Week 15: August 31 – September 6, 2014

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK #15
Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 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(E-Z Pick): a round, tender, dark green, snap bean with good sweet flavor. See Week 10 for usage and storage information.

CABBAGE: You will receive 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 (Vision): exceptionally tender, deep yellow kernels; great for fresh eating or freezing. See Week 13 for usage and storage information.

U-PICK FLOWERS (only available on the farm): 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. More information about u-pick flowers is in the “Announcements” section.

FRESH HERBS: This week there will be no fresh herbs, unless you come to the farm and pick your own. Several college students have gone back to school in August, and we just don’t have enough interns to pick the herbs for everyone, while we are transition with new people joining us later in September. Please feel free to come and volunteer any day this week and next week to help us out.

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

ONIONS: You will receive 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 (Jalapeño): small and conical pepper, ranging from green to red; hot chile pepper used commonly in Mexican or southwestern cooking. 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). See Week 14 for usage and storage information.

POTATOES: You will receive Yukon Gold (yellowish brown skin with yellow dry flesh and pink eyes; long storage and good tasting; perfect baked, boiled, mashed or fried) or Red Norland (smooth, red skin & white flesh; great baked, boiled, or roasted). See Week 7 for storage information.

U-PICK RASPBERRIES (only available on the farm): The sweet fall red and golden raspberries are just coming in. 1 pint is available as part of your share this week, if you are able to come out to the farm and pick it yourself. $4 for any extra pints picked.

TATSOI: an Asian green with small, spoon-shaped, thick, dark-green leaves with tangy, sweet flavor. See Week 14 for usage and storage information.

TOMATOES: You may choose from a variety of Heirloom tomatoes this week. See the feature article on what “heirloom” means. You will receive something of the following: Japanese Black Trifele (unusual pear-shaped, heirloom tomato with burgundy, greenish color and excellent, rich flavor), Pruden’s Purple (early Brandywine type; vivid dark pink, heirloom tomato with smooth, crimson flesh; delicious flavor and large–1 lb.+ fruit), Rose (deep pink, heirloom, medium-sized tomato, which is meaty and flavorful). You may also choose from sauce or slicing tomatoes such as: Verona (similar to Juliet, but with even tastier, somewhat plumper, deep red “cocktail plum” fruits; good in sauces and in salads) or Granadero (bright red, 4-5 oz. plum tomatoes with very good flavor; thick-walled fruit are good for fresh tomato sauces, salsas, and salads) or Geronimo (newer variety but already one of the most widely used beefsteak varieties; fruits are very large, firm, nice red color and good taste). 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 12 for storage and usage information.

WATERMELON: You will receive Sugar Baby (6 to 10 lb. icebox melon with sweet, deep red flesh and solid dark green skin) or Sarah’s Choice Cantaloupe (sweet tasting, thick, orange flesh with corky net on the skin; medium-sized, oval fruit) 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. FALL WORK PARTY/END-OF SEASON POTLUCK will be Sunday, Sept. 21, between 1-4 P.M. Our end-of-season potluck will also be at this time, so please bring an hors d’oeuvre, snack, or refreshment to pass. Members are invited to bring family and friends to help harvest squash, pumpkins, and potatoes before the first frost. You may also come just to enjoy the farm and walk around to see the produce and the animals, listen to music, or just eat at the potluck around 3 or 4 P.M. We also will have sit-down activities, such as onion or garlic cleaning or dried herb stripping. Lots of kid-friendly activities, such as wagon rides, feeding animals, and bubbles. All who come will be able to take something home with them, such as a pumpkin or a winter squash. Please dress appropriately for the weather, since it will be scheduled rain or shine.

2. TOMATO PRESERVING WORKSHOP at Tantre Farm: This workshop is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27 from 3 to 6 PM. Kristen Uthus (Tantré Farm worker–2002) will teach mostly how to can tomatoes, but also some information will be on dehydrating and freezing them. There will be active participation and “take-home” samples for those attending. Plan on bringing a Quart Size Canning Jar. Please register with your Name, Phone Number, and E-mail Address in the body of the email to us. There will be a small $5 fee for materials. Bulk tomatoes will be available for you to buy. This is a great time for canning, freezing, or dehydrating!

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 Golden/Red Raspberries—1 pint free. Extra $4/pint
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.
Already Picked Tomatoes—available for canning or freezing. Many slicer and heirloom varieties. Very easy to freeze!
–Members– $1/lb. for “perfect” (no blemishes) tomatoes and $0.50/lb. for “2nds” (cracks, bruising, very ripe, but good parts).
–Non members–$1.25/lb. for perfect tomatoes & $0.75 for 2nds.
U-pick Tomatoes—many tomato varieties are ready for picking.
–Members–$0.50/lb.
–Non members–$0.75/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 every day.

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.

WHAT’S AN HEIRLOOM?
(by Joel Heeres, “Tantré alumnus“)

It’s not a loom for your heirs, as you might think. Heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties are hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old. Heirlooms differ in shape, color, size, flavor, and storability, but they all share one characteristic– their seeds can be saved one season to plant in the next. Heirloom varieties have been bred by local farmers and gardeners over many generations and have been established as stable varieties that grow “true to seed“. These varieties are special, because they have been adapted to certain climates over a long time.

Heirloom vegetables are often more flavorful than hybrid vegetables. Hybrids are bred for high productivity, disease and pest resistance, drought resistance, and hardiness. While these traits are undeniably helpful, they often come at the cost of flavor. In addition, farmers cannot save seed from hybrid crops, as they are unstable crosses from two different varieties.

In summary, heirloom crops are beneficial to small farmers and home gardeners, because their seeds can be saved to plant again. They have better flavor and are more unique than hybrids, although they can be less hardy and prone to diseases.

At Tantré Farm, we grow both hybrid and heirloom crops. Some of the crops we grow from heirloom seeds are tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, winter squash, potatoes, onions, kale, beans, turnips, and radishes. Sometimes we will have some varieties of heirlooms only on the market tables, since we may not have a lot of them available. We’ll try to let you know when you are getting heirloom produce in your share box.

RECIPES

EIGHT GREAT WAYS TO SERVE SUMMER TOMATOES (Capay Organic Farm CSA “Farm Fresh To You” website)

1. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Toss with finely chopped shallots, then splash with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove center of each, and fill with a large basil leaf and a chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with purchased garlic-infused oil, and wrap in foil. Roast on an outdoor grill for five minutes.
3. Cut tomatoes in wedges. Shower with grated Parmesan cheese. Top with fresh oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
4. Cut tomatoes into chunks, and place in blender. Add a pinch of sea salt, a few fresh basil leaves and several ice cubes. Blend until smooth and frothy for a refreshing drink.
5. Cube tomatoes and firm ricotta salt or feta cheese. Toss with cooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta), fresh mint and a favorite vinaigrette.
6. For bruchetta, top grilled Italian bread with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, extra- virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
7. Toss arugula with chopped tomatoes, orange segments, basil and toasted pine nuts. Dress with olive oil, orange juice and a splash of wine vinegar.
8. Slather a thick slice of white bread with good mayonnaise. Cover with thick slices of juicy tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt and Szechuan pepper or some cracked mixed peppercorns.

**Additional simple tomato recipes and an interesting related article can be found in Mark Bittman’s New York Times article from August 5, 2011 called “The Proper Ways to Treat an Heirloom”. Well worth trying!http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/07/magazine/mag-07eat-recipes.html

TATSOI STIR FRY
Olive oil
1 carrot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch tatsoi
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent. Add carrot slices and sauté 3 minutes. Add sliced tat soi stems and cook another minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mushroom slices and stir fry another minute. Add tat soi greens and steam with a cover for 3 minutes. Add a little hot water, if necessary.