Week 14, Summer 2014          Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 9, 2014

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
In this week's shares
Bulk veggies
Fall shares update
Organic-only shares
Turkey time
Ideas for freezing, preserving and saving for later
Laura Novak's column
Turning swords into plowshares
Food and farm-related events/activities
Farming, environment, local food in the news
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  • "We need to figure out a 'harvest system' to collect the produce that stores don't put out for customers to buy because it's not perfect looking. Frankly, the stuff left to rot in the storeroom is more beautiful to me than the perfect carrot. I'm a gnarly carrot kind of guy."

  • ~ Mario Batali








    Welcome to week 14 of the Geauga Family Farms CSA program!

    This is the time of the season when we start to hear about how challenging it can be to continue to find uses for things like the tomatoes, green beans and onions that we have been seeing on a pretty regular basis. We understand, and we hope to inspire you to think differently about the contents of your box.


    If you just can't take another BLT sandwich (although I'm not sure that's possible!), or don't even want to look at another green bean right now, read on for ideas to help you put those items to use in the future when swirling winter winds make us long for the taste of fresh summer produce. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity now to bring you delicious dishes in the coming months.


    If you get inspired by the idea of a batch of farm-fresh pasta sauce or salsa, know that last week's high temperatures brought the tomatoes out like crazy. We have plenty of Romas and slicers available in bulk right now. When ordering in bulk, please make sure to check the delivery date on your order to ensure that it coincides with the time you have available for working with the produce.


    This week's recipes are focused on creative new uses for some of these old standbys, as well as a few ideas for the winter squash that has started to appear in the boxes. We hope you feel the urge to go out on a limb and give one or two a try. You might be surprised!




    ~ 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, Yummy Orange peppers, green and colored bell peppers, red leaf, green leaf and Romaine lettuce, Lacinato, Winterbore and Red Russian kale, fingerling potatoes, cantaloupe, eggplant, beans, kohlrabi, beets, parsley, spaghetti and acorn squash, onions and garlic.

    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.

    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 in next week's newsletter.


    Organic-only shares - Keep an eye out!

    Please be extra careful at pick up this week to make sure that you are getting the correct type of share. For those who have purchased Organic Only Shares, your box will have a special bright pink label with your name.



    For those who purchased standard shares, the boxes will include conventionally grown local peaches this week. Please DO NOT take a box with a pink label. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask another member or site volunteer at your pick-up location. Your check-in sheet lists your share type beside your name.


    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 


    Spaghetti Squash I

    Serves 6

    1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    1 onion, chopped

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

    3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

    3 tablespoons sliced black olives

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

    Recipe from AllRecipes.com


    Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

    Serves 4
    Serve these stuffed squash halves immediately or fill with the stuffing and refrigerate them, covered, one day in advance. Simply reheat them before serving.
    1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
    1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
    1 cup cooked black beans
    1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands, leaving the shell intact for stuffing.
    For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through. Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center. 

    Recipe from Whole Foods


    Savory Tomato Bread Pudding

    Serves 4

    4 or 5 large heirloom tomatoes halved and seeded (you want at least 2 pounds)
    1 handful fresh herbs (basil and cilantro are nice)
    1 clove garlic finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    fresh ground black pepper to taste
    4 cups crusty sourdough or whole grain bread torn into rough cubes and lightly toasted
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Gruyere), divided

    Preheat oven to 400°. In a food processor, add tomatoes, garlic, herbs, salt, and black pepper. Pulse just until coarsely chopped. Add the toasted bread to a well-greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish and toss with olive oil. Cover with 1/2 cup cheese. Gently toss in tomatoes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden brown. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and return for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

    From Alice Osborne for Cook'n


    French Onion Soup

    2 teaspoons olive oil

    4 cups thinly vertically sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion

    4 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion

    1/2 teaspoon sugar

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup dry white wine

    8 cups less-sodium beef broth

    1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

    8 (1-ounce) slices French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

    8 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)

    Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in sugar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high, and sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is golden brown. Stir in wine, and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours.

    Preheat broiler. Place bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute. Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a jelly-roll pan. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Divide bread evenly among bowls; top each serving with 1 cheese slice. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

    Recipe from Cooking Light


    Ideas for freezing, preserving and saving for later


    Freezing - Wash, dry and place whole tomatoes in freezer bags in your freezer. When you are ready to make a sauce, pull out the tomatoes, thaw a bit and they will slip right out of their skins for easy chopping.


    Roasting - Roast with garlic, place in jars, place in freezer for later use. Follow these instructions from the Cooking Ripe blog. 


    Jam - Sounds a little crazy at first, but tomato jam is a great condiment with a variety of uses (think grilled cheese, paired with Brie, brushed on steaks, served with crispy tofu triangles, etc.). Try a classic recipe sweetened with honey at the Food in Jars blog, here.



    Onions typically store well in a cool, dry location, but here are some additional ideas.


    Caramelize - Caramelizing onions is a great way to use the stack that may be growing on your counter. Caramelized onions are rich in flavor and provide a great topping for pizzas, frittatas, green beans, baked potatoes, etc. They can be used immediately or frozen in small batches (even in ice cube trays) for a great burst of flavor when added to soups, stews and other dishes. Here are some basic instructions from the Kitchn blog.


    Freezing - Wash, peel and chop raw onions. Place chopped raw onions in freezer bags. Spread to create a flat layer when frozen, which will allow you to break off pieces to add to soups, stews and casseroles.


    Pickling - Pickled onions make a great, flavorful addition to sandwiches, wraps and tacos. Here is a great recipe from the Shared Appetite blog.


    Green beans:

    Freezing - It is typically the recommendation to blanch green beans before freezing, but we love to find approaches that are as easy as possible when it comes to preserving. The blog An Oregon Cottage has developed an easy way to freeze green beans without blanching. Find it here.


    Pickling - Spicy pickled green beans make a great addition to appetizer plates. Try them in a Bloody Mary for a different twist. Here's a recipe from Popsugar.


    Future goodness

    By Laura J. Novak

    It's always so hard for me to freeze my veggies - I want to eat them all immediately.


    Knowing that having green beans frozen and waiting enhances fall and winter Crockpot meals, I tucked them away, thinking happy thoughts for the future. I snipped and washed them, just like I would if I were eating them right away, but then I laid them on paper towels to dry thoroughly before freezing. Finally, I threw them into a gallon-size freezer bag and tucked them away for the days I don't want to think about - when I'll be missing my fresh CSA veggies (and sunshine!). The waiting and freezing was a little bit easier when I realized that this little bit of summer will be waiting to cheer me... in minestrone soup, perhaps?


    I also froze some beautiful tomatoes for future sauce or chili. Tomato skins can get really tough in the freezer, so I cut a little x just through the skin, then boiled for a few minutes, cooled, peeled, then put into a Pyrex container. (Cutting the skin and boiling makes them much easier to peel.)


    I've also got some cantaloupe and grilled corn frozen and tucked away, nestled with the green beans and tomatoes. Even spinach can be frozen and still tastes great later.


    While we still have the fresh veggies coming, this quote from Michael Pollan lends some great advice: "Eat like an omnivore. Whether or not you eat any animal foods, it's a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet - that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi. The dazzling diversity of food products on offer in the supermarket is deceptive, because so many of them are made from the same small handful of plant species, and most of those - the corn and soy and wheat - are seeds rather than leaves. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases."


    What did you think of the kohlrabi? That's one of my favorites, cut up into little sticks with salt. That quote always makes me think of kohlrabi, rainbow chard, and the other new veggies I've gotten to try over the last few years with the Geauga Family Farms CSA.


    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. 


    Turning swords into plowshares

    By Deirdre Shesgreen and Christopher Doering

    Matthew Hayes had always planned to become a police officer, following in the footsteps of his father and older brother. In 2008, he joined the Marine Corps to burnish his resume and increase his chances of landing a good law enforcement job.


    But after serving as a machine gunner in Afghanistan for seven months in 2011 and leaving the military with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder last year, a career in law enforcement no longer appealed to him.

    Now, the 32-year-old Hayes has discovered a place and a way to heal that he never imagined: a 22-acre farm outside Ava, Missouri, where he and his wife hope to grow hops or passion fruit. They bought the land in April, planted an organic garden and are gearing up for bigger crops.


    Like being in the military, Hayes said, farming gives him a "sense of accomplishment and doing something for other people." But unlike being in combat, he said, "it's quiet; it's peaceful."


    "... I can get some kind of healing out of it," Hayes said.


    Hayes' transition from battlefield to farm field underscores a trend in America: As thousands of young military personnel leave the service, many find themselves drawn to jobs on farms and ranches.


    U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that though rural America makes up 17 percent of the country's population, it accounts for 44 percent of those who served in the military. Missouri is home to nearly 500,000 veterans.


    For agriculture, their arrival is a relief. Farming and ranching face an aging population that has sparked concern about who will take over many of the family farms in Missouri and nationally. The average age of a U.S. farmer is now 58.


    "Agriculture needs veterans as much as veterans need agriculture," said Ed Cox, chairman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa, an organization that works with farm groups to match veterans with opportunities in agriculture.


    Read the rest of the article here.


    Local food and farm-related events/activities


    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  .

    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 de-boning a whole duck. Dinner follows, featuring the delicious waterfowl and a glass of wine. Click here for reservations.

    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.


    GMO labeling foes triple spending

    Old barns are more than reclaimed wood

    Ohio farmers adopt solar energy

    Barnraiser the 'Kickstarter' for food 

    Small vs. large: Which size farm is better?
    5 crops that still need hand-harvesting


    (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