Week 12, August 14-20, 2011

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 12
Aug. 14-20, 2011

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

THIS WEEK’S SHARE
We usually try to give you a pretty accurate listing of the produce in your box, but since the newsletter is published before the harvest, sometimes we may substitute some vegetables for others.

GREEN BEANS (Maxibel French Fillet): very slender green bean with firm texture and good taste. See Week 7 newsletter for storage & usage information.

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 7 for storage & usage information.

EGGPLANT: You will receive Nadia (purplish-black, glossy-like, bell-shaped fruit) or Orient Express (long, lavender fruit).
How to use: may be salted to remove bitterness from old fruit, but also makes it less watery and more absorbent, and can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish; can be baked, boiled, fried, grilled, or can be sliced into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut into cubes for stews and stir-fries. Lots of recipes and basic cooking tips in the “A to Z cookbook”.
How to store: best fresh, but can be stored at room temperature or in refrigerator drawer for up to 1 week

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. You may choose ONE from the following 4 Herbs:
1. Chives—mild, onion-flavored herb with long, slender, hollow leaves; often used as a garnish or chopped into any foods that call for onion.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Lemon Balm– fragrant lemon-minty leaves make an herbal tea; good addition to lettuce or fruit salads, ice cream, and lamb or fish marinades for the grill; aids in depression or nausea.
*Genovese Basil—an herb with sweet, spicy, shiny, green leaves. We supply it with root attached, so it will last longer when stored in a jar, vase, or glass of water on your counter or table top.

KALE (Green Curly): well-ruffled, curly green leaves on green stems; this variety makes a good, roasted “kale chip”. See Week 1 newsletter for storage and usage information.

MUSHROOMS (SHIITAKE) (AA Sat. members only): 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. *Ann Arbor Saturday CSA members did not receive mushrooms last week, so they will be the only ones to receive them this week. Unfortunately not enough for everyone else. See Week 11 for storage & usage information.

ONIONS (Red Long of Tropea): specialty variety of tall, elongated, red bulbs traditionally grown in Mediterranean Italy and France.
See Week 8 for storage & usage information.

PEPPERS: You will receive Sweet Red Bell (large blocky cells with fruity, sweet flavor) and you may choose Ancho/Poblano (known as “poblanos” when black- green, but becomes an “ancho” when brick-red and fully dry; popular in Southwestern recipes; heart-shaped fruit, which is mildly pungent with a sweet, medium-hot flavor)
How to use: eat raw for best nutrient retention; can be added to soups, stews, omelets, quiches, stir-fries, etc. Excellent roasted.
How to store: refrigerate unwashed in hydrator drawer for 1-2 weeks. To freeze: Clean, seed, and mince peppers. Place in freezer containers or bags to be used later in soups or casseroles.

HOT PEPPERS: You may choose from Jalapeño (small and conical pepper, ranging from green to red; hot chile pepper used commonly in Mexican or southwestern cooking), Serrano (cylindrical fruit with excellent, very hot flavor; usually eaten fresh green in sauces, condiments, or as a key ingredient in fiery Mexican dishes.), or Shishito (sweet, mild, slender Japanese chiles about 2 to 4 inches with squarish end; often used in stir-fried dishes, salads, or as a pickled condiment). See Week 10 for storage & usage information.

POTATOES (Red Norland): smooth, red skin and white flesh; great baked, boiled, or roasted. See Week 10 for storage & usage information.

U-PICK FLOWERS (only available on the farm): A bouquet per household of up to 15 stems will be part of your share, but whenever possible if you can donate $1 or more that will help to pay for some seed and labor costs. More information about u-pick flowers is in the “Announcements” section.

SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI (small amount): You will receive some variety of Soleil Yellow Zucchini or Yellow Slick Pik or Plato Green Zucchini. See Week 6 for storage & usage information.

SWEET POTATO LEAVES & STEMS: Leaves are variable in shape, size, and color but more or less heart-shaped and green with purple markings; commonly used in African and Asian cooking with a mild, but dense flavor, which stand up very well to cooking, maintaining their dark green color and a pleasantly easy texture; good source of vitamins A and C. *Please refer to this week’s feature article for more information on sweet potato leaves.
How to use: traditionally cooked just like spinach, with a little meat or fish and served over rice; also can be eaten raw in salads or steamed.
How to store: refrigerate in a plastic bag for a few days.

TOMATOES: You will receive Geronimo (newer variety but already one of the most widely used beefsteak varieties; fruits are very large, firm, nice color and good taste.) and you may choose from a variety of Heirloom tomatoes, such as Pruden’s Purple (early Brandywine type; vivid dark pink, heirloom tomato with smooth, crimson flesh; delicious flavor and large–1 lb.+ fruit), Rose Brandywine (deep pink, heirloom, medium-sized tomato, which is meaty and flavorful), Cherokee Purple (heirloom, medium-large, flattened globe fruit with color as dusky pink and greenish blush), and Japanese Black Trifele (unusual pear-shaped, heirloom tomato with burgundy, greenish color and excellent, rich flavor). We pick heirloom tomatoes slightly green to prevent splitting and damage, while transporting. Heirlooms are softer and more perishable when ripe. Best to store upside down at room temperature until completely ripe. See Week 11 newsletter for storage and usage information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. TOMATO PRESERVING WORKSHOP at Tantre Farm: This workshop is scheduled for this Saturday, Aug. 20, from 3 to 6 P.M. Kristen Uthus (Tantré Farm worker–2002) will teach mostly how to can tomatoes, but also some information will be on dehydrating and freezing them. Please register with your Name, Phone Number, and E-mail Address. There will be a small $5 fee for materials. There is still room for a few more participants, so please register soon.

2. KID FARM HIKE: Come join us for a sensory exploration of Tantre Farm this Friday on Aug. 19 at 4 PM for all ages! We will take a 45 min. hike around the farm with CSA member, Sheila Schueller, and explore its wetlands and forest to discover its many treasures. No RSVP necessary, but if you email that you are interested that might be helpful to see approximately how many are planning on attending. CANCELLATION: August 26 is no longer an option.

3. BABY ANIMALS AT THE FARM: A bull calf was born to one of the cows, Gigi, on Saturday afternoon. We also received another batch of 50 baby chicks in the mail last Friday, so lots to see at the farm. Come see the babies!

4. KID FARM DAY will be on Wed., Aug. 31, from 9 AM until noon. At this point, registration is full, but if you are interested in being placed on a “Waiting List” in case of cancellations, please call or e-mail Tantre Farm with your child’s name, age, phone #, & email address. Anyone interested in helping out, please contact Deb.

5. U-PICK FLOWERS: You may pick 1 bouquet of up to 15 stems per household. Please call ahead if you plan to pick on other days besides Farm Distribution Days (Wed. and Fri.),

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

SWEET POTATO LEAVES: NOT JUST ANOTHER GREEN

Sweet potatoes are not yams. They are a member of the morning glory family, a family with beautiful trailing vines that hug the ground. Sweet potatoes are one of only a few cultivated vegetable crops that originated in the Americas. They are said to be native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man.

The sweet potato is one of the world’s most cultivated crops, and now is grown all over the world, but especially in Asia and the Pacific. China is the largest grower of sweet potatoes, providing about 80% of the world’s supply. The leaves are good forage for domestic animals and also are high in protein and calcium. Chinese herbalist lore says that the leaves can improve the respiratory and renal system function. According to a new research from the University of Arkansas, sweet potato leaves are chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants as well. In total, they contain 15 different compounds that could help prevent heart disease, diabetes, infection and some types of cancer.

Although usually the roots are eaten, young leaves and the tips of vines can be harvested, washed, and boiled as a green vegetable or added to stir-fries. Separating the leaves from stems for some bunches of leaves can be a tedious chore, so some people may use scissors or stack the leaves in a pile and slice through all at once next to the stem with a knife. If the stem is not too woody, it can also be tossed into a stir fry, steamed along with the leaves, used in soups, and of course, eaten raw in salads or sandwiches. Sweet potato leaves are a staple green in third world countries, and many recipes can be found online.

We enjoy many varieties, textures, and flavors of greens in our share boxes each season. The sweet potato leaves are another variation of our rich, diverse consumption of greens. Hope you enjoy the simple nourishment and unique flavors of these sweet potato tops.

RECIPES

SWEET POTATO TOPS A LA KUWAGO (from www.happycow.net)
Dash of Asafetida (an Indian spice, which can be replaced with 2 cloves minced garlic or 3 Tbsp. minced leek)
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 tsp. of mustard seeds
4 potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch squares
4 large tomatoes, diced finely or 1 small can crushed tomatoes
3 cups of water, vegetable stock or rice washing
1 large bunch of sweet potato tops, hard stems removed & washed
dash of cumin powder
sea salt to taste

In a deep pot, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Fry them until they start to pop. Add the asafetida (or garlic). Add the cumin. Add the potatoes and stir fry them until the outer parts start to change color. Add and sauté the tomatoes until they become tender. Add the water and allow it to boil. Add your sea salt. Add the Sweet potato tops. Continue to boil, around 5 minutes, until the potatoes are tender enough, mixing them once or twice to ensure that all the ingredients are cooked evenly. Serve warm.

LEMON BALM VINAIGRETTE
1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
2 Tbsp. lemon balm, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. brown sugar or honey
8 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Mix first 7 ingredients together, and then slowly blend in the oil. Mix well before serving. This is delicious on salads, especially fish or chicken salads. You can also marinate chicken or fish piece in this mixture before cooking. After cooking, serve the vinaigrette as a sauce. Makes about 2/3 cup.

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