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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/12/18)

Bartlett Pears

These are easy to tell when ripe because they brighten in color (turn from green to yellow in tone) and have a wonderful fragrance. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

Beets

If you don’t have time to roast or boil beets you can shorten the cook time dramatically by slicing off thin rounds and either sautéing, steaming, or boiling them, just peel them first with a vegetable peeler.

In the cooking world, beets are often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin” for their incredible range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Although beets can be cooked in a variety of ways (including as a secret ingredient for deep dark chocolate cake-Google it!), roasting beets is one of the easiest and most delicious. Roasting beets intensifies their flavor, brings out their earthy sweetness, and makes their skin tender and easy to peel off. Roasted beets are particularly delicious in beet salads or just as a complementing side dish.

Kale

We love Apple Kale Salad: (Kale, Apple, Pear, Red Bell Pepper, Green onion, Carrot….)

Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you! One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. Kale can be a little tricky because it tends to be a bit tough and sometimes bitter. Here are a few tips that have helped me. First make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!); Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and makes it so it’s evenly covered.

For the dressing, I like to use a combination of vinegar and olive oil. Once you have prepped your kale and worked in the dressing, add your toppings. Try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Broccoli:

Pass the broccoli! Broccoli contains plant compounds which protect against cancer. Broccoli is great in salad, stir-fry, soup, roasted, steamed, or raw with your favorite veggie dip. Add Broccoli to your next box of good food delivery here.

Featured Recipe: Roasted Broccoli

The high heat with this method causes the broccoli to caramelize making this one of the tastiest ways to prepare and eat broccoli. Leave off the pecorino for a vegan option (try topping with a drizzle of tahini instead). Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

1 and ½ pounds broccoli crowns (roughly 2 heads)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, pressed

large pinch of dried red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons raw, sliced almonds (with or without skin)

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated aged pecorino cheese (leave out for vegan option)

zest of half a lemon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer less crispy florets (or if your oven runs hot), you can reduce the oven temperature by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust cooking time as necessary.

Line a sheet pan with parchment. Trim any dry, tough ends of the broccoli crowns, leaving roughly 2-inches of stalk attached. Slice the broccoli into ½-inch-thick steaks, starting in the center of each broccoli crown and working out to the edges, reserving any small or medium florets that fall off for roasting. Slice any large remaining florets in half lengthwise.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, pressed garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli steaks and toss gently until evenly coated. Arrange the broccoli, cut-side down, on the lined sheet pan, setting them apart slightly. Sprinkle with salt.

Roast the broccoli for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the broccoli, and sprinkle the almond slices evenly across the sheet pan. Roast for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is evenly caramelized and fork tender, and the almond slices are toasted and golden.

Transfer the broccoli to a platter, toss gently with the lemon juice and top with the grated pecorino cheese. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. Serve hot or at room temperature (it also tastes great cold). Leftover broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

 

Recipe adapted from abeautifulplate.com

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At What Price

Fresh salad with hummas and walnuts

I love what we do. I love that our team gets to grow, source, and deliver health. I love that everything we deliver is better for your heath and better for the environment. For the last twenty years we have been offering nutrient rich fruits and vegetables to families like you every single week. That is a long run! Many of you reading this newsletter have been a customer for a decade or more and more than a few of you have been customers from the beginning since 1998.

For us, doing business is more akin to serving our neighbors. We want everyone to eat healthy and be healthy. We want each of you to have access to the freshest and healthiest foods to nourish your body and provide energy to accomplish everything on your to do list – everyday!

I firmly believe that health and health care start at the farm and our forks. When we choose a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, our bodies tend towards a normal weight as does our A1C, lipid panels and blood pressure. We also introduce a lot of antioxidants into our bodies that just love to tie up damaging free radicals.

The other day I saw this ad in the Everett Herald – “Ready to Get Healthy”. There was a picture of a smiling obese person. The sub text said, “Sign up to attend a free seminar on Bariatric surgery.” To be perfectly clear, Bariatric surgeries can work, but so can sewing your jaw shut! Our stomachs are about 1 liter in size. That is not very big and to go through an intense and invasive surgery to limit our ability to overeat seems extreme.

I think it would be better for insurance companies to invest the thousands of dollars that this surgery costs and spend it on a one month stay at a health clinic where a person could get educated about a healthy diet, be fed a healthy, primarily plant-based diet and given an appropriate exercise regime – all monitored. The same money would produce better, less intrusive results and would impact other people in the immediate family and circle of friends.

Of course, the FDA and USDA could just require purveyors of junk food to pay for the medical bills out of their obscene profits instead of expecting the taxpayers or insurance companies to pay for the medical costs as they use their profits to sicken more. Or, the USDA and FDA could just ban known junk food that is contributing to the health crisis, but don’t hold your breath for these changes.

Unfortunately, legislating health is not likely, but we get to choose health one bite at a time, 3x’s a day. Even having just one salad a day can have immense health benefits.

I also want to share that is both hard to eat healthy and easy to eat healthy. So, where ever you find yourself on the continuum of eating healthy or being healthy, that is where you are. You can’t change that.

You can’t go backward, only forward. So today, tonight, pick up that fork and make a healthy choice and another and another.

The culmination of all of us saying yes to healthy food will have a powerful impact on our personal health, our family’s health and eventually our Nation’s health.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/5/18)

Melons, Cantaloupe      

Cantaloupe provide a range of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and electrolytes which have been shown to have multiple health benefits. Two types of powerful antioxidants in cantaloupe (carotenoids and cucurbitacins) have been linked with the prevention of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. They help to stop free radical damage within the body and slow the aging process. —dr.axe.dom

Storage and Eating: They may look hardy, but melons can perish quickly if not kept in the refrigerator. Keep ripe melons away from other fruit so that the ethylene gas that they produce does not speed up the fruit’s ripening. Uncut ripe melons should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out ripe fruit and then freeze to add to smoothies.

Green Cabbage

Cabbage has the highest amount of some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables – phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes. Research has shown these compounds to protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. They also help lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad cholesterol” levels in blood, which can build up in arteries and cause heart disease. —foodfacts.mercola.com

Eat it: Cabbage is a handy thing to have around. There are endless opportunities to use it up. You can add it to “just about anything” veggie-wise. Make cabbage “shavings” by first cutting the cabbage in half, then simply shaving off pieces from along the edges. Also, if you’re like me and rarely use a whole cabbage in one sitting, keep the cut edges from drying out by rinsing and storing in a sealed plastic bag.

Featured Recipe: Cabbage Salad

This delicious, filling comes from the one by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. This combination of greens, seeds and currants will fill you up quickly and keep you full.

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups green cabbage, grated (approx. ½ cabbage)

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dried currants or cranberries

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp unhulled sesame seeds

For dressing:

1/3 cup almond or hemp milk

1 apple, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Mix all salad ingredients together.

In a high-powered blender, blend almond/hemp milk, apple, cashews and vinegar and toss with salad.

Garnish with currants and lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman

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When Time Flies By…

When I was younger I thought I had the “tiger by the tail.” I had unlimited amounts of energy and ideas and was constantly moving and doing. But now I have a little more seasoned appreciation for life and where to invest my limited energy and unlimited ideas.

Farming is one place where an unlimited amount of energy has served me well. When Joelle and I started farming over 20 years ago, you couldn’t even “google” us and “earthlink” was our internet dial up provider.  That’s akin to shopping for school clothes at Montgomery Wards or Sears! If you are lost about now, you can “google” it and get a history lesson. 🙂

We have chosen to stay small, local and control our own deliveries. It is an important distinction that we control so much of our offerings. When your name is on the Box of Good, you want it to be as perfect as possible.

“Mr. Klesick is a passionate person” or “He cares about the big picture.” These sentiments come across my desk quite frequently. It stems from my desire to bring you the freshest and healthiest organic fruits and vegetables because the freshest and healthiest vegetables are what fuel our bodies to serve our families, friends, and communities. Eating is important as is eating the best of the best and that is what the Klesick team tries deliver to you every week.

I also believe that Americans and the world are eating less vegetables and fruit and less diversity of vegetables and fruit. Consequently, these important nutrients are missing in a majority of Americans’ diets. Sadly, they are being replaced with more shelf stable and processed foods. I firmly believe that if Klesick’s is going to be a part of the solution to America’s nutritional crisis and the host of maladies that come from eating a diet low in vegetables and fruit, our boxes of good need to have a diversity of fruits and vegetables to maximize our health.

This is no easy task because all of us have different taste buds and all of us to one extent or another have been “tricked” by our taste buds (or corporate America), to prefer sweet and salt and not the subtle taste profiles of greens or plums.

For me, I use a “crowd out” strategy to eat healthy. On my plate I “crowd out” room for the more processed foods by filling my plate with a lot of vegetables and fruit. It takes a while to get use to eating this way, but by leading with the healthier fruits and vegetables my body says, “thank you.” And this body is the tool that I get to use to serve my Lord, my family, my community and you! I want to be as healthy as I can, so I can serve others as long as I can.

Tristan

Your farmer and Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/29/18)


plumsPlums

Your plums will continue to ripen once off the tree. Simply leave them on the counter away from the sun. When ripe, store unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days. If stored in the refrigerator, remove your plums (same goes for pluots) before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks. Use them as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated for fruit snacks or make into jam.

Roma Tomatoes

Store tomatoes in a single layer at room temperature and away from direct light. Refrigerate only after slicing, as refrigeration makes tomatoes lose their flavor. Romas are great for cooking (especially soups and sauces) as they don’t have the seeds and excess water that many other tomatoes tend to come with. You can also eat them raw, roasted, fried, or broiled; they are great paired with a little olive oil and salt, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta. And yes, you can totally freeze those extra tomatoes for fresh flavor all year (slice first).

Featured Recipe : Niçoise Salad with Frisée

“This salad from the South of France is a meal on its own and you vary endlessly with the ingredients. This one is made with Frisée which adds a slightly bitter touch. A perfect companion to the other ingredients of the Niçoise like green beans, tomatoes and anchovies.” — lovemysalad.com

Check out more great info on Frisee from the front page of this week’s newsletter, HERE.

Ingredients:

1 Frisée lettuce

2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced

3-4 whole green onions, roots removed, sliced into thin rings

0.75 lb. green beans or haricot verts

handful of black olives such as Kalamata

4 hardboiled eggs

2 cans of tuna in oil, drained (feel free change this up: top with smoked or baked salmon instead)

8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

Instructions:

Put a large pan of salted water on medium high heat. Rinse the green beans and cut of the stem of each bean.

When the water boils add the green beans and cook them just until al dente. Rinse with cold water and let them cool.

Wash and dry the frisée and divide over 4 plates. Cut the tomatoes and eggs in wedges.

Divide onion, cooled green beans, artichoke hearts, olives and eggs over the frisée.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and divide the dressing over the salad.

Divide the tuna (or salmon) chunks and anchovy fillets over the plates and serve with a lemon wedge.

 

Recipe adapted from lovemysalad.com

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A Time to Heal

Last week was the week I decided to fix my knee. I had twisted it around Mother’s Day and had been limping along for a few months between doctor visits and what not. Finally, it became obvious that surgery or limping along for the rest of my days were my two choices. I settled for surgery and had my knee scoped and all cleaned up—hopefully for a good long time, too.

Can I state the obvious? July on the farm is not the best time to slow down and few things slow you down more than a knee surgery. Currently, the Klesick farm team is in full harvest mode, planting mode and playing mode, but I am in CONVALESCING MODE! Not for long! I am already feeling better and gaining mobility.

When to schedule a surgery? That was a surprisingly easy decision. I took the earliest date possible. Around here we say, “Why put off tomorrow, what you can do today!”

So, for the last two weeks I have been running the farm from the “seat of my pants” in a very literal way! I have an awesome team and am grateful for their help.

Frisée

This week we are featuring Frisée and all its health benefits. The Bitter Greens are so foreign to the American taste buds, but so critical to our health. Here is an excerpt from an article by mindbodygreen.com:

Imagine if you could eat something that would help your liver, act as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, assist in weight reduction, cleanse your skin, eliminate acne, improve your bowel function, prevent or lower high blood pressure, prevent anemia, lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half, eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods, and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. 

If I also told you that this wonder food also tasted good in salads, teas, and soups, what would you do to get your hands on this treasure? Well, thankfully you have nature on your side, providing these miracle plants in abundance during spring!

I’m talking about bitter greens. Dark and leafy, some great examples include dandelion, arugula, and kale. In addition to being vitamin-rich (like most greens), bitter greens are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. They have a bold flavor that may take some getting used to, but the health benefits are definitely worth the effort!

Cheers to your Liver’s Health!

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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Weather is a Real Factor on the Farm  

In our micro climate, almost all vegetables on our farm do better when planted in May. Of course, there are always a few outliers, like peas or spinach, but for the most part the soil is warmer, the seed beds can be worked without soil compaction and the germination rates are just better for everything especially weeds!

Planting has more to do with soil type and your micro climate. For us we are a hair colder and our soil is “heavier” which means we need some warmth to get a good seedbed before planting. We certainly had a wonderful May, an okay June, and a decent start to July for planting weather. This week you are getting some wonderfully tasty beets from our May planting.

This is also the time I get my first water bills. OUCH! To review weather patterns, all I have to do is look over the previous years’ water bills! And May was hot this year. I am eagerly (not really) anticipating the July/August water bill!

Beets are a great crop to grow as a farmer and home gardener. I sow (plant) about twice as much as I need which allows me to harvest over a longer time frame. This strategy works well for beets because they can be harvested as babies or full size. As a rule, I usually plant about 25% more than needed on all crops, to accommodate for early achievers and laggards. One could say that I farm based on a bell curve!

As I shared last week, we are still planting and still weeding and still harvesting from the crops we planted in May, but June plantings are starting to make an appearance. I saw my first red tomatoes and cukes are setting fruit. We picked our first green peppers last week also!

Next week we are going to be harvesting our first crop of Frisee ever (hopefully). I am trying to time the harvest and since I have never grown it, I am paying ultra-close attention to how it responds to the heat. So far it looks great. If I am successful, I am planning on featuring it with a roasted mushroom salad. YUM!

Eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part of the solution to America’s obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease crisis. Real food, grown as locally as possible and eaten as fresh as possible is a game changer for anyone’s health!

I love what I do. Yes, it is hard work, but providing your family with organically grown foods that make a difference in your health—that motivates me.

Thank you,

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

 

 

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/15/18)

Kohlrabi

Mike (our customer caretaker) is Kohlrabi’s biggest fan so if you need some convincing to try this alien-like vegetable, give him a call;) Kohlrabi is typically eaten raw—peeled, sliced and added to a salad or used for serving with a dip. You can also steam, boil, bake, grill, or roast them. Just peel away the outside thick skin first. Add them to soups or stews. Try grating them and toss with grated carrots or apples to make a slaw!

You can also boil and mash them with potatoes or other root vegetables. Stir-fry them with other vegetables, or julienne them and fry them like potatoes. Look for Indian recipes using kohlrabi as they are often used in Indian cuisine.

Peaches

Test for ripeness by fragrance and by gently pressing around the stem – it should give to light pressure when ripe. Place in sealed container in the fridge when ripe – if you leave them exposed to the open air in the fridge, they will wrinkle from dehydration. Peaches, like other stonefruit, ripen from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe. Try peaches for breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. Peaches are also great on the grill, but be sure to use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. And of course, peaches bake up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

 

Featured Recipe: Kohlrabi, Carrot and Lettuce Slaw

A fresh slaw made with kohlrabi, lettuce and carrot, perfect as a side dish or a light lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large kohlrabi bulbs peeled

2 large carrots peeled

2 cups finely chopped lettuce or combination of lettuce and kale

handful chopped green onion (or diced sweet onion)

1 cup almonds chopped

1 lemon juice retained

salt and black pepper to season

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

your choice of dressing

Instructions:

Grate both the kohlrabi and carrot roughly in a large mixing bowl.

Add the lettuce and toss to mix.

Add the green onion, almonds, lemon juice, seasoning and sesame seeds. Mix well.

Serve your salad with your choice of dressing.

RECIPE NOTES

Great as a light lunch, and quick to prepare as a side dish with your main dish.

Recipe adapted from aninas-recipes.com

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From Peas to Beans

I can’t remember a year when I went from picking peas to picking beans. I wish I had more of those wonderful sugar snap peas, but…they love the cool weather and July is about when they decide to call it quits. This has a been a particularly good year for leafy vegetables and peas. I am always amazed at the fortitude of plants. Their whole purpose is to reproduce and as a farmer my whole purpose is to keep harvesting so that the plant will continue to keep producing, in this case, peas.

We have picked peas 2-3x a week for the last three weeks and even though I try and stagger my plantings, they all finish up around the same time. When it comes to peas, I have learned to plant once. The challenge with that is you can lose a crop when the weather turns south or, as in this year, hit a home run!

Now we are transitioning to Beans. My hamstrings are hurting just thinking about picking them. We grow a bush type bean that concentrates the harvest over a two-week period. Beans unlike peas handle staggered plantings pretty well. I have found that the April plantings are only a week a head of the early May plantings. There are also June and July plantings of beans. Those July plantings always make me a little nervous because most of my summer help heads back to school and Soccer season starts up about the time I need to pick them. They’re planted now!

We are also in the throes of raspberries and blackberries. We pick them every day and put them in our menus. This time of year, the menu planning is a little “squirrely”! Have you ever gone to a restaurant and the menu says, “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”? Around here that is how we roll. I am constantly bringing up a few more random fresh vegetables and the packing team is tweaking the menus to fit it in and get out to you.

A good example of this in action is raspberries and blackberries. The season starts with raspberries and then blackberries start a week later and then both are on at the same time and then raspberries slow down and the blackberries keep trucking which is where we are right now. So, we will plan to bring you either raspberries or blackberries depending on which is ready on a given day.

This is probably too much information, but it is a glimpse behind the curtain of a working farm. And I believe that getting you the freshest fruits and vegetables is my primary job and sometimes it works itself out like “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”, but all of it is organic and good for your health!

Thank you,

 

Tristan

Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/8/18)

plums

Plums

Great in fruit salads, atop green salads (think Balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, walnuts, red onions) because they’re firm enough to hold up with a little tossing. Try them atop plain Greek or coconut yogurt with a drizzle of honey for breakfast. Plums are particularly delicious in fruit galettes as baking them brings out their sweet-tart flavor. If too firm to use, place in a closed paper bag at room temperature for one to two days. Once ripe, plums can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three days.

Sugar Snap Peas

The sweetness of these crunchy veggie lies in their shell. Unlike shelling peas, sugar snap peas are best enjoyed fresh, shell and all. Simply “snap” off the stem bit, and you’re good to go. Great just on their own, they also go well on top of salad, in with pasta, sautéed (lightly) with any Asian-inspired dish or casseroles. Use within 5 days for best flavor and freshness.

 

Featured Recipe: Summer Veggie Quinoa Bowls

This Healthy Veggie Quinoa Bowl has freshly-sautéed corn, peas and broccoli mixed with cooked quinoa over a bed of lettuce and a side of avocado! It is vegan and gluten free and perfect for a light healthy lunch. Two choices of dressings. Can be made ahead and eaten cold.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked quinoa

2 ears fresh sweet corn (kernels removed—stand cleaned ears on end on a cutting board and slice from the top down, beginning at the base of the ears towards cutting board with paring knife. Continue to cut off the all corn kernels)

0.5 lb. fresh sugar snap peas (rinsed)

2 cups of broccoli (rinsed, roughly chopped)

1-2 green onions, entire part, diced

DRESSING(s):

Version one:

3 tbsp olive oil

½ a squeezed lemon

½ a squeezed lime

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp onion powder

Version Two, Asian-inspired:

2 tsp olive oil

Low sodium tamari sauce to taste (or soy sauce)

½ a squeezed lemon over the top

Instructions:

Cook quinoa according to directions on your package. Once done cooking, use a strainer and rinse the rice.

Chop your broccoli, remove corn kernels from cob (or use frozen), halve peas, and dice onion then place in a sauté pan on medium heat (wait until the quinoa only has 15 minutes left before starting this step as you don’t want to overcook your veggies).

Once quinoa is done add it to the sauté pan with the veggies, stir together and add your sauce/seasoning of choice. Remove from heat.

Serve with a side of lettuce and avocado or radish slices for extra fiber and to make your meal more filling, healthfully. Serves 4-6 depending on if you serve as a side or main meal.

Recipe adapted from tworaspberries.com