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Disasters

UPDATE: 8/5/2014

Klesick Family Farm will be working with Pastor Phil Smith of Pateros Community Church in Pateros, Washington to engage in rebuilding our Eastern Washington neighbors’ lives. This local church is currently involved in distributing resources to people who have been adversely affected by these fires, and will be involved in the long-term process of rebuilding their community. If you would like to partner with us, you can add a $1, $5, or $10 donation to your deliveries or make a one-time donation, here.

7/30/2014

This has been a devastating disaster season for Washington State. The Oso mudslide earlier and now the Carlton Complex fire, which now has the dubious distinction of being Washington’s largest forest fire. As most of us know, due to the various media outlets, a good portion of the city of Pateros has burned, leaving another community with its world turned upside down.

I just spent an hour with our longtime friend and grower, Bruce, from Earth Conscious Organics (ECO) Farms in Brewster. Bruce is a volunteer firefighter and has been working around the clock trying to save people’s homes in and out of the city of Pateros. I was grateful to know that the ECO family of farms were spared from the fire, just skirting the Pink Lady block of apples. In fact, it appears that none of the farmers we work with in Eastern Washington have lost any of their farms. Thankfully, the loss of life with this disaster pales in comparison with the Oso mudslide; however, the magnitude of the disaster area is unreal and these farmers’ communities have been hit hard.

We have received a few phone calls asking if Klesick Family Farm will be doing a similar outreach to the one we did with the Oso/Darrington communities. The answer is, we are currently looking into how we can help. And based on our long-term relationships in some of the fire damaged communities, I am confident that we will be able to partner with a local nonprofit organization or church to help those communities rebuild their lives.

As with the Oso disaster relief outreach, we will want to be giving into these communities for a longer period. Currently, there are lots of dollars and supplies flowing into these communities, but we would like our efforts to extend beyond this initial blitz and be a “reminder that people still care in the months that follow.”

So, if you would like to partner with us as we engage in rebuilding our Eastern Washington neighbors’ lives, you can add a $1, $5, or $10 donation to your deliveries or make a one-time donation. We will diligently seek to locate an “on the ground” local nonprofit through our network of growers to get your donations to the most pressing need.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for trusting us with your family’s healthy food choice and also working with us to help others in need. You have shown yourselves to be a generous and giving family. And it leaves me humbled to work alongside each of you. May each of you be blessed as you have blessed others.

 

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Note: you can donate to the Methow Valley Fire Relief Effort on our website.  

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Grilled Green Beans and Peaches

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 peaches, cut into ½ inch wedges

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Directions

Toss peaches and trimmed green beans with the olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook in a grill pan or in a skillet over high heat, tossing often, until beans are crisp-tender and peaches are lightly charred, 8–10 minutes.

Toss with toasted slivered almonds and Sherry vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

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Stonefruit 101

“Stonefruit” refers to members of the genus Prunus, which includes peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, cherries, and apricots. The season for summer stonefruit is short-lived, and delicious! With the fruit coming and going so quickly, we don’t want you to miss out by having to toss spoiled or improperly ripened fruit. We’d like to share some info on proper storage in order for you to make the most of these short-season gems.

Care – Store unwashed fruit at room temperature until ripe (usually only 1-2 days), then place in sealed container in the fridge.

Ripeness – Gently press around stem and when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe.

Tips for Preventing Spoilage – Stonefruit’s biggest enemy while ripening is moisture coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered countertop or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen. This lessens the chance of then rolling and bruising. Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Take special care when handling your stonefruit – never squeeze to check for ripeness! Even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Check for ripeness by gently pressing around the stem area. It should yield to light pressure.

Use – Once fruit is ripe, and you’ve placed in the refrigerator, plan to use within a day or two (this gives you a total keeping time of about 4-5 days). Stonefruit is refreshing as a healthy breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. For grilling, or for topping green salads: use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. Stonefruit also bakes up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

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Nectarine Blueberry Cake

With all of the summer fruit flooding our counter tops and the refrigerator all at once, we’ve been busy freezing and jamming! However, we don’t want to forget to enjoy some of that delicious fruit right now, while it’s in season.

This recipe was requested by a long-time customer who remembered it from a July 2010 newsletter.

NECTARINE BLUEBERRY CAKE

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup organic cane sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large nectarines, coarsely chopped

2 cups fresh blueberries

Garnishes: sliced nectarines, fresh blueberries, lemon rind

 

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears. Add vanilla, beating just until blended.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat batter at low speed just until blended. Gently fold in nectarines and blueberries. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in grated lemon rind and vanilla.

Spread 1/2 cup Cream Cheese Frosting evenly on top of one cake layer; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining Cream Cheese Frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.

Adapted from original recipe by Pat Vennest, Seattle, Washington, Coastal Living, September 2006

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Farming

A few more days and we will be heading to August and then September and then October. This farm season seems a lot longer than years past. Maybe it’s just because the weather this year has felt more out of sorts with it getting hot in May, raining in June, and then blistering in July. I guess it has felt more like August and my farming clock is still adjusting.

Most crops have responded well to the heat, living off some of the earlier rains and our irrigation. The raspberries keep kicking out fruit, the strawberries are coming along, greenhouse cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes are thriving and the green and yellow zucchini are over achievers.

Our late season crops, like potatoes and winter squash, look fabulous, which makes this farmer pretty happy. Now only if the sugar snap peas could have joined that list. Our pea harvest is normally double what it was this year, but with the hot weather the peas set a bunch of fruit and then quit!

The short harvest on the peas, while sad, will give us a little breathing room to catch up on some needed weeding and a little R&R. Hopefully, we can get our family into the canoes and out on the Stillaguamish River, which we find very relaxing, especially if you pay attention to the tides!

And just as that R&R comes to an end, it will be all hands on deck as we begin harvesting green beans! Ironically, we were well into picking beans by this time last year, but our first planting this year never got going during that cold spell in June, so technically, we are picking our second planting with the third well on its way.

Grandma always said, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and we know that all too well, but that saying’s cousin, “Don’t count your chickens till they hatch,” is the kicker. For us, diversification of our crops helps this farmer to sleep a little deeper as the harvesting and farm season marches on!

I consider it a privilege to grow, source and deliver the freshest and healthiest fruits and vegetables for your family. Your purchases mean a lot to our local network of farmers and their families. Thank you!

 

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Farm Update

This is the part of the season where farmers are planting, weeding, and harvesting as well as planning for the next season. Last week, the harvest rotation was cucumbers, snow peas, snap peas, raspberries and zucchini. This week, we have the same harvesting schedule, but less of some and more of others. Raspberries will taper off, with peas, cucumbers and zucchinis kicking in to high gear. We will also be harvesting red leaf lettuce and kohlrabi and a few bunches of chives and sunflowers. Once the harvesting is finished, we have weeding, and lots of it.

Now we are adding irrigation. Irrigation—some farmers lovingly refer to it as “irritation” J. No water, no crops, no food—funny how that works. Fortunately, our soil has a good water-holding capacity, so we get by with a lot less “irritation” than most folks.

Wedding

Our second son, Aaron, has found the love of his life and asked her to be his wife. We are delighted to add Emily to our family and host their wedding in late August on the farm.

The wedding date has precipitated a change in our annual farm festival, which has traditionally been the third weekend in August. As parents and hosts of our son’s wedding, we have decided to change the festival to a series of educational farm walks and events.

So, in lieu of our annual farm festival, we are hosting two farm tours, a fun run (tentative), our squash fest and a garlic planting day. We are excited to share our love of farming and our farm with each of you through these fun, interactive and informative farm days. Each of the listed events are free to our customers, except the Harvest 5k Fun Run. If your school group, church group, book club, etc. would like to come see the farm on a different day, give the office a call and we would love to schedule a farm tour.

Schedule of farm events:

Friday, August 1st, 7pm and 8pm, 1 hour farm tour with wagon ride through the farm.

Thursday August 28th, 7pm and 8pm, 1 hour farm tour with wagon ride through the farm.

September 27th Harvest 5k Fun Run, supporting the Port Susan Food and Farming Center.

September 27th (same day as the Harvest 5k Fun Run) noon to 5pm. Come and help farmer Tristan harvest winter squash and potatoes.

October 12th Garlic Planting, 9am to noon. It will be a clove-popping, garlic-planting party.

See you this summer,

 

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