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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/15/18)

Rhubarb:

Sugar is not rhubarb’s only friend. Rhubarb also makes a beautiful pickle to top salads or sit charmingly on a cheese board. Or in chutneys and sauces to serve alongside roast pork or chicken. Check out food52.com for some great recipe inspiration.

A favorite way to use rhubarb is to cut the stalks in 3-inch portions then roast with a bit of sugar (or honey)—not too much as you’ll want to retain the eye-catching brightness. Try throwing in a vanilla bean or some fresh ginger. Roast at 400°F for about 20 minutes. Don’t disturb the stalks too much as they are incredibly tender when they cook. Serve on top of yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, put in between layers of cake or serve over ice cream for a lovely dessert.

 

Asparagus:

Asparagus is best cooked as fresh as possible but if you need to store it for 3 to 4 days treat it like a bouquet of flowers. Trim a small amount from the bottoms of the stalks with a sharp knife and place them in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. This will keep the stalks firm and crisp until you are ready to cook them.

To prepare: the smallest spears will only need to have their very base tough parts trimmed off before cooking. However, the bottom portions of larger asparagus spears can be chewy and woody; they will either need to be snapped off or peeled. To snap off the tough portion, simply grasp the stalk with both hands and bend the bottom portion until it breaks off. The asparagus will naturally break off at the point where the tender portion ends and the tough, stringy part begins.

The way you cook your asparagus can depend upon its size. The baby spears can be sautéed, or rubbed lightly with olive oil and grilled. With fatter spears you may want to trim them and either steam or boil them in order for them to increase their tenderness. However you choose to cook it, watch your asparagus closely so that it doesn’t get overdone. The perfectly cooked spear is easy to penetrate with a knife, but still slightly firm being bright green in color.

rhubarb pieces

Featured Recipe: Stewed Cinnamon Apple & Rhubarb

Ingredients:

1 bunch rhubarb, stalks only, trimmed and chopped into pieces

2 granny smith apples (or other tart apple), peeled cored and roughly chopped

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup whole cane sugar or honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch ground cloves

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Place everything in a pot over low heat and let simmer for 30-60 minutes until all is soft. Your house will smell amazing. Remove the cinnamon stick before eating.

 

Adapted from recipe by theveggiemama.com

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To Serve or be Served

cereal on a spoon

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” John Kennedy

“No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him/her distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.” George Washington Carver

“We are going to need a whole bunch of healthy people to take care of the young, old and in between for the foreseeable future.” Tristan Klesick

I really don’t belong in this list of quotes, but my heart is heavy. I have this foreboding sense that America and the rest of civilization is heading for a preventable health catastrophe. I know that I am writing this newsletter to a healthier group, AKA Klesick’s customers.

Just last week, I saw a headline that said, “cereal manufacturers are going to sweeten their products to increase sales.” The nexus of Calories and Capitalism is the root cause of much of it, coupled with the low nutritional value and a desire for cheap food–WHAM! Add to that recipe a more sedentary lifestyle (double WHAMMY) and you have the making of a preventable health catastrophe.

Health is a complicated issue and It is hard to simplify the current health crisis. But food would be a logical starting point to reverse this frightening health trend. Can diet have an impact? Can eating less sugar and fat and salt have an impact? Can drinking more water and less coffee, soda, alcohol have an impact? Can eating more vegetables and fruit have an impact? Can just eating less have an impact? The Answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding YES!

Can we wait for DC to implement a better food policy? Can we wait for the Grocery Manufacturers of America to produce healthier products? Can we expect Lobbyist to not help elect legislator’s that support the status quo? The answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding NO!

Thankfully, as you also know, just adding one more serving of vegetables and fruit per day will do wonders for most Americans and adding two or three more servings per day would downgrade our national health crisis to a health issue.

When John Kennedy was posing the quote above to America he was not thinking about Health and probably neither was George Washington Carver. But today, continuing to make better food choices is critical for our own personal health and our families health. But I would also contend that remaining as healthy as long as possible will be critical for the foreseeable future, so those that are healthy and have made healthy choices can serve as long as possible.

I want to be one of the ones who is healthy enough to serve for as long as possible!

 

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

 

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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 4/8/18)

Savoy Cabbage:

These crinkled leaf cabbages are one of the best varieties for cooking and tender enough to be eaten raw in salads. A drawback of its tender nature is that it does not have the keeping quality of its sturdier cousins but should hold well in the fridge for about a week. Cook them like you would a regular cabbage; in soups, stir fries, or other cabbage recipe. Or, simply cut into one-inch strips and sauté in a large covered pan with some butter.

In China and other East Asian region, it is used like cabbage in stir fries with added onion, garlic, bell pepper and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soy/chili/tomato sauce to prepare fried rice, egg rice noodles, chowmein…etc.

 

Leeks:

Leeks are cousins to the old, familiar onion, but have a sweeter, more delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic or chives and are delicious no matter how they’re cooked. Additionally, leeks contain generous amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making the vegetable a wise addition to a healthy diet. You can cook leeks by poaching them in chicken broth, pan-frying them in a little oil, or boiling them until tender, or you can include the leeks in a variety of other recipes (such as the one below).

 

 

Featured Recipe: Simple Shredded Savoy Cabbage

A simple shredded savoy supper or side dish that also pairs well with a protein such as roast chicken.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Serves 3-4

 

Ingredients:

Knob of unsalted butter or ghee

2.5 oz. pancetta (or other salty, savory protein)

1 small savoy cabbage, shredded

1 leek, white parts only, rinsed, medium dice

small glass white wine

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat until it foams. Add the pancetta and diced leeks and cook for 3-4 minutes until pancetta is lightly browned and leeks are starting to get tender.

Finely shred the cabbage and add it to the pan.

Turn the heat up high and pour in the wine. The cabbage will cook in 2 minutes whilst the wine bubbles and reduces. Be sure not to overcook the cabbage—make sure it retains its bright green color.

Season with pepper and a little salt (depending on the saltiness of the pancetta) and serve. this dish is wonderful on its own with a hunk of bread or as an accompaniment to a roast chicken.

 

Adapted from recipe by glutsandgluttony.com

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

daffodils

This is where I live, this is where I serve, and this is where I have my greatest impact.

Have you ever heard “bloom where you are planted”? That makes great sense if you are a dandelion, or a rose, or a maple tree, or, or, or? Of course, the plant world gets it. They don’t really have a choice. They just bloom where they are planted.

So, unless someone uproots a plant and transplants it somewhere else, it will do the next thing on the to do list—grow and bloom. Oh, to be a plant. 🙂

But us? We have choices, oh so many choices. Most of us are pretty firmly rooted in our communities and unless something happens, we will wake up the next day and still be pretty firmly rooted in the same community. This means that today and tomorrow we have great opportunities to make the world a better place by just growing and blooming where we live.

Of course, there are different stages of life and things will shift, and if you find yourself transplanted, follow the plants lead. A transplanted plant needs time to reacclimate and reestablish. Often it will take a tree a year or more to regrow roots, which is why I as a farmer prune the top of the tree at the same time I transplant it. So, if you find yourself in a major move (location or life), I would encourage you to prune your schedule and grow some roots in your new community/phase of life and then look for opportunities to serve.

When I transplant annuals like lettuce, those plants will take a few weeks to get growing. That is akin to moving to a new home in the same community or maybe a life event that will take you out of action for a season. It would still be good to take a few weeks or month and prune your schedule to settle in. And, after a time of re-rooting, engage back in with your community/new community.

Solomon in the Bible shares that there is nothing new under the sun. I agree that many of the “new” principles or ideas or innovations are not new, but what is new is that a new person is thinking about how to do something through their own lenses and filters. I sincerely believe that everyone is uniquely created to make the places we live, work, and congregate better places. We all have the ability to leave our communities richer and better today and tomorrow. We just need to be OURSELVES and grow and bloom where we are planted.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 4/1/18)

Gold Nugget Mandarins:

Citrus, in nearly any form, is a perfect addition to brighten up a salad. Add citrus segments to winter greens along with avocado and crumbles of salty feta. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Radishes, Black:

The skin is particularly spicy on black radishes; for milder flavor, peel them before using. These radishes store well—simply wrap the roots in newspaper or perforated plastic in the refrigerator, and they’ll keep well for a long time. Try them: roasted with olive oil and salt. You can either roast them whole (like a potato, and then peel/mash, or slice them thin into “chips.” To make chips, slice the root as thinly as possible, or put halves in your food processor. Coat in a little olive oil and sprinkle on salt. Bake in a hot oven (375-400 F) for about 10 minutes. Be careful – they can burn to a crisp if you’re not careful.

If you do want to try them raw, slice them thinly (or grate them) and mix in a salad with sweet, balancing ingredients like apples, celeriac, arugula, beets, carrots and pecorino. Salt also helps take the edge off their spiciness.

Arugula:

This peppery green is ubiquitous with fresh salads (try it with blue cheese, walnuts and Asian pears), but it is also great atop pizzas (add just after you remove them from the oven, and allow to wilt slightly), or to wilt atop a winter soup. Arugula pesto has its own following too. Store in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days to prevent from becoming bitter.

Beets:

Beets can be cooked just about any way you like. They are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done).  But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed as well so don’t throw them out! Try cooking the greens in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bright green. Don’t let cook them too long though or they’ll get slimy.

Or check out this recipe for sweet potato and beet chips! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/sweet-potato-and-beet-chips-with-garlic-rosemary-salt-recipe.html

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Radishes with Arugula

Ingredients:

0.66 lb Black Radishes

2Tablespoons Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon of Cracked Pepper

Fresh bunch of Arugula

Pecorino, grated or flakes (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F

Slice the radishes into cubes and toss with the avocado oil, herbs, salt and pepper.

Spread across a shallow pan and cook in the oven at 425F for about 30 minutes.

When the radishes are done (test with a fork), immediately fold in the arugula leaves until they wilt from the heat. Sprinkle with pecorino if desired. Enjoy!

 

Adapted from recipe by platedwithstyle.com

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Doing Nothing is Not Doing Nothing

Doing nothing couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are “doing nothing”, that means you are doing something but just consider it not as valuable as doing something. For sure, even when you think you are doing nothing, your mind and body are still doing something. And we can all be thankful for that! If it was up to us to remember to breathe or have our heart beat or make another 225 billion cells every day, there would be a whole lot less of us just doing nothing. (Wink)

I spend a lot of time volunteering in the Salmon/Farm and Food (In)Security arenas. I use the term arena, because a lot of this work is like an arena of old. The decisions that have been and are being made have long term impacts. “Doing Nothing” in these two arenas is still doing something. It is still a choice being made and the outcomes of those choices will have impacts on our environments—the places we play or grow our food or where the wild critters live. Or, if we continue to hand out food freely or choose to subsidize food or decide to implement a “work for food” model, all those choices will have impacts too.

Here is a prime example. The steel workers (150,000) of PA and OH are really excited that President Trump is slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum. The soybean farmers (300,000) are not excited because China might slap tariffs on their products. In this case doing nothing would continue to benefit the soybean farmers and farmers in general, but still depress our steel industry. Choices do have impacts. Ironically, if soybeans have a tariff slapped on them, those farmers will have to sell the food to more Americans. Food prices will then drop (ouch/YAY), but your car prices will go up (as if they could charge anymore for a car)!

Nothing happens in a vacuum and change is hard. Just because a policy is not changed doesn’t mean that everything is better. We are just deciding to do nothing different and choosing to get the same results. That might be fine, but that is not doing nothing.

There are lots of broken systems in America today. They were implemented to solve a need and that need was solved, but at the same time we also created a whole industry around serving that need. It became an entitlement with elected officials, government employees, lawyers, doctors, community activists, universities and private businesses all lining up to keep meeting that need. Pick the need: agricultural subsidies, welfare payments, disability, education subsidies, defense contracts, clean air and water, etc. As one legislator shared with me, “Every program has a constituent.” I would add that every time we support/create a new government program, we also create the opportunity for that program to live on and on and on.

Unfortunately, there is 17 trillion dollars of debt in America demanding that changes happen. I want to be out in front of those changes and be working on local solutions to national problems that exist locally here, and I am investing my time to do so. Because I am farmer, I have a unique platform to affect change in both the farm/salmon and food security arenas.

I hope it is not lost on you that when you buy a box of good for your family or for the food bank, you too are also saying yes to leaving this community a better place for the next generations, a place with livable communities, good jobs, fresh air and clean water. Supporting a local business and local farms is not doing nothing – IT IS DOING SOMETHING!

 

Together we are making a difference, a local difference.

 

Thank you,

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/25/2018)

Pumellos:

Also referred to as pomelos, these giant citrus fruits are closely related to grapefruit. Pummelos have a much thicker pith area than other citrus, but other than that, are much like a milder (non-bitter) grapefruit. We think you’ll like it! Store up to one week in the refrigerator. To eat: remove the thick rind and peel the membrane from around the segments. Pummelos can be eaten fresh, tossed into salads or salsa, used in a marinade, or juiced for a cocktail. Enjoy them nearly any way you eat your favorite citrus fruits.

Mangos:

To peel a mango: using the tip of the mango as a guide, slice the two cheeks of the mango off, cutting around the stone in the center. Then place the edge of the mango against the lip of a glass and slide it down one of the halves, so that you’re using the glass like a giant spoon to scrape the mango from its skin. If your mango is ripe (yields to soft pressure, fragrant), you can get the glass to slide through it and separate the skin with ease. Then, you can eat the half of mango, or, if you’re sharing, slice it up, cut it into cubes, and dump into a bowl.

Dandelion Greens:

Among the list of bitter greens that we talked about earlier in the season, dandelion can also be used in recipes calling for kale or chard. Try balancing them out with milder greens like leaf lettuce or spinach. To use, rinse well, and trim the thicker stems away. Dandelion greens make a great garnish (add to the recipe below) and can be parboiled if you’re looking to make the bitterness go away. Try it: Sauté in with a little olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes, then sprinkle with a soft mild crumbled cheese and pair with flat bread and hummus.

 

Featured Recipe: Lentil Niçoise Salad with Shallot-Herb Dressing

Cook the lentils ahead for a quick protein-packed plant-based weeknight meal. Vegan and Gluten Free. Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

 

2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppers

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon herbs de providence

1 lb. small potatoes (halved or quartered if large)

2 cups steamed lentils (cook according to package directions)

0.75 lb. green beans

1/4 cup niçoise olives (or other black/green olives)

8 cups shredded green leaf lettuce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced

 

Instructions:

Steam potatoes in a steamer basket for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. They should be fork tender when cooked. Remove from steamer basket and rinse under cold water. Retain the potato water for steaming the green beans.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the shallots, Dijon, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of herbs de providence. Set aside.

 

Add green beans to the steamer basket and steam for 2 minutes, remove and rinse under cold water.

Divide the steamed potatoes and beans, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, and lentils among 4 bowls. Toss with shallot-herb dressing and serve.

 

Adapted from recipe by damndelicious.net

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Thank You

I still remember the day that Joelle and I made the bold decision to offer home delivery of farm fresh produce and started delivering to those first 50 customers.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago and in other ways it seems just like yesterday! And we are always excited to see another local family sign up and make a decision to take charge of their health.

The American food system is broken and anything but healthy. Political and profit motivation have left Americans sicker and sicker with each new generation. Many Americans prefer a pill to solve their health/dietary issues, whether it be a prescription or vitamin. Slick advertising campaigns selling us more energy or added vitamin C, E, Calcium, blueberries, cherries, aronias etc. enticing us to buy their products. Like that will make all the added sugar or fat in their blueberry muffins healthy and good for us! Anyone ever make jam at home and think, “WOW! 4 cups of white sugar to 1 cup of fruit.” That is certainly good for the Sugar industry, marginally good for the blueberry farmer, but not so good for us. Sadly, that is how most of the food industry operates – best for the manufacturer, okay for the farmer and not so good for us.

For the last 20 years, Klesick has stood for real food, grown without chemicals that adds value to your life. It is not easy being a small business and it is certainly not easy being a farmer, but it is a privilege. It is a privilege growing, sourcing and delivering farm fresh organic fruits and vegetables directly to you, giving you an organic food choice that is fresher and healthier—fresher and healthier for you, your family and our planet.

For Joelle, myself and the Klesick team we want to extend a deep and heartfelt thank you for supporting our organic farm, organic farming and the organic food alternative. Together we, you and the Klesick team, are sending a strong message to the large multinational farms and food processors that we value local farms, we value local companies and we value nutrition rich food.

 

Together we are making a difference.

 

Tristan

 

Health Advocate and Farmer

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/18/18)

Blood Oranges:

With ruby-red to maroon-colored flesh, blood oranges are a surprise when you cut them open; taste-wise, they’re tart-sweet and slightly berry-like.

Storage tips: To keep these ruby gems fresh longer, choose refrigeration over the fruit bowl―they’ll only last only a couple of days at room temperature, but up to two weeks in the fridge.

How to eat them: Blood oranges are best eaten fresh―out of hand, or in salads, salsas, or marmalades. If you’re following a recipe you may be asked to section the fruit. To do so, peel the orange, cut between the white membranes to expose the flesh, and remove the sections (for more juice, squeeze the leftover membranes).

Health benefits: Oranges are rich in antioxidants―vital for healthy cells―including vitamin C, which aids in healing, boosts your immune system, helps your body absorb iron, and even helps reduce the risk of cancer. This citrus fruit is also a good source of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and, like vitamin C, reduce your cancer risk. (To maximize your fiber intake, be sure to eat some of the spongy white pith right under the skin.)

 

 

Mangos:

To peel a mango: using the tip of the mango as a guide, slice the two cheeks of the mango off, cutting around the stone in the center. Then place the edge of the mango against the lip of a glass and slide it down one of the halves, so that you’re using the glass like a giant spoon to scrape the mango from its skin. If your mango is ripe (yields to soft pressure, fragrant), you can get the glass to slide through it and separate the skin with ease. If you want to get the part around the pit, we advise going at it with a paring knife, or if you have a toddler, this will keep them busy for a while. Then, you can eat the half of mango, or, if you’re sharing, slice it up, cut it into cubes, and dump into a bowl, ready to serve!

 

Broccoli:

Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese.

Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

 

Green Onions:

Also known as scallions, green onions are milder than regular onions but add a nice pop of flavor and color to almost any dish. They are commonly used as a topping for baked potatoes or salad, but can also be used to liven up your Asian style soups like egg drop or ramen noodle. They are also a great addition to omelets or quiche. You can even grill them whole like spring onions and serve as a side dish with a little lemon, salt & pepper.

 

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Yams

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 

2 large yams

1 tablespoon honey

1-2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, approximately 2 limes

2 green onions, both green and white parts, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions:

Heat oven to 425. Cut the yams lengthwise into 4 wedges per yam. Put them in a large bowl, and toss them with the honey, ½ tablespoon of the crushed red-pepper flakes, the smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, tossing once or twice to coat, as the oven heats.

Transfer the yams to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and then bake until they are deeply caramelized around the edges and soft when pierced with a fork at their thickest part, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

As the yams roast, combine the yogurt, lime juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl, and whisk to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When the yams are done, transfer them to a serving platter, drizzle the yogurt over them and garnish with the remaining pepper flakes, the green onions and some flaky sea salt.

 

Adapted from recipe by cooking.nytimes.com

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Spring Is Here

Does anyone else have a little extra spring in their step? I know I do. The sunshine draws you outside and the increasing day length, WOW, what a gift that is! Every year many of the PNW folks wander around in a mental fog from November to February – and farmers are no different.

It always amazes me that I will be busy all winter and then as soon as the days start to lengthen and the weather starts to warm, “BAM!” It is as if I was Rip Vanwinkle. I get a deep breath, start to notice how the ground is drying out, the spring birds are making an appearance, the ladybugs and other insects that call this place home are flittering about. The whole farm awakens from its winter rest! Now it is time to farm, for the local season to begin.

On our local farm we are still a few weeks away from actively farming the soil. It is ironic, that I consider driving my tractor and getting the seed beds ready for planting as active farming?!?!?!

Haven’t I been farming all winter? I have planned our planting rotations and ordered seeds and moved and repaired the greenhouse (thank you wind and snow). I have purchased different equipment, sold other equipment and done maintenance on said equipment. Our family is seeding 800 lettuce transplants every week. We also have been pruning and have just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost.

Sounds like we have been actively farming all winter, but…. There is something about “turning” the soil for a vegetable farmer that signals it is time to farm. Working with nature, discerning when it is dry enough to help the soil get ready to grow food, to feed (fertilize) the soil so the soil will feed the plants, so the plants can grow.

My job as a farmer is to help the soil, enhance the soil and work with the soil. The soil’s job and its host of helpers (bacteria, fungi, earthworms, etc.) is to feed the plants. That is why I just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost to help feed the soil, so the soil can grow the plants as healthy as possible, so the farmer can harvest the healthiest plants and deliver them to you, so you can eat the healthiest plants.

This is why I farm -the eater, the farmer and the soil working together in a mutually beneficial and respectful partnership.

 

Cheers to your health,

 

Tristan