Week 5, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
July 8, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
NOTICE: Business hours
First farm tour of the season!
Laura Novak's column - Why Organic?
Middle ground between organic and conventional?
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
Follow us on Twitter  Find us on Facebook

"Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature's pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end." 
Eliot ColemanThe New Organic Grower: 

A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener  





Welcome to week 5 of the 2014 summer CSA season!


Stormy weather always makes me think about the farm families of the CSA (and farmers everywhere) who spend their days encountering such a wide range of challenges and hardships, but continuing to do what they do because they are committed to feeding their communities. Whether it's pests, crop diseases, too few pollinators, too much rain, too little rain, increasingly stringent regulations on small family farms or simply the act of going out in a downpour to harvest the weekly produce, these resilient people carry on. They look for the best solution and keep moving forward. It's an example I try to keep in mind whenever challenges arise, and I'm thankful for their perseverance.


There are a few opportunities on the horizon to talk to our farm families about what they do, and we hope you are able to join us for one or more:


During the next several weeks, several of our farmers will be visiting our pick-up sites to talk with members. We will be posting a schedule of locations soon, and hope that you take this opportunity to ask questions about farming, the CSA program, upcoming crops, etc.  


Our first farm tour of the season is scheduled for Tuesday evening, July 22 at the farm of Noah and Kathy Yutzy. Please see below for additional information. This is a wonderful way to see your food growing in the fields, learn about the techniques our farmers use to produce certified-organic crops and meet other members of this amazing CSA community. Additional tours will take place on the second Saturdays in August and September. We hope you can join us for at least one farm tour this season.


It's been heartening to hear from so many of our members already this season, thanking everyone involved in the CSA program for what we do. We consider it to be important and rewarding work, and we're so glad you agree.




~ 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 lettuce (red leaf, green leaf or Romaine), kale (Winterbore, Lacinato, Red Russian), Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans, cucumbers and pickling cukes, sweet onions, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, dill, yellow squash and zucchini.


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 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.


NOTICE: Business hours

Please call our farm representatives Michelle, Laura and Kathleen during the regular business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ONLY. These are their personal cell phones and/or home phone numbers so please respect their personal time. Thanks!


First farm tour of the season!

Please join us at the farm of Noah and Kathy Yutzy Tuesday, 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.



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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.


Salad of the Week: Nicoise-Style Tossed Salad 

Based on a traditional French Salade Nicoise, this is a summer staple in our home as a complete dinner salad, and a great way to use a range of CSA vegetables. ~ Michelle



2 T cider vinegar

2 t. Dijon mustard

1 t. honey

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together first four ingredients until well combined. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until dressing takes on a creamy appearance. Add salt and pepper to taste.



6 cups fresh lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 cup green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces, blanched and cooled

2 cups of small new potatoes, steamed until soft and cooled

½ cup finely sliced onion

4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 can of water-packed chunk light tuna, drained

½ cup nicoise olives (available at most olive bars)

This salad can be arranged on plates and drizzled with dressing for a more formal presentation, or the ingredients can be tossed together with the dressing in a large bowl. Serve with crusty bread and fresh fruit for a light summer dinner.

Recipe from Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris



Beets can seem daunting to some - their deep color, rich flavor and creepy canned, pickled versions that many of us tried and hated as kids prevent beets from becoming a welcome staple for many. We are including a few new recipes to help you rethink beets.


Our first recommendation? Try them raw. Grate them over your next salad. Peel them, slice them and throw them on a veggie plate. They make a beautiful addition, and their earthy flavor is fresh and delicious this way. A dip made with labne (a Middle Eastern yogurt) drizzled with good olive oil is absolutely heavenly.


Here are a few more ideas.


Breakfast Zinger Juice

"This is a delicious, cleansing juice uses lemons, beets, carrots, and apples. It is a great way to kick start your day, while getting necessary vitamins."

2 lemons - peeled, seeded, and quartered

2 carrots, chopped

2 apples, quartered

2 beets, trimmed and chopped

Press lemons, carrots, apples, and beets through a juicer and into a large glass.

From AllRecipes.com


Creamy Beet with Dill Soup

Serves 8

"Toasted caraway seeds and fresh dill perfectly accent this Eastern European inspired soup. Garnish with chopped hard-cooked egg."

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds raw beets, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, cut into large dice

1 tablespoon butter

1 pinch sugar

3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced

1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds*

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups chicken broth, homemade or from a carton or can

2 tablespoons fresh dill

1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Garnish: chopped hard-cooked egg

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep saute pan until shimmering. Add beets, then onion; saute, stirring very little at first, then more frequently, until squash start to turn golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar and garlic; continue cooking until all vegetables are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer. Add caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; continue to saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Add broth; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until beets are tender, about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree (adding fresh dill) until very smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If using a traditional blender, vent it either by removing the lid's pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid. Drape the blender canister with a kitchen towel. To 'clean' the canister, pour in a little half-and-half, blend briefly, then add to the soup.)

Return to pan (or a soup pot); add enough half-and-half so the mixture is souplike, yet thick enough to float garnish. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Heat through, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.

Recipe from AllRecipes.com


Beetroot Hummus

Serves 8

"Classic humus made with chickpeas, onion, tahini, garlic, lemon, cumin and olive oil, but this humus is flavored and colored with beets!"

8 ounces chickpeas

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound beets

1/2 cup tahini

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, cover chickpeas with cold water and soak overnight. Drain chickpeas and place in a large heavy saucepan; add onion, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 1 hour, or until chickpeas are very soft. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cover beets with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until tender; drain and allow beets to cool before removing the skins and chopping.

Puree beets in a food processor; add the chickpeas and onions, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. Process until smooth. Slowly, while the machine is running, pour in the reserved cooking liquid and olive oil. Continue to process until mixture is thoroughly combined. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Recipe from AllRecipes.com



We're getting lots of questions about additional uses for kohlrabi. Hopefully you have had an opportunity to try the steamed, roasted and pickled options provided in previous e-mails. Here's an additional option we can't wait to try: From the blog - lizzy in the kitchen, follow this link for Baked Kohlrabi Fries, 2 Ways


Why organic?

By Laura J. Novak

My darling husband has been reading my occasional ramblings and listening when I sing of the beauty of the organic, local veggies while throwing things around in the kitchen like a wild, inspired chef (or kindergartener). 


Checking in on the "training" over the last couple of years, I asked him, "Honey, why do you buy organic at the grocery store?" Expectantly waiting for what I knew would be a dazzling, inspiring reply to motivate new CSA'ers to jump up and pump their fists victoriously in pride, I was a bit surprised when he answered, "Because if I don't you'll yell at me."


Why am I so passionate about organic, non-GMO food? Well, for one thing I was frightened by the pictures of farmers harvesting strawberries in space suits to protect them from the heavy pesticides, then the next picture of a small child biting into that same, juicy strawberry.


Three years ago, I first met Michelle and some farmers of the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  Someone asked, "Why did you decide to farm organic?" and a farmer replied that he saw other farmers in the area using pesticides, then those farmers and their families got sick. He chose to keep his family safe, as well as the families buying his produce. That, too, stuck with me.


Here's a thought to chew on: 
"Until a hundred years ago, all food was organic...We've been on this planet for about 200,000 years. Until about 70 years ago, all we ever had to eat was organic food. Now, in a few short generations, we've gone from having organic, whole foods as the norm to chemically laden, genetically modified edible food-like substances as the norm. What would have been abnormal for almost all of human history is suddenlynormal?Suddenlyhealthierthan what has sustained us for millennia?"
- Kristen Michaelis, Beautiful Babies

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. 


Is there middle ground between organic and conventional?

By Tamar Haspel

Special to The Washington Post

July 2, 2014 

Organic regulations don't seem as incendiary as those for, say, gun control, but police had to be called to the last meeting of the National Organic Standards Board when it was interrupted by protesters representing one side of a very acrimonious debate.

At the heart of it is the use of synthetic substances in organic agriculture. Currently, some synthetics are allowed, and they automatically come up for review every five years.

The protest was over a rule change that would have made it more difficult to remove those items from the list. It might seem arcane, but the fact that handcuffs were involved gives a clue to its seriousness.

Read the rest of the article here.


Local food and farm-related events/activities


GardenWalk Cleveland 

Saturday, July 12 & Sunday, July 13

11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Various Cleveland neighborhoods

GardenWalk Cleveland is a free, self-guided tour of gardens, urban farms, vineyards and orchards in several neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland. The mission is to nurture community, beautify neighborhoods and encourage civic pride throughout the city of Cleveland. Find more info here or pick up a map at Dave's Markets or Petitti's Garden Center locations.

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.


This Pocket-Sized Sensor Will Tell You When Fruit Is Ripe

At the Pig Hotel, You Can Check Out But You'll Never Want to Leave

Unique urban farms around the world

A Better Plate: Dan Barber Wants to Change the Way We Eat

Countryside Conservancy farm changes hands

The Insane Reason We Waste $162 Billion on Food 

Organic marketing agreement reached with Korea


(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