Week  15                                                   Geauga County, Ohio
Sept. 8, 2015

The Fair Share     

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 "Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature's pathways,
as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end."
~ Eliot Coleman, pioneer organic farmer, author of The New Organic Grower and Four-Season Farm

Greetings from Geauga Family Farms!

Most know that our organization is made up of a cooperative of families, and it is important to those involved to make sure we create a business model that allows time to nurture and support relationships with family, friends and community. We have described how our families help in the fields, with packing and with the organization of the weekly shares. Just being on the farm together is a step in the right direction when it comes to finding a sense of balance, but it's easy to get lost in the details of growing and distributing produce; a vocation at the mercy of Mother Nature.

The idea of sustainability is something we discuss on a regular basis, and one that comes to mind as we head into the extremely busy fall season. While our summer crops are still in need of regular and significant attention, we are also busy preparing for the fall program. In addition to that, we are thinking ahead about changes for next season while the ideas are still fresh in our mind. Each family, each person involved in this organization feels a personal responsibility to bring the best we can to our members every week, so we work together to juggle many things in our daily routines as they begin to take on a late-season urgency. 

Working toward this kind of balance means stepping up to lend an extra hand so others can take a well-deserved break, searching for ways to make everyone's job more efficient, sharing tips on planting and harvesting, and helping each farm find the right mix of crops for their land to improve quality and productivity for future seasons. It's the regular evaluation of what we are doing and how it might evolve into an even better solution the next time around. That's why we are constantly tweaking elements of our organization to test new options.

When we talk about sustainable farming, the term has multiple meanings. Most think of the concept of growing crops in a manner that does not deplete the land, but strengthens it for future use. Equally important to us is creating an environment that supports our families and nourishes our souls, so we have the energy to come back and do this again for our members, season after season.

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 kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), lettuce (red/green leaf, Romaine), Swiss chard, beets, Bravo radishes, peppers (Yummy Orange, Carmen Red, sweet/hot banana peppers, green/colored bell peppers), squash (pattypan, yellow, acorn, butternut, spaghetti), zucchini, cantaloupe, onions (sweet, bunching, storage), shallots, eggplant, potatoes, fingerlings, beans, garlic, parsley and tomatoes (cherry, Roma, heirloom, regular).

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.
Weather report
The late season hot and dry weather we are experiencing now is definitely making things challenging. You may have noticed that our red raspberry season was cut a bit short. This was caused by small, white worms for which we have no organic defense. Conventional farmers are able to combat this pest with chemicals, but we do not currently have a good alternative. We're thankful to have had the raspberries, though, even if it was for a short amount of time.

The lack of rain means that we aren't seeing robust growth in the crops that are currently in the fields. We are doing our best to keep up with irrigation, and look forward to the rain predicted for later this week.
Taste Granola joins the Geauga Family Farms family
Jean Chojnacki never really intended to start her own business selling the homemade granola she made for her family in the kitchen of her Hudson home.

"A few years ago, I developed my own recipe for granola," Jean said. "Liking what I came up with, I packaged it up and gave it to friends and family for Christmas and received such positive feedback I thought I might be on to something."

As a teacher by trade, she decided to take some business courses to figure out how best to launch her home-based food business. Jean spent six months perfecting her granola recipe and developing her bar recipes. 

Taste Foods, LLC, and with it Taste Granola, was officially  launched in January of 2014.  

Taste Granola's motto is "Real Ingredients, Real Flavor!" Using local organic oats as well as other ingredients that you can pronounce, you will find Taste Granola's products to be not only delicious but healthy as well. By nature they are gluten-free and vegan.

Geauga Family Farms is all about "real," and so a partnership with Jean seemed only natural.

"I wanted to be a part of Geauga Family Farms because they share my passion for local ingredients that come from nature," Jean said.

Jean's sister Ellen Velez joined the business this spring. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and as a former food-based business owner, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the small, growing company.  

Geauga Family Farms is excited to offer our members access to Taste Granola products. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 10, there will be packages of granola and granola bars available to order. Check the farm store Thursday to order and for pricing and flavor options.
Salmon available
We have arranged to provide access to fresh, wild-caught, Alaskan salmon for our CSA members again this year, and members are already snatching up pounds of the frozen fish. Joe sold out within the first hour at St. Noel's last Saturday (He had to call his wife and ask her to bring more!), so if you want some, it's a good idea to get there early.

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:

TODAY, Tuesday, Sept. 8 St. Andrew Episcopal Church - Tuesdays, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 12 at St. Noel - Saturdays, 9:15 - 10:30 a.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.
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.

Acorn squash - $1.50 small, $3 large
Butternut squash - $1.50 small, $3 large
Spaghetti squash - $1.50 small, $3 large
Swiss chard - $2.50/bunch

When ordering items, please be aware of the following deadlines for your pick-up location:
For Tuesday delivery, order by Thursday at midnight.
For Thursday delivery, order by Saturday at midnight.
For Saturday delivery, order by Monday at midnight.

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 

Grilled Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese 
2 green bell peppers 
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 Tbsps. olive oil 
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon pepper seasoning 
Core and seed the bell peppers. Cut each into six wedges, and place into a resealable plastic bag. Add the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Toss, seal, and set aside to marinate at least 20 minutes.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Stir the goat cheese and lemon pepper seasoning together in a small bowl; set aside. 
Cook the peppers, skin-side-up on the preheated grill until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip the peppers over, and carefully spoon the cheese onto each pepper. Close the lid of the barbecue, and continue cooking until the bottoms are lightly charred and the cheese is warm, 2 to 3 minutes. 
Recipe from AllRecipes.com 

Curried Squash Soup
Serves 4 to 6
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2-inch cubes, about 6 cups
Olive oil
1 tsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tsps. yellow curry powder
1 tsp. whole mustard seeds (if you substitute ground mustard, only use 1/4 teaspoon)
A dash of ground cumin
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley) 
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed stock pot on medium heat. Add a dab of butter to the olive oil. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the cubed butternut squash to the pan. Toss to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the squash. Then spread out in an even layer and let cook, stirring only occasionally, so that the edges and sides get lightly browned. You may need to adjust the heat up to ensure browning, or down to prevent burning or drying out. Add more oil and butter for the additional batches. Remove from pan and set aside. 
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and fresh ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer. Use a flat bottomed wooden or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits. 
Return the butternut squash to the pot. Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover the pot. Cook for 40 minutes until squash is completely tender. Use an immersion blender (or a stand up blender in which case work in batches) to blend the soup smooth. Add more salt to taste if needed. 
Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro. 
Recipe from SimplyRecipes.com

Spaghetti Squash with Feta, Black Olives & Basil
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 Tbsps. sliced black olives 
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh basil 
Preheat oven to 350. 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
Ratatouille Recipe
By Meghan McCarthy
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a breaking news alert.
Ba-beep, ba-beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeep.
The official end of summer is September 23rd which by my calculations, bearing in mind I work with numbers for a living, is still a full two weeks away. You know what that means right?
Of course you do because you're as intellectually stimulating as me, and you recognize the downfall of ending a season too early and starting another too soon.
Yes, the loose translation is ease up on the pumpkin, peeps. Close the lid and back away from the can. You can do it. I have total faith in you. Then again, I have seen crack addicts with more self control. I'll be honest, if you're not willing to me meet halfway, I might have to spike your Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I don't judge. Alright that's not true. When it comes to all things pumpkin, I'm kind of a hater. I'll be the very first to admit it, and I'll even take it a step further and tell you I don't have a great reason why. Truth be told, I find the flavoring to be...okay, I guess, although certainly nothing to write home about, not that I've been doing much of that anyway, unless of course you count the blog.
My anti-pumpkin sentiment and haterish ways is really a result of pumpkin mania. You know what I'm talking about. It's the craze which takes the blog world by storm come Autumn, like a plague of locusts they descend and destroy anything and everything in its path, including little ol' me. Remember I am pocket sized.
The simple truth is I like the underdog, and we all can agree pumpkin is not the underdog.
My very regular readers know, I do an anti-pumpkin post every year. As such, we all knew this one was coming. I just didn't realize it'd still be in the heart of summer. Alright fine, the tail end, which is why today, I'm bringing Ratatouille to the party.
I am doing my part and making the most of my late summer produce.
  1. Because I love veggies, enough to start a sentence with a preposition even.
  2. I'm still getting all the veggies in my food share, and
  3. Ratatouille rocks.
The best way to describe Ratatouille is a savory vegetable stew utilizing mid- to late-summer produce and fresh herbs, all of which is in abundance right now in Cleveland. It's a bowl of comfort, wrapped in intense flavor. I prefer to toss mine with some fresh pappardelle pasta. It's like a dream come true, only served up family style.   
Now, you can use whatever vegetables you've got on hand. I like to include lots of onions and garlic because they rock, also, eggplant is almost always involved. The rest is whatever I've got going on; typically loads of bell peppers, summer squash and zucchini, finished with freshly diced tomatoes, juice and all. In fact the juicier, the better. You already knew that though, you intellectual prodigy.
I follow two simple methods when I make Ratatouille.
  1. I cook it low and slow. 
  2. I also break the veggies down pieces and parts at a time before adding another round.
There might be some fancy culinary name for what I'm doing; I say I'm building flavor.
While the veggies are somewhat interchangeable, there is one hard and fast rule to follow when it comes to Ratatouille. Those beautiful globes of goodness must be in their prime, meaning Make. This. Now.
Sorry if I came across as a wee bit demanding. This is not a dish you make in the wintertime though. Simply stated, you need fresh, seasonal produce, so pretty please with a locally sourced, GMO-free, cherry on top, Make. This. Now.

2 1/2 cups squash and zucchini, roasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 medium eggplant, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cups bell pepper, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 tsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Pappardelle Pasta, cooked according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay squash on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Drizzle squash with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let cook for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
While squash are roasting, add 1/3 cup of olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is warm, add your onions, a crank of salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add in eggplant, garlic, bay leaf, another crank of salt and pepper and let cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low and add in bell peppers, roasted squash, tomatoes, thyme and basil, yet another crank of salt and pepper and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste it and add additional seasonings if desired.
The longer you cook it, the thicker it will become. Once ratatouille has reached desired thickness, remove from eat and serve over a bed of pasta.
Notes: To freeze, add cooked ratatouille, without pasta, to a freezer-safe container. When ready to use, defrost and reheat in a saucepan with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.

See Meghan's blog here.

Meghan McCarthy is a number cruncher by day and a Blogging Ninjress by night. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her two felines and occasional Hubby. Her favorite activities include cooking, exercising, and farmers marketing. In her spare time, she enjoys making a mockery of sentence structure and twisting words and phrases to better meet her devilish needs and more closely align with her nefarious ways. Meghan blogs over at Clean Eats, Fast Feets, where her posts are virtual kitchen parties, music included, veggies always welcome. She's been known to swear a holy crapton, and just recently saved the life of a budding young chipmunk. She's a modern day Joan of Arc without the martyr part. Or the Saint part. Or the French part. Or perhaps the Joan of Arc part.
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.

Clambake: A Fall Celebration in Your National Park
Sunday, Sept. 20
Cocktails at 4 p.m. | Dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center
3675 Oak Hill Road, Peninsula
Celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Cuyahoga Valley! Kick off the season with a tasty clam and lobster bake, with all proceeds supporting environmental education in the national park. 
Be sure to arrive hungry! In addition to the main course, there will be fall harvest veggies, New England clam chowder, breads and spreads, apple crostata with vanilla ice cream and more.
For tickets, 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