Posted on

How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 2/26/17)

Carrots

There are so many ways to enjoy carrots! We love them raw, roasted, in stews, or in stir fry’s. One way I make sure to take my daily carrot in take is in my juice. Every morning I grab the basics: cucumber, celery, carrots, apple and lemon. Juice and off we go! Keep a container with shredded carrots and add them to your soups and salads.

 

Tangerines

As you might expect, the best way to eat one is to simply skin it and eat it raw. However, if you are truly interested in getting the most of its nutritional value, save the peel. You see, the highest concentrations of antioxidants are in the pulp and rind. But don’t worry…there are a few simple and tasty ways to prepare the peel. Tangerines and their rinds can be used to add flavor to dishes such as orange chicken. For the more experienced tangerine lover, peels can also be dried out, grated and used as a tangy glaze or a preserve. Grated or powdered orange and tangerine rinds are also used in meat marinades and sauces.

 

Snow Peas

The options are endless: quick steam, add to stir fries, a healthy snack, roast them. My favorite is to add them to a fried rice. Add any left over rice you have to a hot pan, add veggies, sesame oil, scrambled eggs and voilá, dinner is ready!

 

Recipe: Roasted Carrot – Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

3 medium carrots

1 medium onion

3 (14 oz) jars/cans stewed tomatoes

4 ½ cups water

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preparation: 5 min Cook: 30 min

  1. Peel and roughly chop 3 medium carrots. Drizzle with olive oil, place in baking sheet and roast at 425 for 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté one medium onion (chopped), add 3 (14oz) jars/cans of stewed tomatoes and 4.5 cups water. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add roasted carrots.
  4. With the help of an immersion blender, *blend until creamy.

Strain (optional) and enjoy! *If using a regular blender, let it cool down and blend in small batches. If the soup is hot, the steam can blow off your blender’s lid.

Posted on

Organic. Time is Personal

I have not always been a strict organic consumer. About 6-7 years ago I started with organic eggs, mainly because they taste better. When I discovered how much better the eggs were, I figured the chicken would be too. That began my journey to slowly transitioning into more organic items, and within 2-3 years, 50% of what I was consuming was organic.

A short time later at a routine doctor’s visit, swollen lymph nodes were discovered under my arms and other parts of my body. After asking the doctor how to get them back to their normal state, I remember vividly the technician saying, “there’s nothing really you can do about them, other than just monitor them”; an answer that didn’t quite sit right with me. It was then that I began heavily researching and learning more about the organic movement, and the more I learned, the more compelled I felt to switch to an all organic diet. Everything from the extra hormones added, to the animal products available in the market, and the pesticides and chemicals added to the produce; the genetically modified foods we put in our bodies and the chemicals we put on our skin, all have an effect on us.

Switching to a 75% organic diet has been one of the best things I could have ever done. I consume hormone-free, organic eggs, meats and produce. My fridge is usually packed with organic goodness every Monday, and practically empty every Saturday…aka time to get more organic groceries. My lymphs nodes where back to normal a year later. Ironically, I had my check-up with the same technician. I brought up the fact that the swelling was gone as she was scanning my test and she repeatedly said: “it must have been an error, they just don’t go away”. Well, they did.

It’s often said that people decide to make drastic changes once they are faced with big challenges (wake up calls). I am thankful mine was not as challenging as many other people face, and equally thankful for the swollen lymph nodes. I am still not 100% organic, not because I don’t want to be, but because sometimes it’s simply not possible due to accessibility. Life happens, and I don’t beat myself up for it. But when the option is there, organic is always my first choice.

These days the word “organic” is seen everywhere. More and more menus are offering “organic greens served with organic baker’s bread and organic spread”, but one thing we have in our favor is that that the word organic (unlike other feel-good descriptions of food like “natural”), actually means something. Certification procedures in the United States and many other countries are strict. In the US, organic food must meet standards ensuring that genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, sewage and irradiation were not used in the food’s production; and that makes it a tad easier for us!

With love and gratitude,

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)

Peruvian Food Ambassador

peruvianchick.com

instagram.com/peruvianchick

facebook.com/theperuvianchick

Posted on

How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 2/19/17)

D’Anjou Pears:

The d’Anjou is a truly all-purpose pear. They are juicy when ripe, and their subtle sweetness hints at a refreshing lemon-lime flavor. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack. The most important thing to know about d’Anjou pears is that they do not change color as they ripen, unlike Bartlett pears, whose skin color changes to yellow during ripening. Check the neck for ripeness by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.

Mushrooms:

These edible fungi are great raw on salads but they are absolutely fabulous when sautéed. There really isn’t a better ingredient around that works just as well in a breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. To sauté, heat oil or butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Clean and slice mushrooms in half inch pieces. When oil is hot add them to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to sauté mine with onion and or garlic. Season with salt pepper to taste.

Artichokes:

Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, baked or grilled. I’ve had to play around with these to find how I like to cook them best. Boiling them whole is fast and easy in the beginning but can be messier to prep afterwards while they’re hot and soft. Plus, I’m always impatient and don’t want to wait around for them to cool off. My preferred method is to get them all prepped first and then bake them. That way they’re ready to eat as soon as I take them out of the oven.

To prepare, first have a lemon handy. Cut about an inch off the stem and top of the artichoke. Then cut in half and remove the fuzzy part in the center with a spoon. Rub the cut side with a half a lemon, squeezing some juice into the fold and the middle. Drizzle with olive oil, trying to get it between the folds, sprinkle with salt, pepper and freshly minced garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes at 425°. Mayonnaise mixed with a little balsamic vinegar is commonly used for a dip, or try using some olive oil or salad dressing mixed with mustard and balsamic vinegar. Play around with it. Your pantry is the limit!

RECIPE

Fresh Spring Rolls

If you’ve had this fancy Thai appetizer before, you may be surprised how easy they are to make at home. Try it out and see what you think!

Ingredients: (Put whatever veggies you’d like in these)

½ cucumber, halved and thinly sliced

1 carrot, Julienned

1 avocado, sliced

½ bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 green onions, diced

Lettuce, cut small

Cilantro, chopped(optional)

Rice paper, 8+ inch rounds

A protein (I like using grilled chicken but seafood is often used here)

Dipping sauce:

Mix 1 part crunchy peanut butter with 2 parts hoisin sauce, or store bought Asian dipping sauce.

Directions:

Preparation: 20-30 min

1. Cut up all the veggies and put in bowls or separate piles for easy access.

2. Fill a large salad bowl with hot water from the faucet. Place a single piece of rice paper under the water for a couple seconds. As soon as it becomes soft and pliable (about 5 seconds) remove from the bowl and place on a smooth plastic cutting board.

3. Arrange some of each ingredient on the rice paper in a row close to the center.

4. Roll rice paper by folding the shorter piece over first then wrapping the top and bottom down ends down. Finish by rolling the remainder from the middle out, keeping as tight as possible. Repeat

Posted on

The Moment I Became A Farmer

Warm and wet! That is how I would describe the weather around the NW corner of Washington. Most of you will concur, unless you are on vacation in Texas. Then it would be warm, wet and tornadoes! Climate change is a real deal. What is causing that change might be up for debate, but change is not.

Such change means that as a farmer, I have to mitigate risk all the time, even though by “nature” many of us farmers are risk averse (and this farmer is really risk averse.) But, because of where I live and farm, I have the opportunity to grow a great variety of crops and can even grow crops throughout the year. Toss in a greenhouse or hoop house, some propane, some artificial light and a you can make it Spring a whole lot earlier. But then, that would be more like farming in California and I have chosen to farm here.

How I remember when I first caught the farming bug. 1993 was the year and I was working in Portland Oregon at Kruger’s Specialty Produce as one of the produce guys that built displays in the produce section. Every day Organic growers would come to the store and bring in fresh lettuce, berries, and carrots. That’s when I caught the farming bug and I am afraid there is really no cure. We had a couple of kiddos and 32 sq. ft. of growing space and we were on our way. Every first-generation farmer starts with their first crop; mine was lettuce and that year I grew the most beautiful head of lettuce.

We wanted to farm so badly but needed to find an actual farm of our own. I still remember loading up the kiddos and heading to Goldendale or Tonasket or Montesano to look at a farm, but every time we came back to Snohomish County, literally when we crossed over the County line, we knew that this is where we wanted to farm, to live, and raise a family. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but oh so rewarding.

Fast forward 24 years. I am still growing the most beautiful heads of lettuce and many more vegetables and fruit. But every year, when I harvest that first head of lettuce it recreates that magical moment for me, the moment Klesick Farms was born, the moment I became a farmer.

Growing good food for your family,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 2/12/17)

Baby Broccolini:

Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and Chinese kale (not actually baby broccoli). It can be cooked much the same way as regular broccoli but is more tender and takes less maintenance. Simply chop off an inch or two from the stems and either bake in the oven or toss in a stir fry with chopped garlic and olive oil. Like other vegetables, these are often blanched first before sautéing. Do this by cooking the broccolini in boiling water for about two minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Add olive to the pan and sauté the garlic, adding the broccolini back in at the end to reheat. To bake, toss in olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 10-15 minutes until tender.

Russet Potatoes:

Russets have a flesh that’s snowy white and very dry, they are the quintessential baking potato. They also make first-rate mashed potatoes and the best French fries! Where they don’t shine is in recipes that call for boiling, as in most potato salads. Though russets make delicious pureed soups, it’s not a good idea to use them in any soup where you want the potatoes to stay in small, intact chunks.

Baby Bok Choy:

This Asian vegetable is in a class all on its own. Despite its delicate and light weight build, bok choy can be quite versatile. Try sautéing in a little olive oil and freshly minced garlic or follow the recipe below. I recently discovered that baby bok choy has a nice flavor without being cooked at all (not sure why I didn’t try it this sooner!) Plus, it has a wonderfully crunchy texture, which I love! So, if you’re not a fan of the squishier consistency of cooked bok choy, try tossing it into a salad with other salad veggies (can also use diced apple and raisons in this one!). Then top with your favorite dressing (a ginger vinaigrette works great) or try making your own! You could simply mix olive oil and vinegar with a little mustard (my go to), or try something a little fancier by blending ½ cup of soy, hemp, or almond milk, ½ cup cashews or ¼ cup cashew butter, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

Horseradish:

In our Northwest Boxes this week. Learn how to make your own horseradish sauce from scratch, here.

 

 

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Cherry Tomatoes

Can be served as a side or on top of rice noodles with soy sauce. Add other vegetables if desired.

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 heads of baby bok choy, cut into1-inch pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt and pepper, to taste

juice of ½ lemon

Directions:

Preparation: 5 min Cook: 15 min Ready In: 20 Min

1. Wash and prepare ingredients.

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

3. Add garlic, scallion and tomatoes and allow to sauté for 5 minutes or until soft and lightly browned 4. Add the bok choy and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes or until wilted, and add salt, pepper and lemon juice. 5. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from rebootwithjoe.com

 

Posted on

Weekend Warrior

Maybe Aging Warrior is a better title for this newsletter. After 20 years of farming and two solid weeks of Spring pruning, my shoulders and elbows are feeling like the 51-year-old grandpa I am. I love pruning. I find it an art, a forgiving art mind you, because the trees always seem to accept my attempts to reshape them and give me fruit in return.

The average age of farmers is going up. I think we are hovering around 57 years old. America needs to find a way for a younger crop of farmers to join our ranks and make a living at the same time. No small task, considering the cost of school debt, car payments, insurance, let alone retirement that many of our young potential farmers are incurring as they start their careers. These are some of the factors that make it hard for a new crop of farmers to join our ranks.

Another factor is that farming is a relentless task master. Yes, it comes with huge rewards: fresh air, invigorating highs when you first plow, followed by harvest. But, it is also equally de-invigorating when a crop fails or languishes.

The weather “windows” can be tight as an eye of a needle or as wide as the Grand Canyon. (I prefer the latter.) But the weather is what it is and a farmer needs to be ready and accept what is given. Farmers have not chosen an easy path.

But every year, small and large farmers and all farmers at heart, begin to awake from their winter slumbers when the day length increases filling our veins with new hope and energy. Seed catalogs arrive and crop plantings get figured out. Fertilizers, compost and foliar spray programs get “penciled” to the paper version of the farm schedule.

Currently, this is where I find myself in the great theatre of farming. We are getting close. If Spring is early, I will be ready. If it is late, I will be anxious. Anxious, not because of the weather, but because the windows to get the work done will be compressed. Then often, something will have to give, kind of like Yahtzee. In farming you only get one chance a year to plant and harvest.

Thankfully, I can get most of my winter dreaming and planning done during the spring, summer and fall seasons. This variability is what makes farming so satisfying–working with nature to produce an incredible harvest of tasty, healthy, life giving fruits and vegetables. When the farm gives us that bounty, all the aches and pains, all the headaches and recalculations, are all but forgot. The farm and the farmer have done their work and a local community has been fed well.

Tristan Klesick

Farmer/Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 2/5/17)

Spinach:

The first thing I do when I bring spinach home is to wash it and lay it out on the counter to dry. Don’t put it away sopping wet. This way it will last longer and be ready to use when needed. Another great way to keep spinach longer is to freeze it. If I’m not going to use it fresh, say in a salad, then frozen spinach can be used just as well in cooking or in a smoothie. I love having spinach in my freezer because I know I don’t have to worry about it and it’s available when I need it. When storing in the freezer make sure to wash it first and let dry. Also, cut off any roots and stems you wouldn’t eat and put in an air tight container vs. a bag. This will keep it from getting freezer burned and is also easier to grab and put away.

Cauliflower:

I’m in the midst of a no-grain life style right now so cauliflower is quickly becoming my best friend. [think cauliflower rice, tortillas, meat pie, pizza crust, biscuits, mashed potatoes (yes, I’m cutting back starches too;), etc.] There are a plethora of recipes online for creative ways to use cauliflower. Check out the link below or simply google “creative ways to use cauliflower” 😉 Here’s a site that has some great links for recipe that use cauliflower as an alternative to carbs. http://paleoleap.com/8-creative-cauliflower-substitutions-unhealthy-foods/

Romanesco:

If you’re a math nerd this vegetable is right up your ally. Sometimes called Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower, it resembles a green cauliflower with florets that mimic fractals. You heard me, fractals! If you’ve never heard of this impressive brassica I recommend looking it up. Romanesco cooks/eats the same way a cauliflower would. But, because I would hate for you to chop/puree away the artistic beauty of this thing, I recommend less violent cooking methods. Try cutting it into quarters, basting in a garlicy rub (olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon) and steaming for 4-6 minutes, or baking at 425° for 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

-Anna Stenberg, Produce Enthusiast

Posted on

Farewell

Last week Joelle and I travelled east of the mountains to Pasco for a funeral. A family friend’s father had passed away and we went to help with prepping of food and what not for the funeral and reception following. Planning a funeral is a lot like planning a wedding except you only get a few weeks at most to pull it together.

Jim had been a member of the same community for 75 years, married 57 years, had four daughters, 11 grandkids and 2 greats. Besides raising children and blessing his grandchildren, Jim was an Alfalfa hay farmer.

Alfalfa was his crop of choice. Jim, his brother and their father cleared the sage brush, leveled out the sand dunes bringing that rough piece of ground into productive crop land. As I sat there at the funeral with over 300 people listening to memories after memories, I was thinking you never know who you are impacting.

Many of those 300+ people who attended the funeral had intersected at a particular point in time with Jim, some from his youth, others from work relationships, and of course, family–siblings for the whole ride, wife and children and grandchildren having the closest interactions.

Jim and my path crossed not because of farming, but because we were friends with his kids and our kids were friends with his grandkids. My first memory of Jim was at a soccer game. I was the coach and my son Stephen and Ian, Jim’s grandson, were playing a game. Grandpa and Grandma had come over for the weekend to take in the festivities. Throughout the funeral, it was apparent that Grandpa and Grandma had made participating in their children and grandchildren’s lives a priority. Now many of you may not know many older farmers, but they are not that much different than other hardworking folks from that generation. Jim was still strong as an ox. You could tell from his handshake that he was well acquainted with work as his hand engulfed yours followed by a steady strong look into your eyes that communicated trust and respect–and maybe a little measure of how many 3 string bales of Alfalfa you could stack! Our relationship was a new one and far too short. Every day each of us get an opportunity to bless someone, sometimes for a moment or a little longer or a lifetime. We will never know most of the impacts that we will have on many of those relationships, but last weekend was a reminder to me to make the most of every one of them.

In every relationship, every interaction, let’s be generous and kind in all that we do because when we pass from this life to the next, our impact on our local communities will be through those relationships and the generations still here. Jim’s life left an impact on at least 300 + people, including mine.

Tristan Klesick, Farmer/Health Advocate