|Week 9 Geauga County, Ohio||July 28, 2015|
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"An economy genuinely local and neighborly
offers to localities a measure of security
that they cannot derive from a national
or a global economy controlled by people who,
by principle, have no local commitment."
Greetings from Geauga Family Farms!
One of the biggest reasons we hear from people for not participating in a community supported agriculture program is that they do not have enough time to cook the produce they receive. We get it. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and it's hard to change our patterns and habits regarding cooking. Over the years we have been working hard to develop approaches to using our shares in a way that is just as fast as many convenience foods, but so much healthier.
In our opinion, we need to change the meaning of the words "fast food" for our families, and each season we keep plugging away at that goal.
This newsletter is aimed at providing tips and recipes to help you with that approach. We are sharing some of our favorite fast recipes for the current mix of items in the boxes, and some of the best techniques for making the most of your share.
Step 1: Assess. The first thing we do when we get home is to spread everything out on the counter and make some general decisions about how we would like to use the contents of the share. Lettuce and other greens get washed in a sink of cold water, spun dry and packed loosely between paper towels in large zipper storage bags and placed in the freezer. This provides quick and easy salads during the week. Anything we plan to eat raw (carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green beans), gets a quick rinse and placed into refrigerator storage containers for easy access. Then we make plans for the remaining items. Anything we don't think we'll get around to using in a meal gets placed into freezer bags (we keep a large bag for soup ingredients and one for smoothie ingredients in the freezer) for later use.
Step 2: Plan your meals. In the summer, we focus on simple recipes and combinations that limit cooking time in a hot kitchen and help us to enjoy the fresh flavors of the produce. No complicated sauces or overly complex preparations - just basic good food. You'll find a selection of our favorites below.
Step 3: Relax. There is no need to get stressed about the vegetables in your box. If you don't get through everything, it's not the end of the world. Over the years we have learned to recognize what we might not finish during a given week, and often pass it off to friends and neighbors who can use it. Sometimes things end up in the compost pile, and that's OK, too.
We bet that many of you have great techniques for getting healthy food on the table quickly, and we would love to share them. Send us your favorite quick recipes, storage techniques and more, and we will include them in next week's newsletter.
Are you ready for a better approach to fast food? It's time to have it our way!
~ with Laura Dobson and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as blueberries, kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, pickling cucumbers, garlic, sweet or storage onions, beets, yellow squash, zucchini, pattypan squash, cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, radishes, carrots, parsley, rhubarb, cauliflower, green bell peppers, hot banana peppers, sweet banana peppers and sweet corn.
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.
The hot, dry weather is definitely making an impact on the produce in the shares. It is helping our mid-summer vegetables really move along. Many experienced the first sweet corn of the season, and the tomatoes are loving the heat. The first peppers aren't too far behind. You may start to notice small holes on some of the greens. The heat brings out beetles that create tiny pinholes in leafy greens, and there are not many ways to control them from an organic standpoint. We will do our best, but know that these holes do not affect the taste, nutritional content or usability of these items.
Shares still available
Are friends and co-workers jealous of your weekly organic veggies? Don't hesitate to let them know that they can still sign up for a share with Geauga Family Farms. Forward them this newsletter, and they can find a link to our sign-up area, here.
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
Try these fast and easy recipes with your share items. Entertaining? These make great sides and starters.
Simple Cucumber Salad
- 1 medium cucumber
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
Slice cucumber as thinly as possible (a mandoline slicer is great for this). Whisk together vinegar and soy sauce, and pour over cucumber slices in bowl. Toss to coat. Serves 3-4 as a small side dish.
Gazpacho a la Mrs. Landesman
Cool, refreshing and so good for you. Pair gazpacho with a fresh salad and a crusty loaf of bread for summer lunch perfection.
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 5 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
In the container of a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and blend to your desired texture. Stir in the tomato sauce and paprika and transfer to a bowl or container. Can be eaten immediately, but the longer this is able to sit in the refrigerator, the more the flavors will blend.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Spanish Tomato Toast
This is a great addition when you have the grill heated up for a meal.
Grill the bread about 2 to 4 minutes per side on a barbecue or toast it lightly in the oven.
Once the bread is toasted, rub 1/2 clove of garlic, cut side of half, over the bread while still warm. Use a fresh piece of garlic for each slice. Rub tomato (cut side) over the bread, pressing firmly to push the pulp into the bread, until the toast is covered with tomato; discard the skins and remaining pulp. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and a couple grind of pepper. Serve immediately.
There are two ways to serve tomato bread:
The first is for the cook to do the rubbing and drizzling.
The second is to provide each person with a clove of garlic, half tomato, cruet of oil, and bowl of salt and let him or her do the work. The second way is more fun.
Optional garnish, choose one or a combination:
- 1/2 cup green Spanish olives
- 6 paper-thin slices Spanish ham or prosciutto
- 12 paper-thin slices Manchego
Smoky Eggplant Dip
If you love the flavors of Middle Eastern dishes like Baba Gannoush, but don't want to bother with the grill, try this fast and fresh alternative. Scoop this with pitas for a satisfying appetizer.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 coarsely chopped tomato
- 2 Tbsps. finely chopped red onion
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsps. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1-2 tsps. of fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Crudites, bread, and crackers, for serving
Place eggplant over a gas burner set on high (or place under broiler). Cook, turning as needed, until blackened and soft. Set aside to cool. Remove skin; discard. Coarsely chop eggplant; drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Combine eggplant, tomato, onion, olive oil, vinegar, parsley, lemon juice and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature with crudites, bread, and crackers.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Vegetable Grill Packs
Planning to grill some chicken or burgers and need an easy side dish?
Take a large piece of foil, and spray with a cooking spray. Chop a combination of vegetables and place in the middle of the foil. Add fresh herbs, seasonings and a drizzle of flavorful olive oil. Fold the foil around the contents to create a fully enclosed packet, and place on the side of the grill to cook until the vegetables are tender (times will vary based on amount and vegetable).
Here are a few of our favorite combinations:
- Zucchini, yellow squash, curry powder and green onions
- Potato, onion, garlic, salt and pepper
- Eggplant (peeled and cubed), bell pepper, onion and basil
Live and farm in the national park
The National Park Service in conjunction with the Countryside Conservancy, announce the next round of long-term lease offerings under the Countryside Initiative program in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
In order to help preserve the park's rural landscape, the Countryside Initiative invites farmers to live and farm in the park using sustainable methods appropriate for a national park, while promoting farming that will produce high-quality specialty products for direct, local and retail sale.
Currently, CVNP has nine farms in operation under this program including a vineyard and winery, vegetable and egg operations, livestock, and pick-your-own and community-supported vegetable farms.
This year's farms are located in Valley View and Boston Heights. These farms are suitable for fruit and vegetable production, management-intensive grazing operations, and integrated crop-livestock enterprises. The farm in Valley View includes a residence (rehabilitated) and approximately nine acres of fields with the potential for an additional three. The farm in Boston Heights includes a residence (rehabilitated), a raised bank barn, and approximately 12 acres of fields.
Find more information on this opportunity, including information on the program, the farms, and the submission requirements, here. Paper copies are available by request from Julie Gabelman, Countryside Conservancy, 2179 Everett Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264; 330-657-2542;
Farm open houses will be conducted on Friday, July 31 and Monday, Aug. 10; for details call the CC for details at 330-657-2542.
Proposals will be accepted until noon on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. These leases, available for up to 60 years, are open to all interested parties on a competitive basis with selection being based on the proposal's agricultural and economic soundness, responsiveness to a national park setting, engagement of the public, etc.
Beautiful, bountiful basil
By Laura Novak
You will never believe what happened to my basil!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I put my giant stalk of basil in a tall vase with water. I've learned that putting basil in the refrigerator, especially in a bag, will age it very quickly. The best way to keep basil happy is to put it in a cup on a ledge where it can get some sunlight. Also, it helps to change the water a couple of times a week to keep it fresh.
We've always eaten up the basil pretty quickly, but this time it ended up sitting in that vase on the counter for three weeks. It was still shiny and it had grown roots!
We were leaving to go on vacation for the next week, so thinking I might be pushing it by leaving the basil another week and excited about the roots, I decided to see what would happen if I planted the basil in my garden. I found a nice sunny spot, watered it, and hoped for the best. When we returned, we found it thriving and growing in the garden - the CSA gift that keeps on giving.
Now please keep those tomatoes coming!
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 third 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.
Dinner in the Valley
Aug. 12, 6 p.m.
A Profusion of Vegetables
Ledges Shelter, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
For reservations and more info, click here.
Aug. 28, 7 p.m.
Dinner Along the Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Rockside Station
For reservations and more info, click here.
REAP the Benefit 2015: A Night on the Farm
Saturday, Aug. 29
7 - 10:30 p.m.
The Ohio City Farm at Bridge Avenue and West 24th Street
Cleveland chefs will create dishes using produce cultivated by Ohio City farm trainees at individual chef stations. Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who has dedicate his life's work to spreading the philosophy of non-violence, will speak. Guests will also enjoy traditional music and dance from members of the local refugee community and The Revolution Brass Band, a horn-and-percussion group. For tickets, click here.
Sustainable Cleveland is presenting its seventh annual Sustainability Summit this year. Participants design and develop action plans on a variety of topics to create a more thriving and resilient Cleveland region. This year's speakers include Naomi Davis, founder of Chicago's Blacks in Green, and Marcus Eriksen, who took a five-month journey down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft which led him to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution.
For more info on Summit 2015, and to propose your own Innovation Session, click here.
Finger Lakes Foodie Extravaganza
Sept. 28 & 29
Looking for a getaway with a local food theme? The Finger Lakes region in New York is hosting a trio of local food activities - a Finger Lakes Foodie Scavenger Hunt, a locally-sourced cooking demo and panel discussion, and Farmer's Dinner at Roots Café.
The scavenger hunt will present a variety of experiences from farm visits to local cheese producers, with artisan bread thrown in for good measure. Spots for lunch, wineries and breweries are on the hunt to keep it interesting. You'll get to meet the people who grow and produce this food, and learn about why they do what they do. Many stops will have a special surprise. Reservations are required. The scavenger hunt begins Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. Pricing is $75 per person and includes all taxes and gratuities.
Locally Sourced Cooking Demo
A panel of chefs and speakers will instruct you on how easy it is to find and use local ingredients to create incredible meals. They will share recipes, talk about methods and techniques, and get your taste buds involved when the preparation is done. There will also be time for a Q&A session with the panel.
Price is $45 per person, with local taxes included.
Finger Lakes Farm-to-Table Dinner at Roots Café
Enjoy an evening of wine tasting and a multi-course dinner, the ultimate culmination of your local food journey! Pricing per person is $99, includes local taxes and gratuity.
For more information and reservations, contact Deb at 607-569-3767.
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.
(ONLY between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday PLEASE!)
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849,
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109,
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062