Week 11                       Geauga Family Farms CSA                     Aug. 15, 2017             

The Fair Share     

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"I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression."
~ Maya Angelou

Farm stands - an essential part of a farmer's livelihood 
Welcome to Week 11 of the CSA season!

As you know, the farmers of Geauga Family Farms grow a lot of produce. A lot of that produce makes an appearance in your weekly shares. And, a lot of it doesn't. Where does the remaining produce end up?

Some of the farmers sell their produce at local grocery stores like Mustard Seed Market in Solon and Heinen's grocery stores. Others sell their wares at area farmers markets like the Geauga Fresh Market in South Russell. And still more of the produce ends up in your favorite dishes at local restaurants like Warren's Spirited Kitchen in Burton. 

But, much of the remaining produce is sold from farm stands at the end of the farm driveway or elsewhere on their property where people driving by can spot a sign and stop in to pick up whatever is in season.

GFF grower Marvin Hershberger has recently upped his game when it comes to his farm stand.  He built a brand-new building, complete with refrigeration and much-needed space.

GFF grower Marvin Hershberger recently added a brand-new farm stand
to his 22-acre farm on Patch Road in Middlefield. 

"You'd get a few people in there, with their cars in the parking area, and it was just too crowded," Marvin said. "The new building is nicer for everyone."

By everyone, Marvin includes the girls who run the farm stand, as well as the GFF drivers who pick up the produce three times a week. "They can just back the truck up to the dock now," Marvin said.

Ground-level access makes it easier to enter the building; the old farm stand had steps to navigate, which Marvin said could be difficult for some of his older customers. 

The addition of the cooler was key as well. "I had no means of keeping my produce cold," Marvin said. "Now we can do more fruit this way. Melons and peaches do better with refrigeration."

The lighter and brighter building has space for washing and packing the produce when workers bring it in from the field. This gives the girls who work in the stand something else to keep them busy between customers.

To run the cooler, Marvin uses the same diesel engine he uses to run the new well he put in for irrigation.
Marvin is happy with his new building, and invites everyone to stop by to check it out, and pick up some extra produce while you're there.
The following are farm stands owned by GFF growers. They are generally open Monday - Friday from about 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. There are no Sunday sales at any of the farms. 

Hershberger's Organic Produce - Marvin Hershberger
15549 Patch Road, Middlefield

Parkman Produce - Noah Yutzy 
17050 Nash Road, Middlefield

D & S Farm and Garden - Harvey Fisher 
4738 Gates East Road, Middlefield

Happy farm-stand shopping!
Laura Dalheim
~ with Rachel Machesky and the farmers and famili es of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
Look for some of these items in your share this week.

Blackberries, lettuce, green beans, sweet or storage onions, colored bell peppers, Carmen Red peppers, tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, shallots, eggplant, spaghetti squash and dandelion 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.

*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.
IMPORTANT: Vacation holds must be placed two weeks ahead of time
Vacation holds must be placed two weeks prior to the week of your vacation. Our warehouse staff has to order produce for your share from our farmers ahead of time to be sure we have enough produce on hand to fill every share, and not too much that we have leftovers. 

Please be sure to place your vacation hold in time. If you miss scheduling your hold, you may send someone to pick it up for you. Please do not call or email us one week or less ahead of your vacation and request a vacation hold. 
GFF farmers market at Sapore
Even though the upcoming farm-to-table dinner at Loretta Paganini's restaurant Sapore is sold out, you can still be part of the activities that day. We will have a mini-farmers market from 4:30 - 6 p.m., Aug. 23, in the parking lot of the restaurant at 8623 Mayfield Road in Chesterland. 

Please join us and stock up on your favorite produce items, beef, chicken and pork from Meadow Creek Meats, as well as other farm store goodies!

Ride-along calendar
Our farmers, farm reps and warehouse manager will be riding along in our delivery truck. Here is our calendar so far. Look for these farmers at your pick-up site soon. Other dates to be announced.
Aug. 17 - Abner Miller
Aug. 19 - Tom Byler
New in our farm store this week
The list is growing, and canning tomatoes are finally here! Want to add some favorites to your weekly share or preserve a bunch of your favorite veggies to eat all winter? Look for quantities of these items, small and large, in our farm store. More items are added weekly. 
Canning tomatoes - $13/half-bushel
Eggplant - $2/each
Green beans - $3.25/quart; $12/peck; $20/half-bushel
Green bell peppers - $1.50/each
Green cabbage - $2.50/small head; $3.50/large head
Hot banana peppers - $2/bag of 6; $13/half-bushel
Roma tomatoes - $3.50/quart; $15/half-bushel
Shallots - $3/half-pound
Storage onions, red & white - $1.50/each; $20/half-bushel
Sweet banana peppers - $2/bag of 6; $13/half-bushel
Sweet onions  - $2.25/each; $20/half-bushel
Zucchini - 3 for $1.50; $20/half-bushel
We include recipes each week using the items in your share. While we always find 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

Eggplants have just begun to show up in our shares. For some reason, eggplant is always a challenge for me. Outside of the usual eggplant parmesan, I struggle to come up with ideas for this pretty purple veggie. Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your recipes. ~ Laura

Herbed Sweet Corn & Tomato Salad
Serves 6
6 ears sweet corn
4 tomatoes, as ripe as possible
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh mixed herbs - like Italian parsley, basil, rosemary, sage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Put about an inch of water in a large pot. Add the corn and steam over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Cool.
Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes in quarters and scrape or squeeze out the juices and seeds. Roughly chop the seeded tomato quarters. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove any extra moisture.
When the corn has cooled, slice the corn kernels off with a chef's knife into . Toss the corn with the tomatoes.
Finely mince the mint and herb leaves and toss with the vegetables, along with the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then crumble in the goat cheese and toss gently. Serve and enjoy!
*You can add a few cubes of grilled eggplant to this salad or any other favorite items from your share.

Easy French Ratatouille
Makes 8 to 10 servings
2 large eggplants
2 yellow onions
3 bell peppers
6 to 8 zucchini 
4 tomatoes
1 1/2 to 2 Tbps. olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
Extra basil for garnishing
Salt and pepper
Peel the eggplants, if desired, and chop them into bite-sized cubes. Transfer them to a strainer set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep each one in a separate bowl.
Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a clean bowl.
Add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.
Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.
During cooking, a brown glaze will gradually build on the bottom of the pan. If it looks like this glaze is beginning to turn black and burn, turn down the heat to medium. You can also dissolve the glaze between batches by pouring 1/4 cup of water or wine into the pan and scraping up the glaze. Pour the deglazing liquid into the bowl with the vegetables.
Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and whole sprigs of thyme. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan.
Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the extra basil and a glug of good olive oil over each bowl as you serve.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 3 months. Ratatouille is often better the second day, and it can be eaten cold, room temperature, or warm.

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches
Makes 5 cups of caponata, enough for about 10 sandwiches
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes, about 4 cups total
1/2 sweet pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 oz. Baby Bella organic mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 6-oz. can organic tomato paste
3 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Baguette or ciabatta bread, to serve
Fresh mozzarella, about 2 thick slices per sandwich, to serve
Fresh basil leaves, optional, to serve
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or wide, deep sauté pan and add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
Add the olives, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and oregano. Season again with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking, and add a tablespoon or two of water (or olive brine) if the mixture is too thick and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Allow caponata to cool. Spoon on bread, top with mozzarella and basil, and serve. Or, serve warm as a dip.

Recipes adapted from TheKitchn.com
Get pro-rated pricing for the remainder of the season
Really love later season veggies? It's not too late! Sign up now, or anytime before the end of the season, and the price of your share will be pro-rated to charge you only for the remaining weeks in the program.

Click here to sign up now.
Save the date
Our Fall Harvest Farm Festival will be Sept. 9. F arm tours, fall treats, old-fashioned games (bobbing for apples, sack races, etc.) and pony rides are planned. Stay tuned for more info, but until then, mark your calendar!
Area Events
The first two classes have sold out! Don't wait till the last minute to sign up for the next one if you want to be sure to get in. You can still sign up for the next class, which is Aug. 25, as well as the September and October classes. And, look for a special treat in October when our very own in-house chef, Rachel Machesky, will be teaching a class.

CSA Cooking Classes
Aug. 25, 6 p.m.
Loretta Paganini School of Cooking,  8613 Mayfield Road, Chesterland
Cost: $45 for members, $65 for non-members (The extra $20 covers the cost of a week's share, which is sent home with the student.)
Using products delivered straight from Geauga Family Farms Community Supported Agriculture bags, attendees will prepare and take home the week's share for several wholesome and delicious dishes. Chef Kate will lead the group in all aspects of preparation, packaging, will offer tips on handling and storage, and demonstrate how to make three dishes as she prepares a tasty meal for the group. One of the Farmers will also be at each class to answer questions. If you've ever been stumped by how to use the surprise items in your CSA, this is the place to find inspiration!
There will be additional classes each month. Visit lpscinc.com for more information.

To sign up for the classes, click here.

Farm-to-Table Dinner at Sapore
Aug. 23, 6 p.m.
Sapore Restaurant, 8623 Mayfield Road, Chesterland
Join Chef Loretta Paganini and Geauga Family Farms as they join together for a farm-to-table dinner. The dinner will feature Chef Loretta's excellent cuisine fashioned from Geauga Family Farms' finest produce and meats.
Local food, farming, environment in the news
We have so many things we'd like to share with you regarding the local food movement, what is affecting the food you eat and the world around us, and much, much more, but we don't want to make our newsletter any longer. So, we include links to articles you may find interesting. Here are a few. If you run across any articles you find interesting and think other members would be interested in reading, feel free to send us the link for inclusion in an upcoming newsletter.
(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