Posted on

“Don’t Plow More Than You Can Disc in a Day”

Don’t you enjoy fun facts or sayings? “Don’t plow more than you can disc in a day” is akin to “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”. These two sayings are getting at a similar thought but were born out in real world examples. Most of us can relate to having taken on too much and the feeling of being unable to complete the task well.

I have a friend who can hardly ever say “No” to anything. I might be more like that friend than I care to admit. I have to work hard to say “No”. There are just so many good things to do. But I did realize the other day that I am able to say, “NO”. I say it all the time, but instead, I just keep saying, “YES, NO PROBLEM!” I am guilty of biting off a little bit more than I can chew. Can any of you relate????

The other phrase is from my days farming with Belgian Draft horses. When you plow and turn over the soil, the soil that is lifted from the bottom to the top is “soft” or “mellow”. So much so that if you immediately work it with a disc, it will turn into a manageable seedbed. The converse is true as well and I have experienced it many a time. If you plow the soil and don’t get back to discing it for a day or two, your work load increases immensely. You often can’t get that nice seedbed! As soon as the inverted soil “sets”, it tends to bind together. The best thing is only plow what you can disc in a day. It was wise 200 years ago. It is wise now.

This time of year especially feels full! I am thankful for increasing day length and a really nice break in the weather. John (Mike’s son) and I plus a few Klesick kiddos have been tackling the Spring farming season. We have been planning and preparing for this season. And like most Springs, it rarely goes as planned. Yet without some planning, the season would be lost before it started.

We have been planting lettuce every week into transplant trays. About 1000 plants every week get seeded. We purposely started a few weeks later this year anticipating a wetter spring, but I don’t know any farmers who anticipated an end of April start??? As you can imagine those greenhouse plants kept a growing. Last week, the farm crew planted the 3/7 and 3/15 and 3/22 plants all at the same time in the field. So much for planning. But if we hadn’t planned to “start”, we wouldn’t have had any lettuce or peas ready to go and would be unable to take advantage of the weather.

Because we had a plan, it allowed us to take a few minutes and think through some last minute changes. We decided to plant the Sugar Snap Peas in a different location and to plant the green beans earlier than normal. FYI, peas we plant once and beans we plant several times during the summer. We also cut back on the peas this year because the later Spring will push pea harvest into the raspberry and blackberry harvest. Crazy, but when you are working in a living system, flexibility and nimbleness are assets to be coveted.

I think we are well on our way to a good start to the local season. Let the planting continue and the weeding be nonexistent (just hoping)!

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/22/18)

Kale:

As a salad, kale keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. Kale can be a little tricky because it tends to be a bit tough and sometimes bitter (it gets bitter as it ages, so plan to eat within 5 days).

Tips for making a tasty kale salad: make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!); Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and makes it so it’s evenly covered.

For the dressing, I like to use a combination of vinegar and olive oil. Once you have prepped your kale and worked in the dressing, add your toppings. Try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Radicchio:

You can add to a mixed salad (see recipe below) or opt to savor them alone with the simplest of olive-oil dressings. Or, you can cook radicchio; the tonic bitterness is a good contrast to rich or fatty flavors. Radicchio is good braised, grilled, or in a soup. Store: keep radicchio in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 

Featured Recipe: Spring Pea, Asparagus, Kale & Quinoa Salad w/Kale Pesto

Finding asparagus and peas in your box of good is a sure sign that it is spring. “The pesto really takes it to the next level and this recipe makes about twice what you will need so feel free to enjoy the next day on your avo toast, breakfast salad w/ fried eggs or on pasta. Mmm all so good.” —caraskitchen.net

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE PESTO

4-6 leaves kale, de-stemmed, chopped

1/4 Cup walnuts or pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil, more for smoother pesto

1 medium lemon, juiced and zested

1/4 Cup cilantro, leaves and stems

Pinches salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE SALAD

1 Cup (heaping) asparagus chopped in 1-inch pieces

3/4 Cups green peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 Cup mini bell peppers, thinly sliced on an angle

4 Cups salad greens (kale, red leaf lettuce, radicchio)

3 Cups cooked quinoa, rice, or pasta

1/4 Cup cilantro chopped (any fresh spring herb will work like basil or mint)

1 medium lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 avocado, cut in cubes

Chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions:

Make the pesto: De-stem kale and put everything into a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds. scrap down the sides and continue to pulse 30 more seconds. Scrape down sides again and then turn on high until desired consistency is reached.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Create and ice bath with ice cubes and water, set aside.

Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces, measure out 1 heaping cup full. Once water is boiling add in the peas and asparagus and blanch. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and once bright green transfer to ice bath using a slotted spoon.

In a large bowl combine your salad greens, lemon zest and juice, oil, quinoa, peppers, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste if desired and toss to evenly coat.

Add in asparagus, peas, avocado cubes and a couple big dollops of pesto. Divide amongst plates. This would be great with fried eggs, salmon or baked tofu.

 

Adapted from recipe by caraskitchen.net

Posted on

How Can I and Why Can’t I?

How am I ever going to lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds? Losing weight is a fairly simple mathematical equation—calories burned minus calories consumed. Calories are a measure of energy. The more energy you use the more calories you need to fuel your body and conversely, the less energy you use the less fuel your body needs to operate. So, in a sense, one could choose Bariatric surgery, wire their jaw shut, or eat only grapefruit and lose weight.

But is losing weight the real goal? Granted if we lose weight we will probably have better health numbers and being overweight or obese is a leading indicator for Prediabetes, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease…. So, in real sense losing weight is important. I would contend that when we say we would like to lose weight or need to lose weight, we are really saying, we need to be healthier. And for the most part if we are skinnier, we would be healthier.

Perhaps we could amend the question by saying, “We need to lose 10lbs, so we will be healthier.” That is a good reason to lose weight. And if you read last week’s newsletter, “To Serve or Be Served” you will remember that Americans and the world are not on a healthy trendline. Which means that the healthier folks are going to have to serve a lot more folks who are unhealthy.

But why is it so hard to lose weight so we can be healthy? I have been wrestling with that question for years. I know that I “bought” into eating the organic version of the Standard American Diet AKA SAD, but it was only minorly better than the nonorganic version of the Standard American Diet. It wasn’t until last October that I finally understood the forces that were at work to prevent me from being healthier. I picked up a copy of the book Brightline Eating by Susan Pierce Thompson. She explained why so many of us struggle with weight loss and how you can win with food.

Is Brightline perfect for everyone? Mostly. I do believe that the information, tools and strategies are helpful and have helped me lose 25 pounds and keep them off through the Holiday Gauntlet of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter and numerous birthday celebrations.

Having the science behind why it can be so hard to lose weight and get healthy was invaluable and then having a strategy to eat the right amount of food and the right foods was essential. Without a food plan/strategy it is almost impossible to compete with Grocery Manufacturers of America and their advertising campaigns. The GMA is not concerned about your health, they are concerned about the health of their bottom line.

But we don’t have to play their game, we get to choose. I have a plan for my food and to be as healthy as possible as for as long as possible. My plan looks like vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and high-quality proteins—both plant and meat—plus drinking water and getting exercise. This is my strategy to get and remain healthy, and those extra 25lbs I lost were a nice perk!

 

Thank you,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/15/18)

Rhubarb:

Sugar is not rhubarb’s only friend. Rhubarb also makes a beautiful pickle to top salads or sit charmingly on a cheese board. Or in chutneys and sauces to serve alongside roast pork or chicken. Check out food52.com for some great recipe inspiration.

A favorite way to use rhubarb is to cut the stalks in 3-inch portions then roast with a bit of sugar (or honey)—not too much as you’ll want to retain the eye-catching brightness. Try throwing in a vanilla bean or some fresh ginger. Roast at 400°F for about 20 minutes. Don’t disturb the stalks too much as they are incredibly tender when they cook. Serve on top of yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, put in between layers of cake or serve over ice cream for a lovely dessert.

 

Asparagus:

Asparagus is best cooked as fresh as possible but if you need to store it for 3 to 4 days treat it like a bouquet of flowers. Trim a small amount from the bottoms of the stalks with a sharp knife and place them in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. This will keep the stalks firm and crisp until you are ready to cook them.

To prepare: the smallest spears will only need to have their very base tough parts trimmed off before cooking. However, the bottom portions of larger asparagus spears can be chewy and woody; they will either need to be snapped off or peeled. To snap off the tough portion, simply grasp the stalk with both hands and bend the bottom portion until it breaks off. The asparagus will naturally break off at the point where the tender portion ends and the tough, stringy part begins.

The way you cook your asparagus can depend upon its size. The baby spears can be sautéed, or rubbed lightly with olive oil and grilled. With fatter spears you may want to trim them and either steam or boil them in order for them to increase their tenderness. However you choose to cook it, watch your asparagus closely so that it doesn’t get overdone. The perfectly cooked spear is easy to penetrate with a knife, but still slightly firm being bright green in color.

rhubarb pieces

Featured Recipe: Stewed Cinnamon Apple & Rhubarb

Ingredients:

1 bunch rhubarb, stalks only, trimmed and chopped into pieces

2 granny smith apples (or other tart apple), peeled cored and roughly chopped

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup whole cane sugar or honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch ground cloves

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Place everything in a pot over low heat and let simmer for 30-60 minutes until all is soft. Your house will smell amazing. Remove the cinnamon stick before eating.

 

Adapted from recipe by theveggiemama.com

Posted on

To Serve or be Served

cereal on a spoon

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” John Kennedy

“No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him/her distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.” George Washington Carver

“We are going to need a whole bunch of healthy people to take care of the young, old and in between for the foreseeable future.” Tristan Klesick

I really don’t belong in this list of quotes, but my heart is heavy. I have this foreboding sense that America and the rest of civilization is heading for a preventable health catastrophe. I know that I am writing this newsletter to a healthier group, AKA Klesick’s customers.

Just last week, I saw a headline that said, “cereal manufacturers are going to sweeten their products to increase sales.” The nexus of Calories and Capitalism is the root cause of much of it, coupled with the low nutritional value and a desire for cheap food–WHAM! Add to that recipe a more sedentary lifestyle (double WHAMMY) and you have the making of a preventable health catastrophe.

Health is a complicated issue and It is hard to simplify the current health crisis. But food would be a logical starting point to reverse this frightening health trend. Can diet have an impact? Can eating less sugar and fat and salt have an impact? Can drinking more water and less coffee, soda, alcohol have an impact? Can eating more vegetables and fruit have an impact? Can just eating less have an impact? The Answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding YES!

Can we wait for DC to implement a better food policy? Can we wait for the Grocery Manufacturers of America to produce healthier products? Can we expect Lobbyist to not help elect legislator’s that support the status quo? The answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding NO!

Thankfully, as you also know, just adding one more serving of vegetables and fruit per day will do wonders for most Americans and adding two or three more servings per day would downgrade our national health crisis to a health issue.

When John Kennedy was posing the quote above to America he was not thinking about Health and probably neither was George Washington Carver. But today, continuing to make better food choices is critical for our own personal health and our families health. But I would also contend that remaining as healthy as long as possible will be critical for the foreseeable future, so those that are healthy and have made healthy choices can serve as long as possible.

I want to be one of the ones who is healthy enough to serve for as long as possible!

 

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

 

Posted on

How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 4/8/18)

Savoy Cabbage:

These crinkled leaf cabbages are one of the best varieties for cooking and tender enough to be eaten raw in salads. A drawback of its tender nature is that it does not have the keeping quality of its sturdier cousins but should hold well in the fridge for about a week. Cook them like you would a regular cabbage; in soups, stir fries, or other cabbage recipe. Or, simply cut into one-inch strips and sauté in a large covered pan with some butter.

In China and other East Asian region, it is used like cabbage in stir fries with added onion, garlic, bell pepper and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soy/chili/tomato sauce to prepare fried rice, egg rice noodles, chowmein…etc.

 

Leeks:

Leeks are cousins to the old, familiar onion, but have a sweeter, more delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic or chives and are delicious no matter how they’re cooked. Additionally, leeks contain generous amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making the vegetable a wise addition to a healthy diet. You can cook leeks by poaching them in chicken broth, pan-frying them in a little oil, or boiling them until tender, or you can include the leeks in a variety of other recipes (such as the one below).

 

 

Featured Recipe: Simple Shredded Savoy Cabbage

A simple shredded savoy supper or side dish that also pairs well with a protein such as roast chicken.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Serves 3-4

 

Ingredients:

Knob of unsalted butter or ghee

2.5 oz. pancetta (or other salty, savory protein)

1 small savoy cabbage, shredded

1 leek, white parts only, rinsed, medium dice

small glass white wine

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat until it foams. Add the pancetta and diced leeks and cook for 3-4 minutes until pancetta is lightly browned and leeks are starting to get tender.

Finely shred the cabbage and add it to the pan.

Turn the heat up high and pour in the wine. The cabbage will cook in 2 minutes whilst the wine bubbles and reduces. Be sure not to overcook the cabbage—make sure it retains its bright green color.

Season with pepper and a little salt (depending on the saltiness of the pancetta) and serve. this dish is wonderful on its own with a hunk of bread or as an accompaniment to a roast chicken.

 

Adapted from recipe by glutsandgluttony.com

Posted on

Bloom Where You’re Planted

daffodils

This is where I live, this is where I serve, and this is where I have my greatest impact.

Have you ever heard “bloom where you are planted”? That makes great sense if you are a dandelion, or a rose, or a maple tree, or, or, or? Of course, the plant world gets it. They don’t really have a choice. They just bloom where they are planted.

So, unless someone uproots a plant and transplants it somewhere else, it will do the next thing on the to do list—grow and bloom. Oh, to be a plant. ?

But us? We have choices, oh so many choices. Most of us are pretty firmly rooted in our communities and unless something happens, we will wake up the next day and still be pretty firmly rooted in the same community. This means that today and tomorrow we have great opportunities to make the world a better place by just growing and blooming where we live.

Of course, there are different stages of life and things will shift, and if you find yourself transplanted, follow the plants lead. A transplanted plant needs time to reacclimate and reestablish. Often it will take a tree a year or more to regrow roots, which is why I as a farmer prune the top of the tree at the same time I transplant it. So, if you find yourself in a major move (location or life), I would encourage you to prune your schedule and grow some roots in your new community/phase of life and then look for opportunities to serve.

When I transplant annuals like lettuce, those plants will take a few weeks to get growing. That is akin to moving to a new home in the same community or maybe a life event that will take you out of action for a season. It would still be good to take a few weeks or month and prune your schedule to settle in. And, after a time of re-rooting, engage back in with your community/new community.

Solomon in the Bible shares that there is nothing new under the sun. I agree that many of the “new” principles or ideas or innovations are not new, but what is new is that a new person is thinking about how to do something through their own lenses and filters. I sincerely believe that everyone is uniquely created to make the places we live, work, and congregate better places. We all have the ability to leave our communities richer and better today and tomorrow. We just need to be OURSELVES and grow and bloom where we are planted.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 4/1/18)

Gold Nugget Mandarins:

Citrus, in nearly any form, is a perfect addition to brighten up a salad. Add citrus segments to winter greens along with avocado and crumbles of salty feta. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Radishes, Black:

The skin is particularly spicy on black radishes; for milder flavor, peel them before using. These radishes store well—simply wrap the roots in newspaper or perforated plastic in the refrigerator, and they’ll keep well for a long time. Try them: roasted with olive oil and salt. You can either roast them whole (like a potato, and then peel/mash, or slice them thin into “chips.” To make chips, slice the root as thinly as possible, or put halves in your food processor. Coat in a little olive oil and sprinkle on salt. Bake in a hot oven (375-400 F) for about 10 minutes. Be careful – they can burn to a crisp if you’re not careful.

If you do want to try them raw, slice them thinly (or grate them) and mix in a salad with sweet, balancing ingredients like apples, celeriac, arugula, beets, carrots and pecorino. Salt also helps take the edge off their spiciness.

Arugula:

This peppery green is ubiquitous with fresh salads (try it with blue cheese, walnuts and Asian pears), but it is also great atop pizzas (add just after you remove them from the oven, and allow to wilt slightly), or to wilt atop a winter soup. Arugula pesto has its own following too. Store in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days to prevent from becoming bitter.

Beets:

Beets can be cooked just about any way you like. They are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done).  But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed as well so don’t throw them out! Try cooking the greens in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bright green. Don’t let cook them too long though or they’ll get slimy.

Or check out this recipe for sweet potato and beet chips! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/sweet-potato-and-beet-chips-with-garlic-rosemary-salt-recipe.html

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Radishes with Arugula

Ingredients:

0.66 lb Black Radishes

2Tablespoons Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon of Cracked Pepper

Fresh bunch of Arugula

Pecorino, grated or flakes (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F

Slice the radishes into cubes and toss with the avocado oil, herbs, salt and pepper.

Spread across a shallow pan and cook in the oven at 425F for about 30 minutes.

When the radishes are done (test with a fork), immediately fold in the arugula leaves until they wilt from the heat. Sprinkle with pecorino if desired. Enjoy!

 

Adapted from recipe by platedwithstyle.com

Posted on

Doing Nothing is Not Doing Nothing

Doing nothing couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are “doing nothing”, that means you are doing something but just consider it not as valuable as doing something. For sure, even when you think you are doing nothing, your mind and body are still doing something. And we can all be thankful for that! If it was up to us to remember to breathe or have our heart beat or make another 225 billion cells every day, there would be a whole lot less of us just doing nothing. (Wink)

I spend a lot of time volunteering in the Salmon/Farm and Food (In)Security arenas. I use the term arena, because a lot of this work is like an arena of old. The decisions that have been and are being made have long term impacts. “Doing Nothing” in these two arenas is still doing something. It is still a choice being made and the outcomes of those choices will have impacts on our environments—the places we play or grow our food or where the wild critters live. Or, if we continue to hand out food freely or choose to subsidize food or decide to implement a “work for food” model, all those choices will have impacts too.

Here is a prime example. The steel workers (150,000) of PA and OH are really excited that President Trump is slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum. The soybean farmers (300,000) are not excited because China might slap tariffs on their products. In this case doing nothing would continue to benefit the soybean farmers and farmers in general, but still depress our steel industry. Choices do have impacts. Ironically, if soybeans have a tariff slapped on them, those farmers will have to sell the food to more Americans. Food prices will then drop (ouch/YAY), but your car prices will go up (as if they could charge anymore for a car)!

Nothing happens in a vacuum and change is hard. Just because a policy is not changed doesn’t mean that everything is better. We are just deciding to do nothing different and choosing to get the same results. That might be fine, but that is not doing nothing.

There are lots of broken systems in America today. They were implemented to solve a need and that need was solved, but at the same time we also created a whole industry around serving that need. It became an entitlement with elected officials, government employees, lawyers, doctors, community activists, universities and private businesses all lining up to keep meeting that need. Pick the need: agricultural subsidies, welfare payments, disability, education subsidies, defense contracts, clean air and water, etc. As one legislator shared with me, “Every program has a constituent.” I would add that every time we support/create a new government program, we also create the opportunity for that program to live on and on and on.

Unfortunately, there is 17 trillion dollars of debt in America demanding that changes happen. I want to be out in front of those changes and be working on local solutions to national problems that exist locally here, and I am investing my time to do so. Because I am farmer, I have a unique platform to affect change in both the farm/salmon and food security arenas.

I hope it is not lost on you that when you buy a box of good for your family or for the food bank, you too are also saying yes to leaving this community a better place for the next generations, a place with livable communities, good jobs, fresh air and clean water. Supporting a local business and local farms is not doing nothing – IT IS DOING SOMETHING!

 

Together we are making a difference, a local difference.

 

Thank you,

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate