Week  14                                                   Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 1, 2015

The Fair Share     

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 "Agricultural sustainability
doesn't depend on agritechnology.
To believe it does is to put the emphasis on
the wrong bit of 'agriculture.'
What sustainability depends on
isn't agri-so much as culture."
~ Raj Patel, academic, journalist, activist and author of The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

Greetings from Geauga Family Farms!

I've been reading a lot of articles about communities that are reclaiming their agricultural heritage. New families and young people are seeing the value of working with the land in ways that support sustainable production and stewardship. In many instances, the surrounding communities are thriving as a result. 

While the success of these places and their agricultural rebirth are very heartening, I feel privileged to live in a community that never lost this connection. People here understand its value and have found unique ways through the years to weave old and new into a region that feels authentic and whole.

Your participation in a CSA program run by small, family farms connects you to this heritage. We are working together to support traditional farms and small-scale producers in new ways by using innovative business models supported by modern technology. The involvement of members throughout the region makes possible the continuation of many important traditions. 

Want to take it one step further? If you would like to immerse yourself even more in the agricultural heritage that forms such an important part of our region, there is no better time than this weekend, and no better place than the Great Geauga County Fair. A visit to the fair feels like a communal homecoming that allows city dwellers and country dwellers alike to come together in celebration of the harvest and this land that supports us all. 

Now celebrating its 193rd year, the Great Geauga County Fair is Ohio's oldest fair in continuous operation and one of the nation's oldest existing agricultural fairs. How's that for heritage?

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 tomatoes (regular, heirloom & Roma), potatoes (Yukon Gold), fingerlings, carrots, sweet corn, green beans, cantaloupes, peppers (green & colored bell, Carmen Reds, Yummy Orange, Sweet & Hot Banana), garlic, sweet onions, storage onions, eggplant, Bravo radishes, yellow squash, shallots, dill and red raspberries.

Our farms grow a range of mild and hot peppers. Hot peppers will be labeled with a HOT sticker on the package. Peppers without a sticker should be mild, but it is always good to be cautious.

Some of the slicing tomatoes you receive might look a little pale. These pale red or pale orange peppers are fully ripe, but they are a special new low-acid variety we are testing. Let us know what you think!

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.
We made a mistake in last week's newsletter, and wanted to make a correction. Our farm store section listed red raspberries priced at $4/quart. The price for these berries is actually $4/pint, and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
This is the time of year when we see a range of spicy vegetables in the shares, and wanted to provide some guidelines for working with them. 

Bravo radishes - as mentioned in a previous newsletter, these purple and white radishes have a sharp, horseradish-like bite when eaten raw, but they mellow considerably when cooked. Try roasting them after tossing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. They have the flavor of fall.

Hot peppers - we will mark pepper bags with a "HOT" label, but it is always best to handle peppers carefully. The ribs and seeds will carry the most heat, so limiting your exposure to these can be helpful. Again, cooking can often remove some of the heat while adding deeper flavor.
Salmon available
We have arranged to provide access to fresh, wild-caught, Alaskan salmon for our CSA members again this year.

This year will be a little different, but will not effect the quality of the seafood. Last year, CSA member Captain Denny Crews met members picking up their shares at several of our sites. This year, Denny has sold his boat and retired. As Denny says, "The spirit was willing, but the body is getting old at 61." 

So, Denny, through his company Wild One Seafoods, has arranged with a fisherman co-op in Sitka, Alaska, to supply him with "direct-from-the-fisherman" wild Alaskan salmon. While Denny may not be catching this year's fish, he knows personally the fisherman who are. He guarantees the quality of each and every fillet. Denny's good friend of 25 years, Joe Ruvolo, will be helping him deliver the fish to our members. 

Wild One has frozen Coho fillets at $9.50/pound and King salmon fillets at $15/pound. The Coho fillets are between 1 and 2 pounds each and the King fillets are between 2 and 4 pounds each.

King salmon, also known as Chinook salmon is, as its name implies, the "king" of all salmon, usually selling for $25 to $30 per pound. It is the tastiest, due to its high level of Omega fats (15-16%). Coho, or Silver salmon, is second in terms of premier status, with 10 to 12 percent Omega fats. Both of the fish being offered are only hook-and-line, troll-caught (no net fisheries).   

You can find Joe in the parking lot near the pick-up area at the following pick-up sites:

Saturday, Sept. 5 at St. Noel - Saturdays, 9:15 - 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 8 St. Andrew Episcopal Church - Tuesdays, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Additional dates will be added as needed. If these pick-up sites are not convenient for you, you may place an order by calling Joe Ruvolo at Wild One Seafoods at 440-391-3569. Wild One Seafoods offers free delivery to your home or business for orders over 10 pounds. Wild One accepts cash and personal checks.

One additional note: There will likely be pin bones in these fillets. Once a fish is caught it is cleaned and flash-frozen immediately on the boat. In order to allow for fresher fish, instead removing these bones at the processing facility, which would require thawing and refreezing the fish before vacuum-sealing and shipping, the salmon remains frozen. Thus, small bones may be found in the fillets.
September farm visit
We have had so many requests from members who would like to lend a hand at our farms that we are working on a Volunteer Day for our September farm tour. Details will be forthcoming, but we are working with two of our farm families to host members on either the second or third Saturday in September. We will have a range of activities that will help our growers get ready for the fall, and will end the work session with a shared potluck meal. We will follow up with more information as it is available.
New in the farm store
Want to add some favorites to your weekly share or make a giant batch of your grandmother's famous pasta sauce? Look for quantities of these items, small and large, in our farm store, in addition to items we've listed in previous weeks.

Red raspberries - $4/pint
Storage onions - $20/half bushel
Canning beets - $20/half bushel
Fingerling potatoes - $4.50/quart
Yummy orange peppers - $2/pint
Spaghetti squash (approximate 2-pound size) - $3 each

We also have a number of frozen, grass-fed filet mignon steaks available for sites that allow beef deliveries. These steaks average 6.4 ounces and are priced at $7.50 each. They are great for a special meal, and will sell quickly!  

Limited quantities are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Find a link to our farm store, here.

When placing orders in the farm store, please make sure to proceed through the ordering process until you see a screen that thanks you for your order. This will then be followed by an e-mail receipt sent to your inbox. If you do not receive this e-mail, it is likely your order was not completed. Check back in your account to review whether or not the order is there, and call us if you have any questions.
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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.

Crockpot Stuffed Pepper Soup 
2 lbs. ground beef
2 green bell peppers, diced (about 1 cup)
2 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-oz.) can of tomato sauce
32 oz. of beef broth
1 cup of water
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 cups of cooked rice
Brown and drain grease from the ground beef and place in slow cooker. Add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, broth, peppers, onions, garlic, brown sugar, water, salt and pepper to slow cooker (basically everything but your cooked rice). Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. When about 30 minutes are left, add in your cooked rice, re-cover and continue cooking until time is up.
Recipe from familyfreshmeals.com

Easy Fingerling Potato Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2-inch disks
Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsps. white wine vinegar, divided
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
2 Tbsps. sour cream
2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 scallions, finely sliced (about 1/4 cup)
2 Tbsps. minced fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, and 3 cups tepid water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally until salt is dissolved. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook until potatoes are completely tender and show no resistance when poked with a paring knife or cake tester, about 17 minutes. Drain potatoes. Immediately toss potato pieces with 1 tablespoon vinegar, spread in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet, and allow to cool to warm room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine mustard, sour cream, olive oil, red onions, scallions, dill, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar in a large bowl and whisk together. Add potatoes and toss thoroughly to combine. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as necessary. Serve. Potato salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Recipe from Serious Eats

How to Caramelize Onions
Several medium or large onions, yellow, white or red
Olive oil
Butter (optional)
Sugar (optional)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Slice 1/2-inch off the stem ends of the onions and the roots off of the root end. Place the onions cut side down on the cutting board. Cut them in half through the root end. Peel back the peels from the onions. Lay the onions cut side down and make angled cuts into each onion, aimed at the center, cutting almost all the way, but not completely through the root end.  Make the cuts to your desired level of thickness. The root end will help hold the onion together as you cut it, making it easier to cut. Then cut a V in the root end to cut out the tough root holding the slices together.

Use a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan for maximum pan contact with the onions. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter (about 1 teaspoon per onion). Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Depending on how strong your stovetop burner is you may need to reduce the heat to medium or medium low to prevent the onions from burning or drying out. After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over the onions, and if you want, you can add some sugar to help with the caramelization process. (I add only about a teaspoon of sugar for 5 onions, you can add more.)

One trick, by the way, to keeping the onions from drying out as they cook is to add a little water to the pan.
Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but then stir them before they burn. The trick is to let them alone enough to brown (if you stir them too often, they won't brown), but not so long so that they burn. After the first 20 to 30 minutes you may want to lower the stove temperature a little, and add a little more oil, if you find the onions are verging on burning. A metal spatula will help you scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the caramelization proceeds. 

As the onions cook down, you may find you need to scrape the pan every minute, instead of every few minutes. Continue to cook and scrape, cook and scrape, until the onions are a rich, browned color. At the end of the cooking process you might want to add a little balsamic vinegar or wine to help deglaze the pan and bring some additional flavor to the onions.
Store refrigerated for several days in an air-tight container.
Recipe from simplyrecipes.com 

Cantaloupe Ice Pops 
Makes 12 Servings 
4 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp. dried mint 
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
12 plastic cups or Popsicle molds (3 ounces each) 
12 Popsicle sticks 
In a blender or food processor, combine the first five ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour 1/4 cup into each cup or mold; insert Popsicle sticks. Freeze until firm.  
Recipe from TasteofHome.com
Warming the heart & soothing the soul in summer
By Laura J. Novak
It was a cold and rainy day that screamed "Make a hearty beef stew!" No, it was not a reverting back to my days as a Texan, where we would pull out our scarves, cute hats and mittens once the thermometer hit 55 degrees for a "chilly" two-week winter. I'm still a true Clevelander who pulls out the shorts at 62, raving about the heat wave. 

And we still have nearly a full month of summer left! So this is not an autumn, cooler weather, where-did-summer-go, make-some-soup rant. This is a summer stew!

To be honest with you, my veggies were starting to pile up (I know, I hate to admit this) and I needed to cook as many as possible at once. So...soup.

The amazing CSA beef for stew was calling to me from the freezer, so I decided to make some stock from scratch by adding carrots, celery, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and half of the pattypan squash (the yellow one that looks a little like a UFO). 

Making soup from scratch is truly a labor of love, but it's completely worth it. The pride of cooking something delicious without the "help" from boxes or cans is incredible.

In Eat Yourself Super, Dr. Todd Pesek writes: "There is no substitute for home-prepared, close-to-nature whole foods."  He also says, "When you love people, feed them. But only yummy, healthful food."

Three years ago, I started making homemade soup stock. It's refined 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.

Please note - these were my ingredients this week. You can always substitute for your taste, mood, and what you have on hand.

Step One: Homemade Stock
Start with the stock separately to add depth of flavor and to keep the chopping easy. This way, you aren't eating soggy veggies in the soup that have already had the life cooked out of them. 
2 pounds of Beef for Stewing (Or six chicken breasts or even a whole lot of veggies.) 
First, sear the beef in olive oil for just a couple minutes on each side. 
Then, cover with about 8 cups of water, 5 stalks of celery chopped in half, 4 carrots peeled and cut in half, along with an onion and 6 whole cloves of garlic (peeled). I had a pattypan squash and yellow squash, so I peeled and cut them in half and threw them in, reserving the other halves for later. I added 2 tomatoes diced and peeled, then fresh parsley, by the handfuls, stem and all. Sprigs of rosemary are great here, too. 
Now you can add in oregano, basil, bay leaves, garlic powder, curry powder, marjoram, salt, pepper, thyme, and your favorite soup spices. Bring to a boil, cover 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 remainder of the celery, especially the leaves and hearts. I chop two more carrots and another onion, along with a few more cloves of garlic. I dice the rest of the veggies. This time it was the pattypan and summer squash (I saved the seeds to roast!) potatoes and bell peppers. 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 meat is cooked and falling apart (again 1.5 to 2 hours):
Pull out the beef or chicken and place it on a separate plate. 
Then, take out a giant bowl and place a fine strainer in the bowl. 
Finally, 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! 
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 potatoes and pattypan 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 summer squash, bell peppers and some extra parsley (softer vegetables that cook more quickly.)
When there are about 10-15 minutes before serving, you may add noodles.

Step Five: (Optional) Roast Pattypan (or Butternut) Squash Seeds
Separate and rinse the seeds, then let them dry on wax paper.  
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.
These are SO YUMMY!

Step Six: 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 (especially for chicken) to bring out the flavor and I love to add chopped fresh parsley and black pepper, too. It really adds a nice earthiness to the soup. Make a nice, hearty lunch or dinner by serving the soup with a sandwich or salad.

Step Seven: Put your feet up and let someone else do the dishes. You totally earned it.

*For step-by-step pictures and a completely different variation of this recipe, you may visit my blog, Shaking Free - A Quest for Balance, and read "Get Silly and Make Some Soup." Fair warning: Not only will you find silliness, you will also find embarrassing pictures of me. Scroll about halfway down for the soup.

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. 
Area events

Sustainability Summit 
Sept. 16-17
Sustainable Cleveland is presenting its seventh annual Sustainability Summit this year. Participants design and develop action plans on a variety of topics to create a more thriving and resilient Cleveland region. This year's speakers include Naomi Davis, founder of Chicago's Blacks in Green, and Marcus Eriksen, who took a five-month journey down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft which led him to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution.
For more info on Summit 2015, and to propose your own Innovation Session, click here.

Finger Lakes Foodie Extravaganza
Sept. 28 & 29
Looking for a getaway with a local food theme? The Finger Lakes region in New York is hosting a trio of local food activities - a Finger Lakes Foodie Scavenger Hunt, a locally-sourced cooking demo and panel discussion, and Farmer's Dinner at Roots Café.

For more information and reservations, contact Deb at 607-569-3767.

Inspire: Ignite your creativity
Oct. 2-4  
Various locations in Lake County
Writing ~ Meditation ~ Art ~ Music ~ Yoga ~ Dance
Join our own Geauga Family Farms contributing writer, Laura J. Novak, for Inspire, a weekend retreat igniting creativity in mind, body and spirit. The retreat begins in nature along Lake Erie and moves to the breathtaking Steele MansionYou will gain the tools to not only create that weekend, but take home practices that you can use everyday, anywhere to set fire to your creative life.
Bring your tools; guitar, ukulele, crocheting or knitting needles, canvas and paint, a pen and paper, your arms and legs, your witty mind, your creative heart. Come as you are - everyone is welcome!
Relax, create and live inspired. 

To register or for more information, click here. Deadline to register is Sept. 12.
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,



Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062