|Preseason announcements Geauga County, Ohio||April 23, 2013|
"When I add a spoon of honey to my tea, I give thanks to a dozen bees for the work of their whole lives. When my finger sweeps the final drop of sweetness from the jar, I know we've enjoyed the nectar from over a million flowers. This is what honey is: the souls of flowers, a food to please the gods. Honey eaters know that to have a joyful heart one must live life like the bees, sipping the sweet nectar from each moment as it blooms. And Life, like the world of honey, has its enchantments and stings..."
~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, "The Honey Sutras"
Change is in the air
Every spring seems to bring something new for all of us at Geauga Family Farms. Last year it was our new warehouse. Construction projects and upgrades kept us busy (and a bit frantic) up until the start of the season. It turned out great in the end, and it has been wonderful to have our own space, tailored to the way Neil and Rosanna manage the intake, packing and delivery process each week.
This year we have decided to make sure our storage and delivery systems are meeting health code requirements for the various counties in which we deliver our food. CSA programs are new enough that they have not been heavily regulated up until this point. As these programs grow in popularity, that is likely to change sooner than later. We want to be at the forefront of this issue, and have been speaking to the various regulating bodies to make sure we are delivering food to our members in the safest manner possible.
We're still working through all of the details, but we already know it will involve some changes. The items that require additional attention are beef, eggs and cheese. We will be purchasing and adding refrigeration units for our trailers. We are also looking into mechanical refrigeration units for storing these items at some of our pickup sites. We will be working with each individual site to determine the solution that will work best for them. We'll keep you posted as these details are ironed out in the next few weeks, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
While these types of changes can cause huge headaches in the short term, we always have to remind ourselves that we are undertaking these challenges because it's important to our farm families to provide our members with the best CSA experience we can. As always, we greatly appreciate your patience in these endeavors and look forward to a wonderful 2013 season.
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, Laura Dobson and the Farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Produce is available this week!
We're starting to see the real signs of spring. Our farm delivery truck will have beautiful savoyed-leaf spinach and baby bok choy available for this Saturday's deliveries at St. Noel (Willoughby Hills), St. Paul's (Cleveland Heights) and our farm pickup spot (Miller's Organic Produce in Middlefield). Both of these items are crisp and fresh, providing wonderful hints of things to come. If you can't wait for the start of the CSA season to get your fresh, leafy greens, add some to an order this week. Organic spinach is $4.50 per pound and organic baby bok choy is $2.50 per pound. Use the link to our shopping cart here to place an order by midnight on Tuesday. (You'll find the produce items on Page 3.) The truck may have some extra bags of these greens available during delivery, but we expect them to sell out quickly.
Heights, Willoughby Hills sites hold mini farmer's markets Saturday
This Saturday, we are holding a mini-farmer's market at our pickup sites in Cleveland Heights and Willoughby Hills. When you come to pick up your shares and/or extras, you will have the opportunity to purchase additional farm products, including fresh spinach and baby bok choy. These items will be available to anyone, even if you haven't placed an order in advance.
Click here to place your order by Tuesday night (That's TODAY!) for a range of eggs, honey, syrup, cheese, baked goods and beef. A limited amount of produce will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. This is one of the last chances you'll have to get fresh farm goodies before the summer season begins.
Your order will be available to pick up directly from our delivery truck at the sites below. We will offer the mini-farmer's market at the remaining sites on the later dates:
St. Noel parking lot - 9-10:30 a.m.
35200 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills
St. Paul's parking lot - 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights
Miller's Organic Produce (Farm pickup site) - 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield
Sage's Apples Fruit & Vegetable Farm Market parking lot - 9:30-11 a.m.
11355 Chardon Road, Chardon
Family Karate parking lot - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
8901 Mentor Ave., Mentor
Check out the updated list of pickup sites for Summer 2013
Announcing new sites in Kirtland, Lyndhurst and Parma!
Now is the time to sign up for your share. Deadline is May 1, just around the corner! Download an application or pay online here. It's not too late to take advantage of the payment plan. Details are on the print application.
Lowe's Greenhouse, Bainbridge - 2 - 6 p.m.
Marigold B&B, Chesterland - 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
NEW! Peaceful Children Catholic Montessori School, Kirtland - 4 - 6 p.m.
St. Andrew Episcopal Church, Mentor - 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Sage's Apples Fruit & Vegetable Farm, Chardon - 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Farm pickup site, Miller's Organic Produce, 17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield - 1 - 7 p.m.
NEW! Church of the Good Shepherd, Lyndhurst (on Beachwood border next to Legacy Village) - 4:30 - 7 p.m.
**NEW! Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Parma - 4-5:30 p.m.
LEAF Night (Lakewood Library), Lakewood - 5:30 - 8 p.m.
The Market Café & Wine Bar, Cleveland - 3 - 5 p.m.
*Mustard Seed Market & Cafe, Solon - 4 - 8 p.m.
Ruffing Montessori School, Cleveland Heights - 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
*Whole Foods, Woodemere Village (Chagrin Boulevard) - 3:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Farm pickup site, Miller's Organic Produce, 17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield - 1 - 7 p.m.
First Church Congregational, Painesville - 10 - 11:30 a.m.
First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, Shaker Heights - 9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
The Goddard School, Macedonia - 11 a.m. - noon
Hill's Family Karate, Mentor - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
St. Noel Church, Willoughby Hills - 9 - 10:30 a.m.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights - 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Sage's Apples Fruit & Vegetable Farm, Chardon - 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Farm pickup site, Miller's Organic Produce, 17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Corporate Pickup Sites (Thursdays, Employees Only)
Jones Day, Cleveland
Landerbrook Dental Professionals, Mayfield Heights
MRI Software, Solon
Towers Watson, Cleveland
* No pickup of beef at these sites.
** No pickup of beef, cheese or eggs available at this site.
Order your certified-organic seedlings now
Did this weekend's warm weather have you dreaming about your garden? If so, now is the time to reserve your organic seedlings from Geauga Family Farms farmer Marvin Hershberger. The plants will be delivered to the following locations on May 11 - Sage's, Hill's Family Karate, St. Noel, St. Paul's and our warehouse. You need not participate in the Winter/Spring program to purchase seedlings. Send orders to Michelle Bandy Zalatoris at MichelleBZ@geaugafamilyfarms.org. You will receive an invoice via PayPal. Invoices not paid by the delivery date will not be filled. Click here for the form.
Stop in at the farm during the Spring Drive-it-Yourself Tour
For the first time this year, Geauga Family Farms is participating in Geauga Tourism's Spring Drive-it-Yourself Tour May 11. Geauga Family Farms' own Noah and Kathy Yutzy will host a stop at their farm, Parkman Produce at 17050 Nash Road in Middlefield.
At the Yutzy farm, tour the farm and shop the farmer's market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We're planning to have some early spring veggies (Rumor has it there might be asparagus, so get there early!), fresh baked goods, Geauga maple syrup, local honey, jams, cheese, meat and more. Get a $10 discount on any CSA application submitted and paid for during the tour.
Stop in at other local businesses, which also will be having special sales, samples, tours and exhibits that day. If you visit a minimum of 10 locations you have a chance to win prizes when you make your final stop at the Middlefield Market Pavilion at 15848 Nauvoo Road in Middlefield.
Activities at the finale begin at 3 p.m. with entertainment, snacks, an auction, kids' activities and the grand prize drawing at 4 p.m! Get to know Geauga County. This is free family fun you won't want to miss.
For more info or to download a map/stop list, click here.
Certified-organic chicken available
GFF meat farmer Sylvio Pellegrino of Pellegrino Pastures will be selling his USDA certified-organic chicken May 11 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Sage's and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Family Karate. Sylvio accepts cash, checks and credit cards, and will have all the products listed below for sale Saturday. Learn more about Pellegrino Pastures at www.pellegrinopastures.com.
Whole chickens - $3.99 a pound
Whole chickens, cut up - $4.30 a pound
Leg Quarters - $3.40 a pound (2/pack)
Boneless/skinless chicken breast - $7.99 a pound
Wings - $2.99 a pound
Backs, necks and breast bones for soup - $1.29 a pound
Livers - $1.29 a pound
Hearts - $1.29 a pound
Chicken sausage (Italian or Cajun) - $6.49 a pound made with GMO-free/certified-organic chicken and a clean list of spices
Mild pork sausage links - $3.79 a pound
Sugaring time is over, but it's always the season for pancakes and waffles, and any number of other things that just need to be a little bit sweeter. We have a brand new batch of Geauga maple syrup available. Get your choice of medium or dark amber syrup in quart ($14), half-gallon ($25) or gallon ($45) sizes. To order, click here.
Grass-fed beef box specials available
The Geauga Family Farms Beef Team is happy still has box specials available. This is a great way to sample our 100 percent grass-fed prime beef in a range of cuts. Grass-fed beef is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fat, making it a healthier red-meat option. Our cows are raised in open pastures, and are not treated with steroids or antibiotics.
These selections will provide you with several delicious meals for your family and friends.
Winter Comfort box $60
Our Winter Comfort box is designed with stews, slow roasts and crock-pot favorites in mind. This package includes the following: (4) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (2) 1-pound packages of stew beef, 1-1/2 pound beef shank, 1-1/2 lbs. of short ribs, (1) approximately 2-1/2 pound roast
Small Sampler box $73
Our Small Sampler box has a little bit of everything: (5) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (1) approx. 2-1/2 pound roast and 4 steaks (Will include a combination of two or more of the following - sirloin, T-bone, porterhouse or rib eye - selected by our butcher.)
Large Sampler box $102
Our Large Sampler box is designed to provide more meal options or feed a larger crowd: (9) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (2) 1-pound packages of stew beef, (1) approximately 2-1/2 pound roast and 4 steaks (Will include a combination of two or more of the following - sirloin, T-bone, porterhouse or rib eye - selected by our butcher.)
Deliveries of these packages will be made to the following pickup locations on these dates:
Saturday, April 27 (St. Noel - Willoughby Hills; St. Paul's - Cleveland Heights)
Saturday, May 11 (Sage's - Chardon; Family Karate - Mentor)
Remember - one-pound packages of our ground beef and stew beef are available through our CSA program year-round.
Geauga Farms Country Meats also stocks a wide range of our roasts, steaks and other cuts. Feel free to visit them at 14320 Main Market Road (Route 422) in the Burton area, and don't hesitate to call ahead at 440-834-8476 if you want to make sure they have a particular cut in stock.
Thank you for supporting our local grass-fed beef producers!
Wanted: Truck drivers
Geauga Family Farms is now interviewing new drivers for the 2013 season. Candidates must be prompt, responsible, friendly and professional, and must own their own heavy-duty truck for towing our trailers. If you or someone you know is looking for regular delivery work this summer, please contact Neil Miller at 440-693-4625.
Refer a friend and earn a rebate on Summer 2013 CSA shares
Now is the time to sign up for our Summer 2013 CSA program. By popular demand, we are offering a new share size this year. In addition to our single and family shares, we will now have a half-share size. We have heard from many of you who want to belong to a CSA, but don't have someone to share it with. The half-share, which is a little bit larger than half the size of a single share, provides a selection of produce perfect for one person. Also new this year, receive a $5 rebate for every person you refer to the program who signs up and pays for a share by the May 1 deadline.To sign up, click here.
Time to plant?
We know many of our members are gardeners as well, and use what you grow to supplement what you get in your weekly share. Here is a quick early spring planting guide from our partner Lowe's Greenhouse in Bainbridge.
Now Is The Time To... Begin planting? Many of you have asked if it is time to plant and the answer is yes... and no.
Yes... plant trees and shrubs.
No... do not plant tender annual flowers like impatiens, petunias or marigolds until mid-May.
Yes... you can plant perennials and pansies.
No... do not plant anything if your soil is muddy or wet.
Yes... plant peas, beets, potatoes, onions and garlic.
No... do not plant tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or corn until mid-May.
Yes... plant strawberries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries and elderberries.
No... do not put out hibiscus, ferns, palms or other tropical plants.
Yes...plant cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and kale.
No... do not hang out just any hanging baskets in the cold wind. A 50 degree day can and will kill many blooming baskets. Select the few cold hardy, frost-fairy flowers that can withstand our early cold weather.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown announces local food jobs bill
New jobs bill to help expand markets for farmers, increase availability of locally-grown food
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced new legislation that would expand markets for farmers and increase the availability of nutritious locally-grown food for consumers, particularly seniors and low-income families receiving SNAP benefits. Brown says his Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act legislation would help Ohio farmers by addressing production, aggregation, marketing, and distribution needs while helping consumers access and afford fresh, nutritious food.
"Linking Ohio producers with Ohio consumers is common sense," Brown said. "By increasing access to fresh, local foods, we can expand markets for Ohio's agricultural producers while improving health, creating jobs, and strengthening our economy."
Brown was joined by Jeff Eschmeyer, a Shelby County farmer who sells his produce through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and has sold at area farmers' markets, and Tom Freitas, dining services supervisor for Sandusky City Schools, which purchases local-grown foods for cafeteria meals served to students. Brown released county-by-county information on the number of farmers' markets and farm-to-school operations throughout Ohio.
Aimed at helping more farmers sell their products directly to consumers, the legislation would create jobs by assisting farmers engaged in local and regional agriculture by addressing production, aggregation, processing, marketing, and distribution needs. It would also ensure that consumers - particularly low-income families and seniors - have better access to nutritious, locally-grown food. There are now nearly 8,000 farmers markets in the U.S., an increase of more than 150 percent since 2000. Direct-to-consumer agriculture sales produce $1.2 billion in annual revenues.
One of the provisions would expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program which serves more than 30,000 low-income seniors in 45 Ohio Counties. A map of the participating counties is available here. The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act also includes provisions that would:
· Provide funding to help farmers build the infrastructure-like community kitchens-to process and sell their food locally.
· Break down barriers so that schools can purchase local food more easily. Provide schools with a local school credit to purchase local foods.
· Make it easier for food stamp recipients to spend their money at farmers markets by giving the farmers access to technology necessary to accept electronic benefits-that money goes right back into the local economy. The bill includes a pilot program to test smart phone technology to accept food stamp benefits at farmers market.
· Incentivizes SNAP participation to ensure that beneficiaries can participate in community supported agriculture programs (CSAs).
· Create a new crop insurance program tailored to the needs of diversified and organic farmers who grow a wide variety of crops and can't easily access traditional crop insurance.
Brown, the first Ohioan to serve on Senate Agriculture Committee in more than four decades, first introduced the bill in 2011 and successfully fought to have key provisions included in the Senate-passed 2012 farm bill.
Countryside Conservancy offers classes, local food events and more
The Countryside Conservancy, whose mission is to support community-based food systems, offers classes to the general public year round. Here are some classes coming up this month.
Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden
Church in the Valley, 2241 Everett Road, Peninsula
April 23, 6 p.m.
Local farmer Heather Walters will teach you all about growing vegetables, from soil health to harvest times. All participants will receive a complimentary Countryside Garden Planner. $20 per person. Register here.
Local Food Akron Mixer @ Crave
Countryside Conservancy, Akron
May 6, 7 p.m.
A social gathering of farmers, food artisans and food enthusiasts. An opportunity to make friends and business connections, exchange ideas, spark a collaboration, or simply have a good time.
Beyond Pesticides director reports on latest pesticide bans
By Jay Feldman, Executive Director
I just returned from the spring meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), where, I am happy to report, the Board voted to stand by a 2014 expiration date for the use of tetracycline on organic apple and pear production. I and five of my colleagues on the Board voted to remove this antibiotic as soon as possible. We had originally voted in 2011 to set the expiration date, but groups representing apple and pear growers in the northwest petitioned the NOSB for another extension, after years of repeated extensions.
Additionally, the Board voted to set up a public docket to receive year-round communications from the public on issues that the public thinks should be addressed by the NOSB and the National Organic Program of USDA. And, the Board committed to reviewing all sub-ingredients in processed food to determine compatibility with organic standards under the Organic Foods Production Act.
As you know, Beyond Pesticides has long pursued, as part of our mission, the widespread adoption of organic practices as the alternative to hazardous pesticides typically used in food production. We are dedicated to ensuring the growth of organic through the building of consumer trust in production practices -that's why I felt especially concerned about antibiotic use in organic apple and pear production.
Antibiotic use in a non-medical setting, such as an apple or pear orchard, represents a serious public health concern. This use contributes to bacterial resistance in human pathogens that are difficult to control with the same antibiotics when they are needed to protect us in life threatening medical cases. Organic is adopting practices and materials that replace antibiotics.
In the same spirit, the Board rejected petitions to allow in organic production new synthetic materials because of health or environmental effects, impacts on beneficial organisms, and questions about their essentiality or need, given the availability of alternatives. The Board rejected a fungicide (polyoxin D zinc salt) and a rooting hormone (IBA), as well as materials proposed for processed foods (sulfuric acid, barley beta fiber, sugar beet fiber, and DBDMH).
Stay tuned to Beyond Pesticides' Keeping Organic Strong webpage for a detailed review of the NOSB decisions in April and for issues on the agenda for the fall meeting, to be held in Louisville, KY, October 22-24, 2013.
Note: One more antibiotic, also slated to be removed by 2014, will be on the agenda for reconsideration - streptomycin.
Disappearing bees worry beekeepers
By Scott Donnelly, Glens Falls Post-Star
GRANVILLE, N.Y Unusually high failure rates for beehives around the country are being seen locally, as area beekeepers assess the long winter's toll.
"This is the worst we've ever been hit," said Doug Myer, a partner in Myer's Apiaries in Granville. The business, started in 1926 by Myer's grandfather in Saugerties, NY, rents hives to apple orchards and other crop producers to boost yields.
The business started the winter with about 500 active hives, Myer said.
As of this week, Myer and his staff had inspected 364 of those hives, which are clustered in "yards" from Whitehall to Greenwich. A total of 229 were dead, Myer said, a loss of more than 60 percent.
"I've got records that go back to the 1940s and '50s," Myer said. "The last time this business took this big of a hit was back in the 1980s, when mites started coming around, and that was a 40 to 50 percent loss."
Varroa mites were first identified in Asia in the early 1900s, and experts believe they were inadvertently brought to the United States by beekeepers in hives intended to improve bee colonies here.
And while today's beekeepers consider it a good year if they suffer a 10 percent loss, Myer's records show losses of just 2 or 3 percent, back in the pre-mite days.
But the varroa mite is hardly the only challenge for area bee colonies.
David Wood, president of the Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association, conducted a survey this week of his members, and the 22 who responded reported an average hive loss of 38 percent.
"It's hard to be sustaining from year to year when you have that much of a percentage die-off," Wood said. "We can and have historically made up those numbers in the spring with increasing our hives, but that (failure rate) seems high to anyone I've spoken with."
SABA Members listed the presence of mites among the apparent reasons for hive deaths, but some also saw problems with queen bees dying, which causes hives to wither away in the winter months. Some beekeepers reported the presence of nosema ceranae, a parasite that increases bee mortality in winter months.
Read more about the disappearing bees here. For more information on this scary phenomena, watch "Vanishing of the Bees," available on Netflix.
Share your GFF story on Geauga Tourism site
If you've been a member of the Geauga Family Farms CSA for a year or more, chances are you've been out to Geauga County for a farm tour, to pick up your share or a Thanksgiving turkey, or just to drive around and see what you might find for sale on one of our farms.
Now, you can share the story about your experience on the Geauga Tourism Web site at www.tourgeauga.com or just click here. You can share your experience and a photo from your visit to the county. While you're there, check out what others have posted and maybe you will discover even more reasons to visit Geauga County.
Share our newsletter with family and friends
Want to add a new e-mail address or know someone who wants to receive our e-mails? Anyone can sign up for our newsletter on our Web site. All they have to do is visit our Web site here, enter their information and they will receive the very next newsletter.
(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 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