Posted on


What are you thankful for? Stop, take a minute and answer the question for yourself. Write down or say out loud eight things you are thankful for.

Yes, right now. ☺ 1. ____________________ 2. ____________________ 3. ____________________ 4. ____________________ 5. ____________________ 6. ____________________ 7. ____________________ 8. ____________________

Do the words of thankfulness come rolling off your tongue like a swift flowing stream or do you have to pause and reflect like a calm beautiful pond? Is your list brief or overflowing? Does your list include immediate loved ones, friends, your employment or retirement? Does it include your pets or the environment? Are you thankful for our Government or parts of the government, like fire fighters, police officers or politicians? Are you thankful for everyday conveniences, like hot and cold water, electric heat and ranges or overflowing amounts of food year round? Are you thankful that you have the freedom to vote, exercise free speech and run for elected office?

I think if each of us were intentional about our thankfulness, took a few minutes and began to log what we are thankful for, the list and its length might be very surprising.

Thankfulness is a perspective, it is a choice. I know that this year has had many challenges for many families—hard things like cancer, death, job loss or loved ones moving away. But, if you are reading this newsletter right now, you are still “in the game” and right now it is your turn to bat.

As the pitch called Thanksgiving approaches your plate this week, are you going to swing with all your might and hit a homerun? I believe you can, in fact, I know you can, because hitting a Thanksgiving pitch is the easiest one to hit. It starts out like this, “I am thankful for….” Then watch joy begin to flood your heart and a smile appear on your face, and that joy and that smile, well, they are downright contagious. Before you know it, there will be more genuine smiles all around—smiles that begin with your thankful heart. May this Thanksgiving be the best because we all have so much for which to be thankful!


Posted on

Coach Klesick

Last week, Alberta Ag invited me to come and talk about farming and home delivery. Alberta Ag is the US equivalent to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. They had receive a grant from their federal government to host a workshop on CSA farming. Through a few connections, unbeknownst to myself, the workshop coordinators up there knew people down here and the people down here knew me. And voilà, Mr. Klesick goes to Canada! Incidentally, I will be speaking in Michigan on the same topic in December.

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that each of you, as Klesick customers, sent me to Canada to share about our business model and the good food message. For the last 15 (almost 16) years, we have been growing, sourcing and delivering high quality organic produce to our local community. Your support of our values and business model caught the interest of the folks in Edmonton, Alberta—so, off I went. I had a great time connecting with other health-focused farmers.

At the workshop, I was also asked to “coach” a few of the farm businesses one-on-one. I really loved that part of the workshop. Often times, business owners and farmers need a sounding board to help them reorient and be able to think through the next steps. Over an hour or two, I got to sit down with some great business/farm owners and talk about their passions, their goals and their challenges, and hopefully help them “talk” themselves through the next steps. It is really like a coaching job.

In this role as a Business Coach (consultant), I try to inspire and encourage them to follow their gut instincts after having researched the options. So in the end, I listen, observe, ask a few questions and help them simplify the next steps in the direction that makes the most sense for the talents and resources the business owners have.

These discussions were very rewarding and based on the feedback and the action steps already being acted on, I fully expect major changes to come from our meetings, not because of anything I recommended, but because I just helped them think through what was “rattling” around in their minds. The ideas were theirs, not mine. I was just able to cut to the chase and point the obvious out.

With that said, if you own a business, work for a nonprofit or manage a large department and find yourself in need of a business coach or a motivational speaker for an event or training, I would be happy to explore how I can add value to your operation or event. If after reading this newsletter and you are thinking, “Hmmm, it might be good to talk to Coach Klesick for an hour or two,” I am willing—just call Brenda at our office to start the ball rolling.


Posted on

Not until You Eat Your Veggies

ID-100158994Those beets we keep sending in the boxes…do they just sit in the corner of the veggie drawer for weeks until they are limp and wilted, good for nothing except the compost heap, all because nobody will eat them if you fix them? Customers will tell us, “Um, beets? No one in our household will eat them besides me!” Growing up, I didn’t like things like beets, kale, or other green things either. 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 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, which makes them 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 them.

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

A balanced diet is important when it comes to your personal health, but it can be doubly important in children. What your children eat now is laying the foundation for their lives, and your behavior and attitude about food is making 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 they are familiar with and enjoy 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 time, 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.

In summary, when it comes to changing your family’s eating habits, Moms (and Dads!), you are the ones who make it happen. You are changing your family’s future for the better—and you are doing an awesome job!


for the Klesick Family Farm

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at


Posted on

Holiday meal traditions, old and new…

squashLike most people in my family, I like to keep things traditional on the Thanksgiving table. Mom’s buttery mashed potatoes slathered with her homemade gravy, Grandma’s pumpkin pie baked in a 9×13 so we all can have a large piece, and Grandma’s cranberry jello that wobbles and shakes when gently nudged. Even the boxed stuffed and canned cranberry sauce I find endearing because it’s been a part of this day my entire life. But as I’ve grown older and realized that there is a world beyond stovetop and that you can actually make your own cranberry sauce and as much as I love my sweet potatoes mixed with brown sugar and covered with marshmallows, there are other ways of doing things and other ingredients that are begging to be included.

But, like I said, my family loves the tradition, so I try to only introduce one new dish a year, in hope that eventually they will allow me to completely riff on the traditional flavors in new and inventive ways. The last couple years, I’ve contributed something a bit lighter to balance out the marshmallows, butter and pie. And this year, I’m thinking of the same, while highlighting my favorite squash—delicata.

Delicata is a long, slender squash with yellow skin and green stripes running the length. It’s mild in flavor, easy to cut in to and doesn’t require a lot of cleaning before roasting. But you know my favorite part? You don’t have to peel it. After a long roast in a hot oven, the skin becomes tender and sweet and completely delicious. 

This year, I’m thinking of lopping of the stem, slicing the squash in half lengthwise, running a spoon down the middle to clean out the pulp and seeds, then cutting the squash in half in moons. I’ll brush those with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rush out to the garden to grab a few sprigs of thyme to roast alongside. In the oven, those orange moons will soften, then blister and char. I could have sprinkled them with Parmesan just before going into the oven and served them warm just like that. But I’m thinking I’ll toss the cool, roasted squash pieces with some peppery greens—maybe even a bit of kale too—with a vinaigrette that is biting and fresh from lots of lemon juice. I’ll throw in some pomegranate arils for color and a sweet, tart pop, maybe some toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and perhaps some creamy feta for a salty bite and a bit of richness. 

It’s not traditional to the Thanksgiving table and yet it uses ingredients that are at their best right now. It whispers of tradition in the sense that it is loaded with familiar flavors and sits beautifully alongside the stuffing for those who are leery of new things.

by Ashley Rodriguez
food blogger