Week 2, June 5 – 11, 2011

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
June 5-11, 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

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.

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, so if you’re not sure of what something looks like, feel free to look it up.

ASPARAGUS: See Week 1 for more information.
How to use: serve raw chopped in salads or with dips; steam, roasted, grilled, serve “cold” with vinaigrette or with a bit of olive oil and dash of salt and lemon juice.
How to store: wrap in damp cloth and plastic bag and refrigerate or bundle spears with rubber band and place upright in container with inch of water.

GARLIC SCAPES: slender green stems with a slight bulge at the bottom (resemble chives, except for the bulge and often curled); the flower top of a garlic plant; tender and milder in flavor than mature garlic, but can be substituted for garlic cloves in recipes.
How to use: mild garlic flavor, so delicious chopped in salads, roasted, and sautéed.
How to store: put in refrigerator in plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.

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:
Lemon Balm– these 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 tossed with steamed vegetables; also aids in depression, tension, or nausea.
Black-stemmed Peppermint–superior fragrance and flavor; forest green leaves with deep purple veins and stems, purple flowers; leaves are good as a hot or iced tea, and adds a delicious flavor when minced and added to cooked peas, carrots, potatoes, salads, and fresh strawberries.
Thyme– tiny green leaves used in meat and vegetable dishes and most casseroles, soups, stews, and medicinal teas, which soothe sore throats.

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).
How to use: for salads, soups, and light cooking
How to store: keep in plastic bag or damp towel in refrigerator for up to 1 week

KOMATSUNA: Japanese green that is also called “spinach mustard”; slender, fleshy, rounded green stems and dark green, glossy, rounded leaves; mild, tender greens; rich in calcium.
How to use: can be prepared like spinach in early stages and then like cabbage as it matures; used in salads, stir-fries, soups, pickled or boiled
How to store: store in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

LETTUCE: See Week 1 for more information.
How to use: raw in salads, sandwiches, or use in soups
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for 3-5 days

GREEN ONIONS (also called “Scallions”): See Week 1 for more information.
How to use: can be cooked, grilled, roasted whole as a vegetable; chopped in salads, soups, & other dishes for flavor.
How to store: refrigerate in damp towel/plastic bag for 5-7 days.

RADISHES: You will receive Pink Beauty (pink-colored root with mild, spicy flavor).
How to use: raw, roasted, used in soups, sliced in salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries, grated in slaws; Radish greens (excellent source of vitamins A, C, and the B’s) delicious in soups or stir-fries.
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag/damp towel for 1-2 weeks.

SPINACH (smaller bunch than last week): Young and tender leaves this week. See Week 1 for more information.
How to use: toss in fresh salad, add to sandwiches, sauté, steam, braise, or add to crepes, quiche, lasagna, and soups.
How to store: refrigerate with a damp towel/bag for up to 1 week.

WHITE HAKUREI TURNIPS and GREENS: A white salad turnip with round, smooth roots that have a sweet, fruity flavor with a crisp, tender texture. Both roots (good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium; good in salads and soups) and greens (slightly sweet and can be boiled, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, and since hairless, are good in salads; excellent source of vitamins A & C and good source of riboflavin, calcium and iron) are edible!
How to use: good in salads and soups, roasted, steamed, sautéed,
How to store: remove greens from turnip root and store separately in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to 3 days; roots can last up to 1-2 weeks in refrigerator.

1. PLEASE LET US KNOW of any changes in your address, phone, e-mail, or of misspelled names on any mailings or check off lists at Distribution Sites as soon as possible.

2. CHANGING PICK UP DAYS: Please remember to contact us preferably a week in advance, but at least by Sunday of each week, to make changes in pick up days or locations.

3. PAYMENTS DUE: If you still owe money on your Balance Due, it will be reflected on the check-in sheet, when you pick up your box. If you believe there has been some mistake, or have any questions, please call or e-mail us. Please finalize payments due within the month of June, unless alternate arrangements have been pre-approved.

4. CSA COOKBOOKS: We will have 2 handy cookbooks for sale this season. The first one is called “From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce” for $15. We are also offering a new preserving resource called “Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything” for $20. Both cookbooks will be available throughout June until we run out of copies.

5. TANTRE FARM CSA HANDBOOK, a handy guide to “Most Frequently Asked Questions” at our farm, will also be available. This was already sent in text copy format in the “Tantre Farm CSA 2011 STARTING SOON” online notice.

*REMINDER – No pick up at the farm on Tuesdays.
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.

By Richard and Deb

Spring is a challenging time to garden. The insects are hungry. The weeds have been well stratified by the winter cold waiting for the spring rains. The difficulty of trying to keep up with insects, frost, weeds, and huge amounts of rain have created an intense challenge for our new work crew resulting in a camaraderie and bond in our effort to remain on schedule for our first distribution. The value that we see here though is that it still is just simple work outside under the rain-cleaned air. If it’s raining, we work in the rain. If it’s hot, we work in the heat and turn on the irrigation.

This year spring has arrived slower, colder, and wetter than last year. Fortunately this cooler weather has signaled the plants to develop slower and not commit themselves to blooming and reproduction before the cold abated from the hearty snow-filled winter. This week, of course, has been so warm and luxurious that the plants and insects are filling up the good earth once again. A large swarm of Tantre field hands are planting themselves on the land to pull the weeds and greet the harvest with a steady heart of accomplishment. This wet season has afforded us many days in the greenhouse working with seedlings and cleaning out weeds from the rows of the hoop house’s spring crops, such as kale, tatsoi, bokchoy, and turnips. Additional mulch has been placed around the strawberries to control the erosion around the plants, and smother the weeds. There are many hopeful, white blossoms starting to fill in with green fruit. It seems that we are 7 to 14 days behind our harvest from last year for several produce items.

The end result of all this rain is that it is one of the wettest springs on record in Washtenaw County. Despite some erosion and many rain days in the field, the mushrooms have been productive with high levels of mycelium growth. The cow pastures are lush with grass and legumes. The garlic is taller every day. Now with the increasing temperatures we’re seeing a lush growth of crops as well as weeds, along with swarms of insect activity, which makes for challenges in the fields. Due to these crawling, jumping, and winged creatures, we have unrolled thousands of feet of fleecy row cover to protect the young seedlings from insect predation. In the next couple of weeks we’re looking forward to more asparagus, more lettuce, more green onions, more turnips, garlic scapes, peas, fava beans, Swiss chard, beets, and strawberries,

Despite these early challenges, our crew has created many good harvest meals with our own early, fresh crops, abundant homemade cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt, as well as plenty of wild edibles to eat. This week we bid a fond goodbye to two of our dearly beloved, “veteran”, farm crew, April and Clayton, whom both worked last season and overwintered here on the farm. We thank them for all of their support in helping start the season, and wish them well on their many, new adventures.

*Keep in mind the following websites–www.epicurious.com, www.cooks.com, www.recipes.com, www.tantrefarm.com.

SESAME SEED DRESSING FOR STEAMED/BOILED VEGETABLES (This nutty sesame dressing will complement almost any vegetable.)
1 bunch green vegetable (spinach, komatsuna, green beans, etc.)
2-4 tablespoons roasted and/nor white, tan or black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken broth or dashi

Combine all sauce ingredients and mix. Boil or steam vegetable until desired doneness. Strain vegetable and dash with cold water. Squeeze vegetable to release most of the water. Cut vegetable to desired size. Lightly dress vegetable with sesame dressing. For green beans, sprinkle sugar on beans while hot so the sugar will dissolve. Sprinkle ground or whole roasted sesame seeds and add soy sauce to desired taste and toss.

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO (makes about 1 cup)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or walnuts
3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Or use half scapes and half herbs such as thyme, dill, and oregano

Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze. Pesto is wonderful on bread, sandwiches, pasta, foccacia, or on meat such as chicken and fish.

Wash and remove leaves from 1 bunch of peppermint or lemon balm. Blend leaves in blender with 6-8 ice cubes and about 2 to 4 quarts of water. Drizzle sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup) to taste. Strain through a sieve into a pitcher. Add some whole ice cubes to a glass. Very refreshing! We HIGHLY recommend it!

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