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Winter Update                    Geauga County, Ohio
Nov. 10, 2011

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Holiday gift packages available
Order your Thanksgiving turkey now
Fall decor anyone?
Local food the perfect gift
Sweet potato special
Talented farmers
Looking for new pickup sites
Celebrity farmer Joel Salatin releases new book
St. Louis lot could be start to farming
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"So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world."   

-   John Clare, November


Buggy silhouette

Just in time for the holidays 

The holidays are a great time to share the importance of supporting local farms with friends and family. We have many delicious and festive options for you! Please note that the Thanksgiving boxes must be ordered right away in order to take advantage of the special in time for the holiday. 


Thanksgiving Boxes

Incorporate the bounty of the local harvest into your holiday meals. Our Thanksgiving box includes a loaf of freshly baked bread, five pounds of potatoes, one butternut squash, one head of cabbage, five pounds of sweet potatoes, half pint of apple butter and a homemade pumpkin roll.


Cost per box:           $30

Order by:                This Saturday, Nov. 12 - order through Paypal at


Delivery details: Boxes can be delivered to the Winter CSA pick-up location of your choice. See our Web site for pickup locations and times. Delivery days will be Thursday, Nov. 17, for Lowe's Family Greenhouse, Congregation Kol Chadash and the Bandy-Zalatoris residence, and Saturday, Nov. 19, for St. Noel, Hill's Family Karate, Sage's Orchard and our warehouse.


Holiday Gift Baskets

Share the bounty of Geauga Family Farms or treat yourself with our special holiday gift baskets. Our gift basket includes a freshly baked loaf of bread, two pounds of decorative holiday cookies, two jars of Miller's jams, one pint of 2011 maple syrup, pound of Middlefield organic cheddar cheese, pound of Middlefield organic garlic and onion cheese, a 4-ounce log of fresh, plain chevre from Mackenzie Creamery and a 4-ounce log of cranberry orange chevre from Mackenzie Creamery. All of this is packed in a festive, wrapped basket.*

*You will need to remove and refrigerate the cheeses until you are ready to give this gift.


Cost per basket:       $48

Order by:                Saturday, Dec. 3 - order through Paypal at


Delivery details: Boxes can be delivered to the Winter CSA pickup location of your choice. See our Web site for pickup locations and times. Delivery days will be Thursday, Dec. 15, for Lowe's Family Greenhouse, Congregation Kol Chadash and the Bandy-Zalatoris residence, and Saturday, Dec. 17 for St. Noel, Hill's Family Karate, Sage's Orchard and our warehouse.


Order your Thanksgiving turkey now     

There is still time to reserve a fresh, free-range Thanksgiving turkey from the Hershberger farm. Prices are $2.75 per pound, and turkeys range in size from 14-28 pounds. Turkeys must be picked up at the farm in Middlefield. If you are interested in reserving a holiday bird, please call Marvin at 440-548-2399. 


Need any fall decorations?      

The boys of the Hershberger farm have gathered 20 large corn stalk bundles that can be delivered to any of the Winter CSA sites for $3.50 per bundle. While it's a little late for Halloween parties, they would make lovely Thanksgiving decorations! The boys get to keep any money they make from this sale, so we offered to help get the word out. Please call Rosanna Hershberger at 440-548-2399 to place your order.


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! 


Sweet potato special 

If you can't get enough of our delicious, vitamin-packed, organic sweet potatoes, we've got a deal for you!


Bulk sweet potatoes are now available from D&S Farm and Garden (one of our CSA farms). They store well in a cool, dry place and can be used throughout the winter. This is a great time to stock up.


Sweet potato orders can be placed through Rosanna Hershberger at 440-548-2399 for delivery to Winter CSA pickup sites. Orders will be labeled with your name and an invoice will be included. Sweet potatoes can be ordered in the following amounts:


5 lb. bag - $4.50

10 lb. bag - $9

50 lb. bag - $45


Our farmers have many talents    

Before they got into farming full-time, most of our farmers did other types of work. Many have participated in the building trades. Some continue to do other work during the off-season to supplement their farm incomes and support their families. We'll bring you information from time to time about services that are available from our farmers. Feel free to pass this information on to others who might be interested.


D & A Hershberger Construction: 440-477-4438 (7 a.m. - 4 p.m. - leave a message if calling after hours)

Marvin Hershberger, one of our board members, is taking on some construction work this winter. His team is skilled in a range of interior and exterior construction projects, from detailed tilework and cabinetry to masonry and roofing. They have a significant amount of experience in drywall work, kitchen renovations, basement renovations and more. References are available. These craftsmen are available to work in locations within an hour's drive from Middlefield. Feel free to call Marvin to discuss your project needs.


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.
Joel Salatin: Folks, This Ain't Normal

by Kristin Wartman

Food Writer


Joel Salatin (farmer and owner of Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va., best known for his appearance in "Fresh, The Movie") was in Union Square Wednesday talking about his new book, appropriately titled, "Folks, This Ain't Normal" and passionately spoke about the state of industrial agriculture and its effects on our soil, our health and our culture.


When I asked him what activists can do to align ourselves with the Occupy movements and combat Big Food he said, "The beauty of that is you don't have to wait for a government regulation, you don't have to wait for a program, you don't have to wait for an agency."  


Rather, Salatin said that all cultural movements are started from the bottom-up with real grass-roots activism. He went on to say that we all need to get into our kitchens and get cooking.  


He said, "Get in your kitchens, buy unprocessed foods, turn off the TV, and prepare your own foods. This is liberating."


Salatin also advised us all to start growing something -- anything, even on a small patio or windowsill. If we can't grow anything, he said, then we should come to the farmers markets and buy from our local farmers.


"Know your food, know your farmers and know your kitchen. Start building up your larder! We don't even use that term any more," he said. "It used to be, 100 years ago, if I came into a town and said, 'Where's the food?' people would take me to their houses and show me their larders. Today if I ask, 'Where's the food?' the food is 1,000 miles away in a Costco warehouse. It's very vulnerable, very insecure. And at a time when many people feel insecure and feel like the culture is heading off a precarious precipice, we will absolutely return to some of these normal practices that our forebears did but we will continue... to take the best of our technology into these normal structures."


Salatin's use of the term "normal" is crucially important when discussing local and sustainable foods. At a time when industrial agriculture has taken over what is perceived as "normal" and has largely succeeded in making Americans believe that packaged, processed foods are indeed normal, Salatin suggests a real normal -- one that humans have been practicing for thousands of years -- not the 60 years or so years of industrial agriculture. Salatin is talking about a real shift in our understanding about food and agriculture. And this shift is indeed going to come from the bottom-up; we need to address these issues in new and innovative ways. To learn more, go to Occupy Big Food.

Reprinted from the Huffington Post online. 

Derelict lot may be a linchpin for city farming effort  

by Georgina Gustin


ST. LOUIS - To passers-by, it looks like a vacant lot full of weeds. To Jeri and Carlos Villarreal, it looks like the beginning of a sprawling citywide system of farms.


The couple, both 35, have secured city approval to buy a derelict one-third-acre lot at 4539 Delmar Boulevard and start farming it next year. They plan to take on trainees who will eventually do the same thing on other properties throughout the city, transforming vacant eyesores while providing jobs and healthful produce in the process.


"We're going to show people how to grow, and then they can grow, too," Jeri Villarreal says. "That just expands our ability to produce food in the city for our customers."


These satellite farms, Villarreal explains, will get support from the "main" farm's employees as they learn to run their own operations. "People are learning how to farm on their land, and that helps them because they can grow their own food," she said.


The idea for this franchise-style system is new to St. Louis, where urban homesteaders, farmers and community gardens have been on the rise in recent years. The Villarreals envision pushing that trend further with a network of farms that can achieve consistency and volume through a single distribution system serving restaurants and health food stores. They hope to create a built-in local market for their produce - something that a lot of first-time, small-scale farmers often lack.


"They often end up with excess," Jeri Villarreal says. "With this, they'll have someone to sell it to."


The Villarreals are new converts to farming. In just the past year, they have transformed their backyard in University City into a small farm, with 10 chickens and a dozen raised beds that have produced enough food for the 18 customers in their Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA.


But they felt limited by the space in their suburban yard, so they started to think bigger. "We wanted to expand, and we have all these grand ideas," Villarreal says.


Initially, the couple considered buying a second plot somewhere in the countryside. But the Villarreals stumbled onto the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority's list of properties after a friend suggested urban lots. The authority manages tax delinquent properties throughout the city, and sells them to prospective buyers who go through an approval process. The couple found their lot on Delmar and were approved to buy it earlier this year after convincing the city they had a solid plan.


A study conducted by the Show-Me Institute this year found that the city had a track record of rejecting buyers for LRA lands. But that appears to be changing, according to the institute, and the city seems more inclined to sell land to prospective farmers.


"In the past, some LRA commissioners have said: We don't want to sell it unless you build on it," said Audrey Spalding, who performed the analysis for the institute. "But they seem to be revisiting that policy now."


Otis Williams, deputy executive director with the St. Louis Development Corp., which oversees the authority, says the city has a track record of leasing to community gardens and welcomes more farms.


"There's a lot of interest out there," he said. "We're very open to selling all the lots we have for useful purposes."


But, he said, "job production and housing come first."


Still, the open attitude toward urban farming bodes well for the Villarreals project and dovetails with their newfound mission to transform the urban landscape into food-production.


"I would love to see people growing on these lots," Villarreal says. "There are just so many of them just sitting there."


Now they need to supplement the funding for the effort, which is primarily coming out of their own pockets. They've launched a page on the website, which helps small businesses and start-ups collect money in donations.


"We're trying to do this without conventional loans," Villarreal says. "How would we sell this to a bank? There's nothing to compare it to."


Reprinted from

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