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Fall/Winter Week 6               Geauga County, Ohio
Dec. 7, 2012

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Holiday Gift Ideas
Find unique, local gifts from GFF and our partners
Soup poll
Bulk produce available
Order pumpkin rolls for the holidays
Santa's reindeer to visit Lowe's
Fill your freezer with certified-organic beef
Give a piece of the park
Study finds GE foods cause tumors
Today's Future Farmers of America
Sign up for The Fair Share
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"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup."

~Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf in Elf 


Buggy silhouette




Holiday gift ideas

While our time together in 2012 is drawing to a close, we are looking forward to bringing you new programs and new experiences in 2013. Do you have ideas for next season or thoughts on special sales or activities for the off-season? We would love to hear from you.


This week's newsletter has a ton of information. We hope you can take a few minutes to scan it. There are local-themed gift ideas, special sales on beef, chicken, produce and pumpkin rolls, and informative articles on GMO foods.


The chilly weather has brought a renewed interest in soups, stews and Crockpot meals. We've listed some of our favorites in the recipes section below, and we hope you enjoy them! Speaking of soups, we're interested in getting your opinion about a new soup company started by CSA members. See information below and let us know what you think.


While we try not to emphasize the commercial nature of the holiday season, we hope our gift ideas are helpful to you for finding unique and meaningful options. Local purchases make a huge difference to all of us. The partners listed in this section do so much to support local family farms that we are thrilled to have an opportunity to highlight their special offerings and services.


Our best wishes to you for a healthful week!



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

Buggy silhouette


Unique, local gift ideas

The food and celebrations that are part of the holiday season make it a great time to share your passion for local foods with family and friends. We've compiled a list of delicious, fun and unusual gift ideas from Geauga Family Farms and our partners. There's something for everyone on your list!


From Geauga Family Farms:

- Check out our extras section for a range of local foods that make great host/hostess gifts and stocking stuffers: jams, honey, Geauga maple syrup, Middlefield cheeses and baked goods from Countryside Bakery.

Simplify your holiday shopping and have it delivered along with your winter share! Please note that orders need to be placed by Tuesday for delivery on Thursday or Saturday. Find our extras section here.


A CSA share for the 2013 season makes a wonderful and thoughtful gift. Discounts are available until Dec. 31. Find our application here.


From our partners:

- Treat someone you love to an in-town getaway at Marigold Bed & Breakfast.

                 Marigold Bed & Breakfast - 12647 Caves Road, Chesterland

- Start a new fitness routine in the New Year. Martial arts classes, zumba and unique birthday parties are some of the great gift offerings at Hill's Family Karate.

                Hill's Family Karate - 8901 Mentor Avenue, Mentor 

- Find beautiful holiday decorations, plants and gifts at Lowe's Greenhouses, Florist & Gift Shop.

                Lowe's Greenhouse, Florist & Gift Shop - 16540 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge (this is not the big box hardware store!)

- Take a trip to Sage's Orchard in Chardon for local apples, cider and a range of unique local food items.

                Sage's Orchard - 11355 Chardon Road, Chardon

- Whole Foods and Mustard Seed Market carry a huge range of locally-produced items. Round out your holiday menus with items from these stores.

                Whole Foods - 27249 Chagrin Boulevard, Woodmere

                 Mustard Seed Market - 6025 Kruse Drive, Solon 

- Treat a downtown employee with a gift certificate for lunch at the Market Café.

                Market Café - 1801 East 9th Street #5, Cleveland

- Make a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the food pantries at St. Noel or St. Andrews churches.

                St. Noel Church - 35200 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills 

                St. Andrew Episcopal Church - 7989 Little Mountain Road, Mentor


Soup poll

We are working with a company called The Runaway Spoon that is developing a vegetarian, prepared foods product line made from fresh, local and organic ingredients with the goal of helping their customers achieve better health. Their initial emphasis is on soups.   


The company was started by two Cleveland Heights moms who are committed to a healthy lifestyle which includes a vegetarian diet. As Geauga Family Farms CSA members, Karen Johnson and Monica Van Neil admire the farmers' dedication to the environment, the local food ideal and their customers' health. They are delighted to take the products of the farmers' important work one step further by creating deliciously healthy soups for CSA members to enjoy. Karen Johnson is a registered dietitian and a graduate of culinary school. For almost five years Karen has been working as a personal chef for clients who wish to eat healthy. Monica Van Niel is an occupational therapist who has worked in the health care industry for 11 years. Monica has firsthand experience in helping people improve the quality of their lives through better health. 

Soups from The Runaway Spoon would sell in the $9/quart to $12/quart price range, and would include varieties such as Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard, Carrot Soup, Corn Chowder, Broccoli Edamame Soup, Roasted Tomato Soup, White Bean Chili and Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with White Beans and Greens.

We are trying to help them gauge potential interest from CSA members in purchasing soup as an extra. If this is an item that would be appealing to you, please e-mail Michelle or Laura. We'll keep you posted about the company's progress and availability of their soups.


Bulk produce available

We still have lots of bulk veggies for sale so get some while they last.  


Acorn & Butternut Squash - $1 a pound


To order bulk produce, please leave a message at the warehouse at 440-693-4625, or call Rosanna at home - 440-548-2399. You will receive an invoice via e-mail, and will be able to pay by check or with a credit card using our PayPal site.


Order pumpkin rolls for the holidays

The farm families are again offering pumpkin rolls for sale just in time for your special holiday meals. Pumpkin rolls are sweet pumpkin cake with a cream cheese filling. They serve six to eight people, and cost $5.50 each. Please place your orders with Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris ( by Monday, Dec. 17. Let us know how many you would like, and where you would like to have them delivered. We will e-mail an invoice. Orders will be delivered to Winter CSA pickup locations on Thursday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 22.


Santa's reindeer landing at Lowe's Sugar Plum Dream event!

Sugarplum Dreams returns at Lowe's Greenhouse, with special guests! Join Lowe's for an evening of dreamland stories and crafts. Meet Santa's reindeer, live and in person (5:30-7:30 p.m.)! Enjoy snacks and drink cocoa in your pajamas... bring a blanket to sit on while watching a holiday movie.
Join Lowe's Friday, Dec. 7 (that's TODAY!!) from 5 to 8 p.m. for their version of a "Polar Express." 


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


Chicken, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Slow-Cooker Recipe

4 chicken breasts (4 ounces each)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into fourths

2 medium butternut squash, peeled & cut into chunks

1 cup chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and place lid on top. Cook on low for 4 hours. Serve.

Combine all ingredients and put into a gallon size freezer bag. Freeze. Defrost freezer bag overnight in refrigerator and pour contents into slow cooker. Cook on low for four hours.


Kale and White Bean Soup

Serves 6-8

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 cups water

4 cups vegetable broth

1-2 medium potatoes or 1 sweet potato (peeled and chopped)

Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans

One large bunch kale, stem removed and chopped

1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so. Add water and broth to pot. Add the potatoes and cook over medium low heat until they begin to soften - about 20-30 minutes. Add the beans and kale and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. 


Crockpot Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4

2/3 pound lean stewing beef

2 cups chopped sweet potato

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

8 ounces button mushrooms, halved

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 15 ounce can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

2 bay leaves

1 cup good red wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 8 ounce can no-salt added tomato sauce

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

Brown beef in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Put to one side. Place vegetables in a 4 or 5 quart Crockpot. Add beef, black beans, bay leaves, and red wine. Stir herbs and tomato paste into tomato sauce and add to Crockpot. Cook on low for eight hours.


Fill your freezer with certified-organic beef 

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

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

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

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

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


Stock up on grass-fed beef

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


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


Stewing chickens available for winter comfort dishes

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


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


Another local gift idea

Give the Gift of CVNP ParkShares

Cuyahoga Valley National Park preserves 33,000 acres along 22 miles of the "crooked" river. Do you have a friend or family that loves our national park? 


If yes, give them the unique gift of a CVNP acre. Save some gas and a trip to the mall- simply click here to purchase a ParkShares acre for the park lover on your holiday list! 


More GE foods stream onto market as study raises 

serious health concerns

by Lauren Ketcham, editor OEFFA newsletter

This fall, French researchers released a ground-breaking, peer-reviewed feeding study (See source below) showing that consumption of genetically engineered (GE) corn and Roundup causes severe health effects including mammary tumors, organ damage, and premature death.


Because of restrictions in technology use agreements, researchers are often unable to get access to seeds for independent safety trials. As a result, this is the first ever study to examine the long-term health effects of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller or Roundup-resistant corn.

The two-year study involved 200 rats who were fed diets containing different proportions of GE corn or water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water and consistent typical human exposure. A control group was fed an equivalent diet with no Roundup-contaminated water or GE corn.

The results are disturbing:
* The team found that even the lowest doses of Roundup, at levels well within "safe" drinking water standards, were associated with severe health problems.
* Female rat mortality was two to three times greater than in the control group, in part due to high rates of mammary tumors.
* Both male and female rats fed GE feed, regardless of dose, had high rates of severe liver and kidney damage.
* When given trace amounts of Roundup in their water, 70 to 80 percent of the rats had pituitary gland abnormalities.
* The first detectable tumors occurred 4 to 7 months into the study, although biotech companies are only required to conduct rat feeding studies for 90 days to demonstrate safety.

At the same time, more GE foods stream onto the market, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is poised to deregulate even more.

Petitions requesting non-regulated status are pending for a dozen GE crops, including a soybean tolerant to the chemical 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange which has been linked to cancer, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, and other major health problems, as well as a non-browning apple which is designed to not discolor when bruised or sliced.

While these crops wait for the green light to come on the market, others are already finding their way onto super market shelves. This summer, GE sugar beets, GE oil soybean, and glufosinate-tolerant, bollworm-resistant cotton were granted non-regulated status. And, Walmart recently agreed to carry Monsanto's new GE sweet corn, engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide and designed to produce a Bt toxin that will kill insects that feed on the plant.

Meanwhile, this summer, the House Agriculture Committee included controversial riders in its version of the 2012 Farm Bill that would make approval of GE crops even easier. According to the Center for Food Safety, the House committee's provisions would set unreasonably short deadlines for GE crop approval, create triggers for automatic approval of GE crops, set strict limitations on what the USDA can consider in environmental reviews, eliminate National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act protections, and set "acceptable" levels
of GE contamination that would provide no recourse for farmers who are contaminated. 

For more information about GE food, OEFFA's work to require labeling, or how you can get involved, go to

Source: Seralini, Gilles-Eric, et al. "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize," Food and Chemical Toxicology, September 2012.  


Article from OEFFA's Autumn 2012 Newsletter 


Article from The Marietta Times

Today's FFA 

'Things are not traditional anymore. It can't be'

By Evan Bevins

"Future Farmers of America" hasn't been the official name of the National FFA Organization for nearly 25 years, and the lessons learned by members of local chapters and agricultural students aren't confined to the farm either.

"We have someone who wants to be an X-ray tech. We have somebody who wants to be a nurse," said Ashley Payne, vice president of the FFA chapter at Warren High School. "I was looking at being an attorney, something related to agriculture law."

Students still fix tractors, raise livestock and notch the ears of piglets, but they also use global-positioning systems to map out local farms and research and make presentations on the digestive tracts of animals using the latest technology.

"It's the 21st century," said Krista Hellwig, the first-year agriculture educator at Warren. "Things are changing. Things are not traditional anymore. It can't be."

The classes Hellwig teaches her students are different even from the classes she took not so long ago as a student at Woodmore High School in Ottowa County. They're more structured, with an increased emphasis on inquiry-based and hands-on activities, as well as service learning.

That's due in part to the state requiring ag classes to be grouped into "pathways" that make it easier for programs to be assessed and for college credit to be earned. Schools can determine which classes to offer under which pathway, which is intended to help retain local flexibility.

Students at Warren generally start with the agriculture, food and natural resources class, which exposes them to basic activities in those areas as well as woodworking, welding and electrical systems, Hellwig said. They're exposed to a variety of activities, whose specifics may apply to particular career fields, while the general skills - public speaking, record keeping, organization - can translate to a number of vocations.

Warren FFA President Brandon Lane credited his study of parliamentary procedure in FFA with helping him overcome a fear of speaking in public. He also believes that all of the hands-on activities - from picking corn and bagging it for a deer-feed fundraiser to individual projects for fairs - help prepare students for the workforce.

"That starts the work ethic for the kids who have never done any work but sit in front of the TV and play video games," he said.

Fields ag students pursue besides farming
  • Agribusiness
  • Agriculture law
  • Biotechnology
  • Landscaping
  • Soil science
  • Veterinary medicine

Waterford High School agriculture teacher Matt Hartline said when he was younger he thought about following in his father's footsteps on the family farm.

"My dad told me, 'Y'know, you need to go to college and get something in your back pocket,'" he said.

Hartline said that's what many ag educators do with their students today - encourage them to look at other options in addition to farming.

"We try not to (discourage) that because farming's a great occupation," he said. "(But) to be able to go out and establish a farm now and all the overhead and costs that are associated with that can be enormous. ... There's a lot of jobs out there where you don't have to take that risk."

While agriculture remains a major part of Washington County's economy, in general, there are fewer family farms these days and therefore fewer opportunities to go into farming without starting from scratch, Hartline said.

"We're trying to fit with society's needs and obviously with less farming we're trying to be a little bit more diverse," he said.

Even if the students aren't planning to become farmers, many are considering agriculture-related fields.

Marietta High School ag educator Brian Welch noted that supervised agricultural activities still can include raising an animal for a fair or growing a crop, but he has several students this year working in veterinary offices because they would like to become veterinary technicians. Hartline has former students majoring in animal science and agribusiness in college and at least one studying to be a soil scientist.

"Kids who are in here, not even 50 percent are going to come out farmers," Hellwig said, noting biotechnology and genetics as other fields they could pursue.

Frontier High School agriculture educator Erwin Berry said there's still a place for production agriculture, too.

"I know that most of them are not going to be involved in production agriculture full-time," he said. "I hope that many of them, at least 50 percent, can supplement their income" with farming.

Berry said there are opportunities to do that today, especially as interest increases among consumers in knowing where their food is coming from and avoiding products treated with chemicals. The terrain in the Frontier area lends itself more to pasturing than raising fruit and vegetables, he said, which is one reason students in his classes have been studying plasticulture, which utilizes raised beds of soil with plastic spread over them to conserve water.

Although Berry said he might emphasize production agriculture more than some of his peers, he's not doing things the same way he did when he started teaching more than 30 years ago at St. Marys High School in West Virginia.

On Tuesday, his freshman students were researching the digestive tracts of various animals using iPads. Groups were assigned animals to research, with each student making a presentation about a portion of that creature's digestive system using an iPad linked to the classroom smartboard.

"Then they can basically turn it over to another student on a different iPad," Berry said.

That doesn't mean students won't still dissect animals' digestive and reproductive systems, but they are using technology that's becoming more and more commonplace in a variety of careers.

Students can also work on projects on school computers or iPads, save them using the online service Dropbox, then access them from their own devices at home, Berry said.

"We're basically paperless, on about two or three different platforms," he said.


Signing up for our newsletter

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

Farm Representatives:

Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849,

Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109,

Grass-fed beef & poultry

Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719,

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062