Week  1                                                    Geauga County, Ohio
June 2, 2015

The Fair Share     

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"The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby - how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown."
~  Alice B. Toklas





Welcome to Geauga Family Farms 2015 CSA program!

It is a good feeling to be sending truckloads of fresh, organic produce around the region to our friends again. There's nothing like the sight of rows of neatly packed CSA shares to reinforce the idea that summer has arrived, even if the temperatures don't quite feel that way! 


We hope you are looking forward to experimenting with new vegetables and new preparations, meeting new friends and fellow locavores, and learning about life on a farm in Northeast Ohio. We hope to share all of this and more as we navigate the 2015 summer season together. One of the things we love about this program is that it really is a community of friends working together to ensure the future of small family farms. Whether you are a site host, a volunteer, a veteran member of many years or a brand new shareholder, we are delighted to have your involvement.


You will be receiving specific season start instructions via e-mail this week, so please keep an eye out for this important message. It includes information about pick-up times and procedures, your account and your site. We are including some general information in this newsletter as well. Please take a few moments to skim this newsletter for up-to-date information regarding the season and our pick-ups.


We are so happy to have guest columnist Laura Novak back for a third season. Her focus on holistic approaches to health and nutrition, as well as her suggestions for making the most out of your share are a welcome addition to our weekly newsletter. 


For those who are new to the program, our newsletters are sent on Tuesdays and include a list of what you might see in that week's share, important news and updates, recipes and information about upcoming local food events. We welcome your comments, suggestions, favorite recipes and anything you would like to share. We post additional information on our Facebook page. The page has become a great forum over the years for our members to share photos and preparations, as well as to identify unfamiliar veggies. You can find our page by clicking on the "Find us on Facebook" tab in this newsletter and selecting "Like." Sign up for notifications and you won't miss a thing we post on our page.


We'll do our best to bring you the freshest and tastiest produce we can, and we hope you continue to spread the word if you are happy about your experience.  Will everything be perfect?  Probably not, but we appreciate your patience as we work through any issues that may arise. We want your experience to be a satisfying one.



Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris

~ with Laura Dobson and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms


In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as strawberries, rhubarb, lettuce (red/green leaf, Romaine), kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), Swiss chard, bok choy, garlic scapes and tomatoes. 

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. 


WEATHER NOTE: Heavy rains from this weekend left the Swiss chard very muddy. We have washed a lot of it off, but it will need more rinsing in your kitchen. The heavy rains also made the berries a little more delicate than usual, and reduced the first crop. We expect the plants to bounce back with more berries as things dry out a bit.


NOTE: Due to the growing conditions in this region, you may find that shares have a little less volume in the beginning of the season. We more than make up for this as harvests increase later in the season. Total value for the season will not go below the amount you have paid.

Pick-up site details

Each of you will be receiving specific instructions for your pick-up site. We wanted to share some general information that applies to everyone.


Our check-in sheets look a little different this year. Please remember to check off your name when you take your share, and please be sure to take the correct share size. 


Other people can pick up your share if you are unable to for any reason. The person picking up just needs to use the member's name when asking for the share - i.e. "I'm picking up Jane Smith's share." There is no need to contact us ahead of time unless no one will be picking up your share at all. In that case, please call Laura at 440-478-9849 or e-mail her at That way we can arrange to donate your share to a food pantry or family in need. 


If you get to your site and cannot find your name on the list, please DO NOT take a share. We do not leave extra shares at the sites. Please call Laura at 440-478-9849 or Michelle at 216-513-9829 immediately so we can address the issue.


Still accepting members

If you are worried you are too late to get in on a box of locally grown, certified-organic veggies for the summer because you forgot to sign up before the deadline, don't despair. We are trying something new this season.


You may sign up now through the fourth week of the season and participate in the program for as many as 19 weeks and as few as 15 weeks. Simply sign up on our website and you can still get a share of the crop! 


Organic-only shares

Many of you noticed the opportunity to sign up for organic-only shares on our website this season. These shares are only different during apple, peach and blueberry season. This year the shares will only have a special label when these shares are different from the other shares. As we have noted in the past, all of the produce from our farms is certified organic. When we include apples, peaches and sometimes blueberries from other farms, we substitute additional organic vegetables in our organic-only shares. If you have signed up for an organic-only share, we will notify you ahead of time if you need to look for a specially labeled box. Otherwise, please just take a normal box in your size.


Never miss a pick-up 

Have you ever forgotten to pick up your share until you were almost home and then had to turn around and go back to your pick-up site? Or, have you completely forgotten to pick it up and missed out on your entire week's worth of wonderful veggies? Set up a reminder in your Smart Phone so you won't ever forget again. In an iPhone, simply add a weekly reminder to your calendar and you'll be sure to remember each week. Other phones and e-mail programs have similar calendar programs, so set it now and you won't forget it!


Saving the world, one vegetable at a time 

By Laura J. Novak

These veggies can change your life and our world.


Yes, I see you raising your eyebrows. Perhaps you are even a bit anxious, wondering how you will be able to plan your meals when you're not shopping with a grocery list. Will it be like Chopped? "You must create an unforgettable meal using all of these mystery ingredients: kohlrabi, Swiss chard, garlic scapes and durian fruit. You've got 20 minutes on the clock. Time starts now."


Before the anxious sweating begins, I will tell you that in my three years as a member of the Geauga Family Farms CSA, durian fruit has never been hiding in my box (it is an exotic fruit from Thailand after all and the whole point of the CSA is local food.) The others? Though I was once afraid, today I adore and look forward to them and I know you will, too. You'll also get plenty of recipes and even a veggie ID guide.


Now that you're thinking about those garlic scapes (they are those curly green things you may never have seen before), they are great chopped up on top of salads or diced and added fresh to pastas. I predict you'll be seeing them very soon (if not this week.) They come from the tops of the garlic before it's mature and they are much milder than garlic, so they can be eaten raw.  


You're still wondering about my dramatic claims on how veggies will change your life, aren't you?


Michael Pollan explains, "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." 

  • This delicious food is not traveling thousands, nor even hundreds of miles to get to our pick-up sites, keeping our veggies fresher and more nutrient dense. This also saves a considerable amount of fuel.
  • We are supporting our community and local agriculture.
  • By eating food indigenous to where we live, our bodies thrive and sync better to the rhythm of the seasons.
  • Since the CSA is mostly organic, we are cutting back considerably on harmful chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified "foods."
  • By eating a variety of foods (especially those new veggies you may not have tried), we are easily consuming a healthy range of minerals and vitamins.

And you thought you were just quieting the growling in your belly. We haul our colorful fruits and veggies home, toss them around in the kitchen or on the grill, and serve them to our families, our friends, ourselves. We are making a difference. We are taking a stand for our health. We are supporting our community. Truly, we are doing something special, and that just might make a difference. Congratulations!


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.  



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 


Chard & Feta Tart

8 servings 


3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or oregano

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons cold water


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups chopped chard, (about 1 bunch), leaves and stems separated

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons water

2 large eggs

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

To prepare crust: Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, thyme (or oregano), salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add 1/3 cup oil and 5 tablespoons water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry to form a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.


Preheat oven to 400º. Coat a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to the prepared pan and press into the bottom and up the sides. Trim any overhanging dough and use it to patch any spots that don't come all the way up the sides.


Prick the bottom and sides with a fork in a few places. Bake the crust until firm and lightly brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.


To prepare filling: Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chard stems and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add chard leaves and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring, until the leaves are just tender and the water has evaporated, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer the greens to a sieve over a bowl and let drain and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk eggs, ricotta, lemon zest and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the greens, olives and feta. 

Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the tart until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Recipe from EatingWell.com


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 from the kitchen of Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris


Romaine Lettuce and Cucumber Salad

2 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch cubes) 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

1 large romaine lettuce heart, cut into bite-size pieces 

1 small seedless cucumber, thinly sliced 


Preheat the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let the croutons cool. In a large bowl, whisk the mustard with the balsamic vinegar. Gradually whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the romaine, cucumber and croutons, toss well and serve. 

Make Ahead: The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. 

Recipe from Food & Wine 


Farm tour schedule available soon

Keep an eye out for this season's farm tour schedule in an upcoming newsletter. These are unique experiences and you won't want to miss them!


Area events

Saturday, June 6
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location given upon registration
Everybody can make an impact in CVNP! Bring your friends, family, co-workers, and everybody's kids to join a community of park supporters in a day of service to help preserve CVNP for future generations.
For groups of five or more individuals, please contact the Volunteer Management Office at 330-657-2299 or volunteer@forcvnp.org to register.

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.



(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