Week 15, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 16, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Why organic?
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
Fall shares info coming soon
Turkey time
Laura Novak's column
First Freedom Fest
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
Follow us on Twitter  Find us on Facebook
  • "There is something deep within us that sobs at endings. 
  • Why does everything have to end? 
  • Why does all nature grow old? 

  • Why do spring and summer have to go?"

  • ~ Joe Wheeler








    Why organic?

    Welcome to week 15 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA program!


    Many of our members ask us about the difference between organic and conventional farming. "Isn't it just a matter of not spraying chemicals on our crops?," they ask. No, it's actually much more complicated than that, and we wanted to give you a small glimpse of what the choice to use organic farming methods means to small family farms.


    The costs for materials are different. Organic, non-GMO seeds cost twice as much as conventional seeds. That may not seem like much when you think about the seed packets you find in garden stores for $1.99. When you consider the fact that we purchase seeds for several thousand plants of each item you receive in your shares, it makes a tremendous difference.


    We use all-natural fertilizers and pest control methods. They may not represent a tremendous cost difference until you consider labor. Natural pest controls must be applied to every plant, every day at certain times during the season for them to be effective against a particular predator or disease. This is done by hand on our farms. In comparison, conventional farms are using pesticides that are injected directly into a plant, allowing it to create its own pesticides that will poison any bug that comes into contact. These are typically applied once during the life of the plant.


    We have made a commitment to guaranteeing our organic farming practices through certification. This costs approximately $1,400 per farm per year so that our customers can be assured that all of our farms are upholding rigorous organic standards. The time spent on record-keeping alone is significant, as we must record sources of seed and plants, planting details, natural fertilizer and pest-control applications, harvest dates, etc. 


    While this dedication to sustainable and healthy farming practices may not be important to everyone, it is truly important to us. We are not willing to sacrifice our families' and our communities' health by using less expensive, conventional farming practices. We've heard from so many of our members who appreciate the availability of fresh produce that they can trust, and we are happy to be here to provide it! 



    ~ 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 tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, corn, peaches, beets, watermelon, green beans, green and colored peppers, bok choy, Swiss chard, onions, garlic, carrots, radishes, eggplant, sweet banana peppers, jalapeƱos, Yummy Orange peppers, kale and Carmen Red peppers.

    NOTE: You will 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 still have some bulk items available for purchase.
    Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint
    Garlic -$10/pound  


    You can find them in our farm store, here.

    Fall shares update

    We wanted to let you know that we are still working out the details for the fall shares, and plan to have applications available soon.


    It's time to order Thanksgiving turkeys

    Our farmers are taking reservations for farm-raised Thanksgiving turkeys. These are Broad-Breasted White turkeys fed a non-GMO feed with organic minerals. The birds will average 18-25 pounds. The price is $3 per pound, dressed, and the turkeys will be available for pick-up from the farms on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Please contact Andy Miller at Miller's Organic Produce if you are interested in reserving a turkey. His phone number is 440-548-5697. 



    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 



    By Martha Rose Shulman

    Caponata is a sweet-and-sour Sicilian version of ratatouille. Because eggplant readily absorbs

    other flavors, it's particularly good in such a pungent dish. Caponata should be served at room

    temperature, but it's good cold and tastes even better if left overnight. Caponata makes a great

    topping for bruschetta.

    1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large), roasted

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 medium onion, chopped

    2 stalks celery, from the tender inner stalks, diced

    3 large garlic cloves, minced

    2 red bell peppers, diced

    Salt to taste

    1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably Romas, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 14-ounce can

    crushed tomatoes (in puree)

    3 heaped tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

    3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives

    2 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch

    3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar (more to taste)

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Roast the eggplant, then allow to cool. Chop coarsely.

    Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet, then add the onion and celery. Stir until the onion softens, about five minutes, and add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant, and add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until just tender, about eight minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, and stir together for another five minutes, until the vegetables are tender. The eggplant will fall apart, which is fine. Season to taste.

    Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for five to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar and vinegar. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet and fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.

    Recipe from the NYTimes


    Salad of the week: Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

    Serve this creamy salad dressing over a salad of farm-fresh lettuce, chopped peppers, thinly sliced sweet onions and fresh tomatoes.

    Makes about 1 cup

    1 teaspoon salt

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    3 tablespoons white vinegar

    3 tablespoons oil



    Combine salt and garlic in small bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour.

    Recipe from Southern Living


    Homemade Pizza Sauce

    This recipe for garden-fresh pizza sauce makes a batch large enough to top several pizzas. You can make it right now with fresh tomatoes, but if you have a bumper crop or just want to buy a lot of in-season tomatoes and put them up for another day, canning is not your only option: try freezing them. Just remove the cores and freeze them whole. Then, turn your frozen tomatoes into pizza sauce any time of the year.

    About 5 cups

    5 pounds cored whole tomatoes, fresh or frozen

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2 medium onions, chopped

    4 cloves garlic, minced

    3/4 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

    3/4 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

    3/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

    1 3/4 teaspoons salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

    2 tablespoons tomato paste

    If using fresh tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make a small X in the bottom of each tomato and plunge into the boiling water until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Peel with a paring knife, starting at the X. If using frozen tomatoes, run each under warm water and peel or rub the skin off. Thaw in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave until mostly thawed. Chop the tomatoes, reserving any juice.

    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (and any juice), basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar (if using). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened to the consistency of pizza sauce, about 2 hours. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or sugar.

    Transfer the sauce to a blender, add tomato paste and blend until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)

    Recipe from EatingWell.com


    Roasted Beet and Winter Squash Salad with Walnuts

    By Martha Rose Shulman

    The colors of the vegetables were the inspiration behind this beautiful salad. You may be fooled into thinking the orange vegetables next to the dark beets are sliced golden beets, but they are slices of roasted kabocha squash.

    Serves 6

    2 pounds kabocha or butternut squash

    1 bunch beets, with greens

    2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar

    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    1 small garlic clove, minced or put through a press

    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 tablespoons walnut oil

    3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (about 1 1/2 ounces)

    2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, mint, tarragon, chives

    Roast the beets. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the greens off of the beets, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stems attached. Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish or ovenproof casserole. Add about 1/4 inch water to the dish. Cover tightly with a lid or foil, and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the beets are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. If not using right away, refrigerate in a covered bowl.

    Line another roasting pan with foil or parchment and brush with olive oil. Peel the squash and cut in 1/2-inch thick slices. Toss with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and salt to taste and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly browned and tender. You can do this at the same time that you roast the beets, but watch carefully if you need to put the baking sheet on a lower shelf. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the greens. Add salt to the water, and blanch the greens for 1 minute or until tender. Transfer the greens to a bowl of cold

    water, then drain and squeeze out the water. Chop coarsely.

    Mix together the vinegars, garlic, salt, pepper, the remaining olive oil and the walnut oil. When

    the beets are cool enough to handle, trim the ends off, slip off their skins, cut in half, then slice into

    half-moon shapes. Toss with half the salad dressing. In a separate bowl, toss the roasted squash

    with the remaining dressing.

    Place the greens on a platter, leaving a space in the middle. Arrange the beets and squash in

    alternating rows in the middle of the platter. Sprinkle on the fresh herbs and the walnuts. If

    desired, sprinkle on crumbled feta. Serve.

    Advance preparation: Roasted beets and squash will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Cooked beet greens will keep for about 3 days, and can be reheated. The salad will hold in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, but it's prettiest when served right away.

    Recipe from the NYTimes


    Eat the drink!

    By Laura J. Novak

    A really tasty and easy way to sneak some extra greens and antioxidants into your family's diet is with morning smoothies. Believe it or not, adding spinach or kale to a smoothie filled with strawberries is hardly noticeable! As long as you add enough sweet fruit, no one even needs to know you snuck some greens inside!


    This has been one of my favorite ways to eat the peaches. Each peach will enhance two smoothies.


    Here's what to do:

    Start with one or two generous handfuls of spinach, kale, or Swiss chard. Add milk (almond, coconut, cow's milk, or water) and blend the greens first before adding the other ingredients. Next add half of a frozen banana, one ice cube, half of a peach, eight or nine strawberries, five raspberries, a quarter of an avocado, a squeeze of honey, and fill with about one cup of milk of your choice.


    You can also add chia gel (more on chia seeds here), Greek yogurt, or switch up with fruits and veggies of your choice. Be sure to cut the fruit into small pieces so it blends well.


    The first time I handed my husband this smoothie, he did raise his eyebrows at me because it looked a little green, but once he tried it, he was thanking me profusely. It's delicious.


    My sister even serves smoothies to my almost 2-year-old niece, who excitedly says, "Eat the drink!"


    As you may have noticed, these fresh peaches won't last forever. So how about making yourself smoothies for the future? Please enjoy these fabulous tips on how to make a month's worth of smoothies in an hour here. I ended up making about a week's worth and felt like I could feel the future me nodding in thanks back to past me who invested the time to make smoothie time so much faster. 



    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. 


    First Food Freedom Fest offers reasons for optimism

    by Baylen Linnekin

    Last weekend, I had the honor of taking part in the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund's first ever Food Freedom Fest. The two-day event, held in Staunton, Va., brought together an estimated 200 supporters of food freedom from as far away as California.


    FTCLDF, which advocates on behalf of small farmers and their customers on many issues, including the rights of farmers to sell raw milk, billed Food Freedom Fest as "a fun, educational gathering for anyone who celebrates and appreciates freedom of choice in agriculture."


    Journalist and author David Gumpert, writing up the event at his blog, described Food Freedom Fest as centered "on overcoming the sense of an expanding, and ever-more-controlling, food regulatory structure."

    Speakers at Friday's conference included Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), whose bona fides include introducing legislation in the nation's capital to legalize raw milk and raising grassfed beef on his Kentucky farm. The event also featured a talk by honoree Joel Salatin, an author, owner of Polyface Farm-located just outside Staunton-and perhaps America's best-known farmer.


    Salatin urged the crowd-many of whom have been targeted by government regulations that strangle their livelihoods-to embrace an approach in which they ground their future efforts in optimism. That might appear to be a tough sell. I've taken part in several events geared toward supporters of small farmers, and the constant and excessive regulatory pressure they face tends to mean optimism is in scarce supply.


    But Food Freedom Fest was the first such event I've attended in which the optimism Salatin called for was palpable. Several fellow attendees I spoke with by email after the event agreed.


    "The food freedom festival gave farmers and activists a glorious opportunity to strengthen our resolve by coming together in honor of the land we love, the farmers we cherish, and the food we cultivate," says Liz Reitzig, a farmer advocate who writes at Nourishing Liberty.


    "Food Freedom Fest built a bigger tent for the leadership in the local food movement," says Pete Kennedy, who leads FTCLDF. "[I]t was an event where activists from around the country met, enjoyed each other's company, and rekindled their energy and enthusiasm for the work that lies ahead."


    "The food rights movement came of age at this conference," I told Gumpert.


    But optimism, while important, only goes so far. There's also the need for vigilance.


    "Food Freedom Fest raises our awareness of real threats posed by today's dominant, monopolistic, government-enabled food industry, and catalyzes solutions by highlighting the erosion of our basic rights to eat the foods of our choosing," says John-Mark Hack, executive director of the Local Food Association.

    Optimism and vigilance may not suffice. But lawsuits are another tool.


    "The Institute for Justice litigates across the country to secure food freedom at the local, state, and federal levels," says Ari Bargil, an IJ attorney who works on the group's Food Freedom Project. "The Food Freedom Festival introduced us to activists, attorneys, and farmers of all stripes, who are all just as devoted to this important cause."


    Hack's and Bargil's comments hit home for me this week. After returning from Food Freedom Fest, I spent this past Tuesday at a one-day conference in Washington, DC (comped, just as my ticket to the Staunton event had been), that featured several high-ranking FDA officials discussing enforcement under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The conference made clear that the FDA will be leaning more heavily on small farmers (and others) in the coming years. Those who evinced such optimism in Staunton still have a powerful foe in the nation's capital.


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    Enhancing Your Emotions with Essential Oils

    Wednesday, Sept. 24
    6 p.m.
    Do you ever feel down, but can't place exactly why? Do you ever wish you could have just a little extra push of motivation and excitement to get you through your day? Your week? Or perhaps you feel great, but wish 
    others would be happy, too? Join Laura at Light Your Life Healing Arts to learn how you can enhance and balance your emotions with powerful, organic essential oils. Bring a friend or two!
    For more information or to RSVP, please e-mail Laura@LightYourLifeHealingArts.com or call 440-940-4017.

    Annual Potluck in the Park: A Local Food Feast
    Saturday, Sept. 27
    4:30-7 p.m. 
    Michael Zone Recreation Center
    6301 Lorain Ave.  
    Enjoy live entertainment, crafts and catered food from local businesses at the Vital Neighborhood Working Group's third Annual Potluck in the Park - a Local Food Feast. This is a potluck so feel free to bring your favorite dish to share with a list of ingredients. The potluck will be a Zero Waste event; we encourage you to bring food items in containers that can be re-used or recycled but it is not required. Help the hungry by bringing a nonperishable food donation for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. Register for the event 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.


    How to Make Farm-to-Table A Truly Sustainable Movement

     National Chicken Council responds to article on antibiotic use

    Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks

    So You Want To Be a Farmer...

      Reality Check For Young Farmers: It's An Expensive 'Habit'


    (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