|Week 16 Geauga County, Ohio||Sept. 21, 2012|
"Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?
Not just eat it, but taste it?
You can't taste the beauty and energy
of the earth in a Twinkie."
The weather is always on our minds.
While the drought this summer was devastating for many farms, we feel lucky to have had good irrigation systems at the farms and enough rain here and there throughout July to keep our crops relatively healthy. There were certainly some instances where tough decisions had to be made about which crops to water from limited resources and which crops to let go, but overall we have been pretty happy with our harvests this year.
Our beef farmers had a tougher time. You have to have grass for grass-fed beef, and the rainfall patterns did not permit much of it to grow. That meant purchasing grass at a time when supplies are usually plentiful and free.
The fall weather poses its own challenges. Cool, wet weather is usually the norm, adding time and effort to the harvesting process. Damp weather can also mean new pests and diseases, and produce that may be a little less sturdy than during the height of the summer heat. On the other hand, the cool weather is easier for transport and storage, helping the produce to stay crisp on its journey to our sites. This is also the time of year when we keep an eye on the temperatures, wondering if an early frost will cut some of our harvests short. As a result, our weekly planning for the shares has to start incorporating back-up options in case a hard frost occurs mid-week.
Despite all of the variables that Mother Nature throws our way each season, we have one goal - through sun or rain, cool weather or hot weather, our commitment to bringing you the best produce from our fields never waivers. Your satisfaction is priority!
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, Laura Dobson and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Marlin Barkman Jonas L. Byler Thomas C. Byler
Daniel Fisher Lester Hershberger Marvin Hershberger
Dominic Marchese Abner McDaniel Andy J. Miller
Noah Yutzy Jr.
Fall/Winter CSA application now available!
We are happy to announce that applications are now available for our Fall/Winter CSA. We'll have about 300 shares available and our season will run for eight weeks, from Thursday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 27, through Thursday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 22 (in previous years our season has run for six weeks). This is a very popular program. To be sure you get your share, we advise signing up as soon as possible. Shares will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To download the application, or to sign up online, click here.
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as apples, garlic, bunching onions, white, yellow or red storage onions, Big Beef tomatoes, mixed or red cherry tomatoes, bell peppers (variety), Hungarian Wax banana peppers (hot), jalapeños (hot), sweet banana peppers, Red Carmen peppers, Yummy Orange peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplants, bok choy, spinach, Red Russian kale, Rainbow chard, parsley, basil (regular or lemon), green or red leaf lettuce, green romaine lettuce, green beans, cabbage, watermelon and kohlrabi.
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 at different times of the week may include different items.
Outstanding bulk produce order invoices
If you have ordered bulk produce and have not paid your invoice, please do so at your earliest convenience. Thanks!
Bulk veggie bargains
We have a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers so get some now while they are on sale. The tomatoes are great for canned sauce, juice or whole tomatoes. The hot peppers are perfect for salsa to put on top of all your favorite Mexican dishes.
Canning tomatoes - $12/20-pound box
#1 Roma tomatoes - $15/20-pound box
Basil (regular or lemon) - $3/pound
Red beets - $20/half-bushel (with or without tops)
Green bell peppers - $18/bushel, $9/half-bushel
Red bell peppers - $20/half-bushel
Hot peppers - $12/half-bushel
Sweet banana peppers - $12/half-bushel
Yummy Orange peppers (sweet) - $18/half-bushel
To order, call Rosanna at 440-693-4625 between 7 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your bulk produce will be delivered with your share in a box with your name on it. Please look for it when you pick up your share. Rosanna will invoice you for your items.
Stocking up for winter
If you are considering stocking up before the end of the season on ground beef, please do so soon.If you are ordering five pounds or more at once, please allow two weeks for us to fill your order.
Reserve your Thanksgiving turkey now
Some of our farmers raise turkeys for the holiday season, and we are just starting to take reservations. Local, humanely-raised, GMO-free turkeys make a delicious feature for your special holiday meals. The turkeys are fed non-GMO feed and organic minerals. They are not considered fully organic. The price is $3 per pound.
Please contact farmers directly to reserve your bird. You can request a general size range (i.e. 15-20 pounds) and arrange a day to pick up the turkeys at the farm. Turkeys cannot be delivered to pickup sites, but this provides a wonderful opportunity for an autumn drive in the country. Reserve your turkey today!
Hershberger Organic (Ask to speak with Marvin, Rosanna or Iva Mae.): 440-548-2399
We also have larger turkeys (20+ pounds).
D & S Farm & Garden (Ask to speak with Susan Fisher.): 440-693-4632
We will provide contact information for additional farmers as they are ready to begin accepting turkey orders.
Farm tour information
Our farm tours are held on the second Saturday of the month from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Lester Hershberger farm
The last farm visit of the season is tentatively set for Saturday, Oct. 13. You won't want to miss it.
Here is what member Kim Roberts had to say about the last farm visit:
"I wanted to say how much my girlfriend and I enjoyed the tour, hayride, snacks and the canning demo at the Miller's farm on Saturday. I love the farm visits as much as the wonderful veggies we get. I don't know if it could get any better. :D Thanks so much!"
Saturday, Oct. 13 - Fall tour and potluck get-together at the warehouse
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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.
These cutlets are easy to make, and can be utilized in a variety of dishes.
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise in ¼ inch thick slices
2 eggs, beaten
2 T vegetable or canola oil
1-1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Place 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 these 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.
Cheesy Squash Casserole
6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.
Recipe from foodnetwork.com
Quick Stuffed Peppers
2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 cup salsa
1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice
2 tablespoons hot water
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1/2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons sour cream (if desired)
Arrange pepper halves in a 9-inch square glass baking dish or microwave steamer. Cover dish with parchment. Heat four minutes in the microwave, or until tender.
In a microwaveable dish, mix salsa, rice and water. Cover and cook in the microwave for four minutes, or until rice is cooked.
Stir green onions, corn, kidney beans, and red pepper flakes into the tomato mixture. Heat in the microwave for three minutes, or until heated through.
Turn on broiler. Spoon hot tomato mixture evenly into pepper halves, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Place under broiler until peppers are warm and cheese if melted and bubbly, about two minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand one to two minutes before serving. Top with a spoonful of sour cream if desired.
No-Pasta Vegetable Lasagna
For the lasagna "noodles"
2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
3 small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
For the tofu "ricotta" (Now, when I try this I will use actual ricotta and mozzarella, not tofu - blech!)
16 oz. silken tofu
1 small onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/4 pounds firm tofu, squeezed dry and crumbled
1/4 Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest or other no-salt seasoning (The vegizest is only available online. It's a mixture of herbs and spices - I made my own.)
2 T dried Italian seasoning
1 cup grated nondairy mozzarella cheese
For the vegetables
2 heads broccoli, coarsely chopped
4 cups sliced mixed fresh mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, oyster)
4 medium bell peppers (red, yellow and/or orange), seeded and chopped
7 oz. baby spinach
3 cups no or low-salt pasta sauce, divided
Shredded fresh basil, for garnish
To make the lasagna noodles, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wipe a baking pan with a small amount of olive oil. Place the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash in the pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until flexible, but not completely cooked. Work in batches if necessary. Set aside.
While the noodles are baking, make the tofu "ricotta." Puree the silken tofu, onion, and garlic in a food processor. Add the basil leaves and pulse to coarsely chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the crumbled firm tofu. Add the VegiZest, Italian seasoning and grated cheese. Set aside.
To prepare the vegetables, saute the broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach, without water, over low heat for five minutes, just until tender.
To assemble the lasagna, spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Layer eggplant slices, sauteed vegetables, yellow squash slices, zucchini slices and tofu "ricotta," then spread with pasta sauce. Repeat the layer, ending with the tofu "ricotta." Spread the remaining pasta sauce on top and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for one hour, or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with the shredded basil.
Recipe from "Eat to Live"
Local food events
Cleveland's RIPE! Fest No. 03
Cleveland Botanical Gardens
Saturday, Sept. 22 - Sunday, Sept. 23
11 a.m. - Sundown
Eat, Drink and Be Local!
RIPE Fest is a celebration of everything local. Our very own Abner McDaniel of Red Sled Farm will be a Marketplace Vendor Saturday only. Be sure to stop in and say hi. You will find him among other Northeast Ohio merchants, farmers, chefs, bakers and artists who offer their homegrown food and locally made goods at the festival.
RIPE! Fest serves up a weekend full of live music by Northeast Ohio bands, a marketplace full of handmade goods by local merchants, workshops about cooking and gardening and a lively children's activity area, including puppet shows, crafts and pedal-tractor rides. RIPE! Fest is a seasonal celebration suitable for all ages.
For tickets and more information, visit the RIPE Fest site.
2012 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series
This annual event continues throughout September. Support the organization that certifies our farmers. Visit http://www.oeffa.us/oeffa/pdfs/farmtour2012.pdf for information about the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association's 2012 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. All sorts of events are happening in September. See alpacas, watch a blacksmith and see busy bees, meet other Ohio growers and restaurateurs as well as others involved in the local food scene at a produce auction, an institutional sourcing tour, a fiber production tour and more.
Ohio Farm History Tour & Potluck
Stone Garden Farm and Village
2891 Southern Road, Richfield (Summit County)
Step back in time as you tour the Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment with Jim and Laura Fry. Stone Garden Farm and Village is home to 39 historic buildings from five counties that have been relocated and restored, creating an authentic 19th century village. In addition to touring permaculture gardens, visitors will see a working weaving mill, slaughter house, saw mill, general store, post office, school house, wagon and wheel repair shop, threshing mill, tin and pewter shop, rope making and broom shop, cigar factory, letterpress print shop, blacksmith, and woodworking shop. The museum hosts classes on topics including soap making, cheese and butter making, wild edibles, and organic gardening, and sells seasonal farm products, including pumpkins and Christmas trees, and heirloom vegetables, eggs, maple syrup, honey, homemade soaps, and crafts year-round. Please bring a dish to share for a potluck following the tour. This tour is free and open to the public.
Alpaca Fiber Production Tour
Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m.
Alpaca Spring Valley Farm
3899 Whitacre Ave. SE, Minerva (Stark County)
Join Alicia Rocco and Norma Prosser for this tour to learn about sustainable alpaca production. Meet the alpacas and learn how they provide fiber and nutrient rich compost. On this research farm, board certified integrative natural health practitioner Alicia Rocco will describe how to use herbal remedies, homeopathics, and natural parasite control to care for alpacas. This tour is free and open to the public.
Directions: From Canton, go east on Rte. 30 to Minerva. Turn left on Market St. at the square. After 0.5 miles, turn left on Whitacre Ave. The farm is on the left after 0.5 miles. For more information about this farm tour, or for a map to the farm, go to http://www.oeffa.us/oeffa/pdfs/farmtour2012.pdf.
OEFFA Athens Chapter Farm Tour
Sunday, Sept. 30, 3 p.m.
Solid Ground Farm
13262 Liars Corner Road, Millfield (Athens County)
Join OEFFA's Athens Chapter for a tour of Solid Ground Farm, a sustainable homesteading, permaculture, and natural building demonstration and workshop center. See a variety of locally sourced, hand-built houses and structures, walk through the edible forest garden and introduce yourself to the principles of permaculture design, as you tour this small cooperatively run farm. This event is free and open to the public.
Directions: From Athens, take Rte. 33 or Columbus Rd. to State Rte. 550 and head towards Amesville. About a mile down Rte. 550 you will pass Landott Auto on the left and see a small park on the right. The next road on the left is Alderman Rd. Follow Alderman Rd. for about 500ft and turn right before the graveyard onto Liars Corner Rd. (road sign missing). Drive 1.4 miles to the very top of the second hill. You will pass a wood sided barn on your right side along the road. The driveway is immediately after the barn on the same side. If you miss the drive there is a gravel parking lot just past the front yard. Call Weston if lost (740) 856-6299. For more information, contact Angie Starline at (740) 517-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Countryside Conservancy began its existence as an organization that focused on rehabilitating farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Since then, it has established two farmers markets and opened the Farmland Center, where they offer educational programs related to the key links in a sustainable food chain - farmland, farmers, food and community. The Conservancy recently won a 2012 Architectural Heritage Award for Community Education and Advocacy: Preservation of Land Use for the Trapp Family Farm on Route 303, the 11th rehabilitated farm in the Countryside Initiative program. The Conservancy offers many different events as well. See below for the next event.
Stone Soup Mystery Meal
Saturday, Sept. 29, 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
4040 Riverview Road, Peninsula
Gather ingredients from the Countryside Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow, travel to Hale Farm & Village, prepare a delectable soup and salad around a campfire and reenact the traditional tale of Stone Soup. Then it's time to feast!
Families are invited to explore historic farm properties in the Cuyahoga Valley and learn about local foods, sustainable agriculture, and farming history. These programs are part of a collaborative effort between Hale Farm & Village, the Countryside Conservancy, the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and National Park Service.
Fee: $17/adults, $15 for partner members. $7 for children ages 4 - 11. Price includes market tokens.
Program begins at Howe Meadow at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. Call 330-675-2796 ext. 100 or visit www.cvcountryside.org for more information.
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
By Lyn Trier
More on winter squash
One of the greatest things about belonging to a CSA is sharing tips and recipes. One of our readers read my suggestions for cutting squash last week and offers this alternative.
"Just wanted to pass along a counterintuitive tip I've found to be extremely helpful when cutting squash or other hard-bodied veggies: the SMALLER the knife, the better. I use the smallest paring knife in my collection, and because it's so thin, it slices through that tough shell like butter. A thin blade means that not as much space needs to be made in the shell when cutting - not as much shell needs to be displaced, if that makes sense.
Generally, the bigger the knife, the wider the blade, so you have to apply significantly more pressure to get it through a hard exterior because you have to displace more of the shell. I might not be explaining this in the most scientific of ways, but I strongly encourage you to try it and see how easy it is. For me, it was a total game-changer in the kitchen. I now use a small, thin-bladed paring knife for cutting the shell of squash, pumpkins, watermelons - you name it.
And if you happen to be heading out to Geauga County soon for a farm visit, I definitely recommend the knives sold at End of the Commons General Store. The blades are extra thin (much thinner than I've found in most kitchenware stores), and they withstand the test of time. My parents have had theirs for 30+ years, and the blades are still sharp!"
Thanks to Leah for sharing her suggestion. I haven't tried it yet, but I will. I can second her suggestion for visiting the End of the Commons General Store. It's a fun stop if you are out in Geauga County. It's near the intersection of routes 87 and 534. It's closed Sunday. The store is half supplies to support the Amish community in the area. The other half is very touristy. My suggestion is that if you think the locals would buy it, it's probably a good deal.
Next week, I'll share some favorite uses for winter squash.
Corporate sites for 2013 season
Do you work in a large company that might be interested in hosting a CSA pickup for employees next season? Would a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday delivery work? Are there about 40 people at your location who would be interested in participating? If your answer is yes, please contact Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris at MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org.
Want to add someone to the newsletter mailing list? 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