Week 8, July 15-21, 2012

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
WEEK 8
July 15-21, 2012

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 minimum, which means that we don’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. Keep in mind the internet is overflowing with information, including pictures of almost everything that we grow.

THIS WEEK’S SHARE

ARUGULA: an aromatic, bright green, salad green with a peppery mustard flavor; rich in iron and vitamins A and C
How to use: add to salads, soups, and sautéed vegetable dishes
How to store: very perishable, so use up quickly; store in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

FRESH SHELLING BEANS (Tongue of Fire): Italian heirloom shelling beans are round, ivory-tan with red streaks with stringless, red-streaked cream/green pods–eat the fresh-shelled beans, not the pods; have nutty flavor and creamy texture when cooked; can be substituted in recipes calling for Cannellini, Great Northern, or Pinto beans; contain a fair source of vitamins A & C.
How to use: Fresh, shelled beans are good in soups, stews, and casseroles, but also delicious simply boiled until tender, and served with a little butter or olive oil, salt/pepper or herbs.
How to store: refrigerate fresh beans in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.

RED ACE BEETS & GREENS: round, smooth, deep red roots with sweet flavor and medium-tall, red-veined green leaves. See Week 1 for usage and storage information.

GREEN CABBAGE: a sweet green cabbage; considered a beneficial digestive aid and intestinal cleanser; cabbage has a good amount of vitamins A & C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
How to use: good steamed, stir-fried, or chopped raw into salads or coleslaw
How to store: refrigerate for up to 1 month

CUCUMBERS: 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.

FRESH HERBS:
*Genovese Basil—All shares will only receive basil this week, an herb with sweet, spicy, shiny, green leaves. We supply it with root attached, so it will last up to a week or 2 when stored in a jar, vase, or glass of water on your counter or table top. Do NOT refrigerate! See feature article in this newsletter and recipes in the “A to Z” Cookbook and Tantre Farm website.

KALE: You will receive Green Curly (well-ruffled, curly green leaves on green stems); this variety makes a good, roasted “kale chip”). See Week 1 for usage and storage information.

LETTUCE: You will receive Red or Green Leaf, Romaine, or Oak.
See Week 1 for usage and storage information.

SWEET ONIONS (Ailsa Craig Exhibition): a huge, sweet, mild, yellow-skinned, heirloom onion that is well known by British gardeners who grow show-size onions.
How to use: great for salads, soups, sandwiches, slices, onion rings, & other dishes for flavor
How to store: not for long storage; wrap in damp towel or plastic bag in fridge for 2 to 7 days.

POTATOES (Yukon Gold): yellowish brown skin with yellow dry flesh and pink eyes; long storage and good tasting.
How to use: perfect baked, boiled, mashed or fried
How to store: keep unwashed in cool, dark place in paper bag; ideal temperature is 40-50 degrees with high humidity (80-90%). A basement or very cool closet will work. If too warm or stored with onions or apples, they will shrivel and sprout; light turns them green; don’t refrigerate, since the starches turn to sugars.

SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI: You will receive some variety of Yellow or Green 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). See Week 5 for usage and storage information.

SWISS CHARD (Rainbow Mix): close relative of garden beets; multi-colored, large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves; mild flavor. See Week 4 for usage and storage information.

WATERMELON: (Last week at the last minute we were able to harvest enough ripe watermelons as an unexpected surprise for the On Farm Pick up members on Wed. and Fri. and also the Food Hub Sat. members. The melons are ripening slowly because of lack of water, but this week we think we have enough melons now for the rest of you–the Ann Arbor members on Wed. and Sat. and also the Food Hub Wed. members. If you don’t get one this week, because of switching days or pick up locations, please let us know and we’ll try to give you one from market or the farm, but we can’t promise anything.)
***This week some of you will receive Little Baby Flower Red –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.
How to use: slice, dice and serve as drinks, salads, or salsa.
How to store: If melon seems not quite ripe, store at room temperature until sweet smell is coming from the soft, stem end; then store in the refrigerator.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. VACATIONS or OUT OF TOWN: Please remember to contact us at least by Sunday to make changes in pick up days or locations. Also keep in mind that changes need to be made within the same week (Sun.-Sat.), not into the next week of distribution.

2. THANKS TO THOSE WHO CAME TO THE SUMMER WORK PARTY on Sunday, July 15. Wow! What a great turnout on Sunday! Thanks so much for joining us for David Klingenberger’s blueberry snow cones, wood-fired pizzas, home made ice cream from Tantre cows, and the wonderful ambience created by our good friend and musician, Doug Allen. It was so much fun to see so many friends, family and members show up. We collected downed apples for the animals, cleaned a record 16 crates of garlic, stripped dried herbs, or just took a stroll or wagon ride around the farm. If you’d like to help out anytime, just give us a call ahead of time.

3. KID FARM HIKES: Come join us for our next guided monthly exploratory walk around Tantre Farm on Friday, July 27, at 2 PM. We’ll use all our senses as we take an approx. 30 minute hike with CSA member, Sheila Schueller, and explore the farm’s fields, wetlands, and forest. Sheila teaches ecology and field biology classes at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. Meet at the Distribution Shed at 2 pm. No RSVP necessary, but if you email that you plan to attend, then we know to wait for you. A hike will also be offered on August 31.

4. U-PICK RASPBERRIES: If you are able to come out to the farm, you may “pick 1 pint for free” this week as part of your share and $3 for any extra pints, but just to let you know with this drought there isn’t much, so we’re not sure how much you’ll find. We will have more in the fall, but this batch is minimal and pretty dry. Please call ahead, if you plan to pick on other days besides Farm Distribution Days (Wed. & Fri.).

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.)– 7 A.M. to 12 P.M.
Chelsea Farmers’ Market (Sat.)–8 A.M. to 12 P.M.

BASIL: MORE THAN JUST A CULINARY HERB
Basil is one of the most sacred plants of India. It has been used to make royal unguents, perfumes, and medicines. A tea can be made to settle the nerves and aids with indigestion. Medicinally, it is used to stimulate perspiration for the treatment of colds, flu, and fevers. The French have used basil to repel mosquitoes and flies, which is why pots of it may be found at sidewalk restaurants in France.

Basil’s most popular use though is as a culinary herb. It is more commonly known for its primary role in tomato sauces, pesto, and salad dressings. It is also popular in Mediterranean dishes and Thai curries. It partners well with almost any summer vegetable, but especially tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, green beans, and summer squash.

Fresh basil deteriorates quickly, especially when refrigerated. It is a warm-weather crop and is sensitive to cold temperatures. If leaves are wrapped in a dry towel and kept in an airtight container, it can be kept at about 50 degrees for a few days before leaves start blackening. That is why we provide it with roots attached, so you may retain its freshness for a week or longer by placing the roots in a jar of water, changing the water every few days, and we don’t refrigerate it. You may also freeze fresh leaves in a plastic zip-lock bag, if you don’t mind the darkened color. This is very easy–just wash leaves, spin dry, place in Ziploc bag, remove air, seal, and freeze. Basil can also be dried by hanging in a dry, warm, well-ventilated place for about 2 weeks. If you would like to retain some of the green color, it needs to be dried quickly in a dehydrator or in the oven at its lowest setting with door ajar. The leaves can be separated before drying and stirred often. Remove dried leaves and store in a sealed glass jar—away from light and heat.

Some people make pesto from the basil leaves and freeze it in ice cube trays or drop on cookie trays like “drop cookies”; then bag it when frozen to be used as needed. Others just mix chopped basil with olive oil or water and freeze in ice cube trays. Remove frozen herb cubes and place in freezer bag. One frozen cube is equivalent to 1 tablespoon fresh or about 1 teaspoon of dried herb, which flavors vegetables, meats, stews, and soups all winter long.

**We grow a lot of basil, so you will all receive basil fairly consistently from now until the first frost in September or October, so plan on freezing, drying, or making pesto, so that you will enjoy its summer aroma all winter long. If you don’t think you can use it every week, then just don’t take it. Have fun and enjoy a plethora of basil over the coming weeks!

RECIPES
*I have a tip from another CSA member to pass on about how to find recipes on the internet that make this so EASY, which many of you might already know. If you’re stuck on what to make with any combination of unfamiliar or leftover produce, type a few of those items into a search bar (“Google” or whatever) with the word “recipe” after it, and you will get a ton of ideas on the internet to make. I typed in “basil, summer squash, and Swiss chard recipe” and look at what I found below:

SWISS CHARD AND SUMMER SQUASH FRITTATA (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, the Moosewood Collective with http://nofearentertaining.blogspot.com)
1 lb. Swiss chard
1 summer squash, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup chopped onions
2 tsp. olive oil
6 egg whites
2 whole eggs
3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Wash the Swiss chard, remove and discard the large stems, and finely chop the leaves. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, sauté the garlic, summer squash and onions in 1 teaspoon of the oil for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the Swiss chard, stir, cover, lower the heat, and cook for a bout 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the Swiss chard if juicy.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, eggs, basil, salt, and pepper until blended. Stir in the sautéed Swiss chard. Coat the bottom of the skillet with the remaining tsp. of oil and return it to medium heat. When the skillet is hot, pour in the Swiss chard-egg mixture. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the edges are firm and the bottom is golden and beginning to brown. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and cook for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked. Serve immediately or at room temperature, topped with grated Parmesan cheese if you wish.

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