|Issue 20 Geauga County, Ohio||Oct. 25, 2011|
"Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush."
- Van Morrison, Moondance
Greetings from the farms!
Well, we made it! Thanks to all of you for a wonderful CSA season. Knowing that your kind support was there throughout the trials and tribulations of this season made all of us work that much harder. We hope you've been happy with the results. We've learned a lot this year and look forward to improvements in response to your comments and suggestions. Thank you for your feedback.
Michael Pollan was in town on Monday evening. For those who may not be familiar with his work, his books "The Omnivore's Dilemma," "Food Rules" and "The Botany of Desire" have been tremendously influential in the growing momentum of the food movement. More than anything, his discussion reminded us that we (sustainably-focused farms and caring consumers), together, are part of the real food solution. We are supporting each other on the road toward healthier eating habits and healthier lives.
Thank you for making the inclusion of nutritious, sustainably-raised foods a priority in your diets. Without enlightened and health-conscious members such as yourself, we would not be able to do what we do.
We'll keep working hard to bring the best of Northeast Ohio to your table. Invite your friends to share the harvest! Let's continue to build momentum for this important movement.
Keep in touch, and thanks again for all of your support. We're looking forward to more real food adventures in 2012!
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Last chance for winter shares
We still have a few Winter CSA shares available! We are extending the deadline through this Thursday (Oct. 27) for online applications ONLY. The winter crops are ready to harvest for next week. 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 is 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. Online applications and payment are due Oct. 27.
Sign up and pay via PayPal on our Web site at www.geaugafamilyfarms.org .
In this week's shares
In this week's share, CSA members can expect things such as kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, 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.
Pickup sites needed for the 2012 season
Do you have a pickup site or area that you would like us to consider for next season? Let us know now as we jump into our 2012 planning. Sites need a minimum of 40-50 members. We are happy to do a presentation about the program at your site to help drum up support.
Reminders & notices
If you have any boxes at your home, please return them to your pickup site this week.
Just in time for the holidays
We are working on Best of Geauga Family Farms holiday gift packages. Look for more info soon.
Give the gift of local, organic produce
Early-bird discounts will be available to anyone who signs up for the 2012 summer season before the end of 2011. We'll have an application on the Web site in November. CSA memberships make great gifts!
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.
You may see bok choy in your shares this week; some shares had it last week. Bok choy is quite versatile. It can be used in salads, in soups, and in a stir fry. Here are a couple recipes to try.
Bok Choy Salad
1 head bok choy, finely chopped
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodles, broken
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sunflower kernels
1/4 cup butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a large bowl, combine bok choy and green onions; set aside. Save seasoning packet from ramen noodles for another use. In a large skillet, saute the noodles, almonds and sunflower kernels in butter for 7 minutes or until browned. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Add to bok choy mixture.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well. Just before serving, drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
Yield: 10 servings
Recipe from TasteofHome.com
Asian Bok Choy, Mushroom and Rice Noodle Soup
4 cups of water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 tbsp. fish sauce
All-purpose seasoning salt
Black pepper to taste
1 bok choy
Handful of shiitake mushrooms
Scallions to taste
Clear rice noodles
Make the broth and let it come to a boil. Add the rice noodles and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bok choy and scallions. Cover the pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Whisk the egg and add it slowly to the soup while stirring it. Cook until the noodles look done. When you cook the broth make sure you taste it and add salt, seasoning, soy sauce etc. per your liking. Don't be afraid to use different vegetables in your soup or maybe some shrimp.
Recipe from ModernDayCook.com
From our members
For St. Noel's member Kimberly Hardie, Swiss chard brings back memories of another green.
"We I have a way to use chard that I havent thought about in a long time. When I was much younger, I used to go out to our pastures with my grandmother in the early spring and we would pick poke weed - poke salad. She loved it and her favorite way to eat it was to boil and steam it, then scramble it with eggs for breakfast.
I'm not fond of poke but I am fond of chard and had a huge bunch from my garden to do something with. I remembered my grandmother scrambling eggs with poke so I have been doing the same with the chard.
I steam it down in the skillet, with salt, pepper, a splash of rice wine vinegar, and a splash of hot pepper sauce (or use a hot pepper vinegar if you have it) and then I scramble two eggs in the same pan, mixing it up a bit.
It's not a beautiful presentation (and if you figure one out, let me know,) but it is really yummy. I dont often eat cheese, but I think it would taste wonderful with a bit of grated pecorino or parmesan.
I think a quiche made with chard would be completely delightful!"
Renee Ergazos, who picks up at Sage's Apples in Chardon and loves the ground beef and eggs, wants to know if extras will be available during the Winter CSA. Yes, Renee, extras will be available to order via PayPal.
"This was my first year with the GFF CSA and it has turned out to be one the best parts of my summer. The grass fed beef is wonderful; my whole family looks forward to Burger Night.
And the farm tour at Marshy Meadows was incredibly insightful and beautiful. I took my two young daughters who loved walking through the pastures and watching the cows. My fifth-grade daughter turned the tour experience into a presentation for her school complete with photos and a plug for GFF CSA!"
Renee M. Ergazos
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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 440-548-2399 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 440-548-5697 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
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
Winter homework to prepare for next season
Although I am participating in two winter CSAs, it is nice to have a break from all of the pick-your-own and canning adventures. I like to use winter to regroup, consider what I've learned, and research the things that I'd like to do better at for next season.
Since this newsletter will be published on Oct. 25, by the time you read this, I will be freshly motivated and re-energized from hearing Michael Pollan speak at Playhouse Square.
Here's my to-do list as it relates to eating local foods and preserving the harvest.
I need to do some pepper research. I'd like to get some information from our farmers on what type of seeds will be planted and put together information on the varieties, heat scale, kid-friendly recipes, how to identify them and so forth. Anyone who has followed along this year knows that peppers give me trouble. I hate not knowing if they are hot and I'm not good at testing them. I hope to find out more about peppers that I can share with everyone soon and make them more useful next summer.
I'd like to learn more about dehydrating. I borrowed a food dehydrator this summer, but I didn't get a chance to try it out. I'm hoping to figure out how to easily preserve summer squash, cabbage and other bulky items in a shelf-stable form. I'd also like to learn how to make fruit leathers for the kids that have only fruit in them and don't cost a fortune to buy.
Lastly, I need to figure out a way to organize my recipes and resources especially as they pertain to CSAs and eating local. I use Facebook pages, other CSA newsletters, my own recipes, cookbooks and more. I'd like to have a binder with my go-to recipes for different CSA ingredients, grains and new foods I'd like to try, how to store, preserve, and a seasonal growing chart all in one place.
This is an ambitious list, but I like having my goals written down. I'm much more successful that way.
I plan to blog and photograph about my winter CSA adventures. As always, you can check them out at http://lifelynstyle.com anytime. I'll be taking the winter off from the newsletter and we'll see what next summer may bring.
Enjoy the rest of the fall harvest. Thanksgiving is just around the corner!
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.
Celebrate Food Day by telling Congress to support local food
by Elliott Negin
Two months ago I wrote about National Farmers Market Week. Today I want to tell you about the first Food Day, which happens to be, you guessed it, today (Oct. 24). The message is similar, and it's simple: Phood is not food, and fat is definitely not phat.
"The American diet is contributing to weight gain, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases," says Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the nonprofit that organized Food Day. "Plus, our food is often produced in a way that's harmful to the environment, food and farm workers, and animals. We hope Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets for the better, and to push for positive changes in food and farm policy."
To that end, CSPI and its 125 partners are hosting thousands of events across the country, from a celebration in New York City's Union Square with Grow NYC's Greenmarket to the Denver Botanical Gardens' food conference to an Eat Local Now! dinner in Seattle. To find out what's going on in your area, go to the Food Day website.
Jacobson correctly points out that it isn't enough for Americans to change their diets--although given that about a third of U.S. adults are obese, that would be a good start. The other half of the equation is that as citizens, we need to get more involved in the decisions our elected officials make across the board. Unfortunately, those decisions are too often swayed by corporate lobbyists, leading to such perverse policies as prohibiting federally supported farmers who grow commodity crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat, from growing fruits and vegetables.
The fact is, if most Americans followed the advice of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food icon for personal nutrition, MyPlate (or better yet, the Harvard School of Public Health's Healthy Eating Plate) by eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat, there wouldn't be enough U.S.-grown produce to meet the demand.
A 2008 Michigan study in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition tells the national story in microcosm. To meet the recommendations of MyPlate's less-user-friendly predecessor, the USDA's food pyramid, the study found that Michigan residents would have to eat more than twice as much fruit and nearly twice as many vegetables. If all of that produce were grown in the state, Michigan farmers would have to increase their annual production of fruit and vegetables by 145.8 million pounds and 538.5 million pounds respectively. That would require switching 10,209 acres currently dedicated to commodity crops to fruit and another 27,244 acres to vegetables.
Not only would doubling the demand for fruits and vegetables in Michigan make state residents healthier, the study found that it would generate 1,780 new jobs in the state and boost the local economy by $211 million annually.
A more recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), "Market Forces: Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems," came to a similar conclusion: Locally grown food not only provides better choices for local residents, it creates jobs, keeps money circulating in local economies, promotes community development, and reduces the environmental and public health costs of food.
So it's one thing for the USDA to tell Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables, but quite another to ensure that federal agriculture policy encourages farmers to grow more. This week, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will introduce the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act to promote organic farming, local and regional farmers, farmers markets, and community-supported agriculture networks, and assist schools and low-income Americans to buy healthy food at local markets. One of its key provisions would allow commodity crop farmers to grow fruits and vegetables. Although Rep. Pingree and Sen. Brown are introducing the proposal as a stand-alone bill, with enough support, it could become part of the upcoming Farm Bill.
"We need a smarter federal food policy that fosters economic growth and healthier food choices," says Jeff O'Hara, an economist with UCS's Food and Environment Program and author of the "Market Forces" report. "The bill Representative Pingree and Senator Brown are introducing this week is a shining example of what I'm talking about. The most important thing Americans can do on Food Day is tell Congress to support this new, job-creating local food bill."
So after you fill yourself up with fruits and vegetables at a Food Day event, why not contact your representative and senators and tell them to support the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act? UCS makes it easy to do that. All you have to do is go to our website and fill out the form.
Elliott Negin is the director of news & commentary at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Massachusetts man bringing CSA programs and music
to women with breast cancer
by Kimberly A. Hooper/Staff Writer
Concord, Mass. - The saying, "I love you with all of my heart and with all of my soul" is one Andrew Leavitt uses as inspiration in his life and it's one he will never forget.
"It's actually tattooed on my back," the 22-year-old said motioning behind him. "My mother and I used to say it to each other every night."
Ellen Leavitt died of breast cancer in December 2004 at the age of 49, after battling the disease for 11 years. Today, her son, Andrew, is working to help other women battling cancer. Ellen's Heart and Soul, a nonprofit charity since June, started as a group project when Leavitt attended The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has been growing since.
With two major initiatives, "Music for the Heart and Soul" and "Meals for the Heart and Soul," the nonprofit is working hard to make a personal impact with women dealing with cancer.
"Our goal isn't to raise the most money but to make those life-changing connections and make a difference," Leavitt said, who graduated from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst in 2010. "That means a lot more than money."
About the programs
The nonprofit is currently looking to bring "Music for the Heart and Soul" programs into cancer treatment facilities at Tufts Medical Center and Emerson Hospital. If the hospitals accept the program, donations of used and new iPods will be put into these facilities and give women with cancer an opportunity to relax and enjoy music while receiving treatment, according to Leavitt.
The nonprofit is looking for donations of used and new iPods from the community to start the program.
Wes Locke, 22, of Duxbury, is the director of finance for the nonprofit, and said Leavitt's experiences have shaped him into the person he is today.
"He always looks out for other people and tries to make them happy," said Locke, who also graduated from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass this past May.
Locke has known Leavitt for more than two years and said his personality and demeanor make him a very "charismatic" person who is good at talking with people.
"He really thinks deeper than most 22-year-olds," said Locke, who recently landed a job with John Hancock financial services in Boston. "He understands life, values time and appreciates things. He could have made a lot of money and did something else for work after he finished school, but his experience really made him want to pursue this and make it work."
The second initiative the nonprofit is working on is to raise at least $25,000, which would give 25 women and their families in low-income situations, two summers, or eight weeks each summer, fresh vegetables and produce from local farms who are part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
Farms participating in CSA offer a certain number of "shares" or memberships to the public, according to Local Harvest, and the shares usually consist of a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
A growing passion
Leavitt has been raising money for the fight against breast cancer since he was 11.
A 2007 CCHS graduate, he hosted around five charity dances when he was in middle school and continued raising money all throughout high school. All proceeds from the events went to different charities, such as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
Leavitt's father, Maurice, is proud of his son and all the work he's doing to tribute his mother.
"I don't even know where to begin," Maurice said as he talked about Leavitt and what this nonprofit means to their family. "Andrew grew up with my wife having cancer and we really tried to live life as normal as we could, and I think he appreciated that growing up."
Maurice said his son is doing everything he can with the nonprofit to help make the lives of families and people going through unfortunate situations, such as cancer, as normal as possible.
"We had great optimism and desire to keep our family on a regular path as if my wife didn't have cancer," he said. "Andrew wants other families to do that and concentrate on life and not illness."
Most recently, Leavitt and Ellen's Heart and Soul were honored at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center's 2011 annual fundraiser, which honored 100 individuals and groups whose "diligence and discoveries, philanthropy and passion have helped advance the fight against cancer," according to the One Hundred website.
Leavitt remembers his mother as someone who enjoyed her life everyday even while battling cancer and undergoing treatments.
"She was amazing, just amazing," Leavitt said with an enormous smile. "She had breast cancer since I was 4 years old and it really was part of our family, but I didn't let it phase me."
From Oct. 25-27, Ellen's Heart and Soul will team-up with Groupon, a daily deals website, to help raise money for the nonprofit. The online campaign will allow people to donate money in $10 increments as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign, called "The Tipping Point," will need at least 50 people to donate or $500 for the campaign to be activated. If the campaign does not get at least 50 donations or $500, people will be refunded their money, according to Leavitt.
Looking beyond October
Ellen's Heart and Soul, which is run by Leavitt, five UMass students and two interns, has organized past fundraisers such as golf and lacrosse tournaments and the annual Metawampe Stompe snowboarding event, a joined effort between Ellen's Heart and Soul, UMass Amherst Student Government Association and the UMass Ski and Board Club.
On Dec. 9, 150 tons of snow will be delivered to UMass Amherst and will transform the campus center into a snowboard terrain park. Riders will compete for donated prizes and all the money raised will go to Ellen's Heart and Soul.
"We raised $2,300 from the last Metawampe Stompe for the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden," Leavitt said.
A future goal of Leavitt's is to create local cafés and sanctuaries where women, who are dealing with cancer, can "escape."
"It will be a place where women can go with their friends for coffee," Leavitt said. "And a place where women can go with friends and say 'I love you, you are my best friend and here is what I'm going through.'"
Post-Sept. 11, Leavitt said his mother was asked to leave a restaurant because she was wearing a scarf on her head.
"That kind of put a thorn in my paw," he said. "I want to create a place where women can go, even if it's for an hour a day before treatment or after treatment."
Residents can donate to Ellen's Heart and Soul by mail or online.
"I see us growing," Leavitt said. "This is just the start but I can see myself doing this type of work until I am 90 years old."
Reprinted from The Taunton Daily Gazette
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 440-478-9849 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 216-321-7109 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Grass-fed beef & poultry: Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 216-408-7719 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Kathleen@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062