Week 6, Fall 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Dec. 11, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
In this week's shares
Update on the Byler family
Discounts on Summer 2015 shares available
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon update
Laura Novak's column
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows."

~ William Shakespeare


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    Welcome to Week 6 of the Geauga Family Farms Fall CSA program.


    As we wrap up our final week of deliveries for 2014, we are in the mood to celebrate. The families of Geauga Family Farms are thrilled to have spent another year doing what we love best. We're celebrating the fact that we have so many wonderful partners who have made it a priority to support local farms, and we're celebrating the ability to connect with so many wonderful members. Your involvement gives us a reason to smile broadly as we think about this past year.


    We've filled this newsletter with celebratory items as well, including recipes for great holiday dishes, a range of gift ideas, and discounts on 2015 season shares. Look for details below. We hope you find helpful tips and suggestions to make your celebrations extra special.


    We look forward to celebrating with our families for a few weeks before our work starts anew. We'll be starting seeds and preparing greenhouses once January rolls around. We will stay in touch through occasional newsletters, but feel free to contact our farm representatives if you have any questions.


    As we wrap things up for the year we always take a moment to look back at our challenges and our successes. Was 2014 a challenging year? Yes.  Was it all worth it? Absolutely, yes. Each of those challenges provided an opportunity for us to grow and to improve what we do. Thank you for giving us so many wonderful reasons to celebrate.



    Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris

    ~ with Laura Dobson and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms


    In this week's shares

    Here is a list of items you may find in your share this week: Empire, Jonagold or Gala apples, lettuce (red or green leaf, Romaine), kale (Lacinato, Winterbore or Red Russian), bok choy, beets, rutabagas, radishes, cabbage, acorn squash and maple syrup. 


    NOTE: You will not receive all of the types of produce listed above. This is a list of possible items. Shares received on different days of the week may include different items.

    Update on the Byler Family 

    Thank you for all of the generous donations to the Byler Family Fund so far. Tom, Esther and family are in temporary lodging, while members of the community are hard at work, helping to rebuild their home. As you may remember from last week's newsletter, the Bylers lost their home to a fire a few days before Thanksgiving. Fortunately, all of their family is safe.


    We have set up a fund to collect donations to help the family get re-established. If you would like to make a donation, we have a spot on our web store in the Additional Items section, where donations can be made in $10 increments. Click here to make a donation.


    If you would prefer to mail a check, please send it to:

    Geauga Family Farms

    c/o Mr. Neil Miller

    16910 Tavern Road

    Middlefield, OH 44062


    Please add Byler Family Fund to the memo line.

    Thank you.



    We are sending out this week's shares in boxes that need to be retired. Please feel free to take your share box home this week and recycle, reuse or throw away as you see fit. Thanks!


    2015 Summer Season - Discount pricing for early sign-ups

    Thank you for your patience as we worked out some kinks on our website over the last week. Everything should be running smoothly at this point.


    To help provide "seed money" (literally - we begin planting in January) all sizes of shares will be available at a discounted rate until Dec. 31. The gift of healthy, sustainable food never goes out of style! Treat yourself or treat someone you love to a summer of delicious, local produce.


    Pricing is as follows:

                    Small share - perfect for one person - $285 ($300 after Dec. 31)

                    Medium share - perfect for 2-4 people - $415 ($450 after Dec. 31)

                    Large share - perfect for 5 or more - $700 ($750 after Dec. 31)


    Find a link to our store here.

    Join Geauga Family Farms by purchasing a share here.


    We have not finalized our pick-up sites for the 2015 season yet, but if you sign up for an early share, we will contact you as soon as the list is available to choose your site. The online application will ask you to select a general area for pick up. You are also welcome to list your site preferences in the comments section of the application. We anticipate that most of our sites from this year will be available again, with the addition of some new options as well!


    Wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon update

    Member Denny Crews had such a successful salmon sale last week that he sold out! He will not be at Hill's Family Karate or St. Noel this week. 


    If you are still interested in purchasing some salmon, Denny knows a few other fishermen he can contact. The fish would be the same top quality as he provides. 


    To discuss options and place an order, call Denny at 440-463-3732.  


    Gift ideas for the locavore on your list

    Here are a few of our favorite food-themed gifts.



    Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm - by Jeff Crump

    The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally - by Ivy Manning

    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - by Deb Perelman

    A subscription to Eating Well, Edible Cleveland or The Vegetarian Times


    Equipment for seasonal cooking:

    A salad spinner

    A market basket or reusable market bags

    An immersion blender

    Canning tools, jars and lids


    Gift certificates from our partners:

    Lunch or dinner at Market Cafe

    Groceries at Mustard Seed Market or Whole Foods

    Apples and local treats from Sage's

    Decorations, plants and gifts from Lowe's Greenhouse and Gifts

    A martial arts class from Hill's Family Karate

    An overnight stay at Marigold Bed & Breakfast

    A treatment at Light Your Life Healing Arts


    The gift of local food:

    A Summer 2015 CSA share from Geauga Family Farms

    A holiday beef box of Geauga Family Farm's grass-fed beef - gift certificates available

    A pork box from the Nagy Family Farm - call 440-537-1252



    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 


    Here is a festive batch of appetizers perfect for your holiday celebrations! 


    Mustard Green-and-Sweet Onion Frittata

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 large sweet onion, diced

    1 1/2 pounds mustard greens, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

    16 large eggs, beaten

    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

    Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until wilted.

    Season the eggs with salt and pepper and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottom and sides begin to set. Lift the sides of the frittata to allow the uncooked eggs to seep under. Continue cooking until the bottom is set and the top is still runny, 3 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.

    Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until the center of the frittata is set. Slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

    Recipe from foodandwine.com


    Crispy Baked Radish Chips

    10 -15 large radishes

    Nonstick cooking spray

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 375°. Slice radishes into very thin chips and spread on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

    Lightly mist radish slices with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. (If using other seasonings, now is the time to add them).

    Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until crisp. Time may vary so watch these after flipping.

    Recipe from Food.com


    Feta-and-Radish Toasts

    1 bunch watercress, thick stems discarded

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    8 to 10 radishes, thinly sliced

    6 ounces feta cheese (preferably goat), crumbled

    Heat a cast-iron grill pan. Brush the bread with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until toasted. Top the toasts with the feta, radishes and watercress. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

    Recipe from foodandwine.com


    Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce


    3 medium red bell peppers

    2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

    1/2 cup (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette, crusts removed

    1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds

    1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

    1/4 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

    1/4 tsp. kosher salt

    1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

    1 large garlic clove


    3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)

    1 cup dry breadcrumbs

    1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

    1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/2 cup egg substitute

    Cooking spray

    Preheat broiler. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving any liquid. Combine bell peppers, reserved liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

    Preheat oven to 400°.

    To prepare zucchini, cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in egg substitute; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with sauce.

    Recipe from myrecipes.com


    New Mexican Sweet Potato Latkes with Lime-Sour Cream Sauce

    For the lime-sour cream sauce:

    1 cup sour cream

    1/3 cup snipped fresh chives

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    2 teaspoons grated lime zest

    For the latkes:

    2 pounds sweet potatoes (choose a flavorful variety such as Jewel or Garnet, if available)

    Kosher salt

    1 cup finely chopped onion

    3 large eggs, beaten to blend

    1/3 cup flour

    2 teaspoons ground ancho chili powder

    2 teaspoons ground cumin, preferably freshly toasted and ground

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Canola or sunflower oil, for frying

    Optional garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

    Prepare the lime-sour cream sauce: stir together the sour cream, chives, and lime juice and zest in a small bowl. Let the flavors develop while you make the latkes.

    Make the latkes: shred the sweet potatoes using the medium/fine shredding disk of a food processor. (While many recipes call for coarse grating, I find that sweet potatoes won't release as much moisture when grated that thickly and so don't bind as well with the other ingredients.) Transfer the shredded potatoes to a colander, sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and use your hands to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

    Put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and add the onion, eggs, flour, salt to taste (figure 1 to 1 1/2

    teaspoons), chili powder, cumin, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix until thoroughly combined.

    In a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (cast-iron is ideal), heat about 1/4 inch of oil over high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Fill a 1/4-cup measure with latke batter, drop the batter into your hand so that you can squeeze out the excess liquid, then slip it into the hot oil. Flatten the latke with a spatula.

    Continue making latkes in the same way, but cook no more than 4 or 5 at a time.

    Regulate the heat carefully as the latkes fry until golden and crisp on the bottom, about 4 minutes. To

    prevent oil from splattering, use two spatulas (or a spatula and a large spoon) to turn the latkes

    carefully. Fry until crisp and golden on the other side.

    Avoid turning the latkes more than once or they will absorb too much oil. Before turning, lift the latkes

    slightly with the spatula to make sure the underside is crisp and brown.

    Transfer the cooked latkes to paper towels or untreated brown paper bags to drain. Continue frying latkes until all the batter is used. If necessary, add more oil to the pan, but always allow the oil to get

    hot before frying a new batch.

    Serve the latkes right away with the lime-sour cream sauce, garnished, if you'd like, with cilantro.

    They are at their best eaten as soon as possible, but, if necessary, you can keep them warm,

    arranged in a single layer on a rack set on a baking sheet in a slow oven (200º) until they are all

    ready to be brought to the table.

    Recipe from Chow.com


    Onion Roll Appetizers

    3 large yellow onions

    1/4 cup butter

    1 (6 ounce) packages cream cheese

    1 (6 ounce) packages Swiss cheese, grated

    1 package burrito-size flour tortilla

    Chop onions. Place in frying pan with butter. Fry for 20 minutes or until onions are limp. Stir in cream cheese and grated Swiss cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Spread on tortillas. Roll and refrigerate overnight.

    To cook:

    Grease baking sheet. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Bake, upright, at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

    Recipe from Food.com


    Don't Eat Those Dirty Fruits and Veggies! 

    By Laura Novak

    Can you believe another bountiful CSA season has come to a close? This fresh, local food has helped me to look at my shopping differently. I've reduced the amount of packaged and canned products that I use. When in the grocery store, I take note of how far the produce had to travel and try to lean toward the veggies that had less of a long and bumpy journey.


    As you venture back to the grocery stores for the majority of your shopping, the best practice is to buy only organic produce. Personally, I don't feel that I can "wash off" harmful chemicals with spray gentle enough to consume, however, going exclusively organic is an expenditure that not everyone is comfortable or even able to make. There is still a way to find the healthy balance as some fruits and veggies are more important to buy organic than others.


    The Environmental Working Group provides a yearly report on the "Dirty Dozen" foods to always buy organic. These are the most contaminated by pesticides and most harmful to your health. For 2014, they are:







    Sweet Bell Peppers

    Nectarines (Imported)


    Cherry Tomatoes

    Snap Peas (Imported)


    Hot peppers, blueberries, lettuce, kale and collard greens are right behind, so be wary of those as well.


    Generally, it's also a good idea to buy organic whenever produce is coming straight out of the earth, or most saturated in chemicals that have been used over and over, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc. (Think root veggies.)


    Produce that is safer to buy without going organic often has a thick skin to peel, like avocadoes and pineapples. The Environmental Working Group also lists a "Clean 15," or the produce safest to buy conventionally.


    Being a member of the Geauga Family Farms CSA has been a continued blessing for me and my family for the last three years. From the bottom of my heart, I offer a prayer of gratitude for those who have worked so hard to make it possible to enjoy the gifts from the earth - even here in Ohio! Thank you to the farmers and their families, to Laura, Michelle and the CSA employees and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make a difference in the local community. Thank you, CSA members, for participating in this fabulous, local food revolution. It's been a delicious season and I hope you've all enjoyed it as much as I have.


    Good health to you and your loved ones and wishing you the Happiest of Holidays! See you next year!

    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. 


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    Looking back at the year of Zero Waste: A panel discussion

    Dec. 16, noon
    City Club of Cleveland

    Every year leading up to 2019, Cleveland focuses on one of the key areas fundamental to a sustainable economy. 2014 is the Year of Zero Waste for Sustainable Cleveland 2019. By reducing the amount of waste Cleveland produces and sends to landfills, the city can improve human health through the elimination of hazardous waste, protect and increase property values and quality of place, as well as save businesses, organizations, the government and community money.

    Join a panel discussion moderated by the City of Cleveland's Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan as local businesses and community organizations share their efforts to refuse, reduce, recycle and upcycle waste in the past year.

    Panelists include: Mel Kurtz, Founder and President, Quasar Energy Group; Nicole McGee, Founder, Plenty Underfoot and Collective Upcycle; and Nicole P. Schiro, Vice President, Brand Manager, PNC

    Tickets: $15 members/$25 nonmembers. Click here to register. 



    Fourth Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Quarterly Meeting

    Dec. 17, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

    Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasting Room

    Come celebrate our successes during the Year of Zero Waste and help welcome in the Year of Clean Water. Updates from Sustainable Cleveland Summit will be shared while you enjoy happy hour appetizers and a cash bar. 

    For more information visit sustainablecleveland.org or direct questions to Cathi Lehn (216-664-2421 -or- clehn@city.cleveland.oh.us). To register, click here.



    Year of Clean Water Kick-Off

    Jan 23, 2015

    Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave.

    Join the Mayor's Office of Sustainability to kick off The Year of Clean Water.The Celebration Year for Clean Water in 2015 will connect people to their water resources in order to restore, conserve and protect this valuable asset. Fresh water resources represent an invaluable local asset that has shaped Cleveland's identity, both in the way that the city has perceived itself and how it has been recognized outside the region.Join us to learn about local innovations, resources, and organizations working to keep our water clean. This event is FREE and open to the public. Sign up on Facebook!
    *Please note, a photo ID is required to enter City Hall. RTA's FREE trolley stops in front of City Hall. Parking is available at Willard Garage at regular rates. Questions? Contact Michelle Harvanek: mharvanek@city.cleveland.oh.us or 216-664-2455.


    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!)

    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