|Week 16 Geauga County, Ohio||Sept. 15, 2015|
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"Get in your kitchens,
buy unprocessed foods,
turn off the TV,
and prepare your own foods.
This is liberating."
~ Joel Salatin
Greetings from Geauga Family Farms!
Last weekend's chilly and wet weather provided a welcome relief from the heat of previous weeks. All of the farmers were thankful for some much-needed rain. This is the time of year when we start to get a little anxious, because seemingly minor weather issues can have huge impacts on our crops. Too little water can mean that growth on our fall crops is not vigorous enough to get through the chillier fall weather. An early, unexpected frost can cut short important crops that we are counting on for the shares. Too much rain at the wrong time can mean that our late season crops can't be planted when we need them, or can wash out younger plants before they get established.
We don't want to seem alarmist in any way. This transition to fall is also one of our favorite times of year. We still get to enjoy many of the late-summer items, while root vegetables, greens and winter squash start to make their way back into the boxes. The produce seems more colorful, crunchier and even more flavorful when there is a bit of a nip in the air.
This is one of the best times for cooking, too. We transition to deeper, richer flavors as we begin to abandon the grills for Dutch ovens and stew pots, and we find that it's a little easier to get through all the items in the share box when we remember that the growing season won't last forever. Everything finds a spot on the week's menu or gets tucked away in the freezer to be used later as we experience a growing awareness that the end of fresh summer produce is drawing near.
It's that last transition of the year back to grocery store produce that's always the hardest, but don't worry - we have five more weeks to savor the good stuff!
~ 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 spaghetti, acorn, butternut, yellow, pattypan & zucchini squash, potatoes, fingerlings, tomatoes (regular, cherry & heirlooms), green beans, Yummy Orange peppers, Carmen Red peppers, banana peppers (sweet & hot), green and colored bell peppers, storage & bunching onions, leeks, beets, radishes, basil, jalapeños, eggplant, shallots, parsley and kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian).
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 know many of you are anxious for details on our fall CSA program and we are working out the specifics this week. Look for details in next week's newsletter.
We mistakenly added the incorrect flavors of Taste Granola and Bars to our farm store. The available flavors are below. We apologize for any confusion.
Toasted Almond & Cherry
Toasted Almond & Cherry
Bulk items still available in our farm store
Check out our online farm store for bulk items still available.
Eggplant - $1.50 each
Green peppers - $1 each
Fingerlings - $4/50/quart
Remember, we now have Taste Granola for sale in our farm store. Try this yummy, healthy, locally made goodness today!
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.
Recipe contest winners
We would like to thank members Beth Karl and Karen Scheel. They were our winning recipe contributors last May, and they will receive a $5 credit to use in the farm store. You can check out their recipes below.
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
Summer Succotash Panzanella
Submitted by recipe contest winner Beth Karl
"Uses yummy tomatoes, corn, zucchini and beans (of which cut-up green beans would be a great replacement!)"
4 rashers thick bacon
1/2 loaf of stale French bread - about 8 ounces - cute into cubes
1 small sweet onion, chopped
4 ears of corn removed from the cob
1 small zucchini, chopped
8 ounces frozen edamame or lima beans
8 ounces cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
Handful of fresh basil
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled Cook the bacon until crisp in a 12-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat. Remove the bacon, cool and chop.
Add the French bread to the pan and toast over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the bread to a paper towel-lined half-sheet pan.
Add the onion to the pan and season with a pinch of salt, sauté until softened and beginning to darken, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, zucchini and beans and season with another small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is softened and the zucchini is beginning to brown. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the bread, tomatoes, basil and feta and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Recipe from stirandscribble.com
Submitted by recipe contest winner Karen Scheel
"The easiest way to use up all of your greens."
In a Vitamix or blender, add:
2-3 frozen bananas or a mixture of frozen fruit with at least 2 bananas
Handful of greens: Romaine, lettuce, carrot fronds, kale, pea shoots, beet greens or any mixture.
Fill container ¾ full of juice, coconut water, almond milk, aloe vera juice or water. Blend on high until smooth.
Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar
Serves 8 as a main course, 16 as a side dish
2 Tbsps. butter
2 large onions, chopped
2 large bunches Swiss chard, washed well, stems discarded, leaves chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs, whisked
1-1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbsps. good mustard
2 tsps. ground sage
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
1 butternut squash, washed well, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 1-1/2 pound of squash)
1/2-pound whole-grain bread, crusts on, cut into half-inch cubes (see Notes)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut in 1/3-inch cubes
The set-aside cooked onions
Chard In a large skillet, melt the butter until shimmery. Add the onions and cook until just soft. Set aside half the onions. Add the chard a big handful at a time and stir to coat with fat. Let it cook a minute or two, then add another handful. When all the chard is added, let cook until soft. Add salt and set aside.
Custard Mix all custard ingredients together.
Assemble (If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375.) In a large bowl, combine the squash, bread, cheese and cooked onions. Transfer HALF the mixture to a lightly buttered baking dish about 8x11 or 9x13. Arrange the cooked chard evenly on top, then the remaining squash-bread-cheese mixture. (See Notes, if making ahead, you may choose to stop here.) Gently pour custard mix over top, being careful to wet all the bread pieces, especially.
Bake Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. If any pieces of butternut squash are still firm, gently push them into the custard. Cover and bake for another 15 or so minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes or so before serving. Reheats well. To prep ahead: This bread pudding can be made ahead in two ways. It can be fully assembled, then baked a few hours later. Or the bread-squash-chard-cheddar mixture and the custard mixtures can be prepped the day before, then combined just before baking. With the first method, the bread pudding is slightly crusty on top, very good. With the second, the bread pudding is more custard-y, also very good. Cook's choice!
Recipe from Alanna Kellogg's blog - A Veggie Venture
Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese
Makes about 4 cups
1 two-pound butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise and rub cut side with olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 60 - 75 minutes or until completely cooked and soft. Scoop out flesh while still warm and break apart with a spoon. Timing-wise, finish the squash roughly the same time the pasta and the sauce is cooked so it's still warm.
Note: For a less squashy and more mac 'n' cheese version, use half the roasted squash in this dish, reserving the other half for something else.
4 ounces (about 1 cup) elbow macaroni
Cook macaroni in salted water. Let drain well. Timing-wise, finish the pasta and the sauce about the same time.
Note: For a more mac 'n' cheese version, use up to 16 ounces of macaroni.
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped small
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup whole milk
16 ounces cheddar cheese or any good melting cheese (if in a brick, sliced or cubed)
In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat until shimmery. Stir in the onion as it's prepped, then the nutmeg and white pepper; cook until onions soften. Stir in the flour and mix well. A tablespoon at a time, add the milk, incorporating each tablespoon well before adding another. (If you add it all at once, or without working in each time, there's risk of ending up with a lumpy sauce.) Stirring often, let the sauce come almost to the boiling point; it will thicken slightly. Add the cheese and let melt, adjusting temperature so the sauce won't boil. (It's not a disaster if it does, since it's going into the casserole, but it'll look curdled.)Combine: In a large bowl, break the squash apart, mashing it really, with a wooden spoon. Stir in the hot, drained pasta and combine well, distributing the squash throughout. Stir in the sauce and combine well. Transfer to a greased baking dish. If you like, sprinkle the top with pimento or paprika. If making ahead, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.
Bake: Return dish to room temperature. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout. To add color to the top, place under the broiler for 2 - 3 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn. When covered with foil, it holds its temperature for a good 30 minutes.
Note: A two-pound butternut squash is small by supermarket standards. If you get a large one, you might use only a quarter of the roasted flesh for this dish.
Recipe from Alanna Kellogg's blog - A Veggie Venture
Late Summer Harvest Pasta
This recipe uses several items from your CSA share, while highlighting their simple, fresh flavors.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 pattypan squash, tops and bottoms removed, diced
1 Carmen red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
5 tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 Tbsps. fresh parsley, minced + garnish
4-6 oz. of feta cheese, crumbled
1 pkg. fresh pasta - fettuccine works well
Boil water for pasta. Add oil to skillet and sauté onion for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Add chopped peppers and squash and continue to sauté vegetables until they just begin to soften. Cook fresh pasta according to package directions. Add tomatoes to vegetable mix and toss. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir vegetable mixture for about 5 minutes. Pour mixture over hot pasta, and top with feta cheese and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
Canning 101: How to use water bath and pressure canners
By Brian Barth for Modern Farmer
Before chain grocery stores proliferated in rural America less than 75 years ago, canning fruits and vegetables, and even some meats, was the norm. Most produce ripens between June and October, and canning provided a way to ensure the food supply for the remaining eight months of the year. Now that growing your own is back in style again-not as a necessity, but as a lifestyle choice-canning skills are an essential component of the gardener-chef's oeuvre.
Canning is a method to preserve food using boiling water or steam to create an airtight seal inside of a glass jar. It is a simple process that is often made out to be much more complicated than it actually is. That's because it is often conflated with other aspects of food preservation, such as pickling vegetables or making fruit preserves. Canning is simply the final step in preserving these items-the complicated part is mastering all the ways that food can be processed before it is canned and put on the pantry shelf. There is tremendous variation in the recipes for foods that are canned and it is important to follow them precisely-especially when it comes to ingredients like pectin, sugar, citric acid, salt, and vinegar that play a role in preservation.
When it comes to canning technique, the main variable is which type of canning device will be used.
Water bath canners-essentially a large pot with a metal rack on the bottom to support Mason jars-are suitable for fruits (which includes tomatoes).
Here's a version we like. Canning vegetables and animal products require a pressure canner (
we recommend this version) to reach the temperature necessary to preserve these foods safely. Pressure canners cost a bit more than water bath canners, but are worthwhile given that botulism, a lethal disease associated with canned foods, can only be eliminated by temperatures above the boiling point of water in canned vegetables and animal products. (Note: The inherent acidity of fruits helps to prevent botulism, so there is no need for the extra heat in their case. Use a pressure canner for recipes where fruits and vegetables are mixed.)
[Canning] is a simple process that is often made out to be much more complicated than it actually is.
Other than that, the canning process varies only slightly with different types of foods, and this information will be included in the canning recipe. For both methods, you'll need Mason jars (with lids and bands), a jar funnel, jar tongs, oven mitts, and a plastic spatula. The rubber gasket on Mason jar lids is the key component responsible for sealing out air and preventing spoilage-they are only designed to be used once, so pick up an extra pack of lids for each new round of canning. The threaded metal bands that hold the lids in place may be used over and over, however.Water Bath Canning for Fruits
- Place the jar rack on the bottom of the pot and arrange the mason jars on top of the rack.
- Fill the pot (with the jars inside; no lids), with water at least 1 inch above the top of the jars.
- Put the pot on the stove, cover it with a lid and turn the burner on high. Use the time it takes for the water to boil to prepare the food that will be canned.
- Once the water has boiled, pull the jars out with the tongs, empty the water they contain and place them on a towel on the counter. Retain the water in the pot.
- Fill the jars with the food product using the funnel, if needed. The recipe should indicate how much space to leave at the top of the jar. (A quarter or half inch is typical-smooth-textured jams and preserves require less, while chunky fruits and vegetable suspended in liquid require more).
- Stir the contents of the jar to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the jar.
- Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp cloth to ensure a good seal with the lid.
- Place the lid on top and screw the band snugly into place.
- Lower the jars into the pot of water. Use a glass heat-proof measuring cup if you need to scoop out excess water to prevent the pot from overflowing.
- Cover the pot, bring the water back to boiling, and set a timer for the length of time indicated by the canning recipe you are following.
- Once the timer goes off, remove the jars and put them onto towel-lined countertop where they must remain undisturbed for at least 12 hours.
After the jars have cooled, confirm that they have been sealed by pressing into the lid with your finger. If the lid can be depressed and pops back up, it is not properly sealed. The lid should not move when pushed if the process was successful. You can also take off the bands and lift up the jars by the edge of the lid to test them-they should remain firmly in place. If the seal is not successful on any of the jars, repeat the canning process or just store them in the refrigerator for immediate consumption.
Pressure Canning for Vegetables and Animal Products
Pressure canners vary by manufacturer, but the process for using them is similar to water bath canning. The main difference is that the jars will sit in just a few inches of water, rather than being submerged. There is a vent on top of the canning pot that allows steam to escape, which needs to be left open for the first ten minutes of boiling (to allow the air to escape) and then closed (to keep the steam in).
For foods that need to be preserved with a pressure canner, the canning recipe should indicate the amount of time to leave the jars in the canner, as well as the amount of pressure that is necessary (in PSI, or pounds per square inch). Pressure canners are outfitted with pressure gauges and the heat can be raised or lowered to achieve the correct pressure level.
Check the instructions that come with the device for more details on how to operate it.
A Few Final Details
Elevation above sea level affects the boiling time needed to seal jars in a water bath canner and the pressure required for canning with a pressure canner. Recipes give the time and pressure for sea level, so use a conversion chart to find the appropriate numbers for the altitude where you live.
Successfully canned foods resist spoilage and retain their color, nutrients, and flavor for a year or more when stored in a cool dry place. It is important, however, to start with only the freshest ingredients-avoid using old, soft, diseased, or damaged produce. Always check the lids before using a canned product and discard any that are no longer sealed.
Summer, yummy summer
By Laura J. Novak
There is nothing like summer and grilling out. My favorite way to grill the corn is directly on the grill, without the husk. It gets charred in places and tastes so nice and sweet. While we were at it, we grilled all of the corn and I made mango salsa, a black bean and corn mixture for salad, and then scraped some more corn to freeze for later. Using frozen grilled corn in soups adds a nice little crunch of smoky flavor and it's such a nice return to freshness, especially in the winter.
If you don't like the chargrilled flavor, you can still grill the corn, but keep it in the husk.
Zucchini and bell peppers are really amazing on the grill, too. I slice the zucchini into long, thin strips, coat with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder and salt, and add them with the corn. I usually quarter the bell peppers (after removing stems and seeds) and also brush them with some oil, garlic powder and salt. These are great over lettuce with some chicken for a nice hot and cold salad. It's a lovely summer balance: a nice crunch of the salad with the satisfying warmth of the grilled veggies.
Another favorite recipe of mine with the grilled sweet corn is Mango Salsa! I chopped up mango slices into little cubes, diced ¼ onion and one jalapeño pepper, added the kernels from about one ear of corn, half a can of black beans, squeezed juice from one lime, a squirt of CSA honey, some fresh cilantro, plus salt and pepper. I've made a similar variation with pineapple - it's also delicious!
Summer is so yummy, especially with these fresh, organic veggies.
Laura J. Novak is a freelance writer, blogger and passionate supporter of locally grown, organic produce. Laura's creative blog, Alishineya Victorious, is an exploration in writing, inspiration and finding creativity in daily life. She is also a leader of inspire: creativity retreat and the director and founder of Light Your Life Healing Arts in Mentor. You can learn more about Light Your Life Healing Arts and inspire here. Laura is excited to be participating in her fourth year with the Geauga Family Farms CSA and her third year contributing 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.
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. 15 St. Andrew Episcopal Church, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 19 St. Noel - Saturdays, 9:15 - 10:30 a.m.
Hill's Family Karate 11 a.m. - 1 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.
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.
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 (Note changes to this event)
Join our own Geauga Family Farms contributing writer, Laura J. Novak, for inspire, a weekend retreat igniting creativity in mind, body and spirit. The perfect balance of comfort and nature, the fully-enclosed, indoor shelter has a fireplace and panoramic views of Lake Erie and woods through high walls of windows. In this space, everyone will have a view of the lake in the first weekend of autumn's splendor. You 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.
Enjoy expansive walks through the woods along the lake with notebooks, paintbrushes, guitars, your voices. Find room to dance and play and dream. Meditate to the soothing sound of the waves. Come as you are - everyone is welcome! Relax, create and live inspired.
To register or for more information, click here. Deadline to register has been extended to Sunday, Sept. 27 and the price has been reduced to $145.
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