Week 3 Geauga County, Ohio June 21, 2016
"I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer -
its dust and lowering skies."
~ Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Welcome to Week 3 of the 2016 summer season, and what a week it is for Northeast Ohio! Our newsletter is coming out a little later than usual because we were caught up in Sunday's amazing victory. Our hearts are full for the people in this region who found renewed hope and joy through the Cavaliers' amazing journey.
The inspirational teamwork on the court reminded me of the incredible Geauga Family Farms team that works so hard each week during the season to bring healthy produce to you. Our farm families, packers, warehouse managers, drivers and farm representatives always try to go the extra mile to make sure that your experience is a great one. Our star players include Rebecca Kurtz, who receives a list of all of the available produce from eight farms each week, and figures out a way to distribute it fairly and evenly among 850+ shares. She strives for constant variety, making necessary last-minute changes if something doesn't meet our rigorous quality standards. Abner Miller makes sure everything works from the business standpoint while overseeing all of the operations at the warehouse, the produce pick-up and heading out on the trucks a few times a week to meet with customers and help distribute the shares. Our team of all-star drivers, including Rick Fenselon, Neil Gwinn and Barb Jurgens, plays a critical role in ensuring that everything arrives in excellent condition while negotiating the region's extensive road construction.
We would never pull this off without these amazing professionals. We are thankful for their individual talents, their commitment to supporting our farmers and the joy they bring to their work each day.
What a team!
~ with Laura Dobson, Rachel Machesky and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
Look for some of these items in your share this week.
Lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, Romaine), kale (Lacinato, Winterbore, Red Russian), Swiss chard, caraflex cabbage (teardrop-shaped), bok choy, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, garlic scapes, bunching onions, beets, basil, kohlrabi, rhubarb, broccoli and sugar snap peas.
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.
Now in our farm store
Want to add some favorites to your weekly share or make a giant batch of your grandmother's famous strawberry jam? Look for quantities of these items, small and large, in our farm store. Look for more items as we progress through the season.
Rhubarb - $3.50/pound
Kohlrabi - $2.50/a bunch
Garlic scapes - $1.50 each
Swiss chard - $2.50 a bunch
Red Russian or Winterbore kale - $2.50 a bunch
Green leaf, red leaf or Romaine lettuce - $2 a head
Caraflex cabbage - $2 a 2-3 lb. head
Yellow squash - $1 each
Cauliflower - $4 each
Broccoli - $2.75 each
Sugar snap peas - $3.50/lb., $12/half-bushel
New and unusual vegetables
One of the things we love about the CSA experience is the opportunity to try a wide variety of vegetables. If you are new to the program, you may be unfamiliar with items like rhubarb (reddish-green stalks that look like celery), Swiss chard (big, green leaves with brightly colored stems) or caraflex cabbage (compact, tear-drop- shaped heads). If you find yourself stumped, check out the Veggie ID Guide on our website in the FAQ section.
Extras - software issues
We want to apologize for some recent issues with extras orders. Our Farmigo software was placing members' extra orders a week ahead - skipping a week on our lists and causing orders to be delayed. We did not realize this was happening until some members let us know. We have contacted our software management team and they are working on solving this issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Tips for handling lettuce and other greens
We see a lot of greens during the CSA season, and love the health benefits they provide. It can seem a little overwhelming if you're not used to eating salads and greens on a regular basis, so we wanted to start the season with some basic tips to help make it easy and enjoyable.
Follow these lettuce-handling tips to keep your greens crisp and fresh all week:
We include this information every season, but if you have not had an opportunity to try this technique yet, please do - it made the difference between dreading our weekly greens (which went limp before we could get to them) and loving our weekly greens. ~ Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
Fill your kitchen sink with cold water as soon as you get home with your share. Twist or chop off the stem at the bottom of the lettuce. Place the loose leaves in the water and gently swish them around to remove any soil. Place part of the leaves in a salad spinner and spin until dry. Remove the lettuce leaves and place inside a large zipper storage bag between two paper towels. Repeat with remaining lettuce leaves and fill bag. Do not overfill the bag. If the leaves are too tightly packed, they will not last as long. Place bag in refrigerator and grab a handful of leaves whenever you need a quick and delicious salad.
*This can also be applied to greens such as Swiss chard, kale and collards.
Simple Salad Dressing
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. honey
¼ cup vinegar (cider, white wine, balsamic are all great)
½ cup olive oil
Place mustard, seasonings and honey in a small bowl. Combine with a whisk. Add vinegar of choice and whisk together. Pour oil in a slow stream, continuing to whisk until dressing has a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Toss with fresh greens and vegetables.
We would like to thank member Lisa Middleton, who offered her house as a pick-up spot in Hudson when our farmers market location unexpectedly fell through, and helped to find our new spot in Mayfield Village. We are so thankful for your energy and enthusiasm!
We include recipes each week using the items in your share. While our in-house chefs Rachel and Michelle always have great recipes to share, we'd love for you to send us your favorite recipes as well. We will include them in the next newsletter. Please e-mail them to
Speaking of new and unusual vegetables, here are some recipes to enjoy some of the less familiar items in your box.
Easy Bok Choy Stir Fry
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 large heads bok choy, chopped
2 tsp. soy sauce
Wash and trim bok choy (remove ends, chop stems into bite-sized pieces and roughly chop greens). Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Add garlic and cook until fragrant - approximately 1-2 minutes. Add bok choy and soy sauce and sauté until stems soften and leaves are bright green. Serve with rice or soba noodles.
Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-3 stalks)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup honey
1 cup uncooked quick oats (gluten free oats okay)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cups fat free milk
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Add honey, sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until fruit is well coated and place in prepared 9x9 baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, half the almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of honey, milk, egg and vanilla extract, then add to the oats.
Pour the oat mixture over the strawberries and rhubarb, making sure to distribute the mixture evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
Bake the oatmeal for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven with additional milk or cream if desired.
Recipe adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes
Swiss Chard Pesto - Geauga Family Farms
8 Swiss chard leaves, cleaned and spun dry
1 garlic clove
2 garlic scapes
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Put all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Process until well combined. Add oil in a thin stream to make a paste. Store in refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed tightly to top surface to limit discoloration.
Open-Face Tomato Sandwiches
Mix 1 tablespoon of pesto with 2 tablespoons of canola mayonnaise. Spread on a thick slice of bread or toast. Top with a tomato slice and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Grilled Shrimp Pasta
Add 1/4 cup of pesto to hot pasta and 1/3 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Toss until well combined. Top with grilled shrimp.
Grilled Garlic Herb Toast
Brush 1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of thick slices of bread before placing on the grill. Toast lightly.
Pesto Grilled Vegetables
Make a foil packet and fill with chopped zucchini, yellow squash and onions that have been tossed with olive oil and a few teaspoons of the pesto. Place on the grill and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender
Lowe's Basil Festival
If there ever was an herb to celebrate, basil would be it. Our partner Lowe's Greenhouse is holding its inaugural Basil Festival complete with a cooking competition. In addition to attending the festival that starts Friday with free T-shirts to the first 30 customers of the day, continues Saturday with a perennial sale, classes on growing herbs, cooking demonstrations, lots of fun for kids and more, and wraps up Sunday with a cooking competition. Submit your favorite basil recipe by June 19 and win a $25 gift certificate if it's selected for a collection that will be handed out during the festival. Or, enter the cooking contest! It's free to enter. Invite your friends and family to vote and cheer you on. First prize is $1,000! To enter, click here for more details.
St. Andrew Bocce Tournament
Join our partner St. Andrew Episcopal Church for the ninth annual St. Andrew Bocce Tournament. The cost is $150 per team or $40 per person. Game Nights will be Tuesday, July 5, Tuesday, July 12, Tuesday, July 19, Tuesday, July 26 and a rain date of Tuesday, Aug. 2 The Super Bocce Bowl will be held Tuesday, Aug. 9. All activities will be held at St. Andrew Episcopal Church at 7989 Little Mountain Road in Mentor. The bocce banquet will be Sunday, Aug. 14. This year one member from each team is requested to assist with food sales. Enjoy lots of family fun while supporting a great cause. All proceeds go to the St. Andrew Food Pantry.
For more information, contact Erin Garlock at 440-263-3561 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Peshek at 440-773-2700 or email@example.com.
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!)
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109,
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849,
Rachel Machesky, 216-246-8254,
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062