Week 8: July 13 – 19, 2014

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 8
July 13-19, 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

BEETS: You will receive Red Ace (round, smooth, deep red roots with sweet flavor and medium-tall, red-veined green leaves). See Week 7 usage and storage information.

BROCCOLI: deep emerald green, tiny buds that are clustered on top of stout, edible stems; high in vitamins A, C, calcium, potassium, and iron; known as an anti-cancer vegetable
-How to use: use raw, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, in casseroles, soups, pizzas, etc.
-How to store: store loosely in plastic bag for up to a week

CUCUMBERS: a slicing cucumber with dark green, straight 8-9 in. fruit; crisp with fresh flavor. See Week 7 usage and storage information.

FRESH GARLIC: a bulb of several papery white cloves; believed to help in fighting infections, cancer prevention, bolstering the immune system, lowering blood pressure and preventing heart disease, used as an expectorant or decongestant, and at least some people believe that it can ward off vampires and insects. See Week 7 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 1 out the following 4 herbs this week:
Dill– feathery green leaves that go well with fish, potatoes, beets, carrots, and yogurt sauces; considered a good luck symbol by early Romans. Dill partners nicely with Cucumbers this week!
Spearmint– leaves are bright green with mild flavor and fragrance; used in both sweet and savory dishes and in alcoholic drinks, such as Mint Juleps or Mojitoes; good as a hot or iced tea. See other “Mint” recipes in “A to Z” cookbook.
Lemon Balm– these fragrant lemon-minty leaves make a delicate herbal tea, served hot or cold; good addition to lettuce or fruit salads and ice cream; nicely paired with grilled fish or lamb and tossed with steamed vegetables; also aids in depression or nausea.
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.

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). See Week 3 newsletter for usage and storage information.

LEEKS: green leaves with white to pale green stems.
-Cooking Tip: Slit from top to bottom and wash thoroughly with root facing up to remove all of the dirt trapped between the leaf layers. See Week 7 newsletter for usage and storage information.

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

NEW POTATOES (Red Norland): smooth, red skin and white flesh; great baked, boiled, or roasted. See Week 7 usage and storage information.

SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI: You will receive some variety of Green or Yellow Zucchini (gourmet golden or green zucchini with uniform, cylindrical fruits) or Yellow Crookneck (long, curved neck with a sometimes bumpy, yellow skin; buttery flavor and firm texture) or Patty Pan (tender, rounded scallop, bright yellow squash with a green tip; nutty flavor). See Week 6 for usage and storage information.

SWISS CHARD: close relative of garden beets; large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves; mild flavor; good source of vitamins A, E, & C, as well as iron & calcium. See Week 6 for usage and storage information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. SUMMER WORK PARTY/OPEN HOUSE this coming Sunday, July 20 between 1-4 p.m. This day often tends to be hot and sunny, but not sure about THIS summer! However, we’ll have lots of water play for the kids and shade-related activities for the adults, such as cleaning garlic. For those more adventurer-gardener types, we will be weeding the herb and flower garden and other patches in the fields, and harvesting such as potatoes—very kid friendly! Members are encouraged to bring family and friends to Tantré Farm to see the farm decked out in its summer finery, for wagon ride farm tours, and for getting to know fellow community members. This is a completely voluntary event, so you can also come just for the fun, such as listening to live music, picking a pint of black raspberries, which would go nicely with our plans to make fresh, hand-cranked, home-made ice cream! These are further incentives to encourage folks to come out to see the farm. As usual a potluck is included, so please feel free to bring a snack or refreshment. Also, if anyone wants to help “set up” at 11 or 11:30 AM or bring a musical instrument, please let us know. We look forward to showing you the farm! More details to come!

2. COOKING CLASS ON July 23! 6 to 8:30 PM at the farm. We will help prepare a delicious picnic-themed meal with help from our guest chefs and fellow CSA members, Eric Lundy and Laenne Thompson. Team up with other CSA shareholders to prepare a dish (or 2) using just-picked produce and a handful of ingredients to create transportable foods you can enjoy on a picnic of your own this summer! Eric & Laenne will share cooking tips, offer recipes that are simple, and ideas for preparing veggies from your share – even cool tricks with kohlrabi! There will be a $10 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 special picnic-cooking class and meal at Tantre Farm.

3. “F0RAGE AND PRESERVE” CLASS is full: Local forager, Rachel Mifsud, will be leading this class at Tantre Farm on Sat., July 26 from 3 to 5 PM. More information about the class will come closer to the actual date. Please feel free to add your name to our Waiting List, and we’ll contact you if someone cancels.

4. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Thank you so much to those of you, who continue to volunteer! So much rain has fallen this summer (and continues to fall!) that the weeds are loving it! If you are interested in helping out–even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes before you pick up your box at the farm, come join us. Please contact us any day of the week or evenings until dark. You are a big help right now!

5. 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.

COOL AS A CUCUMBER
The cucumber, a member of the gourd family, is a distant relative to pumpkins, squash, and melons. It is said to have originated in the Middle East. It has been eaten as an unripe fruit, since Biblical times. As a relative of melons, cucumbers are very high in water and so very refreshing, especially during these hot days of summer. They are 94% water and also contain small amounts of vitamins A, C, and a few minerals. For some, however, cucumbers are hard to digest, so seedless and “burpless” cucumbers have been bred to prevent this problem.

Our cucumbers are not waxed (to keep them from rotting for a longer shelf life) like ordinary cucumbers found in the store, so skin and all can be eaten. The skins are rich in vitamin E, so they are also known as an effective skin conditioner. Also, some of the nutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, and potassium are lost when the skin is removed. The cucumber skins, besides being good for human skin, also contain silicon and chlorophyll, making them well worth eating. If you do wish to remove the skins, you may try making “cukesicles” for the kids. At Tantré Farm, sometimes we peel the skins off and slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise making a long, slender, cooling treat we call “cukesicles”.

The cucumber is a non-starchy, alkaline “cooling” vegetable. It is an excellent diuretic, helping the kidneys in waste elimination. Cucumbers contain the enzyme, erepsin, which helps digest proteins and destroys worms. The cucumber’s potassium content makes it useful for high and low blood pressure.

Cucumbers deteriorate very quickly, because of their high water content, so it is important to store them in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer. Keep them away from tomatoes, apples, or citrus, which give off ethylene gas, and can speed up their deterioration.

Most people enjoy cucumbers raw or pickled in salads or sandwiches, but sometimes a cuke can be julienned, sautéed, or baked. Try cucumber rounds topped with egg or tuna salad, or simply with salt. Make refrigerator pickles, which are very simple and delicious. They are featured in a number of ethnic dishes.

Although not as nutritious as most of the garden vegetables, cucumbers are very satisfying and help us replenish fluids and minerals lost in perspiration, leaving us as “cool as a cucumber”. They are very reviving on a hot summer’s day. Be prepared for a lot of them in your share this week! They are really thriving with these warm, rainy days!

RECIPES

CHILLED CUCUMBER-YOGURT SOUP (from Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen)
4 c. cucumbers, peeled, seeded, & chopped
2 c. water
2 c. yogurt
1 garlic clove
several fresh mint leaves
1 Tbs. honey
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried or ½ tsp. fresh dill
chopped scallions

Purée everything together in a blender or food processor, saving the scallions for garnish. Chill for several hours before serving. Serves 4-6.

COLD CUCUMBER LEEK SOUP (contributed by CSA member, Kim Bayer) *This is a creamy soup made without cream, using potatoes instead for body. For a lighter soup, you can leave out the potatoes. See vegetable “variations” below!

2 leeks – white and light green part, cut in half, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic – coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. oil
1-2 c. potato – chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 c. thinly sliced cucumber
2 Tbsp. dill (or another herb)- chopped fine and divided
2 c. broth (should just cover vegetables, may need a little more)
1-2 c. cold buttermilk or plain yogurt

Sauté leeks and garlic in the oil, just until wilted and not yet browned. Add potato and cucumber. Stir a bit. Add 1 Tbsp. chopped dill. Just barely cover vegetables with broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until potatoes are very tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes or so. When the vegetables are very soft, let the mixture cool. Once it’s cool, purée vegetables and broth together with an immersion blender, regular blender, food processor, etc., adding the remaining 1 T. dill. Check the seasoning – add salt and pepper if you like. Chill the vegetable purée. Before serving stir in the amount of buttermilk that you like. I find that 2/3 vegetable purée to 1/3 buttermilk is about right at our house. Garnish with more dill.

Variations:
Summer squash soup: Substitute zucchini or yellow squash or any summer squash for the cucumber and potato combo. We eat this a lot and love it on hot days. With some bread and cheese, it makes a great meal.
Summer borscht: For the main vegetables, use a combination of 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 roasted beets, and 1/3 cabbage (or Swiss chard stems), maybe even a few carrots. Even people who don’t like beets will love this soup!

SPECIAL EDITION of Extra Recipes

TZATZIKI (Mad Mares Cookbook)
2 large cucumbers, peeled and grated
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups plain yogurt
1 Tbs. mint

Lightly salt the grated cucumbers, place in colander or strainer, and set aside to drain for about half an hour. In a bowl, combine the drained cucumbers with the rest of the ingredients. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

BLANCHED PEAS WITH CUCUMBERS (from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash)
1 ½ cups shelled peas (especially if you have any peas left!)
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. dill, chopped
2-3 cups cucumbers, diced
Butter

Blanch 1 ½ cups shelled peas by bringing 2 quarts of water with 2 tsp. salt to a boil. Drop peas into water and bring back to a second boil as quickly as possible. Blanch peas for 2-4 minutes until bright green. Drain them, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Sauté cucumbers, and add blanched peas with 1 tablespoon chopped dill. Reheat in butter. Serve immediately.

BAKED CUCUMBERS IN BASIL CREAM (from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables)
1 ½ Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sugar
4-5 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, with 1-inch slices
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the vinegar, salt, and sugar in bowl. Add the cucumber slices and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Drain the cucumber slices in a colander, then pat them dry with a clean dish towel. Put cucumber slices in a shallow baking dish. Pour the melted butter over them and add the scallion; toss to combine. Bake the cucumbers, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small pot until it comes to a light boil. Continue to cook the cream, stirring frequently, until it is reduced to ½ cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil and turn off the heat; let mixture steep for 2 minutes. Pour the basil cream over the cooked cucumber slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip about Cucumbers: “If the natural moisture content is withdrawn beforehand, cucumbers exude so much water as they are heated that you usually end up with a tasteless mush and swear never to cook cucumbers again. Blanching for a few minutes before cooking will remove unwanted water, but also most of the cucumber flavor. Blanching in salt draws out the water and also the bitterness, if they are the bitter European type, yet leaves the flavor, which a little vinegar and salt accentuates. Baked cucumbers go with roast, broiled, or sautéed chicken or veal.”