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Stir-fried Burdock and Carrots with Sesame and Soy

Ingredients

2 cups prepared burdock
2 cups prepared carrots
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dashi (Japanese stock) (optional)
1 tablespoon water, as needed

Directions

1. Prepare the burdock and carrots in the same way, by washing and scraping the outer skin (they don’t have to be peeled). Then cut into matchstick-sized pieces. As you’re cutting the burdock, throw the pieces into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning brown in the air.

2. In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil. When it’s hot, sprinkle in the sesame seeds and cook, stirring it for about a minute.

3. Drain the burdock and add it and the carrots to the pan. Cook and stir over medium high heat for about five to seven minutes.

4. Add soy sauce and continue stir-frying. If you wish, add the dashi (available in Japanese and other Asian markets) and water and continue stir-frying until liquid has evaporated. The total cooking time for this burdock recipe is about ten minutes. The burdock will change color from milky white to shiny gray/brown. This burdock recipe will give you a crisp, crunchy, earthy, and delicious dish.

Recipe from /www.herbalmusings.com

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What a Great Spring!

We are tentatively firing up the tractors and getting ready for spring.  I have called the lime spreader and hopefully he will be ready to lime our fields this week.  In farming, timing can be critical and for the Klesick Family Farm, with all of our diversity, we need to lime as early as possible.  This year, based on soil samples and crop observations from last year, we will need about a ton of lime per acre to raise our calcium levels up. The reason I want to apply lime now is because we raise grass for hay and grass for our beef cows and we raise vegetables and fruit.  With all of these different cropping needs, early spring applications allow us the greatest flexibility.

Calcium has been called the “trucker” of nutrients – you could even call it the “life of the party.”  Plants really love adequate calcium and many nutrients attach themselves to it and follow it up into the plant from the soil.  I wish farming was as simple as adding calcium, but then there are magnesium ratios and manganese ratios and nitrogen needs as well as trace micro nutrients like boron and zinc, which are some of the minerals needed to grow the plants. I also have to keep track of the soil bacteria and make sure they are happy because they feed the plants the minerals that I am applying to my fields.

As a rule, I try and keep my soil profile full of minerals for this simple reason: if the minerals are not present in the soil, the minerals will not be in my crops and, sadly, not in your food.  America has too many empty calories on its plate already and my customers are not going to be getting any empty calorie food from me.

Whatever happened to the good old days of adding manure and barnyard wastes to your fields, working it in and growing food?  I think what has happened is technology.  We now can add just the right amount of this nutrient or that nutrient because through soil sampling we now know what we are missing in our soil.  I am happy that the technology exists, but for some reason I still hasten back to Grandpa’s gardens and he never soil sampled. He just cleaned out the chicken house and loafing sheds and worked it into the garden and, voila, green beans and green peas coming out his ears.  I know, because I remember sitting on the back porch snapping beans and shelling peas.

I suppose I have blended both worlds—Grandpa’s and mine.  I use a draft horse for some of the work and I compost lots of materials which I add to our fields in liberal amounts.  I raise beef cows and and so did he. He raised vegetables and fruit for his family and I raise them for my family and your family.

I guess you might say that my farm has a lot of my Grandpa in it.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tristan

Posted on

What a Great Spring!

We are tentatively firing up the tractors and getting ready for spring.  I have called the lime spreader and hopefully he will be ready to lime our fields this week.  In farming, timing can be critical and for the Klesick Family Farm, with all of our diversity, we need to lime as early as possible.  This year, based on soil samples and crop observations from last year, we will need about a ton of lime per acre to raise our calcium levels up. The reason I want to apply lime now is because we raise grass for hay and grass for our beef cows and we raise vegetables and fruit.  With all of these different cropping needs, early spring applications allow us the greatest flexibility.

Calcium has been called the “trucker” of nutrients – you could even call it the “life of the party.”  Plants really love adequate calcium and many nutrients attach themselves to it and follow it up into the plant from the soil.  I wish farming was as simple as adding calcium, but then there are magnesium ratios and manganese ratios and nitrogen needs as well as trace micro nutrients like boron and zinc, which are some of the minerals needed to grow the plants. I also have to keep track of the soil bacteria and make sure they are happy because they feed the plants the minerals that I am applying to my fields.

As a rule, I try and keep my soil profile full of minerals for this simple reason: if the minerals are not present in the soil, the minerals will not be in my crops and, sadly, not in your food.  America has too many empty calories on its plate already and my customers are not going to be getting any empty calorie food from me.

Whatever happened to the good old days of adding manure and barnyard wastes to your fields, working it in and growing food?  I think what has happened is technology.  We now can add just the right amount of this nutrient or that nutrient because through soil sampling we now know what we are missing in our soil.  I am happy that the technology exists, but for some reason I still hasten back to Grandpa’s gardens and he never soil sampled. He just cleaned out the chicken house and loafing sheds and worked it into the garden and, voila, green beans and green peas coming out his ears.  I know, because I remember sitting on the back porch snapping beans and shelling peas.

I suppose I have blended both worlds—Grandpa’s and mine.  I use a draft horse for some of the work and I compost lots of materials which I add to our fields in liberal amounts.  I raise beef cows and and so did he. He raised vegetables and fruit for his family and I raise them for my family and your family.

I guess you might say that my farm has a lot of my Grandpa in it.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tristan

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Cinnamon-Ants-on-Sticks

Ingredients

1 large stalk celery, cut into 3 pieces
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins

Directions

Place the celery pieces on a clean surface, hollow part facing up, and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Spoon peanut butter into the hollow, and arrange raisins on top.

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How are Your New Year's Resolutions Coming?

I have been trying to stay on track myself, spend more time with my family, lose a few pounds, get a little more sleep and exercise daily.  I have been measuring my goals using an excel spreadsheet. It is amazing the accountability that comes from journaling your successes and, need I say it, yes, setbacks.

I have one of those scales that measures pounds the old fashioned way.  Have you ever noticed that 1 inch on that scale looks like a mile, even if it is only 10 lbs.  Losing 10 lbs. is not hard, but keeping it off is the real work.  Keeping weight off requires diligence and a change of habit.  For the last two months I have been pretty religious about getting up at 5:30 a.m. and doing a 30 minute workout.  I don’t have any exercise equipment and I am only using 5 lb. dumbbells, but it is working.  My hope is to encourage you that you can simply affect your goals with an at home exercise program that doesn’t cost a lot of $$$$.

I also use that time when I am finished working out to make a fresh glass of vegetable and fruit juice.  I absolutely love the colors of fresh juice. I posted a picture of this morning’s juice online at my blog.  The picture is straight from the juicer before I pour it into the glass for my wife and me.  The colors in fresh juice are incredibly vibrant, almost neon. The reds, the pinks, the oranges, and greens are bursting with flavor and with vitality.

I have had increased energy, more time on my hands and kept off a few of those pounds that tended to hang around during the holiday seasons (especially since I am a forty something now).  The nice thing is that I have gained some traction on my goals and I have measureable results to document, and more importantly to encourage me to press on.

The success I was personally feeling from juicing fresh fruits and vegetables and exercising was the inspiration for our newest “box of good” – the Juicer’s Box. The Juicer’s Box has the old standby juicing fruits and vegetables with a few weekly menu changes (to spice it up) to make about 12-14 glasses (10-12 oz.) of juice a week.

Keep up on those New Year’s resolutions and if necessary “fire” them up again and start with a slightly different plan than the last one.  You, and only you, can ultimately affect your personal health and your family’s health. Here, at Klesick Family Farm, we appreciate being a part of those healthy lifestyle choices and changes.

Cheers to good health,

Tristan

Posted on

How are your New Year's resolutions coming?

I have been trying to stay on track myself, spend more time with my family, lose a few pounds, get a little more sleep and exercise daily.  I have been measuring my goals using an excel spreadsheet. It is amazing the accountability that comes from journaling your successes and need I say it, yes, setbacks.

I have one of those scales that measures pounds the old fashioned way.  Have you ever noticed that 1 inch on that scale looks like a mile, even if it is only 10lbs.  Losing 10 pounds is not hard, but keeping it off is the real work.  Keeping weight off requires diligence and a change of habit.  For the last two months I have been pretty religious about getting up a 5:30am and doing a 30 minute workout.  I don’t have any exercise equipment and I am only using 5 lbs dumbbells, but it is working.  My hope is to encourage you that you can simply affect your goals with an at home exercise program that doesn’t cost a lot of $$$$.

I also use that time when I am finished working out to make a fresh glass of vegetable and fruit juice.  I absolutely love the colors of fresh juice. I posted a picture of this morning’s juice online at my blog.  The picture is straight from the juicer before I pour it into the glass for my wife and me.  The colors in fresh juice are incredibly vibrant, almost neon. The reds, the pinks, the oranges, and greens are bursting with flavor and  with vitality.

I have had increased energy, more time on my hands and kept off a few of those pounds that tended to hang around during the holiday seasons (especially since I am a forty something now).  The nice thing is that I have gained some traction on my goals and I have measureable results to document, and more importantly encourage me to press on.

The success I was feeling from juicing fresh fruits and vegetables and exercising was the inspiration for our newest “box of good” the Juicer’s box. The Juicer’s box has the old standby juicing fruits and vegetables with a few weekly menu changes (to spice it up) to make about 12-14 glasses (10 – 12oz.) of juice a week.

Keep up on those New Year’s resolutions and if necessary “fire” them up again and start with a slightly different plan than the last one.  You, and only you, can ultimately affect your personal health and your family’s health,  here, at the Klesick Family Farm we appreciate being a part of those healthy lifestyle choices and changes.

Cheers to good health,

Tristan

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Sauteed Cauliflower with Turmeric

The best way to prepare this dish is to cut cauliflower florets in quarters and let them sit for 5-10 minutes; this allows time for the production of phenethyl isothiocyanates, which form when cruciferous vegetables are cut, but stops when they are heated. Then sprinkle with turmeric and healthy sauté (see description below) on medium heat in a few tablespoons of vegetable or chicken broth for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and top with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Start your Healthy Sauté by heating 1 TBS of broth in a stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Once the broth begins to bubble add onions and sauté stirring frequently. After the onions have cooked for about 5 minutes, you can then add other ingredients such as garlic, or fresh ginger. Once they have had a chance to cook together for just another minute, add other vegetables. This method enables you to have flavorful sautéed vegetables without heating oil.

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40 Acres and a Mule

Lately, I have been thinking about the phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”  My perspective of what this actually may have looked like, back in the 1800s when our government was giving out land, is colored by the fact that part of our farm is horse powered. Although my hunch is that not all of those 40 acres were being farmed, I can pretty much guarantee that that farmer/mule team was always moving J. 

At the last National American Farm Bureau (AFB) convention in Seattle, the AFB president said, “There are those in America that want us to return to the days of 40 acres and mule,” and, of course, he followed up with, “and we are not going back there.”  Why was he making such a big deal about not going back to 40 acres and mule? Everyone knows that only a few of us farmers are using real horse power and the rest are using John Deere or Case or Kubota or New Holland. 

I believe the reason the AFB president made this statement is because the public—yes, the consumer—prefers to eat food from smaller family farms like mine.  But the reality is that most of our food comes from mega farms and mega corporations, and their mega operations are not nearly as pretty and picturesque as my farm.  In fact, our beef cows actually eat real green grass, and our vegetables are raised more like a family garden, and our family lives and works on our farm.  I highly doubt that the presidents of mega food operations have ever farmed in their lives. I do believe that the founders of those mega farms probably did farm and did manage the farms directly, but today all the decisions are made from a corporate boardroom.

But what is the rub? Why did the AFB president call out “40 acres and a mule?” I believe it has to do with advertising—dishonest advertising. In fact, one could argue that it is a case of stolen identity.

Whoa Katie (that’s my draft horse’s name)!!! What do I mean? Well, if you look at all the advertising around meat products (a.k.a., the protein industry), for example, what do you see?  Cows on grass, a beautiful old barn in the background, and a barnyard of different farm animals. In fact, you could very well be looking at a picture of an old time farm run by a farm family and a mule. (Hmmm, that looks like the Klesick Family Farm.) All of the advertising by mega operations implies that they are still raising animals just like grandpa did prior to 1940.  Yet, if the American corporate farm is so proud of their food, why don’t they advertise pictures of their factories and factory farms? Why do they have to advertise their products with a picture of grandpa’s farm? The fact is, it would hurt their sales and quite possibly require them to change the way they raise food. 

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the way corporate America raises food. We always hear how American farmers raise the safest and most healthy food in the world. If America’s food is so great then why are Americans so sickly? So I say to corporate America, “If you are so proud of your products and you believe in your farming practices, then advertise your feedlots, your hog operations, and chicken farms for what they are and let the consumer decide what food is healthy and what food they want to buy. Just quit hiding behind my farm!”

Tristan Klesick

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On the hunt

by Ashley Rodriquez

I have recently become aware of a sub-culture that exists in the ever growing world of food lovers. The people that exist in this culture are passionate, determined, generous, adventurous, tough, gentle and secretive. They are at times self-less and giving and conversely elusive and greedy. For the mushroom hunter, finding the perfect specimen is the ultimate priority but to share their find and to introduce one to the often secretive world of the forager – well, they are just too darn excited and in love with the fungi not to.

Our day of foraging happened a couple of weeks ago while the sun was still warm and the heirloom Brandywine Tomatoes plucked from the garden prior to leaving, were at their peak. The English language lacks the words to describe the honor and privilege I felt to be a part of this expedition. A permanent grin painted my face as I spent the day with some incredibly passionate local foragers.

In all honesty, my lust for mushrooms is a recent development. As a child I would meticulously peel them off my pizza, remove them from strogonoff and avoid them in stews. I still get slightly squeamish at the texture but can greatly appreciate the depth they lend to many of my dishes. But it wasn’t until taking the proper actions in order to seek out the mushroom rather than simply grabbing them from the store that I was able to truly appreciate fungi.

I have come to honor the mushroom not just for its unmistakable flavor that it imparts but because I now understand it much better (with infinitely more to learn). I have discovered where they come from, the care taken to properly find the best variety and the work needed in order for them to be a part of my dinner.

The more I come to learn about food the more I fall deeper in love with it. Good food is both simple and incredibly complex. The good news for us is that if we choose to select and seek out “good food” – food that is seasonal, often local and grown with skill and passion – then much of the work is done for us and it’s quite easy to convert that food into an unforgettably delicious meal.

Ashley Rodriguez is a chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. You can read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com

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Crimini Pilaf

by Ashley Rodriguez

This is a simple vegetarian side dish that is quick to throw together. If you prefer you can use chicken stock but I’m really hoping you all have vegetable stock in your freezer after the newsletter I wrote a couple of months ago. 🙂

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, white part sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups quartered crimini mushrooms
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups vegetable broth (homemade is best!)
1/2 teaspoon salt (unless the broth you use is very salty)
Fresh cracked black pepper 

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and olive oil. When butter has melted add leeks and minced garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes.
Add crimini mushrooms. Cook 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften slightly.
Stir in rice, cook until rice becomes slightly translucent. Stirring occasionally to make sure rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. About 4 minutes.  Rice may brown slightly.
Stir in vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let cook 20-25 minutes.
Taste. Add more salt if needed. Sprinkle with some fresh cracked black pepper.  Stir. Serve.

adapted from lifeambrosia.com