|Week 4 Geauga County, Ohio||June 23, 2015|
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"Farming looks mighty easy
when your plow is a pencil
and you're a thousand miles
from the corn field."
Greetings from the farms!
One of our favorite things about the community supported agriculture experience is the opportunity it provides to connect with our members on a number of levels. We hear the good and the bad from you, and it helps us to improve what we do and how we do it. We love your questions, because it shows that you care about your experience with us.
We hope you feel more connected as a member of Geauga Family Farms - to other members, to our team and most importantly, to the land that provides the wonderful bounty that appears in our boxes each week. We also hope that you are experiencing the connection between fresh, local produce, richer flavors and better nutrition. Once you try a local strawberry for the first time, grocery store berries pale in comparison.
Our farm tours provide one of the best ways to connect with our members. While these events don't have a lot of bells and whistles, they do give us an opportunity to slow everything down and listen to one another. We walk through the fields together and share our approach to farming and our techniques. At the end of the evening we share refreshments and more conversation. The stress of the day melts away, and we all enjoy the opportunity to relax with the people who make our work possible - our members.
We know that summer schedules are busy, so we will be providing a range of farm tours this season. Our June and August tours will take place on Tuesday evenings, and our July and September tours will take place on Saturday afternoons. We will hold these events at a different farm each month, providing an opportunity to see a range of the places that make up Geauga Family Farms. We hope you can join us next Tuesday, June 30, for our first tour of the season. If not, we do hope to see you soon.
~ 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 lettuce (red/green leaf, Romaine), kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), Swiss chard, collards, strawberries, kohlrabi, beets, bunching onions, sweet onions, green garlic, basil, peas, pickling cucumbers, cucumbers, cauliflower, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bok choy, zucchini, yellow squash, daikon radish and Chinese cabbage.
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.
Speaking of shares, please, PLEASE, be sure you are taking the correct size share. If one person takes the incorrect share, then it throws off the count and other members end up with the wrong share as well.
Here is a photo of the share boxes in the three sizes so there should be no confusion.
From top to bottom, small, medium and large.
The regular rain and muggy heat we've been experiencing have made our fields really come alive. The larger variety of produce this week is proof. Recent thunderstorms are also helpful to crops. The nitrogen brought by lightning is absorbed more readily by plants, providing an important nutrient in the growth process.
Farm tour details
Get to know your farmers! Join us on Tuesday, June 30 for our first farm tour of the season. We will gather at the farm of Andy and Laura Miller to tour the fields and greenhouses, sample some dishes using current items from the shares, and more. The visit will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m., but join us when you are able. Please remember to bring insect repellant and to wear shoes appropriate for walking through potentially muddy fields. The Miller Farm is located at 17201 Bundysburg Road in Middlefield.
To help us know how many to expect, please make reservations in our farm store through your account, here.
There is no charge to attend.
You will notice the farm tour reservations showing up as an item on check-in sheets starting this week. There are no tickets associated with our farm tours, so nothing will actually be delivered. The list just provides an opportunity to check your reservation. It may show up on check-in sheets this week or next, depending on when you made your reservation.
Spaces still available - share with friends & family
It's not too late! If you are worried about missing the opportunity to get in on a box of locally grown, certified organic veggies for the summer, don't despair. We are trying something new this season. You still have the opportunity to sign up for the program for the remaining 15 weeks. Simply sign up on our website and you can still get a share of the crop!
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
Here is a bok choy recipe sent in by Holly Svajger, a Tucker Ellis member. She writes, "This is my favorite. I double the recipe for me and my hubby."
Bok Choy Salad
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodle pasta, crushed
1 medium head bok choy
3 green onions
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce. Set aside. Melt the margarine over medium heat in a small skillet. Crush the ramen noodles while still in their packaging, and add to the margarine along with the almonds and sesame seeds. Saute until everything is golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel. Chop the bok choy and green onions and add to a large bowl. Just before serving, sprinkle with the noodle mixture and dressing, and toss to coat.
Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets
1 1/2 pound(s) golden or red beets, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges
4 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh or 2 tsps. dried herbs, such as marjoram, oregano, and/or rosemary
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (optional)
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°. Combine oil, herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add beets; toss to coat with the seasoning mixture. Spread the beets evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the beets are tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Toss the roasted vegetables with lemon juice, if using.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cup shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Organic is best!)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, pour boiling water over zucchini. Add all other ingredients and stir just until well combined. Line muffin pans with paper muffin cups, and use a 1/4 cup measure to pour batter into cups. Bake for 30 minutes. Yields 18 muffins.
Adapted from a recipe from SparkPeople
Creamy Basil Pesto Dip
2 Tbsps. pine nuts
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Garnish: fresh basil sprig
Heat pine nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted.
Process pine nuts and next seven ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream. Transfer to serving bowl.
Cover and chill at least one hour. Serve with fresh vegetables or crispy breadsticks. Garnish, if desired.
Adapted from a recipe from Southern Living
Unidentified Flying Vegetables
By Laura J. Novak
I know you will find this hard to believe, but my husband had to spend an entire weekend in the kitchen. I had to step down as Queen of the Kitchen because I had stepped funny days before, leaving me with a broken foot.
Though I appreciated his help on a really deep, happy, lovey level, I must share with you that things also got interesting. Have you seen those episodes on Food Network where they make awful faces and say, "I see where you were going with this, it has great potential, but it's just not yummy?" Most of the meals were not like that. The majority actually had me wondering if I should promote him to Kitchen King & Commander for the rest of the summer.
But there was this one side dish... He stared at the rhubarb and the garlic scapes, wondering what on earth to do with them. These should be ingredients in the Chopped kitchen for sure! Had he yelled around the corner where I had my foot propped on ice to ask me, I would have told him that rhubarb is very tart and is best mixed with something sweet, like strawberries. But enjoying the challenge of trying new things, he decided to wing it. He mixed some veggies together - rhubarb, scapes and onions. Since rhubarb looks like celery, he thought we would have a crunchy summer treat.
Everything turned into a really strange mush. There was a little tone of delicious, but it was overshadowed by the sour lemon faces we were making at the rhubarb. So rhubarb and garlic scapes together...take my word for it...it gets weird. Really weird.
With all of the new ingredients in the CSA boxes, this experience has happened to us before (yes, even to ME!) And we laugh, learning something new about different veggies. But just so you know, that's what all the recipes in the newsletter are for. Next time, I think we're gonna try one of those.
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 third 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.
Organic is Non-GMO and More: New Product Logo Helps Consumers Understand the
Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food
Columbus, OH - While a growing number of consumers are seeking foods made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), they may be getting less than they think from non-GMO labeled products.
According to Michelle Ajamian, owner of Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, "Non-GMO labels don't guarantee crops are grown without chemicals. In fact, unless the food is certified organic, it may be grown with even more chemicals than GMO crops."
To help consumers find food that is both non-GMO and environmentally friendly, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has released a new label that OEFFA-certified organic farmers and processors can use on their products, in addition to the standard USDA organic seal. This label reminds consumers that choosing organic foods allows them to avoid GMOs and protect public health and the environment.
To use the organic label, foods must not only be non-GMO but they must also be grown without synthetic pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers.
"Shagbark Seed & Mill chose organic certification over non-GMO verification to support the farmers that go beyond non-GMO by working with nature, instead of against it. That means cover crops, crop rotations, and healthy soil. That means no GMO seed, ever. The result is a product we're confident will protect water and soil resources and feed us the best quality food on all fronts," stated Ajamian, whose certified organic mill sells beans, flour, pasta, chips, and other products.
Organic farmers undergo a rigorous annual third party verification process that includes an organic system plan, multiple reviews of that plan, and an inspection of the farm.
"As a result, the organic seal is the gold standard in ecological labeling and consumers can have confidence that farmers are adhering to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program," said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu. "Regardless of which version of the organic label a farmer or processor chooses, the organic seal guarantees that the product was made without GMOs. Organic is also the clear choice for shoppers who are concerned about the health and sustainability of their food."
Set sail with the Cleveland Vegan Society for a sunset cruise on board the Nautica Queen. Enjoy a meal by Cleveland Vegan Catering with live music, dancing and a cruelty-free silent auction.
Sunday, July 26
6 - 9 p.m. (boarding promptly at 5:30 p.m.)
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!)
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