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Fall/Winter Week 8               Geauga County, Ohio
Dec. 20, 2012

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Beginnings & endings
In this week's shares
Off-season eggs, egg-cetera
Fill your freezer with certified-organic beef
Stock up on grass-fed beef
Stewing chickens available for winter comfort dishes
Ohio farmer extends growing season with hydroponics
300-pound pig found in wrecked car
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Charlie Brown: "I think there must be something wrong with me Linus, Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy, I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel ... just another dang Christmas I guess, I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating the tree and all that but I'm still not happy, I always end up getting depressed."


Linus: "Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful gaping white Christmas and turn it into a problem, maybe you shouldn't gripe, of all the Charlie Browns in the world you are the Charlie Brownest"


~From A Charlie Brown Christmas


Buggy silhouette




Beginnings & endings

This is the last week of our Late Fall/Winter CSA season. We appreciate your participation this year and welcome any feedback about this program. It has been a pleasure to continue to bring you farm-fresh produce beyond the normal summer season. We hope you have enjoyed it!


We hope the next few weeks provide you with many opportunities to connect with family and friends. The families of Geauga Family Farms are looking forward to a short break before the full-time preparation for our summer season kicks in. We're studying seed catalogs and starting to get our greenhouses ready for the thousands of seedlings that get planted beginning in January.


Over the past few years, we have provided some monthly deliveries of eggs, beef, baked goods and other farm products to select sites for interested members during the months of January through April. We are planning to do the same this year with a slight change - our trailer will stay at sites during pickups and we will try to have extra items and some produce available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis (in addition to the items that have been pre-ordered). It will be a little like a mobile farmer's market. We will keep you posted as details for this are finalized.


We will be working on finalizing our summer pickup sites and delivery schedule by February. If you have a new location in mind, please contact us as soon as possible. We would love to add a few more stops.


Our best wishes go out to you for a New Year filled with hope and joy.


Thanks for inviting Geauga Family Farms to your table!



Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, Laura Dobson and the Farmers of Geauga Family Farms

Buggy silhouette


In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as apples, collard greens, Red Leaf or Green Leaf lettuce, acorn squash, radishes, beets, storage onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage and sweet potatoes. 


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 at different times of the week may include different items. 


Off-season sales

We will be offering monthly deliveries to a few select pickup points during the off-season. We will have egg shares available for a four-month period, or you can order items on a monthly basis. Look for more details soon!



We include recipes each week using the items in your share. We'd love for you to share your recipes with us and we will include them in the newsletter. Please e-mail them to


Winter Salad 

This recipe makes much more dressing than you'll need for the salad, but it's so delicious you'll be glad to have extra in the refrigerator.

Serves 4

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar*

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Belgian endives, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)

1/2 fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks cut off and discarded and bulb cored and thinly sliced lengthwise (1/2 cup)

1/4 celery root (sometimes called celeriac), cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (1/2 cup)

1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (1/2 cup)

2 cups mizuna or mustard greens (if using mustard greens, discard stems and tough center ribs and tear leaves into 2-inch pieces)

2 ounces firm aged goat cheese, shaved with a cheese plane or vegetable peeler (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon white truffle oil**

Whisk together shallot, honey, orange juice, vinegar, salt and white pepper in a bowl, then add olive oil in a stream, whisking until combined.

Toss endives, onion, fennel, celery root, apple and mizuna with 1/2 cup dressing in a large bowl. Season with salt and white pepper.

Serve salad topped with cheese and drizzled with truffle oil.

*Available at specialty foods shops and many supermarkets.

**Available at specialty foods shops and Dean & DeLuca

Recipe from Gourmet


Sweet Potato Squares with Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise

Serve Sweet Potato Squares warm or at room temperature. Prepare the Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise first if you choose to serve the Sweet Potato Squares warm.

Serves 8

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 32 (1-inch) cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound spicy smoked sausage, cut into 32 (1/2-inch) pieces

32 wooden picks

Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 450°. Place sweet potato cubes on a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Drizzle potatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil, and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 15 to 20 minutes, turning cubes twice. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Place 1 sausage slice on top of 1 sweet potato cube; secure with a wooden pick. Repeat with remaining sausage slices and potato cubes. Serve with lemon-garlic mayonnaise. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs if desired. 

Recipe from Southern Living


Fill your freezer with certified-organic beef 

If only certified-organic, grass-fed beef will do for you, we have that, too! Dominic Marchese of Manna Farms (a Geauga Family Farm located in Trumbull County) has organic beef available for purchase.

He raises Piedmontese cattle, a beautiful specialty breed from Italy. Piedmontese beef is known as the leanest, most tender and most heart-healthy beef, with less than half the cholesterol and fat of bison and chicken.

We are now taking orders of this beef by the full-cow (average 500 pounds), half-cow (average 250 pounds) or quarter-cow (average 125 pounds). The price for these options is $4.62 per pound, hanging weight. This cost covers processing costs and the provision of vacuum-sealed cuts to maintain the highest quality.

Call to place your order with Dominic or schedule a farm tour any time this fall through December. You can reach Dominic at 330-719-3492. Only a limited number of cows is available, due to the increasing popularity of Piedmontese beef with area chefs. This beef cannot be delivered - you must make arrangements with Dominic for pickup.

This is a great way to experience the finest in locally produced beef, and it is only available for a limited time each season through Geauga Family Farms. Don't delay, call today! For more information, visit


Stock up on grass-fed beef

Our beef team has grass-fed beef available for bulk purchase. We are taking orders for full-cow (around 500 pounds), half-cow (around 250 pounds) and quarter-cow (around 125 pounds) amounts at $3.60 per pound, hanging weight. This includes processing and packaging, and is a great way to stock your freezer with a range of steaks, roasts and ground beef at a very reasonable cost. These beef packages must be picked up at Geauga Country Meats.


Please contact Lester Miller at 440-281-2861 with questions or to place your order today.


Stewing chickens available for winter comfort dishes

The Fisher family currently has stewing chickens available for purchase. As their name implies, these free-range chickens are best used in soups, stews and slow braises. These are available for $5 per chicken, and must be picked up at the farm. Stock your freezer now for soups and stews all winter!


Call the Fishers at 440-693-4632 to reserve your chickens today. 


Ohio farmer extends growing season with hydroponic 

By Missy Smith for Seedstock

Almost 30 years ago, Larry Klco and his wife Tina started Rainbow Farms, a family owned and operated business located in Madison. To stay afloat while the couple started their farming business, Klco worked another job to pay the bills and to help the farm progress financially. Then, 11 years ago, when the company he managed closed it doors, Klco took the leap to become a full-time farmer.

In the early days of the farm, Rainbow Farms grew pick-your-own strawberries, cantaloupes, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, cauliflower and pumpkins that they sold wholesale and at the lone farmers market in their area at the time, Willoughby Outdoor Farm Market.

Thirty years later, the couple still has its hands in the soil, growing more than 40 different fruits and vegetables (in more than 150 varieties) for its local community. And, the years have only increased Klco's passion for farming. 

"I don't do this for the money, that's for darn sure. Farming involves long hours and small paychecks. You either love this or you find some other type of employment," Klco says. "But, it's what I love to do. It was a God-given talent to grow things."

After reading an article in American Vegetable Grower about a Pennsylvania grower doing hydroponics, Klco decided he wanted to employ this farming technique at Rainbow Farms, in addition to its regular field farming.

"I gave him a call, visited him, and he showed me what he was doing. We were previously harvesting strawberries in June, and by the end of October, we'd be done. For a small operation, we could not economically survive that way," he says. 

After implementing its hydroponic system five years ago, Rainbow Farms now harvests food 12 months a year.

"Hydroponics offer a season extension that you would never have otherwise," Klco says. "I also think the crops have exceptional flavor. Our tomatoes aren't field tomatoes but they're pretty darn close." 

And, he says, as long as bugs stay away from their greenhouses, the farm can turn around beautiful-looking crops, with no blemishes.

Rainbow Farm's custom-made hydroponic system is modeled after the Pennsylvania farmer's Crop King setup. But, instead of buying new gutters that would have set the farm back between $4,000-$5,000, Klco built his own for $1,000, with PVC pipe that he drilled holes in every eight inches. In addition, when one of Klco's neighbors who retired from plant propagating, gave the farm three greenhouses, it gave the farm a big financial leg up. This only left them with having to pay for plastic, a furnace and watering system. 

"Even if I stopped growing today, I'm not out a bunch of dollars," he says. "Our investment was mostly for a sewer and drainpipes. I have put in more labor than money."

To sustainably grow the food on their farm, Rainbow Farms uses beneficial insects as much as possible and drip irrigation, which reduces energy costs and pollution, with the nutrients growing right under black plastic. The hydroponic farm also utilizes double cropping and cover cropping. In addition, Klco says they use organic pesticide for worm control in their broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. "I don't call my stuff organic, but we could," he explains. "We use biologicals to kill predators."

Klco explains that the farm reuses containers for as long as possible. 

"We buy them from nurseries and use them until they fall apart," he says. "When we sell to chefs, we use the same boxes. It's just great, because you don't have all of that trash generated."

For Klco, one of the biggest challenges the farm faces involves educating the public on how food is grown. 

"I think there are a lot of folks who don't understand what it takes to grow, produce and harvest a quality end product that comes to your table," he says, explaining that he believes organic versus non-organic food education is muddled. "There's a lot of misinformation. People will ask about organic food. And, I'll say, 'No, I'm not organic, but here's what I do,' " Klco explains. "Ninety percent will listen and buy a product. The other 10 percent will look at you like the Evil Empire."

Despite the food education challenge that comes along with their operation, Rainbow Farms keeps reaching for the sky. 

"We want to improve our retail sales, CSA sales and sales to chefs," Klco explains. "We want to get more folks out to experience the farm with wagon rides and education in the agriculture industry. We see a future in that." Rainbow Farms also hopes to expand its hydroponic operation and to include value-added products in its offerings. 

"Really, I see the sky as the limit," he says. "There is a good movement out there: eating fresh and local is the right way to go. It's the best value for your dollar, and the best nutritional value for families. Supporting local growers in the local community is good for everybody."

Reprinted from the Buckeye Edition of the Morning Ag Report


Pig weighing nearly 300 pounds found in wrecked car

by Mike Krumboltz | The Sideshow

A pig weighing nearly 300 pounds was discovered in the back of a wrecked car in Youngstown. The car, a Nissan Cube, was totaled, but Penelope the pig was unscathed.

If pigs could talk, Penelope would tell quite a story. The car, which belongs to Wendy Thrasher, Penelope's owner, was apparently stolen while Thrasher was visiting a friend in Youngstown. When police discovered the car on Monday afternoon, the front end was badly damaged, the two front tires were flat and the air bags had been deployed. Oh, and there was a huge pig hanging out in the back.

Chuck Sayer, a representative from the Mahoning County Humane Society, said, "This isn't something we see every day. Usually dogs, cats, domestic animals, usually not a potbellied pig that weighs 300 pounds."

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that the car was towed with the pig still inside. Thrasher was distressed to see her car totaled but delighted to learn her pig was safe. In an interview with Fox News, Thrasher explained that she's had Penelope since the pig was just 3 days old. "We have human kids," Thrasher said, "I love her (Penelope) every bit as much as the human ones."

Thrasher told WFMJ, "[Penelope] is a little weirded out right now. I'm sure she's weirded out. Whoever stole the car, I'm wondering if that's why they wrecked it."


Signing up for our newsletter

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(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PLEASE!)

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