Week 7, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
July 22, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Friendly reminder
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
First farm tour of the season!
Laura Novak's column
Grass, Soil, Hope
Growing Up On a Farm Keeps Us Healthy
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land." 
Abraham Lincoln 











Welcome to Week 7 of the Geauga Family Farms summer CSA season!


One of our favorite things to do is to get together with friends while sharing great food. It's so much fun to do during the summer season as we make a point of incorporating items from the weekly CSA offerings to help introduce others to the delicious benefits of purchasing locally grown produce. 


We frequently try to include new or unusual preparations to help expand options for how to use that produce, and it invariably starts conversations about where the produce came from. Whether it's a chocolate beet cake or a simple platter of kohlrabi sticks with creamy pesto dip (see below for recipe.), it starts with the question "Did this come from your CSA?" and usually turns into a lively discussion about favorite Ohio products. It's an easy way to start a conversation about the importance of local farms.


We hope you are able to take an opportunity to get together with new friends while sharing great food at tonight's farm tour. There is still time to reserve a spot for a tour of Noah and Kathy Yutzy's farm, and we're including a reprint of an article about the Yutzy family from our 2010 newsletter, so you can get to know a little bit about them. 


See below for more details, a link to our reservation site and an interactive map. We'll walk the fields, share ideas, learn about this year's crops and enjoy snacks in the barn at the end of the evening. Bring a picnic to eat on the way, take a beautiful drive through the country and let the cares of the world disappear for just a little bit.


We look forward to seeing you tonight!




~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms


Pick-up reminder

This is a friendly reminder that your shares will be delivered to your pick-up site at the same time each week. Please pick up your produce within the designated pick-up time; your share will not be kept beyond that time. Our site managers have generously offered space and are volunteering their time to provide convenient spots to pick up your produce. It is unfair to expect them to hold onto your food for an extended length of time.


We cannot change pick-up locations to accommodate your schedule. This causes too much confusion for our warehouse team, our delivery team and our site managers. If you are unable to pick up your share on a given day, you are always welcome to send a friend or relative to pick it up for you. Often our site hosts set aside space for pick-up that has other uses the rest of the week. Please be respectful of this.


In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as lettuce (red leaf, green leaf or Romaine), kale (Winterbore, Lacinato, Red Russian), Swiss chard, dill, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, sweet onions, cucumbers, pickling cukes, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, cherry or grape tomatoes, fingerling or small. young potatoes, blueberries, garlic, and possibly the first sweet corn of the season!


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. 


Bulk vegetables

We have several veggies available for bulk purchase. 

Cucumbers - $30 (approximately 24 large cucumbers - exact number will vary based on size) 

Yellow squash - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)

Zucchini - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)

Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint

You can find them in our farm store, here.

First farm tour of the season is today!

Please join us at the farm of Noah and Kathy Yutzy TODAY, July 22 from 6 - 8 p.m. We will tour the fields and wrap up the evening with refreshments and conversation in the barn. There is no need to arrive right at 6. Please feel free to join us whenever you are able.


The farm is located at 17050 Nash Road in Middlefield. You can access an interactive map for directions here. Please dress appropriately for walking through uneven and/or muddy fields. You may also want to bring bug repellent.


We would love to have a sense of how many to expect. If you think you will be able to participate, please reserve spots in our farm store, here. There is no charge.


Get to know a little bit about the Yutzys before coming to the farm tour tonight.


Farming a family affair for the Yutzys

GFF farmer Noah Yutzy farms 35 acres of his 88-acre farm in Parkman Township. That sounds like a lot of ground to cover for one man, but he doesn't do it alone.


Noah's wife Kathy and their nine children all help Noah with everything from planting to picking. He says it gives the children a sense of worth. "Everybody helps," Noah said. "Even our youngest loves to ride along on the wagon and watch the action and holler 'Whoa' and 'Giddy up.' The younger kids can also help put beans in the bag, put cherry tomatoes in the basket. They're always in competition to see who can pick the most."


He says while they all have a good time, it's not all fun and games. "Sometimes it's 90 degrees, sometimes it's raining, and it still needs to be picked and brought in, with mud up to your knees. You need to be dedicated," he said.


Noah's father bought the farm in 1988 and ran it as a dairy farm until 1993. Now, in addition to the 35 acres used to grow produce, the farm also includes five acres of maple trees and more than 30 acres of pasture and woods. About 15 acres are in rotation at any given moment, changing year to year from sweet corn, row crops, hay, oats and corn for the horses.


Speaking of horses, the large Yutzy family shares their land with a menagerie of animals in addition to horses, including goats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, a miniature donkey and a barnyard full of cats.


Noah said the children have named all the animals, except for the goats and chickens. The goats are used for dairy, which the family has come to enjoy. Noah and Kathy started using it for their second child because he was allergic to regular milk.


"I like goat's milk better than cow's milk," Noah said. "You just have to get past the 'ick' factor, at least I did. It tastes like 2 percent milk from the store; it's very mild if it has been cooled properly and they haven't been eating too many weeds."


Noah says participating in the CSA concept is one of the best things that can happen to a family farmer.

"I hope it works that way for the customers," he said. "We always strive to resolve any issues and problems that crop up. We're very committed to making this work for our members, whatever we need to do."


From his perspective, he likes the CSA model because as a farmer he knows his product is being sold. "You don't need to hunt for a market while you're so busy trying to farm. And unlike an auction, we're not getting below-wholesale pricing," he says.


Noah says the hardest part is trying to get things planted on time so they are able to harvest on time, but the weather doesn't always cooperate. "If it's raining and you can't lay plastic then the plants sit in the greenhouse and they get extra long and they fall over," Noah said. "That's our toughest part."


Noah likes the other benefits of farming in general. "You're at home with the family," he said.


Noah isn't the only one who likes farming. Kathy Yutzy says she thinks it has brought the family closer. "Before I had to try and keep four boys busy," Kathy said with a laugh. "I like it better not having to get up in the morning and pack Noah's lunch. I like him being home every day."


When he isn't farming or sugaring, Noah is a carpenter, working with his dad in the off-months framing homes, remodeling bathrooms and kitchens, and roofing. "We do everything from the footers to the shingles," he said.


But Noah isn't all work and no play. "In the summer, we usually try to take the children on a trip to the zoo or and a fishing trip," he said. "A fun day is Rollerblading at the park - the boys really love that. To relax they like to take their ponies out back and ride around. And they love to play basketball. Once the produce shop is empty, that's where they play. We have a hoop and a court in there on concrete."


During the winter, the Yutzys play games in the house, and read. "Most of the kids are book worms," Noah said fondly. "There's nothing they love more than a couple hours alone to read a good book. Nothing more relaxing. I actually can't sleep unless I read for about 30 minutes. I think it relaxes your brain."


Noah likes to read publications like "Truck Patch News," a monthly paper put out for produce growers; the "Small Farmers Journal," a quarterly publication; "The Acres USA," which mostly focuses on organics; and one called "Bee Culture." Another favorite of Noah's is "The Plain Interest," written mostly by Amish people.


"It's full of short stories of everyday happenings in people's lives," Noah said. "I don't dare get involved with a thick book. Not in the summer. It might be 1 'o clock before I get to sleep. During the winter I can read about two thick books a week."


The work of a farmer's wife is endless as well, but Kathy takes it all in stride and always has a ready smile.

"She just got done helping us pack the produce this morning and is now school shopping for the kids," Noah said. "We canned 400 quarts of tomato pulp this week and we'll do more."


Kathy also cans cinnamon pickles, a favorite family delicacy, and is canning a few quarts of beans at a time as they come in. She wants to can peppers as well.


Noah mentioned some items fall CSA members can expect late this fall. "There will be produce left over from what we've planted that will flow over into the fall shares - tomatoes and peppers for a while, until the frost," he said. "Potatoes, beets, onions, some herbs..."


Noah never seems anxious for the season to end. "We really love the CSA concept," he says.


Kathy says she appreciates the members of the CSA. "I hope they are having as much fun getting their boxes as we are growing the produce and sending it out to them," she said. 


We hope you'll join us for this first farm visit of the year today from 6 - 8 p.m. at Parkman Produce, the Yutzy's farm at 17050 Nash Road in Parkman Township.



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: Romaine Lettuce and Cucumber Salad

2 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch cubes)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large romaine lettuce heart, cut into bite-size pieces

1 small seedless cucumber, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let the croutons cool.


In a large bowl, whisk the mustard with the balsamic vinegar. Gradually whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the romaine, cucumber and croutons, toss well and serve.


Make Ahead: The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Recipe from Food & Wine - September 2009

Asian Lettuce Wraps

This is a household favorite - the kids asked for it again the following night! 

~ Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris

16 large lettuce leaves

1 pound grass-fed ground beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

Half of a large onion, chopped

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)

½ cup kohlrabi, finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside. 


In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently.


Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. 


Stir in chopped kohlrabi, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. 


To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!

Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Castro on Allrecipes.com

Fudgy Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

(Vegan and gluten-free)

Yields: an 8-inch 2-layer cake with about 1.5 cups of frosting

For the cake:

2 medium beets

2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp cream of tartar

1.5 cups raw turbinado sugar (or substitute cane sugar)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1.5 cups oat flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of kosher salt

For the frosting:

2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

few pinches kosher salt

2 Tbsp strong brewed coffee (optional)

To roast the beets:

Preheat oven to 400. Chop the stems off your beets, as well as the tips if they are long. Scrub clean. Wrap in foil and roast until a fork slides easily to the center of the beet, 60-75 minutes. Remove, unwrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle.


Once cooled, peel the beets by pushing the skins off with the back of a knife. They should slide off easily. Cut the beets into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary. You may have to add a bit of water to encourage the beets to puree. Scoop out 1 cup of puree for this recipe - the rest is leftover.


To make the cake:

Lower oven temp to 350. Coat two 8-inch cake pans (or 1 9-inch cake pan)* with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper (trace the bottom of the tin onto parchment paper and cut out so it just fits in the bottom) and spray again. Set aside.


Whisk together almond milk and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Let sit about 5 minutes to curdle.


Add 1 cup of beet puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer), beat until foamy. (This is important so that the coconut oil does not separate and solidify.)


Sift in remaining dry ingredients. Beat again to incorporate.


Divide between the cake pans. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 30-35 minutes.


Remove and cool completely in the pans on wire racks. Then, if time allows, transfer pans to the fridge to cool further. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan before inverting the cake and peeling off the parchment paper. (Be sure you allow the cakes to cool completely before removing, or they will not hold together!)


To make the frosting:

Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and puree again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.


To assemble the cake:

Place the first layer on your cake stand or serving plate. If the top is uneven, carefully even it off with a knife. Smooth on about half of the frosting, and top with the second cake layer. Smooth on remaining frosting and add any decorations you like! (If you made 1 9-inch layer, you will have enough frosting to coat the sides, if you want.)


Refrigerate before serving. The cake can be served immediately, but I like it best after being refrigerated overnight. Enjoy!


Notes: *If you don't have 8-inch cake pans, bake a single-layer cake in a 9-inch pan. 

Cake adapted from Minimalist Baker


Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake

Servings 8-10

This cake is not overly sweet, which is good for those of you looking for more of a snack cake, rather than a towering, frosted dessert. Although the original recipe calls for chocolate that is 70 percent cacao solids, you can use one that is in the 50-60 percent range, depending on what's available in your area. For those of you who can't get crème fraîche, I suspect mascarpone would be interesting, or perhaps just sour cream. Or maybe just a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.

8 ounces beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (70% cacao solids), chopped

1/4 cup hot espresso (or water)

7 ounces butter, at room temperature, cubed

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (the darkest you can find, natural or Dutch-process)

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 cup superfine sugar

Butter an 8- or 8 1/2 inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Boil the beets in salted water with the lid askew until they're very tender when you stick a knife in them about 45 minutes. Drain then rinse the beets with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut the beets into chunks, and grind them in a food processor until you get a coarse, yet cohesive, puree. (If you don't have a food processor, use a cheese grater.)


Preheat the oven to 350º.


In a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible.

Once it's nearly all melted, turn off the heat (but leave the bowl over the warm water), pour in the hot espresso and stir it once. Then add the butter. Press the butter pieces into the chocolate and allow them to soften without stirring.


Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a separate bowl.


Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then stir the egg yolks together and briskly stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the beets.

In a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold the sugar into the whipped egg whites with a spatula, then fold them into the melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.


Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and reduce the heat of the oven to 325º, and bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are just set but the center is still is just a bit wobbly. Do not over-bake.

Let cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan.

Serving and storage: This cake tastes better the second day; spread with crème fraîche and sprinkle with poppy seeds shortly before serving. Or serve them alongside.

Adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater


Here is the recipe mentioned in the letter for the creamy pesto dip - it's perfect for dipping kohlrabi sticks.

Creamy Basil Pesto Dip

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Garnish: fresh basil sprig

Heat pine nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted.

Process pine nuts and next 7 ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream. Transfer to serving bowl.

Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Serve with fresh vegetables or crispy bread sticks. Garnish, if desired.

Adapted from a recipe by Devon Delaney, Southern Living March 2006


Coleslaw five ways

Cabbage has started to arrive in shares. We thought we would include a great posting from Serious Eats that includes five tasty variations on coleslaw. Just follow this link.


'All Natural' Goodness?

By Laura J. Novak

Believe it or not, I don't always and only eat vegetables and perfect, organic, whole foods. Sometimes I get that frantic junk-food craving, where I hunt the house for French fries, chicken nuggets, and kettle-cooked potato chips, cursing myself for throwing away the darn Doritos in a moment of puritanical health piety. These are the days when the puff pastry rolls in the freezer don't stand a chance, stuffed with anything from meat to Nutella and jam.


Now I try to be prepared for these days with organic snacks and "healthier junk food." At first, I started leaning toward the products labeled "All Natural." They had pretty leaves and berries on the box and pictures of farms! They looked so wholesome and so pure! But are they?


Unfortunately, I learned that they are not. Neither the USDA nor the FDA has rules or regulations for products labeled "natural." Did you know that the FDA considers high-fructose corn syrup "natural" flavoring? MSG, Aspartame and bugs are also considered "natural flavors" and "natural colors." You don't even want to know about Castoreum which is too disgusting to write about or Carageenan, which has been linked to inflammation, all considered "natural flavors."


To quote Michael Pollan again, my favorite "liberal foodie intellectual," as the New York Times bills him, "Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."


Bottom line: Read the ingredients. And do not settle for "natural" flavors or colors. It could be nearly anything!


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. 


Grass, Soil, Hope

You may have already heard of the book, "Grass, Soil, Hope" by Courtney White, with an introduction by Michael Pollan. The link below will take you to the text of Pollan's intro. 

This book points out another great reason to support grass farmers and their meat products: grass farming puts atmospheric carbon into the soil, enriching the soil and the microbial community, giving us more nutritious food and more plentiful harvests.


Organic vegetable farming also supports carbon sequestration into the soil, since Roundup and other herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers upset or destroy the soil's biotic community, leaving it lifeless. None of those good things mentioned in the book can happen where there is no life in the soil. Many organic farmers use a grass-type cover crop, like winter rye.

I'll bet our own backyards would act as carbon-catchers if we wouldn't use chemicals to try and grow a monoculture swath of green -- more reason to love our white clover, violets, even the dandelions.

I'm always on the lookout for a bright ray of hope!

Kathleen Webb

GFF Farm Rep

Click here to read the book's intro by Michael Pollan.


Growing Up On A Farm Keeps Us Healthy

By Shweta Iyer

For Medical Daily

Our obsession with hygiene and sterility has caused us to lose touch with many bacteria that normally help our immune systems develop resistance to disease-causing bacteria. Now, another study confirms this notion, asserting that it is the reason some people develop inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. But specifically, it found that people who grow up on farms with livestock, as opposed to an urban setting, are 50 percent less likely to develop these diseases. 


"It is extremely exciting that we can now see that not only allergic diseases, but also more classic inflammatory diseases appear to depend on the environment we are exposed to early in our lives," said Vivi Schlünssen, associate professor of public health at Aarhus University, in a press release. The study was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.


Read the rest of the article here.


Local food and farm-related events/activities


GreenSmoothieGirl smoothie class

Wednesday, July 23

6 - 7:30 p.m.  

Heinen's Bainbridge

8482 E. Washington St., Bainbridge

This is a free class that marries green smoothies and essential oils, taught by Roseann Zaft and Jennifer Cabic of GreenSmoothieGirl. Learn how to make smoothies for specific health concerns and taste various samples of three different smoothies: Basic, Blueberry Superfood and  Chocolate Peppermint Bliss Smoothie. Also, learn how to use essential oils and other strategies to help you achieve optimal health! To register, click here.    

For more information, contact Carol at 440-543-5166.


Dinner in the Valley: Blueberry Abundance

Wednesday, July 30 

6 p.m. 

Greenfield Berry Farm

The barn at the Greenfield Berry Farm is the backdrop for this midsummer feast brought to you by the Countryside Conservancy. Come enjoy flank steak with a blueberry glaze, blueberry lemonade and the first tomatoes of the season! Each month, the Dinner in the Valley series features a gourmet meal at one of the beautiful, historical spaces in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For more information, or to make a reservation, 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.


GMO food labeling law pressure mounts

Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: A Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing

New farmers cultivate a greener future

International Year of Family Farming

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 3-9

Extension, 4-H receive recognition



(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