|Week 5 Geauga County, Ohio||July 3, 2012|
"This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain't normal."
~ Joel Salatin,
Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
Perfect night for a farm visit
It was a beautiful night for a farm visit last Tuesday. Lester and Martha Hershberger's farm was picturesque with orderly rows of vegetables, neatly manicured lawns and the sight of young people riding horses up and down the drive.
A long walk through the fields included many discussions about the produce, the farm and growing techniques. Many members commented about information they would use for their gardens at home, and everyone seemed fascinated by the horse-drawn farm equipment. The evening ended with refreshments on the lawn, conversations among farmers and members, and the delight of the children at finding a litter of playful kittens.
We are including a copy of Martha Hershberger's recipe for ginger snaps at the request of one of our members. Enjoy!
Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for this very special experience. It was great to see you! We hope you can find time in your schedule to join us for at least one of our Field Nights or Farm Tours this season. It is one of the greatest benefits of CSA membership.
Have a fun and safe Fourth of July!
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.
Blueberries are here!
This week you will see blueberries in your boxes. As we have mentioned in our application, some of the fruit we provide is not organic. We do work with local orchards to find fruit that has received minimal spraying. We are extremely lucky this year to have found a small, organic blueberry farm to supply berries to our organic-only shares. The other shares will receive conventionally-grown berries. Most likely, we will only be able to put blueberries in the boxes this week.
We wanted to provide you with a little bit of information about fruit this season. You may or may not have noticed that the strawberry season was early and exceptionally short. The warm winter and spring meant that most fruit plants (berries, apples and peaches) got an early start. This became problematic when late-season frosts in April and May damaged the early blossoms, leading to greatly decreased fruit crops for this season. We'll do our best to include fruit whenever possible, but we wanted to let you know why fruit supplies may seem a little short this year.
In this week's share
In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as red and green leaf lettuce, green romaine lettuce, lemon basil, spinach, Lacinato kale, Green Winterbore kale, Bright Lights Swiss chard, kohlrabi, collard greens, golden beets, red beets, Sweet Candy onions, bunching onions, pickling cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, mixed cherry tomatoes, collard greens, yellow squash, green zucchini, sugar snap peas, green beans and blueberries.
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.
Note: Parking issues
If you arrive early to pick up your share and notice our trucks in the parking lot, please leave room for the truck to get in and out so we can maintain our delivery schedule. Thank you!
15-week program to begin next week
If you have signed up for our 15-week program, your pickups will begin next week, starting Tuesday, July 10. Look for an e-mail with all the important instructions you'll need for your first pickup a few days beforehand.
Bulk veggies for sale
Ladies and gentlemen, start your canners! We have bulk veggies for sale now.
#2 canning tomatoes - $20/20-pound box
Canning cucumbers - $12/box - (24-30/box)
Basil - $3/pound
To order, call Rosanna 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.
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
Lyn Trier is taking a well-deserved break this week. We are including these storage tips in place of her column. Lyn, and her column, will return next week. In its place, we are including some storage tips we like from the folks at Fresh, The Movie.
Tips for storing produce without plastic
At this time of year, your kitchen is probably full of strawberries, tomatoes and sweet corn, the abundant pleasures of summer produce. In fact, between farmers markets, CSA shares and our gardens, sometimes it's hard to know where to store all those fruits and vegetables, especially if you're trying to avoid using plastic bags. So, we were thrilled to discover a handy list of
- Asparagus - Place the upright stalks loosely in a glass or bowl with water at room temperature. Will keep for a week outside the fridge.
- Basil - Difficult to store well. Basil does not like to be cold or wet. The best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside, left out on a cool counter.
- Beets - Cut the tops off to keep beets firm, and be sure to keep the greens! Leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them lose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in an open container with a wet towel on top.
- Beet greens - Place in an airtight container with a little moisture from a damp cloth.
- Berries - Don't forget, they're fragile. When storing, stack them in a single layer, if possible, in a paper bag. Wash right before you plan on eating them.
- Carrots - Cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in a closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they're stored that long.
- Corn - Leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best the day it's picked.
- Greens - Remove any bands, twist ties, etc. Most greens must be kept in an air-tight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collard greens and chard do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.
- Melons - Keep uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun for up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge; an open container is fine.
- Peaches (and most stone fruit) - Refrigerate only when fully ripe. Firm fruit will ripen on the counter.
- Rhubarb - Wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.
- Strawberries - Don't like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.
- Sweet Peppers - Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage is needed.
- Tomatoes - Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.
- Zucchini - Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.
GFF partners series: Marigold Bed & Breakfast
12647 Caves Road in Chesterland
John Oberle & Beverly Jacobs, co-proprietors
The last decade or so has brought about quite a lot of changes in Beverly Jacobs' life. Besides giving up her day job and leaving the city to become the co-proprietor of the Marigold Bed & Breakfast and its adjacent alpaca farm in Chesterland, she has completely changed her eating habits and the way she thinks about eating.
"My life changed when I began watching the animals eat - how they ate, what they ate and their digestive process," she said. "These animals know so much more than we do. It was my wake-up call. I realized we could eat better, and we didn't need to eat a lot to maintain health."
And when Beverly met Laura Miller while knocking on doors in search of alfalfa for them, the change in her lifestyle continued. Laura, wife of Andy Miller, owner of Miller Organic Produce and one of the farmers of Geauga Family Farms, has been selling organic produce to Beverly for two years.
Beverly wasn't content with changing her own eating habits. Next she set about the process of making a difference in the lives of those she touched. Marigold healthy breakfasts began to include eggs from the Millers' farm, as well as other Geauga Family Farms products such as organic meat, Amish bread and local maple syrup. Breakfasts are accompanied by Market Spice teas that have a health value to them.
Besides healthy breakfasts, Beverly began to offer programs on healthy living in addition to the usual Victorian teas for ladies' groups and civic group luncheons.
Once Beverly brought in a nutritionist who taught all about chewing properly, taking the proper nutrition, and really thinking about what you're eating.
"She taught us that, rather than making eating just another part of your day, make it the focal point of the day; enjoy your food rather than just eating a quick lunch on the run off paper," she said. "It was that process that made me think there is something to this, and it all came from the animals."
Sharing the wealth
Beverly wanted to share the produce she was finding it difficult to live without with more than guests at the B & B. She asked Laura Miller how she could be a part of Geauga Family Farms.
"I was like, how many more people can I reach? I wanted to spread the food word," Beverly said.
Becoming a pickup site for the GFF CSA program was a natural next step. She has already been able to experience part of what she set out to accomplish as a pickup site for the CSA program.
"I love watching their faces," Beverly said. "The first week, you just couldn't pay for those expressions. They were so excited that it was here. You don't go to the store and say, 'Oh my gosh, look at this lettuce.' You just don't do that at the grocery store."
Those GFF members who pick up their share at the Marigold have a chance to drive back off the road and experience a place where life moves a little slower. The 44-year-old English cottage style home is the former residence of John's aunt and uncle, Lauretta and Joseph C. Schulte.
John couldn't bear to part with the property that held so many precious memories for him, so in 1999 he decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast to allow more people to enjoy it.
John has traveled the world and stayed in lots of B & Bs and also served as president of tourism in Geauga County - he knows what goes into making a stay at a B & B a memorable and enjoyable one.
The B & B has four rooms with private baths, a living room and a library, each with its own fireplace. Guests can enjoy sipping local wines on the patio behind the house and touring the 35-acre property that shares space with an abundance of wildlife as well as nine alpacas. With that combination, it's no wonder the Marigold is the winner of Arrington's Inn Traveler's Most Unique Bed and Breakfast Award.
"We are not for everybody," Beverly admits. "If someone wants the fast life and the bars, they're going to have to go somewhere else. We don't try to change people; we just try to provide a quiet atmosphere."
Walking trails course through the property, winding their way through the woods and around a large pond. The trails are great for a leisurely hike, especially in the fall when the leaves are in full color, and perfect for cross-country skiing in winter.
Guests and visitors can schedule an alpaca hiking picnic, where the animal carries your lunch deep into the woods for a scenic walk and a tasty lunch. The gentle animals are almost as curious about who is visiting the property as the guests are about these four-legged animals that look like a smaller, softer and fuzzier cross between a llama and a camel.
The Marigold is located at 12647 Caves Road in Chesterland, and centrally located near area attractions. Now visiting guests have an added attraction - they can watch as members of Geauga Family Farms pick up their shares of beautiful organic produce behind the home each Tuesday.
"For me," Beverly said, "the balance is to work from the center of your heart and put yourself in a position where if you take care of yourself then everyone else around you benefits."
For more information about the Marigold Bed & Breakfast, visit marigoldbandb.net.
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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.
Ginger Snap Cookies
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup baking molasses
4 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Roll in balls and dip in white sugar. Bake at 375 degrees 8 to 10 minutes or until tops start to crack a little.
Recipe from Martha Hershberger, as served at last week's Field Night.
Easy Refrigerator Kosher Garlic Dill Pickles
6 cups water (I use distilled bottled water)
1/4 cup kosher salt (use only kosher salt)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 pounds small cucumbers, thoroughly scrubbed
1/3-1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill (for a stronger dill flavor increase to 3/4 cup)
8 large fresh garlic cloves (coarsely chopped or sliced, use more for a stronger garlic taste)
8 whole black peppercorns
Clean the glass jar and lid thoroughly in your dishwasher 1. or with hot soapy water.
Combine the water, salt and vinegar in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.
Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
Pack the cucumbers and the remaining ingredients in a 2-quart (2 litre) glass jar, and pour brine
(water/vinegar mixture) over them, covering the cucumbers completely.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
The pickles will be ready in seven days, but the longer you leave them in the refrigerator the better
they will be and will keep refrigerated for months (if they last that long!).
*NOTE: Since the peel is eaten on these pickles, make certain to wash and scrub the outside of
the cucumbers well to remove any dirt, I use a small nail brush to scrub them.
Recipe from food.com
Baked Whole Cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch dried oregano
Clean cauliflower, and trim off leaves and any brown spots. Place the whole head of cauliflower into a steamer basket, place the basket in a large pot, and add one inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted margarine. Season with garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and mix well. Place the head of cauliflower into a baking dish, and coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Grilled Tomato, Onion and Bread Salad
2 red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
8 plum (Roma) tomatoes, cored
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups cubed Italian bread
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise,
seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Brush the onion slices and tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the cubed bread in a large bowl. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper; toss well. Skewer the bread cubes with metal skewers.
Grill bread on preheated grill until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Grill onions and tomatoes until soft, about 5 minutes.
Chop the roasted onions and tomatoes into large pieces, and place into a large bowl along with the toasted bread, cucumber, and basil. Whisk the vinegar together with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to make a dressing. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi
1 1/4 pound kohlrabi, bulbs peeled
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds kale (2 bunches), stems and center ribs discarded
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer
Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.
Whisk together lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing.
Finely chop kale. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in skillet reduces. When all of kale is wilted, sauté with 1/2 teaspoon salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios.
Recipe from epicurious.com
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste (optional)
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.
Recipe from AllRecipes.com
Heat, drought taking a toll on Wisconsin crops
With each day of scorching heat and little rain, the odds of reaping a bountiful vegetable harvest dwindle for Wisconsin farmers such as Chuck Frase and Terry Vlossak.
As the owners of Full Harvest Farm in Hartford, they have used miles of "drip tape" - plastic tubing that drips water onto plants - to irrigate organic vegetables.
But even that hasn't kept up with the hot, dry weather. Certain plants that aren't watered as much have turned brown on their edges and are at risk of dying.
The rest of the crops are growing slowly.
"Our rain dances have been ineffectual. We will have to work on our technique," Full Harvest Farm wrote in a letter to its community-supported agriculture customers.
Full Harvest, and other farms like it, sell shares of their crops to urban customers who get fresh fruits and vegetables as they become available. In return, the customers assume some of the risk associated with farming, including poor weather.
"We roll the dice in terms of what we do," Frase said.
The double whammy of intense heat and little rain in southern Wisconsin has farmers worried that crop yields will be depressed, or even wiped out, this fall.
"No rain this week will result in some acres not producing anything," a Rock County agricultural agent wrote in a June 25 crop report.
On Friday, state officials requested two federal disaster declarations to help farmers who sustained crop losses this spring and summer as a result of extreme weather.
The first request would provide financial assistance to orchards that lost apples and cherries when warm weather in March caused fruit trees to flower early - but an April frost killed the buds.
The second request was for maple syrup operations that also had a poor season.
If the current hot, dry conditions continue much longer, other farmers could be turning to federal programs and crop insurance to supplement their income.
Crops in poor shape
More than a third of the state's corn was described as being in fair-to-poor condition in the June 25 report that didn't include this week's hot, dry weather. The soybean crop was in similar shape.
In many areas, the corn isn't going to be as healthy this year as it could have been. Alfalfa fields have turned brown from a lack of rain, and soybeans have languished in the drought-like conditions.
Much of the damage can't be undone.
"We have had a lot of corn that is simply not going to make it," said Bob Oleson, executive director of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.
The next two weeks of weather are especially important as plants go through their next growth stage.
An inch of rain would help a lot, said Gary Kropp, an Outagamie County farmer.
Much of the corn in his area is waist-high, Kropp said, but some fields have been damaged.
The blistering heat has been worse in other parts of the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana and Kansas, where crops have suffered in temperatures exceeding 110 degrees.
"It's not just unusual. It's record-breaking," said Kevin Jarek, a University of Wisconsin Extension agent in Outagamie County.
Corn prices hit nine-month highs this week, to more than $6.50 per bushel, as poor growing conditions and forecasts of continued hot, dry weather shook the market.
"The corn crop was fighting for its life and traders took notice," said Alex Breitinger, a commodities broker in Valparaiso, Ind.
Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that farmers planted an additional 600,000 acres of corn this year. But traders focused on the possibility that drought conditions might cripple large portions of the crop during its critical pollination stage, causing yields to fall as much as 80 percent in some areas, according to Breitinger.
Dairy cattle and other livestock also have been affected by the extreme heat.
A dairy farm could lose up to 20 percent of its milk production, said Mike Ballweg, a University of Wisconsin Extension agent in Sheboygan County.
Almost everything at the grocery store, including meat and dairy products, would be more expensive if commodities prices remain high.
"I think consumers will start to take notice in 2013," said Darin Newsom, an analyst with DTN/Progressive Farmer, an agricultural information service based in Omaha, Neb.
The crops look good in some places. But in other places, farmers say, it reminds them of the drought in 1988 that wiped out thousands of acres of Midwestern agricultural products.
New seed varieties developed in the past 24 years are more resilient in tough growing conditions. Still, Newsom said, corn can't survive unrelenting heat and no rain.
"You're still going to end up with a dead crop," he said.
Article from JS Online, Milwaukee, Wisc., Journal Sentinel
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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