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Falling in Color

A few years back my mother made a comment I never thought of before. She was visiting from Peru, where I was born and raised and where we only have two very distinct seasons: summer and winter. In Peru we don’t get to experience the transition between winter and spring or summer and fall like we do in the Pacific Northwest. She said, “I remember growing up and watching my mother paint landscapes. She would always include full color trees: orange, red, and pink. I never knew they really existed. Seeing them is like being in one of her paintings.”

After I heard that, I never looked at fall the same way. The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me. Fall colors are bright and soothing and the air is crisp and fresh. But fall brings so much more than a feast for the eyes: squash, apples, dark leafy greens. Farms are bursting with new varieties of produce, so I make a resolution to try them all!

Butternut squash is my favorite – naturally sweet, versatile, and very “meaty.” Many people assume the only use for butternut squash is in soups, but I like to roast it and keep it in the refrigerator in three different forms: mashed, sliced, and cubed.


  • Add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie with dates and cinnamon for a fall twist
  • Add it to your pancake batter
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Great with creamy sauces, such as mac n’ cheese


  • Phenomenal for lasagnas; layer it with béchamel sauce, spinach, and mozzarella for one of the best vegetarian lasagnas you’ve ever had
  • Or top it with olive oil, walnuts, and breadcrumbs and broil it for a great side dish
  • Use it as a pizza topping


  • Include it in stews, curries, soups, and salads
  • Glaze it with maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt for a sweet and savory side dish
  • Toss it with olive oil, pasta, kale, and bacon, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a hearty supper

As you can see there are many ways to add butternut squash to your fall menu. I hope this is a good start!

In recent years I have learned to appreciate the small things in life. Even though my excitement for butternut squash can be cliché to many, it really does make a big difference when we stop and appreciate nature’s gifts. Countless times a year I say to my family and friends, “Isn’t it amazing that this came out of nature? How good does this taste?!” It’s in the little things that we find contentment and appreciation for the abundance we have. Happy falling!
Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador


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Here We Go!

Harvest is in full swing at the farm! At last I can start to recoup some of my investments from the spring. Sounds crazy doesn’t it – paying bills from the spring.  But that is how it works for most farmers. We spend a lot of money early in the season on fuel, seed, fertilizers, etc., hoping to nurture our crops through the season and get to harvest. That was no small task this year! But we are here.

Some CSA type farms charge their members $500 to $800 upfront and then manage the money for the remainder of the farm season. Our model is different, as we let you pay as you go and rely on earning your business with every delivery.

Sure, it would be nice to collect a pile of cash up front instead of digging into our savings every year, but that isn’t the model Joelle and I chose. We chose a pay-as-you-go model for several reasons, the primary one being access to organic food. I want as many families as possible and as many families that want to eat locally and healthfully to not be deterred by a hefty up front lump sum like $500 -$800.

Anyhow, now is the time that the Klesick farm starts to replenish our ability to farm next year. We have been harvesting all summer, but the peas, apples, raspberries, and garlic help us keep the cash flow positive. The potatoes and winter squash are the crops that really serve as the work horses to pay the bills. So now we are busy taking advantage of the remaining good weather to get those crops up and out of the field.

For folks that like to stock up (and there are a quite a few of you), the following Klesick farm items are online and available for purchase:

Bulk potatoes: red, yellow or mixed (unwashed) 50 lbs. for $50.00

Winter Squash Collection 30 lbs. for $37.50 (This would make a great harvest display on your table or porch, which is where Joelle stores our winter squash)

Winter luxury pie pumpkins (not pumpkin pie, but they make a mighty tasty oneJ) $5 each

SquashFest is October 3rd and 4th, at the farm from 11am to 5pm. Come on down and help us harvest some winter squash and potatoes. We will also be planting next year’s garlic that weekend and you are welcome to help us plant – many hands make light work.

Cheers to another Harvest!

Farmer Tristan


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Baker Awakening

About 20 years ago, while training to make artisan bread, the concepts taught were a return to the old ways of baking—developed over thousands of years prior to the invention of large scale milling and centralized agriculture. I learned about long, cool and slow fermentation of dough drawing out the hidden essence of the grain and bringing natural sweetness to the loaf as the starches broke down into simple sugars. How these sugars caramelized the crust, deepening the layers of taste and aroma throughout the bread. This drew me to the craft: my love of fine food and rich flavor.

I soon realized there was even more to this magic of baking than I was imagining. My lessons since have taken me on a journey of understanding and imparted upon me the responsibility to feed people not only delicious bread, but more importantly, a healthful and nutritious loaf.

Touring Kansas on a busload of bakers was an eye opener. I saw the shear impact large agriculture has on our environment and communities. Wheat can grow any place, it’s a grass. It is mono-cropped in the Midwest not because this is a great place for it to grow, it’s one of few things that can be kept alive there…on a life support system of synthetic nitrogen, herbicide and pesticide. The farmers themselves would not eat the grain from their fields, but instead cultivated a side crop, unsprayed, compost fertilized and home milled for their own consumption. Their towns are nearly vacant.

Weston Price and Sally Fallon introduced me to Phytate, a molecule in the kernel of wheat binding the vitamins and minerals that the future plant will need to grow. When this seed begins to germinate, an enzyme releases the bonds. If the wheat is instead ground into flour, and the dough fermented quickly, there isn’t time for these nutrients to unlock. They are not available to your body. Extended dough fermentation, especially sourdough, mimics germination, releasing the nutrients for human absorption.

Andrew Whitley (Bread Matters) quantified the Price/Fallon work for me. The brain receives the hunger signal when the body is asking for nutrients, not just calories. For most of us, hunger means “eat food”. When we choose food with little nutritional value (or availability), we gain the calories, though the hunger signal returns. We eat again, until the nutrition finally adds up to what the body needs to operate. The calories add up as well. In our country, this has led us to obesity, childhood & adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, etc. It’s vital for me to make food providing more nutrition per caloric bite.

I shouldn’t mention gluten. I love the stuff. This substance allows me to turn a hard seed of wheat into a light, soft, airy, palatable and nutritious food. My life revolves around gluten. People have consumed gluten for over 5,000 years and prospered. But we aren’t actually set up to digest straight grains.

Every culture from the dawn of agriculture has pre-processed any grain prior to eating. We learned to boil, soak, sprout, grind, and/or ferment our grain; maximizing digestive and nutritional qualities. This was bread making until the 1940’s when the world at war had to produce food faster with fewer people. Automation and chemical additions to bread dough produced edible loaves in less than 4 hours. It’s no ‘wonder’ we can’t digest this stuff. In fact, gluten may not even be the culprit.


Artisan baking is a revival of earlier baking methodology. These bakers ferment grain. I have many customers who eat our bread and none other because it’s digestible without issue. I suspect they would manage fine with most long fermented breads.

(note:  Celiac Disease is a unique case of gluten effecting the lining of the intestine and subsequent nutrient absorption by the body.  Our bread does not keep this from occurring.)

Now, I am a different baker than I was when I started. As I learn, I adapt. I understand the importance of my loaves as community builders, as environmental stewards, as nutrition, as health. Staff of life, indeed—by making bread well, the world around us vastly improves.

by Scott Mangold, Owner of Breadfarm

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

That storm came in with a vengeance and left a wake of damaged trees from Stanwood to Vancouver B.C. Snapped branches and busted power lines were everywhere. I usually think of a storm like that coming in December. I wasn’t around when the big storm of ’63 came through, but I do remember my mom finishing a Thanksgiving turkey on the top of a wood stove in ’83.

Well, about the time I took assessment of all the damage around the house, it dawned on me, “I wonder if the greenhouses are still there.” A greenhouse is like a big kite – the wind can catch a corner and twist it all up or it can break free and start flying.  A little worried, I walked around the corner of the barn and, with a sigh of relief, I saw that they were still standing with all the plastic still attached.

We built our greenhouses out of wood and used some big rebar anchors to secure them to the ground. That surely helped hold them together, but probably the biggest factor for them to hold together was maintenance!

Earlier in the spring a piece of the channel we used to secure the greenhouse plastic had pulled free and was flopping in the wind, so I decided to fix it. I can almost guarantee that if I hadn’t taken the time at that moment to go get the cordless drill and re-secure the plastic, I would have lost most of it in that storm. Mostly because once we get to farming, the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” wins the day and when the weather is as beautiful as it was from April to mid-August, I wouldn’t have given the greenhouse another thought. Boy, am I ever glad I fixed that greenhouse!

It is the same with our health. All too often we put off changing a health habit that we “know” isn’t good for us because we really aren’t “broken.” Many of us ignore all the little symptoms that are “talking” to us, push through them, and keep on going. It’s only years later that we realize that these things didn’t get the attention that they deserved. Moms and dads are especially guilty of this. We rarely take care of ourselves because being a parent by definition means that the needs of others come first.

But in the end, it is up to us to care for ourselves, to make a better food choice, a better health choice, to go see the M.D., N.D., chiropractor, etc. Most of you already are making better food choices for yourself and your family because you are getting a box of good. What about the rest of the healthy choices? It is your story and a healthy you is one of the best gifts you can give to those you love.