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Issue 17                        Geauga County, Ohio
Oct. 5, 2011

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Weekly message from the farms
Reminders & Updates
In this week's shares
Winter CSA applications available
Please take the GFF survey
Letters from our members
Gobble, gobble
Getting the most out of your CSA share
Farm tours and workshops
China has CSAs too
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"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."

-   George Cooper, October's Party

Buggy silhouette

It's beginning to feel like spring again...


Weekly greetings from the soggy family farms. It's wet out here and we need to let you know it is making things hard for our late season crops. We hope you will understand the fact that your boxes may seem a little lighter for the next couple of weeks. It is not the situation that we want, but the reality is that our harvests are down due to all of the rain. We will do our best to fill the shares, and we are hopeful about the forecast of sunshine later in the week. It's exactly what we need right now!


In the meantime, we are already starting to plan for next season. We are including a produce survey in this week's newsletter. If you are able, please take the time to let us know how often you like to receive various items. It will help us to make some general determinations about how much to plant. We also have a spot for suggested items. Is there something we should try to grow for the shares? Maybe something that grows well in standing water? Just kidding.


Finally, the long-awaited Winter Share application is attached. We have about 300 shares available, and have been getting a lot of interest. Our best recommendation is to sign up as soon as possible to ensure a spot. Please review the application thoroughly to make sure that you understand program delivery dates, pickup times, etc. Most likely we will only be running one, six-week session this year, beginning the first week in November. Due to the smaller number of shares, we have a limited delivery area and fewer sites. We apologize if there is not one near you, but you may want to see if others in your area would like to team up and take turns for pickups - our Facebook site would be a good place to organize this. Winter shares come in one size and will include eggs and a baked good each week along with produce. Thanks for your patience as we worked out the details.


Hope you're staying dry!


Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms

Buggy silhouette  

Reminders & updates

Just a friendly reminder to all members who order extras. Please do so through our Web site. This is our way of making sure that the quantities are recorded correctly and included with our deliveries. It is critical for our record-keeping.  


If you have friends who want to receive our newsletter, or if you need to update your e-mail address, please visit our Web site at and enter your e-mail address in the bottom, left-hand corner of the Home page. 


In this week's shares 

In this week's share, CSA members can expect things such as kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, apples, tomatoes, green or colored peppers, banana peppers, Yummy orange peppers, Carmen peppers, poblano peppers, rhubarb, beans, red, brown or sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, radishes. 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.

Winter shares up for grabs 

At long last, and by popular demand, the Winter CSA application is here! This is the second year we have offered a Winter CSA. The farmers of Geauga Family Farms have been planting crops to prepare for the winter program. Shares could include items such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, lettuce, kale, winter squash, Swiss chard, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, carrots, apples, eggs and a baked item each week (we'll surprise you!).


There will be one share size at $25 per week, delivered. The shares are sized to provide several servings of produce for two to four people. Winter shares will be sold in six-week blocks. Deliveries to a range of pickup sites will occur on Thursdays and Saturdays.


We'll start with Nov. 3 - Dec. 17 for the first block, including one week off for Thanksgiving. Additional blocks and dates may be added as we evaluate weather and growing conditions. We don't want to promise certain dates if there is not produce available. As we like to say - farming is not an exact science!


Each block will cost $150, with applications and payment due Oct. 24 - no exceptions.  


NOTE: We have a limited number of winter shares available. Our winter program is very popular and may sell out before the deadline. It is in your best interest to submit your application as soon as possible. 


You may download, print, fill out and mail in the application here or you may sign up and pay via PayPal. The application will be available on our Web site at by first thing tomorrow (Thursday) morning. 



Please take our survey  

As we begin to plan for the 2012 season, we would love to hear your thoughts about the frequency with which you would like to receive a wide variety of vegetables, as well as your opinions on the GFF CSA in general. While we cannot guarantee exact amounts or frequencies due to the weather, this will help to provide us with an understanding of the general quantities that we should consider planting.


You will receive an invitation later today to take our survey. The survey will record only the first 100 responses. If you don't make it in time to take the online survey, and still wish to fill out the survey, e-mail us and we will e-mail you a copy to fill out and mail in.


Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us. We are continually striving to make your experience with Geauga Family Farms a great one! 


From our members  

We have been hearing from our members throughout the season. We love hearing from you! We thought we'd share some of your comments.


Shari and Rich Hansen pick up at Sage's. Shari recently asked about a turkey for Thanksgiving.
"I can't begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed this CSA season. My pickup day (Tuesday) is my favorite day of the week. I'm actually very sad that the season is coming to an end. Thanks again for all of your work and the work that the farmers do for this CSA. My family and I truly appreciate it."

Kay Grice, associate pastor at First Church Congregational in Painesville, volunteers at pickups on Saturday mornings with fellow CSA and church member Doug Smith. They talked up their participation in the CSA at the church's annual retreat in hopes more people would get involved.
"Again, I say thank you for all you have done with GFF," Kay writes. "I love it and hope the word will get out that the produce has been wonderful this year."

Deepwood member Susan Gerber is enjoying her experience with GFF again this year. (See her salad recipe in the recipe section.) She writes:
"A quick note to say hello and let you know how much we're enjoying the CSA this season. Seems like you guys are really getting things together and moving in the right direction... pickups are great, the newsletter is wonderful and Lyn's blog is awesome! Looking forward to buying a winter share.

Take care and keep up the great job!  Autumn cheer!"

Susan Gerber

Sage's member Chris Latch is enjoying her first time as a member of a CSA.
I am interested in getting some organic beef when it becomes available, probably 10-20 pounds! I also wanted to let you know that this is my first year doing the CSA and I love it! We have been an almost all-organic household for about a year now and your program has been the best! So thank you for providing it to me! 
Chris Latsch

Whole Foods member Anne Konkoly really enjoyed the Yummy Orange Peppers.
"I just wanted to tell you how delicious the peppers were tonight. They were so sweet and a delight to eat! Looking forward to the rest of the share for later this week."
Ann Konkoly

New member Carleen Shetler, who picks up at St. Andrew in Mentor, has found that one of the big challenges with CSA membership can be keeping up with some of the vegetables that arrive in larger amounts than we expect.
"We are not using the tomatoes as fast as they are being sent. Please do not send tomatoes, peppers and herbs as we have more than we can possibly use. We would welcome potatoes, kohlrabi, corn, beets, carrots, eggs and green beans. I hope that this will give you some idea of food that we can use. Thank you, we have been enjoying trying veggies in new ways."
Carleen Shetler

Here are a few comments from our Facebook page:
  • What variety of apples were in the share this week? They have very white flesh with pink streaks and are delicious! We have also loved all the green beans. They're almost too pretty to eat.
  • This is my first season as a CSA member, and I have to say, I am completely 100% satisfied. I look forward to picking up our share every week and have fun making use of what we get! I don't want this to end! When will we be able to sign up for the winter share?


Gobble, gobble  

It's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving turkeys! Marvin Hershberger has turkeys available for order. The cost is $2.75 per pound and the turkeys will range in size from 14-28 pounds. These turkeys are free-range but their feed is not 100 percent organic. Turkeys (and other poultry) must be picked up at the farm. They cannot be delivered.  If you are interested in reserving a holiday bird, please call Marvin at 440-548-2399. There is nothing like the flavor of a fresh, local turkey at the holidays!


Recipes for what's in season  

Please share your favorite recipes with us. Send them to Laura Dobson at and we'll try to include them in an upcoming newsletter. Here is the salad recipe from Susan Gerber, as promised.  


"This is a favorite autumn salad I make using many local /CSA ingredients," Susan writes. "In the winter, when lettuce isn't available, I have substituted cabbage (green & red look nice) with feta cheese and it is wonderful. While not local, dried cranberries add nice color and a sweet tanginess too. I have also substituted the local maple syrup for local hickory syrup with pleasing results.    


Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette  

from Farms & Foods of Ohio  

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

2 tart apples such as Granny Smiths, cored and thinly sliced

red onion, cut into thin rings

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

cup crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese

cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted


Maple Vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon dry mustard

teaspoon dried basil

cup cider vinegar

cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Chill four salad plates. In large bowl, combine the lettuce, apple slices, and red onion.Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.  

To prepare the vinaigrette: Combine the dry mustard, basil, vinegar, syrup, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour enough dressing over the salad mixture to coat and toss. Divide the salad between the plates, top each with crumbled blue cheese and chopped nuts, passing the additional dressing. Serve immediately.


Fall Cooking With Greens
Reprinted from The New York Times

We may be seeing the first burnt-orange and fiery reds of fall foliage, but farmers' markets and Community Supported Agriculture baskets are still laden with deep greens like Swiss chard, broccoli rabe and bok choy. If your produce basket is overflowing, here are five new recipes from Martha Rose Shulman that will get you cooking with greens.

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and Red Pepper: Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is the centerpiece of this classic pasta dish from Apulia, the region of Italy that makes up the heel of the country's boot shape.

Stewed Greens With Tomatoes and Mint: This recipe is inspired by a Greek dish from the island of Corfu, from Diane Kochilas's book "The Greek Vegetarian."

Valencian Chickpea and Chard Soup: A delicious soup adapted from a recipe in "A Mediterranean Harvest," by Jon Cohen and Paola Scaravelli.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy or Sturdy Greens: This recipe works equally well with bok choy or sturdy greens, both of which have tough ribs and leaves that have a cruciferous flavor.

Macaroni With Tomato Sauce, Chard and Goat Cheese: This tomatoey version of macaroni and cheese is a great way to use greens or other vegetables.

Find links to the above recipes here

Getting the most out of your CSA share

by GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier   


On Using Apples


Last week, I talked about making applesauce. Besides eating fresh apples, I think sauce is so easy to make. I love that it doesn't take many ingredients, but I do love some other apple dishes. Here are a few ideas. Keep in mind that I tend not to measure my ingredients, so use your gut feel and adjust seasonings to your family's tastes.


Apples and Pork

Apples make a great topping or side dish with pork. I like to season my pork with a rub of pepper, thyme, sage, rosemary and a pinch of salt. I peel, core and slice the apples, then I cook them a bit in a saucepan with cinnamon. After a few minutes, I add a bit of honey or brown sugar. Top the pork with the apple mixture and bake. It's delicious!


Crock-Pot Apple Crisp

Yesterday, I had some extra apples while I was visiting my sister's house. I peeled, cored and chopped eight of them. I put them in a Crock-Pot and mixed in a couple of tablespoons of sugar and some cinnamon. They were tart apples or I would have left the sugar out. I made a topping using a stick of butter, a cup of brown sugar, some dry oats and some pecans. I spread it on top and cooked it for about four hours. It was delicious, the house smelled good and we had the oven free for baking pizzas.


Apple Dumplings

I usually make apple dumplings once a year. Lately, they have been the dessert for my husband's birthday in October. I grew up making them using the Betty Crocker recipe that was always on page 171 of the cook book that my mom had. Everyone in our house knew that number. I think it's still in our cookbook, but it's on a different page now. We always liked them with more dough than apple  -- we still double the dough part of the recipe. We also don't use red cinnamon candy or food coloring. They are delicious and a gazillion calories, but worth it for once a year!


Pie in a Jar

I came across this idea on a couponing blog one day. It's called "pie in a jar" from Our Best Bites. The first time I saw this, I could not imagine ever buying jars just to make this dessert, but someone posted a link for the jars one day and I splurged. Now, they are one of my favorite desserts. I've made a variety of different ones like apple pie, blueberry cobbler and cherry crisp. I've always eaten them from the jar. I love having couch dates with my husband in the middle of the winter with a fresh dessert, and it's great that we don't need to bake a whole pie or 9x13 pan of dessert at once.


Hopefully, you're armed with plenty of ideas for using the apples from this year's CSA. If you don't have enough apples, try going out to pick your own. With all of the rain, call first and wear your boots!


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 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.


The 2011 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series

This is the last event on the 2011 tour and workshop series, sponsored by Athens County CVB & The 30 Mile Meal Project, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO), Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), The Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team and Tecumseh Land Trust. Cincinnati is a little further than our farms in Geauga County, but it sounds like an interesting event if you're willing to make the drive.  

Living off the land
Sunday, Oct. 9 2 p.m.
Richard Stewart: Carriage House Farm
10251 Miamiview Rd., N. Bend, Ohio 45052
(513) 967-1106,
Carriage House Farm is a 300-acre Ohio Century Farm that was established in 1855. The Stewarts raise produce for area restaurants and retailers, manage a growing apiary of more than 50 beehives, and raise heirloom hay and corn for cornmeal production. Tour participants will see a diverse and beautiful farm that is rooted in six generations of family stewardship. Visitors will also see a terraced dining project, including a wood-fired brick oven.
Directions: From Cincinnati, take Rte. 275 S to Exit 21 for Kilby Roa d. Go south on Kilby Road. Turn right on Rte. 50. Turn left on Geist Rd./Lawrenceburg Rd. Turn left onto Miamiview Road. 

How Community Supported Agriculture sprouted in China   

by Dan Charles

For NPR's food blog, The Salt

It's a little hard to tell, walking through Little Donkey Farm, in a village northwest of Beijing, whether this is just a charming but ineffectual protest against the tide of Chinese history, or a sign that the tide may be shifting.

Little Donkey is an organic farm. (Yes, there is an actual donkey. More about him later.) Dozens of different vegetables grow here: Eggplant, green beans, Chinese cabbage, corn, and some that I've never seen before. There's also a small barn filled with pigs.

It's also the first Chinese Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Four hundred families pay an annual membership and get, in exchange, a share of the harvest. Another 260 families rent small plots of land for their own gardens.

Shi Yan, a soft-spoken but determined young graduate student from Beijing's Renmin University, set up this operation three years ago - inspired, in part, by her experience working for six months with Earthrise Farm, a small CSA in western Minnesota. (There are at least 4,000 CSA farms in the U.S.)

"It changed my life," says Shi Yan. She arrived at Earthrise Farm thinking that she would study its business model, "but living with them, I realized that it's not just a model, it's a style of life. Before that, although I cared about rural problems, I never thought about living in a village. After I came back, I moved to this village and started this farm."

It was an audacious move, because it goes against every recent trend in Chinese agriculture - which, it's worth remembering, feeds 20 percent of the people on earth. Young people, especially young men, have been abandoning rural villages for better jobs in cities.

Little Donkey, being organic, uses only manure and compost for fertilizer, but most Chinese farmers abandoned those methods over the past forty years. They're now among the world's biggest users of synthetic fertilizer, and it's helped them boost their food production dramatically.

There's now plenty of food in China, but some people worry about its safety - especially since a nationwide scandal in 2008 involving toxic contamination of milk powder and tests (carried out by the environmental group Greenpeace) that found traces of banned pesticides on supermarket vegetables.

Now, more people are buying food that's labeled "organic." More people are visiting Little Donkey. And at least three dozen other Chinese CSAs are now in business.

But the food is not the only thing that brings people here. In a country that sometimes seems obsessed with making and selling things, Little Donkey Farm is a tiny island of Chinese counterculture. "It's mostly for relaxing," says Gao Xiang, who's there with his family, spending a Sunday tending their part of the community garden.

"Little Donkey Farm isn't just the land, or the food. We can know each other and create new ideas. We make friends here," says Fang Danmin, an editor. "It's small, but it's a trend."

Watching it all, from inside his pen, is an actual donkey named Professor. It's the farm mascot, a symbol of its ideals, but also - unintentionally - the difficulty of realizing those ideals in today's China.

"About this donkey, we have a long story," says Shi Yan. "Five or six years ago, we had a very hot discussion about whether China should keep traditional, small-scale farming. One side said we need to use donkeys to plow the land. The other side said we need tractors. At the end, my advisor Professor Wen said, 'We won't discuss this anymore. But I will buy a donkey, and my wife will name the donkey!'"

"But the embarrassing thing is," Shi Yan continues, "we hoped that we could use this donkey to plow the land. But then we figured out that in the village, there was not even one farmer who know how to work with the donkey! So right now, she can only stay in the pen."

Contact Us:

Farm Representatives

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