Week 11, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Aug. 19, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Organization
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
It's not too early
Next farm tour
Recipes
Laura Novak's column
7 ways to shop smarter at the farmers market
Swimming pool experiment feeds a family
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "If it could only be like this always - 

  • always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe..."

  • ~ Evelyn Waugh
     

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    Organization

    Welcome to Week 11 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA!

     

    We have received a few questions this season about how we organize, pack and distribute the shares each week. In response, we thought we would share an updated column from a few years ago. This is what we do to get nearly 1,200 shares out to our wonderful members every week of the season. 

     

    On Fridays our warehouse team contacts each of our 10 farms to find out what types and volumes of produce will be available the following week. Rebecca, who manages the ordering process, determines the mix of items that will go in the small, medium and large shares for those three days.  She then places an order from each farm for the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday deliveries. With more than 1,100 members, that means between 300 and 400 boxes go out on each of our delivery days.

     

    The day before our deliveries (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), our farmers are busy harvesting the items they will contribute to the shares that day.  Each farm grows a different mix of vegetables, herbs and fruit based on what grows well in their soil and what interests them.  Fruits and vegetables are hand-picked and brought to the barns for preparation.  Spouses, sons, daughters and neighbors pitch in to get the items ready for delivery to the warehouse.  This includes sorting, cleaning, packaging and placing into boxes for the arrival of the delivery truck. 

     

    Our trucks get an early start on our delivery days, picking up the produce orders from each of the farms, as well as eggs, bread, cheeses, etc. that have been ordered as extras. When the truck gets to the warehouse, the produce is unloaded, inspected and organized. Our warehouse team then packs each share by hand to ensure that the items will travel well and arrive in good shape.  The inspection and packing process at the warehouse usually takes about two hours. The shares are then loaded back into the trucks for delivery to your pick-up site.

     

    Once deliveries are complete the whole process starts again for the next day.

     

    Are we perfect? No. As much as we try, sometimes something gets missed, or something gets handled in a way that limits its shelf life.  That's why we truly appreciate your feedback. It has helped us refine our picking, cleaning and packing techniques over the years. There is always room for improvement, and we appreciate your willingness to let us make adjustments along the way.

     

    When you think about the fact that most of the produce in stores travels over 1,500 miles and sits around in warehouses to ripen, it's comforting to know that the items in your share are fresh, hand-picked and carefully nurtured for the farm-to-table journey by families who love farming and who look forward to bringing you the best of what our land has to offer.

     

    Thank you for being a part of Geauga Family Farms!

     

    Warmly,

    Michelle

    ~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms

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    In this week's shares

    In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as rhubarb, green and colored peppers, cabbage, lettuce, cantaloupes, hot banana peppers, parsley, radishes, bunching onions, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, green beans, cherry or grape tomatoes, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, garlic and fingerling potatoes. 

     

    NOTE: You will not receive all of the types of produce listed above. This is a list of possible items. Different size shares and shares received at different times of the week may include different items. 

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    Bulk vegetables

    We have several veggies available for bulk purchase. 

    Yellow squash - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)

    Zucchini - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)

    Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint

    Garlic -$10/pound 

    Roma tomatoes - $16/half bushel
     

    You can find them in our farm store, here.
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    It's not too early...

    Our farmers are getting ready to start taking reservations for farm-raised Thanksgiving turkeys. These are Broad-Breasted White turkeys fed a non-GMO feed with organic minerals. The birds will average 18-25 pounds. The price is $3 per pound, dressed, and the turkeys will be available for pick-up from the farms on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Please contact Andy Miller at Miller's Organic Produce if you are interested in reserving a turkey. His phone number is 440-548-5697. 

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    Farm tour and corn roast

    Our next farm tour is scheduled for this Saturday, Aug. 23 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the farm of Tom and Esther Byler. Their farm is located at 8173 Cox Road in Windsor.  One of the Byler family's main crops is sweet corn, and Tom has offered to treat members to a corn roast as part of this tour. Click here to make farm tour reservations. Click here for a map to Tom and and Esther's farm.

    As always, we recommend wearing sturdy shoes for walking in the fields, bug spray and sunscreen. We ask that you not take pictures of the farmers or their families. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

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    Recipes

    We include recipes each week using the items in your share. We'd love for you to share your recipes with us and we will include them in the newsletter. Please e-mail them to  

     

    Salad of the Week: Avocado-Lettuce Salad

    Red leaf lettuce is a great substitute for the butter lettuce in this recipe.

    Serves 4

    1 cup thinly sliced red onion

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    3 cups torn butter lettuce (or red-leaf lettuce)

    1 cup sliced avocado

    Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Add lettuce and avocado; toss gently.

    Recipe from Cooking Light 

     

    Savory Cherry Tomato Pie

    Adapted from a recipe that appeared in Martha Stewart Living, this is one of my favorite recipes to celebrate the arrival of cherry tomatoes and zucchini! ~ Michelle

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 finely chopped shallot, about 1/4 cup

    1 small zucchini, 7 1/2 ounces, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half moons

    1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes (or combination of cherry tomatoes and chopped regular tomatoes)

    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    4 ounces bocconcini (fresh mozzarella)

    3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped lemon basil

    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

    ½ teaspoon sugar

    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

    Unbaked pie crust (use your favorite recipe or purchase pre-made crusts)

    1 large egg yolk

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden and liquid has been released, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

    Halve one-third of the tomatoes. Stir halved and whole tomatoes, cheeses, basil, lemon basil, flour, and sugar into shallot-zucchini mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Make six or seven 3-inch-long cuts around edge of dough, evenly spacing to make flaps.. Transfer to a 10-inch pie plate. Drizzle crust with remaining tablespoon oil. Spread with filling. Fold in flaps of crust, slightly overlapping. Refrigerate until cold, about 20 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg yolk and a little water in a small bowl. Brush crust with egg wash. Bake pie on a rimmed baking sheet until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

     

    Zucchini Pancakes

    Serves 4

    4 eggs

    2 cups grated zucchini

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    4 teaspoons baking powder

    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Preheat griddle to 425 to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add shredded zucchini and mix well using a fork. Add flour, salt and vegetable oil and stir to blend well. Finally, add baking powder and mix well using a large spoon. The batter's consistency should be like heavy whipping cream. Spoon batter on hot griddle (about 2 tablespoons) for each pancake. Cook until there are no longer bubbles forming in the pancake about 2 minutes; turn over and cook for 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes with a side of sour cream.

    Recipe from AllRecipes.com

     

    Chilled Potato Herb Soup (Vichyssoise Nouveaux)

    4 green onion bulbs, chopped
    1 shallot, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3/4 cup potatoes, thinly sliced (I used new potatoes)
    4T basil, chopped
    3T chives, chopped
    2 cups vegetable stock
    2T butter
    Salt & pepper to taste
    Cream (add when serving)

    Gently sweat the chopped onions, shallots, and garlic in butter until soft, about eight minutes. Don't let them brown. Add potatoes and stock to the saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Add herbs and puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Cool. Gently stir in a dollop of cream before serving.

    Wine pairing suggestion: Try with a glass of French Sauvignon Blanc, or a Riesling.

    Adapted from Allrecipes.com - From the blog - Pepperoni is Not a Vegetable

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    Summer is so yummy!

    By Laura J. Novak

     

    Oh yes! Corn on the cob on the grill!

     

    There is nothing like summer and grilling out. My favorite way to grill the corn is directly on the grill, without the husk. It gets charred in places and tastes so nice and sweet. While we were at it, we grilled all of the corn and I made mango salsa, a black bean and corn mixture for the salad, and then scraped some more corn to freeze for later. Using grilled corn in soups adds a nice little crunch of smoky flavor.

     

    If you don't like the chargrilled flavor, you can still grill it but keep it in the husk.

     

    Another favorite recipe of mine with the grilled sweet corn is mango salsa. I chopped the mango slices into little cubes, diced ¼ onion, one jalapeno pepper, and added the kernels from about one ear of corn and half a can of black beans, two drops lime essential oil (you can use juice of one lime), a squirt of honey, some fresh cilantro (optional), plus salt and pepper. I've made a similar variation with pineapple - it's also delicious!

     

    If you liked last week's giant hot/cold salad, here is another variation: I took the rest of the black beans from the salsa and mixed with an avocado, diced tomato, ½ onion, kernels of corn from two ears, diced jalapeno and a squeeze of lemon. I also added chipotle chili pepper, a dash of cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. We grilled zucchini and onions as well and threw all of these things on top of the lettuce. Add your favorite Mexican dressing.

     

    Summer is so yummy!


    Laura J. Novak is a freelance writer and passionate supporter of locally grown, organic produce. Director and founder of Light Your Life Healing Arts in Mentor, Laura is certified as a Raindrop Technique (Relaxation Massage with Essential Oils), Advanced Reiki, Angelic Reiki Energy Healing, and Body Wisdom Practitioner. She also serves as a wellness consultant with Young Living Essential Oils. You can learn more about Light Your Life Healing Arts here. Laura is excited to participate in her third year with the Geauga Family Farms CSA and her second year as a contributing columnist to the newsletter. She also has a bachelor's degree in English from Baldwin-Wallace College and a master's in education from Ursuline College. 

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    7 Ways to Shop Smarter at the Farmers Market

    As we move into the late-summer glory season of the farmers market, that hallowed time of year when it seems everything sold outdoors is perfectly delicious, it's worth thinking a little bit more deeply and critically of our farmers market shopping strategies.

    It's harder to go wrong at a farmers market than a grocery store, but we wouldn't want anyone to make any shopping (or etiquette) mistakes that could detract from the experience. Here are a few tips to get the most from the markets.

     

    Many of these are good advice for your CSA membership too! 

     

    1. Embrace Whole Vegetables

    Root vegetables like carrots, beets and radishes are sometimes sold both whole, with greens attached, and trimmed, as merely a bunch of roots. Always opt for the whole version. They'll last longer than the trimmed roots, for one thing, but more importantly, the greens are both edible and delicious. Washed carefully, they all make a great, earthy pesto, and radish and beet greens can be prepared the same way as chard or kale. Free bonus food!

     

    2. Think of Time and Place

    The crates of apples can be appealing in the hot days of summer, but those apples have been sitting in industrial refrigerators since they were harvested last fall, losing flavor and texture the whole time. Have a peach instead! The same thing applies to locality: if you're in the Northeast or Midwest, don't bother with bananas or avocados. If you're in California, well, pretty much everything can be grown there. Never mind, and congratulations. Epicurious has a helpful map laying out what's in season and where.

     

    3. Go Early

    If you're in a big city, treat the farmers market like brunch: get there early, or pay the price. Vendors will often sell out of their best products by early afternoon. This is especially true of highly perishable items like seafood and meat, which need to be kept on ice. If you're after fish, show up early.

     

    4. Not Everything Is Better

    The atmosphere of the farmers market can trick you. Not everything at the market is better, especially prepared foods like breads and jams. They might be, of course! But a local bakery is just as likely to offer great bread as a stand at the farmers market - and a local bakery is no less deserving of your support.

     

    5. Know Your Produce

    The produce at a farmers market is usually going to be different than at a grocery store. Learn how to pick out the tastiest heirloom tomato, even though they all look equally deformed. Learn to scour the bins of Brussels sprouts for the tightest, smallest ones. Learn to snap a green bean between your fingers to see if it's ripe. Learn to smell a melon. This is a pain, sure! But the farmers themselves will usually be happy to pick out good produce for you, or of course you can Google it. The little bit of extra effort be worth it.

     

    6. Survey Like a Hawk

    At most reasonably sized markets, there'll be more than one vendor selling certain items, whether that's peaches or grapes or zucchini or oysters. Before you buy, take a lap around the market, trying samples, using your new produce-hunting skills to figure out the quality and ripeness of the produce, and, just as importantly, scoping out prices. You don't want to buy the first pint of blueberries you see, only to find a cheaper, tastier pint at the opposite end of the market.

     

    7. Try Weird Stuff

    Your market is likely home to products you can't find at the grocery store. So why not try them out? Instead of a standard deep purple eggplant, why not a tiny globular Thai or a long pure white eggplant? Instead of red radishes, why not watermelon or French breakfast radishes? Instead of salmon, why not porgy or sand dab or pickerel? There's nothing wrong with just getting good, fresh versions of what you usually eat, but the market is also an opportunity to step outside your habits and eat what's growing nearby.

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    Swimming pool experiment feeds a family

    By Sara Bernard

    When Dennis and Danielle McClung bought a foreclosed home in Mesa, Ariz., in 2009, their new yard featured a broken, empty swimming pool. Instead of spending a small fortune to repair and fill it, Dennis had a far more prescient idea: He built a plastic cap over it and started growing things inside.

     

    Thus, with help from family and friends and a ton of internet research, Garden Pool was born. What was once a yawning cement hole was transformed into an incredibly prolific closed-loop ecosystem, growing everything from broccoli and sweet potatoes to sorghum and wheat, with chickens, tilapia, algae and duckweed all interacting symbiotically to provide enough food to feed a family of five. 

     

    Within a year, Garden Pool had slashed up to three-quarters of the McClungs' monthly grocery bill (they still buy things like cooking oil and coffee and, well, one can't eat tilapia every day). Within five years, it'd spawned an active community of Garden Pool advocates - and Garden Pools - across the country and the world.

     

    What began as a family experiment and blog is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a small staff. Garden Pool has been voted the Best Backyard Farm in Phoenix, gotten press from National Geographic TV and Wired and Make, and formed a Phoenix-area Meetup group that has nearly a thousand members. It's attracted hundreds of local volunteers, students, and gardeners who've helped build a dozen more Garden Pool systems in and around Phoenix.

     

    Read the rest of the article here.

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    Local food and farm-related events/activities

     

    Dinner in the Valley: Summer's Bounty

    Thursday, Aug. 21 
    6 p.m. 
    Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    Octagon Shelter, off Kendall Park Road

    Each month, the Dinner in the Valley series features a gourmet meal at one of the beautiful, historical spaces in the park. August is the height of abundance from the garden. Enjoy cold melon soup, a summer vegetable tart with goat cheese and more. Click here for reservations.


    Pets need essential oil, too!

    Tuesday, Aug. 26
    7 - 9 p.m. -
    Light Your Life Healing Arts, 7501 Clover Ave, Mentor (Inside Air Technical Industries Building)

    Learn about essential oils for your fuzzy family members (um...the non-human ones!). Learn how to prevent fleas, increase daily health and find calm for your pets with Young Living Essential Oils at this special talk featuring guest speaker, Rev. Erin Higgins, who has been using YLEOs on her "babies" Hermione and Jerry Lee, for years. Cost is $7 which includes a take-home anti-flea calming spray. The main focus is on dogs, but there will be information on other pets. Please RSVP by e-mailing

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    Local food, farming, environment in the news

    We have so many things we'd like to share with you regarding the local food movement and things like the farm bill, the latest news on GMO foods, and much, much more, but we don't want to make our newsletter any longer. Until we get our blog up and running on our website, we are going to include links to articles that you may find interesting. Here are a couple. If you run across any articles you think would be of interest to our members, feel free to send us the link for inclusion here.

     

    Veterans look to farming to grow, heal

    Farm a unique experience at two-year school

    Gallup Poll: 45 percent of Americans Seek Out Organic Food

    Immigration crisis afflicts harvest

    Hemp rebirth sprouts across nation

    Fish And Wildlife Service Agrees to Phase-Out Genetically Engineered Crops and Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides on National Refuges

    CONTACT US

    (Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PLEASE!)

    Farm Representatives:

    Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849,

    Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109,

    Grass-fed beef & poultry

    Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719,  

    www.GeaugaFamilyFarms.org

    Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062