Week 14, Aug 28 – Sept 3, 2011

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 14
Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 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. *This week we are sharing general freezing tips for preserving your produce throughout the off seasons.

ASIAN GREENS (Yukina Savoy): similar to Tatsoi, but larger; thick, savoyed leaves held upright on pale green petioles.
How to use: delicious steamed, stir-fried, or in soups
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag or wrap in a damp towel for up to a week. To freeze: Blanch for 2 min., drain it and throw it in ice water. Then put it in freezer bags.

BEANS (Rocdor): long, slender, yellow bean; meaty, firm texture and no watery taste. See Week 7 newsletter for storage & usage information. To freeze: Chop or slice into usable pieces and blanch for 2 minutes, rinse in cold water, drain, dry, then place on cookie trays, and transfer to freezer bags.

CUCUMBERS: long, cylindrical, green-skinned fruit of the gourd family with mild, crisp flesh. See Week 7 for storage & usage information.

EGGPLANT: You will receive Nadia (slender, purplish-black, glossy-like, bell-shaped fruit) or Orient Express (long, lavender fruit). See Week 12 for storage & usage information.

GARLIC: a bulb of several papery white cloves. To freeze: Mince cloves and pack into small container filled with olive oil, and freeze.

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:
Parsley (flat, glossy, dark green leaves), Dill (soft, delicate, fernlike, grayish-green leaves), 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), or Sage (an herb from an evergreen shrub in the mint family with long, narrow, grayish-green leaves) *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. To freeze herbs: Pluck leaves off stems, wash, spin dry, chop, and put into freezer bags or mince in water in ice cube trays. The frozen leaves are easily crumbled into all sorts of sauces, soups, stews.

KALE (Green Curly): well ruffled green leaves or green with red stems. See Week 1 newsletter for storage and usage information. How to freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes, rinse in cold water, drain, and pack into air-tight containers, or just destem, chop, and freeze in bags.

LETTUCE: You will receive 1-2 small heads. See Week 1 newsletter for storage and usage information.

MELONS: You may choose from Little Baby Flower Watermelon (small, 2-4 lb. round fruit; bright green stripe pattern on shell and dark pink flesh that is sweet and crisp with a high sugar count), Sunshine Watermelon (8-10 lb. oval-rounded fruit; green-striped shell with bright yellow flesh, which is brittle, juicy, and very sweet), Gold Flower Watermelon (elongated, sausage-like fruit with sweet yellow and orange bicolor flesh and green skin; unusual variety from China), Crimson Sweet Watermelon (large, dark and light green-striped with sweet red flesh), or Sarah’s Choice Cantaloupe (sweet, thick, orange flesh with corky net on the skin; medium-sized, oval fruit). See Week 13 for storage and usage information.

SWEET ONIONS: You will receive Mars Red (purple-red skinned onion with sweet flavor) and 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. To freeze: Chop up onions and freeze in freezer bags.

SWEET RED PEPPERS: You will receive Red Knight Bell (big, blocky, thick-walled, green-to-red pepper with sweet flesh) Carmen (tapered fruit ripens from green to deep carmine red; sweet taste for salads and roasting, when fully red-ripe), or Apple Pimento (cylindrical, lobed-end fruits with mild, juicy, sweet fruity flesh). See Week 12 for storage and usage information. To freeze: Clean, seed, chop or 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), Serrano (cylindrical fruit with excellent, very hot flavor; usually eaten fresh green not dried), or Shishito (sweet, mild, slender Japanese chiles about 2 to 4 inches with squarish end). See Week 10 for storage & usage information. To freeze: Clean and freeze whole. Place in freezer containers or bags to be used later in soups, sauces, or casseroles.

POTATOES (Red Dakota): red potato with white flesh that is good for baking, boiling, or frying. See Week 10 for storage & usage information. To freeze: Boil potatoes, cube, grate (can be raw), and julienne (can be raw) into French fries, then place on cookie trays, and transfer to freezer bags.

U-PICK FLOWERS (only available on the farm): A bouquet per household of up to 20 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.

U-PICK RASPBERRIES (only available on the farm): The fall raspberries are ready now, so 1 pint is available as part of your share this week, only if you are able to come out to the farm and pick it yourself. More pints are available for u-pick as well for $3/pint. See u-pick information below in the “Announcements”.

SWEET CORN (Montauk): small, fancy, bicolor kernels on 8” long ears with superior, sweet flavor. See Week 13 for storage and usage information. To freeze: Blanch cob of corn for 4-6 minutes. Cool quickly in ice water, then drain. Cut kernels off cob and pack into freezer containers or plastic bags.

TOMATOES: Very easy to freeze: Cut off bad spots, core big slicing or Roma tomatoes, and put in freezer bags whole or cut up in chunks. Cherry/Grape/Plum tomatoes just need to be washed and frozen whole in freezer bags. Add to soups or make sauces throughout the winter. *Tip: For those who don’t like skins, they come off easily (although the skin has many nutrients) when partially thawed, or dunked in warm/hot water. You may choose several tomatoes from many different varieties this week. See Week 11 newsletter for storage and usage information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. PRESERVING COOKBOOKS FOR SALE: At this time of year, thoughts may turn to freezing, canning, and dehydrating in order to continue to eat local food from your own preserves. If you are interested in a cookbook, we still have some for $20. Please ask for copies at each distribution.

2. PLASTIC OR PAPER GROCERY BAGS NEEDED, if you would like to donate some to the farm or at markets. We are running very low.

3. VACATIONS or OUT OF TOWN: Please remember to contact us preferably a week in advance, but at least by Sunday to make changes in pick up days or locations. If you can not pick up your box for some reason this Labor Day weekend, please have the courtesy to make some kind of contact with us and let us know.

4. KID FARM DAY will be on Wed., Aug. 31, from 9 AM until noon. At this point, registration is full. More information will be coming by email before the end of the day.

5. HARVEST AT THE FARM: Please call ahead if you plan to u-pick or pick up on other days besides Farm Distribution Days (Wed. and Fri.), so we can make sure someone is around to help you. There are also some “already picked” options.
U-pick Broccoli Florets—$0.50/lb. Good time for freezing.
U-pick Raspberries—1 pint free with your share, and $3/pint for additional pints. *Easy to freeze on cookie sheets.
Already Picked Tomatoes–$30 for 25 lbs. (half bushel) Good time for canning, dehydrating, and freezing!
U-pick Fresh Flowers– You may pick 1 bouquet of up to 20 stems per household at no charge as part of your share.

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.

PRESERVING FOOD BY FREEZING

Preserving local foods in your home is a good way to continue eating locally during the cold, winter months and is somewhat inexpensive too. This is also a way to deal with some of the surplus food, which you may accumulate over the season. Please feel free to keep this on file for future reference.

This week’s column will feature information on how to freeze food. This is probably the most common and easiest form of home food preservation, if you’ve got the freezer space. Freezing maintains the vitamin content of food better than most other preserving methods. Also the original flavor and texture of the food, in general, is retained a bit better than other methods of preserving.

Here are some freezing tips that we have discovered. First of all, it is important to use rigid glass or plastic containers, plastic freezer bags, or heavy weight aluminum foil, plastic films, or waxed freezer paper. These containers keep moisture in and air out. When freezing foods that contain liquids, leave at least 1/2-inch of space at the top for expansion. When using bags, press the air out of the unused part before sealing. When freezing food, you should also consider the serving size you would like to pull out of the freezer to avoid chipping away at a big block of frozen food. One way to do this is to place your individual pieces of food on cookie sheets and freeze. Then take them off later and transfer them to plastic bags. This works really well with pesto drop cookies. Another method is to place your food in ice cube trays. Puréed basil in ice cube chunks can be added later to soups or casseroles. Other herbs, pesto, or chilies also can be put in ice cube trays and then transferred to freezer bags.

Most vegetables (except peppers, tomatoes, cooked pumpkin or squash, onions, and herbs) need to be blanched before freezing. Most cookbooks or home food preservation book can help you with cooking times. Blanching involves heating the vegetable briefly in boiling water, cooling immediately in cold or ice water, draining, then packing into freezer containers.

Freezing food can be easier, tastier, and a bit more nutritious, if you’ve got the space. Some CSA members have found that purchasing a small freezer has helped them to have less waste of unused food from the summer share, and they have also retained a tiny bit of summer memories even after the cold of winter has set into their homes.

RECIPES

ROASTED RED PEPPER SOUP (from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson & Angelic Organics) Serves 4 to 6.
3 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small potato, quartered
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. fresh oregano or parsley, or 1/2 Tbs. dried
1 small sauce tomato
4 large red peppers, roasted, skinned, chopped
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
salt
freshly grated Parmesan cheese croutons (optional)

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs; sauté until potato and onion begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted peppers, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 30 seconds. Pour in stock or water and scrape up any of the flavorful caramelized pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer; cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Purée soup in a blender or food processor or run it through a food mill. Return it to the pot and heat until warmed through. Add the balsamic vinegar and a few grindings of fresh black pepper. Taste; add salt if desired. Garnish each serving with some Parmesan, a little fresh herb, and croutons if desired. *Good for freezing!

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