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Order reminder                Geauga County, Ohio
March 4, 2013

The Fair Share

What's cropping up!
Order now for the Winter/Spring Program
Certified-organic seedling order form available
Sign up now for Summer 2013 CSA program
Grass-fed beef box specials are back!
Local chef featured in NY Times
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"Now that I know how supermarket meat is made, I regard eating it as a somewhat risky proposition. I know how those animals live and what's on their hides when they go to slaughter, so I don't buy industrial meat."

~ Michael Pollan 






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Build-your-own Late Winter/Spring shares - deadline TODAY!

The deadline to order items, or a share, in the Late Winter/Spring program, which will be delivered March 9 to Sage's and Family Karate, is today, March 5. If you're missing your CSA membership as much as we do, you'll want to place your order now!


Click here to place your order for a range of eggs, honey, syrup, cheese, baked goods, beef and produce (as available). Order for one delivery at a time, or build your own Winter/Spring Share by placing an order for all three monthly deliveries now. Additional items can always be added on a month-by-month basis. You may also place orders for single items in the extras section if you'd like to order month-by-month instead of getting a full share.


Pick up your order directly from our delivery truck, which will be at the pickup sites during the days and times listed below. Our farmers will also bring along some extra farm items available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis - a little bit like a mini farmer's market!   


The sites will be as follows:


                Sage's Apples Fruit & Vegetable Farm Market parking lot - 9:30-11 a.m.

                11355 Chardon Road, Chardon

                                March 9, April 13 and May 11


                Family Karate parking lot - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

                8901 Mentor Ave., Mentor

                             March 9, April 13 and May 11


                St. Noel parking lot - 9-10:30 a.m.

                35200 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills

                                March 23, April 27


                St. Paul's parking lot - 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

                2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights

                                Feb. 23, March 23, April 27


  Miller's Organic Produce (Warehouse pickup site) - 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

 17201 Bundysburg Road, Middlefield

 March 23, April 27


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

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Certified-organic seedling sale order form available

Want to grow some of your own veggies to supplement your CSA share this year? GFF farmer Marvin Hershberger has certified-organic seedlings for sale. The plants will be delivered to your pickup site May 11. You need not participate in the Winter/Spring program to purchase seedlings. Send orders to Michelle Bandy Zalatoris at You will receive an invoice via PayPal. Invoices not paid by the delivery date will not be filled. Click here for the form.

Learn how you can earn rebates on your Summer 2013 CSA share

Now is the time to sign up for our Summer 2013 CSA program. By popular demand, we are offering a new share size this year. In addition to our single and family shares, we will now have a half-share size. We have heard from many of you who want to belong to a CSA, but don't have someone to share it with. The half-share provides a selection of produce perfect for one person. Also new this year, receive a $5 rebate for every person you refer to the program who signs up and pays for a share by the May 1 deadline.To sign up, visit our Web site here.


Grass-fed beef box specials are back!

The Geauga Family Farms Beef Team is happy to announce the return of our popular box specials. This is a great way to sample our 100 percent grass-fed prime beef in a range of cuts. Grass-fed beef is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fat, making it a healthier red-meat option. Our cows are raised in open pastures, and are not treated with steroids or antibiotics.


These selections will provide you with several delicious meals for your family and friends.


Winter Comfort box       $60

Our Winter Comfort box is designed with stews, slow roasts and crock-pot favorites in mind. This package includes the following: (4) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (2) 1-pound  packages of stew beef, 1-1/2 pound beef shank, 1-1/2 lbs. of short ribs, (1) approximately 2-1/2 pound roast


Small Sampler box          $73

Our Small Sampler box has a little bit of everything: (5) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (1) approx. 2-1/2 pound roast and 4 steaks (Will include a combination of two or more of the following - sirloin, T-bone, porterhouse or rib eye - selected by our butcher.)


Large Sampler box          $102

Our Large Sampler box is designed to provide more meal options or feed a larger crowd: (9) 1-pound packages of ground beef, (2) 1-pound packages of stew beef, (1) approximately 2-1/2 pound roast and 4 steaks (Will include a combination of two or more of the following - sirloin, T-bone, porterhouse or rib eye - selected by our butcher.)


Deliveries of these packages will be made to the following pickup locations on these dates:

Saturday, March 9 (Sage's Orchard - Chardon, Hill's Family Karate - Mentor)

Saturday, March 23 (St. Noel - Willoughby Hills, St. Paul's - Cleveland Heights)

Saturday, April 13 (Sage's Orchard - Chardon, Hill's Family Karate - Mentor)

Saturday, April 27 (St. Noel - Willoughby Hills, St. Paul's - Cleveland Heights)


Remember - one-pound packages of our ground beef and stew beef are available through our CSA program year-round.


Geauga Farms Country Meats also stocks a wide range of our roasts, steaks and other cuts. Feel free to visit them at 14320 Main Market Road (Route 422) in the Burton area, and don't hesitate to call ahead at 440-834-8476 if you want to make sure they have a particular cut in stock.


Thank you for supporting our local grass-fed beef producers!


'Locally Grown' Gets Tricky in the Cold



Locally grown. Market-sourced. Farm to table: These phrases have become the mantras of the American menu, promising ingredients that are supremely fresh, in season and produced within a tight radius of the restaurant.

But what can they possibly mean in the dead of winter, in northerly climes where farms are battened down and the earth is as hard as a raw cabbage?

In some restaurant kitchens, they mean a larder full of root vegetables, grains, dried beans and cellared fruits, as well as a lot of curing, pickling and preserving. Other, more ambitious restaurants turn to greenhouses or new vegetable hybrids.

And many inevitably resort to a certain amount of well-intentioned cheating.

"At some point, you're inherently a hypocrite," said Marc Meyer, the chef at Cookshop, in Chelsea. "You can't make a menu of turnips, rutabagas and potatoes."

Even chefs like him who are devoted to local and seasonal foods have to make exceptions, including the occasional FedEx package. Mr. Meyer's winter menus include dishes that straddle the indigenous and the imported, like line-caught Long Island swordfish with cauliflower (also from Long Island) and chicory (from Florida), dressed with Meyer lemon (California) and topped with wedges of blood orange (California again).

Total purity, Mr. Meyer said, is a nice idea, yet all but impossible: "What about chocolate? What about olive oil? Spices?"

"Go for it if you can," he added. "I just can't with a 100-seat restaurant."

At Rouge Tomate, an Upper East Side shrine to fresh local produce, the executive chef, Jeremy Bearman, admits to using the occasional nonlocal winter ingredient, particularly tropical fruits (bananas, mangoes, pineapples) in desserts. "I don't think you can be one of those restaurants here in the Northeast saying, only things from 50 miles away," he said.

Certainly, there are outliers who go to extreme lengths to keep the faith. At Willows Inn, on Lummi Island in Washington State, Blaine Wetzel uses only ingredients grown on the restaurant's farm and surrounding farms.

"We are as purist as it gets," Mr. Wetzel said. This means that "if I want lemon juice in something, I have to find an alternative" - underripe gooseberries are a common solution - "or maybe it's not the right dish to be on the menu." He forages for wild winter mushrooms and stores hundreds of onions bought from a neighboring farm. Yet despite the relatively moderate winter microclimate, in a shallow bay protected from cold ocean winds by the Olympic Mountains, Mr. Wetzel shuts down his restaurant in December and January. "We close when we can't do what we do," he said.

Dan Barber's kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., buys many of its ingredients from the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, an independent nonprofit organization on the same grounds that operates 80 acres of farmland (6 1/2 of them for vegetables), a 22,000-square-foot greenhouse and outdoor rows of plants shielded by a protective covering.

In addition, he and his team (as well as a full-time vegetable farm manager, Jack Algiere, and his crew) work with agricultural scientists at Cornell University on breeding winter-friendly vegetables, including a small, intensely sweet butternut squash they call the honeynut.

Mr. Barber pointed out that many of the strategies that chefs employ in winter, like fermentation or cold storage, are nothing new. "A lot of these techniques are ancient and brilliant, and evolved out of desperation," he said.

Perhaps buoyed by the more modern technologies involved in breeding, he said that in some ways he preferred cooking in the winter months. "At what point can I make the greatest impression?" he said. "People's expectations are lower, and it's easier to exceed them."

Mr. Barber isn't the only chef who welcomes the cold-weather challenge. "We sort of look at winter the way an old-school chef looks at frugality," said Jonathon Sawyer of theGreenhouse Tavern, in Cleveland. "We take more time with dishes because we have less to put on the plate."

Mr. Sawyer, whose restaurant's Web site includes a manifesto on "Sustainability Initiatives," bottles his own line of vinegars, including ones made from craft beer and rosé wine, and has a running stock of preserved items. He said relationships with local farmers become all the more important in winter, for securing ingredients like grains (in particular, farro, an Ohio specialty), shelled beans and legumes.

But even the word "local" can fall prey to some fudging.

"There's a very famous farmer who, when I met him years ago, had a 20-mile radius" of restaurants he'd sell to, Mr. Barber said. "And last year when I talked to him, he said he was delivering to a restaurant 28 miles away."

What happened to 20? 

"All purists have their negotiables," Mr. Barber said.

Iliana Regan, whose Chicago restaurant, Elizabeth, has won attention for its emphasis on local ingredients, many of them foraged by Ms. Regan, has a somewhat broader definition. Almost everything on her menu "is Midwestern, though perhaps out of state lines," she said. "We're probably breaking the 200-mile rule."

Whence 200? "I believe I read it somewhere," Ms. Regan said.

Thanks in part to her restaurant's small scale (there are three set seatings for eight people each), Ms. Regan can quickly adapt whatever ingredients come her way. Raccoon from a Wisconsin hunter became a pâté, which she paired with pickled cranberries. Mushrooms foraged on her cousin's Indiana farm were partly frozen, and thus unsuitable for serving conventionally, so she dehydrated them and made a tea.

But Ms. Regan has her limits: she supplements her menu with items from Whole Foods - "everything from squash to parsnips to dairy," she said, adding, "at least that way I can see if it's organic and where it's from." And like many chefs, she imports specialty items from around the world, like matsutake mushrooms from Japan and truffles from Europe.

If there's one thing about winter cooking that chefs seem to agree on, it's that the toughest time isn't the middle of the season, but the end. "For me, the hardest months are March and April," Mr. Barber said. "Storage starts to run out and you're sick of the root vegetables."

The result, for some, is chef-envy. "I went down to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago," Mr. Wetzel said. "It was making me jealous. Things I don't see until June or May, they have on their plates in December."

For Mr. Bearman of Rouge Tomate, flying in an item or two is particularly tempting in late winter, when customers expect early-spring all-stars like ramps and asparagus. "There's definitely times where, if we see great fava beans or great peas coming out ofIacopi Farm in California, we probably cheat a little bit," he said. "But then we switch when it comes into season here."

By some measures, circumstances for Northern chefs are improving. Mr. Meyer noted the increased vibrancy of farmers' markets, including the Greenmarket initiative in New York. "A few years ago, there was no radicchio, no treviso," he said. "You're seeing more variety."

Others even see a benefit from global warming. "I hate to say it, but it's true," Mr. Sawyer said. "We got artichokes in Ohio all the way into November this year. Maybe December."

Then again, restraints are sometimes a good thing. Mr. Bearman said the bounty of late summer could be overwhelming: "You find yourself thinking, 'What am I going to do on my menu?' "

Reprinted from The New York Times

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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