Week 6, July 3-9, 2011

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 6
July 3-9, 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.

RED ACE BEETS & GREENS: See Week 5 newsletter for more information.
How to use: greens can be substituted for spinach and chard in recipes; roots good in soups, stews, roasted, boiled, steamed, excellent grated raw into salads or baked goods.
How to store: separate roots from leaves and store unwashed in plastic bags in hydrator drawer of refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; store greens wrapped in damp cloth in plastic bag for up to 1 week.

CUCUMBERS (this last minute addition is that everyone can choose 1 cucumber as part of their share): 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.
How to use: raw or pickled in salads or sandwiches, can also be julienned, sautéed, or baked.
How to store: store them in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer for up to a week; use up leftovers as soon as possible.

ITALIAN DANDELION GREENS: bright red stem and midvein with a jagged, dark green leaf; not a true dandelion, but rather a “chicory” with darker green and slightly larger leaves with a tangy, slightly bitter taste. *Tip: If you don’t care for the bitterness of the green, then add other greens or dried fruits to sweeten it. Lots of recipes online for ways to prepare dandelion greens.
How to use: can be used as a salad green or cooked as a vegetable; provides a mildly bitter flavor to salads and cooked side dishes.
How to store: Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 5 days. Wash thoroughly just before using.

GREEN BEANS or FAVA BEANS: You will receive Maxibel Green Beans (very slender green bean with firm texture and good taste) or Fava Beans (in your share last week; looks like a large bean pod; the bean seed resembles a very large lima bean with a tart, pungent flavor; fresh fava beans should be shelled from the inedible pod, and eaten raw or skin can be removed from bean to blanch or steam for more tender bean)
How to use: raw in salads, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, etc.
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for up to 1 week.

FRESH GARLIC: See Week 5 newsletter for more information.
How to use: minced raw in salad dressings, sautéed and added to stir-fries, meats, vegetables
How to store: fresh garlic can be stored in an open, breathable basket in a cool, dark place for many months; if cloves begin to get soft or moldy, break off bad clove and chop up others and pack into small jar filled with olive oil; then refrigerate

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, *except everyone will receive Thyme, since some of it is flowering and we need to cut it back:
Lemon Balm– fragrant lemon-minty leaves make a delicate herbal tea, served hot or cold
Cilantro– the flat, delicate, lacy-edged leaves and stems of the coriander plant, which look a lot like flat-leaf parsley, but has a distinctive, almost citrus fragrance that lends itself to highly spiced foods. Store in jar of water.
Oregano–member of the mint family and is similar to marjoram, but not as sweet and more pungent flavor and aroma; good in soups and tomato-based dishes.
*Thyme—(everyone will receive this herb) tiny green leaves & dainty, edible flowers used in meat and vegetable dishes and most casseroles, soups, stews; excellent with eggs

KALE: You will receive Red Russian Kale (the stems are purple, and leaves are deep gray-green, purple-veined, flat, non-curled, and tooth-edged.) or Green Curly (well-ruffled, curly green leaves on green stems; this variety makes a good, roasted “kale chip”) or Lacinato Kale (dark green, noncurled, blistered leaves, but heavily savoyed). See Week 1 newsletter on how to use and store.

LETTUCE: You will receive 1 bag of loose-leaf lettuce and 2 heads of red or green leaf lettuce.
How to use: raw in salads, sandwiches, or use in soups
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for 3-5 days

SUMMER ONIONS: See Week 4 newsletter for more information.
How to use: can be grilled or roasted whole as a vegetable or chopped in salads, soups, & other dishes for flavor
How to store: wrap in damp towel/plastic bag in fridge for 2-7 days.

SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI: You will receive some variety of Soleil Yellow Zucchini (Fruits are a beautiful, bright golden-yellow, with a low frequency of fruits with green tips) or Yellow Slick Pik (yellow, straight-neck squash with buttery flavor and firm texture) or Plato Green Zucchini (fruits are shiny dark green); great source of vitamins A & C, potassium, and calcium; approximately 94% water, so replaces lost fluids during summer heat. *Keep in mind yellow or green “zucchini” and “summer squash” are basically interchangeable in recipes.
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. PARTICIPATORY “FARM DINNER” on JULY 11: We will not be offering cooking classes this season, but rather a chance for members to eat and prepare food with some of the farm crew. We will be preparing a meal for ourselves using produce from next week’s Tantre Farm share box on Mon., July 11, at Tantre Farm from 6 to 8:30 PM. We now have a large commercial size kitchen, and plenty of picnic tables for eating outside! We will be offering tips and recipes on what we are preparing. There will be a $5 fee for materials and handouts for each class. Please register by contacting us soon with your NAME, PHONE NUMBER, and E-MAIL ADDRESS in the body of the email. We have 15 spaces available, so let us know if you’re interested in joining us for a meal together at Tantre Farm.

2. SUMMER WORK PARTY/OPEN HOUSE Sunday, July 17: Come anytime between 1-4 p.m. This is the second of three scheduled work parties. Members are invited to bring family and friends to Tantré Farm to help with weeding, harvesting, planting, etc. or just visiting the farm in the summer. This is a voluntary event for those of you who would like to help out, see the farm, meet other members, visit the animals, and eat some edible plants. Some Tantré Farm refreshments will be provided, but you are welcome to bring an hors d’oeuvre or refreshment to pass that folks can snack on throughout the work time as well. We look forward to seeing you here.

3. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Thanks for all the help with weeding! Despite the lack of rain, we still need help in the perennial garden, if anyone has a little bit of time.

4. 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.

FIREFLIES OF SUMMER
By Richard and Deb

Flickering, flashing, sparkling, illuminating…. Is this about fireworks? Fourth of July? Independence Day? No! These meager words attempt to describe “fireflies”. No one could come down Hayes Road after a glowing sunset this last week or two of summer without noticing millions and millions of flickering fireflies in the fields signaling that cool days of spring are gone, and summer has begun with dancing and courtship in the fields!

It doesn’t take a firefly to tell us that our spring crops are ending. We’ve plowed the peas and our two year old strawberry bed under already. The spinach has gone to flower as the cool days have become warmer. We’ve stopped harvesting the stems of the asparagus, so it has begun to unfurl its green ferny leaves and photosynthesize, putting much energy into lengthening its stem and strengthening its root mass.

Fireflies are an indicator of summer for most Midwesterners. For us farmers, it may be when the summer crops are ready for harvest. These crops have all been planted, and many of them are starting to mature. Despite the fact that our wet, cool spring set us back about two weeks, we’re already harvesting green beans and summer squash. Onions are getting big and juicy with drip lines and duckweed water from the pond irrigation. Garlic bulbs are being pulled with stem and root removal, and then placed in crates to dry. Other summer crops like tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, and melons are coming along nicely too.

On top of that the fall crops are already being planted as well, such as cabbage, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, kale, and Brussels sprouts. The dried heirloom bean crop of “Trail of Tears” and “Tongue of Fire” beans are in and growing steadily, especially since the sand hill cranes and crows feasted on the Oaxocan grinding corn creating more sunlight for the beans.

The cows are fighting the usual fly problem with their long tails swishing constantly. The swallows have fledged their first young, and are swooping over the pasture looking for (ironically enough) flies! Hopefully they can help the cows…. It’s been one of the wettest springs and becoming a dry and warm summer. The dry warmth is helping to ripen some of the summer crops. The fall crops are in, but the twinkling of fireflies reminds us that it truly is still summer.

RECIPES

ITALIAN DANDELION CASSEROLE (Yields 6-8 servings)
1 lb. ground beef (or beef and pork mixed)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. chopped oregano or thyme
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
6-8 cups dandelion greens (beet greens, kale can be added)
1 15 oz. can tomatoes, drained
1 cup chicken stock or bouillon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together meat, bread crumbs, parsley, onion, salt, egg, and milk. Form 40 to 45 small meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Brown them in oil. Drain and set aside. Wash dandelion greens. In a buttered casserole alternate layers of dandelions, browned meatballs, and tomatoes. Add the chicken stock or bouillon. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 20-30 minutes. When serving the casserole, have hot pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese available on the table. Variations: Add a layer of onions. Season the meatballs with garlic salt or add finely chopped garlic to the casserole. Add other herbs—parsley, basil, or marjoram.

SHAVED SUMMER SQUASH SALAD (from Bon Apetit June 2011; **As a side note, Richard from Tantre Farm has a recipe in this same issue of Bon Apetit, p. 65, for “Parmesan Peppers”!)
3 Tbsp. whole almonds
1 lb. summer squash or zucchini
2.5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Few handfuls of arugula (or dandelion greens, beet greens, lettuce)
Pecorino cheese

Roast almonds and coarsely crush. Meanwhile, trim the ends off the squash/zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the squash lengthwise into strips and transfer to a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Pour dressing over squash. Let stand for a few minutes, then add a few handfuls of arugula or other green. Shave a little Pecorino cheese over the squash and toss. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with crushed almonds.

OVEN-ROASTED BEETS AND GARLIC (from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, 1998)
4 large beets (2 1/2 diameter), peeled and quartered (about 2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, quartered
1 tablespoon minced thyme
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon orange juice

Preheat oven to 375. In a 9 x 13 baking pan, combine the beets, garlic, half the thyme and the oil. In a small bowl, combine orange juice and 2 tablespoons water; pour over beets. Cover with foil and roast until tender, 45-50 minutes. Remove foil; roast 10 minutes longer. Serve sprinkled with remaining thyme.

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