Spring 2016                                            Geauga County, Ohio                                               April 4, 2016

The Fair Share     

What's cropping up!
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"It was one of those April days
when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light,
and winter in the shade."
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Farm report

Greetings from Geauga Family Farms!

On a radio show last week, people were talking about the things that signal the real start of spring. The answer that hit home with us was from the person who said that spring starts when they get their first smell of soil. We couldn't agree more! While our last newsletter detailed our work to get the CSA program ready for the upcoming season, we thought you might like to know a little bit about what is happening at our farms this spring.

As is usual at this time of year, our farms are busy places. We have just wrapped up a good maple season. The volume was lower than usual due to a very short season (warmer than normal temperatures caused the sap to run very quickly), but the quality this year is excellent. And, we will have plenty to stock our farm store this summer.

We are hoping this week's weather will cooperate enough to allow some work in the fields (and the accompanying smell of soil). Our greenhouses are full of early seedlings that need to start making their way outside, but we have to be very careful about when they are planted. The conditions this week are looking good. We are planning to start getting things like lettuce, kale and broccoli into the ground. Our early tomato plants are doing extremely well, and every time we see them we can't help thinking about that first juicy tomato salad of the season!

We hope you are enjoying the early signs of spring, and the joy and renewal they bring.

Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
~ with Laura Dobson, Rachel Machesky and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
Farm store update
We are working on some exciting additions to our farm store offerings for the season - local and organic grains such as whole-wheat flour, oats, corn meal and barley. We love the idea of adding more options from great local suppliers, and this will fill a niche we have been considering for years.

Are there products you would like to see offered in our farm store? Let us know and we can research local options.
Recommend a friend
Word-of-mouth marketing is important to us - we appreciate all our members do to spread the word about Geauga Family Farms. We are planning our annual April membership drive with this in mind. During the month of April, if you recommend a new member (someone who has not participated before), and they include your name on the application, we will reward you with a $5 farm store credit to be used during the 2016 summer season. This means that if you recommend five new members, you will receive $25 in credits. 

Please note this offer is good for April sign-ups only.

Look for more promotional events in our next newsletter.
2016 sites and schedule
We would like to thank our members who have been recommending potential spots in Chardon and Shaker Heights!  Here is our full list so far, as well as a link to sign up for your summer share.

Here is our full list so far, as well as a link to sign up for your summer share:

Lake County History Center, Painesville - 1:30 - 3 p.m. 
Lowe's Greenhouse, Bainbridge - 2 - 3:30 p.m. - remaining produce shares will be left for pick-up until 6 p.m.
Catholic Montessori, Kirtland - 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Marigold B&B, Chesterland - 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Peace Lutheran Church, Chardon - 6 - 7 p.m.
St. Andrew Episcopal Church, Mentor - 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Farm pick-up, Middlefield - 2 - 6 p.m.
Mustard Seed Market, Solon - 2 - 3:30 p.m. - remaining produce shares will be left for pick-up until 8 p.m.
1815 Tavern, Aurora - 4 - 5:30 p.m.
The Goddard School, Macedonia - 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Market CafĂ©, Downtown Cleveland - 2 - 6 p.m. 
Jones Day (employees only) - 2:30 - 5 p.m.
Tucker Ellis (employees only) - 3 - 5 p.m.
Ernst & Young (employees only) - 3 - 5 p.m.
MRI Software (employees only) - 3 - 5 p.m.
Healthy Treasures, Newton Falls - 3 - 6 p.m.
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lyndhurst - 4 - 5 p.m.- remaining produce shares will be left for pick-up until 6:30 p.m.
LEAF Night, Lakewood - 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Ruffing Montessori School, Cleveland Heights - 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 
Farm pick-up, Middlefield - 2 - 6 p.m.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights - 8 - 9:30 a.m.
St. Noel, Willoughby Hills - 9 - 10:30 a.m.
Shaker Heights area, exact location to be determined - 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Family Karate, Mentor - 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Chardon area, exact location to be determined - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Farm pick-up, Middlefield - 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Click here to sign up for a share at one of these sites. 

Click here to sign in to your account and change/adjust your pick-up site location.
With all the spring lettuces, here is a great basic vinaigrette recipe.
3 parts oil. Whatever oil you like best...olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, etc.
2 parts acid. That can be citrus juice or vinegar. White Balsamic is a favorite of mine. You can also do a combination of  vinegar and citrus.
1 part mustard. So many great flavors to choose from...whole grain, dijon, horseradish, etc.
Salt and pepper to taste
Once you have that down, start experimenting with other flavors and additions.  Shallots and garlic. Fresh herbs. Honey or maple syrup. The zest from different citrus fruits. The possibilities are endless!

Keep your dressing in a Mason jar and it will hold for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Area events

Local Food Mondays
Are you an eater, a grower or a seller of local food products looking to gather and connect with others in NEO's local food economy?  Local Food Mondays are gatherings to improve the local food economy by creating a forum to connect local farmers, distributors, producers, government agencies and the general public. In addition to a forum to connect, the events will serve as a source of information on NEO's local food economy. Local Food Mondays will be held the first Monday of each month. 
Obviously it's too late too attend this month's program, since it's today , but we wanted to give you an example of what these fun and interesting events are like. They happen every month, so if you can't make it one month, we encourage you to try to make it to at least another one this season. You won't be disappointed.

Spring Chickens
April 4, 5:30 p.m. (TODAY)
The LaunchHouse,  3558 Lee Road, Shaker Heights
Doors open at 5:30; program begins at 6:15 p.m.
Speakers include: Kelly Clark - Kelly's Working Well Farm & School; Don Grace - Grace Brother's Nursery; and Mary Kay Simoni - Eddy Fruit Farm.  Beverages and light snacks will be provided by The LaunchHouse.  Attendees are strongly urged to RSVP, space is limited. To register, click here.

EarthFest 2016
April 17, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Berea
EarthFest is the state's largest environmental education event. In support of Sustainable Cleveland's 2016 theme of Sustainable Transportation -- this year's EarthFest celebration will feature alternative fuel and vehicle technology, displays and exhibits that promote active transportation choices such as biking, and many other strategies for reducing our region's petroleum consumption. For more information, click here

Celebrate World Tai Chi Qigong Day with Family Karate
April 30, 10 a.m. - noon
World Tai Chi Qigong Day is April 30. Our partner, Hill's Family Karate, is sponsoring a group that will meet in Veteran's Park in Painesville. The folks from Family Karate will be doing Tai Chi and Qigong and are encouraging people from all practices and styles to share. The group will be videotaped and shared on YouTube along with groups from all over the world. This feature is coordinated by Bill Douglas and David Dorian Ross. For more information on this free event, contact Libby Hill here.
Local food, farming, environment in the news
We have so many things we'd like to share with you regarding the local food movement and things like the farm bill, the latest news on GMO foods, and much, much more, but we don't want to make our newsletter any longer. Until we get our blog up and running on our website, we are going to include links to articles that you may find interesting. Here are a couple. If you run across any articles you think would be of interest to our members, feel free to send us the link for inclusion here.
(ONLY between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday PLEASE!)
Farm Representatives:
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Rachel Machesky216-246-8254, RMachesky@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062