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Fresh This Week Tips 03.30.2011

STORE: Before storing, remove any leaves from the rhubarb stalks and discard. Rhubarb stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, unwashed and sealed in an air tight plastic bag or tightly wrapped in plastic. It is best to store fresh rhubarb in whole stalks because cut or diced pieces will dry out more quickly. Trim just before using. Rhubarb can be frozen for future use by cutting the stalks into 1-inch lengths and packaging in airtight bags or by stewing first and then freezing. Rhubarb does not need to be sweetened before it is frozen.

PREP: Trim off leaf ends and roots using a sharp knife and discard. Be sure to discard the leaves, which contain toxic levels of oxalic acid. If the more mature stalks are wider than 1 inch, slice lengthwise in half or thirds. Check stalks for blemished areas and trim off before using. When preparing field-grown rhubarb the stems may be too fibrous and will need to have the strings pulled off. At one end of the stalk, cut just under the skin.

Pull the piece down the stalk to remove the strings. Continue until all of the strings are removed. When preparing hothouse-grown rhubarb the stems are tender and should not be stringy.
Wash stalks and slice them into 3/4 inch to 1 inch pieces when preparing for stewing or making sauce. Pies and other recipes may call for the pieces to be cut to a smaller size, such as 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

USE: Rhubarb can be eaten raw with a little sugar sprinkled over it but it is generally cooked with other ingredients to produce a fruit dish of some type. Rhubarb can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits, such as pairing it with strawberries in baked sauces or beverages. It makes a delicious pie filling and is also used to make sauce in the same manner as applesauce. Rhubarb can also be used to make jellies, jams, cakes, muffins, and other desserts. It can also be used in savory dishes and is good as a sauce to serve with meats and fish.


STORE: Tomatoes are best stored and eaten at room temperature because their flavor is more pronounced. A very firm tomato can be kept at room temperature for about a week. Transfering them to the refrigerator to will slow their ripening, but can also result in loss of flavor. Softer tomatoes should be used as soon as possible, so they don’t become mushy or rot. Freezing: Tomatoes cooked into sauces, juiced or simply pureed can be frozen for up to six months.

PREP: Here are some tips on preparing your tomatoes:
– Wash tomatoes in cold water before use.
– Slice tomatoes vertically for salads and sandwiches to prevent the juice and seeds spilling out.
– For stuffed tomatoes, cut them horizontally to remove the seeds and juice.
– To peel your tomatoes, mark an X on the bottom of each one and place them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, then plunge them into cold water. The skins should come off easily.

USE: Tomatoes are essential in a variety of cuisines, including those of Italy and Central American. Use them to make pasta sauces, salsas, soups or eaten raw to garnish salads. Cherry tomatoes can also be roasted whole and served alongside with meats. Broil tomato halves topped with bread crumbs and herbs for a healthy vegetable side dish. Roughly chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeños for a spicy salsa to accompany chips.

STORE: Store blood oranges at room temperature for up to 1 week, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
USE: Add the raspberry-colored flesh to green salads, fruit salads or get adventurous and make Blood Orange Sorbet, taste the freshness of spring!
Blood Orange Sorbet recipe:

Blood Orange Sorbet

1. Juice your blood oranges. The measure the juice.

2. For each 1 cup (250ml) of juice, figure 1/4 cup (50g) of granulated sugar to be added.

For example: Use 1/2 cup (100g) sugar for 2 cups juice (500ml).

3. Put the sugar in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Add just enough juice to saturate it very well. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.

4. Stir the sugar back into the reserved blood orange juice.

5. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker.

Recipe from:

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A Wave of Good

Many of you know that Klesick Family Farm loves being involved in good! We have our Neighbor Helping Neighbor food bank program, our Thanksgiving donation boxes and our Christmas blessing boxes where we partner with you to make a difference here locally.  I have been considering an international outreach program, sort of a live locally and bless globally focus, if you will.  We have considered drilling wells in Africa or planting trees in Ethiopia or donating farm animals.  As I have been surveying the damage in Japan and having recently toured the nuclear plant at Hanford, it all came together.  I decided to send a Wave of Good to Japan and bless our neighbors there!

Once I got the idea, I called a few of our grocery suppliers and asked them to participate and they all agreed. So with the help of Scott & Renee of Breadfarm, Gary & Lori of Middleton Organic Specialty Foods, Paul & Judy of Sweet Creek Foods, and Jerry & Barbara of Oils of Paicines, Klesick Family Farm is going to donate 20% of our sales from these products from now until April 29th to World Vision USA – Japan Quake and Tsunami Relief Fund.  I am so excited to partner with these suppliers to help others.

What You Can Do: Join us in sending a Wave of Good by purchasing products from the above mentioned vendors (look for products denoted with an *asterisk). Not only will you be contributing toward World Vision’s relief efforts in Japan, but you will also be enjoying great products from some great companies. You can also make a donation directly to “A Wave of Good” in the “Unclassified” section (at the bottom) on the Grocery page of our website and we will include that in our donation to World Vision.

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Wave of Good

A Wave of Good

On Friday, March 11, Japan was hit by the largest earthquake in its history. The 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami swept away entire villages with walls of water more than 30 feet high, devastating lives and property. With this amount of devastation, the road to recovery will be a long one.

In response to this great need, Klesick Family Farm has partnered with her suppliers to be a part of the solution and send a Wave of Good to the people of Japan. Scott & Renee of Breadfarm, Gary & Lori of Middleton Organic Specialty Foods, Paul & Judy of Sweet Creek Foods, and Jerry & Barbara of Oils of Paicines have discounted the sale of their products to us and we in turn are matching their discount to send a combined donation to our neighbors overseas. We will thus be donating 20% of the sales on these vendors’ products, from now until April 29th, to World Vision’s Japan Quake & Tsunami Relief Fund. 

What You Can Do:  Join us in sending a Wave of Good by purchasing products from the above mentioned vendors (look for products denoted with an *asterisk). Not only will you be contributing toward World Vision’s relief efforts in Japan, but you will also be enjoying great products from some great companies.

For regular updates on World Vision’s efforts to help Japan, visit the World Vision Blog:


The information below is from

On March 11, Japan was hit by the largest earthquake in its history. The 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami swept away entire villages with walls of water more than 30 feet high.

“We are now facing the most tragic [natural] disaster in our country’s history,” said Kenjiro Ban, World Vision’s humanitarian and emergency affairs manager in Japan.

“I’ve served on disaster response programs in Kenya, Sudan, India,  Pakistan, Myanmar, and Haiti, and the needs I’m seeing in my own country are as bad as anything I’ve seen globally.”

As a child-focused organization, we will focus our efforts on responding to the emotional needs of children.

“We’re planning to see how deep the needs are in the affected areas and begin to bring relief to families,” said Ban.


Major humanitarian needs

A World Vision assessment team reached Sendai, Japan, within 48 hours of the tragedy and began exploring how the organization’s relief expertise can support the government-led response.

Many evacuation sites do not have enough food for the populations using them, and there are not enough blankets to cope with the cold winter season.

Priority needs also include non-food relief items, supplies for babies and small children, support for women, and interventions for children who are separated from their parents, including safe locations they can use, known as Child-Friendly Spaces.


Relief supplies headed for distribution

Truckloads of World Vision relief items that arrived Thursday are en route and will be distributed Friday in Minami Sanriku, a devastated town where 9,600 people have been displaced into 40 shelters. Japanese authorities organized the distribution.

Local volunteers who are students and teachers from a junior high school in nearby Tome city helped with loading and unloading the items for distribution.

The supplies are enough to reach 6,000 people. Items to be distributed include:

4,800 bottles of water

4,500 blankets

130,000 wet wipes for children

Response and funding thus far

A team of emergency responders have been mobilized and dispatched from the United States, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, with more on standby, to assist the efforts of World Vision’s Japan-based staff.

World Vision’s global pre-positioning response network, a logistics system that includes warehouses of relief supplies in Dubai and Frankfurt, is poised to ship urgent items to Japan as needed.

Please pray

Please keep in prayer the children, families, and communities left devastated by this earthquake, tsunami, and recurring aftershocks.


Help now

Each donation will help us rush emergency supplies like life-saving food, clean water, medical supplies, and shelter to those who need it most in the aftermath of the disaster in Japan.

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Sautéed Zucchini

If you want to do a larger amount, double the recipe, but divide and cook the zucchini in two pans. If you crowd the squash too much, it steams rather than browns, and loses too much structure, which isn’t what you’re after.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 medium shallots or new red onions, thinly sliced

fine grain sea salt

2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins

a good handful of dill, chopped

1/4 cup almonds or toasted almond slices

In your largest skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until it starts to take on a hint of color. Stir in the shallots and a big pinch of salt, and cook until they start to soften, a couple minutes. Add the zucchini, stir to get it coated with a bit of oil, and arrange the coins in as much of a single layer as your pan permits. Dial the heat up a bit if needed, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini browns – ten minutes or so. Remove from heat and fold in the dill and almonds before serving. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serves 2 – 4.

Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 15 min

Original recipe from

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Beef – The way it was meant to be

A couple years ago, I was invited by the director, Robert Kenner, to attend a screening of Food, Inc. in Los Angeles. This invitation was all thanks for my brother who filmed much of the movie. I jumped at the opportunity to see the film.

Food, Inc. “lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA” ( It does so in a way that is honest and not intended purely for shock value but to inform and educate the often misguided and undereducated consumer. If you haven’t seen the movie yet I highly recommend it.

What struck me the most while viewing the film is that food works best if we let it do what it was created to do. Tomatoes left to ripen on the vine are sweeter, have a much greater nutritional value and a flavor that cannot even compare to the tomatoes that were plucked while still green and left to ripen on the truck while in transit. The same goes for cows.

Cows were created to eat grass. Their digestive systems were designed to consume grass and yet lately, due to ease, cost and control, many cows are being fed grain. Now we all know grain in and of itself is not a bad thing but when cows start eating something other than grass things start to go wrong.

As things have started to go wrong for cows because of their unnatural diet, science has solved the problem by creating antibiotics that combat the diseases that arise. Rather than solving the problem by changing their diet, which would eliminate the need for antibiotics, we are now consuming meat from “cows that are essentially being kept alive by drugs” (

So now that we got that out of the way, let’s focus on the benefits of grass-fed beef. For me the most important part is that it just plain tastes better. Richer, meatier and more complex in flavor. But there are other reasons as well. “The animal itself thrives because it is getting the food it was designed to eat and it converts that food to muscle and fat that is higher in minerals, vitamins, CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid) and Omega 3 fatty acids, and lower in cholesterol and fat” ( Even though grass-fed beef isn’t injected with antibiotics you have a much lower risk of getting diseases associated with beef such as E-Coli and Mad Cow Disease.

To learn more about this and in general where our food comes from I can’t recommend the film Food, Inc. enough. Also, any of Michael Pollen’s best-selling books like the Omnivores Dilemma provide a very thorough look into the world behind the food on our plate.

In the meantime, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity to purchase and enjoy grass-fed beef (see below for more information). Not only can you eat it in good conscience but you will be thrilled with the wonderful taste that comes from cows who eat a diet that they were created for.

by Ashley Rodriguez – Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. You can read more of her writings at

Order Your Local All Natural Grass-fed Beef Today!

good for the animal … good for the land … good for you

“Last fall when I bought beef I was very nervous about buying a product I had never had, as I was so fussy about my beef and other meats. I did not know how grass-fed beef could possibly be better than grain-fed beef. Well, I could not have been more wrong. The hamburger was full of flavor, the roasts divine, but the steaks were where you separate the ‘men from the boys.’ The steaks were out of this world–reminiscent of Michigan back when beef was ‘beef.’ The New York strips were melt-in-your-mouth perfect! Please reserve another 1/4 for me.”
– C. in Arlington

If you are interested in providing yourself and your family with a healthy alternative to conventional feedlot beef, then Klesick Family Farm’s  grass-fed beef program is for you. Our cattle are free from growth hormones and antibiotics and are raised and finished on quality grass pasture and moved often to maintain healthy pastures and healthy cattle.

Call for more information or visit: main/order-meat

Beef – the way it was meant to be!

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Fresh This Week Tips – 03.09.11


STORE: Keep in a dry, well-ventilated space for up to 1 month. Do not store in a plastic bag, which traps moisture and can cause them to rot.

USE: Mild enough to be eaten raw, shallots can be diced and added to vinaigrette dressings. They can also be substituted for onions in almost any dish.

Here’s a helpful video on how to peel and mince shallots:


STORE: Wrap uncut stems in a damp paper towel, place inside a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

USE: Adding fresh parsley to almost any dish gives food a bright, flavorful boost that the dried version of the herb just can’t provide. Follow the easy steps in this video for a fast, efficient way to prep parsley the next time you cook―and to store whatever you don’t use for maximum freshness.

Here’s a helpful video on how to clean, chop and store parsley:


STORE: Quite perishable, Murcotts keep only a day or two at room temperature and up to one week refrigerated.

USE: Use Murcott tangerines as you would other varieties. Their sweetness pairs well with butter-based sauces and may be added to vinaigrette. Mix tangerine juice with grapefruit juice, sugar and water, then freeze into sorbet. Add tangerine sections to green salads with toasted pecans and goat cheese.

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Meaningful Connections

What a great event! Having never hosted a dinner party before, I was unsure of how it would work itself out.  It was better than I imagined. The hors d’ oeuvres were awesome, the potato leek soup and chicken Florentine were culinary masterpieces, and the Café au Lait pudding was heavenly. But even more impressive than the organic dinner was the incredible activity of farmers, my office team and customers talking away.  All-in-all, I would say that our 1st Klesick Family Farm Dinner Party was a huge success towards my goal of making meaningful connections.  We will do it again.

Our next chance for meaningful connections will be at our 8th annual Spring Plant sale at the Rents Due Ranch on April 30th.

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Lightly floral, like an afternoon in spring

My little girl, Ivy, just started eating solid food. As someone whose life is so intertwined with food this is a big deal for me. Watching my baby’s face light up as she sees me approaching with a little pink spoon in hand makes me happy. Her sausage-like fingers pull the spoon in closer trying to get the sweet taste of a perfectly ripe banana in her mouth quicker. While most of the contents of the spoon end up either covering her chubby cheeks or on the bib, she joyfully gums what does manage to stay in her mouth.
As she is experiencing her first taste of solid food I can’t help but think of all the thousands of meals I will share with her, Lord willing. Will she like the sweet, earthy taste of beets as much as I do or will she think they “taste like dirt” as her dad thinks? Will Ivy meticulously pick out her onions like her big brother Baron? Will the kitchen be a place of joy and creativity for Ivy as it is for me?

I do know that my little girl is more fond of bananas and oatmeal than she is of pears. Her nose scrunches at the taste of the sweet fruit. My little princess tries feverishly to arch and bend to get as far away from the spoon as possible. I, on the other hand, recently discovered how much I love pears in sauce form. Much like applesauce, pear sauce is as comforting as a mother’s embrace. It’s sweet and slightly tart flavor fills in for dessert in a much lighter way than a chocolate cake would, yet completely satisfying. Left slightly chunky and made with little more than a sip of water, pear sauce is as complex as the pear itself—lightly floral, like an afternoon in spring.

A simple sauce of smashed pears and apples is a sweet ending of winter. It’s a goodbye for now, until we meet again in the fall. As with most good endings, it’s the start of a new beginning. As we send off apples and pears we have the soft whisper of hope that spring will soon be upon us and all the nearly forgotten tastes of that season. For now it’s an endearing goodbye said with a tangy sauce, that my daughter insists I can enjoy alone.

by Ashley Rodriquez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at

Apple Pear Sauce Recipe

6 sweet tart apples, like Jonathan, or Jonah Golds, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
5 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter

In a large pot, add the apples and pears. Scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean, and add both the seeds and the pod to the fruit. Pour in the water, and add the butter. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. When brought to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes. After time has passed, fruit should begin to fall apart and soften. If need, with a large fork, or potato masher, break down any remaining cooked pieces of fruit. Sauce will be slightly chunky, with only a little bit of liquid remaining. If sauce has too much liquid for your tastes, turn up the heat, and cook out some of the water. Discard vanilla bean pod, and enjoy.

Image and recipe from