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Twenty Nineteen

When did that get here! Thankfully, the new year is filled with fresh optimism and energy. And as a farmer, I really appreciate the increasing day length that comes with the turning of the calendar. We get to practice eating healthier for another year!

The New Year resolution season is upon us and more than a few of us are going to be getting after making some changes.  After 26 years of being involved in this organic food movement and 21 years at the helm of Klesick Farms, I have thought through and lived through a lot of food trends. I want to say: “our bodies are amazing!” Every time we take a bite of healthy, minimally processed, or raw food our bodies start a healing journey. We can eat poorly, never exercise and then as soon as we start the process to eat better and get a little more exercise, our body starts to repair and heal itself.

We must love ourselves, believe in ourselves and trust ourselves to do healthy things. Healthy habits reward us with healthy bodies, minds, and emotions. Adding vegetables, one big salad or cooked veggie dish a day, could be a goal for some. Eating more fruit and less packaged foods could be a goal for some. Everyone should KILL SUGAR in their diet.

Eliminating sugar is not so easy, especially because it is a very addictive substance. When I refer to sugar I am talking about processed sugars. I do not believe that sugars found in whole fruit are an issue because they come with fiber and a boatload of phytochemicals our bodies need to prosper. White sugar, sugary drinks, etc… no fiber, no nutrition and no phytochemicals.

I would encourage anyone who thinks they are addicted to sugar to read Susan Pierce Thompson’s book Brightline Eating and check out her Brightline Eating program. She really “unpacks” how to lose weight and the science behind how the processed food businesses keep us coming back for their food. I wish I could say that the USDA and FDA are on our side and want a healthier American population, but I can’t. The USDA’s job is to promote calories. The more calories we eat, the more the farmers make. Less calories, less profit. And the FDA regulates what products get to the grocery store and ultimately to us.

The bottom line is: health is a personal choice and a personal decision. And for anyone to succeed, they need a plan to eat better and move more. Only you can affect your health and only you can make the changes for your health. The awesome thing about change is, IT IS POSSIBLE.

The quickest way to get discouraged is to tackle too many lifestyle changes at once. If I could encourage one change for the new year, I would start with eliminating sugar, and then add more whole foods, water, and exercise. And if you slip up, just get up, or as Susan Pierce Thompson says: “just re-zoom” and make the next food decision better.

I believe in you,

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

Tristan Klesick

 

 

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Christmas Tree Salad

Yield: 4 servings | Prep Time: 17 minutes | Source: kblog.lunchboxbunch.com

Ingredients                                                                                               

  • 1 bunch swiss chard (red or green), chopped
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, sliced
  • 2 mandarin oranges, halved, segments separated
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans, raw

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • a few pinches of orange zest
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/3 tsp salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Star topper: 1 slice of toast, sliced into a star

Instructions

  1. Simply prep all your ingredients and toss them with the dressing/spices in a large bowl. Toss and mix very well since this will help to distribute the flavors and infuse the chard with flavor.
  2. You can serve right away or chill in the fridge for up to 12 hours in advance before serving. Any longer and your chard will begin to get a bit soft. Serve raw and chilled. Top it! For the “star” tree topper, simply toast any slice of bread and using either your knife (free-hand) or a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a toast star to top the tree salad.
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Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Dressing

Yield: 8 servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour | Source: eatingwell.com

Ingredients

 

  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ cup regular pearled barley
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 LB sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh rosemary
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate arils

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the water and barley. Bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until tender. Drain off any excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, place a 15×10-inch baking pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, ½ tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Carefully spread potatoes in heated pan. Roast 25 minutes or until tender and brown, stirring once after 10 minutes.
  4. In a serving dish combine wild rice mixture, sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add parsley, green onions and rosemary; toss to combine. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
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Cheers To Your Health

It is amazing how we can anticipate Christmas for months and the next day, I mean the next day, send out a search party to retrieve that scale that we hid a few months back around Halloween to assess how much weight we need to lose in the new year.

The goal is to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. It is the same goal every year, only the year changes. This year happens to be 2019. It might look like 10lbs. or more, but the real goal is to be as healthy as possible. And being healthy looks different than the path that most Americans are on. Metformin and Statins might help make your “numbers” look better, but they are not healing heart disease and diabetes.

Today, our society and much of the world is suffering from diseases of excesses. Hypertension is too much salt, heart disease is too much fat, and diabetes is too much sugar. But really it comes down to a diet high in processed foods and not enough vegetables and fruit. 75% of Americans do not eat a single piece of fruit a day. I wonder how many vegetables that group is eating?

All the growth in the “organic” food sector is mostly processed foods, some new ice cream or potato or quinoa chips. Many consumers are making better processed food choices by purchasing organic processed foods. It is a trap, a feel-good trap. People say, “It’s organic” and gives them permission to eat foods that are not helping, and in some cases hurting our bodies. Eating organic ice cream and organic cookies and organic potato chips lead down the same path as their conventional counterparts. Of course, we can eat those foods, but not every day.

I lean towards a whole food plant-based diet. I think that everyone can benefit from eating more plant-based calories from whole foods. But for some reason, eating vegetables and fruit are some of the hardest foods to incorporate into our diets. Probably because we are so busy, or we have created busy lives. With a finite amount of time and a finite amount of years, making time to eat well should be important because it fuels our lives.

The goal is to be healthy, not thinner. Thinner is a by-product. The way to be healthy is to eat whole foods as close to the source as possible. For vegetables, eat them raw or steam them or roast them and lightly season them. While the vegetables are cooking make a salad. Make enough for two days. Leftovers are some of the best food.

The great thing about eating your veggies is that your body gets an incredible immune boost filled with a plethora of phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and fiber. And to top it off, most vegetables fall in the 100-200 calories per pound range. Maximum nutrition and less calories by eating vegetables is one of the most effective strategies to get healthy and/or remain healthy.

At Klesick’s, we deliver hope with every box of good, hope for a healthier America and a healthier you in 2019.

Cheers to your Health!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan Klesick

 

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Hummus Recipe

Yield: 8 servings | Time: 20 Minutes | Source: epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups drained canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin, plus a sprinkling for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put everything except the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning (I often find I like to add much more lemon juice). Serve, drizzled with the olive oil and sprinkled with a bit more cumin or paprika and some parsley.
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Wow!

It is finally here! Thanksgiving came so early that Christmas seemed like a longways off and BAM! Well hopefully, you are mostly ready for this Holiday Season because it is happening now! I know that for us it can get a bit crazy at the Klesick home. At any given moment we can go from a few of us at home to 25 people and it looks like Christmas is trending towards 25 at the farm.

Last week, the Klesick team took a field trip to the WSU Bread Lab in Burlington. We rolled up our sleeves and prepared a meal with Niels Brisbane, WSU Culinary Director. We made pasta, lots and lots of pasta. We made all sorts of shapes and sizes of pasta. The roasted vegetables with a hazelnut, roasted chili pepper and olive oil dressing – incredible! As was the fennel and onion sauce for the pasta, OH MY WORD! I would have never thought to cook onions and fennel together and then blend them to make a pasta sauce. I love to cook and eat really good food and it was fun to bless my team with a fun cooking/Christmas party. They even stayed and helped with the dishes!

This week’s newsletter (found here) features a hummus recipe (found here) which is a perfect side dish to bring with your vegetable platter to all the holiday parties you have scheduled for the next few weeks 🙂 Be sure to stock up on chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and whatever spices you want to mix in!

Lastly, keep in mind the upcoming delivery day changes for the week of Christmas. Some minor adjustments have been made with the holiday falling on a Tuesday, so double check your day. And of course, if you have travel plans for the next couple weeks, be sure to change your next delivery date from your account online, or contact us and we’ll handle it for you.

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!

See you after Christmas!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan

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Lemon Quinoa with Dill and Zucchini

Lemon Quinoa with Dill and Zucchini

Yield: 4-6 servings | Source: thekitchn.com

Ingredients

 

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (about 6)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Instructions

  1. To make the quinoa, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onions (the oil might splatter!) and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the dark green parts wilt but do not turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains start to crackle and turn dry, about 3 minutes. Add the water, the currants, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemon until you have 1 teaspoonful, and then squeeze the lemon until you have 2 tablespoons juice.
  3. To finish, remove the pan from the heat. Stir the zucchini, lemon juice and zest, 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of the dill, and the pepper into the quinoa. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons each of sesame seeds and dill, and serve.
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What’s Cooking

What are you cooking up for the holidays? What are your family favorites? So often food is at the center of our holidays, birthdays, summer picnics…. A favorite dish is tied to a favorite season which ties everything back to memories.

I know for our family the one thing that gets made every year is pumpkin roles. Flour everywhere, every cookie sheet is filled with pumpkin bread waiting to be rolled up in kitchen towels and then filled with a healthy version of cream cheese filling. They are beautiful and tasty.

Roots and Fruit: 

This week we are building boxes filled with fruit and roots. Not really, but we are purposely omitting lettuce from the boxes of good. The lettuce world is sorting out the premature move to Arizona and Southern California from Mid California.

Every fall produce starts to head back down I-5 as the local produce season starts to wind down and more produce is sourced from Oregon and Northern California and then Mid California and finally down to Southern California, Arizona and Mexico. Of course, there is some local produce available year-round, but the weather for growing fresh crops is primarily down south. About mid-May fresh produce begins its return to the Northwest, reversing its course and comes back up the I-5 Corridor until we are in full production in the Northwest again. We are so blessed to have so much incredible fresh produce available year-round and much of it local.

The recent food warning on Romaine lettuce, that has since been lifted, caused a wrinkle in production. Most of the Romaine lettuce had been growing in Mid California regions and was nearing its growing cycle when the CDC issued its warning. So, the lettuce growers, basically, tilled in a lot of good food and shifted to Southern California a little earlier than was planned for. Which has caused a gap in production of leafy greens since Southern California and Arizona were not quite ready to harvest.

The long and short of it is. Lettuce is scarce and expensive, so I decided to build a menu around roasted vegetables and a Dill, cucumber, tomato salad recipe. And by next week, lettuce will be more reasonably priced and back in the menus.

While I was doing some research on dill for our plant powerhouse feature, we do weekly, I was like, “WOW, I should eat Dill every week”. Dill is definitely an amazing herb and offers so much healing potential from tying up free radicals to aiding digestion. I might even add it to my list of crops to grow for next year!

Enjoy,

Your farmer and health advocate

Tristan