|Week 4, Summer 2014 Geauga County, Ohio||July 1, 2014|
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"Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery."
~ Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table:
Writings on Farming and Food
A new pattern to our lives
This is one of our favorite times of summer. The fields are looking full and lush, and the produce coming from them is beautiful. After the hectic nature of the kick-off weeks of the season, it's nice to start settling in to our summer patterns of tending crops, harvesting, preparing and sending the delicious vegetables off to our members.
We hope you are settling in to your weekly CSA schedule as well. It can be an adjustment to plan meals, shopping trips, etc. around your pick-up day. We've found certain patterns over the years to help with making the most out of shares each week:
1. If you can't work with your produce right away, try to get the majority of it into the refrigerator. Tomatoes should stay out on the counter. Herbs should go in a glass of cold water on the counter (some can go in the refrigerator, but basil often gets black spots there).
2. When you are ready to work with your share, set everything out on the counter and decide how you would like to use the items during the next week.
3. Fill your sink halfway with cold water. Start with the lettuce and process the way we described in our first newsletter (rinse, spin dry, place between two paper towels inside large plastic zip bags). Follow the same process with any other greens. These will be crisp and ready for your recipes throughout the week.
4. Take a few minutes to chop anything like cucumbers and radishes for easy snacking. Place these in small containers in the refrigerator. Try adding some to your pickle jar, and enjoy the lightly pickled vegetables that result.
5. If there is anything you know you won't use during the week, get it into the freezer for later use in soups and casseroles. A simple blanching process works well with peppers, green beans and squash. Once blanched and cooled, place items in clearly labeled freezer containers and freeze.
We understand that participating in a CSA represents a different way of thinking about food and we applaud your desire to make your meals more meaningful. We're here to help out along the way and to thank you for joining us on this annual adventure. Here's to new summer patterns!
~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
15-week shares and upgrades
We have a limited number of 15-week shares remaining. These will begin the week of July 15 and continue through October. If you have purchased a 15-week share, we will send you a reminder e-mail with pick-up instructions a few days before your pick-ups begin. The deadline for signing up is Monday, July 7 at midnight.
If you would like to increase your share size, please let us know. Share size increases will also begin the week of July 15. The deadline for increasing your share size is Monday, July 7 at midnight as well.
CSA deliveries will occur at our Thursday and Saturday sites on July 3 and July 5 this week. Best wishes from all of us for a happy Fourth of July!
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as lettuce (butterhead, red leaf, green leaf or Romaine), kale (Winterbore, Lacinato, Red Russian), Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli, bunching onions, garlic scapes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, green beans and strawberries.
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.
Beef is now available again, and we have both ground beef and stew beef. Reminder: Beef cannot be delivered to Whole Foods, Mustard Seed or the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. The beef is delivered in labeled bags and placed in the freezers at the sites.You can find the beef in our farm store, here.
We have cucumbers available for bulk purchase. These are full-size (not pickling) cucumbers, but they would still make great pickles. A box of cucumbers is $30 - this is approximately 24 large cucumbers. The exact number may vary, depending on weight. You can find them in our farm store, 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
Salad of the Week: Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish
6 pickling cucumbers (cut in ½ inch dice)
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano (if desired)
Place cucumbers, olives and feta in a medium bowl. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and continue whisking until thickened. Toss salad and dressing together, and place in refrigerator to chill a bit before serving. Sprinkle with oregano if desired.
Recipe by Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
Creamy Mashed Kohlrabi
1 large kohlrabi (or 2-3 small, about 4 cups), cubed
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
1.5 Tbsp. sour cream
2 large green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Put a medium pot of water to boil. Peel and Cut Kohlrabi into small cubes. Add to pot of water. Lightly salt water and boil at least 15 minutes until Kohlrabi is fork tender. While the kohlrabi cooks, mince the green onions and garlic. Add garlic, green onions, sour cream, and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Leave the milk ready on the side. When the kohlrabi is fork tender drain it. Add well drained vegetable into the food processing bowl. Cover and process, adding milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Return puree to warm pan and heat through as needed.
Recipe from SparkPeople
Member Leah Tunningley said she customized this "awesome recipe by adding 3 chopped garlic scapes to the onion while sauteing, and used 6/7 (how ever many to equal 1 cup) of the small eggs from the shares. I also recommend using 1 cup of feta cheese and 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella. I hope others can enjoy this recipe!"
Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 bunch Swiss chard
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup skim milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry Swiss chard. Cut off the very ends of the stems. Roughly chop (leaving stems intact) the chard. Add onion and chard to the oil and sauté until stems are tender (do not overcook). Add salt & pepper to taste. Meanwhile, grate 2.5 cups of cheese. Use whatever varieties you want or have on hand. Be creative! Try Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan and Cojito. Whisk eggs. Add milk and cheese. Fold in the onion/chard mixture. Add salt & pepper to taste, if necessary.
Pour into a pie dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and no liquid seeps when you poke it with a knife.
Makes 12 servings
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Store, covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you like, garnish with additional fresh cilantro before serving.
Recipe from Midwest Living
Swiss Chard Pesto
A tasty Swiss chard pesto or salsa with jalapeños, cilantro, lime and pepitas or toasted hulled pumpkin seeds!
Makes 1 cup
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pepitas, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Puree everything in a food processor.
Recipe from Closet Cooking
Member Dale Luckwitz was surprised to find that kohlrabi and beet greens are edible. He writes, "I got my kohlrabi (a tough to spell veggie) and beets from GFF and discovered you can eat the greens. I never knew that, and even thought they might be toxic like rhubarb greens. Turns out they're fine for eating. Who knew? You probably did, but I bet a lot of people don't know."
Laura Novak's column will return next week. We wish her well on her trip to Utah.
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.
The Good Earth Guide
COLUMBUS - Ohio summers are a time to enjoy the bounty of fresh garden vegetables, ripe off the vine berries, farm fresh eggs, and orchard harvests bursting with juicy flavor. The Good Earth Guide to Organic and Ecological Farms, Gardens, and Related Businesses produced by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) can help bring these delicious tastes of summer to any kitchen.
The Good Earth Guide includes information on 450 farms and businesses, including 193 certified organic farms and businesses and more than 100 community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
"Since the first Good Earth Guidein 1990, the directory has grown from a list of a dozen or so to 450 farms and businesses, reflecting the tremendous growth in locally-sourced and sustainably-produced foods, fibers, products, and services," said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
The searchable online directory identifies sources for locally grown vegetables; fruits; herbs; honey; maple syrup; dairy products; grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb; free-range chicken and eggs; fiber; flour and grains; cut flowers; plants; hay and straw; seed and feed, and other local farm products.
"The Good Earth Guide gives consumers out there a one-stop shop to find not only vegetable growers, but people who are raising poultry and beef, and a whole range of products that are close to them and grown and raised organically," said certified organic farmer Jake Trethewey of Maplestar Farm in Geauga County.
Each listing includes name and contact information, products sold, a farm or business description, and whether the farm or business is certified organic. Many listings also include locations and maps for where the farm or business products are sold. The directory includes tools that make it easy to search the listings for a specific product, business or contact, by county, or by sales method.
"One of the other primary benefits of the Good Earth Guide is that it helps growers get together with other growers, finding out what worked for them, and passing on ideas, techniques, and products that work for you to other growers," Trethewey said.
That's the purpose of the Good Earth Guide, said Hunt-making connections. "Connecting consumers to local farms and businesses so that their dollars support the local community and sustainably grown food and farm products. Connecting farmers with one another so they can network and develop business relationships that support a successful farming community. And, connecting businesses with farmers who can supply local food for restaurants and other retailers," concluded Hunt.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PLEASE!)
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