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Week 3                            Geauga County, Ohio
June 19, 2012

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Escape to the country
In this week's shares
Location change for June field night
Upgrade your share
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
Deadline for 15-week CSA program extended
GFF Partner Series: Countryside Bakery
Mailing list add-ons
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"A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest." 

Joel SalatinEverything I Want to Do Is Illegal:

War Stories from the Local Food Front


Buggy silhouette




Leave the city behind for an evening in the country

We can't wait to see you at the farm next week! One of our favorite summer traditions is spending relaxed summer evenings with our members at our field nights. The heat of the day starts to dissipate, our families come together and we spend a relaxing evening strolling through the fields. This gives us all an opportunity to talk about our love of food and farming, so please don't hesitate to ask us any questions you may have. 


One of the most wonderful things about Northeast Ohio is our ability to go from bustling city to lush farmland in a very short drive. The pace slows and the rolling countryside provides new and beautiful views around every turn. A drive to Middlefield provides an opportunity to experience the richness of our region. 


We hope you can find a way to make farm visits a new summer tradition. It adds a whole new depth to the community supported agriculture experience when each delicious bite of fresh produce evokes memories of summer visits to the farms.


Thank you for your support of local farms.


Warm regards,

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


Marlin Barkman                Jonas L. Byler                     Thomas C. Byler

Daniel Fisher                    Lester Hershberger             Marvin Hershberger

Dominic Marchese            Abner McDaniel                   Andy J. Miller                   

Noah Yutzy Jr.


Buggy silhouette



It has come to our attention that members are taking the incorrect boxes at several of our unmanned pickup sites. PLEASE, PLEASE pay attention to what size box you are taking. If you are unsure whether you ordered a family share or a single share, then please give us a call and we will look it up in our records. 


Please do not attempt to fix or make changes on your own; this further complicates things and only makes it more difficult for us to figure out where things went wrong.


If you ordered extra items or have an ongoing special order such as Organic Only and you do not see it at your pickup site when you go to get your share, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S BOX!!!


We do not see the sign-in sheets at the different sites on a weekly basis so please do not leave notes on the sign-in sheets expecting us to see them. If there is something we need to know, please give us a call.


If you arrive at your pickup site and there is any issue at all with your share, call Laura Dobson at 440-478-9849 or Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris at 216-321-7109 or 216-513-9829 immediately.


In this week's share

In this week's share, CSA members can expect things such as red or green leaf lettuce, red or green Romaine lettuce, bok choy, Green Winterbore kale, Red Russian kale, Rainbow chard, bunching onions, cauliflower, red or golden beets, lemon basil, snap peas, yellow squash, green zucchini, Big Beef tomatoes, kohlrabi, mixed cherry tomatoes and garlic scapes. 


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. 


PLEASE NOTE: Location change for June field night

Due to some special circumstances, we need to switch our Field Night location for this month's visit next Tuesday, June 26.
Our June Field Night will take place at the farm of Lester and Martha Hershberger. Their address is 17570 Tavern Road, Middlefield, Ohio 44062. You can find a farm map here. We will start around 6:30 p.m., but show up whenever you are able.
Some of our farmers may have extra produce or other farm items on hand to sell, so you may want to bring some cash. You will also want to make sure that you have insect spray, and shoes that are appropriate for walking through the fields. 
Our July Field Night will take place at the warehouse and Red Sled Farm.

New! Upgrade to Family Share from Single Share

Did you purchase the 20-week single share, and then decide that you'd like to get the larger, family sized share instead? We now offer this upgrade option that will kick in to increase your share size for 15 weeks starting the week of July 10. Visit our Web site to upgrade your share. 


Getting the most out of your CSA membership

By Lyn Trier


A busy time

Summer is a busy time for all of us. Sometimes, it's just hard to be at home and cook. But, since we've all invested in our CSA, we don't want to see the produce go to waste.


Last week was a crazy week for us. We had dinner obligations out of the house three nights in a row, followed by leaving on vacation over the weekend.


So, I entered preservation mode. With our weekly shares, there really isn't enough produce for canning, which also takes lots of time, so I turned to freezing.


I took the onions and washed them. I dried them with a paper towel and chopped them. Then, I just placed them in a resealable plastic freezer bag. I don't usually bother freezing them on a cookie sheet first. I find that I can just break off a chunk to use in cooking throughout the summer. I also had a couple of garlic scapes left, so I froze them the same way.


I read up on line about freezing beets. I washed them, boiled them until tender and let cool. Once they were cool enough to handle, I removed the skins, cut them up in small pieces and was going to freeze them. In the end, I ended up leaving them for my husband to eat this week, but I knew they wouldn't go to waste and that was the goal.


I also froze my extra kale and Swiss chard. These items need to be blanched before freezing. I cleaned them, cut out the stems, chopped them and then blanched them. Blanching times vary, so it's best to look up your individual items on line. The process of blanching is really easy. You boil the vegetable for the prescribed amount of time and then immediately put them in ice water. Once cool, the item needs drained and dried a bit before freezing. I liked to use frozen greens in eggs, quiche, stir fry and other dishes.


The last item we had to deal with was zucchini. I peeled it and grated it. Then, I put it in a freezer bag. I'll use it in pancakes or muffins later.


In all, I spent about an hour preserving our items before I left on vacation. I think it was time well spent.


Need to ID some veggies? Try these sources:

Visit our Facebook page

Check Lyn's blog

Check the Veggie ID Guide on our Web site.


GFF partners series: Countryside Bakery

17075 Mumford Road, Burton, OH 44021


Ivan Bender, Owner

Cora Miller, Manager


Not many people can say, "I adore it," when talking about their job. Cora Miller, manager of Countryside Bakery, is one of the few who can.


Cora, who has worked at the bakery for six years now, says, "I really, really do like it. I couldn't ask for a better job."


She said she didn't realize how much she enjoyed baking until she started working for bakery owner Ivan Bender.

"At home I'd make cookies if we needed some, but I didn't go out of my way to bake."


Now Cora manages the bakery at 17075 Mumford Road in Burton where she loves everything about her job.


"I enjoy working with people, taking care of customers in the store and just the challenge of extra orders, of trying to get everything done," she says. "I try to strive for perfection. I'm not satisfied if something doesn't look right."


In previous years, all of the baking for Geauga Family Farms was done by the farmers' wives. As the program has grown, this has become more of a challenge. This spring the families wanted to find another option for the baked goods, and all agreed that Countryside Bakery was an excellent alternative. This option is still considered as being part of the Geauga Family Farms family since Cora is the daughter of Neil Miller, GFF warehouse manager.


How it all began

When Ivan and his wife Nora needed a way to supplement their income in 2005, Nora came up with the idea to start baking.


Having a home bakery was nothing new for either of them. Ivan himself grew up with a bakery in his childhood home and started baking at the age of 12.  


"We both started baking and it grew," Ivan said. "We just baked in the basement and sold it from our house."

One of the items that sold so well was their cinnamon rolls.


"We make breads and pies, but our cinnamon rolls are our specialty," Ivan said. "People really like them. It's the same recipe my mom made and everyone knows that recipe. It's just a good cinnamon roll."


Ivan wouldn't give away the secret to what makes them so good.


"It's in the way we mix them. It's our little secret. The way we go about it they remain soft. And we use caramel frosting; a lot of people are used to maple frosting, but we happen to be using the caramel frosting."


When the couple started selling their baked goods at farmers markets in Bainbridge and Willoughby the demand for their bakery grew even more. They decided to build a separate building on their property in 2008.


A building all its own

The stand-alone bakery has two wood-fired ovens. The hand-crafted stainless steel-lined ovens, built by an Amish craftsman in New York, stand more than 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 30 inches deep. The ovens can each easily bake 25 loaves, or 12 pies, at once.


It's Cora's job to take care of the wood-burning ovens. She relies on thermometers, but can tell when the ovens are not hot enough, or when they're too hot, without checking them.


"Over the years, I can kind of tell just by walking in front of them how the wood is burning," she said. "I can be 10 feet away from the oven and I can just tell when it's too hot."


Ivan said depending on whom you ask, some might say they can detect the taste of wood smoke, while others don't. The smoke exits from the back of the oven, so it isn't like baking over an open flame.


"When I started baking at home as a boy, we used kerosene then switched to wood," Ivan said. "A lot of Amish will tell you they can detect a difference. I would definitely say it's a better product out of these ovens, but whether you can actually taste or smell the wood, I would hate to make that claim."


As their business continued to grow, Nora did the most of the baking. Ivan began to help out more and more. They hired help and still more people wanted to try their delicious breads, pies and cookies. Then, the couple was blessed with children. Now they have four adorable little girls, ages 2 to 6, and Nora's full-time job has become keeping the house and caring for the girls.


Ivan was running the bakery and doing the baking himself while serving as treasurer of the Geauga Amish Loan Fund, a fund that takes investments from the Amish community and loans money to first-time Amish homebuyers and those pursuing a living in agriculture. When his position became more full time, Cora stepped in as the bakery manager.


"She pretty well runs the show now," Ivan says. "It's just working out very well."


Time for a healthy change

Countryside Bakery soon added another farmers market to its list, this time a market at The Cleveland Clinic. The standards governing items for sale at the North Union Farmers Market were the motivation for a major shift to healthier products for Countryside Bakery. The market, where you may also have health screenings done, requires there be no trans-fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, in any baked goods sold at the market.


"I'd like to think that's what differentiates us from conventional bakeries other than the wood-burning ovens," Ivan said. "We used to use oleo in cooking - in cinnamon rolls and everything. Now we use strictly butter, lard and canola oils," with the exception of some frosted cookies that contain Crisco.


"I took the recipes we were using and switched from margarine to butter," Cora said.


It wasn't as easy as it sounds though.


"You can't take quite equal amounts - for a cup of margarine you would only use about cup of butter," Cora said. "It was a challenge to switch over and get them to come out like they did with the margarine, but they definitely have a better taste."


The end result is a costlier product, but a better product, Ivan said.


"As you go in to some of these bakeries in stores like Walmart and Giant Eagle - I can't deny the fact that it looks and tastes good - but if you look at the label, it's a huge, lengthy label, and that's due to the fact that it has so many preservatives. Our labels are much shorter because we use fewer ingredients."


They don't use artificial coloring either.


"We used to use Jell-O in our fruit pies," Ivan said. "The public is becoming more and more aware of the negative impact these ingredients have on your body, so by a customer suggestion we did away with the Jell-O so now our pies don't have any added colors; they're naturally colored with the fruit juice."


Ivan was the first to admit that he doesn't have quite the same convictions for himself as some of his customers when it comes to healthy eating.


"What goes into the body comes out of the body and sometimes it appears in the form of sickness," he said. "I like to eat too much though and don't always pay attention to that for myself, but we try to provide a healthier product for our customers."


Start of a great new partnership 

The healthy baked goods fit right in with Geauga Family Farms' produce that comes from 10 certified-organic family farmers. Ivan says he's excited about the partnership.


"I think it will give us some exposure," Ivan said. "And advance orders are always great. I call them a guaranteed sell - we're not baking and hoping customers will come by to get it."


He says it's hard to sell his bakery wholesale; it loses something in the translation. For a wholesaler to purchase his baked goods and then trek them 20 to 40 miles away and mark it up wouldn't make it an easy sell.


"Our prices aren't as competitive because we make everything by hand," Ivan said. "People are more apt to pay more when they can see for themselves what they're buying was made from scratch and baked in a wood-fired oven."


Countryside Bakery also makes baked supplies for parties such as sub buns for hoagie sandwiches, as well as hotdog and hamburger buns. You don't have to drive all the way out to the bakery to pick up these baked goods.

You may order Countryside's baked goods on the Geauga Family Farms Web site to have items delivered with your share. During the summer you also may place your order by phone then pick it up at one of the three farmers markets - Geauga Fresh Market in Bainbridge, North Union Farmers Market at the Cleveland Clinic or the Willoughby Outdoor Farmers Market.


To order additional items to be delivered at the farmers markets, call Cora or Ivan at 440-834-0776. The bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday year round.


Deadline extended to July 1 to sign up for 15-week program

We have openings for membership in our 15-week CSA program that begins July 10. Due to the warm spring and a few openings left after the 20-week season enrollment, we have space for more members. Now your family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers have a chance to start receiving their own delicious, locally grown, organic produce. Feel free to forward this e-mail to everyone.  


You may sign up online at www.geaugafamilyfarms.organd pay via PayPal or mail your application and check to: Geauga Family Farms, c/o Laura Dobson, 10401 Stuart Drive, Concord Township, OH 44077. We have extended the deadline for signing up for an extra week. Envelopes must be postmarked by July 1. No exceptions. Applications and checks received with a postmark after this date will not be accepted. Checks will not be returned. Download the application here.


Once you've signed up, we hope you'll "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We also suggest you read our newsletters as this is our only means of communicating important information to you.


Thank you for your interest in our program and in supporting the local food movement. 



We will include recipes in the newsletter using the items in your weekly 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  


Uses for lemon basil

Lemon basil is a perfect herb for light, summery dishes. Try it minced and tossed with pasta (lemon pepper or spinach linguine are great), a little olive oil, ricotta cheese and sauteed zucchini. Garnish with some finely chopped garlic scapes.

Lemon basil is great with fish. Chop the leaves and mix with a bit of chopped parsley and olive oil to brush on the filets while grilling. Finish  with some freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Marinate shrimp in a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, oregano and lemon basil. Add the leaves to the skewers and grill. Serve over rice.
Beet Chips
6 medium beets (about 3/4 lb)
1/4 c cornstarch
4 c safflower or vegetable oil for deep frying
Peel beets. Using a mandoline or other manual slicer, cut beets into paper-thin slices and transfer to a large bowl. Add cornstarch and toss well to coat.
In a 3-quart saucepan heat oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches of 8 to 10 slices, separating them from one another, fry beets, turning once or twice, until crisp and beginning to shrivel, 30 seconds to 1 minutes, making sure oil returns to 350 degrees F before adding the next batch. Transfer chips as fried with a large slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Beet chips may be made up to 12 hours ahead and kept, uncoverd, at room temperature.
Recipe from 


Swiss Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Cheese and Chipotle 

45 min | 15 min prep
1 bunch Swiss chard or collard greens or mustard or beet leaf or spinach, about 12-oz ., tough stems removed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick or 2 small onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth or water
12 corn tortillas
1 cup mexican queso fresco or fresh cheese (feta is a nice substitute)
3/4 cup chipotle salsa
Cut the chard crosswise into 1-2 inch slices. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-heat. Add the onion and
stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, until they become golden and caramelized. Add the garlic and red pepper and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the broth, greens and a pinch of salt. Cover reduce heat to low and cook until the greens are almost tender, (spinach will just take about 2 minutes, chard about 5, and heartier greens like collards, about 7-8) stirring occasionally. Remove lid and turn heat back to medium, stirring, until the mixture is nearly dry and adjust salt to taste.
Meanwhile, heat a flat skillet over medium-high heat and warm the tortillas for a minute or so per side. Fill the warm tortillas with veggies and top with crumbled queso and salsa.
**You can use your favorite salsa, or make a quick, smokey chipotle salsa. Place 1-2 tomatoes, cut in half, half side down under the broiler with a few peeled cloves of garlic until slightly charred - a few minutes. Blend tomatoes, garlic and 2-3 chipotles in adobo sauce (you'll find these in a can) with a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe from



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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