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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Yield: 2 Servings | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Source: www.abeautifulplate.com

 For the Mushrooms

  • 2 large (4-inch diameter) portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
  •  extra virgin olive oil
  •  salt and pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

For the Sauteed Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • salt and pepper

 For the Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Roast the Portobello Mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center position. Lightly spray or brush a standard sheet pan with olive oil. Distribute the portobello mushrooms, stem side up, on the baking sheet and brush or spray lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes (*this time will vary depending on the size of your mushrooms, check after 10 minutes or so to be sure), or until tender. If any moisture collects in the mushroom caps, carefully drain and discard. Set aside on a large plate as you prepare the filling and crispy panko breadcrumb topping.
  2. Prepare the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced shallots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until soft and translucent. Add the baby spinach, increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté until just wilted, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Crispy Breadcrumb Topping: Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter is just beginning to sizzle, add the chopped shallots and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the panko breadcrumbs and minced garlic, and toast for three to four minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning, or until the breadcrumbs are very light golden in color.
  4. Assembly: Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the same sheet pan with parchment paper.
  5. Distribute: Spread the roasted mushrooms, stem side up in the center of the sheet pan so that they are just touching each other. Fill each mushroom with a large spoonful of marinara sauce. Distribute the sautéed spinach evenly among the mushrooms, spooning it on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and goat cheese is just beginning to soften. Be careful to ensure that the breadcrumbs do not brown. Serve immediately.
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Roasted Anaheim Pepper Salsa

Prep Time: 45 Minutes | Source: www.wrightfamilytable.com

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium sized anaheim peppers
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 mango (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 small limes, juiced (to taste)
  • ½-3/4 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • Green onion to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Start the grill and make sure it gets up to temperature. If using an oven, preheat it to 425 degrees.
  2. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, and mango (if using) on grill. (Using a grill wok for the smaller vegetables can be handy). A baking sheet will work for the oven just fine. Gently drizzle olive oil on the vegetables.
  3. Roast on the grill until vegetables become tender and begin to show nice color. (About 15 minutes). For the oven, roast veggies on baking sheet for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Let roasted vegetables cool about 5 minutes. Then dice them up to your desired size. A food processor can also be used to achieve a less chunky consistency.
  5. Combine all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl, add in lime juice and cilantro until desired consistency. Mix well.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with green onion. Allow salsa to chill for at least an hour before serving.
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Back To School

Many of you are getting your kids ready for back to school and thinking about school clothes, supplies, and LUNCHES!  I’d like to take a few minutes to share some ideas that have made our school lunches healthy, simple, and environmentally friendly!  

First of all, I like to use reusable storage containers.  We go the whole year without throwing out a single “sandwich bag.”  Ziploc makes a divided container that is spill proof and pretty durable.  Ours have lasted the whole year long.  If you’d rather steer clear of plastic, there are similar divided containers made of stainless steel.  We purchase cloth lunch bags that fit our containers perfectly, then add a freezer pack to keep things cold.  When using the divided containers, sometimes the items fit better with the addition of a large size silicone muffin cup.  This adds another “section” to the container.  

One thing I like about the containers is that it helps me think through what to send in their lunches.  One section we put in veggies, one section fruit, one section holds the protein, and the smallest section might have a healthy cracker, chip, or small homemade treat.

Most importantly, make sure you have a good supply of healthy foods that your kids will eat!  When ordering your weekly produce, remember that you can order “add-on” items to guarantee that you will have the special items that your kids like most.  For vegetables, I always have cucumbers, carrots, and peppers on hand, because I know my kids will eat these.  If available, my kids also enjoy raw sugar snap peas, green beans, and some even love shredded cabbage or raw cauliflower. 

Choosing fruit is easy! They all like cut apples and oranges!  Melons, grapes, kiwi, nectarines, pears, and berries all make a great addition to school or work lunches.  

For protein, sometimes we’ll send a half sandwich with organic cheese and veggies on homemade sourdough bread.  But there are so many other choices besides sandwiches.  We might send yogurt with chopped fruit and homemade granola, or a nut/seed/dried fruit mix, or a whole grain, honey-sweetened, zucchini or carrot muffin. One of my kids loves it when I send nut butter in one of the compartments along with chopped carrots, celery, and apples for dipping.  Some of my kids enjoy creating their own salad wraps, and I send the ingredients in the separate compartments.  Don’t forget you can send things like a quinoa salad or even dinner leftovers in a reusable soup thermos.  

We stay away from pre-packaged individual serving products.  With the divided containers there’s just no need, and the environmental impact with these items is just too high! 

We’re happy to bring you quality lunch supplies for your kids!  Take a few minutes to think through how we can best help you meet your nutrition goals for your kids this year, while simplifying the process!  

-Joelle

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Farms and Fish

When I was a kid, the strawberry bus would come by every June down to South Everett. The bus would pick up middle schoolers and high schoolers and haul them off to Marysville or Mount Vernon. As the season went on, the same bus would pick up mostly the same the kids and haul them to Mount Vernon, and they would harvest cucumbers.

Of course, machinery and/or a crew of professional seasonal migrant pickers eventually replaced kids at those jobs. I don’t remember those buses coming much after 1980 or so. Whatever caused the shift, the shift was here to stay. Many of those crops (cucumbers, berries, sweet corn) are not a major part of the acreage being farmed today.

Agriculture is not much different than other businesses. We have to deal with market changes, labor shortages, rising inputs, mechanical and technology issues. We are really not so different when it comes to the business climate. There are three areas where Agriculture diverges from many other businesses, and that is the issue of habitat, critical areas, and natural resources.

Unlike a store front, our business model is dependent upon having land to farm, and the best farmland in Snohomish County was in Marysville. The next best soils, although “heavier,” were in the valley bottoms from Monroe to Snohomish, and Arlington to Stanwood. The only farmland left in Marysville is what is north of town, and it is getting wetter by the year as the hillsides fill with houses, the water sheds down the mass of asphalt, and zero lot line houses stack up like cords of wood.

Why did we lose all that prime farmland in Marysville? We lost it because we don’t care about the long-term future of feeding people. Essentially because, Marysville was flat, didn’t flood, and relatively close to Boeing. 

Today, Snohomish County still has lots of farmland, but it is in the valley bottoms where flooding makes building houses harder (not impossible). There is another pressure facing Agriculture today, besides poorly planned communities that shed their water to next parcel below them and eventually into the valleys. The pressure today comes from the Natural Resources/Restoration community. This is a well-funded group, mostly by taxpayers, who work to restore the valleys to their pre-European functions for wildlife or, more specifically, Chinook salmon.

I am all in favor of clean water and healthy functioning watersheds. I have spent 21 years of my working career farming with nature. I have tallied many a month of 40 hours or more volunteering on salmon and farming boards – working on solutions for farms and fish. It is frustrating that almost every person working on the salmon issue is paid by a Salmon Grant to be at those meetings, and all those meetings are during the day. How many working people have time to participate in government???

So why do I continue to stay at the table and be engaged? Because I believe that we can have both a vibrant farming community, and healthy ecosystems. As a local community, we are going to have to decide that Farming and habitat/Chinook Salmon can coexist. The natural resource community may not be paving over the valleys like the Development community was encouraged to do in Marysville, but the outcome will be the same without a shift in public policy. No farmland, no farmers and, quite possibly, no Chinook either.  

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Hinges

I came across a quote from W. Clement Stone. He is attributed to have said, “Little hinges swing big doors.” Let that sink in for a moment. “Little hinges swing big doors.” What size hinge is necessary to swing the doors in our lives that are blocking progress? One needs the appropriate size hinge, the appropriate number of hinges, and the appropriate placement of hinges to swing any door. Small hinges can swing large doors. 

I am no hinge expert, but this is what I do know. Hinges facilitate the movement of the door. A door, by definition, must be able to open, or it would be a wall. Ironically enough, a door is also a wall, but a wall is not a door.

Alright Tristan where are you going? Thanks for asking. When we moved to our farm and farmhouse there were two front doors kitty corner to each other on the same porch (still somewhat of a head scratcher to me???). One of those doors was a door with a window, much akin to a back-porch door. The other door was this really ornate, cool, solid wood door on the adjoining wall. Both had doorknobs and both looked like doors, duh! They were both doors.

The really cool old door didn’t work, and the half-glass back-porch door did work. What couldn’t be discerned from the outside is that at some point in this farmhouse’s 127-year history, someone took off the hinges of that old door, nailed it to the wall, and then paneled over it on the inside. True story 🙂

Sometimes, when it comes to making life changes, we try the wrong door. It might even be the coolest door, or even what appears to be the correct front door, but if that door has no hinges, it is not going to open. When you locate the door with hinges, you have a chance to pass through it, and it will open rather effortlessly. This can either be a good thing or not, but for the most part, if you can open a door, it is at a minimum meant to be opened. If not, it would be locked, or in the case of our old farmhouse, nailed shut and paneled over on the inside.

When it comes to eating healthy, we complicate it. Eating healthy is not complicated, we are! The door to eating healthy is relatively well-oiled and placed in the open where you would expect a door to be. The door to fresh fruits and vegetables, the one door that moves the needle on health and longevity like none other, isn’t nailed shut, hidden, or hard to find. But sadly, for some reason, most Americans rarely open it up and walk through it.

Of course, your family opens the door to health every time a Box of Good arrives, ensuring fresh organically grown fruits and veggies are available for you and your family to eat healthy. Thank you for that. 

As a side note, we swapped out that back-porch door with the really cool ornate wood door, then filled the open space with a window. 

Enjoy,  

-Tristan

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Stuffed Patty Pan Squash with Beef and Feta

Yield: 10 Servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes | Source: www.southernliving.com

Ingredients:

  • 10 large pattypan squash (4 to 6 inches wide)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, divided
  • Chives, chopped (optional)
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1¼ cups)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut off top third of each squash, and scoop out pulp, using a serrated corer or melon baller, leaving a 1-inch shell intact. Coarsely chop pulp; reserve 1 cup of chopped pulp and discard remaining pulp. Place squash bowls in an 11×13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with salt. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes.
  2. Place beef in skillet, and cook, stirring to crumble, until starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and reserved 1 cup chopped squash pulp to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach; cover and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer beef mixture to a medium bowl; cool 10 minutes.
  3. Stir eggs, cooked rice, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the dill into beef mixture. Gently stir in cheese. Spoon mixture into baked squash bowls.
  4. Bake squash in preheated oven until tops begin to brown and squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle squash with remaining 1 tablespoon dill and chives to garnish.
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Beet Chips with Garlic-Dill Tahini Dip

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour | Source: www.aspicyperspective.com

Ingredients:

   Beets:

  • 4 beets
  • 3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt

Garlic-Dill Tahini Dip:

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-2 cloves garlic(minced)
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup fresh dill (minced)
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrub the beets well with a veggie brush and cut off the tops.
  2. Use a mandolin slicer to slice the beets paper thin (1/16-inch). When the beet slices are this thin, there is no need to peel them first. Hold the root end while dragging the beets across the mandolin and watch your fingertips closely.
  3. Place the beet slices in a large bowl and pour the oil and salt over the top. Toss well. (If using red and golden beets, place in separate bowls and divide the oil and salt evenly.) Ready for the secret step? Now let the beets sit in the oil and salt until they release their natural juices, about 15-20 minutes. This is what allows them to retain a better shape and color.
  4. Toss the beets again, then drain off the liquid. Lay the slices out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45-60 minutes until crisp, but not brown. Test after 45 minutes and only bake longer if necessary. Remove the beet chips from the oven and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
  5. For the dip, mix all ingredients together in a bowl
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Summer

I’m hoping for more summer, but last week had that Fall feel to it. When I came downstairs, the heater had turned on. I thought to myself: hmm, that is strange. To the thermostat’s credit, it was chilly. Of course, a few cold mornings in early August don’t predict the future, but before we know it, it will be September. And you know what that means, SOCCER season.  

I coach my son’s team, and I already have those boys practicing. I am a coach that believes in practicing with the ball all the time, and we practice at game speed for most of the practice. But I digress. Fall will be here soon enough, but for now there is still lots of work to be done on the farm. 

If I had to sum up the farm season, it was mostly wins. Things were a little slower growing and quality has been really good. Our early apples have that sweet, tart flavor that is reminiscent of another era. The Pristine is a little later this year, even with the drier weather, but it is fun to have an early apple. The trees we grafted from Honeycrisp to Liberty apples have been growing really well, and in 2021 we will have a healthy crop of Liberties. I absolutely love this apple, but our next apple will be the Gravenstein, followed by the Chehalis.  

Soon there will be Conference and Stark Crimson pears, followed by the Bosc pears. Pears are my favorite crop. I could eat a pear every day. You might be wondering how I chose my varieties. I grow what I like to eat, and I grow what grows well on our farm. Some of this is trial and error. You do your research and plant the crop, and then you try to farm them. Sometimes an experiment will take 3-5 years before you can accurately judge whether or not the crop or tree is a good fit for your microclimate or farming style. We have grafted all of our Comice pear trees to Conference Pears, and that was a good decision. The Conference pear tree is much happier on our farm and tastes really good. Pears are still a month away though.  

Switching back to veggies. Cucumbers are coming on, tomatoes are coming on, green beans have been strong with our third planting a few weeks away. This week we are harvesting beets. Beets are one of my favorites. Our French relatives serve, boiled, peeled, and cubed beets with grated carrots and green beans as the first course. I love that dish; I could eat it a few times a week with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Try it this week, you can put all of it on a bed of lettuce or spinach, too. YUM! 

Thank you for eating your fruit and veggies, it is the easiest way to obtain optimal health. 

Cheers,

-Tristan

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Roasted Vegetable Medley

Yield: 5 Servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

   Potatoes:

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbs. minced onion
  • 2 Tbs. minced parsley
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Broccolini:

  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 1½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Carrots:

  • 2 lb. carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions:

     Potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Toss potatoes and onion in olive oil to coat.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes and season with salt and pepper; toss.

Broccolini:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and trim the broccolini and cut in portions for the larger pieces. Lay on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix the garlic with the olive oil. Toss the broccolini with the olive mixture. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes. or until tender and crispy.

Carrots:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. On a large baking sheet, toss carrots with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 30 minutes.
  3. Garnish with parsley, if desired, before serving.
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Why Local?

Commerce has always been the heartbeat of every economy. Let’s face it, if a community has no way, or severely limited ways, to create products or get them to a market, that community is going to be smaller, and possibly not even exist. 

The idea of local means something different to different people. For some it might mean buying Chinese products from a local shopkeeper, or a large one like Walmart???? For others it might be buying only locally made items from nonlocal materials. Others might think that local means buying only items from local producers who use local items, but even the producer might use a plastic or hemp or some other material from somewhere else to package the item. Are we counting the energy from dams or natural gas or big oil in the production of our local items? 

The idea of local is a difficult thing to pin down. Where do we draw the line? American only? Washington only? America and Mexico only? What about customer service, quality, and local jobs? Are those as equally important or more than where the item is produced? Is the size of the company important? Is there anything inherently better about Costco because it is a local company or Trader Joes because it is not? 

One of the most local things is food, but even that is complicated. Local food is almost always raised by local farmers using Diesel to power their tractors and get their products to market. What about the seed and fertilizers? They mostly come from other places too.  

Klesick farms is a local company and a local farm, but we also work with other local farmers and producers from Skagit or Washington, other states, and even countries. We pride ourselves on being as local as locally possible, and also having a high standard for quality and customer service. Quality, not only in the actual produce we deliver, but the internal quality of the organically grown produce we deliver. That internal quality is the real prize, the fact that it’s beautiful is a plus. 

What we are after is the quality that feeds your body, that fuels your body, mind, and soul to be as healthy as you can possibly be for as long as possible. What we eat is important, and I like to think that where it comes from has a little to do with it as well. For the last 21 years, Klesick’s has never deviated from that mission, message, or passion. Your health is important, and growing or sourcing foods that are healthy, vibrant, and nourishing is embedded deep in our DNA.  

Your health matters to this local farm and company! 

-Tristan