2020: Week 9, July 19-25

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK #9
July 19-25, 2020

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.

We  try to keep the printed newsletter to a 2-page maximum, which means that we won’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.   You can always find past newsletters on our website at http://www.tantrefarm.com/newsletters/!

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

AMARANTH (RED LEAF): known as “Callaloo” in the Caribbean; medium-green, oval to heart-shaped leaves with splashes of burgundy-red; tastes like spinach and can be prepared like spinach. See Week 8 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

CABBAGE: You will receive one of the following:   Caraflex (pointed mini cabbage, extremely uniform, small heads with good wrapper leaves. Inner leaves are tender, crunchy, and have an excellent, sweet and mild cabbage flavor. Perfect for summer salads, slaws, or cooked dishes) or Baby Red Express (mini, solid, round, red heads with good appearance and flavor).  See Week 1 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

CARROTS (Mokum):  sweet, slender, “pencil carrot” with edible green leaves.  Greens are delicious in soups and also salads. See  Week 6 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

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.  See Week 8 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

NO HERB BUNCH THIS WEEK!  Most of our herbs are taking longer to grow back, so  we are letting our smaller  patches of herbs recuperate.

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. See Week 1 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

LETTUCE: rich in calcium and vitamins A and C; you will receive Red or Green Leaf or Romaine.  See Week 3 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

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 temps convert the starch to sugars and may turn dark when cooked.

SWISS CHARD: close relative of garden beets; multi-colored, large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves; mild flavor; good source of vitamins A, E, and C, as well as iron and calcium.  See Week 7 newsletter for usage and storage tips.

SUMMER SQUASH: you will receive some variety of Yellow or Green Zucchini (gourmet zucchini with uniform, cylindrical fruits) or Yellow Crookneck (long, curved neck with a sometimes bumpy, yellow skin; buttery flavor and firm texture) or Patty Pan (tender, rounded scallop, bright yellow squash with a green tip; nutty flavor).
-How to use: use in salads, dips, grilled, casseroles, stuffed, or mashed with butter and seasonings.
-How to store: store in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. ZOOM WALKS: During the walk, Rachel will show you around 15 plants and talk about ID, harvest, use, and preservation of those plants. To participate, you must have Zoom installed on your device. Then you simply copy/paste the link and password shown below for the date you want to attend, and log on at 2 pm that day.  All walks will be live from 2-3 pm and are donation-based.  You are not required to pay to participate, but it is appreciated when you can.  The next one is  July 30: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88426788010?pwd=UEZOa0FyWnBtMUpHYmkwaUlQbHlpdz09 PW: 802190. More dates will be shared in upcoming newsletters or you can visit the website: https://willforageforfood.square.site/

2. MASKS & GLOVES: We recommend that all come to each distribution site with a mask and gloves to pick up your shares.  We will have hand sanitizer at most sites as well.  

3. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, especially in the HERB Garden & FLOWER GARDEN these coming 2 weeks:  Our daughter, Ari, is having a small graduation party at the farm on Aug. 2, and there are many things to do to prepare!  If you are interested in helping out with weeding to make things look just a little tidier, please contact us any day of the week or evenings until dark.   Thanks so much to all those, who have helped out so far!

4. IMMUNE BOOSTER CSA:  As some of you know we started a collaborative CSA with several local farms and food businesses that you can opt in or out of each week called the Immune Booster.  If you are interested in supplementing your share with more veggies and other locally produced and sourced value-added products, please go to our website to sign up every Sunday – Wednesday night.  Pick up is from 9 AM to 12 PM every Saturday at the Washtenaw Food Hub:  http://www.tantrefarm.com/how-does-our-immune-booster-csa-work/.  Still time to sign up this week!

5. PICK UP TIMES & LOCATIONS REMINDER: **Volunteers will be at each site during designated times below, so if you need to come at a different time, please feel free to bring gloves and your own pen to check off your name.
*Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market (Wed.)—7 AM to 12 PM (TANTRE STAFF for check-in from 7-9 AM)
*MOVE Fitness & Wellness Studio (Wed)—CHANGE IN TIME: 8 AM to 10 AM (SARA for check-in the whole time)
*Farm (Wed.)—10 AM to 7 PM (TANTRE STAFF checking off names from 10 AM-12 PM and from 2-4 PM)
*Washtenaw Food Hub (Wed.) –6 PM to 8 PM (LIZZIE for check-in the whole time)
*Pure Pastures (Wed.) (limited site) —9 AM to 5 PM (JESSICA for check-in from 9 AM – 11 PM)
*Farm (Fri.)—2 PM to 7 PM (TANTRE STAFF for check-in from 2 to  4 PM)
*Community High School (Sat.) —7 AM to 12 PM (SHANNON & FRAN for check-in for the whole time)
*Washtenaw Food Hub (Sat.)—9 AM to 12 PM (PETER & RYAN for check-in for the whole time)
*Chelsea Farmers’ Market (Sat.)—8 AM to 12 PM (DEB for check-in the whole time)
*Argus-Packard (Sat) (limited site)—12 PM to 3 PM (ARGUS STAFF for check-in the whole time)
*RoosRoast-Rosewood (Sat)–9 AM  to 11 AM (JONATHON for check-in the whole time)

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, sauteed, 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

COLD CUCUMBER LEEK SOUP
This is a creamy soup made without cream, using potatoes instead for body.  For a lighter soup, you can leave out the potatoes.  There are a number of different vegetable variations that are also good!  

2 leeks (white and light green part), cut in half, cleaned, thinly sliced (or 3/4 cup chopped onions, shallots or scallions)
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp oil
1-2 cups potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 cups thinly sliced cucumber
2 Tbsp dill, chopped fine and divided
2 cups broth (should just cover vegetables, may need a little more)
1-2 cups cold buttermilk or plain yogurt

Saute leeks and garlic in the oil, just until wilted and not yet browned.  Add potato and cucumber.  Stir a bit.  Add 1 tablespoon 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, puree vegetables and broth together with an immersion blender, regular blender, food processor, etc., adding the remaining 1 tablespoon dill.  Check the seasoning; add salt and pepper if you like.  Chill the vegetable puree.  Before serving stir in the amount of buttermilk that you like.  I find that 2/3 vegetable puree 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 beets, and 1/3 cabbage (or kohlrabi or chard stems).  Can also throw in a couple of carrots or turnips. I often use leftover beets that I’ve already roasted for this–just adding them at the end of the simmering time. 
*Vichyssoise: You can use just potatoes and leeks as the vegetables to make  French vichyssoise.  Don’t use a food processor to puree it though as it will become gluey.  You may want to use chives instead of the dill and replace the buttermilk with milk.

SAUTEED SWISS CHARD
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 bunch Swiss chard (or Red Amaranth)
Salt to taste

Saute garlic with olive oil in skillet, until soft and fragrant.  Toast pine nuts in dry skillet, until lightly brown.  Cover golden raisins with boiling water until they expand or plump up (about 15 minutes); then drain.  Slice chard leaves into 2-inch-wide ribbons (just pile all of the washed leaves on top of one another and slice through the bunch every 2 inches across).  Add chard leaves to garlic and oil.  Cover and steam (stir once in a while) about 5 minutes.  Stir in raisins, pine nuts, and salt to taste.  Most kids (even most adults…) love the sweetness of the raisins with these slightly bitter greens.