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I am Grateful


Lately I’ve been noticing that every time someone asks me, “How are you?” or “How was your summer?” or “How have things been lately?” the response is always the same: “Busy.” In fact that’s been the response for quite some time.

At first I believe I viewed being busy as the sign of adulthood. As a kid I remember hearing adults responding in the same way so often that I grew to think that was the right answer or, at the very least, the answer to aspire to. To be busy is the goal then, I thought. Somehow I began to put value in being busy, so that when I would respond to those questions with “I’ve been busy,” it came with a certain bit of pride.

I’m not sure that summer could have any other answer than “busy” when you have three children to keep entertained and a freelance job to manage, but I have a new goal for the fall: I want to respond in a different way. For that to occur, I think there is a mindset shift that needs to happen. Busy is no longer the goal – joy is, satisfaction is, health is, gratitude is.

If we saw each other on the street and you asked me, “How are you?” and I responded, “I’m grateful,” what would we think? I think both of us may be a bit surprised at such an unexpected response, but that is my goal – to reach for grateful over busy, joyful over overwhelmed, and satisfied over frenzied.

Fall will indeed still be busy with birthdays to celebrate, school starting, and the holidays nestled in there too, but there will also be slow-simmered roasts and braises, pots of soup, and loaves of bread that can’t be rushed and aren’t too keen on busy days. They beg to be sipped, savored, and doted on with a sort of ease that causes me to pause.

May this next season, however busy it may be, remind us that there is more to life than the busyness. Let’s focus on that.

Ashley Rodriguez

Chef, Mom, Food Blogger, Author

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Everything is Early!

While our family was picking Gravenstein apples last week, I couldn’t help but notice that the Honeycrisp trees were full of red fruit. The telltale sign of ripeness is when the underlying color turns from green to yellow. On a red apple that can be a little harder to discern from a distance, but up close it is pretty obvious. Another sign that the fruit is getting ready is with how easy it comes off the tree. Most of the time, when an apple is not ripe, picking it resembles a tug-o-war match. At that moment, wise farmers concede defeat and wait a few more days J. The worst way to determine when an apple is ready to pick is to wait till they are all on the ground! With that said, there are always a few overachievers that ripen early and fall, which is a sure sign to get picking!ravenstein and Honeycrisp apples are three weeks early, potatoes are early, winter squash is really early, garlic and raspberries are not so much early, and corn loves this weather. But most things are early, especially for the later maturing crops. The good thing is that they are early and not dead! The dry spring and early summer has taken its toll on crops, but with good management we were able to use the heat to our advantage.

Having some late August rain has certainly helped take the edge off the fall harvest. The squashes—Delicata, Acorn, the three varieties of pie pumpkins, Kabocha (yes, Eileen, I planted those for you!) and Sweet Dumplings—have loved this weather. If truth be told, they are ready to be picked, but it just messes with my mind to think about havesting winter squash in August. So I will continue to walk past them, smile, and pretend they have a few weeks to go!

If the weather pattern continues trending with wetter winters and drier summers, us farmers will begin to shift the timing of our plantings and eventually even the crops we grow, to better fit the “new” growing season. Things like June strawberries will be replaced with May strawberries – I can hardly even say, “May strawberries.” On our farm we will definitely plant spinach, beets, chard, and peas earlier to take advantage of the rain and warmer springs. I will probably plant tomatoes and peppers outside the greenhouses.

There is an upside to drier summers: the heat produces sweeter tasting fruit and little water stress “kicks” the sugar off the charts. It just requires us farmers who are normally “water rich” to adjust to less water and watch for signs of stress. I am confident we can make the switch!

The long and short of it is that local farmers are going to have a few challenges with when and what to plant for the next few years, but dealing with weather isn’t new and growing food isn’t either.


Farmer Tristan

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The Klesick family carved out some unusually hard-to-find space during the summer and went to visit Joelle’s sister in Manhattan last week. Mostly, it took a lot of early planning of what crops to plant and when to plant them. It also helped that we have an amazing team of people we work with to keep the farm going.

NYC: what an eye opening experience that was. Of course, I have been to big cities, but nothing quite like New York City. We logged over 60 miles on our feet (Joanna, our intrepid 5 year old, walked every one of them!).

I keep thinking about the story, Country Mouse, City Mouse. We live on 40 acres in the floodplain and they live in a 15 story high rise apartment in Manhattan. We pick berries, apples, kale, cucumbers as we walk the fields and they stop by the grocery store in the bottom floor of their apartment.  Amazing!

I am sure when they come to see us, it is too quiet for them to sleep, as for us, that city never sleeps – it just slows down a notch. We did the tourist thing from Central Park, to The Met, the Museum of Natural History, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. The 9/11 Memorial was intense and beautiful. We even went to a Yankees vs Red Sox game via the subway.  Now that was an experience! Just imagine trying to squeeze twelve more people into a Prius that already has five passengers. Definitely no personal bubble space!

On our way to DC and Philadelphia, I got to see some farmland in NJ, PA, DE, MD and VA. Yes, there is still farmland back east and it is a good thing, because when I was in NYC, I had this heavy thought on my mind: “We have to save farmland, because someone has to feed all these people, FOREVER!”

As a farmer, I couldn’t help but think about what it would take logistically to keep NYC fed. That is a daunting task. No one has a car, let alone a freezer or a garden. Yes, there are farmers markets, but they pale in the need to feed millions of people surrounded by high rises and streets. The city is dependent upon outside resources. In fact, I would venture to say that most New Yorkers don’t even think about it.  Why would they? They have to trust the system.

America has amazing infrastructure in place to grow, harvest, process, and deliver food to people everywhere, but if that chain is disrupted even for a day or two, NYC is in a world of hurt. Imagine what a simple snow storm does to grocery store shelves. What would happen if California and Florida were both in a drought and couldn’t produce their traditional volumes of food?

As your farmer, I am working to not only grow healthy food, but preserve the ability to feed future generations. After my visit to NYC, saving Farmland is of even more paramount importance, every acre everywhere!



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Too Big To Fail

That was the battle cry of DC when the economy collapsed in ‘08. Yet, the large greedy financial institutions were then rewarded with a bailout, while many Americans lost their investments or jobs or homes. It feels like Congress is adopting a similar attitude towards Monsanto and other proponents of GMO technology.

The House of Representatives has passed the DARK Act in favor of protecting GMO companies from each individual state working on this issue. Why does a $15,000,000,000.00 (yes that is right, a $15 billion company) need legislative help to compete in a free market system? Congress is wrong to enter this fight on behalf of Monsanto and the other GMO companies.

If Congress really wants to clarify the issue, they should require labeling and give citizens the right to know instead of protecting GMO companies. Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association could then spend their money advertising trying to build their case to the public for why GMO’s are safe.

I am not proposing a label that bludgeons companies that manufacture GMO’s or food manufacturers that use GMO products in their ingredients. I believe that a simple addition of an * to each GMO ingredient on the label with the note “*Genetically Modified” located at the bottom is all that’s needed. That’s it!  Simple, straightforward, honest!

I believe that this is what Congress should be doing, then allow the American people to decide what they want to eat.

The labeling issue has important long term ramifications for our nation’s health and the future of farming. Therefore, our senators should temper the House of Representatives’ appetite to protect GMO companies and not pass their version. Instead, labeling GMO’s should be the law of the land.

Please contact your senators today and let them know that you would like them to not pass the DARK Act. Also, if you agree with my idea for labeling please let them know that as well.

Senator Maria Cantwell


Senator Patty Murray



Thank you.



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Inchelium Red Garlic

We’re sharing our Inchelium Red Garlic harvest with you again next week! These gigantic bulbs not only taste above and beyond “regular” garlic, they have the heritage to back them up! It is considered to be the oldest strain of garlic in North America!

Here’s a little more about this heirloom garlic.

Inchelium Red Garlic Allium sativum var. sativum

One of the most productive of all the heirloom garlics, this softneck variety is also an artichoke type. This means that its bulbs cluster in layers like artichoke petals. The variety was discovered on the variety was discovered on the Coleville Indian Reservation at Inchelium, Washington. It has consistently won high marks (often taking first place) in garlic tastings. From a culinary standpoint, it is probably one of the best of the American heirloom red garlics.

Its historical relevance is profound, it has been identified as the oldest strain of garlic grown in North America, having been grown far before the arrival of English settlers. It was found originally on the Colville Indian Reservation in Inchelium, Washington. Today Inchelium garlic can be found sold under its true name (not simply, garlic) throughout the Pacific West and Northwest United States.

Visit our friends Filaree Farm for more info.


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Kale Power

I wish I could tell you that I’ve always liked kale. The healthy-leafy-green vegetable that now seems to be everywhere from smoothie bars to every menu across America.

For the first 30+ years of my life, I didn’t know kale existed. My introduction came about five years ago, when I started to juice, the flavor was “grassy” almost “metallic” like, I just couldn’t take it. I wanted to like it. But it caught me off guard. Kale was not part of my grocery list.

But when you love to eat, and the latest food trend catches up with you, it is almost impossible to avoid this grassy green. So I started to try it in different dishes. I would cook it, use it raw, puree it, and now… I can’t get enough of it.

One of my favorite restaurants in Washington State serves it simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, golden raisins and pine nuts. That’s it! So simple, it’s impossible not to like it. Now, I feel somehow responsible to defend kale, the misunderstood child of the vegetable family. With its thick, curly leaves, it can easily seem intimidating, as though you’d have to wrestle it into submission before it agrees to be cooked.

Around the United States, everyone is talking about kale. So what’s all the kale hype about? Flavor aside, I love kale for three fundamental reasons: Kale tops the charts of nutrient density, possesses incredible culinary flexibility, and is easy to grow almost anywhere, which means you can enjoy local kale just about anywhere when it’s in season. I recently learned about its power to support brain health, and will be sharing that with you on the Klesick Farms blog.

As explained by doctor Drew Ramsey, author of Happiness Diet, the power of phytonutrients do amazing things. 


Sulforaphane is one of the reasons that cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli are on everyone’s “superfoods” list. Its antioxidant action helps fight high blood pressure, while its ability to stimulate natural detoxifying enzymes reduces brain inflammation as well as the risk of breast and prostate cancer. These protective effects may also be responsible for the observation that sulforaphane helps improve learning and memory abilities following brain injury. It can kill the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for stomach ulcers and gastric cancer risk.

Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an omega-3 fat found mainly in plants. It is an essential fatty acid, meaning your body can’t produce it and you must obtain it through your diet. Plants use this fat to convert sunlight into energy, making it vital to our planet’s energy production. In the brain, ALA is converted to the longer omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are particularly important for brain and heart health. Higher intakes of ALA are linked to a lower risk of depression and may decrease anxiety and the effects of stress.


Plant-based diets are key to brain health, and one reason are folates. At least eight forms of these water-soluble B-complex vitamins exist in food. Folic acid is the synthetic version. Folates, also known as vitamin B9, are needed for a healthy brain and good moods as they keep brain cells healthy, ward off heart disease (drastic risk reductions), and even fight cancer.

So what are your thoughts on Kale? What is your favorite way to enjoy this leafy vegetable?

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador



Kale, Apple and Parmesan Cheese Salad with Roasted Garlic-Lemon Dressing



3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, thinly sliced

1 apple

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste



Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the kale, toss to coat and let stand 10 minutes.


While the kale stands, cut the apples into thin matchsticks. Add the apples and cheese to the kale. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.