|Issue 14 Geauga County, Ohio
|Sept. 13, 2011
|"By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer."
~Helen Hunt Jackson
An apple a day
It's starting to feel more like autumn these days, and one of the great things about autumn is Ohio apples. The farmers differ on their favorite varieties from sweet to tart and crisp. You will start to see apples in the boxes - Galas and Honeygolds. The Honeygolds are from Sage's Orchard in Chardon, one of our pickup site partners who has been with us from the start. We're happy to have this opportunity to work with them to help fill out the shares!
Gala apples are one of the most widely-grown apple varieties. They are characterized by a sweet, pleasant flavor and good storage characteristics. The Honeygold is a hardy substitute for Golden Delicious that was developed especially for cold northern areas. It has a Golden Delicious flavor and Haralson hardiness. It is characterized by medium to large, golden to greenish fruit with a very smooth finish and reddish-bronze blush.
Here are a few apple facts you may not know:
~ Ohio is ranked ninth in the nation in apple production
~ Fresh apples float because about 25 percent of their volume is air
~ To keep potatoes fresh and prevent sprouting, put an apple in the bag
~ If you ate one apple variety each day, it would take 27.3 years to eat one of every type of apple grown in the world!
Hope you enjoy the bounty of Northeast Ohio's fall flavors!
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Reminders & updates
If you pick up at Lowe's Greenhouse, please remember to unfold your box after you have emptied it. It's a huge help to our delivery team. Thank you!
Please do not swap out vegetables from another box during pickup. We make a tremendous effort to make all of the boxes as similar as possible, and it is not fair to other members.
Certified-organic, grass-fed beef available
There is a limited supply of certified-organic, 100 percent grass-fed beef available (our normal beef is grass-fed but not certified organic). The price is $5 per pound. If purchased in 10-pound quantities, the price is $4.50 per pound. Note: This is only available frozen in one 10-pound package. To order, contact Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris at Michellebz@geaugafamilyfarms.org.
Please participate in a survey to help an OSU Ag student
Joe Vaillancourt, a graduate teaching associate in agricultural communications at The Ohio State University, has asked Geauga Family Farms to help with his graduate project. He is conducting a survey titled "UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNICATION NEEDS OF COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE PROVIDERS AND SHAREHOLDERS." We hope you'll find the time to participate in this 15-minute survey to help Joe with his graduate project. We hope it will give us answers as well, on how to more effectively communicate with our membership. The survey can be accessed by clicking on this link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/osucsastudy
In this week's shares
In this week's share, CSA members can expect things such as apples, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, potatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeños, hot banana peppers, Yummy orange peppers, poblano peppers, watermelon, beans, eggplant, sweet corn, basil, Swiss chard and onions. NOTE: You may or may not receive all of the types of produce listed above. This is a list of possible items. Different size shares and shares received later in the week may include different items.
We now have 20-pound boxes of #1 Roma tomatoes for $20/box. There are also a lot of multi-colored cherry tomatoes available for $1.75/pint. We also have bulk basil available for $4 a pound. To order, call Roseanna Hershberger at the Geauga Family Farms warehouse at 440-693-4625.
Recipes for what's in season
Please share your favorite recipes with us. Send them to Laura Dobson at LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org and we'll try to include them in an upcoming newsletter. This week we have something to help you use up all those peppers as well as a few recipes from one of the farmer's wives.
Best Stuffed Bell Peppers
6 large (8-ounce) red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup cooked white rice, cooled
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2-1/2 cups canned tomato sauce
1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 large egg
Cut off top 1/2 inch of peppers and reserve. Scoop seeds from cavities. Discard stems and chop pepper tops. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, garlic, and chopped pepper pieces. Sauté until onions soften, about 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in rice, paprika, salt, pepper, and allspice. Cool 10 minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup tomato sauce, then beef and egg.
Fill pepper cavities with beef mixture. Stand filled peppers in single layer in heavy large pot. Pour remaining 2 cups tomato sauce around peppers. Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and simmer 20 minutes. Spoon some sauce over each pepper. Cover; cook until peppers are tender and filling is cooked through and firm, about 20 minutes.
You can use any type of peppers for this recipe, even the hot ones - just keep in mind it will be spicy if you use the hotter varieties. These can be made one day ahead. Cool, cover and chill. Rewarm covered over low heat. Select peppers that are flat on the bottom - they stand up better while cooking.
Recipe from Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association - www.pcfma.com
The following recipes are favorites from Susan Fisher, Daniel Fisher's wife, of D&S Farm and Garden.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups chicken or turkey, cooked
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
Saute onion and celery in butter. Add all other ingredients; mix well. Bake in 13 X 9" pan, uncovered, for two hours at 325 degrees. Stir occasionally. (Four batches make a big roaster full. Bake four hours, 350-400 degrees.)
Banana peppers (sweet/hot)
1 package Mrs. Wage's Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
Clean peppers and slice into rings. Fill jars with pepper rings and pour pickle mix over them. Process them in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes. These are good with hamburgers, salads, or just to eat plain.
Spring Salad Toss
3 cups torn iceberg lettuce
3 cups torn Romaine lettuce
2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, fresh
3 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper
Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Mix together. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
Getting the most out of your CSA share
by GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier
Cleveland's RIPE! Fest No. 02
One of the advantages of participating in local CSAs is that I've become more aware of local food events, seasons and other offerings.
Last year, I came across an ad for RIPE, an event at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. I knew after reading the brochure that I had to attend. My in-laws were in town and even though I had just had my tonsils out and was without a voice, we headed down to the festival.
I would describe RIPE as a festival to celebrate local food. The festival uses the Botanical Gardens and Wade Oval as the stage and it's a great setup. If you've never been to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and like local eats, this is a great way to explore both.
This year, we can expect to see a farmer's market, cooking demonstrations, tastings, workshops on various topics like edible gardening, vendors, music and more.
A year later, I remember Vytauras Sasnauskas (better known as Chef V, owner of Americano restaurant in Bratenahl) doing a demo of making and pulling mozzarella cheese, the Snowville creamery making and serving ice cream, watching the movie "What's on your Plate?", and browsing all of the booths. It was a kid-friendly event as well, which is a requirement in our household.
This year's event will be held Sept. 23, 24 and 25. It opens at 11 a.m. each day and ends at sunset just after 7 p.m. Ticket prices vary, with discounts for presale tickets and members of the botanical gardens.
More information, including a preliminary schedule, can be found at www.clevelandlocavores.com.
Lyn Trier lives in Mayfield Heights. She's a stay-at-home mom trying to raise healthy kids who enjoy local food and other area offerings. She authors a blog at http://lifelynstyle.com where she writes about food, exercise and eating local. Lyn will be sharing her thoughts with the members of Geauga Family Farms CSA throughout the season.
Lyn takes photos of all the items she receives in her shares and posts them on Facebook. To identify the unfamiliar veggies in your share, visit our Facebook page and compare your produce to the photos.
Help save a piece of American horticulture history
This was sent in by Karen Herpel, who picks up at our St. Paul's site. "I came across this article on Planet Green and thought if appropriate you could put it in the next newsletter. It is talking about the Landreth Seed Company and trying to help it survive by buying their catalog for $5. It also gives a brief overview of the company and its importance to local and organic farming. On another note, I read ' Tomatoland' based on the newsletter's recommendation. It was great. Thanks."
by Sara Novak for PlanetGreen.com
It's disheartening to watch any American small businesses fall by the wayside as corporate conglomerates continue to expand and dominate both rural and metropolitan America. The angst is amplified, however, when a living piece of our American tradition falls to such a fate.
One of the country's oldest small businesses, D. Landreth Seed Company, an heirloom seed company founded in 1784, and one of the only American companies still operating daily that existed at the moment of this nation's founding, faces such a fate.
Landreth preserves our horticultural traditions by offering for sale heirloom seed varieties not often found in a market flooded by genetically modified alternatives. In fact, a slew of heirloom varieties wouldn't still exist if not for Landreth's preservation efforts. Today, the company still sells over 900 heirloom seed varieties.
But bad luck and hard times are now threatening this piece of American heritage. A Maryland court has ordered the Sharon Springs, New York, based company to repay immediately a single creditor at the expense of the business's sustainability. Although Landreth sought an attempt to extend the time for repayment by several years in order to satisfy the debt, the company's request has been refused. If the court's order is not satisfied within 30 days, Landreth will cease to exist and a part of America's history will be lost forever.
But you can help. Like so many businesses that survived previous recessions and depressions, Landreth sells their seeds through mail order catalogs. Landreth must sell 1 million catalogues to continue their daily operations.
Each seed catalog features Landreth's extensive heirloom seed selections and sells for a mere $5.
Buy a $5 catalog here, help save America's oldest still operating small business, and preserve a rare repository of American heirloom seeds.
Community supported agriculture gets boost from a senator
by Kathy Kahn for the Fairfield County Business Journal
Shortly before Hurricane Irene dumped nearly a foot of rain on the Northeast and ravaged many farmers' fields on Aug. 27 and 28, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) arrived in Putnam, Conn., on a bright, sun-filled morning to visit Glynwood Farm in Cold Spring.
Her visit to the farm and agricultural study hub was to introduce legislation to encourage community supported agriculture. Farmers markets are popular, but CSAs seem more of a well-kept secret she'd like to see expanded to a growing population of food-savvy consumers.
With hundreds of CSAs scattered across the state, a number which many farmers would like to grow to help sustain their own bottom line, Gillibrand's proposed Community Supported Agriculture Promotion Act would create a competitive grant program and award federal funds to organizations, extensions services and state and local government agencies to encourage grower support - from marketing to crop development distributed to new or current CSA farmers, building on the number of those that would promote the program.
Gillibrand also seeks the development of more innovative delivery and distribution programs to attract more consumers to buy their fruits, vegetables and meats directly from farms through CSA arrangements, as well as to build on the increasing interest about where that pound of green beans on the dinner table came from.
In the US, where foods from outside its borders are now labeled with the country of origin, concerns about the use of pesticides, artificial coloring and possible toxic ingredients being added (i.e., China's recent deaths from improperly prepared infant formula mix) has helped heighten awareness in consumers.
"More families are looking for food grown close to home, and families want to encourage their children to understand that carrots are not growing in grocery stores," emphasized Gillibrand.
Her visit coincided with the farm's regular CSA pickup day, where subscribers come for 22 weeks and fill their shopping bags with different fruits and vegetables.
"The selection varies week to week," said Dave Llewellyn, CSA manager, who also offers recipes. The farm sells eggs, fresh chicken, goat meat and other free-range livestock products.
With the obesity epidemic in the U.S., Gillibrand says introducing K-12 students to farming and CSA groups is a good way to keep them involved in what they are eating - and to think about where the foods they consume come from.
"Becoming involved with your family in a CSA program is a whole educational component," said the junior senator. "Kids who are overweight tend to have lower scores in math, reading, develop sleep apnea and also have lower self-esteem. By involving them in agriculture, they get an appreciation of the foods they eat and how much better fresh foods are as opposed to processed ones."
Farming is also emotionally healing, and Gillibrand says for returning combat veterans, people who are incarcerated or in high-risk groups, benefit from working outdoors and getting involved with growing food. "It's mentally calming and a wonderful feeling for them to see their labor bear fruit."
It's a good concept, but can be a pricey one. Membership in a CSA can range from $300 to $700, depending on the amount of food and the number of visits subscribers sign up for. Some families choose to split the cost to save on expenses.
Glynwood doesn't just concentrate on CSA markets or sustainable agriculture. The farm recently rolled out its first mobile slaughterhouse in 2010, currently stationed in Delaware County.
Because local farmers often have difficulty getting their livestock to a USDA-certified slaughterhouse, they are forced to sell their animals for a lesser price than they would if they could have the butchering done for them and sell directly to the insatiable marketplace in New York City.
Glynwood is currently in the process of developing new docking sites for its 53-foot-long trailer, which will travel the Hudson Valley and allow area livestock farmers to become more profitable. It is one of the many innovations Glynwood has cultivated, along with its growing CSA program.
Agriculture and its by-product, tourism, are essential components in New York's economy, said Gillibrand, the first New York senator to serve on an agriculture committee in four decades. With roots in the farming community, Gillibrand hopes to bring more than awareness to the table. She also hopes to bring awareness - and revenue - to farmers and to shoppers about how to eat better and support local farmers.
Gillibrand also commented on the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill and the E-Verify program, which the agricultural community is fighting to keep from becoming compulsory.
"E-Verify is going to be very problematic for our farming community if it becomes mandatory."
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Grass-fed beef & poultry: Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719, Kathleen@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062