tantré Farm, sometimes we peel the skins off and slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise making a long, slender, cooling treat we call “cukesicles”.

The cucumber is a non-starchy, alkaline “cooling” vegetable. It is an excellent diuretic, helping the kidneys in waste elimination. Cucumbers contain the enzyme, erepsin, which helps digest proteins and destroys worms. The cucumber’s potassium content makes it useful for high and low blood pressure.

Cucumbers deteriorate very quickly, because of their high water content, so it is important to store them in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer. Keep them away from tomatoes, apples, or citrus, which give off ethylene gas, and can speed up their deterioration.

Most people enjoy cucumbers raw or pickled in salads or sandwiches, but sometimes a cuke can be julienned, sautéed, or baked. Try cucumber rounds topped with egg or tuna salad, or simply with salt. Make refrigerator pickles, which are very simple and delicious. They are featured in a number of ethnic dishes.

Although not as nutritious as most of the garden vegetables, cucumbers are very satisfying and help us replenish fluids and minerals lost in perspiration, leaving us as “cool as a cucumber”. They are very reviving on a hot summer’s day.

RECIPES

TZATZIKI (Mad Mares Cookbook)
2 large cucumbers, peeled and grated
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups plain yogurt
1 Tbs. mint

Lightly salt the grated cucumbers, place in colander or strainer, and set aside to drain for about half an hour. In a bowl, combine the drained cucumbers with the rest of the ingredients. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

COLD CUCUMBER LEEK SOUP (contributed by CSA member, Kim Bayer) *This is a creamy soup made without cream, using potatoes instead for body. For a lighter soup, you can leave out the potatoes. See vegetable “variations” below!

2 leeks – white and light green part, cut in half, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic – coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. oil
1-2 c. potato – chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 c. thinly sliced cucumber
2 Tbsp. dill (or another herb)- chopped fine and divided
2 c. broth (should just cover vegetables, may need a little more)
1-2 c. cold buttermilk or plain yogurt

Sauté leeks and garlic in the oil, just until wilted and not yet browned. Add potato and cucumber. Stir a bit. Add 1 Tbsp. chopped dill. Just barely cover vegetables with broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until potatoes are very tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes or so. When the vegetables are very soft, let the mixture cool. Once it’s cool, purée vegetables and broth together with an immersion blender, regular blender, food processor, etc., adding the remaining 1 T. dill. Check the seasoning – add salt and pepper if you like. Chill the vegetable purée. Before serving stir in the amount of buttermilk that you like. I find that 2/3 vegetable purée to 1/3 buttermilk is about right at our house. Garnish with more dill.

Variations:
Summer squash soup: Substitute zucchini or yellow squash or any summer squash for the cucumber and potato combo. We eat this a lot and love it on hot days. With some bread and cheese, it makes a great meal.
Summer borscht: For the main vegetables, use a combination of 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 roasted beets, and 1/3 cabbage (or Swiss chard stems), maybe even a few carrots. Even people who don’t like beets will love this soup!

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