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It Has Been Over a Decade, Maybe More

I honestly can’t remember the exact date we had a snow storm that disabled the PNW. I do remember as a kid walking on Lake Stickney in the late 70’s. Even the Snohomish River froze over that year! But that was a snowy cold snap that lasted for days. This recent one was mostly cold, but not a deep-freezing, prolonged kind of cold. I do remember the storm in ‘97 that left its mark on our communities. 

In 21 years, we have only missed deliveries due to snow one other time. It was the week after Christmas in ‘05 or ’06. The weather forecast was for snow and then a deep freeze that wasn’t going to thaw in the foreseeable future. That year we cancelled all deliveries for the week. The hard part is that when we cancel deliveries, we have to make the decision 5 days in advance. The other hard part is no deliveries, no revenue – ouch! 

When we cancel deliveries early in the process it accomplishes a few things. First, it lets our suppliers know that we won’t be buying produce. Then it allows us to communicate with you to give you ample time to make other plans. And lastly, it keeps our drivers and packing team safe. 

We will make every effort to make deliveries, but safety is our number one priority when it comes to adverse weather. Fortunately, we live in the NORMALLY MILD PNW. Thankfully, for this last event, the weather prognosticators have really upped their game, and I am able to rely on their near-term forecasts better than ever before. It does make the unpleasant task of cancelling deliveries easier. 

The good news is that the Klesick Driving team (Mikey, Nate, John and Kathryn) did an excellent job! We were able to deliver all but four of our routes in the last two weeks. That was an amazing feat!  

Snow Geese: 

I wanted to give my beautiful wife, Joelle, a shout out. She captured some amazing winter images of nature at work on and around our farm. Thousands of snow geese descended upon our farm last week. Their black tipped wings glistening in the foreground of the Cascade Mountains. Breathtaking! 

I might write the newsletters, but when you notice an amazing photo, she is more than likely behind it. I am in awe of her ability to see things that I never notice. If you haven’t scrolled through our FB page or Instagram, take a “gander.”  

On this organic farm, not only do we raise food, we also coexist with nature.

Tristan

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Creamy Artichoke Chicken

Yield: 4 Servings | Time: 23 minutes | Source: www.askannamoseley.com

Ingredients:

For the topping

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, chopped
  • 3 TBS mayonnaise
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1½ cups flour
  • Salt and pepper
, to taste
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, minced

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the topping ingredients together, set aside.
  2. Take the chicken and butterfly each one, also making crisscross marks with a knife on the bottom of the breast to make it more tender.
  3. Mix flour, salt, pepper and rosemary in a gallon size zip lock bag.  Add chicken and toss to coat.
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat with 2 TBS olive oil.
  5. Cook chicken for about 5 min on each side until golden brown and no longer pink inside.
  6. When chicken is done place on a baking sheet.  Place a heap of the topping on top of each chicken breast, covering most of the breast.
  7. Broil chicken until the topping starts to bubble and turns golden.  This should take between 3-5 min.
Artichokes Powerhouse
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Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash

Yield: 8 Servings | Time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Source: www.minimalistbaker.com

Ingredients:

 

Veggies and Quinoa

  • 3/4 cups rawquinoa
  • 1Tbsp avocado or coconut oil
  • 3cups shiitake mushrooms,sliced
  • 2Tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • 2cups chopped kale
  • 1/2cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)

 

Squash

  • 1large butternut squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1Tbsp avocado or melted coconut oil
  • 2Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

For Serving

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar (reduced down on stovetop)
  • 2 medium cipollini onions or shallots, sautéed

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set out a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Prepare quinoa by adding quinoa and water to medium saucepan and bringing to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the water is absorbed. Remove lid and let cool completely (uncovered) on the stovetop.
  3. Halve the squash lengthwise (tip and stem). Scoop out seeds, then brush with oil and sprinkle with coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Place cut-side downon a lined baking sheet or baking pan.
  4. Bake squash for 15 minutes, then flip the squash over to cut-side up. Bake for another 30-45 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the squash.
  5. In the meantime, prepare your balsamic reduction by adding balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bringing to a low boil over medium high heat. Once bubbling, reduce heat to a healthy simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
  6. Once your quinoa is cooked and cooled, heat a large rimmed metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil or water and quinoa. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly crispy and browned. Season with half the coconut aminos for flavor. Then remove from skillet and set aside.
  7. To the still hot skillet add the mushrooms and the other half of the coconut aminos. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until browned and reduced in size. Then add garlic and kale and walnuts (optional) and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add quinoa back to the pan and toss to coat (see photo). Set aside.
  8. Once your squash is roasted, place cut-side up on the baking sheet or dish and fill to the brim with quinoa filling. Then place back in the oven to roast another 5 minutes.
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Fear Pushes and Vision Pulls

I was listening to Ocean Robbins on a podcast with the folks from Mastering Diabetes last week, and he said something that I had never heard. He said that “fear pushes, and vision pulls.” I believe that, and I live that, but I have never heard it said quite like that. Fear pushes and vision pulls. I like it.

Everyone tends to be driven by some fear, and we react out of fear sometimes. But what if we could be so comfortable in our own skin that we could be ourselves and not be afraid? There are lots of areas where people walk in fear. Of course, Ocean was talking about lifestyle choices, food in particular. I couldn’t help but be saddened by all the superficial things we do as people. The way we dress, where we buy our coffee, what gym we belong to (but rarely attend, or attend because we want to be seen there). Who eats Kale salads because you don’t want to get cancer, or stopped eating Mangos because you have Diabetes?

Fear, Fear, Fear. It pushes us to buy every last gallon of water in the grocery stores, and every comfort food because it is going to snow. Advertisers use fear all the time. Many of us are afraid to put down our phones, because we might miss something that someone just posted. But we are apparently not afraid to miss out on a conversation with the person in the same room with us.

There are no magic bullets, and no magic pills or diets, and the pursuit of them can lead to burnout and despair. Fear pushes us and vision pulls us. What if we decided to put down our cell phones and turn off our media? What if we just chose Kale because it was better for us?

What would a better world look like to you? What would a better you look like to you? Instead of wishing you won’t get cancer, heart disease, or diabetes…. or wishing you would lose 20 lbs. Think about how much fun it will be playing tag with your grandkids or climb Mount Pilchuck every year till your 80.  If you wanted to do those two things or pick another amazing thing that being healthy would allow you to do and use that vision to pull you to the tops of mountains, to not only out smart your grand kids (or kids) but out run them too!

What changes would you make today? Some of you are thinking, I could have done that 20 years ago or 20lbs ago or I never could do that, and you are probably right, but the goal isn’t to do the seemingly impossible today. The goal is to start to do the seemingly impossible thing today, based on your vision for the life you want to live and the legacy you want to leave. Small steps can equal miles of satisfaction and joy, step into a plan based on vision and enjoy this life even more.

Change is hard, but change is possible!

Tristan

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Spring, Not So Fast

Oh My! 

It has been a little chilly in Michigan! Michigan is where my oldest son and his wife live. My advice: “try and stay warm, son!” And as much as I miss him, I am not really interested in visiting anytime soon. However, we have been a little on the chilly side in the mornings and a little on the warm side after lunch around here.

As a farmer, I am asked about the weather quite frequently, especially now that we have had such a mild winter. For the record, there will be no “working the soil” ‘til it’s time. It is so difficult to fix a muddy mess that I have learned to be patient and wait for the soil to “speak” to me. There is a certain look to the land, a feel in the air, and an activity in flora and fauna that announces the Spring and the time to farm. 

Of course, I am referring to working outside and not in the greenhouses. For the greenhouses we try and anticipate an earlier or later Spring so we can time the plantings of our lettuce transplants. There have been years where we have planted 3 or 4 successions at once, and others where we have had to compost a couple thousand plants because the ground was too wet to plant. And no reasonable weather opportunity to plant was coming, either. Those plants made for some expensive compost! 

One year, I ordered a small planting of 4 trays for an early February planting in the greenhouse. Imagine my surprise when I received 40 trays. That was an expensive “0” to have added to my order. Thankfully, we had a funky February and we were able to work the ground and literally mud them in. We had the earliest lettuce of anyone that year. Let’s just say there is a reason that vegetable farmers don’t plant lettuce in February, unless it is in the greenhouse! 

We have learned that there is a time for everything, sowing and harvesting included. We will wait, maybe push the envelope a little earlier this year, but not much.  

We have just about finished pruning the fruit trees, and good thing, because they might wake up early this year. And our greenhouse is full of garlic greens, which we will be harvesting in the near future. Think green onions, only they are garlic. I will share more about the impetus behind that crop at a later date. 

We are here to serve you.

Your Farmer and Health Activist,

Tristan

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Zuppa Toscana Creamy Potato & Kale Soup with Italian Sausage

Yield: 6 Servings | Source: www.alaskafromscratch.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Lb Italian sausage (or veggies, canned beans, etc.)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.
  2. Brown the sausage until no longer pink.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, and kale.
  5. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.