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#fueledbyklesickfarms

#fueledbyklesickfarms

Last week our family stole a few precious moments from the farm and headed off to Winthrop and Twisp for Father’s day. We wanted to take the kiddos away for a couple of days after school got out and we settled on the North Cascades. A brief excursion filled with rest and play. Of course we enjoyed the town of Winthrop, visiting galleries and shops and the Ice cream parlor!
 
The North Cascades are stunning. Sadly, I have not ventured this direction for several years, usually heading for the coast or the San Jauns, but that will change. A few hours away and you are in the middle of pristine mountains, crags, valleys and wildlife.  We just did the touristy things, like Fall Lake Falls, Pearrygin Lake, Twisp Salmon Ponds, the National Methow fish hatchery and the Smoke Jumpers Base. That Washington Pass Overlook was definitely worth a stop, stunning vistas! A full two days of fun.
 
We have a resident “selfie” taker who, of course, is a teenager. Let’s be honest I can barely answer the phone let alone take a selfie J. I do try, but when we are out and she is with us, I wisely defer to her abilities. So in front of Falls Lake Falls, it dawned on me. We are just like other families, who are out and about and why not have some fun with summer.
 
And Voila! Our new Summer campaign was born #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside. Our customers are adventurous “outdoorsy” folks who love life and love good food.
What are the details? It is simple, while you are hanging from a rock or kayaking on the sound or watching/playing soccer or baseball anything outdoors, snap a photo and use both #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and we will find it and send you Free Berries with your next delivery.*
 
And for everyone who uses the above two #tags in their outdoor photo, we will enter your name to win A Month of Free Produce. So start uploading those photos and share your summer fun!
 
Farmer Tristan

*Must be current Klesick Farms customer. Berries are: 1 pkg. free blueberries, while supplies last, if n/a, other berries may be substituted. Offer runs now – July 31, 2016. Limit one entry, and one delivery of berries, per customer, per week. A month of free produce value of $112.

 

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Update: Operation Stem the Tide of Weeds

Thankfully, school is over and a few weeders, pickers, farm hands and all around great people have some time to dedicate to working! Managing a vegetable operation around a school, sports, assemblies, life, etc. schedule keeps me hopping (much like those rabbits that seem to be everywhere!) With school removed from the equation, we can dedicate some serious attention to weeding and other farm chores.

With weather patterns changing we are able to plant a little earlier, but the crops are ready even earlier than my psyche is accustomed to. This makes it a hair harder to manage when school gets out mid-June and the farm is in full production early May. In fact, I am thinking that we should all start referring to June strawberries as May strawberries! And correspondingly, have school get out in May. 🙂 This is a little tongue-in-cheek, of course, as we can’t change our school system to the benefit of the farmers. After all, there are more people incarcerated in America than there are farmers, and the number of farmers who actually grow fruits and vegetables is considerably smaller yet.

But back in the early 80’s in south Everett, a school bus would show up and bunch of middle and high school kids would climb on and head off to the berry fields in Marysville and Mount Vernon. Once they’d finish with berries, they’d start picking pickling cucumbers. Granted that was 30+ years ago, but agriculture was still a vibrant part of our economy; enough so that hundreds of kids from Everett would load up on buses and head to the fields. Many of these kids probably had parents who had done a similar thing when they were in school. Did any of you catch that bus or work on farms when you were in high school?

Sadly, most of that work has gone the way of the dinosaurs – replaced by chemical applications and mechanization. What also happened was a large migrant force of workers replaced the kiddos and the farmers also chose to not grow those labor-intensive crops any longer. Eventually, the school buses stopped coming and good summer jobs for young people stopped as well.

Farming is hard work and growing vegetables organically is very labor intensive. If we could shift our national food policy from corn and soybeans to fruits and vegetables, that would stimulate the farm economy to hire more young people. Eating organically grown fruits and vegetables is so critically important to the health of our nation (think diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc.) and to the local environment (think salmon, swallows, earthworms, rabbits, trees, etc.).

Farming for you, the environment, and the health of our nation.

Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Garlic Scape and Swiss Chard Pesto

Ingredients: 1 bunch garlic scapes 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves only 1/4 cup raw walnuts (optional) 1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) Juice from half a lemon 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Blanch the Swiss chard leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, just to remove chalky taste. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out the water.

2. Put blanched Swiss chard, garlic scapes, walnuts, crushed red pepper and lemon juice into the bowl of your food processor and process until still slightly chunky. Gradually pour olive oil in to feeder tube and continue processing until smooth.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve tossed with your favorite gluten-free pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid from the pasta to loosen up the sauce, if you wish.

Recipe from tasty-yummies.com

 

Know Your Produce: Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the beginning of what would be the garlic plant’s flower; if they’re left on the garlic plant, less energy goes towards developing the head of garlic underground. So, by harvesting these scapes, you cooks get an early taste of the garlic to come down the road, and the bulbs can keep developing.

You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes.

Store: Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Store away from your fruit, because garlic is generous with its fragrance, and you may not appreciate biting into a peach and tasting…garlic. Garlic scapes will keep up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container.

Prep: Wash under cool water when ready to use.

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Garlic Scapes!

Know Your Produce: Garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are the beginning of what would be the garlic plant’s flower; if they’re left on the garlic plant, less energy goes towards developing the head of garlic underground. So, by harvesting these scapes, you cooks get an early taste of the garlic to come down the road, and the bulbs can keep developing.

You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes.

Store: Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Store away from your fruit, because garlic is generous with its fragrance, and you may not appreciate biting into a peach and tasting…garlic. Garlic scapes will keep up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container. They freeze well, too–blanched or not–but they tend to lose some of the garlicky heat during storage. You can remove the stalk tip above the pod before using; some people use the whole scape, but the pod and tip are more fibrous than the tender stalk.

Prep: Wash under cool water when ready to use. Whether you’re sautéing, pureeing, or dicing them, garlic scapes are a great addition to many different meals. Great in multiple forms, this ingredient gives many recipes an extra dash of flavor that will compliment a variety of summer dishes like mashed potatoes, stir fry, omelets, pesto, or pasta.

Use: Garlic scapes can be used almost anywhere garlic is; however, keep in mind it is milder in flavor, so you can use more of it per recipe. Scapes tend to get tough and/or lose flavor if overcooked, so start simple. To learn how much cooking is enough and how much is too much, cut scapes to desired lengths and sauté in a little olive oil over medium heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. The end result should be a side dish that is elegant and tasty.

Here’s a recipe for garlic scapes in vegetable stir-fry. Here’s a recipe for oven-roasted corn on the cob with garlic scape butter. 

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Wow!

One would think that after almost two decades of farming I would have this farming game figured out! I do have the basics mostly down, but every year, around Father’s Day, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with what? Thanks for asking. WORK! All of the sudden, everything needs to be harvested: lettuce, spinach, peas. Everything needs to be weeded: lettuce, spinach, peas, beets, tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, strawberries. And more needs to be planted: lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, squash, beets, kohlrabi, corn, etc. I know it is coming, but it always catches me off guard, like a sneaker wave at the beach – all of the sudden you’re wet.

A lot of this has to do with timing and trying to figure out the changing climate patterns and the changing availability of willing workers. The climate impacts are just unpredictable. Last year at this time we were burning up and this year we have had huge swings in temperatures and a fair amount of rain.

This year I got out early and planted some summer loving, heat loving crops in early May, expecting it to get hot early, but June is looking more like “Junuary.” Although hitting a high of 58 degrees in early June really slows down the crops, it also keeps things from bolting, like spinach and lettuce, and peas from burning up. This is farming though: I do my best, I get the weather I get, I adapt, then I get to harvest what crops liked the weather best.

But the weeds, well, they love all types of weather. On our farm we are a hand-weeding operation, and it is hard to find people excited about rows and rows of vegetables to be weeded, sometimes with a hoe, other times on your hands and sometimes we just throw up our hands and use a tractor and start over. We have managed to stay almost caught up, but you can see the “tide” of weeds rising. This week will be the week to stem that tide!

As always, we work hard to grow the healthiest, tastiest and freshest fruits and vegetables for you and your family. We want to be that bright spot in your week, where on your delivery day a box of good food brightens your day and nourishes your body.

More locally grown good food is on its way.

Cheers to your health!

Tristan

 

Recipe for this week’s box: Asian Cucumber & Carrot Slaw

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 medium carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon water

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or other oil of choice)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Using a julienne peeler or grater, shred the cucumber and carrots into long strips.
  1. Toss the vegetables in a medium bowl, along with the vinegars, water, sugar, and sesame oil.
  1. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.
  1. Chill until ready to serve. Best served cold.

Recipe adapted from wayfair.com

 

Know Your Produce: Stonefruit 101

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“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. Here’s 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.

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. All Stonefruit bakes up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

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Summer, we taste you near!

raspberries

In a true bit of parenting hypocrisy, I’m encouraging, rather, pleading with my children to finish the school year strong while I’m staying up with the sun, ditching work to feel its warmth on my skin, and sneaking away to tuck into the raspberry bushes to taste what to me is summer boiled down into one sweet, tart bite.

“Only one more week of school!” I tell them, hoping that that’ll be the boost they need to finish with a smile on their faces, rather than the moans and groans I hear as I attempt to motivate them out of bed. Meanwhile, I’m still in bed with the lingering scent of smoke from the fire we sat around while staying up far too late on a school night the evening before.

Summer, what we’re saying is, we are so ready for you. We’re ready for your long days, your leisurely activities, and the way you manage to change our priorities so that much of our day can be spent outside. I’m ready for the garden you help me grow, the camping trips you inspire, and the food that sweetens and softens in your heat. I always romanticize you when you first appear. Of course I do know that shortly, with three kids at home, there will be the “I’m boooooored” chorus singing its familiar tune, but I’m choosing to ignore that reality and live in the delight of a new season.

The newness of the nearly summer days have all of us delighted by what’s growing. The kids, without prompting, headed to the garden to pluck the first of the raspberries off the vines, with plans of raspberry ice cream. Their plans never made it to the freezer, as we (mostly me) ate the whole bowl. With the few leftover berries I found this morning, I made my girl what I proclaimed to be the best sandwich of her life – mascarpone slathered between two pieces of seedy bread, and studded with fresh raspberries that practically turned to jam under the weight of its top cover. It was my little way of saying, “Summer is nearly here. Finish strong.” I’m telling myself that too.

Ashley Rodriguez
Award-winning food blogger
Author of Date Night In
 
 
 
Recipe: Fresh Raspberry Scones

This recipe has been made no fewer than a hundred times in our house. These shortcakes are our scones, the cobbler on top of our baked fruit, and sometimes, with the addition of herbs or cheese, savory biscuits to accompany dinner.

The trick here is not to overwork the dough. It’s a very crumbly mass once it comes out of the bowl, but that’s why the finished texture is so light and tender. Don’t knead the dough together, but rather press it until it just holds. This dough can be made by hand, in a food processor, as it is written, or in a stand mixer.

Makes 8 shortcakes

Adapted from Date Night In, by Ashley Rodriguez

Ingredients:

2 cups / 270 g all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)

1⁄2 cup / 115 g unsalted butter, diced into 1⁄2-inch cubes, chilled

1 cup / 240 ml plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided

1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons Turbinado or granulated sugar

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, granulated sugar, and vanilla bean seeds, if using. Pulse a few times to combine and break up any clumps.

2. Add the butter, scattering it over the flour. Pulse 15 times to break up the butter. The mixture will look sandy, with some larger pieces of butter throughout.

3. Pour 1 cup / 240 ml cream over the dough and pulse an additional 20 times. Add the raspberries and pulse just a couple more times to combine. The dough will look crumbly and dry.

4. Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface and use the palm of your hand to work the dough just until it holds together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, as this can make it tough. Gather the dough together into a 6- to 8-inch round (for making wedge-shaped scones) or a rectangle (for cutting out round biscuits).

5. Use a brush or your fingers to spread the remaining 2 tablespoons cream in an even layer on top. Sprinkle the extra sugar, if using, on top of the cream. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Cut the dough into the desired shapes and then place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until deep golden along the edges.

8. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

9. These are best served the day they are baked. Unbaked dough can be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.

Note: Often I make these by hand and simply grate the chilled butter into the dry ingredients with a cheese grater. From there I toss the butter and dry ingredients together, breaking up any large clumps with my hands, and then stir in the cream.

For extra flaky layers, give this dough 1 or 2 turns as you do in the Quick Puff Pastry recipe (page 19 of Date Night In).