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Week 8                     Geauga County, Ohio
July 24, 2013

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
In this week's shares
Attention Mustard Seed members
Giant kohlrabi
UPDATED: Beef delivery dates for the season
Bulk tomatoes available
Stewing chickens available
Member Laura Novak's cooking tips column
Local Harvest newsletter
Beware: Hogweed could be growing in your backyard
For your reading pleasure
Please support our partners
Gardening tips from Lowe's
Anyone can sign up for our newsletter
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"There is no such thing as a little garlic."

~ A. Baer





Buggy silhouette





One of the fun things about the CSA for many of us is that weekly sense of anticipation. We hear from so many of our members who describe each week's pick-up experience as being a little like Christmas - the excitement of looking into the boxes and then deciding what to do with the fun things inside. We've even heard from people whose coworkers wait to hear about the contents the following morning!


Favorites include the first bell peppers and the first sweet corn of the season. Judging by the responses of many at last week's pick-ups, blueberries are truly a sought-after treat. Mid-season rhubarb and early carrots have also been wonderful finds this summer.


We hope you have felt rewarded with the delicious and healthy options you have received so far. The anticipation is just as strong for the farmers who are waiting for each new item to be ready to go from the fields to your table.


Doesn't it feel kind of good to get excited about fruits and vegetables?



Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms

Buggy silhouette


In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as Romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, basil (regular, lemon or cinnamon), sweet onions, bunching onions, leeks, broccoli, yellow squash, beets, zucchinis, pickling cucumbers, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beans (green or wax), parsley, carrots, rhubarb, sweet peppers, potatoes, dill, blueberries, hot banana peppers, jalapeño peppers and cantaloupe. 


NOTE: You may or may 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. 


ATTENTION: Mustard Seed members

In recent weeks, specially marked boxes have been missing. Please pay attention to any specially marked boxes and be sure to take the correct one. Some shares are marked "Organic Only" with a name on a sheet of fluorescent colored paper on at least two sides of the box. Unless your name is on that share, please take a different box. Thank you!


Gigantic kohlrabi

Just a note on the gigantic kohlrabi that many of the shares have received - this is a different variety than the smaller bulbs that we have been receiving. It is absolutely delicious when eaten raw. Try peeling, cutting into French fry-sized sticks and sprinkling with a tiny bit of sea salt. They are cool, crunchy and delicious.


Updated 2013 Season grass-fed beef deliveries


September beef delivery date change

We have a quick update for our beef deliveries to Family Karate and Sage's Apples in the month of September. That delivery date has changed from Sept. 14 to Sept. 28.

Geauga Family Farms grass-fed ground beef and grass-fed stew beef is delivered frozen in 1-pound packages. Beef orders are delivered on a monthly basis to participating sites. Please see the Extras section of our website, here, to place an order. 


Beef delivery dates for Tuesday sites:

Lowe's Greenhouse      








Marigold B&B








Catholic Montessori








St. Andrew








Sage's Orchard








For Tuesday sites, please place any orders by the Thursday prior to the delivery date.


Beef delivery dates for Thursday sites:

Market Café8/22/2013        9/19/2013     10/17/2013
Jones Day8/22/20139/19/201310/17/2013
LEAF Night8/22/20139/19/201310/17/2013
MRI 8/8/20139/12/201310/10/2013
Landerbrook Dental     8/8/20139/12/201310/10/2013
Good Shepherd8/15/20139/19/201310/17/2013

For Thursday sites please place any orders by the Saturday prior to the delivery date.


Beef delivery dates for Saturday sites:

St. Noel    8/10/2013         9/14/2013     10/12/2013
Family Karate7/27/20138/10/2013*9/28/201310/12/2013
First Church Cong.      
Sage's Orchard7/27/20138/10/2013*9/28/201310/12/2013
St. Paul's
First Unitarian
Goddard School

For Saturday sites please place any orders by the Tuesday prior to the delivery date.




Bulk veggies available


Tomatoes - $22 for a 20-pound box


To order bulk produce, call Rosanna Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the warehouse at 440-693-4625. Please leave a message if no one answers, or call Rosanna at home after 4 p.m. and on Saturdays at 440-548-2399. NO SUNDAY CALLS PLEASE! You will receive an invoice via e-mail and will be able to pay with a credit card using our PayPal site.


Stewing chickens available

The Fisher family has stewing chickens available for purchase. These are available for $5 each, and work best when used for soups or stews. They must be picked up at the farm at 4738 Gates East Road, in Middlefield. Please call Susan Fisher at 440-693-4632 to reserve your chickens and schedule a pick-up today!



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 


This is the start of pepper season. Here are a few in which to use them and some other fun picks. 



Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup olive oil

2 red bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

2 orange or green bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

1 large onion, sliced into half-moons

4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon sugar

4-5 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh basil, leaves torn roughly

Lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions just begin to color.

Add the peppers and stir well to combine with the onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. The peppers should be al dente-cooked, but with a little crunch left in them.

Add the garlic, and sauté another 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle a little more salt over everything and add the sugar and dried oregano. Cook 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, and cook just one minute further.

Turn off the heat and mix in the torn basil. Grind some black pepper over everything. Right before serving squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish.

Recipe from


Sausage-Stuffed Jalapeņos

1 pound ground pork sausage

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 1 pound large fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 (8 ounce) bottle ranch dressing (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sausage in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease. In a bowl, mix the sausage, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Spoon about 1 tablespoon sausage mixture into each jalapeño half. Arrange stuffed halves in baking dishes. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with ranch dressing.

Recipe from


Nanny's Stuffed Cabbage 

This is my grandmother's recipe. She would make it for any large gathering, no matter the occasion, even the family reunions we'd have in the hot summers I remember as a child. It was the most sought-after item on the buffet table. Of course, my grandmother never measured anything, so we had to estimate what she might mean by "some of this, and a little of that." ~ Laura

1 large head cabbage

1 pound ground meat

1 cup cooked rice

1 onion chopped

1 egg slightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

18/ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 11-oz. can sauerkraut

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Core cabbage. Place core end down in saucepan and add about 2 inches of boiling water. Simmer until cabbage leaves are just soft enough to roll easily. Drain & cool (but don't let them cool too much or they will stiffen back up). Meanwhile combine beef, rice, onion, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg and garlic powder.

Carefully remove leaves from cabbage. Place beef mixture in center of cabbage leaves dividing evenly.

Roll up leaves, tucking in edges.

In a large baking pan, combine sauerkraut, half of the tomato sauce & brown sugar. Place cabbage rolls, seams down, on the sauerkraut. Pour remaining tomato sauce & brown sugar over rolls. If the rolls seem too dry, add tomato juice.

Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for at least two hours, until cabbage is cooked through. On heated serving platter arrange cabbage rolls on sauerkraut. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Note: This same basic recipe can be used for stuffed peppers, minus the sauerkraut.


This recipe was sent to us from Tara Pesta who picks up at St. Paul's.

"Made this tonight with our CSA green beans and onions, it was really easy and quick:"

Green Bean Blue Cheese Salad 

1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Salt and pepper to taste

Place green beans in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, onion, blue cheese, and pecans. Stir in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Recipe from


Here's a pasta dish that I am planning to try for dinner tonight. ~ Michelle

Quick-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

Make a quick fresh tomato sauce for this meatless pasta recipe by roasting cherry tomatoes and adding basil, parsley and goat cheese to the dish.

Serves 4

4 quarts water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti

2 2/3 cups cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

3/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped or torn fresh basil leaves

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled semisoft goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450°. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon salt and spaghetti to boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until spaghetti is al dente. Drain spaghetti in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking water. Return spaghetti to pan; set aside, and keep warm.

While spaghetti cooks, combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper on a jelly-roll pan, tossing well to coat. Bake tomato mixture at 450° for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and lightly charred in places.

Add tomatoes and any tomato juice to spaghetti in Dutch oven. Add 3 tablespoons reserved cooking water to jelly-roll pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; carefully pour water mixture and remaining 1 tablespoon oil into spaghetti mixture. Place Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spaghetti mixture is moist, tossing frequently. Stir in basil and parsley. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Cooking Light


Lilly's Benedictine

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill

Combine ingredients and mix well.

Recipe from


Lots of our members are foodies, as you can see by those who have sent in recipes lately. Another of our member foodies is Kim Roberts, who chronicles her weekly cooking adventures here.


Creative Cooking for an Organic Life

Wow, That's Fresh!

By Laura Novak

On my first visit to Croatia, my husband and I were staying with our Aunt Kata in the countryside, an area covered in rolling green hills, vineyards and giant blooming rosebushes in just about every yard. She asked what we would like to eat and I replied, "scrambled eggs would be great." Aunt Kata looked at me, got up from her seat and walked out of the house. Stunned, I wondered if I had offended her or asked for something crazy. A few minutes later, she walked back into the kitchen with a basket of brown eggs, saying, "The chickens out back only laid about eight eggs, will that be enough?" She also added fresh peppers and onions straight from her garden. They were the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten.


Luckily, to get eggs this fresh we don't have to raise chickens in our backyards or live with our relatives in Croatia. We've got the farmers of the Geauga Family Farms CSA who can send organic, local eggs with our shares. You've probably heard that they look and taste different, better. It's true! I love ordering eggs from the CSA because I get peace of mind knowing exactly where they came from, that they didn't have far to travel, and that there are no added hormones or any of that craziness I worry about with conventional eggs. You'll find eggs in the "extra items" section on the website. Aunt Kata would say, "Try it, you will like it!" (And she's always right!)


When I saw the parsley in our shares last week, I made a refreshing salad with an avocado, tomato, ½ an onion (sliced thin), a can of chickpeas (drained & rinsed) and about ¼ of the bunch of fresh parsley, chopped. To dress it, all you need is olive oil, white wine vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar or even lemon juice), dried basil & oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. It's simple and delicious!


If you're still thinking, "What on earth will I do with all this parsley?" you can make tabbouleh or another summer favorite of mine, Hoppin' John Salad with rice, black-eyed pea, and vegetables from PCRM (The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). I like to add avocado, bell pepper and cucumber, too. When I add a significant amount of extra vegetables, I usually double the amount of dressing.


Well it's about 90 degrees outside today, so I'm off to water my tiny garden for the third time today! When I do, I imagine the care that the CSA farmers must be taking in their fields to grow those delicious fruits and vegetables.


Thank you, Farmers!

Laura J. Novak is a freelance writer in Lake County. Her blog,, is about eating well and shaking free to live your best life. She enjoys reading about nutrition, participating in yoga, cooking and visiting parks with her husband, Vida. She is a passionate supporter of locally grown, organic produce and even has her own small garden. This is her second year enjoying the Geauga Family Farms CSA. Laura has a bachelor of arts in English and a master's degree in education.

Local Harvest newsletter

By Erin Barnett

I like to wring every drop of goodness out of summer's abundance. Last month I wrote about making the most of your summer produce in the kitchen, and this month I 'm thinking about how to get the most out of your CSA. My notes for this article originally approached the subject from a different angle, "how to be a good CSA member." When I started digging in, though, I realized that they amount to the same thing. At its best, a CSA creates a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your farmer. Cooperation, connection, and full bellies all around.

Like any relationship, a CSA takes some work. Here are a few things you can do to have an excellent experience as a CSA member, now or in the future.

Familiarize yourself with what grows when.
Many of us have gotten so used to grocery store shopping that we don't know what month the local tomatoes get ripe. This lack of knowledge can lead to disappointment and unfounded criticism of the farmer. If you're new to seasonal eating, it's a good idea to ask your farmer for a list of what kinds of foods to expect when, so you can pace your anticipation.

Make peace with visits to the produce aisle.
Most CSA members supplement their CSA box with a few items from the produce aisle, as many families want to eat more fruit than is provided in their box, or find they need more staples like onions and garlic. CSA manager Joan E. Marrero from J.R. Organics in Escondido, CA, finds that some people get frustrated because they do not get the same array of produce available at a grocery store. Most people find themselves eating a wider variety of vegetables with a CSA, but if you find yourself missing some of what you're used to getting at the supermarket, by all means supplement.

Read the policies.
Each CSA operates a little bit differently when it comes to refunds, vacation policies, pick-up procedures, and the like. Part of being happy with your CSA and being a good CSA member is knowing and respecting the way things are run.

Get to know your farmer and the farm.
Farmer John Peterson of Angelic Organics in Caledonia, IL, appreciates CSA members who look beyond the food and become interested in the farm itself. "The food is just the result of the farm; it's the overflow from the farm. The most important thing is the farm itself," he says. He recommends that CSA members allow themselves to be curious about the people who live and work on the farm, the culture of the farm, how the work is done there, and what it's like for those who do it.

Talk to your farmer.
After enjoying the great food, this is probably the most important aspect of getting the most out of your CSA experience. Talking with the people who run your CSA is what takes the experience beyond the transactional and creates that sense of belonging to the farm that so many CSA members value. It also offers the opportunity for mutual understanding and that can nip any potential frustrations in the bud. Joan E. Marrero emphasizes the importance of communication: "The contents of our boxes are guaranteed. If for any reason, someone is unhappy with an item, we happily offer replacements. Since we are dealing with highly perishable items, there is bound to be spoilage at one time or another. When this happens, some subscribers who are not aware of our guarantee are disappointed and decide to discontinue with the program without sending any feedback. Those who do communicate are given replacements, and as they continue with the program, realize that the majority of the time the box contents are in excellent condition." Talking helps.

But not an hour before the delivery.
Kerry Glendening, LocalHarvest's site coordinator, has noticed that many of people's complaints about CSAs result from members trying to make last minute changes to their delivery and being disappointed when farmers can't honor them. In the hours before a CSA delivery, farmers feel a lot like you do in the hours before your entire extended family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner. Imagine Aunt Ethel calling while you're stirring the gravy to say that Cousin Yvette needs a special meal, please. Timing is everything. Many farmers may not be able to respond to last minute requests, but are often able to be flexible with more notice.

Getting the most out of your CSA and being a good CSA member comes down to having realistic expectations, getting to know your farmers and talking with them right away if something is amiss. We encourage you to utilize the farm review feature on to let others know about your experience with your CSA and other local farms.

These ideas are geared toward current CSA members. If you're considering of signing up for a CSA we have an article with some suggestions about how to choose one. And if you get your produce at a farmers market rather than through a CSA, I'll be writing about farmers markets next month!

Until next time, take good care and eat well.
Erin Barnett

Director, LocalHarvest


Godzilla of plants: Giant hogweed

It chokes out native species, blisters your skin and can blind you

By Joshua Jamerson

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio - This was one weed that Savery Rorimer wasn't going to dig up with her hands. There were too many, and they were too big.

But blasting them with herbicides was no good. The chemicals could have harmed her organic beef and vegetable farm less than a half-mile away.

So Rorimer found another solution to deal with the thousands of mysterious plants that had invaded the far reaches of her Geauga County property.

"Black plastic bags," she said. "I covered the top part, where the seeds are, with a plastic bag so that those seeds at least couldn't blow in the wind."

Her instincts were spot on. This was no normal invader. Heracleum mantegazzianum, or giant hogweed, had moved in. This weed can grow taller than 15 feet, choke out all nearby flora, severely burn your skin as long as 48 hours after contact and even cause blindness.

"It's not just a weed - it's a dangerous weed," said David Marrison, director of the Ohio State University Extension in Ashtabula County.

There is some good news in Ohio. This weed is still pretty rare, typically popping up in Ashtabula, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties.It is more common in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan, where state officials warn residents not to touch the plant and to leave eradication to the pros. It is on both the Ohio and federal noxious-weed lists.

A state survey in 2010 found giant hogweed in nine locations in northwestern Ohio with varying amounts of flowering weeds, said Dan Kenny, the Department of Agriculture's assistant plant health chief.

"People get a pretty darn bad reaction from poison ivy, but this seems to be to a different degree. It can be a serious issue for some people," Kenny said.

He said the state is concerned only about the giant hogweed found in the 2010 survey. The state hasn't done one since and doesn't have another one lined up.

The plant, native to the Caucasus Mountains in central Asia, was introduced in the United States as a garden plant about a century ago for its striking appearance and beautiful white flowers. It is sold in some nurseries, leaving homeowners to wonder what they've planted once the weed has grown to full size.

Rorimer first caught a glimpse of hogweed five years ago in some forested land downstream from her crops at Snake Hill Farm, where she works with her husband, Louis, and son, James.

"You can see it coming," Mrs. Rorimer said.

After reading up on the weed, she called the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The state does not try to eradicate it, but the U.S. and Pennsylvania departments of agriculture do.

"We're always concerned about a federal noxious weed. Some states have more of the giant hogweed than the other states do, so really (the federal response) depends on the state," said Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In Ohio, the feds take the lead.

Brett Gates, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said Ohio hasn't called in an agency to clear giant hogweed since 2011.

State and federal inspectors went to Snake Hill Farm to take samples and study the problem. Finally, in 2011, Pennsylvania agriculture officials showed up and treated as many as 2,000 plants.

The Rorimers suspect someone thought the plants were pretty and planted them years ago.

Marrison said that continues to happen in Ohio and elsewhere.

Despite the eradication work two years ago, the weed appears to have made a comeback on the Rorimers' property. Dozens of plants, about knee-high, were growing in the same spot. This month, Mrs. Rorimer wrapped the tops of two plants - one nearly 7 feet tall, the other about 4 feet - with black plastic bags.

She said she is sure those bags are the only reason the giant hogweed hasn't gained a foothold in her crop fields.Mr. Rorimer said he plans to call the state to let officials know the plant is back.

"It's crazy," he said.

Article from The Columbus Dispatch


For your reading pleasure

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.


10 Processed Food Secrets the Food Industry Hides

EPA to Allow Consumption of Toxic Fracking Wastewater by Wildlife and Livestock 

Allan Savory: 'Agriculture is More Destructive than Coal Mining'

The Shocking Ingredients in Beer

Monsanto to withdraw EU approval requests for new GMO crops 


Please support our partners

Please take advantage of your weekly visit to the establishments of our partners. Shop, dine and otherwise patronize the businesses of those who do so much to help us with our efforts in the local food movement. We couldn't do it without them!

Church of the Good Shepherd                                Market Cafe & Wine Bar

Cuyahoga County Board of Health                          Mustard Seed Market

First Church Congregational                                  Catholic Montessori School

First Unitarian                                                        Sage's Apples

The Goddard School                                               St. Andrew Episcopal Church

Hill's Family Karate                                                St. Noel Church

LEAF Night                                                             St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Lowe's Greenhouse                                                Ruffing Montessori School

Marigold Bed & Breakfast                                       Whole Foods


Gardening tips from Lowe's Greenhouse

Now is the time to...harvest your gardens' bounty.

     But not if it's gone to the birds!!! Protect your berry patch from the birds with easy-to-apply bird netting draped over your blueberry and raspberry plants.

     This is the last time for pinching mums, asters and other fall blooming perennials. Cutting off the growing tips helps form more full and dense plants that will not flop in the fall.

     This is also a good time to plant a summer crop of lettuce vegetables... spinach, lettuce, beets, arugula and carrots can all be planted now for continual harvests into the fall.


Have gardening questions... we have answers! The Plant Dr. is always in at Lowe's Greenhouse!


Sign up friends and family for our newsletter

Want to add someone to the newsletter mailing list? Anyone can sign up for our newsletter on our Web site. All they have to do is visit our Web site here, enter their information and they will receive the very next newsletter.


(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,

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062