This is the
best tasting crop, and it only lasts for only a few weeks! And we
got them earlier than ever to boot! That incredible stretch in March is
paying dividends now.
For some reason, I remember picking peas on June 11th in
1999 when our farm was located in Machias. That is the earliest we have ever harvested this
variety. We have tried to have peas for the box of good this early every year,
but so much has to go “right” to get an early crop off and this year a dry March,
wet April, and hot May was the right mix of weather. Go
figure??!?!?!!? But this year, it happened!
So, it will be Klesick Farm pea season for the next few weeks. You can order extra’s as well. If you love sweet, plump and juicy peas, now is the time to treat yourself!
pounds sturdy greens, such as chard, mustard greens, kale or young
collards—stems and inner ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
Any other veggies that catch your eye!
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and any other
vegetables you might want to use and cook over moderate heat until softened,
about 6 minutes.
the greens, season with salt and pepper and toss to wilt. Stir in the tomatoes,
water and vinegar, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until
the greens are tender, and the tomatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to
a bowl, garnish with chopped walnuts, and serve.
critical to human health! Healthy food comes from healthy soils, and a
healthy citizenry comes from healthy food. That means the
health of our citizens is tied directly back to the health of our soil.
And sadly, one doesn’t have to look very far from the farm
to see that there is a burgeoning population of unhealthy folks today. In addition, any healthy food
that is being grown is converted into a myriad of processed products which, I would
substantially lowered the quality of food.
And, sadly, sugar, fat, and alcohol are all the rage in the food scene, organic or
otherwise. It is called “value added,” but overly processed foods, organic or otherwise, are
not the solution to America’s health crisis.
I am a huge fan of veggies and fruit staying as close to
their original, recognizable self as possible. Eating foods grown in soils that
are minimally processed is the only viable solution to curb America’s health
crisis. Will eating more fruits and veggies, solve every disease problem? NO.
But clearly the Standard American Diet (SAD) isn’t curbing anything either and, if
anything, it is
making us worse off.
Almost all the treatment is just that, it is focused
on treating the ailment instead of changing the underlying cause – poor
nutrition. The hard part is that we need to attack these illnesses from a
dietary perspective and treat the condition to provide some
relief. Eventually, if our food policy could switch to more fruit and veggies
and less of the current food system, there would be less need for the expensive
and intrusive procedures we default to today. But for now, we mostly have a
“treat the condition” model.
I know that there are educational advocates and government
programs encouraging the American population to eat a more balanced diet, all
things in moderation. This is America, of course they are going to say that.
Our political system guarantees us a diet that can never be healthy, because of
So, the only choice we have to remain
healthy or be healthier is to make the choice ourselves. At least for the
moment we don’t have to buy “their” food, we can take charge of our health. It is at the
fork or spoon where healthy food enters our bodies and, if we
put good food on that fork or spoon, our bodies will absolutely put it to healing,
nourishing, and cell-building work.
For 21 years, Klesick Farms has been growing, sourcing, and delivering food that your body will be able
to put to good use to nourish itself.
avocado, lemon juice, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to a
blender. Pulse a few times. Slowly add water and pulse to thin the dressing.
Pour over the salad. Store dressing in an air-tight container in the fridge for
up to 5 days.
This is the hardest time of the year for me as a
farmer. We are primarily vegetable farmers but also grow some fruit and hay.
Vegetables are incredibly slow growing in the spring, and then all of the
sudden – BAM! A little heat and little water with increasing day length equals
growth. This time of year, everything is just getting started.
As an organic farmer, I spend a lot of time thinking
about how to get my soil as alive and healthy as possible. It is pretty simple
for me. Take care of your soil, and it will take care of the plants. It is
similar to: “you are what you eat.” If we as people choose to eat good food,
our bodies will do the rest. Of course, just like the soil, our bodies have an
incredible ability to absorb lots of toxicity and still function, but not
As a farmer, I know when a plant is starting to show
signs of stress. It comes from knowing your crops. It is almost as if you are
listening to what the plant is telling you. It is not mysterious. Good parents,
doctors, counselors, farmers, you name it, are all good listeners. Paying
attention to what the crop is telling you is what a farmer has to discern. Does
it look piqued, why is it not growing, does it seem dry? And even if I have
properly prepared the field, fertilized, planted and watered in the right time
of year, some plants just aren’t feeling their best. But when I have done the
right things at the right time, almost always, most of the crops do great.
I consider myself a good listener, maybe I have
always been or maybe raising 9 children (5 married so far) has further tuned my
sense of hearing. Really, farming and parenting have taught me that you do your
best. You try to prepare your fields and children for the next season, and then
a lot of other factors, most out of your control, come into play. And yes,
often the next seasons will keep you on your knees because so much is out of
Ironically, it is that part where we have influence, where we can lay the foundation is, also, critical. It is where diligence pays dividends. Equally important is recognizing that the process is bigger than any one person. Understanding what you control, and what is out of your control, is also freeing.
I do believe that in farming, parenting, or eating,
little decisions in the right direction and over long periods of time, lead to
healthier crops, healthier children, and a healthier us. Our crops, our
children, and our bodies will use the foundations we have laid to finish their
race. And amazingly, as if it is a miracle, crops do get harvested, and people
are healthier when they eat better food, and children can even navigate Seattle
traffic when they are 16!
are getting so close to the local season exploding! The next few months are
going to roll in like morning fog, and then heat up like hot summer day. The
rain last week has hydrated the crops and added moisture to the fields. The
moisture is especially helpful this time of year for 2 reasons.
first is what you might expect, it waters the crops, and after that hot
stretch, the peas and lettuce are happy for the cool weather and a drink!
Plants are so amazing. When you look at a plant and study it’s leaf structure,
you will notice how they have a center rib that funnels water towards the roots
and/or the outer circumference of the plant. This is sometimes referred to as
the drip zone. The leaves are accumulators of moisture and funnel it to where
the plant needs it most.
interesting tidbit about leaves is that the leaves “open up” in the morning to
capture the dew and then “close off” to conserve the moisture and nutrition.
There is also really good evidence that the birds chirping away are one of the
mechanisms that causes the plants to open up and take in the nutrition. Joelle
and I have intentionally planted trees, all types, on the borders of our
property to encourage a diverse ecosystem.
in the spring, and running throughout the summer, it can get really loud at
sunrise with all the avian activity on our farm. I would venture that a rooster
didn’t get the farmer up at the crack of dawn, it was all the wildlife singing
to the plants!
use for moisture is to help breakdown the remaining residue from our winter
crops that we plant to protect and nourish our soil. Moisture and heat are
critical for the fungi and bacteria world to turn the fibrous plant material
into nutrients. Which, in turn, build soil health and feed the plants. Making
sure the crop is incorporated into the soil, and there is adequate moisture,
speeds up the process and frees the nutrients to feed the plants.
the soil bacteria and the other host of unseen workers is job one for an
organic farmer. Without healthy soil you can’t have healthy food, and without
healthy food you can’t have healthy people. If the national health trend is any
indication, our nation’s soil is not producing very healthy crops. And to
compound the issue, the agricultural crops are turned into a myriad of overly
processed foods that are even more unhealthy.
grown fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes consumed as close to
their original state is the silver bullet to America’s health crisis. A simple
solution, but one that eludes most.
When I think about small
things, I am thinking about the little decisions that can elevate a
conversation to optimism or an argument. Or on the farm, getting ahead of the
weather by a day or two can also have lasting impacts on the crops.
week, we saw temperatures climb from the low 60s to the high 70s/low 80s. This
is the season where a small decision can really influence a June/July harvest.
Ideal weather doesn’t exist. The weather is just what it is. Which means, as a
farmer, I do my best and then move on. Farmers have an edge about them, it
comes with the territory. Some crops do great, some not so great and others
just don’t make it.
of farming inform many decisions. A collective wisdom that has been passed down
season by season and crop by crop, which means that the weather plays a big
factor. But it is out of my control, and when a crop flourishes it probably has
more to do with the weather than I give it credit. But the little things like
depth of tillage, timely weeding, and timely watering can go long ways towards
working with nature to help that crop flourish, too.
in May can have a lasting impact on cool weather crops, and the variability of
weather can really mess with a plant’s internal clock. Cilantro is always
looking for a reason to bolt or “go to seed,” as is spinach. We have chosen to
focus on crops that are less temperamental like lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes,
winter squashes, and garlic. We have tree fruits and raspberries, too.
no longer grow blackberries. We had two varieties of thorn less blackberries.
One came on early; I mean a month before any wild blackberries were ready to
harvest, but every bird within a few miles descended upon them and feasted
away. The other challenge was that a warm March and cold April with a late
frost, killed about a half of them. Their shoots for next year will be fine,
but the combination of bird predation and frost susceptibility have made them
less desirable to grow.
other blackberry came on in late August and the birds had plenty of wild
blackberries to feast on, but I didn’t like their flavor. They were prolific,
big and juicy. I would always walk by them and look for the plumpest berries
and eat one and think “meh”. Every time I always thought “meh” when I tasted
them. So last fall, I took them out and took out their trellising.
beautiful thing about farming is that there are lots of choices when it comes
to what crops to grow and every farmer gets to match the crop to their microclimate,
their personality, and their temperament!
with the weather changing, we have
new opportunities to grow different crops. But the warmer weather has also come
with new pests. I noticed new birds flying over the farm that are now in the
valley. Changing weather patterns come with lots of new variabilities and that
definitely keeps a farmer on their toes!
Growing good food for you that loves to grow in the Stillaguamish River Valley.