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Week 9                            Geauga County, Ohio

July 31, 2012

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
The Future
Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night
Please leave boxes at your pickup site!
In this week's shares
Bulk produce for sale
New item - Organic blackberries!
Getting the most out of your CSA membership
Farm tour information
You can never have too many blackberries
Top 10 GMO Foods to Avoid
Mailing list add-ons
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"High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? 

Or is it going to eat us?"

~Annita Manning



Buggy silhouette




The Future

About seven years ago a group of older farmers who had been witnessing the decline of farming in Geauga County sat down to find a solution to save the farming way of life. According to American Farmland Trust, around that time our country's farmland was disappearing at a rate of 2 acres per minute. Ohio was second only to Texas in the amount of high-quality acres lost to nonfarming uses. These gentlemen saw that one of the best ways to help reverse this trend was to help make farming appealing to younger generations through the support network of a cooperative. Geauga Family Farms was born.  From that original cooperative, a group of produce farmers saw a future in community supported agriculture. Those early discussions evolved into the program in which you now participate.


Our farmers are always looking to the future. A sustainable approach to farming means caring for the land that provides our living. Our commitment to certified-organic farming methods means that we do not use synthetic chemicals, antibiotics or hormones in our crops or livestock.


What does that mean for us?

It means a rigorous three-year testing and review process to ensure that national standards are upheld.  It means annual inspections to review our practices. It means that when we are done with our work in the fields, we have additional work recording our crops, maintenance and farming methods. Most importantly, it means that our children can breathe fresh air and walk barefoot through the fields, with the dream that the land will still be able to support them when they are ready to farm full-time.


What does that mean for you?

It means fresh, delicious and healthy produce. It means that occasionally you may receive greens with flea beetle holes or corn with brown tips because we will not spray chemicals to keep pests away. As farmer Abner McDaniel likes to put it, it means "food that he feels comfortable feeding to his grandchild." We're glad it also means that we play a part in helping you live a healthy lifestyle.


We hope that you understand the part you play in determining the future of family farms in Ohio. Every time you make a decision to purchase local produce, visit a farmers market, or participate in a CSA program such as ours, you are helping to make our work viable and sustainable. Every time you choose to purchase organic produce, you help us care for this amazing place we call home. Thank you for making it possible.


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.


Buggy silhouette


Zucchini Madness

Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night is Aug. 8 this year. In preparation for this fun approach to zucchini burnout, we would love to hear your favorite ideas for what to do with a bounty of this summer squash. Ideas can be funny or serious, and we'll include your answers in our next newsletter, just in time for the annual celebration. Contact Laura or Michelle by Friday for inclusion in the newsletter.


BOX ALERT: Please do not remove boxes from pickup sites!

Our cardboard boxes are disappearing! Please leave your boxes at the pickup sites; we reuse our delivery boxes on a weekly basis. You may bring your own bags, or simply lift out the bags with which we've lined the boxes. Boxes should then be unfolded and left in a neat pile for pickup by our drivers the following week. If you have mistakenly taken any boxes home, please bring them back to your pickup site. We appreciate your help in keeping our delivery costs down!


In this week's shares

In this week's shares, CSA members can expect things such as peaches, blackberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, red and green leaf lettuce, green romaine lettuce, sweet candy onions, basil, lemon basil, Big Beef tomatoes, Provider beans (green), Broncho beans (green), cabbage (green), patty pan squash (green, white/yellow or striped), cucumbers, pickling cukes, mixed cherry tomatoes, blackberries, fingerling potatoes, green peppers, hot Hungarian Wax banana peppers, sweet banana peppers, carrots 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

Canning cucumbers - $12/box - (24-30/box)

Basil - $3/pound 

Red Beets - $20/half-bushel, with or without tops

Zucchini -$18/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.


Limited-time add-ons

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.


Getting the most out of your CSA membership

By Lyn Trier



This is the time of year when we start seeing tons of tomatoes. We'll get some in our CSA, harvest them from gardens, and possibly receive extras from coworkers, neighbors and friends. Soon enough, you'll have a counter or table full of tomatoes. (Don't refrigerate them!)


I have a confession. I don't like tomatoes. I love chili, ketchup, BBQ sauce, pasta sauce, etc. To eat a raw tomato on a sandwich or pop a cherry tomato in my mouth for snack - just isn't happening. Even in some cooked dishes, the texture and I aren't friends.


I'd love to learn how to like them. I usually just end up letting my husband and son eat them or I make sauce with them.


Most weeks, I'm washing and coring them and popping them whole in a Ziploc bag to deal with them later.


This week, I decided to do a bit of research to see if I could find a few more recipes or ideas to add to my arsenal for using our tomatoes. Obviously, I prefer them cooked or juiced and not raw, but I'm trying to keep my options open.


11 Uses for Your Garden Grown Tomatoes

After reading the list, I'm adding sun-dried tomato pesto and tomato sorbet to my list of recipe ideas to try. Both of them sound great and even though the sorbet wouldn't be cooked, I think I'd like it because of its texture. Besides, tomatoes are a fruit and most fruits make great sorbet.


Ten Uses for Tomatoes This Fall on a Budget

In this article, the following ideas stood out: tomato jelly, tomato candy and tomato mayonnaise. I really like making jam and want to try to make jelly. I've never tried a savory jam, and I think tomato would be a safe place to start. Since tomatoes are so plentiful, the ingredients wouldn't be very expensive. I even have jelly bags already. I don't see myself ever actually making tomato candy, but it was a new idea and worth sharing. I'm thinking that a version of tomato mayonnaise would be great in deviled eggs.


14 Ways to Enjoy Ripe Tomatoes

This is really an article all about using marinated tomatoes. Personally, I don't think I would marinate my tomatoes very often, but I was left wondering if that would help with some of the "guishy" texture issues that I have with raw tomatoes. One of the ideas takes the marinated tomatoes as a base for salad and adds red onion, red wine vinegar and olives for a salad and tops it with feta. That actually sounds good to me.


And if this hasn't been enough inspiration, check out 100 Ways to Use a Tomato. The photos alone are enough to make me drool. 

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.



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  


Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini

2-3 8-ball zucchini

3 slices bacon

1 tomato, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the tops off each zucchini. Set aside and reserve for later. Hollow out each zucchini, chop and reserve the pulp. Chop the tomato and onion and set aside.

Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4" pieces. Add to skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bacon has browned and rendered most of its fat. Add the reserved zucchini pulp, tomato and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese reserving some for topping. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Stuff each hollowed zucchini with mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add remaining cheese to top of each zucchini. Place the reserved zucchini tops in the stock. Return to oven and cook for 20 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Recipe from


Corn & Basil Cakes

Try these savory corn-and-basil pancakes as a side dish with barbecued chicken or grilled steak.

Makes 5 servings, 2 cakes each

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour (see Note) or all-purpose flour

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears; see Tip) or frozen

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Whisk flour, milk, eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in corn and basil. Brush a large nonstick skillet lightly with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; heat over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Cook 4 cakes at a time, using about 1/4 cup batter for each, making them about 3 inches wide. Cook until the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, making 10 cakes total. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning. .

Note: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available in large supermarkets and at natural-foods stores.

Recipe from


Zucchini Frittata

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 tsp. cooking oil

3 eggs, beaten

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

Sauté onion and zucchini over medium heat in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour eggs over top. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until almost set, 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 4 to 5 minutes.

"We like this recipe because it is simple and delicious and something you can use even if you're in a hurry."

Recipe from Hershberger Produce


Farm tour information

Our farm tours are held on the second Saturday of the month from 1 - 4 p.m. Tuesday Field Nights are from 6 - 8 p.m. 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


You can never have too many blackberries

by Deena Prichep

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I was amazed at how many people had the same landscaping complaint. "I spent all weekend cutting down the blackberries," some co-worker would groan on Monday morning, looking for sympathy for the lost hours and aching back. However, as someone who didn't grow up in such Edenic surroundings, I was totally dumbfounded. Cutting back blackberries? Why would you cut back blackberries? Don't they, you know, give you blackberries?


After spending more than a decade in Oregon, I can better understand the complaint. Sort of. Yes, blackberries are an invasive species, decreasing your backyard's square footage with the perennial canes that poke up everywhere. And yes, if left unkempt they turn into a big thorny thicket, hard to penetrate beyond a few feet. But let me repeat: They give you blackberries.


Blackberries are, however, everywhere. Oregon's temperate climate is perfect for their growth, and they spring up in all sorts of places, from forest paths to urban roadsides. There are native blackberries, imports from Europe that have taken hold over the past 100 years, and agriculture-school-developed cultivars (including the beloved marionberry, named after Oregon's Marion County). Whenever the season comes around, I carpool with friends to a favorite picking spot, where the berries are nice and fat and you don't have to tromp too far into the underbrush to get them. We come with buckets to fill and towels to wipe our purple-stained hands, abuzz with excitement and temporarily forgetting that picking thorny blackberries is about as much fun as (and fairly similar to) getting scratched by cats.


But there's a reason we come back year after year, despite nursing sticky scratches up and down the arms. Blackberries are really, really good. They have a deliciously complex flavor, ranging from puckeringly tart to an almost winelike depth (they vary depending on the variety of cane, the particulars of the growing season and the age of the individual berries). Blackberries are good for you, as well, with high levels of antioxidants. Heck, even their pesky seeds are good for you, reputedly full of Omega-3s and fiber and all sorts of antioxidants. And when you come upon a particularly good patch, where the berries are drippingly juicy, ridiculously large and free for the taking, it's hard to believe your good luck.


At first, I devour the berries out of hand, making the most of a short season. But blackberries' depth and tartness make them perfect for a variety of uses. With their high pectin, they're well-suited to jam, which is a great way to process an especially large haul (I run about half of them through a food mill first, to keep some texture but not end up with an overly seedy product). They complement creamy dishes from cheesecakes to ice creams and add a surprising note to savory recipes.


It's easy to take such deliciousness for granted, to grumble as you spend hours clearing a prickly thicket. But despite the thorns, the invasive persistence and the all-too-short season, I can never stay mad at blackberries for too long. I mean, after all - they're blackberries. 


Blackberry Recipes

Blackberry-Rosemary Focaccia

This focaccia is somewhere between sweet and savory, perfect for a first course or nibbling with a glass of wine. It's best devoured within a few hours of baking, but that shouldn't be a problem. If you don't have time to make dough (this recipe is started a day or two before you want to bake), you can substitute a commercial pizza dough instead.

Makes two 9-inch focaccia, enough for appetizers for 6 to 10, depending on their level of hunger/restraint

1 cup water

1 teaspoon active yeast

1 tablespoon coarse salt, divided

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup olive oil, divided, plus additional for greasing the bowl and handling the dough

2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) bread flour

1 heaping cup blackberries

2 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles

Combine the water and yeast in a bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to allow the yeast to soften and bloom. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the oil and the flour. Mix with a large spoon until fully blended, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes to fully hydrate. Mix for an additional minute or two, until the dough becomes smooth. Grease another bowl with a bit of oil, and, using a spatula, transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
After the dough has rested, using wet or oiled hands, reach into the bowl under one end of the dough, and pull it gently to fold the dough in half. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough, then flip the whole dough ball over. Let rest 10 minutes, then repeat two more times. After the last folding, cover the bowl, and refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days. These folds may seem a bit fussy but achieve the dual purpose of incorporating some air pockets into the dough, and firming it up without using additional flour.
About 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you'd like to bake (depending on how warm your kitchen is), take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature - about 45 minutes to take the chill off. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or brush them heavily with olive oil. Gently divide the dough into two balls (they might be a bit more like blobs than balls), and place them on the prepared sheets. Let sit 10 minutes to relax, then, with oiled or wet hands, use your fingertips to sort of pat-and-push the dough out into 9-inch circles from the inside out, dimpling them without totally compressing them (if they resist, you can pat them out a little, let the dough rest 5 to 10 minutes, then pat them out a little more and repeat as needed - it's important that you press the dough out to at least this diameter, otherwise it will be too thick to cook properly). Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the heat of your kitchen, and how warm/risen the dough was when you started working). While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

When the dough has risen, scatter the blackberries and rosemary over the top, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and scatter on the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons coarse salt. (That's 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt per focaccia.) Place the trays in the oven, then turn down the heat to 450. Bake for 20 minutes, until the focaccia has cooked to a golden brown (it may seem a little underdone in some parts, especially around the berries, but as long as there are no large uncolored spots you'll be fine). Let cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature (ideally within a few hours for optimum deliciousness).


Salmon with Blackberry Creme Fraiche Sauce

This is adapted from a recipe by Courtney Sproule, who runs Portland's Din Din supper club. It has a delicious complexity despite being simple to make. Tangy-yet-rich creme fraiche pairs with the slightly anise flavor of tarragon and punchy blackberries, with a bit of depth from shallots and brightness from white wine. It's an easy way to wow the guests at your next dinner party.

Makes 2 servings

Two 6-ounce salmon pieces (pinbones removed)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 shallot, halved and sliced into 1/8-inch half-moons

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup creme fraiche

1 large handful blackberries

1 small handful fresh tarragon, minced

Zest of 1/4 lemon

Salt and white pepper to taste

Cook the salmon in any gentle way (steaming, poaching, oven roasting, for example) until it is done to your liking. Don't overcook.

While the salmon is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. Add the shallot along with a pinch of salt, and cook until soft but not colored, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the wine and bring to a simmer until it reduces by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the creme fraiche and cook at a gentle simmer until it thickens and reduces by half. Add the blackberries, and let cook a minute until they warm and soften, then add the tarragon and lemon zest. Turn off the heat, and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve the salmon with the sauce.


Sweet Corn and Blackberry Ice Pops

Corn may seem an odd choice for a frozen dessert, but its creamy sweetness works surprisingly well (and also provides a great backdrop for the tart blackberries).

Makes 4 to 5 standard (3-ounce) ice pops

2 ears sweet corn

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/3 cup sugar, plus additional for the blackberries

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heaping 1/2 cup blackberries

Cut the kernels off of the cob, and place in a saucepan. Hack the cobs up in a few pieces and add them as well, along with the half-and-half, the sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer for a minute or so, until the corn softens and turns a darker yellow. Turn off the heat, add the vanilla and let the mixture steep for an hour, transferring to the refrigerator as it cools (you want to wait a minimum of an hour to let the mixture infuse, but you can shelve it in the fridge for longer if needed).

While the corn mixture is steeping and cooling, rinse the blackberries and mash them with a fork or potato masher. Sweeten to taste with a spoonful or two of sugar - the corn mixture will be sweet as well, so you want the blackberries to be a bit tart for contrast.

After the corn mixture has steeped, fish out the cobs and discard. Puree the remaining mixture in a blender, then strain through a fine sieve, pressing to force the last bits through (you may have to clear the strainer a few times to get rid of the corn solids). Place the corn mixture in a container with a spout, and pour an inch of it in the bottom of Popsicle molds. Top with a spoonful of the sweetened blackberry puree, then repeat the process until the molds are filled (leaving enough head space for them to expand).

If you have the kind of molds with stick handles attached, simply freeze until solid. Otherwise, let freeze half an hour, insert Popsicle sticks into the semi-frozen mixture and freeze completely.


Article from


Top 10 GMO foods to avoid

Article from Nation of Change

Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals and the environmental, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. It's important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic, its non-GMO (or supposed to be!) Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer's markets where you can be assured the crops aren't GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself. Until then, here are the top 10 worst GMO foods for your "do-not-eat" GMO foods list.

1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you've watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. "As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn," and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto's GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.

2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate was sprayed on soybeans alone

3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they've been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of its sugar beets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.

4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can't be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.

6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.

7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.

8. Dairy: Your dairy products contain growth hormones, with as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monsanto's health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.

9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.

The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown.

With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know.

The best advice: steer clear of them altogether.



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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