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Supporting Your Health

Last week I wrote about seasons, farming, and cover crops. It would be very easy to make a similar analogy about our health.  

Planning is happening all the time. It is also overlapping, with multiple stages and events. One of those activities is eating. How do you plan for fueling your body? What is your eating strategy? Isn’t eating one of the most confusing things to figure out? Paleo, Keto, Plant based, Truly Plant based, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dr. Atkins, eat for your blood type, Mediterranean, High Fat, Low Fat, Fruit only, Starch only, No sugar, No carbs… when to eat, how much to eat, and how long to fast. 

It is flat out confusing. I do believe that eating plants is the most important part of the diet. But we sell plant-based food. Some meat proteins, but mostly plants. Big surprise that I would think that plants should be a large portion or your diet. But not just any plants. Plants that are recognizable and minimally processed, not food made in a factory or laboratory.   

High fructose corn syrup is plant based, much of it from GMO corn. Does that make it healthy? Eating mostly plants that we prepare ourselves is healthier than the premade, sweetened, and salted versions at the store or restaurants. I am not even sure how food manufacturers are even able get that much salt into bowl of soup! Of course, there are exceptions, but if America is going to change its health trajectory, it is going to have to change the way it eats. Exercise, while important, is not going to be the solution. The solution to our health crisis is at the fork. It is what we eat that will make Americans healthy again. 

Thankfully, in America we still have the freedom to eat what we want, most of what we are being offered as food is edible, but is it healthy? Klesick Farms started out 23 years ago offering organically grown fruit and vegetables. Today, we are still offering organically grown fruit and vegetables, but we also offer an assortment of organic groceries and grass-fed, organic, or wild meat. Healthy eating is an option, the hard part is getting our beliefs, our behavior, and our schedule to line up. Easier said than done.  

We are here to help support your health goals and, at the same time, help the environment by growing sourcing and delivering organically grown food to your home.  

Thankfully we still have the freedom to eat what we want, when we want. Thank you for choosing Klesick Farms as your partner in health. 

-Tristan

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Crispy Kale Chips

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 45 Minutes | Source: www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 head kale,
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
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Roasted Cabbage

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 40 Minutes | Source: www.allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons, halved

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Brush both sides of each cabbage wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper over each wedge. Arrange wedges on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; flip cabbage and continue roasting until browned and charred in some areas, about 15 minutes more. Squeeze lemon over each wedge.
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Celery-Potato Soup

Yield: 6 Servings | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Source: www.food52.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 to 8 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 Lb. russet potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth concentrate*
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Sauté the celery, potato, and onion until slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water and chicken concentrate (*or 3 cups of your favorite stock), bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in celery seed. In a blender or with a stick blender, puree soup until smooth, adding more water or stock as needed for desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 45 Minutes | Source: www.eatingwell.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 tsp. dried
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ – 2 Lb. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 med. sweet potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

Instructions: 

  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees F. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
  2. Combine mustard, thyme, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl; spread the mixture evenly on chicken.
  3. Toss sweet potatoes and onion in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables on it. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  4. Return the pan to the oven and roast, stirring the vegetables once halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chicken thigh registers 165 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes.
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Green Beans with Peppers!

Green Beans with Peppers

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time33 mins
Keyword: green beans, peppers
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 ea Zucchini
  • 1 cup Mushrooms
  • 1 ea Yellow Onions
  • 2-3 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix well.

  • Coat an 11×13-inch roasting pan or the bottom of a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray and spread vegetable mixture over the bottom of the pan.

  • Bake for 15 minutes.

  • Stir the vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until they are tender and nicely browned.

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Green Beans with Peppers

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

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix well.
  3. Coat an 11×13-inch roasting pan or the bottom of a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray and spread vegetable mixture over the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir the vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until they are tender and nicely browned.
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Oven Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Source: www.oliepants.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound potatoes, diced.
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1-pound string green beans, ends removed
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and onions.
  3. Toss the potatoes and onions with olive oil to coat.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the coated potatoes and onions to a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Toss once while cooking, at the half-way mark.
  7. After the potatoes are tender, toss in the string beans to the pan.
  8. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the beans are tender.
  9. Remove from the oven and add more salt and/or pepper if you want.
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THIS WEATHER!

It is winter in the NW. For those of us who have been juggling kiddos, school closures, and late starts, it sure is nice to get back to cold, wet, and gray! Although the white, while a challenge to navigate, is beautiful, and our region is dependent upon sufficient snowpack to keep our watersheds happy and functioning properly. 

I am really proud of our team and their commitment to pack and safely deliver your boxes of good! The packing team made it every day and our driving team chained up when necessary, and safely delivered 95% of the orders. A few of you live on the less travelled and moderately travelled roads and we couldn’t quite get there, sorry. 

On the farm, this weather is just fine. We take it in stride because we mostly focus on the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. The only crops actively growing are our cover crops and garlic. The garlic is happy as a clam, not sure what that means, but it is a NW saying. They have poked through the mulch and are about 3-4 inches tall.

This year we are experimenting with a new mulching material. Normally we use organic wheat straw, but this year we added leaves from our walnut trees. Our farm produces walnut leaves in MASS! Normally they end up in the compost and then spread on the fields in the spring, but this year we raked them up and spread them out on top of the garlic. The work to gather and spread the leaves is comparable to the work to purchase, pick up, bring to the farm, and spread the wheat straw.  I will be evaluating how they decompose, weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil structure under each mulch. So far, I am pleasantly surprised. 

The cover crops we plant are to nourish the soil, hold nutrients in the plants, and protect the soil from compaction. Cover crops are a vital part to farming, but they do have their limitations. We use them on 90% of our soils and leave that remaining 10% “open” or “uncovered.” One of the purposes of a cover crop is to prevent the leaching of nutrients like Nitrogen or Phosphorous out of the root zone, and also out of the aquifers or watersheds. Think the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  

Why do I not cover crop the remaining 10%? Through experience, I have learned that cover crops also have a downside. In a wet spring, they can grow, REALLY GROW, and once the weather warms and I can get into the field to till them in, it will take a few weeks for them to break down. The soil bacteria are busy breaking down the cover crop and won’t get to work on growing vegetables for a little while longer. So, we intentionally leave that 10% uncovered for our early plantings of peas and lettuce. It’s just that simple! 

Stay warm, 

-Tristan

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Leaning Into the Harness

When I farmed with Susie, Katie, and Karen, I had to learn to work with them, and at their pace. They were the most willing workers, and farm work is hard work. It will leave your body sore for days until you get farm fit. Those girls were amazing and made farming a unique experience. It has been half a dozen, or so, years since I worked with them.  

When I first got the bug to farm, I knew it would be organic, and it would involve Draft Horses! A friend named Lynn Miller shared some great advice about getting my first team. He said, “When you look out into a big herd of horses, which horse catches your eye?” Romance and farming go hand in hand. I was always drawn to brown with a splash of white. I knew if I ever got to farm with horses, it would be Belgians! Practically every Hallmark movie used to have horses in them. Susie and Karen were my trained team, and Katie was just learning. 17 hands and 2 tons of horse, they could pull a plow and never get stuck.  

When I worked with them, time stood still, and so would we. The horses need rest when we were working, and rest was the perfect time to contemplate the next steps, the next project, the last conversation with my spouse, or maybe just nothing. Sometimes we would stop under the old snag and watch the bald eagle peer down on us and, as we moved on, he would move on. 

Last week, I delved into will power and how hard it is to change a habit; how we only have a limited amount of will power at our disposal, and the harder the change you are tackling, the harder it will be to accomplish. That is why will power, which has about a 15-minute reserve, will quickly get used up if you tackle several lifestyle changes at once. 

What I learned from farming is also important to making lifestyle changes. When I would harness the horses, I would make sure that all their equipment fit well, especially their collars. Having a smooth, well fitted collar was key to working long days and not getting sore shoulders. 

Equipment aside, I wanted to talk about “leaning into” your new goals or lifestyle changes.  For the horses, when we were going to tackle a big project, everything became important. I knew what the goal was, and how long it would take. After my team was brushed, harnessed, and hooked to the single trees, we would calmly walk to the field. They knew it was going to be a good day of work ahead.  

The very first moment I set the plow, it was always the same. We would pause, then I would cluck to the team, “Susie, Karen ‘step’.” I would release the lines a little, and they would ease into the harness and begin to move the plow. Slow and steady, leaning into the harness, we would get the work done. When you tackle those lifestyle changes, know your goal and how you are going to get there, then “lean” into your work slow and steady. 

I believe in you!

-Tristan