2015: Week 4, June 14 – 20

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK #4
June 14-20, 2015

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.

THIS WEEK’S SHARE

GARLIC SCAPES or ASPARAGUS: This week Wednesday CSA members will receive Garlic Scapes (the flower top of a garlic plant with a slender green stem and a slight bulge at the bottom; resembles chives, except for the bulge and often curled; tender and milder in flavor than mature garlic. Use this link for garlic scape recipes: http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/3774/GARLIC%20SCAPES%207%20Great%20Ideas.doc). Friday/Saturday members will receive Asparagus (see Week 1 newsletter for usage and storage tips), since we will not have enough Garlic Scapes for the end of the week.
-How to use: mild garlic flavor, so delicious chopped in salads, roasted, and sautéed.
-How to store: put in refrigerator in plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.

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. You may CHOOSE ONE from the following:

–Chamomile (optional)— We unfortunately do not have quite enough for everyone due to the heavy rains, which battered the flowers a bit, so it will be on the side, if you’d like to try it. It will be available until we run out. These small, daisy-like flowers are best known for making a soothing tea; also the flowers make a pretty garnish and a flavorful addition to salads. The whole bundle can be dried upside down for a week or two, and then the flowers/seed head plucked and put into a jar for a restful tea for the winter. SEE FEATURE ARTICLE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

–Lemon Balm– these fragrant lemon-minty leaves make a delicate herbal tea, served hot or cold; good addition to lettuce, fruit salads, and ice cream; good with grilled fish or lamb and tossed with steamed vegetables; also aids in depression, tension, or nausea.

–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

–Black-stemmed Peppermint–forest green leaves with deep purple veins and stems, purple flowers; leaves are good as a hot or iced tea; adds a delicious flavor when minced and added to cooked peas, carrots, potatoes, salads, and fresh strawberries.

–Rosemary—pine needle-like leaves used with potatoes, bread doughs, risottos, mixed vegetables, and meat dishes, as well as in sweet dishes such as lemonade, creams, custards, and syrups; very strongly flavored, so use sparingly, considered a memory stimulant and used for headaches, indigestion, and depression.

KALE: Wednesday members will receive Red Russian Kale (the stems are purple, and leaves are deep gray-green, purple-veined, flat, non-curled, and tooth-edged) and Friday/Saturday members will receive Lacinato Kale (dark green, noncurled, blistered leaves, but heavily savoyed).
-How to use: for salads, soups, and light cooking in stir fries
-How to store: keep in plastic bag or damp towel in refrigerator for up to 1 week

LETTUCE MIX (Wildfire): a beautiful bag of dark reds and vibrant greens including Green and Red Oakleaf, Green and Red Romaine, and Redleaf lettuces. Your lettuce has been rinsed once, but probably needs more washing.
-How to use: raw in salads, sandwiches, or use in soups
-How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for 3-5 days.

LETTUCE: You will receive 2-4 heads of lettuce, which may include Panisse (large, lime-green, lobed oak leaves with excellent flavor) along with possible Green Leaf, Red Leaf or Romaine.
-How to use: raw in salads, sandwiches, or use in soups
-How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for 3-5 days.

MUSHROOMS (Shiitake): flower-like cracking pattern on brown cap; edible mushroom native to East Asia; good in sandwiches and cooked—see below; many medicinal qualities too; grown on logs. If you don’t care for mushrooms, then leave them for someone else or gift them to a friend!
-How to use: brush off dirt to clean or wipe with damp cloth, do not wash or submerge in water; good grilled, sautéed, steamed, in soups, and in sandwiches
-How to store: place in paper bag or wax bag and keep in refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days.

GREEN ONIONS (also called “Scallions”): young shoots of bulb onions with long green stalks and milder tasting than large bulb onions; full of great fiber and antioxidants, high in potassium and source of vitamins C and B-6.
-How to use: the bulb, flowers, and green leaves are edible; can be cooked, grilled, roasted whole as a vegetable; chopped in salads, soups, & other dishes for flavor.
-How to store: refrigerate in damp towel/plastic bag for 5-7 days.

SPINACH: You will receive a bag of this crisp, dark green leaf– best eaten raw or with minimal cooking to obtain the beneficial chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A & C; delicious flavor when juiced.
-How to use: toss in fresh salad, add to sandwiches, sauté, steam, braise, or add to crepes, quiche, lasagna, and soups.
-How to store: refrigerate with a damp towel/bag for up to 1 week.

STRAWBERRIES: You will receive 1 quart this week of this member of the rose family; red, conical fruit with tiny white flowers. **Over the last few weeks, we have received many calls or emails about u-picking organic strawberries. We thought we should explain how the berry harvest works to you, since everyone is so excited about picking. As the berries first get ripe, we usually have just enough for the market table. When we know we have enough for our members, then we pick them for you. We do not allow u-picking until we’ve been able to give our members at least 1, if not 2, weeks of berries or we may not have enough for each distribution, so no u-picking just yet. We will let you know in our Announcements when u-pick is available. Thank you for your patience and your excitement!
-How to store: Do not wash until you are ready to consume them. Place them on a paper towel in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
-How to freeze: Freeze whole strawberries hulled and washed on cookie sheets and put in freezer bags.

SWISS CHARD: close relative of garden beets; very small, multi-colored, large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves; mild flavor; good source of vitamins A, E, & C, as well as iron & calcium.
-How to use: greens can be prepared like spinach or beet greens; good steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, and in soups.
-How to store: wrap in damp cloth in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2-4 days.

WHITE HAKUREI TURNIPS and GREENS: A white salad turnip with round, smooth roots that have a sweet, fruity flavor with a crisp, tender texture. Use the greens as well, sautéed or braised.
-How to use: good in salads and soups, roasted, steamed, sautéed,
-How to store: remove greens from turnip root and store separately in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to 3 days; roots can last up to 1-2 weeks in refrigerator.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. HERB WALK this week on June 19 from 6-8 pm: Herbs are for more than just seasonings and teas. Many herbs have medicinal and/or pest repellent properties. Local forager, Rachel Mifsud, will be leading this class at Tantre Farm for a Friday evening walk around the farm. On our walk through the yard and gardens you will be introduced to 25 different herbs that grow on the farm. A handout and u-pick samplings will be provided to help you remember their names and useful qualities. $5 for CSA members and $10 for non members. Please register with Name & Email Address, if you plan to attend, so we know how many to expect. Hope to see you here!

2. KID FARM HIKE on June 26: Come join us for a guided monthly exploratory walk around Tantre Farm on Friday, June 26, at 2 PM. We’ll use all our senses as we take an approx. 45-60 minute hike with CSA member, Alisse Portnoy, who teaches at the University of Michigan. She and her daughter are in their sixth year of once-a-week, day-long visits to the farm. They look forward to sharing some of its treasures and treasure spots with you. Meet at the Main House’s Distribution Shed at 2 pm.

3. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We have plenty of weeds to pull, especially after this rain. If you are interested in helping out–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! We could really use the extra hands!

4. PICK UP TIMES & LOCATIONS REMINDER:
Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market (Wed.)–7 A.M. to 12 P.M.
MOVE Fitness & Wellness Studio (Wed)—8 AM to 12 PM
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.)—9 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Chelsea Farmers’ Market (Sat.)–8 A.M. to 12 P.M.

CHAMOMILE

Chamomile has long been one of the most popular herbal teas in Europe where it is sometimes served in hospitals to calm patients. Chamomile tea aids digestion, is calming, and sleep inducing. It relaxes nerves and reduces inflammation. The flavor is delicate, soothing, slightly sweet, and pleasantly bitter. The aroma is reminiscent of that of apples.

Chamomile can be dried in the shade in a warm, well-ventilated area on a nylon or stainless steel screen, in a shallow box, or loosely in a paper bag. Some have found that drying herbs in a paper bag in the backseat of their car to be very effective. You can also tie herbs in small bunches and string them up in the attic or warm room to dry. The flowers will dry in four to seven days. When leaves and flowers crumble between your fingers that is a good indication they are dry enough. If they bend and remain flexible they probably still contain moisture that needs to evaporate.

Before brewing the flowers into tea, crush them a bit – rubbing them between your fingers, using a mortar and pestle or chopping them with a knife. 1 tablespoon of flowers should be steeped no longer than three to five minutes to prevent the development of a bitter flavor.

Clean, dry, glass jars make the best storage containers for herbs. (Plastic does not make a good storage container because it’s permeable and does not protect the flavor of the herbs. Be sure that the jars are completely dry – check for moisture especially under the rims – and remove any cardboard inner lid. Amber colored glass bottles, which protect their contents from light, are great.

Chamomile has many other uses as well. It is excellent in compresses and salves for treating skin inflammation, burns, eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, and external ulcers. It can be used as a gargle to soothe a sore throat, as a mouthwash to treat gingivitis as a poultice to relive a toothache and as an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis and sties. Chamomile can be used as a bath herb to relieve stress, nourish dry skin and calm cranky children. Enjoy chamomile’s many qualities!

RECIPES

CHAMOMILE LAVENDER MINT ICED TEA (from www.myrecipes.com)
1 loosely packed cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or dried chamomile (or 4 chamomile tea bags)

Crush mint leaves and put in a 1-gallon lidded jar. Add lavender and chamomile. Fill jar with water to within 2 inches of rim. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined colander into pitcher for serving.

SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD (From Asparagus to Zucchini by MACSAC) Serves 4.
Sesame seeds
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
minced garlic or garlic scape to taste
dry mustard to taste salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup salad oil
1 bunch spinach, cleaned & stemmed
1 cup strawberries, sliced or chunked
1 1/2 tsp. fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dried

Toast sesame seeds in dry skillet or hot oven for several minutes, tossing often; let cool. Combine sugar, garlic, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil in thin stream. Toss with spinach, strawberries, dill, and sesame seeds.