|Week 18 Geauga County, Ohio||Sept. 29, 2015|
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"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory,
and a sterner sense of justice than we do."
~ Wendell Berry
One of the primary differences between Geauga Family Farms and other CSA programs is the fact that we are a cooperative of 10 family farms. We have an elected board that works with the rest of the farmers in the decision-making process for the business. Here's a little insight into the cooperative approach to our season planning.
Last weekend was our annual planning meeting. Our growers start planning for the next summer season beginning in the fall. This is beneficial for several reasons. We are able to assess plant varieties, amounts, packing details, delivery concerns, etc. while the current season is underway and details are still fresh in our minds. Were members excited about certain vegetables? Were there particular items that received complaints? Should we be sending the produce in a different manner?
Starting our planning now also helps us to be more economical in our approach to next season, as the farmers are able to place their seed orders before the prices go up in January. This is one of the reasons we offer a discounted share price to members who want to reserve a share for the next season by Dec. 31. It literally provides seed money for the farmers to use when they place their orders with the seed companies.
To plan for the next season, the farmers sit down with a list of all the vegetables and fruit they are interested in planting. Each item has been given a general amount that should be included in each share (for example, cherry tomatoes - 1 pint), as well as the number of times an item should be included throughout the season. This helps to determine the amount of each item that should be planted. Farmers then volunteer for the items they would like to grow.
Generally, each item on the list is planted at a minimum of two farms. This allows overlap in case one farm runs into any problems during the growing season due to weather, pests, etc. This also allows the farmers to feel more comfortable trying out new varieties or specialty crops. Space, soil conditions and timing with other crops factor into the decisions. Advice is shared with farmers who want to try something new. It's always a spirited discussion made up of equal parts bartering, sharing of expertise and good-natured ribbing. It's also a fascinating meeting to experience as the passion and dedication of our farm families is clear from start to finish.
We share this information with our members to help you understand the seriousness with which we approach this endeavor. We want you to feel great about supporting local farms, knowing that we are constantly striving to bring you an excellent harvest and a great CSA experience.
~ 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 lettuce (green leaf, red leaf, Romaine), kale (Winterbore, Red Russian, Lacinato), Swiss chard, beets, turnips, tomatoes (regular, cherry and Roma), winter squash (spaghetti, acorn, butternut), summer squash (zucchini, yellow and pattypan), pie pumpkins, parsley, basil, Yummy Orange peppers, Carmen Red peppers, banana peppers (sweet & hot), green and colored bell peppers, potatoes, fingerlings, sweet potatoes, green beans, garlic (regular and elephant), storage onions, eggplant, shallots Yellow Delicious apples.
Our farms grow a range of mild and hot peppers. Hot peppers will be labeled with a HOT sticker on the package. Peppers without a sticker should be mild, but it is always good to be cautious.
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.
Please be aware that our shares will contain local apples again this week. If you are a member with an organic-only share, your box will be specially labeled and will not contain apples. We kindly ask all members to be aware of the specially labeled boxes and to not take a box with someone else's name. Thank you for your attention to this!
Thank you for your patience - more details are finally available for our fall program and sign-ups will start tomorrow. We hope you will consider giving this program a try. It includes a wonderful mix of cool-weather produce. You'll see some similarities to our summer shares, but you will also see more root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, etc.), crisp greens (kale, spinach, lettuce) and storage vegetables like winter squash, pumpkins and onions. It's a wonderful mix. If you like what you are receiving in your boxes for the next few weeks, it's a great preview for the fall season.
Our fall shares come in one size, similar to our medium boxes during the summer season. The shares are produce only, and extras will be available. The cost for the program is $150 for the six-week season. It will begin on Thursday, Oct. 22 and will end on Saturday, Dec. 5. Deliveries will take place on Thursdays and Saturdays at a range of locations, and there will be no deliveries during Thanksgiving week.
As we have mentioned previously, we are in the process of making some major changes as to how we deliver and distribute our shares next summer. We will be testing some of these approaches this fall, since the program allows us to do things on a smaller scale. As a result we will be working with a slightly smaller number of sites than usual for the fall program. The shares will be picked up straight from our farm truck, which will be parked at the sites during a specific time. Shares will not be left at these sites, but will remain on the truck if not picked up. As a result, if you miss the pick-up period at your preferred location, you can meet the truck at another location later that same day to get your share.
New in the farm store this week
Looking to add some favorites to your weekly share? We have a wide variety of smaller quantities of items in our farm store now.
Sweet Potatoes - $3/quart, $4.25/5 pounds, $8.50/10 pounds, $42.50/50 pounds
Parsley - $2.50/bunch
Limited quantities are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Find a link to our online farm store, here.
Farm store credit reminder
We have noticed that many of our members have farm store credit in their accounts. This may be due to a variety of reasons - credit for a delivery mistake on our part, members who opted for farm credit in place of a double share to make up for the July 4 holiday, etc. Since the season is starting to wind down, we wanted to provide a friendly reminder that this credit should be utilized on extra items in the next few weeks.
Credits will automatically be applied to your account when you place an order for extras. If you are having any problems getting these credits to work, please don't hesitate to let us know.
Farm country outings
Fall is the perfect time to take a scenic drive in Geauga County. If you decide to spend a day in the country soon, plan to stop at some of our farms and suppliers. Many of our farm families have roadside produce stands packed with a range of great items. Please note that these businesses are not open on Sundays.
Here are some suggestions:
Miller's Organic Produce - 17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield
Parkman Produce - 17050 Nash Road, Middlefield
Hershberger Organics - 15549 Patch Road, Middlefield
D& S Produce - 4738 Gates East Road, Middlefield
Countryside Bakery - 17075 Mumford Road, Burton
Middlefield Original Cheese House - 16942 Kinsman Road, Middlefield
Have fun exploring!
Tips for freezing herbs
A little time now will translate to great flavor in mid-winter recipes. If you receive a large bunch of herbs in your box (basil and parsley are showing up in some shares), you can puree the leaves in a food processor with a little bit of olive oil or water to make a chunky paste. Scoop out tablespoons of the paste onto a wax-paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once the scoops are frozen, place in a labeled freezer bag. Pull out a cube to add to soups, stews and sauces.
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
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pinch dry crushed red pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, stems trimmed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
¼ cup water
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Melt butter and oil in heavy large pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped greens; stir to coat. Add water to pan. Cover and cook until tender (stirring occasionally) about 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle lemon zest and juice over greens. Season to taste with salt.
Recipe from Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
Serves 6 as a side dish
6-8 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Tbsps. ground cinnamon
1/2 -3/4 cup of water (or apple cider)
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover with lid and cook for approximately 20 minutes until apples are soft, stirring mixture every few minutes to prevent sticking. Mash apples with a spoon for a chunkier consistency, or use an immersion blender for a smoother consistency. Delicious warm or cold.
Recipe from Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
Greek-Inspired Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsps. sliced black olives
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.
Recipe from Allrecipes.com
Turnip and Potato Patties
1/2 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 1/3 cups)
6 oz. potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
2 1/2 Tbsps. thinly sliced scallion greens
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Grapeseed oil, peanut oil, or canola oil (high smoke point vegetable oils)
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the turnip and potato cubes for 15 to 17 minutes, until they are tender, and drain them. In a bowl, mash them with a fork and stir in the scallions, the egg, flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Coat the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed skillet with about 1/4-inch of the oil. Heat the pan on medium high heat until the surface of the oil begins to shimmer, but not smoke. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of the turnip potato batter into the pan, flattening them into 1/2-inch thick patties with the back of a spatula. Fry the patties until they are golden, turning them once, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the patties to paper towels to drain off excess oil.
Recipe from SimplyRecipes.com
By Laura J. Novak
It's always so hard for me to freeze my veggies; I want to eat them all immediately.
Knowing that having green beans frozen and waiting enhances fall and winter Crock-Pot meals, I tucked them away, thinking happy thoughts for the future. I snipped and washed them, just like I would if I were eating them right away, but then I laid them on paper towels to dry thoroughly before freezing. Finally, I threw them into a gallon-size freezer bag and tucked them away for the days I don't want to think about - when I'll be missing my fresh CSA veggies (and sunshine!). The waiting and freezing was a little bit easier when I realized that this little bit of summer will be waiting to cheer me... in minestrone soup, perhaps?
I also froze some beautiful tomatoes for future sauce or chili. Tomato skins can get really tough in the freezer, so I cut a little x just through the skin, then boiled for a few minutes, cooled, peeled, then put into a Pyrex container. (Cutting the skin and boiling makes them much easier to peel.)
I also have some cantaloupe and grilled corn frozen and put away, nestled with the green beans and tomatoes. Even spinach can be frozen and still tastes great later.
While we still have the fresh veggies coming, this quote from Michael Pollan lends some great advice:
"Eat like an omnivore. Whether or not you eat any animal foods, it's a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet - that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi. The dazzling diversity of food products on offer in the supermarket is deceptive, because so many of them are made from the same small handful of plant species, and most of those - the corn and soy and wheat - are seeds rather than leaves. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases."
What did you think of the kohlrabi? That's one of my favorites, cut up into little sticks with salt. That quote always makes me think of kohlrabi, rainbow chard, and the other new veggies I've gotten to try over the last few years as a member of the Geauga Family Farms CSA.
Laura J. Novak is a freelance writer, blogger and passionate supporter of locally grown, organic produce. Laura's creative blog, Alishineya Victorious, is an exploration in writing, inspiration and finding creativity in daily life. She is also a leader of inspire: creativity retreat and the director and founder of Light Your Life Healing Arts in Mentor. You can learn more about Light Your Life Healing Arts and inspire here. Laura is excited to be participating in her fourth year with the Geauga Family Farms CSA and her third year contributing 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.
Salmon is still available
Joe Ruvolo from Wild One Seafoods will be at St. Noel and Family Karate again this week with wild-caught Alaskan salmon directly from a fisherman co-op in Sitka, Alaska,
Wild One has frozen Coho fillets at $9.50/pound and King salmon fillets at $15/pound. The Coho fillets are between 1 and 2 pounds each and the King fillets are between 2 and 4 pounds each.
You can find Joe in the parking lot near the pick-up area at the following pick-up sites:
Saturday, Oct. 3
St. Noel - Saturdays, 9:15 - 10:30 a.m.
Hill's Family Karate 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
If these pick-up sites are not convenient for you, you may place an order by calling Joe Ruvolo at Wild One Seafoods at 440-391-3569. Wild One Seafoods offers free delivery to your home or business for orders over 10 pounds. Wild One accepts cash and personal checks.
One additional note: There will likely be pin bones in these fillets. Once a fish is caught it is cleaned and flash-frozen immediately on the boat. In order to allow for fresher fish, instead removing these bones at the processing facility, which would require thawing and refreezing the fish before vacuum-sealing and shipping, the salmon remains frozen. Thus, small bones may be found in the fillets.
Inspire: Ignite your creativity (Note changes to this event)
Join our own Geauga Family Farms contributing writer, Laura J. Novak, for inspire, a weekend retreat igniting creativity in mind, body and spirit. The perfect balance of comfort and nature, the fully-enclosed, indoor shelter has a fireplace and panoramic views of Lake Erie and woods through high walls of windows. In this space, everyone will have a view of the lake in the first weekend of autumn's splendor. You will gain the tools to not only create that weekend, but take home practices that you can use everyday, anywhere to set fire to your creative life.
Enjoy expansive walks through the woods along the lake with notebooks, paintbrushes, guitars, your voices. Find room to dance and play and dream. Meditate to the soothing sound of the waves. Come as you are - everyone is welcome! Relax, create and live inspired.
To register or for more information, click here. Deadline to register has been extended to Sunday, Sept. 27 and the price has been reduced to $145.
Dinner of the Western ReserveTuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m.
Hale Farm & Village Gate House
Join the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as they explore the foods that travelled west during the early 1800s. Chef Larkin Rogers will create a meal using her extensive knowledge of the foods of this era. This dinner is presented in partnership with Hale Farm & Village, a property of Western Reserve Historical Society.
The menu includes Cheese Corn Soufflé Puffs - from Mary Randolph's The Virginia Housewife, published in 1824, Salmon Poached in Cider Cream - from Sarah Hale's (no relation) The Good Housekeeper, 1841, and Quaking Custard - from Sarah Hale's The Good Housekeeper, 1841. Alcohol will be served. Make reservations here through Oct. 6.
ZeroWasteNEO Workshop: Learn how to host a zero waste event
Oct. 20, 2 to 4 p.m.
Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, 4750 East 131st St., Garfield Heights
The ZeroWasteNEO working group invites you to attend this brief workshop focused on reducing or eliminating waste from events. Anyone involved in event planning and execution, including event planners, caterers, venue coordinators and event staff, should attend this informative workshop to learn about planning strategies and product alternatives to reduce waste from events. Information is applicable for events large and small. The event is free, however registration is required. To register, click here.
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