Week 16, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 23, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Going strong!
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
Fall shares info
Farmer visits
Celery in shares
Organic-only shares
Eggplant ideas
Laura Novak's column
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."  

    ~ Lauren DeStefano, Wither 













    Going strong

    Welcome to week 16 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA program!


    Cooler weather might make you think that the season is starting to wind down, but we still have five delicious weeks to go. We're not resting on our laurels for the next five weeks, either! As last week's boxes demonstrated, we still have a lot of great produce on its way. Look for new items like apples, butterkin squash, turnips and bok choy in the shares.


    There is a significant amount of information packed into this week's newsletter, from farmer visits to fall season shares, to a lot of great recipes and ideas for making the most of your produce. Enjoy the harvest!




    ~ 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 butternut, butterkin, acorn and spaghetti squash, yellow squash and zucchini, tomatoes, cherry/grape tomatoes, hot banana peppers, Yummy Orange peppers, green/colored bell peppers, storage onions, garlic, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, bunching onions, Red Russion, Lacinato and Winterbore kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, turnips, Red Leaf, Green Leaf and Romaine lettuce, raspberries and apples.

    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

    Thanks for your patience! Details are finally in place for the fall shares. Sign-ups will be available online later this week for our six-week Fall CSA program. We will send out a separate e-mail notifying you that it is time to sign up for fall shares. There are 250 shares available on a first-come, first-served basis. We may add one or two additional pick-up locations over the next few days. Our deadline for sign-ups is Oct. 18.


    Farmer visits

    Look for our farmers at many of our pickup sites this week. We are anxious to hear from you, and to answer any questions you may have about the CSA and organic farming. See the schedule below for farmers visits at a range of sites. We're looking forward to chatting with you!

    Thursday, Sept. 25

                    Cuyahoga County Board of Health - 4:30-5:30 p.m.

                    LEAF Night - 6-8:30 p.m.

                    Church of the Good Shepherd - 4:30-5:45 p.m.

                    Ruffing Montessori School - 6-6:30 p.m.


    Saturday, Sept. 27

                    St. Noel - 9-10

                    First Church Congregational - 10:30-11:30 a.m.

                    Hill's Family Karate - 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.

                    First Unitarian Church - 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

                    The Goddard School - 11 a.m. - noon


    Celery in shares

    Some of you may have wondered about the celery that has shown up in recent shares. It's thin, and darker green and not as crisp as the variety that we are accustomed to purchasing at the grocery store. Don't sell it short, though! This variety is excellent for cooking. Its flavor is richer than typical celery, and it is wonderful for the soups, stews and casseroles that are starting to appear on tables these days. If you can't get through it all right away, dice it and throw it in the freezer for future meals. The beautiful leaves are excellent in smoothies, too!


    Organic-only shares

    Please keep an eye out for specially labeled organic-only shares for the remainder of the season. These shares are labeled with member names. Please make sure to take the box with your name. The remainder of the shares will contain conventionally grown local apples for the next several weeks. Organic-only shares will receive other items in place of the apples.



    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 - Steak Salad

    8 cups chopped romaine or leaf lettuce (or mixture of your favorite greens - spinach and arugula are great in this recipe)

    2 tsp. olive oil

    1 cup sliced mushrooms

    1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

    1 cucumber, sliced

    ½ medium onion, thinly sliced

    1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

    Olive oil cooking spray

    10 oz. grass-fed beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips that are 3" long by ½" wide by 1/8" thick



    ½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

    ½ cup low fat buttermilk

     1 tsp freshly ground pepper

    2 cloves garlic, crushed

    2 tsp. cider vinegar

    ¼ tsp. sea salt


    Set oven to broil. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a small saute pan and add mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms release their liquid and are fragrant. Remove from heat.

    Arrange greens on a large serving platter (or separate plates). Place peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes on top.

    Prepare dressing. Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

    Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Place beef strips in dish and broil for approximately 6 minutes, turning after 3 minutes.

    Place beef strips on salad greens. Sprinkle with sautéed mushrooms.

    Drizzle with dressing and serve.

    Adapted from a recipe that appeared in Clean Eating Magazine


    Harvest Lentil Soup

    4 cups of vegetable broth

    2 cups of dry lentils

    3 medium potatoes, cubed

    ¾ cup finely chopped onion

    2 carrots, diced

    3-4 stalks celery, diced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 Tbl. fresh parsley, minced

    1 tsp. sea salt

    2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

    1 tsp. ground cumin

    1 tsp. turmeric

    6 kale or Swiss chard leaves, stems removed, leaves chopped coarsely

    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

    1 tsp. lemon zest

    Feta cheese, crumbled, as garnish

    Place lentils and broth in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to boil.

    Reduce heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes at medium low.

    Add potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, parsley and seasonings.

    Cover and cook an additional 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. You may need to add a little more water to achieve preferred thickness - either a thinner soup or a thicker stew.

    Add greens, lemon juice and lemon zest.

    Cook for another 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings as desired.

    Ladle into bowls and top with crumbled Feta cheese.


    Easy Bok Choy Stir Fry

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

    2 large heads bok choy, chopped

    2 tsp. soy sauce

    Wash and trim bok choy (remove ends, chop stems into site-sized pieces and roughly chop greens). Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Add garlic and cook until fragrant - approximately 1-2 minutes. Add bok choy and soy sauce and sauté until stems soften and leaves are bright green.

    Serve with rice or soba noodles.


    Roasted Acorn Squash Couscous Salad

    This makes a great side dish for lunch or dinner, as well as a filling breakfast. - Michelle B-Z

    1 small acorn squash (cut in half, seeds removed)

    1 cup whole wheat couscous (dry)

    1 apple (cored and chopped in ½" cubes)

    ½ cup raisins

    ½ cup dried cranberries

    ½ cup dried apricots, chopped

    1 stalk celery, diced

    1 cup chopped walnuts

    ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds



    Juice of 1 lemon

    3 T cider vinegar

    3 T honey

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/3 cup olive oil


    Roast acorn squash. Place halves face down in a lightly oiled roasting pan, in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until squash is soft. Let cool. Peel and cut into small cubes.

    Cook couscous according to package directions. Let cool.

    Combine remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooled couscous and squash. Toss lightly.

    Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Stir to distribute evenly. Can be eaten immediately, but flavors continue to blend if you can let it sit in the refrigerator for a while.

    Many thanks to Elizabeth Young for her inspiration for this recipe.


    All of the above recipes adapted and/or developed by Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris


    Autumn Pumpkin Mix

    3/4 cup Brussels sprouts

    1 cup cubed pumpkin

    2 tsp olive oil

    1 oz crumbled goat cheese

    2 tbsp pistachios

    1/2 medium pear, sliced

    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    2 tsp yellow mustard

    Toss Brussels sprouts and pumpkin with oil and roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning halfway through. Remove from oven and toss with remaining ingredients.

    Recipe from OrganicGardening.com



    Eggplant is one of those things you either love or hate. Here are some ideas that even those who hate it will love.
    1. Purée it. Once it's puréed, you can freeze it and use it later for dishes such as baba ghanoush


    2. Blanch it.  Cut into cubes, blanch it and freeze it. Make it easy on yourself, by measuring the amount out by cups. This way you can easily pull out exactly the amount you need for your recipe. Use it for ratatouille, caponanta or even a dessert - eggplant crisp.


    3. Roast it. You can use later in a great alternative to meat, like this tasty vegetarian "meat" ball.


    4. Make Soup. I know that I've included this in almost every piece, but I just love to have some homemade soup on hand. It's great when you're sick or when it's cold and you need to warm up fast. Here's a great recipe that is sure to do so.


    5. Pickle it. This didn't sound that good to me, but I was surprised at how tasty it was. So go ahead and give it a try


    6. Fry it. This makes a great snack or appetizer and it's super easy to make. Bread it, fry it and freeze it. Make some homemade sauces to go with it and enjoy!


    7. Cook it. Make eggplant Parmesan, ratatouille, or caponata. Once you have enjoyed the leftovers for a few days, freeze the rest. Easy to take out and re-heat at a later date.


    8. Dry it. Cut in small pieces, dry, and store them. These are great to use in soups, casseroles, etc.Cut in slices to dry and make "bacon," a tasty treat for vegetarians and carnivores alike!

    Read more by East Texas farmer Monica Johnson at FoodPolitic.com

    You can make homemade soup!

    By Laura J. Novak

    There is nothing more soothing than chicken soup made completely from scratch. Sound impossible? It's actually not that difficult, it just takes some time where you can stay close to the kitchen and a lot of love.


    Whenever I get sick, I still drag myself to the store for organic chicken and then start chopping in my kitchen. It's a labor of love, especially when not feeling great, but it's completely worth it when I know it will magically heal and restore me to health as soon as possible. Plus with a sore throat, there's no greater happiness than hot soup.


    It was a bit awkward at first, but I think I've got it down to an art now and I would love to share my recipe with you, as long as you don't mind my "pinch-of-this, shake-of-that" kind of measurements.


    Step One: Homemade Stock

    First I like to start with the stock separately to add depth of flavor and to keep the chopping easy. This weekend, I started with five organic chicken breasts, one with skin on and bone in for a little extra flavor, but not too much extra fat. First, I seared the chicken in olive oil until it looked a little brown on both sides (just a couple minutes each). Then, I covered with about 8 cups of water. I added 5 stalks of celery and only chopped them in half, then peeled and cut in half 4 carrots, along with half of an onion and 6 whole cloves of garlic (peeled). I had a butternut squash and zucchini, so peeled and cut those in half and threw them in, reserving the other halves for later. I added a whole lemon cut in half, then fresh parsley, just handfuls, stem and all. Sprigs of rosemary are great here, too. Now you can throw in oregano, basil, bay leaves, garlic powder, curry powder, marjoram, salt, pepper, thyme, and your favorite soup spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to low, stirring occasionally for about 1.5 - 2 hours.


    Step Two: Prep for Soup

    In the meantime, I like to chop up the rest of the celery, especially the leaves and hearts. I chop two more carrots and the other half of the onion, along with a few more cloves of garlic. I dice the rest of the veggies, this time it was the butternut squash (I saved the seeds to roast!) and the zucchini. I also chopped up some parsley leaves for flavor and garnish. I put them all in containers and set them aside for later. This way, I get to do all the chopping while I have a giant cutting board and knife out and now I can go rest while I wait for the stock to finish.


    Step Three: Strain the Stock

    When all of the veggies in the stock are very soft and the chicken is cooked and falling apart (again 1.5 to 2 hours), I pull out the chicken breasts and place them on a separate plate. Then, I take out a giant bowl and place a fine strainer in the bowl. Now I pour the stock to strain out all the large vegetables and large herbs, leaving just the broth.


    Step Four: Make the Soup

    Once the stock pot is empty, it's time to fill it back up again! Now sauté the carrots, onions, and celery in olive oil on low to medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic. Add some salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning that you want to taste the most. Add the butternut squash, then add the broth back in. This is where I season with pretty much the same spices as above, but chopped much more finely (except the bay leaf - that stays whole). Bring to a boil, then simmer on low. After about 30 minutes, add the zucchini and some extra parsley.


    (Optional) Step Five: Make Chicken Salad

    Next, I cut up the chicken and generally use half for the soup and half for chicken salad with mayonnaise, mustard powder, garlic powder, pineapple, celery, and dried goji berries.


    (Optional) Step Six: Roast Butternut Squash Seeds

    Separate and rinse the seeds, then let them dry on a paper towel if you have time. Toss with a little bit of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, then roast in the oven on 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy the nutritious snack or even add some to garnish the soup.


    Step Seven: Garnish and Enjoy

    Taste the soup and see if it needs salt or any other seasonings. This is a great time to squeeze some lemon to bring out the flavor and I love to add chopped fresh parsley, too. It really adds a nice earthiness to the soup. Make a nice, hearty lunch or dinner by serving the soup with a chicken salad sandwich.


    If this sounds confusing, please enjoy this step-by-step recipe from my blog, complete with pictures on how to make homemade soup. (It's a slightly different recipe - I don't think I ever make the same soup twice!) Scroll toward the middle of the post. The top is a little embarrassing, as it's titled "Get Silly and Make Some Soup (from Scratch)!" But enjoying yourself and having some fun is important, too!


    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. 


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    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.

    Enhancing Your Emotions with Essential Oils

    Wednesday, Oct. 8
    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.

    Ursuline College 16th Annual Faculty Lecture Series

    Fracking and the Future of Sustainability Justice in Northeast Ohio

    Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

    Ursuline College, Pilla Dining Room

    A local food movement is exploding in Northeast Ohio, part of a growing network of sustainability and social and political activism. Meanwhile, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is coming to the region, potentially threatening the soil, air, and water that are essential to emerging sustainable food systems. This multi-media presentation investigates the interacting political economies of global industrial energy and the local grassroots sustainability movement in our region. Is there a way forward that can include multiple ethical perspectives on, and visions for, "the land" in Northeast Ohio?

    Elizabeth E. Meacham, PhD, is an assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies. She teaches courses in environmental philosophy, ecojustice, bioethics, and sustainability. She developed the curriculum for the Online Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Spirituality, which will launch in the fall of 2015 in the MA in Ministry Department. For more information, visit ursuline.edu/facultylectureseries


    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.


    $690K to oppose Oregon GMO labeling

    Proving urban agriculture's worth 

    USDA approves more GE crops (This is NOT good news)

    Farmers growing old, costs keep out young

    Utah man rides giant pumpkin down Colorado River


    (ONLY between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday 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