2015: Week 7, July 6 – 12

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK #7
July 6-12, 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. **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

FAVA BEANS: also called faba bean, horse bean, or broad bean; the pod is inedible raw and looks like a large bean pod; the bean seed resembles a lima bean with a tart, pungent flavor; fresh fava beans should be shelled from pod if skin seems tough, but bean seed can be eaten raw. The pod, when cooked, is edible. See recipes below.
-To skin fava beans: Blanch for 1 minute, then drain and cool. With your thumbnail, pull open the sprout end and squeeze the bean out of its skin. This link shows 5 ways to prepare favas: http://www.thekitchn.com/5-fantastic-ways-to-cook-fava-beans-190674
-How to use: Stew skinned beans in a little butter, oil or cream seasoned with savory, thyme or sage. Sauté with other vegetables and toss with pasta. Good in soups. Lots of recipes on the Internet!
-How to store: Store fresh, unshelled beans in the refrigerator up to a week; once shelled, blanched and skinned, favas can be frozen in plastic containers for longer storage; shelled beans are best used within a few days. See “Beans” for recipes in the A to Z Cookbook, if you have it, and also this newsletter. Delicious!

GOLDEN BEETS & GREENS: orange skin with rich golden interior; mild, sweet flavor when cooked) *The beet greens are especially delicious right now, and can be used like spinach.
-How to use: greens can be substituted for spinach and chard in recipes; roots good in soups, stews, roasted, boiled, steamed, excellent grated raw into salads or baked goods.
-How to store: separate roots from leaves and store unwashed in plastic bags in hydrator drawer of refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; store greens wrapped in damp cloth in plastic bag for up to 1 week.

CUCUMBERS: long, cylindrical, green-skinned fruit of the gourd family with mild, crisp flesh. The thin skin doesn’t need peeling, unless waxed for longer shelf life in stores.
-How to use: raw or pickled in salads or sandwiches, can also be julienned, sautéed, or baked.
-How to store: store them in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer for up to a week; use up leftovers as soon as possible.

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:
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.
Curly Parsley—curly, dark green leaves, often used as a garnish, but can be used the same as flat-leaf parsley; good in egg dishes, mashed potatoes, soups, sauces, pasta and vegetable dishes.
Thyme– tiny green leaves used in meat and vegetable dishes and most casseroles, soups, stews, and medicinal teas, which soothe sore throats. The flowers are edible and make nice garnishes.

KALE (Siberian): tender blue green, curly leaves, with a mildly sweet flavor.
-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: You will receive lettuce heads, which may include Panisse, 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.

SUMMER ONIONS: larger bulb than green onion with edible green stem attached.
-How to use: can be grilled or roasted whole as a vegetable or chopped in salads, soups, & other dishes for flavor
-How to store: wrap in damp towel or plastic bag in fridge for 2 to 7 days.

NEW POTATOES (Red Norland): smooth, red skin and white flesh; great baked, boiled, or roasted.
How to use: New potatoes are just young potatoes that haven’t had time to convert their sugar fully into starch and often have a crisp, waxy texture and thin, underdeveloped wispy skins, so are good boiled or pan-roasted, but particularly suited for potato salad, since they hold their shape well after being cut and cooked.
How to store: Refrigerate new potatoes if not used within 2-3 days, but use up sometime during the 1st or 2nd week of receiving them. These potatoes have not been cured, so will not last as long as “cured” potatoes, which should not be refrigerated, since low temperatures convert the starch to sugars and may turn dark when cooked.

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.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. “MEDICINAL HERBS” CLASS, July 12, from 1 to 3 PM: We will spend this coming Sunday afternoon with local forager, Rachel Mifsud, producing medicines at Tantre Farm using lawn weeds and common garden herbs. This is your chance to learn how to make salves, liniments, tinctures, and healing teas. This class will not include a plant walk. All plants will be pre-harvested, so that we can focus on learning the techniques. Tentative products (subject to change): 1) Bug Bite Butter 2) Headache Tincture 3) Tummy Tea 4) Sleepy Tea 5) Ache Liniment. Cost: $20 for CSA members, which includes instruction, foraged tea and snacks, and 5 herbal products. This is an excellent value! Similar medicinal products would be worth at least $30 if you were to purchase them. RSVP REQUIRED until the class is full. Please include your Name, Email Address and Phone Number in the body of your email to register. STILL SPACES LEFT!

2. SUMMER WORK PARTY/OPEN HOUSE Sunday, July 19 between 1-4 p.m. This day often tends to be hot and sunny, but not sure about THIS summer! However, we’ll have lots of water play for the kids and shade-related activities for the adults, such as cleaning garlic. For those more adventurer-gardener types, we will be weeding the herb and flower garden and other patches in the fields, and maybe even some harvesting potatoes! Members are encouraged to bring family and friends to Tantré Farm to see the farm decked out in its summer finery, for wagon ride farm tours, and for getting to know fellow community members. This is a completely voluntary event, so you can also come just for the fun, such as listening to live music, picking a pint of raspberries, which would go nicely with our plans to make fresh, hand-cranked, home-made ice cream! These are further incentives to encourage folks to come out to see the farm. As usual a potluck is included, so please feel free to bring a snack or refreshment. More details coming next week!

3. “A TO Z COOKBOOKS” AVAILABLE! Each distribution site will have a few more cookbooks for sale for $15 (retail value $19.95). If we run out at your site, send us an email, so we can attach your name to one of them for the following week.

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.

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
**Keep in mind a very easy way to find recipe ideas for almost any combination of share box ingredients is to type the items into your preferred “search bar” with the word “recipe” after it, and many recipe ideas will pop up. Have fun searching! Lots and lots of ideas!

CUCUMBER, BEET, & SCALLION SALAD (Serves 4 to 6.)
1 bunch beets (about 1 3/4 lbs.), tops trimmed to 1-inch
2 large cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, & sliced ¼-inch
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup light or regular sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced summer onions
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. prepared white horseradish
1 Tbs. white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet in a sheet of foil. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beets are easily pierced with a small knife. Unwrap. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers and 1-teaspoon kosher salt; cover with plastic wrap. Set a plate on top, weight with a heavy can, and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Rinse the cucumbers, drain, and put into a medium bowl. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel, quarter, and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Add to the cucumbers. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, scallions, vinegar, horseradish, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add to the beet mixture and toss until mixed. Spoon into a bowl and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

KALE CHIPS WITH CHEESE (delicious & easy to do!)
1 bunch Kale
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 T Parmesan Cheese or Nutritional Yeast
1 T Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Sea Salt

Wash and dry Kale leaves and place in bowl. Mix in lemon juice and coconut oil together massaging into kale leaves. Mix separately Parmesan Cheese (or Nutritional Yeast), sea salt and garlic powder. Toss together with leaves. Place in dehydrator at 118 degrees for 12 – 18 hours. Can be stored in food safe container in cupboard ~ if they last that long!