How is your CSA different than some of the others folks might have heard about?
We also are one of, if not the largest, certified-organic CSA in Northeast Ohio. Our cooperative of nine farms means more variety, and the pick of the crop since we can choose the best produce from each one.
Also, we take educational outreach seriously. From student programs to scout meetings and community forums, we value sharing this information. Our farms even host educational groups to tour and discuss organic farming practices. It is our belief that we all benefit when customers find the best local option for their food purchases – whether it’s a farmer’s market, or any number of CSA programs available in our region. Northeast Ohio is rich with opportunities. One size does not fit all, and we are happy to help provide opportunities to connect people with healthy, local food options that best fit their tastes and lifestyles.
How did your CSA get started?
Several years ago, a group of farmers got together to discuss the disappearance of the farming way of life. They wanted to find a way to reverse this trend and help to support one another. They developed a cooperative that allows the farmers to share marketing, administrative and other support services. A group of produce growers decided to test the CSA supply model and Geauga Family Farms CSA got its start in 2008.
If I already shop at a farmers market, why should I join a CSA?
Being a member of a CSA program encourages you to try different vegetables you wouldn’t necessarily purchase at a market or grocery store. It motivates you to eat outside of the box. And, it may not always be convenient to make it to a farmers market. Picking up a share at one of our 20+ convenient pick-up sites spread across six counties takes just minutes.
How is this CSA making a difference to your farmers?
The business model of the CSA program has been an incredible boost to small family farms, as it allows the sale of an entire season of produce directly to consumers. By taking out the middle-man, farmers are able to get a fair price for their produce and members know that their money is going directly to the people who are producing their food. It’s a win-win situation.
Do I have to live in Geauga County to participate in your CSA?
Not at all! In addition to pick-ups three days out of the week at one of our nine farms, we also have 23 pick-up sites at convenient locations in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Summit, and Trumbull counties. We have corporate pick-up sites as well, where we have partnered with companies to provide their employees easy access to fresh, local produce, another win-win as eating healthier can make for healthier employees.
What are some of your favorite CSA products every season?
While things like sweet and juicy field-ripened strawberries and blueberries are certainly member favorites, one of my family’s best-loved things each year is the lettuce. We eat a lot of salads, and nothing tops the lettuce from Geauga Family Farms. The first heads of lettuce in the summer after a winter and spring of grocery store lettuce are a real treat! We are also big kohlrabi fans, and look forward to a big batch of kohlrabi refrigerator pickles.
Before you go, could you share with us a favorite recipe that features some of Geauga County’s best local summer produce?
Swiss Chard Pesto – Geauga Family Farms
- 8 Swiss chard leaves, cleaned and spun dry
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 garlic scapes
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Olive oil
Put all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Process until well combined. Add oil in a thin stream to make a paste. Store in refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed tightly to top surface to limit discoloration.
Our family’s favorite ways to use the pesto?
Open-Face Tomato Sandwiches: Mix 1 tablespoon of pesto with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Spread on a thick slice of bread or toast. Top with a tomato slice and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Grilled Shrimp Pasta: Add 1/4 cup of pesto to hot pasta and 1/3 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Toss until well combined. Top with grilled shrimp.
Grilled Garlic Herb Toast: Brush 1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of thick slices of bread before placing on the grill. Toast lightly.
Pesto Grilled Vegetables: Make a foil packet and fill with chopped zucchini, yellow squash and onions that have been tossed with olive oil and a few teaspoons of the pesto. Place on the grill and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.