|Week 10 Geauga County, Ohio||Aug. 7, 2012|
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."
We've gotten a lot of questions about how we get our produce to you each week, and we thought we would share our process.
On Fridays our warehouse team contacts each of our 10 farms to find out what types and volumes of produce will be available the following week. Rosanna, who manages the ordering process, determines the mix of items that will go in the single and family shares for those three days. She then places an order from each farm for the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday deliveries. With more than 800 members, that means between 200 and 300 boxes go out on each of our delivery days
The day before our deliveries (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), our farmers are busy harvesting the items they will contribute to the shares that day. Each farm grows a different mix of vegetables, herbs and fruit based on what grows well in their soil and what interests them. Fruits and vegetables are hand-picked and brought to the barns for preparation. Spouses, sons, daughters and neighbors pitch in to get the items ready for delivery to the warehouse. This includes sorting, cleaning, packaging and placing into boxes for the arrival of the delivery truck.
Our trucks get an early start on delivery days, picking up the produce orders from each of the farms, as well as eggs, bread, cheeses, etc. that have been ordered as extras. When the truck gets to the warehouse, the produce is unloaded, inspected and organized. Our warehouse team then packs each share by hand to ensure that the items will travel well and arrive in good shape. The inspection and packing process at the warehouse usually takes about two hours. The shares are then loaded back into the trucks for delivery to your pickup site.
Once deliveries are complete the whole process starts again for the next day.
Are we perfect? No. As much as we try, sometimes something gets missed, or something gets handled in a way that limits its shelf life. That's why we truly appreciate your feedback. It has helped us refine our picking, cleaning and packing techniques over the years. There is always room for improvement, and we appreciate your willingness to let us make adjustments along the way.
When you think about the fact that most of the produce in stores travels over 1,500 miles and sits around in warehouses to ripen, it's comforting to know that the items in your share are fresh, hand-picked and carefully nurtured for the farm-to-table journey by families who love farming and who look forward to bringing you the best of what our land has to offer.
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, Laura Dobson 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.
10-week program starts the week of Aug. 14
Welcome to those of you joining us for the 10-week program! This last program of the season begins Tuesday, Aug. 14, Thursday, Aug. 16 & Saturday, Aug. 18 (depending on your pickup day). You will receive an e-mail with important pickup instructions a few days before the season begins. Welcome to 10 weeks of fresh, certified-organic, local produce!
You will start to see both hot and mild banana peppers show up in your bags. The hot peppers will be marked with a "HOT" sticker on their bags, and the mild peppers will not have a sticker. It is always good to be cautious, though. Please remember to limit contact with the seeds, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
In this week's shares
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries, sweet corn, red and green leaf lettuce, green romaine lettuce, sweet candy onions, dill, Big Beef tomatoes, mixed cherry tomatoes, Provider beans (green), Broncho beans (green), cabbage (green), patty pan squash (green, white/yellow or striped-Ronde de Nice), cucumbers, pickling cukes, fingerling potatoes, green peppers, Hungarian Wax banana peppers (hot), sweet banana peppers and eggplants.
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.
Bulk veggies for sale
Ladies and gentlemen, start your canners! We have bulk veggies for sale now.
#2 canning tomatoes - $20/20-pound box
Mixed cherry tomatoes - $2.50/pint
Canning cucumbers - $12/box - (24-30/box)
Basil - $3/pound
Red Beets - $20/half-bushel, with or without tops
Green bell peppers - $24/bushel, $12/half-bushel
To order, call Rosanna at 440-693-4625 between 7 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your bulk produce will be delivered with your share in a box with your name on it. Please look for it when you pick up your share. Rosanna will invoice you for your items.
D & S Farm & Garden has lots of organic blackberries for sale for $3.50/pint. To order, call Rosanna at 440-693-4625 between 7 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your add-on order will be delivered with your share in a box or bag with your name on it. Please look for it when you pick up your share. Rosanna will invoice you for your items.
Farm tour information
Our farm tours are held on the second Saturday of the month from 1 - 3:30 p.m. Tuesday Field Nights are from 6 - 8 p.m.
We're excited to invite everyone out to the farm of Tom and Esther Byler this Saturday for a corn roast. Corn will be served from 1-3 p.m., and tours of the farm will be provided. Join us for a fun and tasty afternoon. The Byler Farm is located at 8173 Cox Road, Windsor, 44099. Find a farm map here.
Our schedule for the remainder of the season is as follows:
Saturday, Aug. 11 - Farm of Tom Byler & corn roast
Tuesday, Aug. 28 - Hershberger Organic Produce (Marvin Hershberger's farm)
Saturday, Sept. 8 - Parkman Produce (Yutzy Family farm) & canning demonstration
Tuesday, Sept. 25 - Miller's Organic Produce + pumpkin patch & hayrides
Saturday, Oct. 13 (tentative) - Fall tour and potluck get-together at the warehouse
Lester Hershberger farm
National Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Night is Aug. 8
This holiday was created as a fun way to share the wealth of prolific summer squash plants. We asked for your ideas and got some creative approaches:
One member family decorates large zucchinis with faces and leaves them on their neighbors' porches.
Member Charlotte Brett had a range of ideas -
A zucchini carving/painting contest (instead of pumpkins)
Use zucchini for arts/crafts like wreathes or ink stamps, or household items, like tea or taper candleholders.
A zucchini cook-off, a contest to come up with a slogan to promote zucchini consumption ("Eat zucchini - it's gourd!"). Bah-dump-ump.
As games, zucchini Bingo, zucchini juggling, kick-the-zucchini (like kick the can), pin the tail on the zucchini.
Charlotte says, "The possibilities are endless with hoards of gourds!"
And we couldn't celebrate the holiday without a reprint of the poem "Zucchini Nightmare" submitted by Kathy Yutzy (of Parkman Produce) last season.
Our friends all raise zucchini,
It's an easy crop to grow.
They share with us, make such a fuss,
We cannot tell them no.
We must not waste, says wifey dear
We can't throw it away.
I know you'll grow to love it so
We'll eat it every day.
I'll braise zucchini, mash zucchini
Smother it with cheese,
I'll slice and dice, make something nice,
Your appetite to please.
I'll bake zucchini, fry zucchini
Marinate it too!
I'll broil and boil, sauté in oil,
And make zucchini stew.
I'll make zucchini patties
And zucchini jubilee,
I'll grill and chill, toss in some dill,
I'll make zucchini candy
And then for something new,
I'll even try zucchini pie
And maybe ice cream, too.
I'm so tired of zucchini
And my tummy's starting to ail,
So I'll make a wish for next year,
His zucchini crop will fail!
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
By Lyn Trier
Local Melon Season
After being in CSAs for four years, our family has our favorite seasonal items and some not-so-favorite ones.
Local melon season is definitely one of our favorite times of year. Last year, we received tons of watermelon and a few cantaloupes. I'm hoping that our farmers have another great year for melons!
I talked about watermelon last year in this column, but continue to receive many comments about getting too much and cutting them open, so I thought I should refresh everyone's memory and share my thoughts with our new members.
Here are some tips for melons.
Cut them up as soon as possible. Having the melons all cut up off the rind and ready to go helps it disappear quickly. I really like dealing with all of the rind trash up front too.
My least favorite part of getting melons is cutting them up. Last year, I saw my husband cut up a watermelon. It was fabulous. I could not believe how easy it looked. I asked him where he learned how to do that and he replied "Alton Brown." Of course, we've learned lots from him.
Use a sharp knife or a wallboard saw. Cut off a slice at one end so that the melon has a flat spot and can stand up on its own. This is great because now it doesn't roll around. Genius! After standing the melon on the flat spot, cut strips down the side, from the top to the bottom, as if you were peeling it. Cut deeply enough to remove the rind. Work your way around the melon, cutting in long strips. Once you have made it all the way around the watermelon, you will likely need to make a few cleanup cuts to remove any bits of rind near the top and the bottom. You are left with a ball of edible red watermelon flesh. Cut the ball in half, and put the flat side of each half on the cutting board for safe slicing. Then cut into cubes, sticks or slices as you wish.
I always put a layer of paper towels and/or an extra dish towel down under my cutting board to allow for the dripping and liquid that inevitably comes with cutting up a watermelon. It makes clean up extra easy. Usually, I can get away without spilling a ton of juice on the floor.
This is the method that I now use for cutting all types of melon.
This past weekend, we were cutting up melons and found one that was still good, but it wasn't very sweet. My husband didn't think it would be too good to just eat it. We like to use melon in smoothies, but this melon had lots of seeds.
We decided to try our food mill. We have the attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer and decided to try it. We put all of the cubes through and it easily separated pulp and juice from seeds. We ended up with about 1/2 cup of stuff to pitch. We were left with two quarts of pulpy juice. I put some in trays for watermelon juice cubes and put the rest in the fridge. It's going to make great drinks.
We freeze lots of melon and make many different smoothie drinks. We enjoy cantaloupe mixed with yogurt smoothies and lots of variations of this frosty:
3 cups frozen watermelon cubes
2 tablespoons maple syrup (could use honey) or to taste
Juice from one lemon (could use bottled lemon juice)
2 frozen bananas, sliced
Blend all of the ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
I like to puree the watermelon first and get the blender going before adding the banana and other ingredients. Many of the recipes call for water to help get the mix started, but I didn't find it necessary. You can adjust the ingredients to taste. Some might only want one banana and some might want three. The banana helps make it creamy and adds to the flavor.
Once of the stores had watermelon on sale last weekend; we bought three so I could stock up on frozen cubes. I'm excited to get fresh local melon soon. I'm not sure if any will make it into the freezer!
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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.
Watermelon makes an unexpected and refreshing starter for summer meals. Here are some simple and elegant appetizer ideas:
- Cut watermelon in cubes, top with half of a cherry tomato and add a toothpick to hold together. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar.
- Cut watermelon in cubes, top with a basil leaf and a chunk of feta cheese. Use a toothpick to hold the pieces together. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
- Make a watermelon gazpacho by chopping watermelon, a peeled cucumber, a red bell pepper, onion, fresh mint, red wine vinegar and lime juice in a food processor to your desired texture. Serve in small cups with a spoonful of sour cream on top. Or, leave it chunky and use as a salsa with fresh tortilla chips. Add a seeded, chopped jalapeno if you would like an additional kick.
- Puree watermelon and mix with simple syrup, fresh lime juice and vodka for a refreshing summer cocktail.
Grilled Corn Salad
4 ears of corn - do not shuck (or 2 1/2 cups frozen corn for the non-grill option)
1 large red bell pepper
1 5-inch long zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 Serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (best if you toast whole cumin seeds then grind)
1/4 cup crumbly salty cheese such as feta or cotija (optional)
2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 Tbsps. cider vinegar or lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Oil the grill grates. Rub a little olive oil over the bell pepper. Place the corn (in their husks) and red bell pepper directly on the grill grates. Cover the grill.
Turn corn occasionally, so that every part of the husk is blackened. Turn the red bell pepper occasionally until the skin has blistered up all around it. This should take 15 to 20 minutes.
For the last 5 minutes or so, rub olive oil over the zucchini pieces and place the zucchini pieces directly on the grill grate, cut side down. Turn them over after a few minutes when they have some nice grill marks on them. Let them cook for just a minute or two on the other side.
No-grill version: Alternatively you can prepare the vegetables on the stovetop. Shuck the corn and use a knife to remove the kernels from the cobs. If you don't have fresh corn, you can easily use frozen. Coat the bottom of a large, sturdy relatively stick-free (can use cast iron) pan with a little olive oil. Heat the pan to high. Spread out the corn kernels on the pan. If frozen, they will defrost almost immediately. Don't stir them that much, just let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to toast. When they get a little browned, remove them from the pan to a bowl. Lay the zucchini pieces on the pan and brown on both sides - do not overcook - remove from pan. The bell pepper does not need to be cooked; it can just be seeded and chopped fine.
Let the corn cool down for a few minutes and pull back the husks. Stand the corn husks vertically, tip facing down, in a large shallow bowl or baking dish. Use a sharp knife to make long, downward strokes, removing the kernels from the cob, as you work your way around the cob.
Once the bell pepper has cooled a bit, remove the outer peel. Cut open the pepper, remove the seeds and stem. Chop the bell pepper into small pieces.
Slice the slightly browned zucchini again lengthwise and chop into small pieces.
Place grilled or toasted corn kernels, chopped bell pepper, chopped zucchini, red onion, cilantro, and Serrano (if using) into a large bowl. Add the cumin, olive oil, vinegar or lime juice, and crumbly cheese (if using). Mix gently. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.
Recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com
Green Pepper and Tomato Salad
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 a palm full
Combine peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and parsley in a bowl with your fingertips. Squeeze the juice of the lemon with the lemon half sitting upright. This will help prevent the seeds from falling into the bowl. The lemon juice will spill down over the sides of the lemon and the seeds will remain with the fruit. Squeeze the juice evenly over the salad. If the lemon is under-ripe, microwave it for 10 seconds before you cut into it. Next, sprinkle a tablespoon of vinegar over the salad -- just eyeball it. Drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil over the salad, add the salt, pepper and cumin. Toss again. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray from FoodNetwork.com
Chilled Cantaloupe Soup
1 cantaloupe - peeled, seeded and cubed
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Peel, seed and cube the cantaloupe. Place cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in lime juice, cinnamon, and remaining orange juice. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Garnish with mint if desired.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Cantaloupe Ice Pops
4 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or 1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
12 plastic cups or Popsicle molds (3 ounces each)
12 Popsicle sticks
In a blender or food processor, combine the first five ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour 1/4 cup into each cup or mold; insert Popsicle sticks. Freeze until firm.
Recipe from tasteofhome.com
Local food events
The Countryside Conservancy, an organization working to preserve farmland in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, offers Canning/Preservation 101.
Preserving Your Bounty
Tuesday, Aug. 14
6 - 9 p.m.
Learn how to can the delicious fresh food you just picked or received in your CSA share. Taught by local farmer Heather Walters, the class will be held at Basket of Life Farm, 4965 Quick Road, Peninsula. Registration requested by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more information, visit www.cvcountryside.org.
Enjoy Lunch and Support the Conservancy
Our partner, Whole Foods Market on Chagrin, will hold a "Giving Grill" event with all proceeds benefiting the Conservancy. Enjoy a lunch of all-beef hot dogs and veggie dogs, a side of fruit salad or potato chips, and a beverage for $5.
Saturday, Aug. 18
Noon - 2 p.m.
Whole Foods Market-Chagrin
27249 Chagrin Blvd.
Woodmere, OH 44122
FarmAFare - A Celebration of Local Foods
Join the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District Sept. 13 in celebrating local food at its annual meeting. This fine dining event will be held outside under a big tent at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. This locavore event to honor the individuals and groups who are working to conserve natural resources in Lake County will include a 10-course dinner featuring local farm products prepared by area chefs. Tickets are $50 each or $90 for a couple. For more information, visit www.lakecountyohio.gov/soil. To reserve your seats, call 440-350-2730 or e-mail soil@lakecounty ohio.gov.
Going the Distance
Can local food carry the West Side Market into its next century?
by Lee Chilcote forCleveland Scene Magazine
Tom Dunderman of Basketeria Produce beams like a proud papa when he talks about his asparagus. He bought it from a small farmer he knows in Wellington, Ohio; it was just picked a few days ago, he boasts. Reaching out from behind his stand at the West Side Market, he holds up a bunch of the slender, blue-green beauties for you to see.
"I love this time of year," says Dunderman, who quit his job as a nurse 12 years ago to sell locally grown, organic vegetables at a West Side Market stand with his wife Anita. "A lot of times when we sell stuff to our customers, it's not even 24 hours off the vine."
Turn the corner and you'll see a different scene: kaleidoscopic mounds of produce similar to what you'd find in a big supermarket. They're typically conventionally grown, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and trucked in from outside Northeast Ohio. The bulk of it is purchased near downtown at the Northern Ohio Food Terminal, a hub where produce from coast to coast is distributed to restaurants and retailers.
This is the paradox of the West Side Market. It is Cleveland's greatest monument to local food, its majestic 137-foot clock tower and yellow brick marketplace providing shelter to more than 100 unique, locally owned businesses. Yet despite its history as a local-foods resource - an open-air farmers market was planted here at West 25th and Lorain as early as 1840 - much of what's sold here today isn't local.
"People love the old-fashioned counter service and the fact that market vendors have an intimate knowledge of what you'll be serving your family and how to serve it," says market manager Christine Zuniga-Eadie, who is working with city officials, vendors, and market leaders to bring in more local foods and to better market existing local options.
"But we're not yet an outstanding example of what our local food system can offer."
Advocates say that local foods are often fresher, healthier, better for the environment, and better for the local economy than the shipped-in goods found at most major stores. Typically, food in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles from farm to consumer. In contrast, locally raised foods make it from farm to plate in less than 100 miles.
"Adding more local foods at the West Side Market and marketing what's already there will support our economy and give customers what they want," says Jenita McGowan, chief of sustainability for the city of Cleveland and a leader of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative, which has declared 2012 the Year of Local Food.
With new farmers markets sprouting up across Northeast Ohio and the area being touted as a national leader in urban agriculture, the West Side Market could have an opportunity to become a hub for local foods, says Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman.
"I don't need to buy garlic from China at the West Side Market, because I'm pretty sure garlic grows in Cleveland soil," he says. "A city-owned market should offer local food."
Read the rest of the article here.
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(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PLEASE!)
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