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The Year in Review

Supporting Local Farms  Since the inception of our home delivery business in1999, we have always focused on purchasing our fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers first. Every week, I contact my farmer friends to find out what they currently have available that I can add to our boxes. If I need to find more produce, I then source it from farms outside our area. As your personal farmer, I really appreciate your dedication to the local farm community. With your purchases this year, you have blessed several local farm families:
 
Bartella Farm, Beld Family Farm, Blue Heron Farms, Bunny Lane Fruit, Filaree Farms, Fuentes Blueberries, Garden Treasures, Hedlin Farms, Highwater Farm, Horse Drawn Farms, Living Rain Farm, Motherflight Farms, Neff Farm, Okanagan Producers Marketing Association, Paul & Janice Madden Orchards, Ponderosa Orchards, Ralph’s Greenhouse, Rents Due Ranch, Skagit Flats Farm, Viva Farms, and of course, the Klesick Family Farm. 
 
Helping Local People  Another core principle at Klesick Family Farm is to give back to our community. One of the ways we do this is by offering our customers the opportunity to donate a box of good to local area food banks. We currently support food banks in Anacortes, Stanwood, Camano Island, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Everett, Monroe, Snohomish, and Edmonds. For every four boxes donated by our customers, we donate an additional box. This year, with the generous support of our customers, Klesick Family Farm delivered over 834 boxes of good (approximately $20,850 worth of quality organic fruits and vegetables) to local area food banks! This number includes the donation of 127 Thanksgiving Holiday Boxes and 40 Christmas Blessing Boxes. There is no way our farm could meet this need without your help. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of our business. I love meeting local needs with local resources! Thank you for partnering with us. 
If you would like to join us in helping provide quality organic produce to local food banks, either give us a call or order a food bank box under the Boxes category of the Product page of our website.
Thank you for a great 2012! We look forward to next year!
 
 
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Breakfast for dinner: Frittata with veggies and purple potatoes

INGREDIENTS:
 
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 small purple potatoes, chopped in ½” pieces
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
½ bunch kale, leaves separated from stems and chopped
½ tsp. black pepper
8 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
 
PREPARATION
Prep everything before you start cooking because it all goes very fast.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat an oven-proof skillet (use cast iron if you have it) over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy. Remove from pan and drain.
Add olive oil to pan, then add chopped potatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the potatoes start to become tender.
Add chopped onion, red bell pepper and kale, cook 2-3 minutes until kale turns bright green.
Add bacon back to the pan, stir.
Pour eggs into pan. As they cook, use a rubber spatula to lift up the edges and let the uncooked egg run underneath. Continue to do so around the pan. When the egg is no longer runny, slide pan into the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes until the egg is firm to the touch.
Let cool for a few minutes, then cut and serve.
 
Adapted recipe from: http://inspiredrd.com/2012/03/frittata-with-kale-and-purple-potatoes.html
Image: http://inspiredrd.com/2012/03/frittata-with-kale-and-purple-potatoes.html
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Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men

The frantic nature of our society leaves little room for peace, rest and quietness. We are bombarded with advertising to buy this or that, or messaging that makes us feel inferior if we don't dress this way or drive that car.

After this last week's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I am feeling more impressed to hug my children a little longer, tell them I love them a little more often and not let the tug of this world rob my joy, my relationships.  Every night, when our family gathers to pray, our son Stephen prays like clockwork, "Lord, please don't let anyone get hurt tomorrow." Sunday night those words, the same words he prays every night, had a different meaning for me. In my heart, I agreed with him—"Yes, Lord please don't let anyone get hurt tomorrow."
 
And now, the week before Christmas, our country has to reconcile the sadness of these senseless deaths. This tragedy stands in stark contrast to what Christmas should represent. Today Christmas, is not at all about Christmas. It is more about buying happiness, instead of investing in happiness. But really happiness isn't the goal, but rather peace, a deep abiding peace. A peace that says, no matter what is happening all around me, it will be okay. In our communities, in our sphere of influence, in our families there are real needs. Needs like a loss of a loved one, cancer, divorce, deployment, unemployment, medical bills or too many bills that can't be soothed by a gift, but maybe by a hug or true friendship.
 
Ironically, the antidote to the heaviness for many of us, is the reason we are supposed to celebrate Christmas. Some 2000 years ago a gift was given to humanity. A baby whose message was so radical it changed the course of history.  But we have to stop, take a breath and consider what the baby Jesus came to offer—peace (not temporary) and joy (not fleeting). He said to think about how you can please God and love your neighbor as you would like to be loved. Of course, He said more, but can you imagine a society that honored God and also considered others as more important than themselves. There is no room for murder, when we consider pleasing the God who loves us and if we put others comfort, safety and needs before our own.
 
Those families are forever changed—scarred because of what happened. But what is our response? Should we hate this young man or his family? No, there is no hope in that, but we should hate the act of violence and its motives. I believe the response to this tragedy is to pray for those families and that community. And then, take a hard look at our own lives and honor those families, by making sure our loved ones know we love them. I am sure that every one of those families wish that they could redo something from that morning, that week, that year, but they can't and it could haunt them forever. But we can still strengthen, restore or make amends with our family members, no matter how old or young. It doesn't matter if something has placed a wedge in your relationships; work to remove it now, because you still can, because it would be better.
 
Almost always, peace comes when we offer peace, hope comes when offer hope, and forgiveness comes when we forgive. I think the best gifts this Christmas are the ones that money can't secure. I am sure that each of us can plant some "seeds" of peace, hope or forgiveness as gifts and begin to strengthen or rebuild our relationships. It will take work, maybe some humility or actual forgiveness, but the reward of restoring or beginning to restore a relationship is a gift that, sadly, is no longer available to those families in Newtown, but is to us.
 
Can we honor those families by building, restoring or living "I love you" this Christmas?
 
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The Future of American Agriculture: Donuts

I just returned from a farm conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Great Lakes Expo is a huge farm conference with lots of classes on fruit, vegetable, direct farm marketing and greenhouse operations.  I attended a myriad of classes and even a bus tour. 

The bus tour was a day-long trip through southwest Michigan, which included several stops at direct farm markets or farm stands.  Two things became apparent almost immediately: 1) the Midwest has a huge U-pick culture for strawberries, blueberries, tart cherries, peaches, and apples (most of the farmers had farm stands and U-pick operations) and 2) no one on our bus was organic or even toying with becoming organic.
 
The other obvious and extremely profitable venture for these farms was donuts. Most of these farms confessed that 33% of their sales came from donuts. Round little donuts fried in Crisco (yuck) and dipped in a myriad of icings, sugars or glazes. You should have the heard the lively interactions on how to make the perfect donut. I would have never imagined all the nuances of making donuts, the amount of water, temperature of water, and grade of Crisco (super fry C being the white stuff of choice). Even the humidity could affect the quality of donuts. These farmers were giddy with the amount of money they were making off donuts. One farmer was happy to tell us that she at least added canned pumpkin to their, yep you guessed it, pumpkin donuts. All of the farm stand operators did farm; they just also sold lots of donuts. 
 
Needless to say, Joelle and I were feeling a little out of place. After all, our passion is growing food –food with nutrients that will actually feed your body, not offend it.  And all of the grocery items we sell have to be organic and at a minimum GMO free. We are not interested in selling any products that are not a part of the solution to America’s health crisis.
 
I know how hard it is to farm and get a crop from farm to fork, but donuts??? Ironically, one of the reasons Joelle and I travelled to Michigan for a farm conference was because Michigan agriculture is more similar to Western Washington agriculture. And since we are in the market for smaller scale farm equipment, we thought we would be able touch, feel and kick some tires on this type of equipment. We didn’t find a commercial dehydrator, but we did get to look at some postharvest vegetable washing equipment and some amazing harvesting equipment for potatoes, apples and strawberries.
 
But back to donuts, I am also considering building a commercial kitchen. So we can, once again, offer our customers an organic line of pies, muffins and sandwich bread. We have had the hardest time finding a partner that would be willing to bake for us. So as you can imagine, at a conference where DONUTS are the rage, there were a few purveyors of baking equipment. And being the opportunist, or entrepreneur, I got to think through the equipment I would need to start baking bread with people who use and also sell the equipment.  
 
Now, hold on! We are still in the design phase and researching if it makes sense for us to make this investment. I could use your help, though. Would you let me know if you would be interested in having organic whole wheat sandwich style breads delivered to your homes?
 
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Celeriac and Apple Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large celeriac (roughly 700g), peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
1 large potato (roughly 350g), peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
1.5 litres vegetable stock
2 large dessert apples, cored, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
up  to 3 Tbs. lemon juice (optional)
cream, buttermilk or olive oil (to serve)
 
PREPARATION
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the onion. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat, until soft and translucent.
 
2. Add the celeriac and potato and stir until well coated; cook for another minute or two. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer the mixture for 20-25 minutes, until both celeriac and potato are tender.
 
3. Add the apple to the soup and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the apple has softened. Remove soup from heat and purée using an immersion blender. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. If your apples were very sweet, you may want to add some or all of the lemon juice, as well. Serve hot, drizzled with cream, buttermilk or olive oil.
 
Recipe and image from: http://www.kitchenist.com/cooking/soup/match-made-celeriac-and-apple-soup/2073