Week 12, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Aug. 26, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Thank you!
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
It's not too early
Laura Novak's column
Lobbyists/influence peddlers eroding organic standards
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "A life without love is like a year without summer."

  • ~ Swedish Proverb











    Thank you!

    Welcome to week 12 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA program!
    We're feeling thankful this week for so many things. Last week we described some of the details associated with what it takes to get our produce from the fields to your tables. A very important part of that process is the amazing network of volunteers who receive our deliveries and pass the produce on to you. These dedicated friends of Geauga Family Farms show up every week to organize the pick-up experience, answer questions and help to solve any issues that arise. They also get the leftover produce to hunger centers and people in need.
    From churches and schools to offices, stores and restaurants, we appreciate all who come together as a community to play a role in this local food network. Please consider patronizing and/or supporting the range of organizations that serve as volunteer pick-up locations. We'll be featuring our partner sites in upcoming newsletters, to provide a little bit of background on their involvement.
    Thanks to all who joined us at Saturday's farm tour and corn roast. The food was delicious (especially the deep-fried zucchini blossoms!) and the camaraderie was delightful as always. We all got a little muddy walking the fields and learned about the importance of tiling fields, a process that involves digging up and placing drainage in certain paths to assist with proper drainage. The Bylers have a beautiful farm and their hospitality was greatly appreciated by all.
    Finally, we would also like to thank the members who did some early marketing for the program. This spring we asked anyone who was interested in helping to spread the word about Geauga Family Farms to send us a picture of a spot where they had placed one of our posters. We planned to draw names for a special thank you gift mid-season.

    Our winners of the drawing are:
                    Andrea Corbett
                    Beth Halasz
                    Michel Degner
    Please look for a special package with your name at next week's delivery. Thanks to all who participated!
    And thank you, for your participation in this local food economy.




    ~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms


    In this week's shares

    In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as rhubarb, green and colored peppers, lettuce, cantaloupes, *hot banana peppers, parsley, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, green beans, cherry or grape tomatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, onions, garlic, watermelon, winter squash (spaghetti, butternut and acorn), storage onions, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, sweet banana peppers and yummy orange peppers.
    *Hot peppers will have a HOT sticker on the bag.

    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. 


    Bulk vegetables

    We have several veggies available for bulk purchase. 
    Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint
    Garlic -$10/pound 
    Roma tomatoes - $16/half-bushel
    Slicing tomatoes: #1 quality - for use in sandwiches and salads - 10 lb. flat - $15
    #2 quality - not as attractive, may include some blemishes, perfect for canning, soups, etc.  - $24/bushel, 5 bushels for $100 


    You can find them in our farm store, here.


    You may or may not have heard, but the harsh winter and spring weather ruined Ohio's peach crop this year. (See below for the full article.) We have chosen to order one week's worth of peaches for our shares from a supplier who will bring them from a nearby state. We understand that this isn't the local approach we prefer, but we also know how much everyone likes to receive peaches in their shares. These peaches will not be organic, and organic-only shares will receive alternate items that week. Peaches will be showing up the week of Sept. 8.


    Since we are ordering the peaches, we have the ability to order extra fruit for our members. We will be taking orders through next Tuesday for the bulk fruit. The price is as follows: $24 per half bushel box (25 lbs. of peaches). Delivery would occur to your site the week of Sept. 8.


    You can order the peaches through your Farmigo account, hereYou can also find them in our farm store, here.


    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. 



    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: Green Pepper and Tomato Salad

    2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
    3 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
    1/2 lemon, juiced (1 tablespoon)
    1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
    3 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
    Coarse salt and black pepper
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    Combine peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley in a bowl with your fingertips. Squeeze the juice of the lemon with the lemon half sitting upright. This will help prevent the seeds from falling into the bowl. The lemon juice will spill down over the sides of the lemon and the seeds will remain with the fruit. Squeeze the juice evenly over the salad. If the lemon is under-ripe, microwave it for 10 seconds before you cut into it. Next, sprinkle a tablespoon of vinegar over the salad -- just eyeball it. Drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil over the salad, add the salt, pepper and cumin. Toss again. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.
    Recipe from AllRecipes.com

    Grilled Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese
    Serves 6
    2 green bell peppers
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup goat cheese
    1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
    Core and seed the bell peppers. Cut each into six wedges, and place into a resealable plastic bag. Add the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Toss, seal, and set aside to marinate at least 20 minutes.
    Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Stir the goat cheese and lemon pepper seasoning together in a small bowl; set aside.
    Cook the peppers, skin-side-up on the preheated grill until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip the peppers over, and carefully spoon the cheese onto each pepper.
    Close the lid of the barbecue, and continue cooking until the bottoms are lightly charred and the cheese is warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Recipe from AllRecipes.com

    There were definitely a lot of cabbage heads left in the swap boxes this week. We understand that a break from cabbage is in sight! For those who still have a head or two lingering in the kitchen, here are some additional ideas. Member Tim Beach shared some very different and delicious-sounding cabbage recipes that he has been using to work his way through the cabbage bounty:
    Cabbage Tabbouleh
    A proper tabbouleh will be mainly vegetables and herbs, with just a smattering of bulgur threaded through.
    1 cup bulgur (not quick-cooking)
    ½ medium head green cabbage, cut into 1"-thick wedges, then very thinly sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
    1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia), finely chopped
    4 cups assorted small tomatoes, halved, quartered if large
    3 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint
    Place bulgur in a large bowl and add 1½ cups boiling water. Let soak until softened and water is absorbed, 40-45 minutes. Toss bulgur, cabbage, onion, tomatoes, mint, oil, lemon juice, and Aleppo pepper in a large bowl to combine; season with salt.
    DO AHEAD: Tabbouleh (without oil and lemon juice) can be made 4 hours ahead. Toss with oil and lemon juice just before serving.
    Recipe from Bon Appetit
    Roasted Cabbage with Balsamic Vinegar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 medium head green cabbage
    3 Tbsps. vegetable oil
    2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Place rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine salt, pepper and sugar in small bowl. Quarter cabbage through core and cut each quarter in to 1-inch wedges, leaving core intact. You'll have about 16 wedges. Brush cabbage wedges all over with oil and sprinkle with salt mixture.

    Arrange cabbage wedges on hot baking sheet and roast until cabbage is tender and lightly browned around edges, about 25 minutes. Drizzle cabbage with vinegar.         
    Recipe from Tim Beach

    Homemade Egg Rolls
    If you have a little time, this is my favorite thing to do when I have a lot of cabbage on my hands. This recipe was told to me when I worked at a small Chinese restaurant 20 years ago. I've been making these egg rolls ever since. The recipe is very flexible and makes a large amount. Once cooled, we pack the egg rolls in smaller bags in the freezer to be enjoyed with vegetable stir fry meals. ~ Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
    2-3 packages of egg roll wrappers
    1 pound ground pork, beef or turkey (these are also delicious with tofu)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    1 head of cabbage, shredded
    5-6 carrots, shredded
    4 green onions, finely chopped (both white and green parts)
    Oil for frying (peanut, vegetable, etc.)
    Cook meat (if using) in a medium skillet with garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Break meat into fairly small crumbles. When cooked through, set pan aside and cool for 10 minutes.

    In another large skillet heat oil to about 375 degrees or medium-high heat. 

    Shred cabbage and carrots in a food processor and place in a large bowl. Toss green onions with cabbage and carrots.

    Add cooled meat mixture to the vegetables and toss until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

    Lay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cabbage, carrot and meat mixture on egg roll paper and fold corner up over the mixture. Fold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll. Brush a bit of water on the final corner before you finish rolling to help seal the egg roll.

    Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack.

    When cooled, you can place egg rolls in freezer bags for future meals. Remove from freezer and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

    Do you like being a human guinea pig?

    By Laura J. Novak

    About four years ago, I first heard about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). A peer was passionately giving a presentation about the danger to our food supply, but as with many GMO presentations, there was a heavy focus on chemistry and science. There was talk of corn, cancer, rats dying in experiments. I zoned out, thinking, "Oh, who cares, I feel fine."

    Ignoring the GMO "stuff" for quite awhile longer, I thought, "I'm working so hard to eat healthy, certainly I can't handle one more thing!"
    The frustration mounted as I found out there could be dangerous additives even in my organic food, like carageenan, castoreum, even corn syrup. "Food Babe" shouted that there was plastic in Subway's bread and possible carcinogens even in organic almond milk. It gets annoying. It is exhausting. It made me want to throw my hands up and say, "Forget about it! I'm tired of caring, tired of eating!"
    But that is the reaction that major food corporations want consumers to have - to keep throwing our money at "food-like" substances, buying up what they can produce on the cheap. Luckily, there are those who are committed to digging, to finding out the truth about what is actually hidden in our food. Why is it so exhausting when they announce new findings? Well, isn't it easier for corporations if it's confusing, so that they can make money while we grow weary of reading the labels and choosing not to spend our dollars on poison?
    Many years ago, I thought, "Hey, if it's food, certainly it's safe to eat!" thinking there was an agency out there that cared about the health of Americans. The day I realized this was not true, that cancer, diabetes, childhood obesity, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, infertility, food sensitivities, and allergies, were skyrocketing, and were preventable but increasing, I started getting angry.
    This June, I had the live opportunity at the Young Living Convention to see William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly, and one of those speaking out about our food. He said, "Genetic modification and hybridization of the plants we call food crops remain crude science still fraught with unintended effects." From starting to read Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M. Smith, I'm learning that there are very few experiments done to find how GMOs affect humans. The few that have been performed are terrifying! Do you want to be an experiment for corporations that simply want your money?
    What you can do: Look for foods that have the "Non-GMO Project" verification stamped on it. This is a nonprofit organization that performs rigorous research to be sure certain foods are free from GMOs. You can even check your favorite products to see if they are safe: 
    More info next week - there's just too much for one column!


    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. 


    Lobbyists/influence peddlers eroding organic standards

    NOTE: GFF farmer Dominic Marchese is quoted in this article.

    CORNUCOPIA, WIS:  A comprehensive voting analysis of members of the National Organic Standards Board, an expert body formed by Congress to insulate the governance of the industry from undue corporate influence, clearly illustrates how illegal appointments to the board by current and past USDA Secretaries have subverted congressional intent.
    The study, produced by The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, analyzed the voting record of each individual board member over the past five years, including corporate representatives who were placed on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) filling seats that were specifically set aside for farmers and other independent organic industry stakeholders.

    "In recent years, just as with the polarized U.S. Supreme Court, many critical issues were decided by one-vote margins," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at Cornucopia. "Almost universally, the NOSB is split along ideological lines (corporate agribusiness versus farmers and consumers) on whether to allow controversial synthetic and non-organic additives in organic food or weak animal husbandry standards utilizing the 'factory farm' production model of organic meat, eggs and dairy products."

    Read the rest of the article here.


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    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


    Dinner in the Valley: A Lesson in Ducks
    Tuesday, Sept. 16 or Thursday, Sept. 18 
    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. 
    In response to many requests, Chef Larkin Rogers will begin the evening with a demonstration on deboning a whole duck. Dinner follows, featuring the delicious waterfowl and a glass of wine. Click here for reservations.

    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.


    Nestle Nudges Its Suppliers To Improve Animal Welfare

    Ohio peach crop wiped out by frigid winter 

    A Food Crisis Follows Africa's Ebola Crisis

    Why Ohio is doing ice cream right

    Why Vegetables Get Freakish in the Land of the Midnight Sun

    What To Do With All of the Poo?
    Delivery Services, Wine Bars, Whole Foods of China, and More


    (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