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Imagine Children's Museum Harvest Festival, Oct. 8, 2011

We are so excited that Klesick Family Farm has been invited to participate as the resident organic farm during the Imagine Children’s Museum’s Harvest Festival scheduled for Saturday October 8, 2011.

What is the Harvest Festival?

From April to June, Imagine Children’s Museum hands out free seeds (pumpkin, zucchini, sunflower) for their program “Kids in the Garden,” which encourages families to get in the dirt together and plant a garden. One of the main components of the Harvest Festival is to ask children to bring in something they have grown in the garden and we display these “fruits of labor” in grand style. In addition to the “what have grown display” there will be harvest games, veggie art, vegetable science with our resident Dr. Science and just simple wonderful inside harvest fun.

Here at Klesick Family Farm, we have a wonderful representation of organic farming, and we will be  sharing our knowledge with visitors at the Harvest Festival. We encourage all of our fans and customers to come to the Harvest Festival to learn more about local organic farming!

For more information on the Harvest Festival, please visit the Imagine Children’s Museum website here!

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Broccoli Pasta Salad

Vegan, gluten-free and delicious broccoli pasta salad! Enjoy!

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 16 oz bag brown rice fusilli pasta (gluten-free)
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 cup grated carrot (~4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup Nayonaise (or light mayo)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  1. Start by cooking pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, chop broccoli into small florets and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Nayonaise, vinegars, and salt. I prefer this dairy-free mayo because it is much lower in both calories and fat than even light traditional mayo. For another vegan alternative, Vegenaise can also be used.
  4. Set dressing aside once combined.
  5. Carefully grate carrots and try not to cut your wrist on the grater like I did. Ouch.
  6. Once pasta is finished cooking, use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove cooked pasta and transfer to a colander in the sink. Very important – DO NOT drain the pasta water! Run cold water over pasta for 30 seconds to stop any carryover cooking.
  7. Once the pasta water has come back to a boil, drop the broccoli florets into the water to blanch quickly for just 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to over-cook the broccoli, just heat enough to soften the slightest bit.
  8. Remove broccoli with slotted spoon and add to colander on top of pasta. Give it another shot of cold water to stop any additional cooking.
  9. Transfer pasta and broccoli to a large mixing bowl and top with carrots, raisins, and almonds.
  10. Add dressing and toss to combine. Season generously with salt.

Best enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

*Recipe courtesy of Gojee.com

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Right2KnowMarch.org – A MOBILIZATION FOR GMO LABELING

I have been thinking about the state of our national health and the health of our national food supply. Frankly, it is really pretty poor. We (the government) have been incentivizing corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola for far too long. Ironically, these are also the crops that the biotech industry has been promoting for years. And one could draw a parallel between the health of our people and the health of our food supply.

Sadly, legislative change is the only solution to America’s nutritionally void food crisis.  Farmers need to be encouraged to stop planting GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops and start planting more fruits and vegetables—more real food with real nutrients for the dinner plates of Americans. It is then that we will see the health of Americans improve. But this is no easy task. Half of the senators in DC are have constituents in the regions that grow GMO crops and the USDA is pro-biotech. And if half of the senators are going to vote favorably for GMOs in their district, it is nearly impossible to make meaningful legislative change.

What is the solution? Labeling, labeling, labeling! The only thing that will stop GMOs and this nutritionally poor USDA food policy is labeling. Give consumers the right to know what they are eating and stop hiding the GMOs in processed foods. We deserve the right to know if our food contains GMOs or not.

Starting this week, on October 1st, there is going to be a “Right to Know” march from New York City to our nation’s capitol.  For 16 days, concerned citizens are going to be marching to bring awareness to the importance of labeling. This is truly a fight, a good food fight, and our children’s children are beneficiaries. The biotech companies of the world do not want this to happen. They are adamantly opposed to labeling, but this is America and Americans should have the right to know if their foods contain GMOs or not!

You can follow along at right2knowmarch.org

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For the love of fennel!

Learn how to properly store, prep and use fennel, and check out our recipe for Roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip! It’s simple and tasty, and works great as an appetizer or side dish!

STORE: After several days, fennel’s flavor begins to lessen. Keep bulbs tightly wrapped in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Don’t wash them until just before using them, as moisture speeds decay.

PREP: Sprinkle cut fennel with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

USE: Fennel is wonderful braised, roasted, grilled, sautéed, or used raw in salads.

Roasted Fennel and White bean Dip

For Roasted Fennel:

  • 1 Large or 2 Small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic still in papery shell
  • Salt and pepper

For the Cannellini Bean puree:

  • 3/4 cups Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Crostini

Procedure:

  1. First make the roasted fennel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fennel and garlic cloves in the olive oil and spread on a sheet pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning twice during cooking. Take out and let cool. When cool squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins.
  2. Start the cannellini bean puree. In a small frying pan heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly golden, add rosemary and cannellini beans and cook for one minute more. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Take it off the heat.
  3. In a food processor combine the garlic bean mixture, fennel, roasted garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons of the parmigiano-reggiano. Puree until smooth.
  4. Raise oven temp to 450 degrees. Transfer puree into a small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Feel free to add more. If your dish is near full, place it on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over in the oven. Bake until cheese is golden on top, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with crostini. Enjoy!

*Recipe taken from Gojee.com

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Not Until You Eat Your Veggies!

You know the routine. Opening up the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator to fill it up with produce from your box of good and, lo and behold, there are the beets from the last delivery—limp, wilted, and once again destined for the compost. You know that you would eat them, but no one else will eat them if you prepared them.

Now, growing up I didn’t like things like beets, kale, or other green things. For me, the only thing to do with beets was paint my plate, lips, and face with them, until my mom caught sight of it and then I still had to eat them, which I did, but with great reluctance.  (As a child, I discovered that if you plug your nose when eating foods you can’t stand, you can’t taste them as well so they’re easier to swallow!) My sister, however, loved beets and sometimes she was nice enough to eat mine for me. Today, I eat beets, along with many other veggies, probably largely due to my mother’s persistence in getting me to eat my veggies.

Good food should be something one enjoys! Often, certain veggies are an acquired taste—it takes time before we come to the point of enjoying them. If your family has recently made the switch to healthy eating, it can be a bit of a challenge changing your diet from processed, and/or high-sugar foods, to one that includes home-cooked meals with organic ingredients and more fresh vegetables.

A balanced diet is important when it comes to your personal health, but it is doubly important in your children’s. Diseases that were only heard of with adults over 50 are now a legitimate concern among our country’s youth. What your child is eating now is laying the foundation for later in life, and your behavior and attitude about food will make an impression on them every time you sit down at the dinner table.

For a three year old, a plate of veggies may not seem very exciting. Changing perception can go a long way in getting your children to eat healthy and balanced meals. A plate of veggies that is colorful and topped with a homemade cheese sauce can be very fun. Incorporating the flavors s/he is familiar with and enjoys may be the difference between food introduction failure and success, and first impressions are very important when it comes to introducing new foods.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”  This rings true in the food world. Remember, taste buds do change over time. Also, by trying different ways of serving up the veggies your children may finish the entire serving the second or third try, despite having a declared hatred for it! The secret is to either make the vegetables tasty or go completely unnoticed. Serving up veggies on their own may not be that appetizing, but as soon as you throw a good dressing into the mix or pile them into a tasty casserole, you can enjoy watching as they are happily devoured!

Consider grating or chopping veggies to make them go unnoticed. Broth-based soups are a nutritional wonder and when puréed many things that have difficult textures are easier to swallow. Finding creative names for veggies is a great way to add a fun perspective to eating. Cool names can make cool foods: “dinosaur broccoli trees,” “elf trees,” “power peas,” or “X-ray vision carrots.” Getting them to try something new is 90% of getting them to like it!

In summary, when it comes to changing your family’s eating habits, Mom, you are the one who makes it happen. You are changing your family’s futures for the better. And you are doing an awesome job!

Cheers!

Marty, for the Klesick Family Farm

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Easy Beef Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 2 medium) finely diced zucchini
  • 12 corn tortillas, heated or fried in oil to soften
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned or homemade
  • 3 cups cheddar- jack shredded cheese
  • Serve as desired with: shredded lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add ground beef; break apart with a spoon or spatula to crumble the meat. Sauté the meat on medium heat until browned (about 5 minutes). Tilt the pan and spoon the fat out of the pan; discard. Remove cooked meat to a bowl.

3. Return pan to medium heat and add onion and zucchini. Sauté until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the meat mixture; set aside.

4. Add 1/2 cup of sauce to the prepared pan. Spread it around so it coats the entire bottom of the pan.

5. Assemble the enchiladas: Place tortilla on a work surface. Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the meatmixture down the middle. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of cheese on top of the meat. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of sauce on top. Wrap the tortilla around the filling tightly and place it seam-side-down in the pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling until you have finished filling 12 tortillas. Place the tortillas side-by-side in the pan- it’s okay if they are all snuggled in there tightly.

6. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the stuffed enchiladas. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Remove pan from the oven and take off the foil. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top; return to the oven and let the cheese melt (about 5 minutes).

8. Serve immediately with desired condiments.

Tips

*If you are preparing this recipe as GLUTEN-FREE, just make sure that you are using brands of enchilada sauce and corn tortillas that are designated as GF.

*Recipe taken from Gojee.com

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What a Season!

I am thankful for this Indian Summer. It seems like we haven’t had one for a few years. And this is the craziest of all seasons. Our fields are literally bursting during this harvest season.  I usually think of spring as the busiest season, but with spring the weather is heading towards summer, but with fall it is the opposite. With fall coming, we are trying to get the farm to bed for the winter. Which means that, unlike spring, when winter comes the game is over.

So as we get ready for our last dance with nature this year, we are harvesting, applying compost, and planting cover crops, as well as the last plantings of vegetables. I will be praying for a mild first frost this year. Oftentimes, with warm weather like this, the first frosts can really do some damage, especially to the squash, beans, cucumbers, and, of course, tomatoes. But on the flip side, the frost also adds a measure of sweetness to the greens and does signal that my family will get a winter’s rest.

Oh, but the frost is still to come and we have lots of harvesting to do. This year we have had the most beautiful green beans and incredible basil. Our corn crop is plumping up and our fall raspberries are coming on. Potatoes are ready to dig and the winter squash crop is late, but gaining steam. We are going to have lots of beautiful Cinderella pumpkins and sugar pie pumpkins, in addition to our favorites: delicata, acorn, and carnival squashes.

While the spring was difficult this year, as soon as the weather warmed up our farm has never produced better. We have healthier plants, more fruit set, and flavorful crops. After three years of compost, soil microbe applications, and cover crops, we are starting to see our field fertility management kick in.  It is very rewarding as a farmer to know that the long-term investment in the health of our land is paying off with healthy food for you and your family.

Our farm is a part of the Good Food Revolution and it is because of customers like you who care, we are encouraged to press on – and press on we will!

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Savoring Summer

If you listen closely, you can just start to hear it. It’s the voice of fall whispering. She calls out through the cool mornings and evenings, through the few leaves starting to drop, and through the subconscious longing for apples, pumpkins and warm foods.

For now, I’m not listening. I’m tuning out her voice and soaking in these last beautiful sun-filled days. One of these days I’ll wake up with eagerness to make our annual trip to the orchard. I’ll be dreaming of pumpkin pie and kids in costumes seeking out treats. But not now.

Currently, I’m still enjoying bathing suits, iced tea, and simple meals that taste of summer. The kind of meal where you quickly run in from outside not knowing what to make, but finding yourself with plenty of produce, you have dinner ready in an instant. The one where you forage through your pantry grabbing at a few staples, your imagination going wild and your stomach rumbling in anticipation. These meals are like delicious Kodak moments that I tuck away into an edible memory bank, knowing that I will long for these tastes about six months from now.

I reach for a can of white beans and a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I grab a zucchini, which I always have on hand and often don’t know what to do with the current bounty. A quick trip outside to my little garden and I have a small handful of rosemary. I open the can, rinse the beans, add a few hefty spoonfuls of the tomatoes and the flavorful oil that comes with it. The rosemary gets a tender mince and all is tasted and adjusted with salt and pepper. On top, a vegetable peeler slices perfectly thin and elegantly long strips of zucchini. If I happen to have feta, goat cheese, or Parmesan on hand, that gets tossed in as well. A hearty tug on a loaf of crusty bread and dinner is served.

All the while the splashing outside continues. The iced tea flows freely and we savor the last burst of heat, the sounds of gleeful laughter ringing throughout the neighborhood, and the tastes of summer. Soon there will be fall, I’m almost ready.

by Ashley Rodriguez

Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com