Week 4, June 19-25, 2011

Tantre Farm CSA Newsletter
June 19-25, 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.

*ASPARAGUS: (*Only Wed. CSA members will receive asparagus this week. Fri/Sat. CSA members received their last bunch last week. Our harvest is generally Mother’s Day to Father’s Day.):
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.

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:
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, and for long-term storage it’s best to freeze.
Sage–an herb from an evergreen shrub in the mint family with long, narrow, grayish-green leaves; a musky aroma and a warm and spicy taste; wonderful flavor enhancement for seafood, vegetables, stuffing, and savory breads. Rub sage, cracked pepper, and garlic into pork tenderloin or chops before cooking. This herb dries very easily by hanging from a string.
Winter Savory– is a semi-evergreen, perennial herb; its strong spicy flavor goes well with beans and meat; medicinally it has antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, and digestive benefits, as well as relieves bee stings. This herb dries very easily.

LETTUCE: You will receive 1 bag of baby lettuce & 2-4 heads of lettuce, so plan on big salads this week. Hmm, salad for breakfast?
How to use: raw in salads, sandwiches, or use in soups
How to store: refrigerate in plastic bag for 3-5 days

SUMMER ONIONS: slightly larger bulbs (“baby bulb onions”) than green onions, but both bulb and leaves are still edible; can be prepared like cippolini onions.
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.

SHELLING, SNAP, or SNOW PEAS: You may receive Shelling Peas (easy to shell with delicious flavor for fresh eating and freezing), or Sugar Snap Peas (“round” pod of edible-pod pea), or Snow Peas (“flat”, crispy pods used in stir-fries and salads). Chew on the pod to test if they are edible pods or tough-skinned shelling pea.
How to use: Add shelled peas to soups, stews, sautés, or stir-fries. Blanch or steam for 2-4 minutes only until color is bright green. Snap or snow peas can be eaten raw in salads or cooked quickly as in stir-fries or deep fry in tempura batter.
How to store: Refrigerate in plastic bag for 4-5 days. If kept too long, their sweet flavor and crisp texture diminishes.

STRAWBERRIES: *Please return containers. Don’t forget to take 1 quart of strawberries, since it will not be in your box this week.
How to store: Do not wash until you are ready to consume them. Place them on a paper towel in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
How to freeze: Freeze whole strawberries hulled and washed on cookie sheets and put in freezer bags.

SWISS CHARD (Rainbow Mix): close relative of garden beets; multi-colored, large veined, semi-crinkly, dark green leaves; mild flavor; good source of vitamins A, E, & C, as well as iron & calcium.
How to use: greens can be prepared like spinach, and stalks like asparagus; good steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, and in soups.
How to store: wrap in damp cloth in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2-4 days.

WHITE HAKUREI TURNIPS and GREENS: See Week 1 for more information.
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. VACATIONS or OUT OF TOWN: Please remember to contact us preferably a week in advance, but at least by Sunday (especially with the 4th of July breaks coming up) to make changes in pick up days or locations. Also keep in mind that changes need to be made within the same week, not into a different week of distribution.

2. WEEDING VOLUNTEERS REALLY NEEDED: There are a lot of weeds we are trying to get ahead of. 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, or plan a picnic out to the farm, and come join us. Please contact us any day of the week or evenings until dark, if you are able to make it. We could really use the help with the weeds right now. Thanks for volunteering!

3. U-PICK AT THE FARM: Please contact us ahead of time by e-mail or phone unless you are picking on a Farm Distribution Day (Wed. or Fri.). Best days to come for u-pick are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, since our workers have not picked as much on those days. No u-pick available on Sat. mornings, since we are at two Farmers Markets then.
Strawberries–$5/qt. You will pick into our quart baskets, but you can bring your own containers to bring them home.

4. 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. Please finalize payments due within the month.

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 Renee Bertsch–Tantré Farm “alumnus”)

What does it mean to say that Tantré Farm is organic? To us as farmers, it means we practice stewardship of the land and people. To the USDA, it means something else entirely.

The National Organic Program (NOP), as created by the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, shapes the standards for organic food production. The NOP regulates organic crop production, wild crop harvesting, organic livestock management, and processing and handling of organic agricultural products. Approved synthetic materials and prohibited organic materials are reviewed by the National Organic Standards Board and placed on the “National List”. All the NOP guidelines, including the National List, are fully available to the public at the NOP website: www.ams.usda.gov/nop.

Use of the word “organic” in labeling and marketing is restricted via a three-tier outline: 1) “100% Organic” means exactly what it says–the product may contain only organically produced ingredients. These products may display the USDA Organic label and the certifier’s label. 2) ”Organic” permits 5% of the product to be made from non-organic ingredients approved on the National List. These products may also display the USDA Organic label and the certifier’s label. 3) “Made With Organic Ingredients” allows 30% of ingredients to be made from non-organic ingredients on the National List. These products may display the certifier’s label, but not USDA Organic.

Each year an agent from an USDA accredited organization visits Tantré Farm. Certifying organizations sometimes have separate, but not conflicting, standards from USDA regulations. To be certified, Tantré Farm is inspected annually, and we submit information about our practices and plans. Some of this information includes detailed daily harvest and work records, but also includes Tantré Farm’s organic plan. An organic plan is an outline of how we keep the farm “organic” on a daily basis, at several levels of operation. Two major areas of the plan are the substances we use, and how we keep organic products away from non-organic products. We also only use ecologically friendly methods and substances to improve the soil and control pests.

So what’s good about choosing organic food?
1. It provides you with a safer food supply. We don’t use toxic, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, or fungicides, which may remain on foods long after harvest. This could mean a long-term health risk for consumers. A number of pesticides are known or suspected carcinogens, while others haven’t been tested yet as cancer-causing.
2. Organic farming offers a healthy environmental alternative. Instead of causing water pollution and using excess energy and equipment, we use labor-intensive methods that improve soil fertility and biological diversity.
3. Organic farming methods are safer for you, the farmer, and the environment, but it also helps enrich and sustain the health of the soil. Conventional farming can deplete topsoil levels and soil nutrient content over time. This decreases soil fertility and affects the ability for our soil to provide long-term food production. We use various agricultural methods (crop rotation, green manure, mulching, etc.) to help build the organic matter in the soil, so we also see less soil erosion and more variety of animal species and microorganisms in our fields.

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

SWISS CHARD RISOTTO (from Capay Organic Farm CSA “Farm Fresh to You” website) Serves 6.
5 cups veggie or organic chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped or 2-4 Tantre summer onions
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or white rice
4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves (about 1 bunch)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Additional grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs (savory, sage)

Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover and keep warm. Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and chard and stir until chard begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups hot broth. Simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently and adding remaining 1/2 cup broth by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 20 minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer risotto to medium bowl. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.

EARLY SPRING MEDLEY (from Simple Food for the Good Life by Helen Nearing)
4 Tbs. oil or butter
3 onions, diced (or 1 bunch summer onions)
6 outer leaves of lettuce, chopped
2 cups peas
2 carrots, sliced
2 cups asparagus, cut in pieces
1 cup tiny new potatoes (or 1 cup chopped potato)

Heat oil in heavy pot. Add vegetables. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. When carrots are tender, take off heat and serve.

6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. fresh savory, minced
1 tsp. fresh basil, minced
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 tsp. paprika

Mix ingredients and serve over lettuce or other salad ingredients. Other herbs may be substituted for different flavor combinations.

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