|Week 14 Geauga County, Ohio||Sept. 4, 2012|
"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people."
~ Elizabeth Berry
It's always amazing to think about the number of people it takes to make our CSA program successful. Everyone provides valuable pieces that fit together to help make things run as smoothly as possible, and they do it with passion, creativity and a love of farming.
We talked a few weeks ago about the steps that a vegetable takes to get from our fields to your plate. As part of that description we mentioned our warehouse team, led by Neil Miller and Rosanna Hershberger. This week we wanted to provide a little more insight into the amazing work they do every week, and help you get to know these two people who are critically important to the team. We hope you can take a few minutes to read our feature on them below.
Also important to the success of our distribution is the large number of organizations that offer to serve as pickup locations for our CSA members. They provide space, volunteers and oversight on a weekly basis.
You might have noticed from our site listings that they represent a broad range of groups - from religious institutions like St. Noel, Congregation Kol Chadash, St. Andrew, St. Paul's, First Church Congregational and First Unitarian Church, to schools like Ruffing Montessori School, The Goddard School and Hill's Family Karate, to offices like Jones Day and MRI Software and a range of commercial locations.
We hope you are able to patronize Lowe's Greenhouse, Sage's Orchard, Mustard Seed and Whole Foods whenever possible. Have you had a chance to grab lunch at the Market Café in downtown Cleveland, stop at the LEAF Night market in Lakewood or spend a relaxing weekend at Marigold Bed and Breakfast? These are all wonderful businesses and big supporters of local farms.
Our sincere gratitude goes out to everyone (including our members!) who has chosen to make local, organic produce a part of their week. We love our Geauga Family Farms team.
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.
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as sweet corn, garlic, white, yellow or red storage onions, Big Beef tomatoes, Gilbertie heirloom tomatoes, mixed or red cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Chiogga or red beets, green Provider beans, yellow wax Roctor beans, patty pan squash, fingerling potatoes, bell peppers (variety), Hungarian Wax banana peppers (hot), jalapeños (hot), sweet banana peppers, Red Carmen peppers, Yummy Orange peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplants, fingerling potatoes, new red potatoes, rhubarb, bok choy, rainbow chard, lettuce and yellow squash.
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.
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.
NEW ITEM! Green beans - $36/bushel, $18/half-bushel
Canning tomatoes - $12/20-pound box
#1 Roma tomatoes - $15/20-pound box
Mixed cherry tomatoes - $2/pint
Grape tomatoes - $2/pint
Basil - $3/pound
Red or Chiogga beets - $20/half-bushel (without tops)
Green bell peppers - $18/bushel, $9/half-bushel
Hot peppers - $12/half-bushel
Sweet banana peppers - $12/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.
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.
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.
The turkeys are fed non-GMO feed and organic minerals. They are not considered fully organic. The price is $3 per pound.
Contact our farmers directly to reserve your turkey today!
Marvin Hershberger (ask to speak with Marvin, Rosanna or Iva Mae): 440-548-2399
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. Tuesday Field
Nights are from 6 - 8 p.m.
This will be one of our last scheduled farm visits of the season. Andy and Laura Miller have invited us to their farm this Saturday afternoon for a farm tour, hayrides, refreshments and canning demonstration. There will be pumpkins and fall decorations available for purchase. We'll kick things off around 1:30 p.m., and the canning demonstration will take place at 3. We hope you can join us at the farm this week!
Lester Hershberger farm
Our schedule for the remainder of the season is
Saturday, Sept. 8 - Miller's Organic Produce - hayrides, pumpkin patch & canning demonstration
Saturday, Oct. 13 (tentative) - 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.
...as sampled last week at our farm visit.
2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8-oz.) cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Spread 1 can of rolls in bottom of cake pan. Mix other ingredients and spread over rolls, then place the other can of rolls on top of the filling. Melt 1/2 cup butter and drizzle over the top, then sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon over all. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Caponata is a great relish/sauce that uses a lot of fresh veggies and complements a wide variety of dishes. It is one of our favorite late summer recipes. We use ours as an appetizer, spread on toasted baguette rounds or polenta squares. It's also delicious with grilled fish and chicken. The trick for the best flavor is to let this sit for at least 24 hours before you eat it.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant, 1/2" roughly chopped, about 3 cups
1/2 cups chopped onions, 1/2" dice
1/2 cup celery, 1/2" dice
2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1/4" dice
1 cup chopped summer squash, 1/2" dice
1/2 cup chopped green or red pepper, 1/2" dice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/3 cup stuffed green olives, torn or sliced in half
1/4 cup capers, drained except for 1 tablespoon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil. Add the eggplant and onions over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, tomatoes, squash, and garlic and cook for about 15 minutes more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, lower heat, and slowly simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan lid if the mixture becomes too wet (this is supposed to be the consistency of a relish, and it's OK if the eggplant becomes mushy).
Refrigerate for a day, and taste to adjust the tart-sweet balance by adding a touch more sugar or vinegar.
Best served at room temperature. May also be served warm or cold. Freezes well.
2 cans garbanzo beans
1 cup uncooked small macaroni or shells
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup cubed carrot
1 cup cubed zucchini
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 medium potato cubed
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
5 cups water or vegetable stock
In a large kettle, sauté the garlic, onions, and green pepper in olive oil until soft. Add carrots, celery, salt, oregano, black pepper, and basil. Mix well and cook covered over low heat for 10 minutes.
Add potato, zucchini, garbanzo beans in their juice, and 5 cups water or stock. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and their juice. Keep at low heat until you are ready to serve. Ten minutes before serving add pasta and boil gently for 10 minutes. Top with parsley if you want.
Recipe form VegWeb.com
(Vegan version: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=15403.0)
Abner McDaniel's Favorite Baked Jalapeño Poppers
12 fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or less, to taste
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
*8 teaspoons Essence (recipe below)
1 cup panko crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cumin and cayenne. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, and 2 teaspoons of the Essence. In a shallow dish, combine the panko crumbs and remaining 4 teaspoons of Essence. In a fourth dish, combine the flour and remaining 2 teaspoons of Essence. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeño half. One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko crumbs, pressing to coat. If necessary, repeat the process. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with cold beer.
*Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning)
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking," by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsc
Still looking for ways to use up all your summer squash? See more recipes in an article from NPR called Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist here.
Meet the GFF warehouse team:
Neil Miller and Rosanna Hershberger
By Laura Dobson
As you might suspect, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes at Geauga Family Farms to get your share to you on time and in perfect, edible condition. Besides the obvious tasks of growing and harvesting the produce, some of the most important behind-the-scenes work goes on at our warehouse.
The work is performed in large part by two key people: Neil Miller, warehouse manager and bookkeeper, and Rosanna Hershberger, warehouse secretary.
Neil and Rosanna have been working with GFF for about two years. They both love their jobs.
"I just overall enjoy my job," Neil says. "I enjoy working with Rosanna, providing food for people, and I enjoy bookwork - I've always enjoyed the pencil."
For Rosanna, her favorite part of the job is packing, which happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Her attention to detail is what gets extras orders to the correct people at their proper pickup sites.
"I like packing the produce," she says. "I also enjoy talking with the growers, placing the orders, talking about the produce and what they have available. It's interesting to hear what different things they have coming."
She said she enjoys working with Neil as well.
"I think we get along together pretty good," she says, smiling and looking over at Neil for confirmation.
Variety is important for Neil.
"I enjoy it all. There is the variety of picking up and packing; the packing is the most nerve-wracking but the most worthwhile," he says. "I enjoy working with the others as they're packing the boxes. It's very worthwhile to me just to see all the food going into the boxes and making sure there is good quality."
Neil likes to look at all the boxes once they're packed to see how colorful and how neat they look.
"I hope the consumers enjoy it as much as I think I would if I would be getting one of the boxes," he said.
GFF farm representative Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris talks with Neil and Rosanna frequently, ordering extras and ironing out any issues that arise. Michelle says she enjoys every interaction with them.
"They are both so friendly and kind," Michelle said. "I am always amazed at Rosanna's ability to organize the vast amounts of produce that move through the warehouse each week. Neil's insistence on quality control is a demonstration of his passion for making sure that our members are satisfied with their experience."
It is no easy task coordinating and organizing the deliveries. But when they're not in the middle of counting vegetables, they have fun playing jokes on one another, and on the farmers as well, with much good-natured ribbing.
It's a family affair at the warehouse. At any given moment you might come across several people from the same family.
Neil and his wife Mattie have eight grown children - four boys and four girls. All four boys and two of the girls are married. Their daughter Cora is the baker at Countryside Bakery, which provides our bread and pastries. Ida teaches school and helps out at the warehouse from time to time, while Neil's grandson helps load the trailer.
Rosanna, who is almost 19, is the daughter of GFF farmer Marvin Hershberger. She is the second oldest of Marvin and Iva Mae's 11 children. (Her birthday is Sept. 6. Be sure and wish her a happy birthday if you're calling the warehouse that day to order bulk veggies.)
She taught school for a year, and thought she might be able to do both jobs, but quickly saw she wouldn't have time to prepare for teaching school during the summer months.
"I enjoyed teaching school, but I knew I couldn't handle both of them," she said. "I decided I enjoyed this better so I stayed with this and quit teaching."
Neil can't get farming out of his blood, and certainly doesn't seem to want to do so.
"I've been farming most of my life," Neil said. "I was looking for lighter work. That's the reason I chose this. I'm not physically able to handle all the farm work anymore. So I guess if I was physically able I'd still be farming. But this is a good alternative."
When asked what they do in their spare time, both Neil and Rosanna laugh, and ask, "What spare time?"
After working a full day at the warehouse, a day that begins at 6:30 a.m. when he is picked up by a driver, and ends when he is dropped off not long before 4 p.m., Neil is not yet done with his day. Once home he helps feed and milk the dairy cows.
"We keep around 25-28 heads of dairy cows," Neil said. "My son Abner manages that. I just help."
It's a similar story for Rosanna.
"I'm always working," she said. "When I go home in the evenings I help with getting the produce ready, I clean our house, I help with the lawn, raking leaves, mowing."
She also works the stand at the Geauga Fresh Farmers Market in Bainbridge on Saturday mornings. But Rosanna isn't all work and no play; sometimes she has time for a night out with friends.
"I enjoy taking an evening off with my friends," she said. "Last week we took one of our friends to Dairy Queen for her birthday. Or we come together for a volleyball game."
Neil says he and Mattie do occasionally take an evening off.
"We go visiting the children or friends," he says. "As far as a hobby, I spend a lot of time reading, late in the evening." Even then, he is often reading about farming, but will finally relax with some spiritual books.
If you are able to make it to one of our field nights or farm tours during the season, we hope you have an opportunity to meet these two people who put so much of their energy into making your experience with Geauga Family Farms a great one!
Local food events
September Dinner in the Valley
As fall approaches, the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park continues its monthly Dinner in the Valley series with a meal inspired by French-Canadian cuisine followed by the season's first Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Series concert. Each month, the Conservancy's Dinner in the Valley features Chef Larkin Rogers, who creates a delightful meal hosted at one of Cuyahoga Valley National Park's extraordinary venues.
Dinner in the Valley guests will enjoy a delicious meal followed by a lively concert by Vishten at Happy Days Lodge on Friday, Sept. 14. The members of Vishten have been touring their brand of new-traditional Acadian music, with a sound that is essentially Celtic, but the songs are French. The evening's events begin at 6 p.m.
Reservations are required and are being taken through Friday, Sept. 7. Call 330-657-2796 ext. 121. Pricing is $40 for members, $45 for nonmembers and $12 for children ages 5-12. Price includes dinner, dessert and concert ticket.
Cleveland Garlic Festival
Sept. 8, 1 - 9 p.m., Sept. 9, noon - 6 p.m.
One-day pass: adults $7, seniors $4, children ages 3-12 $2.
Two-day pass: adults $12, seniors $6, children ages 3-12 $3.
Children younger than 3 are free both days
For tickets and additional information visit www.clevelandgarlicfestival.org.
FarmAFare - A Celebration of Local Foods
Join the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District Sept. 13 in celebrating local food at its annual meeting. This fine dining event will be held outside under a big tent at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. This locavore event to honor the individuals and groups who are working to conserve natural resources in Lake County will include a 10-course dinner featuring local farm products prepared by area chefs. Tickets are $50 each or $90 for a couple. For more information, visit www.lakecountyohio.gov/soil. To reserve your seats, call 440-350-2730 or e-mail soil@lakecounty ohio.gov.
Stone Soup Mystery Meal
Saturday, Sept. 29, 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
4040 Riverview Road
Peninsula, OH 44246
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
Soup's On! Chili and Vegetable Soup
Wow! It's really September already. Where did the summer go? Soon we'll be talking about snow.
When I first started with a CSA, we didn't go a week without making vegetable soup or chili. We didn't know what half of the vegetables we were receiving were and didn't eat enough of them throughout the week. Sunday night, I would look in the fridge and decide that we needed to make room for our next pick up and make a crock pot of soup. Usually, it was a strange combo of whatever we had. I never put lettuce in soup, but everything else was fair game. I'd add some chicken broth and misc. seasonings and simmer it for hours. Sometimes, we had darn tasty soup and other times not so much. Luckily for me, my husband eats just about anything I make. I also love that soup is very easy to freeze and the crock pot full of soup easily becomes several meals.
When serving soup, I like to try to mix up the accompaniments. Soup can be served with salad, a small sandwich, bread, bagels, topped with croutons, dumplings, in a bread bowl, etc. I love how the same pot of soup can become many very different meals.
This time of year in particular, I love to think about chili. I've had an abundance of onions, peppers and tomatoes lately. A couple of weeks ago, I froze some cooked beans. Today, I was thinking that my freezer was getting a little full of bulky items (like the tomatoes). Now, I have a crockpot-full of chili simmering. I go through a bit more effort with chili than soup. I like to sauté the onions, peppers and spices together before adding them to the pot. I just like the flavors and textures a bit better that way. Once they are all cooked through, I toss them in the pot with cooked meat, cooked beans and tomatoes and enjoy the smells from the kitchen.
Like soup, chili can also be served many ways. I've had it with bread, cornbread, on top of savory cornmeal waffles, as a filling for burritos, topped with cheese and sour cream, etc. The possibilities are endless.
If you are sitting on a fridge or freezer overflowing with veggies, take a few minutes and throw a pot of soup or chili together. You won't be sorry.
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.
Winter share application coming soon!
We are happy to announce that we will be running a Late Fall/Early Winter CSA season again this year. We'll have about 300 shares available and our season will run for eight weeks (in previous years our season has run for six weeks). We are working out the remaining details and will release applications as soon as possible. This has been a very popular program. To be sure you get your share, we advise signing up as soon as the application is available. Shares will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
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