Week 12                                                    Geauga County, Ohio                                                  Aug. 23, 2016

The Fair Share     

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"Agricultural sustainability doesn't depend on agritechnology. To believe it does is to put the emphasis on the wrong bit of 'agriculture.'
What sustainability depends on isn't agri- 
so much as culture."
~ Raj Patel, academic, journalist, activist and author of  The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy
Welcome to Week 12 of the Geauga Family Farms summer program. We are glad you are here! We read an article last week about the state of community supported agriculture programs across the nation and a general decline in participation. An intensive study has shown a range of reasons - new food delivery options are sprouting up every day, it's not a good fit for everyone, delivery times and locations can be problematic, and the inevitable veggie guilt (feeling guilty for not getting through all of the produce each week). 

Community supported agriculture has played a critically important role in saving many small, family farms by creating a dependable revenue stream for farmers. Removing the middle man by selling directly to members means farmers are more likely to be able to support their families through farming. No one's getting rich by doing this work, but CSAs make it a little more realistic. That is why it's important to understand and work to remove barriers to participation.

So we would like to hear from you, because your feedback is what helps us to keep this a thriving, enjoyable and beneficial experience. Member feedback led to the addition of our small share size and vacation holds, along with many other improvements along the way. Please consider sharing your thoughts on any or all of the questions below. We will compile your responses and they will help us to plan for next season. 
  • What would make it easier for you to participate and more likely to convince your friends, families and coworkers to participate?
  • What items would you like to see incorporated into the program that we do not currently provide?
  • Would you like more control over when and where you receive shares?
  • Are there areas where an additional pick-up site is needed?
  • Would you like additional payment options?
  • What do you value the most about this program?
  • What should not change?
One of the most important things about this program to us is the ability to connect directly with our members. We want this to be a program that continues to provide healthy produce to the region in a manner that fits your lifestyle. We appreciate your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you!

Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
~ with Laura Dobson, Rachel Machesky and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
Look for some of these items in your share this week.

Peaches (non-organic), blackberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, tomatoes (regular, heirloom, yellow, Roma, cherry), onions (sweet, storage), shallots, garlic, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, fingerling potatoes, bell peppers (green, colored), yummy orange peppers, banana peppers (sweet & hot),  jalapeño peppers, l ettuce (red leaf, green leaf, Romaine), Swiss chard and zucchini.

NOTE: Y ou 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.

*It's  pepper season! Hot peppers will be marked with a HOT sticker, but please exercise caution when tasting any peppers. Wash hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers and do not touch your eyes.
We want to remind you that field-ripened melons are VERY different than melons that are ripened in a warehouse. First of all, they are significantly more fragrant. You will notice the sweet smell right away. This does not mean that the melon is rotten. They are also more delicate. We do our best to handle them very carefully, and suggest that you take care when transporting them (tossing them in your trunk to roll around may not be the best bet). Eat them as soon as possible and you will notice the deeper flavor that a field ripened melon provides. Enjoy!
New items in our farm store
Stew beef is back, and we have a limited number of grass-fed filet mignon steaks for $7.50 each! We also have some peaches available to purchase. These peaches are locally grown, but not organic. 

The Hershbergers have asked us to let everyone know that they have a lot of extra Roma tomatoes and storage onions available right now. It's a great time for making some homemade salsa or pasta sauce. We are including some recipes below.

Red & yellow storage onions - $1.50/pound
Sweet onions$1.75
Shallots - $3/half-pound

Canning tomatoes - $14/half bushel
Cherry tomatoes - $3.50/pint
Heirloom tomatoes - $4.50/quart
Roma tomatoes - $3.50/quart, $16/half bushel
Slicing tomatoes - $4/50/quart, $24/10-pound box

Fingerling potatoes - $5/quart

Green bell peppers - $20/bushel
Yummy orange peppers$2.50/pint

Other vegetables:
Beets - $3/bunch
Meat share
We are finalizing the details on a meat share to be available for the last two months of the program, the fall season and possibly through the winter. Members will be able to order this share one month at a time. Orders will be placed at the beginning of the month, with delivery a few weeks later. We are planning to include grass-fed beef, pastured pork and organic poultry, with a per-month price of $75. We will let you know more of the exciting details next week!
We include recipes each week using the items in your share. While our in-house chefs Rachel and Michelle always have 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 LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.

It has been a crazy last few weeks but here we are, more than halfway through the season. The bounty is so good and plentiful during these last weeks of summer.
It takes no time to chop and sauté some veggies and toss with pasta or rice; I like to add some fresh lemon juice and basil or parsley and dinner is done in less than 20 minutes.

Or take all those small tomatoes, drizzle with oil and roast until they soften and blister and mix into a pot of risotto.
Haloumi cheese (a mix of goat and sheep milk) and watermelon make a great pair. The cheese doesn't melt when warmed; it gets a nice crust on the outside while the inside gets nice and soft.
Slice up a watermelon and drizzle with fresh honey. Set that aside.
Slice the haloumi cheese and brush with a little bit of oil. Put directly on the grill, until grill marks appear and turn just once.
Shingle the cheese and watermelon and top with some fresh mint and enjoy.
You can also substitute cantaloupe for the watermelon.
Sometimes the simplest preparation is best; no need to get fussy.

Big-Batch Fresh Tomato Sauce
30 tomatoes (about 60 medium)
4 onions
2 heads garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 bunch fresh basil
Peel the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a paring knife, core each tomato and score a small X in the bottom. In batches, carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water and leave in just until the skins begin to split, 15 to 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice bath. Peel the tomatoes and discard the skins.
Chop the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop.
Prep the onions and garlic. Peel and chop the onions, and peel and slice the garlic.
Cook the sauce. Heat the oil in 2 large pots (at least 9 quarts each) over medium heat. Divide the onions, garlic, 3 tablespoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper between the pots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 1 hour. Remove the basil leaves from the stems and stir into the sauce. Use the sauce immediately or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Recipe from Real Simple magazine

Fresh Tomato Salsa
Double or triple a batch of this fresh salsa to share with friends.
1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces (use any combination of tomatoes you have on hand)
1 small onion, cut into large pieces
1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut in half (optional based on your heat tolerance)
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ - 1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Give the tomato pieces a squeeze to remove extra juices. Set juice aside for another use or discard. Place tomatoes, onion, jalapeño peppers, lime juice, olive oil and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. Season with cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with tortilla chips. Perfect for Taco Tuesday.
Recipe by Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris

Tomato Pie
One pie crust
6 tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, large, whole
3/4 cup organic mayo
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsps. butter
1/2 sleeve of your favorite crackers
Peel and slice tomatoes, remove seeds and lay on paper towels to soak out excess juice for half an hour. While tomatoes are drying, bake pie crust according to directions on box. Remove from oven and let cool. Layer tomatoes, garlic slices and basil into the pie crust. Mix mayo, cheese, pepper and garlic powder together. Spread on top of tomatoes, garlic and basil. Melt butter, crush crackers, mix and sprinkle on top. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.
Recipe by Laura Dobson
Area events

FARMAFARE: a celebration of local foods
Sept. 15, 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner & presentation
The Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Road, Kirtland
The Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District has given local food, farmers and chefs the spotlight at its annual meeting since 2012. This year, FARMAFARE will feature a farm-to-table dinner prepared by local chefs with locally produced beverages. All proceeds support the Lake SWCD. To order tickets or for more information, visit the FARMAFARE listing on Eventbrite, call 440-350-2730, or email soil@lakecountyohio.gov.
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 Dobson, 440-478-9849, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Rachel Machesky216-246-8254, RMachesky@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris , 216-321-7109, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062