Posted on

Washboards and Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Our nine-year-old is in the fun stage of seeing the world idyllically.  She knows that in our family we like to try to be wise with our resources, do our part in preserving the planet, and make healthy choices whenever possible.  So, she has suggested using a washboard to do laundry, using candles exclusively to light our home, and walking or riding our bike everywhere we go!  Wow, the enthusiasm is contagious; for about 30 seconds!

I don’t think most of our goals are that extreme, but I love that sort of back to the earth, simplistic thinking.  When it comes to food, there are some tangible things we can do to make it easier to embrace frugal, healthier choices for our bodies and our planet!

Eat food as close to its natural state as possible, in season, and with minimal added processing or packaging.  This saves money, time, resources, and is healthier!   “Healthy” junk food has become readily available, but it usually comes with a higher price tag, and almost always a higher environmental cost!

Take a minute, check your pantry and fridge, and evaluate what processed foods you use most, and think about whether there is a natural choice for a better alternative.  With fall upon us, I’ll use pumpkin as an example.  Many fall recipes call for canned pumpkin.  Have you ever tasted canned pumpkin before adding it to a recipe?  Oh my!  There is literally no temptation at all to lick the spatula when emptying a can of pumpkin.  Try making your pumpkin puree from a fresh, local, delicious, organic Pie Pumpkin!  It’s super easy! You will never go back to canned, and you’ll probably be found guilty of not only sneaking a taste but going back for seconds!  It’s healthier, yummier, supports local, and is better for the environment!

To make a simple pumpkin puree, first, wash your pumpkin, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, place the halves open side down on a baking sheet, then roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 45 minutes.  Scoop out the flesh, place in a heavy-duty blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.  Voila!  It’s simple.

Now, be forewarned; when you tell people that you made your pumpkin pie from a locally grown, organic pumpkin, they may just look at you like you just washed your clothes with a washboard! Our culture has taken convenience to the extreme in some areas.  Don’t be afraid to reevaluate the food choices that you’re making for you and your family.  You don’t need to compromise your values for convenience; instead, keep it simple.    

-Joelle Klesick

Posted on

Quinoa Enchilada Stuffed Delicata Squash

Yield: 4 Servings | Source: www.kristineskitchenblog.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium delicata squash
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • additional cilantro or cheddar cheese for serving, if desired

Instructions:

Roast the Squash:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the tough stem end of the delicata squash, then slice each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut-side-up in a baking dish and lightly brush with olive oil on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 30-35 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Maintain oven temperature.

Cook the Quinoa:

  • Bring 1 ¼ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Prepare the Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt, tomato sauce, and water, and cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked quinoa, black beans, cilantro, and cheddar cheese.

Fill and Bake the Stuffed Squash:

  • Scoop the filling into the squash halves. Bake in the 375-degree oven for 10 minutes, until filling is heated through and squash is tender. Serve, topped with additional cheese and cilantro if desired.
Posted on

Kale and Roasted-Potato Salad

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Amarosa potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1-pound kale, trimmed, cut into large pieces

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine potatoes, onion slices, 1 tablespoon oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with pepper, and toss. Spread mixture in a single layer (use a second sheet if necessary). Roast, stirring potatoes and scraping bottom of sheet about every 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until potatoes are brown and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Combine mustard and lemon zest and juice in a bowl. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add kale, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 6 minutes. Add mustard-lemon mixture; toss to coat. Cook until heated through. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and season with pepper. Toss with potatoes.
Posted on

What Happened!

Things were growing right along. The summer was a tad colder than desired, but all in all there was enough sunshine and good weather, with a few timely showers, to keep most veggies and fruit crops content. Everything was pretty happy, except for the tomatoes.  

I mean, they were happy enough, but not really happy. Ok, let’s be real, this just wasn’t a tomato year. Yes, we produced some amazing tomatoes, and a decent quantity, but this wasn’t the year to grow all your tomatoes outside, which is exactly what chose to do. 

Hindsight is always 20/20. For the previous 2 growing seasons, the summers were hot and dry, and when you add a little irrigation to hot and dry, you get TOMATOES. When it comes to climate change, we believe that the climate is changing, and the NW is going to be one of the winners, especially when it comes to growing tomatoes on the western side of this state. 

Our decision to grow all of our tomatoes outside was the right one, in light of the warming trend, but this last season was more normal in its presentation, and maybe we should have planted the greenhouses too. If you are thinking, “why not just plant the greenhouses every year?” The short answer is, growing tomatoes outside is more enjoyable for me. But next year, I will probably grow inside and outside. 

We have this new patch of cucumbers that is coming into production right now and, if this was last year, those cukes would be producing like crazy. However, this early start to fall has them a little confused. It is also a tad cold for them, and with the shortening day length, those beautiful plants are probably going to be calling it quits here pretty soon. John and I are talking about covering them with a blanket called Reemay. It will protect the plants from a light frost and extend their season.  

Tree Fruit 

We have been featuring our Conference pears in the boxes lately. I love pears. I could eat a pear every day, especially a firm pear. I like them firm and juicy, and these Conference pears are perfect right now. Our Conference pears are a harvested over a two-week window, and then they’re gone. Thankfully, the Bosc and Comice pears are close on their heels. We should have Klesick pears for the next few weeks, then a gap, and then Bosc and a few Comice pears in early October.  

Lest I forget, look for the first winter squash in a few weeks. I am thinking I will lead with the Delicata, then Carnival, pie pumpkins, and Acorn for Thanksgiving. Look for Delicata to arrive in two weeks.  

The farm recap respectively submitted! 

-Tristan

Posted on

Cauliflower Potato and Celery Soup

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Source: www.berrysweetlife.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, fry the onion for about a minute before adding the garlic and fry until glassy and fragrant. Add the cauliflower and celery and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes
  2. Now add the potatoes, broth and water – the veggies should be very nearly covered with the liquid. Simmer on a medium high heat for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, stir half-way through cooking time.
  3. Blend until silky smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with chopped chives, and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
Posted on

Back To Fall

Let’s face it, letting go of the leisure of summer and getting back into a fall routine can be rough!  For us, fall includes getting the kids up and going earlier, breakfast for all, packing school lunches, thinking about after-school snacks, and planning for evening dinner.  We don’t want to be caught off guard and resort to making unhealthy choices, so planning is key. 

Starting out with healthy ingredients in the fridge and pantry is a great start!  Customers tell us all the time that since they began receiving Klesick’s fruit and vegetable boxes, their family has been eating more nutritiously!  We love hearing that!    

Don’t let the busyness and hungry-belly time crunch push you into a corner!  Stay ahead of it so you’re not tempted to compromise your nutritional values!  When you get your produce box, take a few minutes to prep some of your vegetables so that the items are quick and convenient to use!  You can always chop up cauliflower and broccoli and then store in a sealed container.  You can scrub or peel carrots so they’re ready for dinner or a quick snack.  Also, evaluate the items for longevity.  Some of the pit-fruit, berries, or tender greens are best enjoyed within a few days after delivery!   

Take a few minutes and think about how you can add more fruit and vegetables to your meals.  Make a list of healthy choices and post it on your fridge so you can peak at it when you lack inspiration.  Our breakfasts often include a huge bowl of cut up mixed fruit and berries, topped with plain yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or homemade granola, so I make sure we always have fruit choices on hand. We also enjoy veggie omelets to go with Tristan’s homemade sourdough bread! Having pre-chopped or even pre-cooked vegetables ready to go make a morning omelet practically a fast food! 

For school lunches, we try to keep our kid’s favorite raw vegetables on hand; cucumbers, carrots, and peppers!  Our kids pretty much have them every day, so ordering these items as an add-on works great because then we’re sure to have enough for the whole week.   

After school snacks usually come straight from our HUGE fruit basket!  The kids can take their pick!  We also keep cut up veggies and a choice of dips, ready and available, in the fridge. 

We keep our dinners nutritious, but simple, and we rarely use recipes.  At our house, we make a lot of veggie stir-fries served with meat or beans, over rice.  We also love to make a huge tray of roasted vegetables and serve as a main dish, or side, or over a salad.  We also make a lot of soups, stews, and salads!  Once you get comfortable with any of these dishes, they are all super easy to quickly throw together, and you can even make enough to use as a base for the next day’s meal! Do as much prep work when you have free time so, when the pressure comes at mealtime, you are ready to take it on!   

Eating healthy is totally achievable in the midst of a busy schedule, but we’ve learned that having good ingredients on hand, and a little pre-planning, sure helps! 

-Joelle Klesick

Posted on

Roasted Corn and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Source: www.pinchofyum.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh sweet corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a handful of fresh basil ribbons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese

Instructions:

  1. Husk corn cob. Wash and dry the corn. Slice corn off the cob. Place corn in a sturdy non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter. Let sit for 3-4 minutes and stir. Repeat until corn gets nice and brown on the outside. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cut the tops of the tomatoes off and carefully scoop out the flesh, reserving the flesh in a separate bowl. Set whole tomatoes aside. Crush the tomato flesh with the back of a spoon or in a food processor until there are no large chunks. Don’t totally puree it – just chop/mash it up.
  3. Combine the mashed tomato mixture, brown rice, basil, corn and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add a small handful of the shredded cheese, reserving some for topping. Stir it all together until well-mixed.
  4. Preheat broiler. Stuff the whole tomatoes with the tomato, rice, and corn mixture until rounded on the top. Top with shredded cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese reaches desired meltiness and tomatoes are heated through.
Posted on

Jade and Marketmore

We grow two types of cucumbers here at the farm. We grow an old and trusted standby called Marketmore, and a newer up and comer called Sliver Slicer. We interchangeably mix and or match them as they come out of the field and find their way into your boxes of good.

Cucumbers are sneaky little plants. One day you think you have harvested all the ones that are ready to go, and the next day you come back and there is another 200 lbs. How did that happen?!!?!!!?!!

The farm season is especially challenging for the Klesick team. You may have noticed that the aforementioned cucumbers have been a staple for the last several weeks, as have the green beans. It is really hard for smaller farms like us to get the harvest quantities right. The quality is easy, but trying to figure out how many pounds of cucumbers are going to come off a week in advance is pretty tough!

With lettuce it is easier, just count them. Lettuce harvest does get tricky because they can ripen at different times and can also look ready when they are not.

But I think green beans are the trickiest of all. This year we switched back to another old and trusted standby in the green bean world, called Jade. I think they are a little happier planted in Mid-Summer, but the early May plantings did just fine. When you talk about Jade in the midst of farmers who have grown it for 30 or 40 years, their eyes light up and their voices get noticeably quieter. There is a reverence when it comes to Jade that is hard earned, and deservedly so. They are absolutely beautiful and tasty green beans.

Even within vegetable classes, some varieties are happier planted earlier, and some later. When it comes to Jade, it seems to work well as an all-season winner! I actually try to plan for a “gap” on cucumbers and green beans, but this year the harvest rolled from one planting to another to another and the harvest kept coming. Now I am not complaining, but we try to have variety in the box of good menus and not put an item in every week.

This year, the green beans and cucumbers have been prolific, and I must say… so, so, so fresh and delicious! We are literally picking one day and delivering the next day. For us, it is so rewarding that we can pick it, deliver it, and you can be eating cucumbers or green beans within a day.

That is best kind of fast food!

-Tristan