|Issue 12 Geauga County, Ohio||Aug. 31, 2011|
Everything old is new again
Greetings from all of us at Geauga Family Farms! One of the things we hope to provide you with as a part of this CSA program is the chance to try new things. From a first-time visit to a working farm to trying kohlrabi and 8-ball zucchini, we hope you are having some memorable experiences this season. Even the older methods of farming using organic methods and horse-drawn equipment seem "new" in comparison to the chemical-laden factory-farming approaches that most people are familiar with these days.
Things like receiving watermelon four weeks in a row can also be a new experience. Once you have had your fill of plain sliced watermelon, it's time to move on to more experimental approaches - things you wouldn't normally try if you only bought one or two melons each season. The watermelon gazpacho and watermelon salsa from last week are unexpectedly delicious. How about watermelon cocktails? Strain chunks of melon over a pitcher, add simple syrup, lime juice and the spirit of your choice, or leave out the alcohol for a delightful cooler - both are refreshing and new.
Each new day brings a range of new experiences to the farms - we hope that like us, you enjoy bringing some new approaches to the familiar.
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Reminders & updates
We still have 20-pound boxes of cucumbers and tomatoes for sale. Remember, these are not perfect veggies; both are seconds, meant for canning. The cukes are $10/box and the tomatoes are $12/box. There are also a lot of multi-colored cherry tomatoes available for $1.75/pint. We have bulk basil available for $4 a pound as well. To order, call Roseanna Hershberger at the Geauga Family Farms warehouse at 440-693-4625.
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 peaches, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, green zucchini, 8-ball zucchini, patty-pan squash, yellow squash, okra, potatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeños, hot banana peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, beans, peas, eggplant, red or golden beets, sweet corn, basil, Swiss chard, storage onions, small green cabbage and acorn 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 later in the week may include different items.
Learn all about grass-fed beef
Geauga Family Farms CSA members are invited to a special event at the farm of Mardy Townsend, one of our beef producers, on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 3 - 5 p.m. If you are interested in learning more about the details of raising grass-fed beef, this is the event for you. More than a typical farm tour, this will include informative and technical sessions on the subject. This is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 2011 tour series, and Mardy has generously extended an invitation to our CSA members. It should be a great afternoon at Marshy Meadows! Find a link here for a map to Mardy's farm.
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. Here are some recipes from members and some favorites of our own.
Many of you have been at a loss as to how to use up all your hot peppers. GFF Farmer Abner McDaniel shares this recipe that just might help you out. Abner adds bacon and chopped onion to his, and sometimes uses cheddar cheese as well. Keep in mind, hot peppers lose much of their heat when cooked.
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 follows
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, Monterrey 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 third 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):
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 Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
St. Noel member Kimberly Hardie shared these thoughts and recipes with us: "Although I'm from the South, I can't stand stewed tomatoes and okra. I think it's the tomatoes and not the slime from the okra when it's stewed. ;) These two recipes are used more than any other in Texas, both North and South," Kimberly writes. "Fried okra is probably the No. 1 way okra is prepared in the South... and it doesnt even come close to what you find at some fried chicken places. This is how authentic Southern fried okra is made."
Southern fried okra
"This is made best in either a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a stainless steel skillet," Kimberly advises. "It does OK if there is a little bit more than just covering the bottom of the pan, but you don't want to cook many layers at one time or it becomes a soggy mess. We tend to let it cook a bit longer since we like the pointy ends practically charred black," Kimberly says. "For our family, the darker and crispier it is, the better."
Sliced okra, cut in 1/4 inch pieces cross-ways, discarding the cap piece
1 cup corn meal
1/8 cup flour
2-3 Tbsp. oil or lard
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
While heating about 3 tablespoons of oil or lard (any kind) to a high heat, mix corn meal, flour, salt and black pepper in a paper bag or large bowl. Lightly dampen the cut okra with water, then drop a handful in the cornmeal mix. Remove from the corn meal mix and place carefully in the oil. Continue until the bottom of the pan is fully covered.
Cook on high until it starts to brown slightly; flip to allow the other side to brown as well.
When both sides (or at least half of it) are lightly browned, cover and turn the heat to low and let it cook for another 10 minutes, stirring or flipping occasionally to keep it from sticking.
Remove the lid, increase the heat and let it cook for another five minutes so there is no moisture left in the pan.
"This specific recipe from from www.cooks.com but it's a very common Plain Jane pickled okra recipe," Kimberly says. "It's really yummy! I often will make a jar and just leave it in the refrigerator or a week or two before eating it. It's difficult to leave them alone. :D This is really hot. You may want to cut the amount of spices used."
4 or 4 1/2 lbs. sm. okra pods
Wash okra well. Drain and set aside. Place one clove garlic and one hot pepper into each of seven hot sterilized pint jars. Pack jars firmly with okra, leaving 1/2-inch head space; add 1 teaspoon dill seed to each. Combine vinegar, water and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and pour over okra. Screw metal bands on tightly. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let pickles stand at least five weeks before opening.
7 cloves garlic
7 hot peppers
7 tsp. dill seeds
1 qt. vinegar
1 c. water
1/2 c. pickling salt
Recipe from www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1636,153175-229196,00.html
This idea and recipe was sent in by Cindy Linn, who picks up at our warehouse. "It was suggested that I share my basil trick with everyone," Cindy writes. "I love basil, but can only handle so much at a time. With Saturday's bunch, I put them in a vase of water for about 48 hours. The time in the water perked them back up and in the process, I was able to enjoy the aromatic aroma and beauty of the boquet. Tonight I chopped them up and put them in ice cube trays with water. Once they're frozen, they will then go in Ziploc baggies to be used in soups, stews, casseroles, etc. It's also a great gift item for my lady Amish friends in the winter. It's the only time they have easy access to frozen items. I also have been using my fresh veggies in my Poor Man Stir Fry."
Poor Man Stir FryAny type of meat will work - fresh or leftover in any amount (can also skip the meat). I like grilled chicken & bacon.
Any type of pasta or rice (I use penne pasta or homemade Amish noodles)
Your favorite sauce, dressing, salsa, marinade (I like the local homemade Amish salsas)
Your favorite fresh veggies (I like onions, garlic, green peppers & cherry tomatoes)
My preference is to lightly stir fry the cooked meat, noodles and salsa together for 10 - 15 minutes. I then add the veggies and keep stir frying for another couple of minutes and then serve. Since I like raw veggies, I just want mine lightly cooked.
It's very easy, very fast and awesome to eat every time.
Lowe's member Jackie Weller has sent us another recipe for the newsletter. She writes, "I am now officially sick of tomatoes! They were what I looked forward to most at the beginning of the season, but now I am frantically trying to come up with some new and creative ways to use them (when I'm not giving them away, that is). Tonight I made the most delicious and simple marinara sauce."
Sauté some chopped onion in olive oil in a nonstick skillet until translucent.
Add several cloves of chopped fresh garlic, 4 or 5 large chopped tomatoes and a good handful of coarsely chopped fresh basil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes and season with a little kosher salt. Yum!
"Tonight I served it over whole grain pasta and some sautéed zucchini, topped with some fresh grated parmesan cheese, and I have enough left over for eggplant parmesan later in the week," Jackie says. "Can't wait! Maybe I'm not so sick of tomatoes after all."
Getting the most out of your CSA share
by GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier
Overwhelmed with veggies?
This is the time of the season where I think it's easy to get overwhelmed with all of the vegetables. The season is in full force and the shares are overflowing. Here are a couple of ideas to make sure nothing goes to waste.
The freezer is your friend. Many items this time of year can easily be frozen without blanching. I find freezing an easy way to keep up when I have a particularly busy week.
- Summer squash - wash and shred and freeze in a Ziploc bag. I usually peel it and squeeze out a bit of moisture first, but that is a matter of personal preference. I usually measure it out in 2-cup servings, which are the amount for my favorite zucchini bread recipe.
- Tomatoes - wash, core, dry and put in a Ziploc bag. It is easy to make sauce or use them in chili from a frozen state. Many weeks we get too many tomatoes to eat or don't have enough for a batch of sauce. The freezer is an easy way to save them up.
- Many of the fruits this time of year can also be frozen.
- Cantaloupe can be cleaned and cubed for the freezer. It's best served slightly defrosted.
- Cubed watermelon freezes well for smoothies. I like to take the seeds out before freezing.
- Peaches also freeze well. I like to wash them, put them in boiling water for 45 seconds and then cool them in ice water to make the skins come off easily. Then, I cut slices, discard the pit and freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper before putting in a Ziploc bag. I don't put sugar on them and they are awesome in oatmeal.
- Peppers can also be washed, seeded and chopped for freezing. I usually freeze them on a cookie sheet first also. Many people suggest blanching peppers first, but I don't bother. Frozen peppers are great for chili, pulled pork and other cooked recipes all winter long.
- Most herbs can be washed, taken off stems, chopped and frozen into ice cubes (cover with water). Once frozen, store the cubes in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I use the cubes in soup, stew, chili, making rice/quinoa and anything else that won't mind the water.
I hope these tips and reminders help you get the most out of your CSA.
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.
Becoming familiar with fermentation
from the producers of "Fresh, The Movie"
If the mere suggestion of fermentation makes you queasy, consider this: you probably ate a fermented food for breakfast, like bread, cheese, yogurt and coffee. "I've tried, and have not found, a tradition or culture that doesn't include fermentation," said Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and self-described "fermentation revivalist."
Getting familiar with fermentation improves intestinal health and supports alternative food systems. According to Katz, it's important to replenish and diversify the bacteria in our gut. The easiest and most delicious way to do so is by consuming live fermented foods. For a gateway into the world of fermentation, Katz recommends brining any favorite vegetable. His "totally straightforward" instructions are to "chop up some veggies, salt them lightly to taste, squeeze or pound them, and then stuff into jar or crock so they're submerged under liquid. Let them sit for two weeks, or months, or years." Check out his fermentation tips below:
Want to read more about Katz's obsession with fermented foods and how cultured foods are under attack by the industrial food system? Check out the "Fresh" blog post and leave us a comment at: The Revolution Tastes Like Sauerkraut.
- Make sure your vegetables are submerged in liquid. This prevents mold growth and separates rotten vegetables from fermented ones. Usually the liquid is salty water (brine), but you can use plain water, wine or whey too.
- Play with chopping your vegetables or leaving them whole. If shredded, simply salting the vegetables will typically pull enough juice out via osmosis, so adding water isn't necessary. Whole vegetables require brine.
- Traditionally, vegetables were fermented with lots of salt to preserve them for longer periods of time. However, less salt can be better for flavor and nutrition. Salt lightly to taste-there's no magic proportion. As a starting point, try 3 tablespoons of salt per 5 pounds of vegetables.
- Use a heavy cylindrical ceramic crock if you can. Glass containers also work well, but avoid plastic and metal, as they can leach chemicals or be corroded by the fermentation. Pack your vegetables at the bottom and submerge them with a weighted plate or jug.
- If mold develops on the surface of the liquid, scrape it off as best you can; it will not hurt the vegetables underneath.
- Taste your ferments early and often to find out what you prefer. Longer fermentation and warm temperatures mean tangier flavor.
- Nearly any vegetable can be fermented-be bold! Seaweeds and fruits can be fantastic, and spices play a big role in giving kimchi and sauerkraut their distinctive flavors.
For more information, see Katz's Wild Fermentation Web site and the article "Vegetable Fermentation Further Simplified."
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