|Week 8, Summer 2014 Geauga County, Ohio||July 29, 2014|
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"I know the pleasure of pulling up root vegetables. They are solvable mysteries."
~ Novella Carpenter, Farm City:
The Education of an Urban Farmer
Welcome to Week 8 of the Geauga Family Farms summer CSA season!
We've heard from a few of our members that some of the shares have been looking a little light during the last few weeks and we wanted to take the opportunity to address this. There is a constant balancing act involved with filling the boxes. The contents of the boxes are based on a set value for each size. That value is an average that we try to achieve for the season, and varies from week to week based on what is available in the fields. Some weeks might see a lighter value, but we more than make up for it with future boxes. Our farmers time the planting of their crops to try to keep that value as steady as possible throughout the season, but Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate.
This season has posed a challenge to the balance we hope to achieve. Early warm weather meant that more crops were ready in June than usual. This was great for filling the boxes with our early season crops, but the cooler weather that has followed has significantly slowed down the progress of our mid-season crops, creating a bit of a gap in the items that are currently available. Anyone who has been with Geauga Family Farms for a few seasons knows that we are usually receiving things like peppers, eggplants and field tomatoes by mid-July. Those crops are still catching up, causing the last few boxes to have a lighter value.
The good news is that many of our mid-season crops will be ready for harvest in the next week or two, giving us the opportunity to fill the boxes again with many of your summer favorites. Keep an eye out for sweet corn, field tomatoes and melons (heads up to those who cycle to pick up their shares!).
We're not trying to make excuses, but as our partners we want you to understand the realities of farming and of running a CSA. It's never easy, but it's a way of life we feel privileged to be able to share with you.
~ with Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as lettuce (red leaf, green leaf or Romaine), Swiss chard, cabbage, rhubarb, parsley, basil, kohlrabi, beans, sweet corn, sweet onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, radishes, potatoes (small, young or fingerlings), zucchini, yellow squash, dill, hot peppers, sweet banana peppers, blueberries and watermelons.
NOTE: 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.
We have several veggies available for bulk purchase.
Yellow squash - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)
Zucchini - $24/half bushel (approximately 24 squash per box - will vary slightly based on size)
Cherry/grape tomatoes - $2.50/pint
You can find them in our farm store, here
First farm tour of the season was fun for all
Thanks to all who joined us at the farm of Noah and Kathy Yutzy for last week's farm tour. It was a beautiful evening, and we were thrilled to have such a nice group. We'll have details for our August farm tour in next week's newsletter.
We have had a few questions about the blueberries. Early in the season we were not sure about whether we would find a local grower with enough organic blueberries for the shares. We were lucky enough to find a grower who is not yet certified, but who is growing organic blueberries that we can use. Hope you enjoy these delicious berries!
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
Salad of the Week: Blueberry and Toasted Walnut Salad
3-4 cups of salad greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 pint of fresh blueberries
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup feta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnut pieces on a baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Toss greens, blueberries and walnuts. Arrange on four plates and sprinkle with feta cheese. Drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and serve.
This chilly weather is putting us in the mood for a great soup. Here are a few to try:
Summer Vegetable Soup
I made this fresh and hearty soup for dinner, pulling the majority of ingredients straight out of the CSA box. Feel free to adjust ingredients to suit your tastes. ~ Michelle
3 T olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped
2 cups chopped greens (Swiss chard, cabbage, kale or collards)
3 roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 32 oz. container of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 T chopped fresh basil or 1 cube of frozen chopped basil
¾ cup whole wheat macaroni or small shells
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, as a garnish
In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, celery and zucchini over medium high heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add greens and tomatoes and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes. Stir in broth and garbanzo beans, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add pasta and basil and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Cook's note: We had some small, frozen wedding soup-style meatballs that made a nice addition to the soup. Pieces of grilled chicken or Italian sausage would also be great.
Fresh Tomato Soup
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil (or 1 cube of frozen, chopped basil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds plum tomatoes, cut into wedges (I've also made this with a combination of slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Puree soup with a stick blender or place half of tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture. Stir in salt and pepper. Ladle 3/4 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil.
Adapted from a recipe by Danese Blackwell for Cooking Light
Indian Spiced Grilled Baby Squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp peeled fresh ginger (grated)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 yellow squash or zucchini, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices
1 red onion (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh mint (thinly sliced, leaves)
Preheat grill. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Thread squash and onion alternately onto each of 8 (10-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes or until tender, turning frequently. Drizzle with juice. Sprinkle with mint.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 pound fresh Italian green beans/ wax beans
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed sweet basil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Rinse beans, shake dry, snip ends, and cut into one-inch pieces. Saute garlic in oil over medium heat for 1 minute and crush while turning. Add beans for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, lemon, and seasonings. Simmer for 20 minutes or until beans are plump and tender.
Recipe from SparkPeople
Wow, that's fresh!
On my first visit to Croatia, my husband and I were staying with our Aunt Kata in the countryside, an area covered in rolling green hills, vineyards and giant blooming rosebushes in just about every yard. She asked what we would like to eat and I replied, "Scrambled eggs would be great." Aunt Kata looked at me, got up from her seat, and walked out of the house. Stunned, I wondered if I had offended her or asked for something crazy. A few minutes later, she walked back into the kitchen with a basket of brown eggs, saying, "The chickens out back only laid about eight eggs, will that be enough?" She also added fresh peppers and onions straight from her garden. They were the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten.
Luckily, to get eggs this fresh we don't have to raise chickens in our backyards or live with our relatives in Croatia. We've got the farmers of the Geauga Family Farms CSA who can send organic, local eggs with our shares. You've probably heard that they look and taste different, better. It's true! I love ordering eggs from the CSA because I get peace of mind knowing exactly where they came from, that they didn't have far to travel, and that there are no added hormones or any of that craziness I worry about with conventional eggs. You'll find eggs in the "extra items" section on the website. Aunt Kata would say, "Try it, you will like it!" (And she's always right!)
Laura J. Novak is a freelance writer and passionate supporter of locally grown, organic produce. Director and founder of Light Your Life Healing Arts in Mentor, Laura is certified as a Raindrop Technique (Relaxation Massage with Essential Oils), Advanced Reiki, Angelic Reiki Energy Healing, and Body Wisdom Practitioner. She also serves as a wellness consultant with Young Living Essential Oils. You can learn more about Light Your Life Healing Arts here. Laura is excited to participate in her third year with the Geauga Family Farms CSA and her second year as a contributing columnist to the newsletter. She also has a bachelor's degree in English from Baldwin-Wallace College and a master's in education from Ursuline College.
VT organic farmer, GMO expert: Labels 'like skull and crossbones'
By Bruce Parker
For The Vermont Watchdog
Will Allen is not just an organic farmer - he's an expert.
As the head of Cedar Circle Farm, Allen brings a lifetime of sustainable farming experience to the 40 acres of vegetables and berries that line the Connecticut River in East Thetford, Vt., on land conserved by the Vermont Land Trust.
A professor and activist, Allan's bio features many credentials, from founder of the Sustainable Cotton Project and the California Certified Organic Farmers Organization to policy adviser to the Organic Consumer Association. If all goes according to plan, Allen may soon add a new credential to the list: litigant in Vermont's multimillion-dollar GMO lawsuit with the Grocery Manufacturer's Association.
So when Allen speaks on the impact of GMO labeling on food manufacturers, people listen.
"They're worried about skull and crossbones on food labels, because that's what they think is going to happen as soon as you put a genetic engineering label on it - it's like a skull and crossbones," Allen told Vermont Watchdog.
According to the Thetford farmer, GMO labeling laws could end the use of GMOs in the United States.
"(Here's) what will happen if the labeling bill passes a court challenge. That law will go into effect in 2016, and at that point, I'll guarantee you, that as it happened in 64 countries that have labeling already, the genetic engineering industry will switch products, because they know a GMO label is driving people away from buying that food."
Allen is among the true believers who say genetically modified organisms are dangerous and should be labeled as such. He organizes an educational center at Cedar Circle Farm that coordinates outreach to Vermont schools, and he proudly tells of kids who, upon learning the dangers of conventionally produced foods, warn their moms not to buy GMO. The farm's website even profiles a young 10-year-old who became an anti-GMO activist after attending one of Allen's educational sessions.
Read the rest of the article here.
Local food and farm-related events/activities
Dinner in the Valley: Blueberry Abundance
Wednesday, July 30
Greenfield Berry Farm
The barn at the Greenfield Berry Farm is the backdrop for this midsummer feast brought to you by the Countryside Conservancy. Come enjoy flank steak with a blueberry glaze, blueberry lemonade and the first tomatoes of the season! Each month, the Dinner in the Valley series features a gourmet meal at one of the beautiful, historical spaces in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For more information, or to make a reservation, click here.
Light Your Life Healing Arts Sample Session
Wednesday, Aug. 6
Light Your Life Healing Arts
7501 Clover Ave., Mentor
(Located inside the Air Technical Industries Building)
Learn how to strengthen your immune system, increase daily health and find emotional balance with Young Living Essential Oils. Learn more about oils like Frankincense, Peppermint, Lemon, Lavender, Peace & Calming, Thieves, and many more in this informative sample session. These basic oils are used by families all around the world, all day long to maintain vibrant health. Attendees will get to sample the oils and experience the benefits first-hand! Please RSVP to
(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