Week 5                                                       Geauga County, Ohio                                                 Dec. 1, 2016

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"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
~ Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

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Welcome to Week 5 of the Geauga Family Farms fall season! 

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends and lots of good food. As we put away our fall decor and use what were decorative pumpkins to make pies, we are thinking of the upcoming season of giving. 

We have included in this week's newsletter our annual local gift-giving guide for ideas of ways to keep your dollars in Northeast Ohio. These ideas are for our partners who so willingly provide us a place for our members to pick up their shares all season.

Our recipes this week focus on soups to use those Thanksgiving leftovers and keep you warm through what is shaping up to be a cold December.

Laura Dalheim
~ with Rachel Machesky and the farmers and families of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
Look for a fantastic mix of some of these items in your share this week.

Kale (Red Russian, Winterbore, Lacinato), Lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, Romaine) cauliflower, parsley, butternut squash, pie pumpkins, kohlrabi, turnips, radaishes (red, purple, Daikon, Alpine), garlic, Yummy Orange peppers, bunching onions, storage onions, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, heirloom tomatoes and Mutzu apples.

Lettuce in this week's shares
The lettuce in this week's shares will be quite tender due to the current weather and growing conditions. Please make sure to remove it from the bags and follow the instructions below for the best way to handle all your greens.

NOTE: You will 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.
How to Wash, Dry and Store Lettuce
This is the best way to wash, dry and store lettuce and extend its life so it is fresh and ready for salad whenever you need it. This method works for lettuce and it also works for other types of greens and hearty herbs such as parsley.
Fill a sink with cold water, separate all the leaves of lettuce, place them in the water and swirl them around. If the lettuce is a bit limp, let it soak in the water for 30 minutes and it will miraculously come back to life.
Drain the water, turn on the faucet, and briefly rinse each piece of lettuce as you remove it from sink and place in the basket of your salad spinner. Since this is organic lettuce, give each piece a quick once-over to check for clinging bugs and dirt.
When the spinner is full but not tightly packed, spin the lettuce until dry.
Put two paper towels (still connected) in a gallon-size Ziplock bag and insert the lettuce leaves between the paper towels. Squeeze the air out and close the bag.
The lettuce can now be stored in the fridge and should stay fresh for at least a couple of weeks. You can take out what you need whenever you want to make a salad or sandwich and then just reseal the bag.
Early-Bird sign-ups for 2017 coming soon
We are putting the finishing touches on the information for our Summer 2017 CSA program. As soon as it's ready, we will let you know so you can sign up by Dec. 31 for the Early-bird discount. 

Exciting changes are on the table, as well as things that will remain the same, like our prices - there won't be an increase this year! And, we will be offering a customizable share as well as a discount for returning members.

We are also introducing a new CSA software program that is more user-friendly and easier to navigate than our previous program. 

Look for a newsletter with all this information and more exciting news in the next week or so.
Stock your freezers with pork & beef for winter
We still have all kinds of meat available in our farm store. Stock up now on everything from grass-fed filet mignon to pork chops, Italian and breakfast sausages, and BACON! as well as our ground and stew beef. Stock your freezers now for the long winter. Click here to visit the farm store now. Did we mention we have bacon?
Corporate pop-ins
We would love to bring the farm to your employees this winter. Our farm representative Rachel Machesky will be making visits to local businesses to bring farm-fresh goodness to your employees, share information on our programs and accept early-bird sign-ups. 

Rachel will be accompanied by one of our farmers, who will bring along over-wintering vegetables including potatoes, onions and  squash, as well as  farm-produced items such as maple syrup, honey and jams. 

Get a pop-in visit on your calendar now. To set up a convenient time for Rachel and the farmers to come out to your company, please contact Rachel at 216-246-8254 or email her at RMachesky@geaugafamilyfarms.org.
Local gift guide
Looking for a locally themed gift for the locavore in your life? Here are some great ideas.

Geauga Family Farms - A share for the 2017 Summer Season is the ultimate gift for the locavore in your life. 

Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op - Local cheeses, meats, jams, noodles and more. This is a great spot for delicious local gifts in the heart of Amish Country.

Mustard Seed Market & CafĂ© - This family-owned, local retailer of natural and organic products has been providing  natural and organic foods along with education and information on food issues and the environment  since 1981. 

Marigold B&B - Surprise a loved one with a weekend getaway at this beautiful Chesterland bed and breakfast.

Hill's Family Karate - Instead of more stuff, treat your family to the health benefits of classes at Hill's Family Karate in Mentor. 

Lowe's Greenhouse, Florist & Gift Shop - This is the perfect local spot for great decorations, plants and holiday surprises. Check their website for fun events during the holiday season and beyond.

Market Cafe and Wine Bar - Give the gift of a locally sourced lunch or dinner to your favorite downtown resident or co-worker. 
We include recipes each week using the items in your share. While our in-house chef Rachel always has great recipes to share, we'd love for you to send us your favorite recipes as well. We will include them in the next newsletter. Please e-mail them to  LDalheim@geaugafamilyfarms.org.

It's the holiday season and along with it comes soup season. Here are some recipes to warm you up after a long day of shopping on a cold December day.  ~ Laura

Zuppa Toscana 
This recipe is a copycat recipe of my favorite soup at Olive Garden. I have to say that my homemade version is much better than the original as I add a lot more meat and a LOT more kale.
1 pound Italian sausage 
2 large potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch, or more, of red pepper flakes
Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces. Brown sausage in your soup pot. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.
Recipe adapted from Food.com

Leftover Turkey Soup
If you haven't made this already, I hope you've frozen your turkey carcass and it's just waiting in your freezer for you to take it out and make this wonderful after-Thanksgiving treat.
For the stock:
1 turkey carcass, including any leftover drippings or giblets 
Cold water
1 medium to large yellow onion, quartered or cut into thick wedges
1 to 2 carrots, roughly chopped
Several sprigs of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 celery rib (roughly chopped) and some celery tops
5 to 10 peppercorns
Salt and p epper
For the soup:
1 to 1 1/2 cups each, chopped carrots, onion and celery
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves chopped (2 to 4 Tbsps.)
A couple cloves garlic, minced
Seasoning  - a couple teaspoons or more of poultry seasoning, oregano, rosemary (to taste) 
2 cups or more of leftover chopped or shredded cooked turkey meat
Salt and pepper to taste
Egg noodles or rice
Making the stock
Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later and for adding to the soup once the stock is made. Put the turkey carcass, neck, leftover skin and bones and drippings in large pot and cover with water. 
Add onion, carrots, celery and celery tops, parsley, bay leaf and some peppercorns to the pot.
Bring to a boil on high heat and then lower the heat to keep the stock to a bare simmer. Add salt and pepper to the pot, about 1 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper and cook for at least 4 hours, partially uncovered, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve or strainer. 
Making the soup
In a large soup pot, heat butter or olive oil on medium high heat. Add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts. Cook until the onions are softened. Add a couple cloves of garlic, chopped, and cook for a minute more, until the garlic is fragrant. Then add the stock to the pot. Add some parsley and seasoning-salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are just cooked through. Add turkey meat, noodles: Add rice, noodles, or even leftover mashed potatoes.
Take the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite-sized pieces and add it to the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com

Rustic Cabbage Soup
Serves 4 
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock 
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained & rinsed well)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
More good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is (varying widely between brands, homemade, etc.)... Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.
Recipe from www.101cookbooks.com

Kale and Apple Salad
3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice 
2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil 
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves very thinly sliced 
1/4 cup dates 
1 apple 
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted 
1 ounce pecorino, finely grated (1/4 cup) 
Freshly ground black pepper 
Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add the kale, toss to coat and let stand 10 minutes. 
While the kale stands, cut the dates into thin slivers and the apple into thin matchsticks. Add the dates, apples, almonds and cheese to the kale. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. 
Recipe from FoodNetwork.com
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Scrub and thoroughly dry sweet potatoes. Pierce with a fork several times. Rub with a little bit of vegetable oil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Do not wrap in foil.  Try topping your sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut milk, or butter and crunchy pecans.
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.
(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday ONLY PLEASE!)
Farm Representatives

Laura Dalheim, 440-478-9849, LDalheim@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Rachel Machesky216-246-8254, RMachesky@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org 

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062