|Issue 19 Geauga County, Ohio||Oct. 18, 2011|
"The gilding of the Indian summer mellowed the pastures far and wide.
The russet woods stood ripe to be stripped,
but were yet full of leaf.
The purple of heath-bloom,
faded but not withered, tinged the hills...
Fieldhead gardens bore the seal of gentle decay;
its time of flowers and even of fruit was over."
- Charlotte Brontë
Greetings from the farms!
The colors of fall are decorating the landscape of the farms. Oranges, reds and yellows fill the woods and remind us of all that needs to be done before the snow arrives. The smell of wood smoke punctuates the crisp mornings. While fields are starting to be cleared on many farms in the area, we are working on the range of crops that will appear in the winter shares - greens, carrots, squash, potatoes, radishes, broccoli and more.
Although the approaching end of the summer season (next week is the last) brings a little wistfulness, we know that our winter program gives us an opportunity to stay connected. The relationships that we have developed with you over the season and over the years mean so much to us. Join us for the winter program if you can, and we'll try to keep everyone connected in the off-season with updates now and then.
Thanks for supporting local farms!
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
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, winter squash, green beans, broccoli, red, brown or sweet potatoes, storage onions, bunching onions, garlic, parsley, radishes, turnips and beets. 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.
Last call for organic basil! Do you have time to fit in a few more batches of pesto? We've got the last harvest of organic basil available for $2.50 per bunch. Each bunch is 12-16 stems of basil that are about 20 inches in length. Please call our warehouse at 440-693-4625 to order.
Winter shares still available
We are still accepting applications for the Winter CSA, but they are going fast! This is the second year for our extremely popular Winter CSA. The winter crops are just about ready to harvest. 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 is available on our Web site at www.geaugafamilyfarms.org.
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.
This recipe is from GFF's Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris. Michelle writes, "This is a dish that my neighbor, Najla used to make for us. It is delicious served over rice with some Greek yogurt or Labne on the side. Add cubes of beef for a heartier fall/winter stew. We've even sautéed the ingredients (including stew beef) and thrown it in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours for an easy dinner. For the slow cooker approach, add the lemon juice and cinnamon at the end of the cooking time."
(a great way to use green beans, onions, tomatoes & garlic)
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. fresh green beans (cut in 1" pieces)
2 c. diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
¼ t salt
½ t basil, crushed
1 T lemon juice
½ t cinnamon
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onions and sauté until the onions soften, stirring to prevent browning. Add green beans and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, seasonings, and lemon juice. Simmer for 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Serves 4.
Simple Cheesy Spaghetti Squash
1 medium spaghetti squash
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook and prepare spaghetti squash with your choice of basic methods (above). Toss squash strands gently with butter, cheese, salt and pepper.
Sautéed Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, olives and basil. Serve warm.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Types of Winter Squash & Pumpkins
From Acorn to Turban - See the Difference Between Winter Squashes
Winter squash have thick, tough shells that protect the sweet, rich flesh inside which makes them excellent storage vegetables. Some varieties are available year-round, but their natural season runs from late summer to mid-winter. Always choose winter squash that feel heavy for their size.
Until the recent rise in popularity of butternut squash, acorn squash were the most commonly available squash in the U.S. They are a great all-around squash, with moist, sweet, tender flesh. They are good for roasting, baking, steaming, mashing, and sauteeing. Smaller ones are perfect for stuffing and make an excellent vegetarian main course for special occasions like Thanksgiving. Acorn squash are round, with even groves around the entire squash. They are mostly dark green, with occasional splotches of orange and yellow. The flesh is a slightly yellowish pumpkin orange. They tend to weight between 12 ounces and 2 pounds.
Butternut squash is the sweetest winter squash. Its flesh is thick and moist and hides very few seeds; its peel is comparatively thin and easy to peel. Its a versatile squash that roasts, and sautees quickly. Best of all, is mashes and purees smoothly, with no thick strands or fibrous bits, making it perfect for soups. Butternut squash is an elongated pear shape with pale tan peel and bright orange flesh. They usually weigh between 2 and 3 pounds.
Delicata squash is small, oblong and cheerfully striped in bright yellow, dark green and orange. The peel is exceptionally thin and is, in fact, edible (although many, including me, choose not to partake). Because of its thin skin, however, it does not store as long or as easily as other winter squash. Check Delicatas for bruises, cuts, and soft spots before buying. The flesh is sweet, nutty and a bit drier than other squash with a distinct corn-like flavor. It is particularly delicious roasted with butter or stuffed and baked. Delicata squash tend to weigh less than a pound.
Hubbard squash are about the largest winter squash you'll find for sale (besides field pumpkins, that is). For that reason, they are often sold in pre-cut and seeded chunks of a size more appealing to home cooks. Hubbard squash are remarkably sweet with a clear pumpkin flavor. They sweeten as they're stored and their extra-thick skins help them store through the winter (up to five months if kept properly cool and dry). Hubbard squash are at their best when roasted. Try them seasoned with rosemary and black pepper or try them roasted and them mashed with plenty of butter and warm spices like cumin and nutmeg. Hubbard squash are very large tear-shaped squash with skins that range from dark green to a pale grayish blue.
Kabocha squash have a remarkably sweet and tender flesh with a slightly nutty flavor. The peel is really more of a rind and is difficult to cut. The dense, smooth, sweet flesh is so tasty it needs very little fuss in preparation. Roasting it or slicing and baking it with a bit of butter or oil and salt are all this delicious squash needs. The dense flesh also holds its shaped with cooked, even in liquids, which makes it perfect for using as chunks in soups or steamed dishes. It pairs well with ginger and sesame as well. Kabocha squash are large, round, and squat. They are dark green and mottled, often with bumpy skin and make lovely table decoration until they're cooked.
Pumpkins! Yes, pumpkins are winter squash. Field pumpkins, like those used for jack o' lanterns, have dry, flavorless flesh. They can be used as baked tureens for soup, but are otherwise best left for carving and decoration. Some varieties, however, can be roasted or turned into soups just like other scrumptious winter squash. Look for French varieties, pumpkins labeled "Cinderella" pumpkins, and Blue Hokkaido.
Pumpkins - Heirloom & Roasting Pumpkins
"Sugar pie" and other smaller, sweet pumpkins make for great eating and can be used just like acorn squash. The smaller specimens can be hollowed out, roasted until tender, and filled with savory custards or small portions of soup for a fun dinner party treat. Look for pumpkins labeled sweet, sugar, or cheese pumpkins. You can bake, roast, mash, or puree these eating pumpkins just like other winter squash.
Pumpkins - Sugar Pie & Sweet Pumpkins
Spaghetti squash are all about the texture. Once cooked the flesh pulls apart into thick, slightly crisp, spaghetti-like strands. Many people then serve this stranded flesh with tomato sauce. I don't find that's the best use of this juicy, mild squash. It is delicious buttered and salted or cooked in a gratin or casserole in a creamy sauce or with plenty of cheese. Spaghetti squash are large, weighing in over 3 pounds, with pale yellow-white skin.
Turban squash come in lovely, irregular, turban shapes and a range of mottled green, orange and yellow colors. They have interested bumpy skin and are widely used as decoration. They can, unlike decorative gourds, be roasted and eaten. They have a floury texture that works well in soups, and large ones make excellent edible soup tureens when roasted until tender and filled with soup. Turban squash have a mild flesh that takes well to a wide range of seasonings.
Reprinted from http://localfoods.about.com
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 fresh, local poultry!
Getting the most out of your CSA share
by GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier
Reflections on the CSA season
It is hard to believe that the season is almost over. It has sure been a fun summer. With fall in the air, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the summer CSA season.
Personally, since I had two CSAs, my situation was a bit different than most. I was pretty sure that we would use the produce since we had become accustomed to eating lots of fresh dishes during the summer. I definitely underestimated the time and resources that pick-your-own and canning would take.
Many Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent picking berries or other fruit in the morning. In the afternoon, I would clean, freeze or make jam with the pounds that we brought home. I would finish just in time to pick up our CSA. I was always looking at a kitchen full of fresh produce, but I was definitely on the edge of overwhelmed a few times.
Soon, I got used to the easiest way to do things and summoned help from my husband a few times. He's a good sport and really appreciates the effort because our food is so fresh so often. I ended up doing things like freezing the blueberries in the containers that we picked in as well as cleaning strawberries to freeze them since I could make jam and other dishes later from frozen. After I learned a few short cuts, the summer was almost easy.
As far as using up all of the veggies, we did pretty well. My goal is always not to waste anything. We did have a few things go bad during the summer. In most cases, it was because something got pushed to the back of the fridge and we forgot about it. I started keeping a list on the fridge door with items to eat, use, freeze, etc. That really helped me get organized.
All in all, we liked most of the items that we received and have acceptable ways to use them. There's always room for improvement, but we are happy! I'm excited for the upcoming winter CSA and next summer.
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.
Proposal seeks boost for community agriculture
by Julie Sherwood, staff writer
The issueThe Farm Bill will come up for a vote by Congress in 2012. The bill is a piece of legislation that comes before Congress every five years and addresses the nation's farm and food systems. With the political debate in Washington over the federal budget putting projects and programs at risk, farm advocates are pushing proposals now to sustain and boost agriculture.
The backgroundU.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in decades, has proposed a series of changes to the Farm Bill that address key areas. One is a plan to bolster Community Supported Agriculture.
The Finger Lakes region has a growing number of CSA programs, which allow members to buy shares in the fresh produce from local farms. Programs in Ontario County include those operated through the Fellenz Family Farm in Phelps and Mud Creek Farm in Victor.
The proposal to strengthen CSAs would establish a competitive grant program to award federal funds to non-profit organizations, extension services, and state and local government agencies to provide grower support - ranging from marketing and business assistance to crop development - to new or current CSA farmers, as well as assist in the development of innovative delivery and distribution programs.
What's nextA package of proposals that include the one to boost CSA programs will be debated in Congress until a final draft of the 2012 Farm Bill is completed next year. The legislation will then be voted on, to remain in effect for five years.
Reprinted from MPNNow.com
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