Posted on

Oso Mudslide Relief Efforts

My family is from the Oso community. My cousins have been among the many volunteers on the ground doing an amazing work. Being “locals,” their understanding of the area has been absolutely critical to the relief efforts. Their knowledge of the location and usability of back roads, the location of heavy equipment and where to find local resources, like gravel, is invaluable. I have cheered them on and checked in every day. I have listened to the stories and hardships—it is heart-wrenching.


The news is doing a good job of not over-sensationalizing this event because it really is as bad, and might be even worse, than reported. I have worked on many disaster sites and led a few teams, but I have never seen devastation like this before. The loss of life and the magnitude of the slide and its location have created a very challenging rescue and recovery operation.


I am heartened by the efforts of the Oso, Arlington and Darrington communities and the work of Snohomish County, the State and the Federal response teams. We are at the point where large sums of money are being donated and used to stabilize the situation and lots of government agencies and large non-profits are in full support mode and using their expertise to help these communities. Although this outpouring of giving and help is incredible, from my past experience during and after disaster responses, it usually wanes fairly quickly, but the physical, emotional and financial impact will continue for those rebuilding their lives. It is a part of human nature to rally our efforts at a time like this, but these efforts are hard to sustain long-term.


So here is what I am proposing:


The Klesick Family Farm would like to engage in the disaster relief for the long haul. I have budgeted $1,000/month to help put families back on the ground. We will be working with local community churches that are nimble and able to quickly get resources to the impacted families.


Like us, many of you have already donated –thank you. However, I would ask you to consider partnering with us for the long haul and setting up a recurring tax-deductible donation on your account. Imagine if half of our customers added an extra $1 per delivery—we could raise $3,500 per month to extend hope to our neighbors in Oso and Darrington.


How to Help the Oso & Darrington Communities


  • Give through Klesick Family Farm: Give your charitable contribution through Klesick Family Farm and we will get it into the hands of the locals. You can either make a one-time donation or add the donation as a recurring item to your regular produce delivery. Recurring donations will be scheduled to terminate at the end of June or sooner if you’d prefer. 100% of donations will go local community churches and other non-profit organizations to directly help families who have been most impacted. Donations are tax-deductible. Donors will receive a tax statement at the end of the year. Please visit our website to donate. 
  • Red Cross of Snohomish County: If you wish to help victims of the Oso mudslide, cash donations are preferred. The American Red Cross is no longer collecting items. Go to the Red Cross of Snohomish County at to donate. People can also text “RedCross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Darrington Community Center: The Darrington Community Center welcomes any donations brought into the center, which is located at 570 Sauk Ave. 360-436-1217.
  • Check with your local bank, as many have set up accounts to donate toward the relief effort.


Thank you for your generous outpouring.



Posted on


I often quote to myself (and to others) that simple prayer by Francis of Assisi, “Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”



As the farm season starts to unfold, there are bound to be things that I have planned to do, but just won’t get to. It might be weather related, it could be a timing issue, or it could be just a lack of time. But one thing is for sure, I will get to a lot of things on my list and a few things that weren’t. And at the end of the day, at the end of the farming season, I will have gotten something planted, weeded and harvested.

This week, we are planning on doing something that wasn’t on my farming list. In January, I ordered 4 flats of lettuce to transplant into our greenhouse. Our greenhouse isn’t very big and I was planning on only planting lettuce in half and spinach in the other half. I planted the spinach by seed and then went to get the lettuce transplants—all 512 of them.

When I arrived to get the flats, we walked over to get them and I started to grab the 4 I ordered and the nurseryman asked, “Is that all, you ordered 40?” My response was “gulp.” 40 flats x 128/flat = 5,120 plants. I have never planted 5,120 lettuce plants in my life at one time. So much is really out of our control when it comes to farming, and this week I picked up the remaining 36 flats of lettuce to transplant.

This will be a big undertaking, because the weather has not been the greatest for preparing a seed bed. Well, when an opportunity presents itself, like an extra 4,608 lettuce plants to plant, I stop, pause and evaluate the opportunity and then I pray, “This wasn’t my idea, but Lord if you want to do that, I am game!” Then I start looking for an opportunity to plant 5,120 more heads of lettuce in the first week of spring.

This is a bold move and definitely qualifies as borderline stupid, which is why I normally don’t plant lettuce in March! But sometimes on occasions like this, you discover a new way of doing something and other times you affirm why you don’t do something. Time will tell. For now, I am going with Providence and growing a lot of lettuce at the Klesick farm!

Your local lettuce farmer,



Posted on

In Remembrance

I often quote to myself and to others that simple prayer by Francis of Assisi,

God, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

In light of the recent mudslide tragedy in Oso, we are remembering those who were injured, those who have tragically lost their lives, those that are missing, and those that are grieving.



Posted on

Chives, Crocuses, Daffodils and Tulips

The time has come. All winter long I wander around doing this and doing that almost aimlessly, but not quite.  During the winter, our family tends to rest and recuperate from the previous farm season. (We even went to Disneyland for the first time in 23 years, which was not restful, but it was fun.) But I must be a farmer at heart, because it is this time every year that the winter fog becomes a little less dense and my senses awaken to spring. I think there is a little farmer in all of us during this time of year!

I get excited when I see grass growing. I don’t love to mow, but I love to notice the nuances in the shades of green or the thickness of the blades. I am also drawn to buds on the fruit trees. I notice the leaf buds and fruit buds, I pay attention to how much they are swelling and I wonder if a hard frost will set them back this year, again. I begin to think about the pollinators. Will it rain during the time the flowers are open, will the bees want to get out and work so there will be fruit in the fall?

I notice how much water the mud puddles are holding and how much they have dried or not dried out. I pay attention to the impression left by the tractor tires—how deep, how defined or not at all. I listen to the birds, the frogs, the coyotes—each species unique, but still calling this their home too. I also notice that the swans are still here, but I know that when they move on from this winter home, that it will be time to plant strawberries, peas and spinach.

Now I am looking for pockets of weather, openings in the curtain of heaven, to begin my annual dance with this farm. In many ways it has already begun because our farm is a living eco system with many types of crops growing. We have been pruning fruit trees and seeding greenhouses, we have been in the shop repairing and building equipment to help us this season, our seeds have been ordered, soil samples taken and fertilizer blends have been created to feed each of our crops.

So it is, as our daylight increases, so does our energy, focus and purpose. Our partnership continues with this patch of earth we call home, to grow fruits and vegetables that are so flavorfully packed with sunshine and nutrients that they will cause your taste buds and mine to dance—food that will feed your family and mine!

Always organic, always GMO-free.



Posted on

Kale Salad With Carrot Ribbons, Kumquats & Sesame Vinaigrette

These little citrus fruits are to be eaten skin and all. They are like reverse oranges—the peel is sweet, and the center is sour. When you eat them together, you get a unique sweet and sour flavor. The seeds are small, so either swallow them whole or take them out first.

Ingredients for the Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoon rice vinegar (or champagne, red wine, or white wine vinegar)

1 tablespoon  Tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


Ingredients for the Salad:

3 medium carrots (or regular carrots) – peeled

1 bunch kale – rinsed and spun dry

½ cup kumquats – halved lengthwise, seeds flicked out, and the remainder thinly sliced into rounds (or 1 orange, peeled to the flesh, halved and cut crosswise in 1/4″ slices)

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (or regular sesame seeds) – lightly toasted



Step 1:

To make the vinaigrette – Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor and process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add any salt/additional seasoning as desired. Set aside.

Step 2:

Slice the carrots lengthwise with a vegetable hand peeler to form ribbons. Set aside. Chop kale, discarding tough stems. Place the kale in a large bowl. Using a massaging motion, rub the kale leaves together to break up and soften the kale. Drizzle kale with two thirds of the vinaigrette. Toss until well coated. Divide the kale amongst four plates or salad bowls. Dot with the kumquats. Top each salad with a small mound of the carrot ribbons. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Recipe inspiration from

Posted on

Wild, Farmed, and GM

salmon-safe-logo 250x297In a far away land, there lived a fisherman who fished and fished and fished. The salmon he caught were sold at the marketplace. He was an early rising and hard working fisherman who had learned the habits of the fish. He understood their cycles and seasons, like when they would return to spawn. He respected the gift of the fish and so only fished in such a way as to not hurt the future of the fish or its ability to continue to feed not only people, but all living things within the watershed (bears, eagles, earthworms, grasses, trees).

As the years marched on, the fisherman noticed that the fish he was catching were a little smaller and less plentiful as they once were. He still sold his fish at the marketplace, but now he had competition from a farmer selling “farmed” fish. The farmer was raising salmon in a pen. The cost of raising the fish was cheaper and the marketplace got a bargain.

Eventually, word spread that the farmer’s fish didn’t have the richness, color, or the revered Omega 3s found in the wild salmon populations. The farmer soon discovered, however, that if he took the food of the wild salmon, like sardines and herring, and made it into fishmeal and fish oil to feed his farmed salmon, they tasted better. Unfortunately, there was a lot of bycatch (incidental or unwanted fish and other marine species) in the process and, as to be expected, a lot less fish for the wild salmon to eat.

The marketplace was growing weary and leery of farmed salmon, and for good reason. The farmer realized that the customers were becoming educated and were voicing their opinion about the overharvesting of sardines and all the bycatch. To make matters worse, word was getting out that his farmed fish were “getting out.”

After some thought, the farmer contacted another farmer and started to buy genetically modified (GM) soybeans to supplement the fish meal and fish oil, to help his farmed salmon grow bigger sooner. He reasoned that if his fish grew quickly, not only would they be ready for market sooner on less feed, but they would spend less time in the pen, meaning less chance for escapement. All of this would mean more profit.

Later, when a scientist discovered that a growth hormone could be injected into the salmon egg, causing the fish to grow twice as fast and twice as big, the farmer embraced the scientist. The marketplace, however, embraced neither, but instead let the farmer know that they would not eat his farmed, GM-fed, or GM-altered fish.

Thankfully, the fisherman was still fishing and bringing his nutrient-rich, Omega 3 laden wild salmon to  the marketplace, where he was greeted by excited customers who valued the fish and the fisherman for helping them live better and eat better.

Always organic, always GMO free.


Posted on

Salmon Safe Certification 2014

We’ve renewed our Salmon-Safe Certification!

Salmon Safe Certification_web

This means that Klesick is:

  • Maintaining a buffer of trees and vegetation along the stream banks
  • Controlling erosion by cover cropping bare soil
  • Improving the passage for migrating fish
  • Applying natural methods to control weeds and farm pests
  • Using efficient and non-wasteful irrigation practices
  • Protecting wetlands, woodlands, and other natural areas
  • Promoting on-farm plant and wildlife diversity

Learn more about Salmon-Safe on Stewardship Partner’s website.


Posted on

Health Tips From Ashley

Here we are in March, where days of sun give hope for spring and colorful crocuses push through the stiff dirt in protest of those long dark winter days. It’s also the month where we’re focusing on health.

Children Playing

I was asked to talk to you all about my tips for how I stay healthy and to be perfectly honest, at first I laughed. Me, talk about health?! I ate ice cream last night and have a roll of cookie dough lounging in the the fridge because you never know when the urge might strike. And then I started thinking a little deeper, beyond my sugar cravings, and realized that I do have a lot to say on the subject.

First of all, I have no rules. There was a time when I put a lot of limits on the way I eat. You know what happened? All I could think about was food. All day long I would sit, hungry, dreaming about the food I told myself was off limits. I’m terrible with rules. Give me a rule and I’ll obsess over it. I thought about food day and night and yet never felt satisfied. I limited myself so much that it became my obsession. When I broke a rule I felt terribly guilty and shameful. These rules took the joy out of food and nearly made it my enemy.

With a diet of no rules, however, I can think more clearly about eating that cookie. Do I really want it? Today, maybe yes. But I don’t sit around dreaming of the cookies I can’t have, so I don’t crave them nearly as much. When I do enjoy them, I savor it—feeling good about its sweetness. I don’t fret over the calories. I enjoy the moment and move on.

I also listen to my body. I know that I feel much better when I eat meals laden with fresh produce. There’s no denying it. I feel strong, alert, energetic and healthy. I like that feeling. So when I’m not feeling those things, I take it as a sign that I need more vegetables and good food. Those are the times when I pack the blender with fresh spinach and toss in an apple, carrot and lemon juice.

When you listen to your body you are also aware when it says, “I’m done.” There’s no need to keep eating when I’m full. Again, when there are no rules it’s much easier to avoid overeating because you have no reason for an unhealthy binge. You’re free to stop and look forward to the next meal when you’ll feel hungry again.

I practice radical moderation. What’s so radical about it? Sometimes even my moderation needs moderation. I’m a firm believer in Julia Child’s great quote, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” There are vacations, birthday parties and holidays which make healthy eating difficult. Enjoy the party then the next day recover with salad. I’m not talking about plainly dressed greens here. Even salads can be fun (see recipe above).

Just like everything else in life, it’s all about the little decisions. Do I really need to find the closest parking spot? Why don’t I take a few moments to walk around the block? Is that second latte the best idea? One cookie really is enough, mostly. These little decisions add up to big changes over the course of a few months, years and a lifetime. It’s not about big, radical changes that fall by the wayside before dinner is ready. It’s about a lifetime of little decisions that value yourself, your health and the health of your family.

One last thing before you go make the salad. People often ask how I teach my kids about health. I live a life following the advice I just gave you. My kids are watching. They see me choosing to walk to the store rather than drive, they see me happily enjoying a produce-packed smoothie and a colorful salad for dinner. They also see me enjoying a bowl of ice cream. I want my kids to see food for the gift it is. Not a burden or a set of rules that need to be governed. My desire is for them to respect food and to love their bodies well. I teach them by doing the same for myself.

Ashley Rodriguez

Food Blogger



Adapted from The A.O.C. Cookbook             Serves 4


Ingredients for the Salad:
2 Cara Cara Oranges, peeled and segmented
1 head Romaine washed and cut into thin ribbons
2 heads of Endive (optional) cut into thin ribbons
1 ripe avocado
1 cup crumbled Feta
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Ingredients for the Dressing:
1 large, ripe Haas avocado
Zest and juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch chile flake


Directions for the Dressing:
Combine the avocado, lime zest and juice and water in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.

Pour in the olive oil and pulse just to combine as you don’t want to bruise the olive oil or it will taste bitter.

Add a pinch of salt and chile flake. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Combine the clean greens in a bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat. You will have leftover dressing. I like to give the greens a pinch of salt too. Seems strange, but I assure you even lettuce perks up with a bit of seasoning.

Add the orange segments, avocado, cilantro and feta. Finish with the sesame seeds, if using.

Serve immediately.

Well covered, extra dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.