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Week 8                            Geauga County, Ohio
July 24, 2012

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Creating a sense of community
Reminder: Field Night tonight
BOX ALERT!
In this week's shares
Veggie Tip of the Week
Bulk veggies available for canning, freezing
GFF Partner Series: Market Café
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
Recipes
Farm tour information
Mailing list add-ons
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"A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, "Where is the salsa tree?" They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches. Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care? How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that's a scary thought." 

~ Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: 

A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, 

Healthier People, and a Better World

 

 

Buggy silhouette

    

 

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Creating a strong sense of community

One of our favorite things about Community Supported Agriculture is the sense of community that it creates as people come together around the food.

 

Last week's fennel (our first time ever to include this in the shares) was a perfect example. Conversations broke out at the pickup sites about what to do with it. Preferred recipes were exchanged that included ideas for braising, sautéing, shaving into a slaw, roasting in foil with onions, carrots and chicken, layering with potatoes in a gratin and tossing with olives, feta cheese and pasta. Many people had never cooked with fennel before and talked about the fun challenges of trying new things. They never would have purchased fennel at the store, but because it showed up in the box they were eager to give it a try.

 

We love to see our members connect with one another and we love to know that the creative people who belong to Geauga Family Farms are finding new and delicious things to do with our produce every day. Your energy, creativity and sense of adventure make this all worthwhile!


Laura Dobson, Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 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.

  

Buggy silhouette

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Find yourself at the farms this evening

We don't like to say this too loudly, but the summer is starting to slip away. Don't let it pass you by without getting out to the farms at least once this season. Tonight's Field Night will be held at the farm of Noah and Kathy Yutzy from 6-8 p.m.

 

In addition to the farm tour, we'll have a special presentation from Countryside Bakery. There will be refreshments, samples and extra produce available for purchase. Don't forget to dress appropriately for walking through the fields, and don't forget the bug spray.

 

Experience the peacefulness of driving down the winding country roads of Middlefield. Let your cares slip away for a short while during a relaxed tour of the fields. This is a rare opportunity to see your produce growing in the fields and to meet the people who lovingly raise it for your share.

 

Show up when you can and join the group. The address is 17050 Nash Road, Middlefield. Check out our farm map here.

 

We hope to see you tonight!

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BOX ALERT: Please do not remove boxes from pickup sites!

Our cardboard boxes are disappearing! Please leave your boxes at the pickup sites; we reuse our delivery boxes on a weekly basis. You may bring our own bags, or simply lift out the bags with which we've lined the boxes. Boxes should then be unfolded and left in a neat pile for pickup by our drivers the following week. If you have mistakenly taken any boxes home, please bring them back to your pickup site. We appreciate your help in keeping our delivery costs down!

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In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as fennel, red and green leaf lettuce, green romaine lettuce, sweet candy onions, basil, Big Beef tomatoes, Provider beans (green), Broncho beans (green), cabbage (green), cauliflower, yellow squash, patty pan squash (green, white/yellow or striped), zucchini, cucumbers, pickling cukes, mixed cherry tomatoes, blackberries, fingerling potatoes, new red potatoes, green peppers and hot peppers.

 

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. 

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Veggie Tip of the Week 

Here is a very simple way to preserve tomatoes: Wash and place whole tomatoes in a freezer bag in your freezer until you are ready to make sauce or use in cooking. Let them thaw a bit and they will slip right out of their skins for easy chopping and processing.

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Bulk veggies for sale

Ladies and gentlemen, start your canners! We have bulk veggies for sale now. 

#2 canning tomatoes - $20/20-pound box

Canning cucumbers - $12/box - (24-30/box)

Basil - $3/pound 

Red Beets - $20/half-bushel, with or without tops

Zucchini -$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.

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GFF partners series: Market Café

1801 E. 9th St. # 5, Cleveland, OH 44114 

216-394-0122

Kerry Riter, general manager

 

Long before the term farm-to-fork was the buzzword on the lips of every locavore, it was already a way of life for the Bon Appetit Management Company. Bon Appetit is a food-service company that started in California with the premise that at least 20 percent of the food served at each of its operations be locally sourced.

 

Kerry Riter is general manager of Bon Appetit's Market Café in downtown Cleveland, one of Geauga Family Farms' pickup sites. Kerry hadn't been working there long when she read an article by Plain Dealer food writer Debbi Snook that listed all the CSAs in Ohio. Kerry noticed there were no downtown locations where people could pick up CSA shares.

 

"I'm sitting on my porch and I'm reading this and I thought, it's insane that I wouldn't open my doors to people who are trying to get their product out there," Kerry remembers.

 

So she e-mailed everybody on the list, told them about the café and its location downtown, and how she wanted them to be able to deliver their products to their target customers in the downtown area. She expected people to be banging down her door, but that's not exactly what happened. Only a few people showed up at her meeting, including Geauga Family Farms. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Her own movement

Market Café is Geauga Family Farm's only downtown pickup location where members can pick up their shares without working for a company that hosts a corporate pickup site.

 

"I'm a huge supporter of CSA programs," said Kerry, who is so passionate about local food and CSAs that she could practically start her own movement.

 

And in a way, that's kind of what she's done. More and more people are picking up their shares at Market Café, including downtown companies that don't have the space for their own pickup site.

 

Kerry gets a lot of questions from her customers when they see GFF members picking up their shares. With the produce set up like a farmers market on tables in the café and members walking through with bags picking out their veggies, it attracts a lot of attention.

 

"Everybody comes and chooses their stuff and it's always such gorgeous produce," she says. "And I get a lot of questions just taking my stuff to my car."

 

She loves the idea that she is helping to reduce the amount of time farmers are required to spend at oversaturated farmers markets.

 

"They should be working on their craft, which is to grow and harvest this beautiful food," she says. "Every time I go to the farmers markets I see these really hardworking farmers who could be doing a million things back at their farms instead of selling their product."

 

The Bon Appetit dream

Many of Bon Appetit's operations are on university campuses, such as Case Western Reserve University here in Cleveland, that cater to a very select audience. The Market Café is unique in that it is a stand-alone restaurant.

In fact, it is the only stand-alone restaurant Bon Appetit operates on the entire East Coast, though it operates more than 400 cafes in 32 states. Many are on the West Coast and at colleges and universities across the country. They also are in museums and at corporate headquarters - including at the headquarters of Target and Google.

 

Bon Appetit's mission, which the company refers to as a dream, is to become the premier, onsite food-service company using as many local and sustainable ingredients as possible. And the chef-driven company hires only chefs who will use these products and who care about real food that's not processed and full of preservatives. Though not a chef herself, Kerry is very passionate about food.

 

"It's really not about how much profit we make, or how we can get the cheapest food to a mass amount of people, it's really about how much we can change the scope of the food-service industry," Kerry said. "We have such long arms and we feed so many people a day."

 

Most Bon Appetit operations exceed the company's requirement to use at least 20 percent local ingredients every day. Its annual companywide Eat Local Challenge requires each chef to serve one meal that is completely sourced from within a 150-mile radius; that includes even salt and oil. This year, the Eat Local Challenge falls on Sept. 25.

 

"Here at the market, it is fairly easy for us to do this," Kerry says. "At CWRU, where they serve 3,000 meals a day, it's very difficult."

 

Pioneering programs

Bon Appetit has pioneered several programs that have changed the food-service industry; before the term farm-to-fork became trendy, it was a way of life for Bon Appetit. The company has also initiated other food movements, including the low-carbon diet.

 

The food-service industry is responsible for 25 percent of the methane gas that is affecting the ozone layer. The company's goal is to reduce its meat and dairy purchases to effectively impact the amount of methane going into the atmosphere. The company achieves this by not putting cheese on everything, and not using beef as a primary source of protein. Instead, Bon Appetit chefs use turkey and other poultry as well as vegetarian options.

 

"If our 400 cafes can reduce by 25 percent the amount of meat we're getting from cows, that can make a huge impact," Kerry said.

 

Bon Appetit's newest initiative is the cage-free pork movement. Bon Appetit operations use only gestation-friendly pork, meaning all pork products must be produced without a gestation crate (many pigs are confined to crates that nearly immobilize them for years, enduring a cycle of repeated impregnation). This not only applies to pork - they use products only from humanely treated animals. For instance, along with the state of California, they completely banned foie gras.

 

The concept goes hand-in-hand with Bon Appetit's free-range shell egg policy. It took a comment card from a student at one of their university cafes to convince the company to switch to only cage-free eggs in 2005.

 

"Here in Ohio we have a lot of access to local poultry - we use all local chicken and turkey," Kerry said. "A lot of places use organic as well, but it's more important to us that they lead humane lives before we utilize them as food products."

 

How Market Café began

The Market Café, located in what is now the New York Community Bank building, started as a collaboration between AmTrust Bank and Bon Appetit. The bank wanted to give its employees access to healthy food. They wanted someone who would come in and prepare healthy foods that weren't processed or mass produced. A meeting showed they shared a passion on how food should be prepared.

 

Market Café not only took a very local approach to the food, but a very local approach to the entire restaurant as well. All the furnishings are refurbished from Ohio barns and farm houses.

 

With its location on the corner of E. 9th and Chester, Market Café's customers are mostly the professionals that work in the surrounding buildings. Other than that, the café could be one of Cleveland's best-kept secrets. At least one person comes in every day and tells Kerry they didn't know the café was there.

 

"We're kind of hidden in downtown," Kerry says. "It works because a lot of people who come here for lunch think it's their own little secret place, and we don't mind keeping it that way. We get a lot of the same people in here every day. It's nice because you get to know people and it's much more of a community than just serving up food."

 

She says another reason for the restaurant's relative anonymity is that it doesn't have the glitz and glamour, or what she called shtick, of some area restaurants with their big-name TV chefs and gourmet-style entrees.

 

"That's not what we're going for," she said. "We do every-day healthy items that are local and seasonal. I'd rather have something that is just natural, local food. You'll never see fusion cuisine at any of our operations. We do just really good, wholesome food."

 

The market has five stations - pizza, pasta, and panini stations, a grill and a salad bar. For the pizzas, everything from the dough to the sauce is made from scratch and local cheese is melted on top. Pastas are all made from scratch as well. At the grill station you'll find shrimp and steaks, with a lot of specials that highlight local ingredients.

 

Kerry says the healthiest items are among the most popular, which explains why the salad station is the customer favorite. Diners choose their lettuce and six toppings from the 36 toppings available and salads are made to order right in front of their eyes.

 

"We do a grilled fish every week," she said. "This week we're doing a local grilled perch, and it's a really healthy option for lunch. People love it."

 

Personal fulfillment

Having access to such great produce is one of the reasons Kerry is happy the café is a pickup site for GFF, but she admits it's been personally fulfilling as well.

 

"Honestly, Thursday is the best day of the week for me," she said. "I am able to interact with the community in such a great way. It's like my little club. Everybody comes in, we talk about our vacations, what we're going to cook, how excited we are. It's so rewarding to me to be able to offer that. There's something about food that really creates a level of community and bonding and being a CSA pickup has created a great outlet in that capacity. It really has been one of the best parts of working here at the market."

 

Kerry signed up for a family share for the market this year. Customers will find GFF produce in the salad bar and many other dishes and entrees at the market.

 

"Every Thursday I love to see the chefs start thinking about what they're going to make - a dish or an entrée - with the stuff in the family share. When the basil comes it makes everybody happy because the whole place smells great for days."

 

She also purchases bulk veggies. A recent wedding rehearsal dinner for 125 people featured GFF tomatoes and basil in a gazpacho, and a flatbread with GFF beets and goat cheese from Mackenzie Creamery (another of our partners).

 

As long as you listen, Kerry will talk about local food and related topics - the 9 tons of potatoes she buys from an older couple each year, the composting operation she started at the restaurant that attracted unwanted pests, her own garden in her backyard and her idea of mandatory farming service.

 

"I think it should be required of every person to go and work on a farm for a week, you know, like some countries have mandatory military service," Kerry said. "Then people would see how hard farming is and I think people would appreciate their food a lot more."

 

Those of us here at Geauga Family Farms are happy to talk about Kerry and all she is doing for our farmers, too.

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Getting the most out of your CSA membership

By Lyn Trier

 

U-Pick

If you have been following my blog, you have probably noticed that I really like that my kids are learning about where their food comes from. Besides being members of two CSAs, we also travel to different U-Pick farms. It's really important to me that the kids know all about their food.

 

This summer, we have picked strawberries and blueberries thus far. We are looking forward to blackberries, peaches, apples, peppers, chestnuts, raspberries and tomatoes.

 

Here are just a few farms in the area that might interest you.

 

Patterson Fruit Farm - Chesterland

Rainbow Farms - Madison

Wintergreen Tree Farm - Mantua

Secor's Nursery - Perry

Blue Jay Orchard - Hiram

Voytko Farm - Auburn

Greenfield Berry Farm - Peninsula

Boughton Farms - Akron

Ridgeview - Mesopotamia

West Orchards - Perry

Monroe Orchard - Hiram

Mike's Berries and More - Lagrange

 

We are willing to drive about 45 minutes to go picking. I'm actually starting to get to know my way around Geauga County!

 

We pack drinks, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, containers, ice packs, a cooler and sometimes lunch.

 

Generally, we like to get to farms when they open. It is cooler, less crowded and generally the best picking then.

 

It is not too late to go picking this season if you are looking for more local items to add to your CSA bounty.

 

Many of these farms grow their crops conventionally, but some are organic or naturally grown. At some farms, it varies from one crop to another. Prices vary widely depending on what you are picking, location, and growing practices.

 

Always call ahead and confirm crop availability, hours, prices and ask if you need to bring your own containers.

 

A great Web site to get started is http://pickyourown.org/ , especially for finding farms in your area. Many farms do not have a big Web presence, so don't assume the picking isn't good if you can't find a Web site. Most farms now have a Facebook page, so that's another option for information.

 

If you have a favorite crop or farm for picking, please let us know on the Geauga Family Farms Facebook page.

 

I hope to see you at a local U-Pick farm or orchard soon!


Need to ID some veggies? Try these sources:

Visit our Facebook page

Check Lyn's blog

Check the Veggie ID Guide on our Web site.


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Recipes

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.  

 

Cool Cucumber & Onion Salad

"This is a great hot weather salad as it is very cooling to eat."
4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin
1 onion sliced thin
1 cup vinegar 
3/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Put cukes and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix vinegar and sugar together, add a small amount of water and pour over the cukes. Toss well. Keep refrigerated. The salad will last a long time in the fridge.
Recipe from Shirley Brizz, member at Lowe's
 

Zucchini Pancakes

4 eggs

2 cups grated zucchini

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat grill to 425 to 450 degrees F (220 to 225 degrees C).In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add shredded zucchini and mix well using a fork. Add flour, sugar, salt and vegetable oil and stir to blend well. Finally, add baking powder and mix well using a large spoon. The batter's consistency should be like heavy whipping cream.Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter on hot grill for each pancake. Cook until there are no longer bubbles forming in the pancake about 2 minutes; turn over and cook for 2 minutes longer. Rub pancakes with melted butter and serve immediately.

 

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad

1 cup seeded, finely diced cucumber

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely diced tomato

1 cup finely diced sweet onion (such as Vidalia)

1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3/4 cup finely chopped mint, or to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place diced cucumber into a colander and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt or as needed; allow to drain for about 15 minutes. Toss drained cucumber with tomato, sweet onion, parsley, and mint. Drizzle salad with olive oil and fresh lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Steamed Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

4 cups tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix tomatoes, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl; spread into a 9 x13-inch baking dish. Roast tomatoes in the preheated oven until they are lightly flecked with brown spots and the garlic cloves are tender, about 45 minutes; remove from oven after 20 minutes and mash lightly with a spatula. About 5 minutes before tomatoes are done, place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add green beans, cover, and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Place steamed green beans into a serving dish and combine with roasted tomatoes to serve.

Recipes from AllRecipes.com

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Farm tour information

Our farm tours are held on the second Saturday of the month from 1 - 4 p.m. Tuesday Field Nights are from 6 - 8 p.m. After tonight's Field Night at Noah & Kathy Yutzy's farm, our schedule for the remainder of the season is as follows:

 

Saturday, Aug. 11 - Farm of Tom Byler & corn roast

 

Tuesday, Aug. 28 - Hershberger Organic Produce (Marvin Hershberger's farm)

 

Saturday, Sept. 8 - Parkman Produce (Yutzy Family farm) & canning demonstration

 

Tuesday, Sept. 25 - Miller's Organic Produce + pumpkin patch & hayrides

 

Saturday, Oct. 13 (tentative) - Fall tour and potluck get-together at the warehouse                                                                               

  Lester Hershberger farm

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Newsletter

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.

CONTACT US

(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PLEASE!)

Farm Representatives:

Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849,

Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109,

Grass-fed beef & poultry

Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719,  

www.GeaugaFamilyFarms.org

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062