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The Recipe Box Gets A Makeover!

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For darn near 20 years Klesick Farms has been helping folks just like you eat better and feel better. I remember when organic was just an idea where the proponents were those who most likely did not use deodorant or shave. Well, fast forward 30 years and we now find that organics is big business. You can find organic food at Walmart and Marshall’s, as well as farmer’s markets and home delivery companies. One thing is clear, consumers want organic food and the business community has made it as easy as possible to find, purchase and eat organically.

We started a home delivery company so we could get our produce directly to consumers and help busy families eat better. But we have come a long way since those early days. Our first boxes of good food were named Small, Medium and Large. Today these boxes are known as Small, Family and Harvest. We also have an Essentials line with four boxes. Then we have the Recipe, Fruit, Vegetable, Northwest, Juice Cleanse and Juicer’s Assortment, and even the option for you to create your own box. With all of this, and the ability to order organic groceries, grass-fed meats, wild salmon or coffee for delivery right to your doorstep, we have made eating healthy as easy as pie (or quiche).

And now we are expanding our Recipe Box category! The Recipe Box option gives our customers the convenience of ordering a box that contains all the main ingredients necessary to prepare a healthy main course for about four people. Starting this week, customers can now select between 20 of our favorite Recipe Box recipes. There are breakfast recipe boxes and dinner recipe boxes, and vegetarian and non-vegetarian boxes. And more importantly, you can order whichever recipe your family loves or multiple recipe boxes. You can even order a recipe box in addition to your regular order of a Family or Small Box. And just because we can, we will be adding recipes and seasonality to the category to spice it up! Check out our new recipe assortment here.

Yes, a lot has changed since I started farming and delivering our produce, but one thing hasn’t – our commitment to your health, the environment and customer service! 

Bon appétit

Farmer Tristan

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Pollinators

bumble bee on a rhododenron

It takes a community to raise anything, accomplish anything. Earlier this week I was walking by this beautiful rhododendron and was compelled to stop. I walk by this plant every day, multiple times on my way to the front door. But this morning, at 5:30, the plant was all a buzz, literally buzzing with the humble bumble bee—what a wonderful symphony! All these beautiful insects were freely about their work, in and out of one flower and then off to the next one, hundreds of them sharing the flowers with each other. It is beautiful.

We have lots of these workers everywhere. Our farm is a safe haven for them and for many more less common critters, all equally important, filling their space on our farm and in our community.

The rhododendron is beautiful and fragrant, but it really doesn’t have any economic value for the farm, unless you consider the pollinators. When the pollinators enter into the equation, that rhododendron becomes indispensable!

With all the trouble honey bees are having with the myriad of chemicals farmers are using to grow their crops, I am thankful for the other pollinators. My guess is that the humble bumbles are also impacted, but because they are not colonized like honey bees we do not hear about their losses. But if given space to forage where the farm is “clean” and free of chemicals, the bumble bees, and a host of other insects, thrive.

And as a side note, the farmer gets the apples, pears, plums, and berries pollinated and you get the “fruit” of their work and mine!

Next time you see a humble bumble at work, whisper a “thank you” for all the work they happily do for us!

Farmer Tristan

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu: Grilled Carrots with Lemon and Dill

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 bunch carrots, scrubbed and patted dry

2 teaspoons avocado oil or other high-heat oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 tablespoon dill, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Trim tops and any fibrous ends from the carrots and cut crosswise into pieces approximately 3 inches long. Cut any thick ends in half lengthwise, so all pieces are about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. (If you are using an outdoor grill, see note below.) In a bowl, toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. Preheat grill pan or grill over medium-high heat. Place carrots cut-side down on the grill and cover. (Use a big pot lid or a metal sheet pan as a grill pan lid.) Grill for 4-5 minutes, until the carrots develop sear marks and are beginning to soften. Flip, cover, and grill for another 4-5 minutes. Carrots will be softened with a bit of crunch in the middle.

3. Transfer the carrots to a bowl. Mix in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, dill, lemon juice and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

If you’re using an outdoor grill, you may want to grill the carrots whole, so they don’t fall through the grates. After grilling, let them sit until cool enough to handle, cut them into pieces and proceed with the recipe.

Try using other acid and herb or spice combinations. A few ideas: lime juice & cilantro, balsamic vinegar & parsley, and orange juice & cumin.

Recipe from thekitchn.com

 

Know Your Produce: Green Onions

Also called scallions, green onions have a mild, sweet flavor; raw or cooked, they can be used in a variety of dishes. Unlike other onions, scallions are very perishable. Refrigerate them in a sealed plastic bag, and use within three days. Before cooking, cut away any wilted parts from the tops, trim the roots from the bulb, and wash thoroughly. Try them as a topping on pizza or cut up and added to soup during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Nutritional facts: Besides being higher than other onions in folate and potassium, green onions provide a significant amount of beta-carotene (in the green tops).

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Breathe

There is a brief lull in the action coming my way soon. Most of our first plantings are in. Round two for the beans, summer squash, and corn will start in another week. Also, we are seeing blossoms on some of the early sugar snap peas! I am thinking that probably next week we will have a lighter load before we start harvesting lettuce, weeding everywhere, and more plantings.

A few years ago, I planted a new blackberry variety called Black Diamond. This season is its first fruiting and it is way earlier than I expected. I also grow some Doyle blackberries and they come on considerably later than the raspberries, but I am thinking that the Black Diamonds may be earlier than the raspberries—time will tell.

Why did I plant blackberries? Because I like them! And I also like not having to fight with the wild blackberries that engulf a mile of my property line. The Black Diamond is a “thorn less” variety that I can contain, farm, and harvest much more reliably. Harvest is an important consideration. It is hard enough trying to find farm help and it is even harder to find farm help to pick wild blackberries!

Blackberries and raspberries also grow upright and this older 6’ 2” frame of mind appreciates harvesting while standing up. This provides a nice break because practically everything else we grow on our farm is grown and harvested at ground level (e.g., lettuce, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, etc.)

The local season is upon us and local food will be finding its way into your boxes of good food from now on!

Enjoy!

Farmer Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved

1 bunch baby spinach, trimmed

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with juice

2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked (substitute with rice for gluten free option)

Directions:

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

2. Add the olive oil and heat.

3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove the chicken and set aside.

5. To the same pan, add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Remove from the pan and set aside.

7. Lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

8. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes.

9. Place the couscous in a serving bowl.

10. Top with the spinach, chicken and balsamic-tomato sauce.

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe from foodnetwork.com

 

Know Your Produce: Bartlett Pears

Did you know that Bartlett Pears contain probiotic benefits that support your gut health? New research has found that pears can balance beneficial gut bacteria. Check our blog this week for more info on the benefits of pears!

Ripened pears can be used at once or put under refrigeration (35º to 45º F) until you want to use them. Refrigeration will delay further ripening but will not stop it altogether, giving you adequate time to include fresh pears in your menu planning. Remember, pears need to ripen at room temperature, so don’t refrigerate an unripe pear!

A ripe pear is a sweet pear. A little known fact about the pear is that it is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree. The pear is harvested when it is mature, but not yet ripe, and, if left at room temperature, it slowly reaches a sweet and succulent maturity as it ripens from the inside out.

Store: Place under ripe pears in a fruit bowl at room temperature near other ripening fruit like bananas, which naturally give off ethylene and will help speed up the ripening process. And if you find yourself with a few too many overripe pears, blend them into smoothies, soups, sauces and purees!

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Local Solutions

When I have an opportunity to use my talents and resources, I jump on it! At Klesick Farms we are in the good food business – we grow, source and deliver good food to our local neighbors in Island, Skagit, Snohomish and King Counties. And each of these counties have hunger issues and together we are a part of the solution.

Our part of the solution has been to deliver local food to the food banks through our Neighbor Helping Neighbor (NHN) program. Year-to- date, through your partnership, Klesick Farms has sent over 384 of our $28 boxes of good food to local food banks.

I am now adding a new partner to our NHN giving program – The Everett Recovery Café. While technically not a food bank, they are also serving a group of our local neighbors. The Everett Recovery Café “is a community of healing, purpose, and hope. This safe haven from the streets provides an ongoing base of support for men and women who have suffered trauma, homelessness, addiction and/or mental health challenges. As these men and women contribute to the café community and develop relationships with peers and staff, they establish stability in housing, mental and physical health, relationships, education and employment.”

If you would like to help us extend a helping hand to the Everett Recovery Café or to the 8 other food banks (Everett, Oak Harbor, Anacortes, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Arlington) you can schedule regular donation and we will do the rest. Your regular $28 partnership accomplishes a lot:

  1. Our less fortunate neighbors, who avail themselves of the food bank system, receive high quality fruits and vegetables, instead of the culled, lesser quality produce.
  2. The farmers we work with get to grow and sell more from their farms to help feed local families. This is a big deal. Our NHN food bank boxes have an average of 10 different items in them. For an example, year-to-date, with your purchases, we have sent over 10 extra cases of apples, 16 extra cases of lettuce, etc. Those are real numbers to a farmer and real food to local family!
  3. Klesick Farms matches every 4th box that is donated by you.
  4. We send a year end tax statement for you to deduct your donation.
  5. But most important, your gift of one of our NHN boxes is a gift of compassion and care to local folks who are our neighbors in need.

Our NHN program is one reason why we use the tag line a box of good!

Farmer Tristan

Learn more about the Everett Recovery Café here.

Know Your Produce: Baby Bok Choy

Bok Choy, a member of the cabbage family, has been cultivated by the Chinese for over 5,000 years. Besides China, it is also grown in California and Canada.

Bok choy is high in nutrition, containing several minerals, including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and vitamins A, C, K, and a wide spectrum of B-complex vitamins.

Do not wash bok choy until you are ready to use it. Unwashed, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to six days.

Besides being used in stir fries, bok choy can also be added to soups for a delicate flavor, pickled for a refreshing appetizer, grilled or sautéed as a delicious accompaniment.

 

Recipe: Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

8 oz. cornbread, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup cubed fontina cheese (can substitute gouda)

1/2 cup cubed cucumber

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Toss gently to combine.
  • Place in a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe from foodnetwork.com courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

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The Bowl Craze Explained

The one-dish meal is having its moment. The bowl craze started with the smoothie bowl and has since become a menu staple in many kitchens and restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you haven’t seen one of these protein-packed bowls on a menu, you’ve likely seen one on your Instagram feed.

Though its contents may vary, most grain bowls follow a simple blueprint. It begins with a grain base, like rice or quinoa. Then, you could spoon almost anything over your grains and call the result a bowl (and some do). But the best bowls have a balanced combination of flavors and textures, and of vegetables, proteins, sauces and garnishes. Let your creativity soar in the combination of toppings and you’ll be surprised with the results!

Once you have selected your grains, you then need veggies – preferably something green, like kale or spinach. Raw, cooked or steamed vegetables will work great too.

Now you need a protein. Think of small amounts of braised or roasted meats, whether left over or freshly cooked. Beans are a great option as well. Adding a soft-cooked egg, preferably one with a runny yolk to coat the other ingredients like an instant sauce, is always a great idea.

Once you have the bowl assembled – grains, vegetables and protein – it’s time to think about garnishes, which add character and depth. Something pickled or pungent keeps things interesting, and something crunchy (sesame seeds or nuts) diversifies the textures.

Finally, a sauce on the side for everyone to mix in to taste. Use ingredients that mesh with the flavors of the bowl. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and rice vinegar or lime juice for Asian-inspired combinations. Pesto goes nicely with roasted red peppers, eggplant or anything else vaguely Mediterranean. A simple salsa works great for a Latin inspired bowl. Bottled hot sauce provides spice to the fire-toothed. And a basic vinaigrette will get along with practically anything else.

Another reason for grain bowls’ popularity is that they’re very customizable. Mix and match. Then mix and match again. If you do it right, you will never serve the same bowl twice – not unless you want to, that is.

Last but not least, bowls can be seasonal! In today’s world of mass production and far-flung distribution, the seasons blend together. Fruits and veggies that used to be available just once a year can now be found 365 days a year. However, thanks to our local farmers we can enjoy ingredients at their prime and find them more flavorful and nutritious than their off-season counterparts.

No wonder the bowl has become a favorite way of eating: out of a bowl, fresh ingredients, bold seasonal flavors, and various textures and temperatures. I’m in – time to mix and match!
Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

 

Kale-Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 avocado ¼ cup homemade pesto

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 cup baby broccolini, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

1 cup mushrooms, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 cup fresh kale leaves

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup pine nuts + plus a handful for garnishing

1 large garlic clove

3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the eggs to your liking. I like mine runny so I cook them for exactly 7 minutes in boiling water.

While the eggs are cooking, add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor. Process until almost smooth.

Prepare your breakfast bowls: Add 1 cup quinoa, broccolini, mushrooms, tomatoes and half of the avocado thinly sliced and pesto sauce to taste.

When eggs have cooled, peel them and slice in half. Add to the bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts.