Week 14: August 24 – 30, 2014

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK #14
Aug. 24-30, 2014

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.

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.

We also try to keep the formatted 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.

**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

ARUGULA: an aromatic, bright salad green with a peppery mustard flavor, which is rich in iron and vitamins A and C. See Week 1 for usage and storage information.

GREEN BEANS or YELLOW BEANS: You will receive E-Z Pick (a round, tender, dark green, snap bean with good sweet flavor) or Rocdor (long, slender, yellow bean; meaty, firm texture and no watery taste). See Week 10 for usage and storage information.

BROCCOLI or CABBAGE: You will receive Bay Meadows (blue green, well-domed heads; tiny buds that are clustered on top of stout, edible stems) or Tendersweet Cabbage (Midsize, flat heads; tender leaves are very thin, sweet, and crisp – perfect for coleslaw or stir-fries). See Week 8 for usage and storage information.

CARROTS: You will receive Bolero (excellent long-term, storage carrot with medium-long, thick, blunt, orange roots). See Week 10 for usage and storage information.

SWEET CORN (Delectable): a mid-main season bicolor with large, well-filled 8” long ears and dark green husks; terrific for fresh eating and processing. See Week 13 for usage and storage information.

U-PICK FLOWERS (only available on the farm): The flowers are really starting to swell into rainbows of colorful blooms. A bouquet per household of up to 15 stems will be part of your share, if you are able to come and pick it. This means that if you are splitting a share, each household can pick a bouquet. Keep in mind that u-pick flowers will be part of your share until the first frost stops them from producing. More information about u-pick flowers is in the “Announcements” section.

GARLIC: a bulb of several papery white cloves; used in a variety of culinary dishes. See Week 7 for usage and storage information.

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 3 Herbs:
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; refrigerate in plastic bag for 3 days.
Italian Flat-leaf Parsley—flat, glossy, dark green leaves have a strong parsley/celery flavor for use dried or fresh; especially good in omelets, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta and vegetable dishes, as well as, sauces to go with fish & poultry.
Thyme– tiny green leaves used in meat and vegetable dishes and most casseroles, soups, stews, and medicinal teas.

LETTUCE: You will receive heads of Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Romaine or Buttercrunch. See Week 2 for usage and storage information.

MUSHROOMS: You will receive 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) or Oyster (white, golden, or gray oyster-shaped cap with a mild, anise, earthy odor)
-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.

ONIONS: You will receive Red Long of Tropea (a specialty heirloom variety of tall, elongated, wine-red bulbs with sweet white flesh; traditionally grown in Mediterranean Italy and France; use raw or grilled) or Big Daddy (large Spanish type yellow onion, delicately textured flesh is superb raw, and makes magnificent French onion soup; may last 8-10 months in storage) or Mars Red (purple-red skinned onion with sweet flavor. See Week 10 for usage and storage information.

HOT PEPPERS (Serrano): cylindrical fruit with excellent, very hot flavor; usually eaten fresh green in sauces, condiments, or as a key ingredient in fiery Mexican dishes. See Week 12 for usage and storage information.

SWEET RED PEPPERS: You will receive Ace (medium-sized green-to-red bell pepper) or Red Knight Bell (big, blocky, thick-walled, green-to-red pepper with sweet flesh).
-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 fridge drawer for 1-2 weeks.

POTATOES: You will receive German Butterball (a round to oblong tuber with lightly netted golden skin that wraps around deep yellow flesh. Slightly dry flesh, this is good for everything – frying, baking, mashing, soups) or Red Norland (smooth, red skin & white flesh; great baked, boiled, or roasted). See Week 7 for storage information.

TATSOI: an Asian green with small, spoon-shaped, thick, dark-green leaves with tangy, sweet flavor.
-How to use: commonly eaten raw in salads and in stir-fries/soups
-How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag or wrap in a damp towel for up to a week.

TOMATOES: . You will receive several tomatoes from many different varieties this week, so we really encourage you to enjoy tomatoes all year long by freezing them. 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. IT IS SO EASY TO FREEZE TOMATOES!!!! See Week 12 for storage and usage information.

WATERMELON: You will receive Little Baby Flower (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) or San Juan Melon (heavily netted oval fruits with ivory-colored flesh; wonderfully aromatic, pear-like, sweet flavor) or Starlight (10-12 lb. round fruit; deep green with highly contrasting black stripes and pink flesh; excellent flavor with crisp texture). See Week 11 for usage and storage information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. LULU COOKING CLASS last week was enjoyed by all. We made Cucumber Gazpacho, Summer Squash & Quinoa Salad, Kale & Chickpea Salad, Pane Bagnato, and a delicious Watermelon Sorbet. Thanks for those who were able to come and especially to Eric Lundy and Laenne Thompson for all their expertise.

2. KID FARM DAY will be Wed., Aug. 27, from 9 AM until noon. We are looking forward to several Native American activities such as braiding sweet grass, making clay toys, and clay seed balls. We have over 40 kids signed up, so it will be loads of fun!

3. U-PICK AVAILABLE: Please call ahead if you plan to pick on other days besides Farm Distribution Days (Wed. and Fri.), so we can make sure someone is around to help you. U-pick Flowers–You may pick 1 bouquet of up to 15 stems per household for “free”. Whenever possible if you can donate $1 or $2 that will help to pay for some seed and labor costs. Extra bouquets will cost $4. You may want to bring a jar to keep your flowers fresher on the ride home, although we do have many quart-size yogurt containers to use as temporary vases.
Already Picked Tomatoes—available for canning or freezing. Many slicer and heirloom varieties. Very easy to freeze! Members– $1/lb. Non members–$1.25/lb.
U-pick Tomatoes—many tomato varieties are ripening in plentiful amounts, and they are $0.50/lb.

4. PLASTIC OR PAPER GROCERY BAGS AND YOGURT CONTAINERS (quart size for u-pick flowers) STILL NEEDED, if you would like to donate some to the farm or at markets. We are running low.

5. VACATIONS or OUT OF TOWN: Please remember to contact us at least by Sunday and please be specific about which location you’re requesting, since we have several options on every day. 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 and let us know what to do with your box.

6. PICK UP TIMES & LOCATIONS REMINDER:
Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market (Wed.)–7 A.M. to 12 P.M.
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.)—10 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Chelsea Farmers’ Market (Sat.)–8 A.M. to 12 P.M.

OPPORTUNITIES
By Deb and Richard

This year we find the cool, wet weather to be both a help and a hindrance to the many families of vegetables we have growing on the farm. The wetness and coolness mean that we don’t have to water as often. It also means that the plants can become stressed and may develop some level of fungal disease. Every year has its own special challenges, as well as its own special success.

You may have noticed some brown spots on the basil this year, which is called “downy mildew”. It has been stressed by the cool weather and rain. Its native origin is from the hot, dry, Indian subcontinent. It doesn’t like these cool days and nights. It’s not the prettiest, but its natural oils are still potent, especially if you’re going to make sauce or make pesto. We have several generations of the basil with the brown spots, so it will be with us for awhile. We have stopped distributing it in your CSA shares, since it’s not what people are used to, but you can always ask for it at the farm. Since we plant so many successions of basil, we are hoping to have some disease-free plants sometime in September.

The stress on the tomatoes is that they are slow to ripen. To address this problem, we have planted all 8 greenhouses on the farm with many varieties of tomatoes. This means that we can close them , heat them up, and keep the rain off to create their own Mexican microclimate, which is their native origin. This has finally paid off, so we have plenty of tomatoes suddenly starting now! If you’re looking for already-picked tomatoes, pick-your-own tomatoes, or tomatoes for sauce, please let us know. See the U-pick section in the newsletter for more details.

Another challenge we are facing is that some of the beans have a light brown spot called “rust”, due to the extra rain that we’ve had, but the beans taste just wonderful. We do try to sort them out, but miss some of those rusty spots every so often. Everywhere you look the fields are full and green. The grasses and clovers still have their spring-like appearance feeding the hungry calves and cows. The squash and pumpkins have flooded the open brown soil with their tendrils, runners, and leaves, soaking up the water and the sunshine. The lettuces remain sweet and large, and of course, the mushrooms are at their zenith. As you walk in the woods you can see the ends of the logs are full of white mushroom culture, which create the fruiting caps. We are happy to provide you with their earthy flavors.

This year we’re finding many of the root crops and greens to be just excellent. So it goes, year after year. We dream the dream of this year’s weather and next year’s destiny, and see what grows well. Powdery mildew comes in the dry years and downy mildew comes in the wet years. Each moment is a new and original opportunity in which to plant and in turn harvest.

RECIPES

TABBOULI (The World in Your Kitchen)
1/2 c. bulgur
a few lettuce leaves
4 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 onion, finely sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
4 Tbs. lemon juice
4 Tbs. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Soak bulgur 20-30 minutes in cold water to cover. Drain well. Line a salad bowl with lettuce leaves and spoon in bulgur. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the parsley, mint, onion, and tomatoes. Whisk lemon juice with olive oil, salt and pepper; toss with salad. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of parsley on top. Serves 4-6