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December Holiday Shares

Happy All-Sorts-of-Holidays Our Most Devoted Produce Compatriots!

The very last of City Fresh shares for 2014 have come. It's been another great season - one of more ups than downs, more rockin' radishes than disappointing kale. It was a season for cucumber and tomato salad, even if also a year without peaches. Winter squash made a strong presentation after last year's rather depressing showing, and romanesco made its fantastic debut after five years of requesting it. But we have arrived, finally, at the end. We must lie now in dormancy, try to survive another Ohio winter, and lay the plans for next season's selections.

First, and most importantly, remember the day, time, and location for your very last share!

Tuesday, December 16:
East Side:
Coventry Library
1925 Coventry Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH
5:00-7:00 pm

We'll be in the teen room this time.

West Side:
Garfield Middle School
13114 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH
5:30-8:00 pm

Wednesday, December 17:
George Jones Memorial Farm
44333 St. Rt. 511
Oberlin, OH
5:00-7:00 pm

We've got the fixins to make your holiday meals with loved ones deliciously ethical this season. By supporting City Fresh, you're cooking foods that support the environment, the local economy, and families in need as we provide access to fresh foods in areas and at costs impossible to find elsewhere. As you cook up your potatoes by boiling, mashing, or sticking in a stew, our limited income City Fresh family members will be doing the same. The farmers who saved potatoes for seed last season, then planted, tended, and harvested them this season will also be sitting down to similar holiday meals, passing roast squash or wilted kale amongst brothers and cousins who also farm the beets and carrots you enjoy.

Our volunteers, whose tireless efforts this season helped to lift, stack, count, and distribute allllll those eggplant and peppers will be pureeing pumpkins and caramelizing carrots like the champions they are, readying meals for holiday potlucks and fancy sit-down dinners. They seem to be the ones who always lament the dearth of freshness of summer's bounties the most. I've watched for years as their emptying vegetable crispers scroll across my Instagram and Facebook feeds, those last little composting bits of leaf and stalk scrap like so many pathetic tears (volunteers don't clean their fridges out very often either).

For many years, I was among those volunteers, and City Fresh fed me in more ways than one. I gained a sense of community, a group of steadfast friends and staunch local economy advocates, and most importantly, purpose. I am so grateful this year to have the opportunity to take the helm of this project. It has been challenging and insightful, a grand learning opportunity, and most of all, fun. Sometimes I love nothing more than to build ziggurats out of cherry tomato pints, or to count out 736 onions or to participate in a watermelon bucket brigade. I like to share recipes, hear what you've been cookin', and watch toddlers pick out the exact right Princess Buttercup squash. I love finding the eggplants with extra noses, the lovestruck carrots entwined 'round one another, or the underdeveloped conjoined twin hidden in a bell pepper. It is such a joy to have a job where the most challenging part of my day can involve tossing a bunch of extra zucchini in the car and racing across town. I even like the part where I sit in front of endless spreadsheets and fail to make sense of them. It's a puzzle and my brain is rewarded by solving it.

For all this love, I thank you, dear Shareholder. Thank you for supporting this organization that seeks to spread economic, environmental, and social justice by building an equitable and sustainable food system literally from the ground up. Thank you for joining us on this journey to feed and enrich our communities and our families.

As I give thanks for all that I've been given and all that I've worked for this holiday season, I share with you a recipe I've been making for my sons for Christmas morning the last several years.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup warm water (more or less depending on humidity and amount of squash, start with smaller amount and add more after flours are in)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Pureed contents of 1 roasted pie pumpkin or other winter squash (about 1 cup, okay if more)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup soft butter
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional
3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, add warm water and yeast. Allow to proof, about five minutes. Add all other ingredients at once. May be mixed by hand or in a mixer. Knead until smooth. May be sticky, but as long as it holds together, it's fine. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise 1-1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough and roll out on a slightly greased work surface to a roughly 14"x22" rectangular shape.

In a smaller second bowl, mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Spread this mixture evenly across the dough. You can also add nuts or dried cranberries or raisins or candied ginger along with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting at one skinny end, roll the dough together all the way to the other end, until you have a log. Slice this evenly into 9 rolls. Place these in a greased pan (9" cake rounds work, as do 9"x9" pans). At this point you can freeze for storage if desired, in which case you'll want to allow to come to room temperature before the next step. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes prior to baking at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

While the rolls bake, Mix
1 cup confectioner's sugar 
1 tablespoon soft butter
1-1/2 tablespoons milk (or enough to make a "drizzlable" glaze)

Spoon this mixture over the rolls while still hot so it melts and drips between the rolls. Serve.

We all adore these and hope you'll make a delicious tradition of them as well. Thank you so much for all your support this City Fresh season. Don't forget to play with your food!

Holiday Share Contents
Wake Robin Sauerkraut
Butternut squash
Acorn squash
2 Pie Pumpkins
3 lbs. Sweet Potatoes
2 lbs. Potatoes
Assorted Root Vegetables
5 Apples

Peace and veggies,

Anna Kiss Mauser-Martinez
City Fresh

A Note From Our Executive Director

Happy Holidays and holy wow - what a year it’s been. For my part, it’s the conclusion of my fifth season serving you all. First as Coordinator for City Fresh in Cuyahoga County, then as Director of City Fresh, and now, for the last two years, as Executive Director of the New Agrarian Center. It’s been a tireless journey, and I look forward to many more years in your service, getting better at what I do, bringing resources to this fabulous organization, connecting with so many new friends, spreading the word about City Fresh, about the George Jones Farm, about Permaculture, about the re-localizing global food movement, and doing everything I can to bring a more abundant future to our region. None of it would be possible, without you. This is the time of year for gratitude, and we here at the NAC have a lot to be grateful for.

Thanks to you, first, our shareholders and market patrons. You are our great belly, always hungry for what’s good and right, and never satisfied with filler! You keep us honest, and you keep us working. Your choice to eat a local, seasonal diet, and your commitment to a fair economic future keep our staff here at the NAC and more than a dozen of our partner farming families working – working to restore the damaged landscape and build a more just future for our children and our grandchildren. For 9 years, City Fresh has been bringing food to neighborhoods across the region, and it’s awesome to know that some of you early adopters are still with us! In 2006, our founders Brad Masi and Maurice Small set up a pop-up tent and table in a parking lot in Clark-Fulton. Armed with pamphlets and this great idea, just one person showed up all day. And they didn’t order a share (wait – I pay you now and you bring me my food next week!?). By year’s end, 233 shares were distributed. By the next season, the idea had caught on, and it’s been building steam ever since. Today, we conclude a City Fresh season in which we distributed just under 13,000 total shares from a record 18 Fresh Stop locations, 4,000 shares of which helped low-income families in our area eat well, 700 more than last season. So much of this growth has been because you are willing to share your City Fresh stories, your George Jones Farm stories, and share meals with friends. Thank you!

Thank you also to the volunteers. It’s your friendly faces we see every week, your smiles and hugs that keep us going week after week, year after year. It’s become more than a network for good, it’s become life-long friendships. Your task is large – to be the face of the local movement, the voice on the street, the hauler of vegetables, the hawker of fine ingredients, the handler of cash, the conduit of share orders, and the vanguard of customer service. And yet you all still deny us the offer of a free share! Your commitment is deeper than anyone’s, and you are the over-brimming heart of City Fresh. More than 100 strong this year. We couldn’t ask for greater champions.

Thank you also to our farmers. Jerry, and Joseph, and David, Andy, and Danny, and Arie, Harvey and Mose, and John, Sam, Eli, Haley, Jes, Brad, Austin, and Roger. Your tireless efforts in the fields and forests makes life possible. Your commitment to one another, to the soil and the seed, to honoring the unbroken link to our agrarian heritage – you are truly inspiring. You are the roots of our movement, the origin. In our recent survey to all shareholders at the close of the City Fresh season, we asked our customers to mark the top four reasons they participate in City Fresh from a list of almost 20 good things we do. Providing low-income shares in food deserts, providing quality produce at an affordable price, helping people reach their healthy eating goals – all popular answers, but all distant competitors to supporting you, our local farmers. You may never see nor have the chance to meet the thousands of people you help here in the greater Cleveland area, but you’re never far from our deepest respect and gratitude.

And finally, to our donors. To the George Gund Foundation, to the Nord Family Foundation, to Mr. Dick Cahoon, Social Venture Partners, Community Shares, Oberlin College, to Adam Probst, to the members of our Board of Directors, and to the many smaller donors who give five here and ten there – thank you so much. Your gifts this year, and to those who’ve given all the years prior, you provide the economic fuel in our idealist engines, keeping us driving forward, making an impact, never settling. Without you, there is no hope of achieving our mission. 

Happy and Healthy Holidays to you All, and Cheers to A Vibrant Future,
Nick Swetye
Copyright © 2014 City Fresh, All rights reserved.

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