Week 3, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
June 24, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Everything for your table
Sign up now for 15-week program
Share size increase
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies available - cucumbers
Member Laura Novak's column
Local events
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
     ~ Gertrude Jekyll







    Everything for your table 


    Welcome to Week 3 of our summer community supported agriculture program.


    We've been hearing a lot lately from people who have seen movies about the problems with our current food systems and are terrified and/or disgusted by what they have seen. They let us know how thankful they are for Geauga Family Farms and our commitment to growing healthy food. We hope all of you understand your role in creating a healthier food system. Without your commitment to purchasing local organic food, we would not have as much of a reason to plant our fields with all of that organic goodness. Your demand makes our supply possible. The more we can raise awareness with our friends, families and colleagues, the better chance we have of making healthier food available for everyone.


    Healthier beef has also been on many peoples' minds. We are working on getting a new supply of grass-fed beef in for our farm store, but this is a time of year when most cows are still too small. Like produce, there is a season for beef, and it doesn't necessarily overlap very well. It is very expensive to keep cows through the winter in Ohio, so to keep beef prices lower most farms get their new cows in the spring when grass is available for the cows to eat. That timing means that most cows are not ready until the early fall. Don't worry, though. We have found some beef that should be available in the next week or so, and are confirming the delivery details. Once we have this confirmed, we will open up spots in the farm store for ground beef and stew meat. We will also have a great selection of steaks and roasts available at Geauga Farms Country Meats.   


    If you are looking for healthy options for your table, know that you can count on Geauga Family Farms!




    ~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms


    15-week shares now available!

    We finally have things up and running for our 15-week shares. Pick-ups for these shares will start the third week of July. A limited number of shares are available, and some of our sites are already at capacity. Click here for additional information.


    Share size increase

    If you are interested in increasing your share size, these changes can also occur at the 15-week point. Please let us know and we can assist you with that process.


    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. 


    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.


    Pickling Recipe

    This is a really simple recipe that can be used for pickling a wide range of vegetables. I have used it for cucumbers, kohlrabi slices, radishes, summer squash, peppers and beans. ~ Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris


    Refrigerator Pickles

    3 to 4 pounds pickling cucumbers

    20 fresh dill sprigs

    1 large onion, thinly sliced

    3 garlic cloves, sliced

    16 peppercorns

    2 cups water

    2 cups white vinegar

    1/4 cup canning salt

    Cut each cucumber lengthwise into four spears. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, dill, onions, garlic and peppercorns; pack into clean canning jars. In a nonreactive pot, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir just until salt is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture into jars, leaving approximately ½ of space at the top; cool slightly.

    Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Yield: approximately 48 pickle spears.
    Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe



    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.


    In case you haven't figured out what to do with your rhubarb from last week's share, here is a recipe reported as "surprisingly good" by member Jessica Dalheim. 

    Rhubarb Salsa 
    2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb 
    1 small red onion
    1 large green bell pepper
    1 large red bell pepper
    1 large yellow bell pepper
    1 jalapeño pepper (seeded)
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro
    3 Roma (or whatever type comes in your share) tomatoes
    2 tsp. brown sugar
    5 tbsp. lime juice
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Stir rhubarb into a large pot of boiling water and cook for 10 seconds. Quickly drain and rinse rhubarb with cold water. Transfer to large bowl. Chop onion, peppers, cilantro and tomatoes. Transfer to large bowl. Dissolve brown sugar in lime juice in a separate bowl. Pour into large bowl and stir gently. Refrigerate at least 3 hours to blend flavors. 

    Recipe from AllRecipes.com


    Salad of the Week: Grilled Romaine Hearts with Caesar Dressing

    Serves 4 or more, depending on the size of the Romaine hearts

    "This is our favorite salad for family gatherings, grilled or tossed. The dressing also makes a flavorful dip for cut-up veggies. Be careful how much garlic you use; people, and vampires, may steer clear of you for a day or two after you eat this dressing!" ~ Laura Dobson

    1-3 cloves of garlic

    *1 raw GFF egg

    1 tsp. salt

    1 tsp. freshly grated pepper

    1 tsp. sugar

    1-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

    ¾ cup olive oil

    Homemade, or store-bought, croutons

    Olive oil spray

    2 hearts of Romaine lettuce

    In a food processor, chop garlic. Add egg, pulse. Add next five ingredients, blend. Add olive oil slowly, drizzling it into the food processor as it's running. Continue to blend until the dressing thickens.

    Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Oil the surface of the grill. Remove any wilted outer leaves. Cut them in half lengthwise, leaving the end intact so each half holds together. Spray them lightly all over with the olive oil spray.

    Grill until grill marks or charring appears and the lettuce wilts slightly, about six minutes, turning once or twice. Serve swiped with a generous helping of the dressing and sprinkled with extra grated cheese.

    *I recommend using only GFF, not store-bought, eggs for this. If you are worried about using a raw egg, substitute one tablespoon of mayonnaise. I have never had a problem and I have made this recipe hundreds of times.


    Kale and White Bean Soup

    Serves 6-8

    1-2 teaspoons olive oil

    1 medium onion, chopped

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    2-3 stalks celery, chopped

    2 carrots, chopped

    4 cups water

    4 cups vegetable broth

    1-2 medium potatoes or 1 sweet potato (peeled and chopped)

    Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans

    One large bunch kale, stem removed and chopped

    1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so. Add water and broth to pot.

    Add the potatoes and cook over medium low heat until they begin to soften - about 20-30 minutes. Add the beans and kale and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

    Recipe by Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris


    Steamed Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

    Serves 6

    "Garlicky roasted tomatoes combine with fresh steamed green beans for a side dish that tastes like summer."

    4 cups tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

    1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

    2 teaspoons sea salt

    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix tomatoes, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl; spread into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Roast tomatoes in the preheated oven until they are lightly flecked with brown spots and the garlic cloves are tender, about 45 minutes; remove from oven after 20 minutes and mash lightly with a spatula. 

    About 5 minutes before tomatoes are done, place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add green beans, cover and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Place steamed green beans into a serving dish and combine with roasted tomatoes to serve.

    Recipe from Allrecipes.com


    Gazpacho a la Mrs. Landesman

    Serves 10

    "I often find that most gazpacho is a little too acidic or that I only want a couple of

    spoonsful. This recipe (which I got from my friend's mother) is AWESOME. It's not too acidic at all and is so wonderfully light and healthy."

    3 cloves garlic, crushed

    1 onion, coarsely chopped

    1 cucumber, sliced

    1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

    5 tomatoes, peeled and quartered

    1/4 cup olive oil

    1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

    1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

    Salt and pepper to taste

    1 teaspoon paprika

    1 12-ounce can tomato juice

    In the container of a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and blend to your desired texture. Stir in the tomato sauce and paprika and transfer to a bowl or container. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.

    Recipe from Allrecipes.com


    You have excellent taste

    By Laura J. Novak


    "To shop at a farmers' market or sign up with a CSA is to join a short food chain and that has several implications for your health. Local produce is typically picked ripe and is fresher than supermarket produce, and for those reasons it should be tastier and more nutritious."

    ~ Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto


    Can you taste the difference? I know I can, especially after a winter of buying produce from the grocery stores, even organic. If you think about it, our food is traveling a much shorter distance, allowing it to retain more nutrients and to stay fresher. The local farmers are our neighbors, not a big farm in another country. I find these things very refreshing. And delicious!


    This week, I found green onions, broccoli and bok choy and immediately thought "Stir fry!" I cleaned the bok choy and cut it into thin strips, fried it up with diced green onions, broccoli, garlic, some soy sauce, fresh minced ginger, honey and a little rice vinegar. This is great with your favorite rice and perhaps some chicken.


    Kale chips are also delicious. There was an excellent recipe in last week's newsletter, but basically you just sprinkle them with olive oil and salt, then bake at about 375 degrees until they are brown and crispy, but not burnt - about 10 minutes.


    As it continues, this column will serve to guide you through what to do with those mystery veggies and to share some information on why your decision to join the CSA is not only important for your health, but helps support the local economy, and even improves the health of our nation. Each one of us is making a difference in the world simply by our choice of where we get our veggies. As a member of the Geauga Family Farms CSA, you have made an excellent choice. 


    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. 


    Area events


    2014 Annual Parade of Ponds

    Thinking about a pond? Expanding a pond? Want to learn about ponds? The annual Parade of Ponds is a self-guided tour for people to see ornamental ponds, water features, waterfalls and landscapes. 

    Several homeowners in Lake County will open their landscaped yards to share their water gardening projects. The tour is set up to give the landscape enthusiast ideas for current and future projects, or just for the appreciation of water gardening.

    You will have a chance to see many relaxing atmospheres coordinated within homeowners landscapes, such as custom built waterfalls and streams, schools of colorful fish, hardy native water plants, exotic tropical plants, pond-less features and all the surrounding landscapes. 

    You will have a chance to see and learn why water gardening has been America's #1 growing landscape trend for more than five years.

    Date: July 19

    Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    Location: American Home & Energy Products, 1270 Mentor Ave., Painesville

    Contact: Call 440-358-5858 to RSVP, then stop anytime during the day and pick up a map and description handout of the various ponds. Maps and tours are free.


    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.


    Dutch farmers just say no to antibiotics for livestock

     In The Making Of Megafarms, A Few Winners And Many Losers

    Can You Call Yourself An Environmentalist And Still Eat Meat?

    School Lunch Debate: What's At Stake?

    Boardman High School takes top honors at envirothon


    (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