Week 13, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 2, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Thinking ahead
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
Organic-only shares
Turkey time
Laura Novak's column
Does dirt make you happy?
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "The season for enjoying the fullness of life... partaking of the harvest, 

  • sharing the harvest with others, 

  • and reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest 

  • for yet another season of growth."
    ~ Denis Waitley








    Thinking ahead

    Welcome to week 13 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA program!

    One of the important lessons about farming is the need to frequently be looking and planning ahead. When do seeds need to be ordered to get them started in time for the growing season? When does each crop need to be started in greenhouses to have harvests at specific times during the summer? How far apart should plantings be spaced to provide a large enough volume of each of the items we plant? Even with all these considerations, Mother Nature always has the final say of exactly how the season will play out! It is, however, amazing to see all the planning that our farm families undertake.


    Right now, in fact, when our farmers come in from a long day in the fields they are already beginning to focus on this fall and next season. It seems that our members are starting to focus on these things, too. We've had a lot of questions about our fall shares and we are happy to answer as many of them as possible.


    For those new to the program, Geauga Family Farms offers a smaller Fall CSA program that picks up at the end of our summer CSA season and runs for six weeks (with a break Thanksgiving week) through mid-December. We offer one share size for this program that is similar to our medium, and a limited list of pick-up sites. The fall share provides enough produce for two to four people to have several servings. In terms of the items that are part of the share, expect to see things like winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, pie pumpkins, broccoli, a range of greens, carrots, beets and any vegetables from the summer season that are still growing strong.


    We'll post the online applications as soon as we work out all of the details, which should be in the next week or so. We are currently assessing the progress and volume of the fall season crops at each of our farms to know how many shares we can offer, as well as contacting our volunteer site managers to see who is willing to continue with the program for an additional six weeks. Many of our managers are ready for a well-deserved break once late October rolls around! Once we have totals and locations finalized, we will post the application on our website and will let everyone know. This way you can plan ahead, too!




    ~ 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 colored, green and Yummy Orange peppers, Swiss chard, sweet and storage onions, kohlrabi, watermelon, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beans, eggplant, beets, garlic, parsley, sweet corn, cantaloupe, zucchini, and spaghetti and acorn squash.

    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 have several veggies available for bulk purchase. 
    Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint
    Garlic -$10/pound 
    Roma tomatoes - $16/half-bushel
    Slicing tomatoes: #1 quality - for use in sandwiches and salads - 10 lb. flat - $15
    #2 quality - not as attractive, may include some blemishes, perfect for canning, soups, etc.  - $24/bushel, 5 bushels for $100 


    You can find them in our farm store, here.

    Organic-only shares

    For those members who signed up for Organic-Only Shares (no peaches or apples), we wanted to provide a friendly reminder to look for specially marked boxes the week of Sept. 7 at your pick-up site. There will be a large, colorful label on the side of the box. PLEASE make sure to only take the box with your name on it. We'll be sending an e-mail reminder about this as well.


    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 


    Salad of the Week: Cobb-Style Dinner Salad

    For the dressing:
    ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    ¾ tsp. dry mustard
    ½ tsp. Worcestershire
    ¼ tsp. sugar
    1 clove garlic, minced
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    For the salad:
    8 cups of mixed greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
    2 oz. blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, crumbled
    6 strips cooked bacon, chopped or 4 slices of tofu, fried until crisp and chopped into cubes
    3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into ½" cubes
    2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" cubes
    1 cup cucumber, peeled and cut into ½"cubes

    1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into ½" cubes
    1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½" cubes

    ½ cup green onions, finely chopped

    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Any combination of chopped fresh herbs, for garnish

    Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside (or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week).
    Make the salad: On a large platter, arrange the lettuce. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, chicken, green onions and avocado and on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with fresh herbs. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

    Adapted from a recipe found in Saveur Magazine

    Bell pepper salsa

    1 large bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped

    6 green onions, thinly sliced

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    2 Tbsp chopped arugula, basil, or parsley

    1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

    2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Serve with steak, carnitas or carne asada.

    Recipe from SimplyRecipes.com

    Corn Jalapeño Muffins

    Makes 12 muffins

    1 cup milk

    1 large egg

    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 tablespoons sugar

    2 tablespoons cornmeal

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    1 cup corn kernels, frozen thawed or canned drained

    2 Tbsps. minced jalapeño, seeds and stems removed

    Whisk together the milk, egg and oil. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Stir in first mixture until all ingredients moistened, then stir in the corn and peppers. Spoon into greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm.

    Recipe from SouthernFood.about.com

    Grilled Portobello, Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

    Makes 4 sandwiches

    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 garlic clove, minced

    1 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeded

    1 yellow bell pepper, cut in half and seeded

    4 (4-inch) portobello mushroom caps

    Cooking spray

    1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    4 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls

    1/2 cup (4 ounces) soft goat cheese

    Heat grill to medium-high. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic in a large bowl. Add bell peppers and portobello mushrooms; toss gently to coat. Remove vegetables from vinegar mixture, and discard vinegar mixture. Place bell peppers and mushrooms on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side. Remove vegetables from grill; cool slightly. Cut bell peppers into thin strips. Combine bell peppers, basil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Cut rolls in half horizontally; spread cheese evenly over cut sides of rolls. Arrange 1 mushroom cap on bottom half of each roll; top each serving with about 1/3 cup bell pepper mixture and top half of roll. Place sandwiches on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

    Recipe from MyRecipes.com


    GM "food" for thought

    By Laura J. Novak


    Are you rolling your eyes right now, thinking "not another genetically modified discussion?" I once was in your shoes, confused why some people were so passionately fixated on ruining my meal, trying to make me feel guilty for the way I ate.


    Please understand, no one is trying to make us feel guilty. Concerns for food safety are in no way pointing fingers at the people consuming them. These foods are actually engineered to appeal to us; sugar and salt added to make our taste buds cry for more. No, there is nothing to feel guilty about, there is no need to "should" all over yourself about your diet.


    My husband was reading a magazine and excitedly pointed out to me, "Look! This article says there's no credibility in studies saying that GMOs are dangerous - it says they are perfectly safe to eat." I jokingly said, "Well, we know who's paying to plant that misinformation. Those big, scary food corporations are buying the media now!" 


    And now I've read about that exact same thing actually happening in England. Consumers started hearing about the lack of scientific evidence on the safety of GM foods and they started speaking up. The British government caught wind of it and immediately launched a counter-campaign applauding the safety of GM foods (Yes, that's how high up the limitless bio-engineering funding can go.), and writing reports to discredit the studies showing these GM foods are not safe to eat. Very disturbing. 


    At the same time, The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP, a committee of British government) had begun secretly launching a study that "would specifically look for increases in childhood allergies, cancer, birth defects, and hospital admissions" in people buying GM foods in supermarkets, based on purchasing records of consumers with loyalty cards. That report was leaked and then the study was sheepishly abandoned. Luckily, in England the people were heard and GM foods banned. Now how much more imperative is it for the U.S. to remain eager participants in the billion-dollar industry? I thought it was scary when I was joking.


    So what does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have to say about genetically modified food? Since 1992, their claim is that they do not believe it is "necessary to conduct comprehensive scientific reviews of foods derived from bioengineered plants."


    I don't know about you, but I always thought there was someone somewhere testing this stuff before it showed up on my plate! How else could it be labeled as food and sent to my grocery store?


    According to Arran Stephans, founder of Nature's Path Foods, "Most of the foods in your local grocery store are now contaminated with GM food ingredients, without your knowledge or consent. As many have said, we are now in the middle of the largest feeding experiment in history and we human beings are the guinea pigs."


    In Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey M. Smith writes that "Hungry African nations won't even accept our [United States] food aid." I'm sorry, what? What is in our food?


    Frances Moore Lappe remarks, "Just as with the risks of feedlot beef, now contributing to heart disease, groundwater depletion, antibiotic resistance, and more, no citizens were asked to weigh the risks of GMOs against possible gains. Yet today most of us are eating them, while kept completely in the dark as to the hazards we may be facing - for ourselves, our children, and the farming ecosystems on which our lives depend."


    I share these alarming facts with you not to scare you or judge what's on your plate, but because this information is not openly available or accessible. Please, start to question what is called "food." Start to learn about what we are actually putting into our bodies every day. Then, take little baby steps to minimize processed foods if you have not already. Also, it is best to avoid corn, soy, conventional potatoes, and even conventional zucchini.


    This makes me even more grateful for our local, organic farmers in Middlefield! Thank you for making it easier on us. Open bag, pull out vegetables, enjoy. That's my kind of food.


    *All information based on Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M. Smith, a heavily researched resource that I highly recommend.


    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. 


    Does dirt make you happy?

    By Anna Brones 

    There's no denying that standing in the garden and picking your first summer tomato gives you a good feeling. Even in an urban environment a small pot of basil on the windowsill can brighten your day. But is there a scientific reason that getting our hands dirty makes us feel good?


    In 2007, Christopher Lowry, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Center for Neuroscience at University of Colorado Boulder, and a team of researchers published an article in Neuroscience that had people wondering if dirt was the new Prozac. The study examined a specific soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, and its potential role in the regulation of emotional behavior. In other words: did the bacteria have antidepressant qualities?


    "Soil, especially soil with abundant organic matter, contains saprophytic bacteria, meaning that they live off of dead and decaying organic matter, such as leaves," says Lowry. "Humans coevolved with these bacteria over millennia and they have been shown to affect the immune system in a way that suppresses inflammation. This means that these bacteria may be helpful in preventing or treating diseases with excess inflammation."

    So what are exactly, are diseases with "inflammation?"


    "This includes conditions like asthma, but also, perhaps, stress-related psychiatric disorders characterized by elevated inflammation, such as major depressive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder," says Lowry.

    It's not so surprising that we may benefit from microorganisms in the soil, given that we need them to live.


    Read the rest of the article here.


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    Light Your Life Healing Arts Sample Session

    Wednesday, Sept. 3 

    6 - 7 p.m.
    Light Your Life Healing Arts

    7501 Clover Ave., Mentor
    (Located inside the Air Technical Industries Building)
    Learn how to strengthen your immune system, increase daily health and find emotional balance with Young Living Essential Oils. Learn more about oils like Frankincense, Peppermint, Lemon, Lavender, Peace & Calming, Thieves, and many more in this informative sample session. These basic oils are used by families all around the world, all day long to maintain vibrant health. Attendees will get to sample the oils and experience the benefits first-hand! Please RSVP to  .


    Nix the Sugar Fix with Certified Health Coach Cathy Picozzi

    Saturday, Sept. 13
    3 - 4:30 p.m.
    Light Your Life Healing Arts 7501 Clover Ave., Mentor
    (Located inside the Air Technical Industries Building)
    Cost $5
    Learn the hidden sources of sugar in our food and what foods can become part of our daily diet to help curb the cravings to begin with. Informational handouts and recipes will be available. Please RSVP to Laura@LightYourLifeHealingArts.com.

    Dinner in the Valley: A Lesson in Ducks
    Tuesday, Sept. 16 or Thursday, Sept. 18 
    6 p.m. 
    Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    Octagon Shelter, off Kendall Park Road
    Each month, the Dinner in the Valley series features a gourmet meal at one of the beautiful, historical spaces in the park. 
    In response to many requests, Chef Larkin Rogers will begin the evening with a demonstration on deboning a whole duck. Dinner follows, featuring the delicious waterfowl and a glass of wine. Click here for reservations.

    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.


    Sustainable Food Cluster Roadmap for Cuyahoga County

    Is your community STAR certified?

    Global Green USA Helps Pass Styrofoam Ban in Our Nation's Capital City!

    Re-Imagining the School Lunch Tray

    Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food'

    Tell the USDA: Stop deceptive meat labels
    GMO Labeling Measure Makes Colorado's November Ballot


    (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