|Issue 18 Geauga County, Ohio||Oct. 11, 2011|
"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
Greetings from the farms!
Hope you have been enjoying this beautiful weather as much as we have. The blue skies and changing leaves have provided a pleasant backdrop to long days in the fields. It is October days like the ones we've had recently that make us glad to have the opportunity to be on the farms with our families, and glad for the members and partners who make our work possible.
We would like to take an opportunity to thank our partners in this adventure. Our pick-up sites have been amazing this year, from schools and religious institutions, to hospitals, local businesses and offices. Our sincere appreciation goes out to Ruffing Montessori School, St. Noel Catholic Church, Congregation Kol Chadash, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, LakeHealth hospitals, Jones Day and Karpinski Engineering for providing great pick-up experiences.
We hope that you find an opportunity to patronize the exceptional businesses who make up the remainder of our partners: Sage's Orchard in Chardon, Lowe's Greenhouse in Bainbridge, Whole Foods in Woodmere, The Root Café in Lakewood and The Market Café in downtown Cleveland. All of these businesses have made it a priority to support local farms through their participation, and we are tremendously grateful for all they do.
Wishing everyone more beautiful autumn days to come!
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Reminders & updates
Wow! Thank you to all who participated in our produce survey last week. We received more than 150 responses within the first few hours. Your feedback was greatly appreciated, and we hope to hear more of your thoughts on a few short surveys in the near future. All of this is helpful to us as we plan for continued improvements to your CSA experience.
A reminder on the peppers: the long red peppers (Carmens) and the small orange peppers (Yummy Orange) are very sweet - no need to worry about heat with those!
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, Yummy orange peppers, Carmen peppers, poblano peppers,winter squash, beans, broccoli greens, red, brown or sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, radishes, turnips and broccoli. 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 going fast
We are now accepting applications for the Winter CSA! 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.
First block pickups will start Nov. 3 and run through Dec. 17, 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 www.geaugafamilyfarms.org by first thing tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
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.
Jean Lohiser, who picks up at First Church Congregational in Painesville, included this note with her application for the Winter CSA.
"We have been very, very happy with all the great organic veggies. Not having a computer, I'm limited making contact with you. My son gets me newsletters at work for which I'm very thankful. Hoping all is well with the farmers!"
The following are anonymous comments from our recent survey:
"I brought a salad to lunch most workdays, and often people walking by would glance down at my lunch while saying hi and do an abrupt stop, comment on the wonderful colors and freshness of my lunch, and comment on how they needed to increase their veggie intake. I, of course, would extoll the virtues of GFF. I feel very healthy and energetic, and am looking forward to next year. I was able to have a couple of friends pick up my share when we were out of town, and they also were thrilled."
"I love this CSA. The extras are fabulous and you always have a great variety and excellent quality produce. Given how wet and rough this year was, I was impressed we got as much as we did. Thank you for another great year!"
"It was a great experience for our family. My kids tried lots of new things and I learned to cook many new dishes. The people organizing the CSA were wonderful to work with, the people helping us at the site were great, and the e-newsletters were really helpful. My only regret is that our family wasn't able to get to one of the farm visits. Definitely next year! Thanks!"
"Thank you to everyone who did the work. I have a lovely pantry of pasta sauce, grape juice, peaches, jam...I have a very happy freezer too. Bring on winter. We're ready with farm-fresh provisions. :)"
"Absolutely fantastic! I really love the ease of ordering extras online this season - I could not get enough of the eggs and cheese."
"This has been our first year and definitely won't be our last! We've loved trying some of the unfamiliar vegetables and using more of the familiar in our meals."
Gobble, gobble, cluck, cluck
Marvin Hershberger has Thanksgiving turkeys. Get your order in soon - they will sell out. Turkeys are $2.75 per pound and range in size from 14-28 pounds. These turkeys are free-range but their feed is not 100 percent organic. If you are interested in reserving a holiday bird, please call Marvin at 440-548-2399.
Andy Miller has stewing chickens available at $5 per chicken - great for stocking the freezer for winter slow-cooker meals. To order, call Andy or Laura Miller at 440-548-5697.
Turkeys and chickens must be picked up at the farms; they cannot be delivered.
There is nothing like the flavor of a fresh, local poultry!
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.
Canadian Bacon, Potato and Swiss-Chard Gratin
Grated Gruyere cheese melts among ribbons of leafy Swiss chard and slices of Canadian bacon and potato. The dish bakes until the cheese on top is a crusty golden brown.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound Swiss chard, large stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into approximately 1-inch ribbons
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into approximately 1/8-inch slices
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound sliced Canadian bacon
2/3 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over moderately low heat. Add the Swiss
chard and cook until starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook until no liquid
remains in the pan, about 2 minutes.
Butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan or similarly sized gratin dish. Layer one third of the potatoes in the dish and top with 1/8 teaspoon
each salt and pepper, a third of the cheese, and half the Canadian bacon. Spread the Swiss chardin a single layer. Top with half the
remaining potatoes and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread half the remaining cheese and the remaining
Canadian bacon over the potatoes. Add the remaining potatoes to the dish, sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and
pepper, and top with the remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the chicken broth over all.
Recipe from Cooking.com
Cover the gratin with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender and
the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before cutting.
Black Bean/Sweet Potato Quesadillas
2 (7-inch) flour tortillas
1 small (1/2 lb) sweet potato (If you are only making one quesadilla, you will have some extra. 1/2 lb of sweet potatoes will yield about 3/4 cups of mashed, which is enough for 3 quesadillas)
1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt, chili powder and cilantro to taste
Peel sweet potato and chop into small pieces. Boil for about 10 minutes or until very soft. Drain and mash with a potato masher.
Lay out one tortilla. Cover with 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup cheese, and salt, chili powder, and cilantro to taste. Cover with second tortilla. Spray frying pan with a little fat-free cooking spray and fry your quesadilla a few minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and beans are heated through.
Recipe from shadesofjaim.com
Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Peppers
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble sausage into skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Remove sausage with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the skillet. Heat oil over medium heat and add bell peppers, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add to the skillet the potatoes, sausage, salsa and cumin. Stir and cook about 5 minutes to heat through and blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper.
Recipe from allrecipes.com
Getting the most out of your CSA share
by GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier
Winter Squash Béchamel Sauce
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, winter squash is one of my favorite foods. I love this time of year when they are in season. I look for sales and good deals so I can stock up. They will keep for a few weeks if kept cool and dry. That gives me some time to use them or to roast and freeze the flesh.
This week, I had three acorn squash to use up. I roasted them whole in the oven, for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees until they got soft.
I cut them open, took the seeds out and put the flesh in a bowl. It was already soft, but I mashed it up well anyway.
In a skillet, I made a white sauce. I used about 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour and a cup of 2% milk. These amounts are always approximate since I don't like to measure. I melted the butter and stirred in the flour. After it looked clumpy but smooth, I stirred in the milk. I stirred constantly until the sauce began to thicken up. Then, I added sage, pepper and cinnamon along with the mashed squash. It quickly looked delicious. Lastly, I added a half cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
I used to be afraid to make a roux from butter and flour like in this sauce. I had a really poor experience from making macaroni and cheese from scratch one day. I'm glad that I tackled it again because now it's my go-to sauce when I need something other than tomato.
I served it over some mushroom ravioli that I picked up at Whole Foods when we got our CSA share on Tuesday. The ravioli was good, but it didn't go with the sauce. The next day, I had the sauce with some whole-wheat linguine noodles and it was OUTSTANDING.
I hope you'll embrace the roux and give this sauce a try.
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.
Ohio City: Organic caterers grow, prepare meals
by Jennifer Lindgren, WKYC TV
OHIO CITY -- A local chef is taking organic farming one step further.
Brian Doyle has two decades' experience working as a chef at restaurants and catering events around Northeast Ohio.
With a passion for organic, locally grown food, he's found a new way to serve: By growing, harvesting and preparing take-home meals for clients.
It's a concept based in Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.
"I think anyone who's interested in a clean, healthy meal that is restaurant quality, they know they don't have the time to cook, and they're interested in doing a locally-sourced meal plan, it's a good way to go," Doyle says.
CSA farms sell shares of a season's harvest in advance. As a return, shareholders (members of the community) receive a weekly bag of veggies throughout the season.
With Sow Food, the organic catering company Doyle started this summer, the concept is taken one step further.
With the help of his farming partner, Chad Krawtschenko, the duo harvest from their Ohio City farm, White Squirrel Farm, and then prepare the harvest as meals.
The farm includes a variety of greens, beets, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, beans and herbs.
Instead of picking up a traditional CSA bag of locally sourced veggies and fruits, clients take home locally sourced dinners each week.
What Sow Food cannot grow, like poultry, beef and pork, they source from other local farms.
Programs run monthly or seasonally. Each week, clients receive a tote full of entrees, sides, salads and desserts, for a total of three meals a week that feed two people.
"You're going to get a full meal with proteins, sides, a starch. Everything from Mother Nature," Doyle says.
The cost breaks down to about $15 per person, per meal.
Pickup is every Tuesday during the season, at three locations around suburban Cleveland.
Doyle says it equals savings for people who want to eat organic, but may not have the time or skill to cook.
"It affords the option of having local food, but not having to worry about, 'How am I going to cook all this stuff?'" Doyle says.
He's also seen positive feedback from Ohio City neighbors. One family is thinking of starting their own organic garden in their yard, with Sow Food's help.
Next year, the chef will partner with Community Urban School to lead an after school cooking club.
Chef Brian Doyle's recipe for Swiss Chard and Green Tomatoes:
(Serves 4 as a side dish)
1/2 lb. fresh Swiss chard, washed and chopped
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1-2 green tomatoes or ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a sauté pan to medium high heat. Add the oil and the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté for 1 more minute. Add the Swiss chard and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add a splash of water and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve or freeze for later. Buy Local!
Wood County focuses on employee wellness
by Karen Madden, Daily Tribune Staff
In 2012, about $10.4 million of Wood County's proposed $91.3 million budget is planned to pay employee health expenses for the county's self-funded insurance program.
Health insurance is about 11 percent of the county's budget - one of the reasons officials encourage employees to participate in a prevention program, said Mike Martin, Wood County finance director, who also is chairman of the county Wellness Board.
"As finance director, I am keenly aware that employee health claims are a significant portion of the county's annual costs," Martin said. "Wellness efforts can play a big part in controlling those costs and allow the county to continue to provide quality services at a reasonable cost to our residents."
People walking through the halls of the Wood County Courthouse in Wisconsin Rapids can see signs promoting the program. Posters encourage employees to take the steps instead of the elevator, and the signs let workers know the number of trips around the courthouse it takes to walk a mile.
Wood County Purchasing Clerk Jamie Lavigne became involved in a county walking challenge.
"After the challenge ended, my group continued walking, and I have even taken part in several community walks with my grandchildren - something I would never have done before," Lavigne said.
Officials have placed healthy choices in the county's vending machines, and the products are labeled to indicate their nutritional value. As part of the pricing system, people pay less for healthy snacks than for ones with empty calories, Martin said.
Other wellness efforts include a Community Supported Agriculture Program that encourages employees to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, Martin said. Employees pay to be in the program, which lets them pick up locally grown produce once a week.
The program introduces people to things they might not have purchased at the grocery store, such as kohlrabi and Swiss chard, said Kathy Alft, Wood County Health Department accounting supervisor, who participates in the Community Supported Agriculture Program. Alft said she wasn't a big fan of vegetables, but she decided to try the program anyway.
"My family and I have enjoyed the experience, and we've made small behavior changes like grilling fresh vegetables and adding more leafy greens to our plates," Alft said.
Another new program meant to reduce insurance claims, which are about $9 million a year, is a Health Risk Assessment. Employees take a confidential survey about their health. They then receive information on any health issues they have and are offered assistance on how to manage chronic conditions.
Martin's goal is to get 50 percent of the county's employees to participate in the Health Risk Assessment this year.
Reprinted from the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune
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