|Week 8 Geauga County, Ohio||July 21, 2015|
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"Respect for food is a respect for life,
for who we are and what we do."
~ Thomas Keller,
chef/owner of The French Laundry
Welcome to Geauga Family Farms!
We talked last week about our love of variety. This week we are thinking about the ways that the CSA is a different experience every single day. From our farmers to our warehouse team to our site managers, no two days are alike. It certainly keeps things interesting for all of us.
Weather plays a big role in this, with our growers constantly adjusting watering, weeding, planting and harvesting schedules based on the current conditions. The daily weather affects timing and efficiency on each of our farms.
The differences you are most likely to notice are the different items that go in the boxes each week. The broad range of produce we grow means our individual boxes are packed differently each week. Shapes, sizes and durability (think cabbage vs. tomato) mean careful consideration must be given to ensure the produce arrives to you in the best condition possible.
The weight of the boxes can impact our packing, delivery and unloading each week. The lightweight shares in the early part of the summer mean our trucks can be packed and unpacked much more quickly than during melon season, when only one box can be carried at a time. Our drivers take this into account each day, as it affects delivery timing and schedule.
Our warehouse team is especially adept at making last-minute changes and dealing with differing daily conditions. If a determination is made that a particular vegetable is not up to our standards when it reaches the warehouse, it requires a quick substitution to keep to the tight, daily schedule.
Our focus on organic growing practices makes us different than many programs out there. While government regulations seem to make it harder to be an organic farmer every day, we continue to stand our ground and fight for what we believe is right - the ability of our community to eat healthy produce. Your health and your access to this food are important to us.
Do you feel a little different for picking up your produce in a church parking lot or at your office instead of a grocery store each week? We hope you do, and we hope that others notice the difference. By supporting local farms this way, you are changing the way that others around you think about where they get their food.
Different is good, in our opinion. Thanks for being a little different with us!
~ 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 peaches, blueberries, kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), Swiss chard, collards, rhubarb, cabbage (Caraflex, green, red), Napa cabbage, beets (Red Ace, Cylindra), eggplant, sweet onions, garlic (dried), bunching onions, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, dill, carrots, parsley, pattypan squash, sweet corn and beans (wax and green).
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.
The warm, sunny weather means that even more crops are getting ripe. Look for new vegetables and new varieties showing up in the boxes.
It has been brought to our attention that several people's specially labeled shares were taken last week at a range of our locations. We ask all of our members to please pay attention at pick-up, and to please not take anything with someone else's name.
Thank you for your attention to this!
Shares still available
Are friends and co-workers jealous of your weekly organic veggies? Don't hesitate to let them know that they can still sign up for a share with Geauga Family Farms. Forward them this newsletter, and they can find a link to our sign-up area, here.
New in the online farm store this week
This week's farm store has some great items that can be added to your order. Use these to fill out your box with more of your favorites, or do some canning and preserving. Quantities are limited, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can access the farm store here.
Basil - $2.50/bunch
Dill - $2.50/bunch
Canning tomatoes - $13/half bushel
Additional pickling cucumbers - $15/peck
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 that 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
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise in ¼-inch thick slices
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1-1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
Pour oil in large, rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Make sure pan is well coated. Preheat oven to 375°. Mix breadcrumbs and spices in a shallow bowl. Dip eggplant slices in egg and coat with seasoned bread crumbs. When eggplant slices are ready, remove baking sheet from oven and place eggplant slices in a single layer. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for 15 minutes more.
- Top slices with warm pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese for eggplant parmesan.
- Make an eggplant cutlet sandwich with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and goat cheese.
- Roll with goat cheese and slice into rounds for a tasty appetizer.
Recipe from Michelle Bandy Zalatoris
Farmer's Market Pasta Salad
2 cups halved baby heirloom tomatoes
2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced into half moons
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Parmesan Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 (8-oz.) package penne pasta*
1/3 cup torn fresh basil
1/3 cup torn fresh cilantro
Toss together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Add hot cooked pasta to tomato mixture; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving platter, and top with basil and cilantro.
*1 (20-oz.) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini may be substituted.
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsps. lemon zest
3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves
2 tsps. freshly ground black pepper 2 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch cubes)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. 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.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Process Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add basil and cilantro; pulse 5 or 6 times or just until blended.
Recipe from Southern Living
Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon-Cream Filling
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature; more for the pan
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1-1/3 cups golden brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg, separated
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsps. grated lemon zest
2-1/2 cups room-temperature blueberries (14 oz.)
In a large bowl, combine, all-purpose flour, old-fashioned rolled oats, golden brown sugar, salt and baking powder. With your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture. Transfer 2 cups of the crumb mixture to another bowl and reserve for the topping. Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs.
Line a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends. Lightly butter the sides and the bottom of the foil.
Press the egg white/crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust. Bake the crust in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes.
While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened-condensed milk, fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and egg yolk. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.
Evenly sprinkle the blueberries over the hot crust and spoon lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread carefully with a spatula to distribute a little more. Do not crush the berries. Bake for 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle reserved topping over the lemon-blueberry layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps as you sprinkle. Bake until the edges are bubbling and the topping is brown, about 30 minutes.
Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan with the foil overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Remove foil and cut into 24 bars. Store in the refrigerator and zap them in the microwave before eating.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
Paleo Zucchini Chips
One zucchini (The larger the better, to counter shrinkage)
Paleo-friendly cooking spray
Salt & Pepper
Slice your zucchini thin, about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. (For best results, use a mandolin; a food processor can make them a little too thin.)
Preheat your oven to 225°. Spray your baking sheet with your paleo-friendly cooking spray. Lay out all the chips and spray cooking spray lightly on the chips, or toss in coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes to two hours, or until they reach the desired level of crispiness. These are best when eaten within two or three hours.
Recipe from www.paleoforever.com
By Laura Novak
As I was washing lettuce in the sink, something leapt right out of my lettuce. I jumped almost as high as the grasshopper had hopped to get out. I stopped the running water and looked at the little guy who had obviously hopped a ride from the farm. With a paper towel, I let the rather large grasshopper sidle up to safety, then out to the garden he went.
At first I was a little...shall we say...jumpy. There was a very careful inspection of each and every individual leaf after the "incident."
But then I started thinking - these veggies are from the earth. And what a testament to the organic, pesticide-free produce. That tiny creature was healthy and hearty enough to make it from the farm, along a bumpy ride in a truck, to the church in a bag stuffed with veggies, chilling out in my refrigerator for two days, jumping out from near drowning to see a giant (he may have been almost as frightened as me), then out to the garden to dry in the sun. Obviously, there is no poison anywhere near that lettuce that could hurt me or my family if Mr. Grasshopper made it that far without even looking woozy.
So instead of freaking out, I simply gave thanks for the freshness of the fields. Don't be surprised if you have a leaping lettuce experience. Every year, I have at least one critter looking at me. But now the thing to wonder about...what happened to those bugs on your conventional produce? And are you looking forward to biting into what killed them? I much prefer this alternative.
In honor of my new friend, please enjoy the recipe for one of my favorite summer salads to bring to parties. It's easy to make and I always receive compliments on the dish. I also like to add avocado, bell pepper and cucumber. When I add a significant amount of extra vegetables, I usually double the amount of dressing.
Hoppin' John Salad
Makes about 10 1/2-cup servings
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, or 1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
2 Tbsps. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 - 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Combine black-eyed peas, rice, green onions, celery, tomato and parsley in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil, salt and garlic and pour over the salad. Toss gently. Chill 1 to 2 hours if time permits.
From the PCRM (The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) website
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.
Dinner in the Valley
Aug. 12, 6 p.m.
A Profusion of Vegetables
Ledges Shelter, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
For reservations and more info, click here.
Aug. 28, 7 p.m.
Dinner Along the Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Rockside Station
For reservations and more info, click here.
REAP the Benefit 2015: A Night on the Farm
Saturday, Aug. 29
7 - 10:30 p.m.
The Ohio City Farm at Bridge Avenue and West 24th Street
Cleveland chefs will create dishes using produce cultivated by Ohio City farm trainees at individual chef stations. Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who has dedicate his life's work to spreading the philosophy of non-violence, will speak. Guests will also enjoy traditional music and dance from members of the local refugee community and The Revolution Brass Band, a horn-and-percussion group. For tickets, click here.
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.
The scavenger hunt will present a variety of experiences from farm visits to local cheese producers, with artisan bread thrown in for good measure. Spots for lunch, wineries and breweries are on the hunt to keep it interesting. You'll get to meet the people who grow and produce this food, and learn about why they do what they do. Many stops will have a special surprise. Reservations are required. The scavenger hunt begins Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. Pricing is $75 per person and includes all taxes and gratuities.
Locally Sourced Cooking Demo
A panel of chefs and speakers will instruct you on how easy it is to find and use local ingredients to create incredible meals. They will share recipes, talk about methods and techniques, and get your taste buds involved when the preparation is done. There will also be time for a Q&A session with the panel.
Price is $45 per person, with local taxes included.
Finger Lakes Farm-to-Table Dinner at Roots Café
Enjoy an evening of wine tasting and a multi-course dinner, the ultimate culmination of your local food journey! Pricing per person is $99, includes local taxes and gratuity.
For more information and reservations, contact Deb at 607-569-3767.
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,
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062