Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrub the beets well with a veggie brush and cut off the tops.
Use a mandolin slicer to slice the beets paper thin (1/16-inch). When the beet slices are this thin, there is no need to peel them first. Hold the root end while dragging the beets across the mandolin and watch your fingertips closely.
Place the beet slices in a large bowl and pour the oil and salt over the top. Toss well. (If using red and golden beets, place in separate bowls and divide the oil and salt evenly.) Ready for the secret step? Now let the beets sit in the oil and salt until they release their natural juices, about 15-20 minutes. This is what allows them to retain a better shape and color.
Toss the beets again, then drain off the liquid. Lay the slices out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45-60 minutes until crisp, but not brown. Test after 45 minutes and only bake longer if necessary. Remove the beet chips from the oven and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
For the dip, mix all ingredients together in a bowl
I’m hoping for
more summer, but last week had that Fall feel to it. When I came
downstairs, the heater had turned on. I thought to myself: hmm,
that is strange. To the thermostat’s credit, it was chilly. Of course, a few cold mornings
in early August don’t predict the future, but before we know it, it will be
September. And you know what that means, SOCCER
I coach my son’s team, and I already have those boys practicing. I am a coach that
believes in practicing with the ball all the time, and we
practice at game speed for most of the practice. But I digress. Fall will be here soon enough, but for
now there is still lots of work to be done on the farm.
If I had to sum up the farm season, it was mostly wins. Things were a little slower growing and quality has been really good. Our early apples have that sweet, tart flavor that is
reminiscent of another era. The Pristine is a little later this year, even
with the drier weather, but it is fun to have an early apple. The trees we
Honeycrisp to Liberty apples have been growing really well, and in 2021 we will have a healthy crop of
absolutely love this apple, but our next apple will be the Gravenstein, followed
by the Chehalis.
Soon there will be Conference and Stark Crimson pears, followed
by the Bosc pears. Pears are my favorite crop. I could eat a pear every day.
You might be wondering how I chose my varieties. I grow what I like to eat, and I
grow what grows well on our farm. Some of this is trial and error. You do your
research and plant the crop, and then you try to farm them. Sometimes an
experiment will take 3-5 years before you can accurately judge whether or not the crop or tree is a good fit for your microclimate or
farming style. We have grafted all of our Comice pear trees to
Conference Pears, and that was a good decision. The
Conference pear tree is much happier on our farm and tastes really
good. Pears are still a month away though.
Switching back to veggies. Cucumbers are coming on, tomatoes are coming on, green
beans have been strong with our third planting a few weeks away. This week we
are harvesting beets. Beets are one of my favorites. Our French relatives
serve, boiled, peeled, and cubed beets with grated carrots and green beans as
the first course. I love that dish; I could eat it a few times a week with a little
olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Try it this week, you can put all of it on a
bed of lettuce or spinach, too. YUM!
Thank you for eating your fruit and veggies, it is the easiest way
to obtain optimal
Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes and season with salt and pepper; toss.
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and trim the broccolini and cut in portions for the larger pieces. Lay on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix the garlic with the olive oil. Toss the broccolini with the olive mixture. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes. or until tender and crispy.
Preheat oven to 400º. On a large baking sheet, toss carrots with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 30 minutes.
has always been the heartbeat of every economy. Let’s face it, if a
community has no way, or severely limited ways, to
create products or get them to a market, that community is going to be smaller, and
possibly not even exist.
The idea of local means something different to different people. For some it
might mean buying Chinese products from a local shopkeeper, or a
large one like Walmart???? For others it might be buying only locally made
items from nonlocal materials. Others might think that local means buying only
items from local producers who use local items, but even the producer might use
a plastic or hemp or some other material from somewhere else to package the
item. Are we counting the energy from dams or natural gas or big oil in the production of our local
The idea of local is a difficult thing to pin down. Where do we
draw the line? American only? Washington only? America and Mexico only? What about customer
service, quality, and local jobs? Are those as equally important or more than
where the item is produced? Is the size of the company important? Is there
anything inherently better about Costco because it is a local company or Trader
Joes because it is not?
One of the most local things is food, but even that is complicated.
Local food is almost always raised by local farmers using Diesel to
power their tractors and get their products to market. What about the seed and
fertilizers? They mostly come from other places too.
Klesick farms is a local company and a local farm, but we also work
with other local farmers and producers from Skagit or Washington, other
even countries. We pride ourselves on being as local as locally possible, and also having a high standard for quality and customer service.
only in the actual produce we deliver, but the internal quality of the
organically grown produce we deliver. That internal quality is the real prize,
the fact that it’s beautiful is a plus.
What we are after is the quality that feeds your body, that fuels your
body, mind, and soul to be as healthy as you can possibly
be for as long as possible. What we eat is important, and I
like to think that where it comes from has a little to do with it as well. For the
last 21 years, Klesick’s has never deviated from that mission, message, or
passion. Your health is important, and growing or sourcing foods that are healthy,
nourishing is embedded deep in our DNA.
Your health matters to this local farm and company!
As a culture, we have anecdotally, though
incorrectly, placed farming and technology at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Particularly with organic farming, our first visuals stem from old black and
white pictures of grandma and grandpa, with one holding a pitchfork, the other,
some corn stalks. Or there was the Back-To-The-Land Movement in the 60s and
70s, where we opted out of most of the modern comforts and efficiencies to do
things “how they used to be done”. They were labeled “Hippies” in that era, and
they still exist today, but now they’re called Recovering Millennials.
It wasn’t an accident that this movement began in
the 60s. As the war ended and troops returned home, the country shifted its
industrial prowess from producing tanks, bombs, and planes, and these talented
individuals turned their sights on the next fastest-growing industry: the
American family. Many of the companies we know and put up with today have their
roots (and patents) incorporated around the forthcoming advancements and
inventions. The deep pockets of the military budget (then, and
now still) enabled the research and development of many things we
hold dearly, but none more so than nearly every invention along the way to
our first digital computers, and even the early Internet, known as DARPANET.
Our modern computer would not be
possible without both the war and women. You see, our computer was simply the
response to very large, technical, and complex problem, and few had the
resources at hand to solve it besides the US military: how do you accurately target
dropping bombs from airplanes, or firing shells from moving ships? Known
as ballistic trajectories, you can imagine all the
variables that go into these calculations: wind speed, type of shell,
angle of the turret, speed and direction of the ship or plane, gunpowder used,
air pressure, distance to target, and the ever-present Coriolis
Force. These weren’t so much problems of war, but problems of
math. With miniscule changes to any one of the variables, each trajectory
needed to be re-computed. As the overall range of the
shells greatly increased in the early 1900s, you could no longer
depend on sight to determine the accuracy. And so we hired computers. No, not machines. Just
like we call people who swim, swimmers, and people that
build, builders, people that computed were computers.
Most notably, women. Teams of women. Entire buildings of women, computing
ballistic trajectories. Talk about war heroes! They would later be hired to
calculate flight trajectories for early space travel, as shown in the
movie Hidden Figures.
As the 50s roared on and machines took over computing,
the American Machine drilled its way deep into the home, then it went
straight for our food. The Back-To-The-Land Movement, and later the organic
label, was simply a reaction to the unnerving trend towards quantity over
quality. We’ve long worshipped at the altar of scale, where the products that
rise to the top of our food system exist mainly because they are long-lasting,
uniform, shelf-stable, processed, transportable, consistent, and cheap.
Unfortunately, there are many hidden and deferred costs
to cheap food, and it turns out scale has
downsides as well. Prioritizing foods that sell well over foods that digest
well might not be very smart in 10 years.
We now have terms for firms that operate at
unprecedented scale: Big Pharma, Big Data, Big Tech, Big Ag, Big Oil, Big
Banks. We even say they’re too big to fail! On the contrary, my peach tree
would argue that when I neglect to trim and thin and it gets too many big
peaches, it fails spectacularly! Snap, Crackle, Pop! 🙁
We have gone through a vicious cycle of scaling
up our homes (cookie-cutter subdivisions), our food (big-box, fast food),
our work (computers, skyscrapers), our sports (TV), our shopping (malls, ecommerce,
China), our travel (freeways), and now we seem to be stuck in a season of
scaling our entertainment, distraction, and notifications (phones, streaming).
When we get bored of one, we move to the next, and there seems to be a lot of
unnecessary suffering created in the margins near the altar of scaling
anything. The low-hanging fruit of endless ramping-up appears to have served us
well, but there are rumblings and groanings that the consequences are coming
back to balance out the scales.
The organic movement was simply a conscious
choice or discipline to do things how they should be done, rather than how they
could be done. Plenty of our technology exists simply because we can, with
precious little thought as to whether we should. But just like our need for
organic labeling came about, we’re now seeing our technology wrestle in the
same arena with things like the Center for Humane Technology and Time Well
Spent. Organic farming and now our technology are together, oddly, pushing back
on similar encroachments.
When a system is too big to fail, that’s a good indicator that something is broken, deeply, at the root. And a broken food system can hardly be fixed by calling your senator, attending a conference, choosing a diet based on book sales. Sometimes, all that’s left is to simply opt-out. By getting your Box of Good, you are opting out.
wilted spinach leaves, cut in slivers (optional)
ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
pound pasta, any shape
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile,
heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the
garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sliced
roasted peppers and stir together for about a minute until well infused
with the oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the spinach
(if using) and feta cheese. Remove from the heat.
When the water comes to a boil, salt generously
and add the pasta. Cook until al dente — firm to the bite — following the
recommendations on the package. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking
water into the frying pan and stir well so that the feta cheese begins to
melt. Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the pepper mixture in the
How to Roast
Preheat the oven
to 450 degrees F. Place the oven rack on the top position, about 4 inches under
Cut the peppers
in half and remove the stems, seeds and membranes.
Lay the peppers
on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Roast the red peppers for 15-20
minutes or until the skins are very dark and have collapsed. (There is no need
to rotate or turn the peppers.) Once the skins are blackened remove the peppers
from the oven.
At this point
most people recommend placing the roasted peppers in a paper bag to steam for
about 10 minutes to help loosen the skin. Simply let the peppers cool for a few
minutes until comfortable enough to handle and then peel the skins off and
This week we are featuring Klesick Farms Inchelium
garlic. We have settled into this variety to grow. It is a classic soft-neck
garlic as opposed to a hard-neck garlic. The latter produces a seed pod, called
a garlic scape, that is edible. Ironically, those seed heads will eventually
turn into bulbils, which is essentially a very tiny garlic clove. When you
plant those bulbils, you get one clove the next year and then if you plant that
one clove from that one bulbil you will get a head of garlic.
Most farmers do not plant bulbils, but instead plant
cloves directly and bypass a year of growth. When we planted hard-neck garlic
in the past, we would save those bulbils. Then in the fall, just like regular
garlic, we would plant them and harvest garlic greens in the spring, similar to
green onions. Through trial, error, and frustration, we discovered that
harvesting garlic greens in March is really difficult due to the elements, and
our clay soils.
We have learned to wait till the weather moderates and
the soil warms before we attempt to harvest or plow on our farm. Because of
this, we no longer grow garlic greens, mostly due to a time of year issue.
However, garlic grown for bulbs does just fine, and the Inchelium is a
beautiful heirloom variety that was discovered in Colville Washington.
Ironically, garlic, like most plants, takes on the
personality of the soil and the farmer. This year’s garlic was a bumper crop!
The combination of planting in hills, mulching with straw, and spacing it about
6” apart in each row and between the rows with two rows per hill seemed to
work. Of course, that is what worked this year with this year’s weather pattern
and this 9-month experiment will become the planting protocol going forward.
Garlic is one of those truly slow foods, especially
compared to radishes, which take about 25 days to mature. Garlic is a
superhero, and while it might take 9 months to grow and a few months to
dry/cure, it can also last for months, unlike it’s quick growing compadre the
CAUTION. We are sending you “uncured” garlic in your box this
week, which means we just harvested it and it will not last for more than a few
weeks on your counter. EAT IT THIS WEEK. You can use it just like
regular garlic, press it, dice it, stir fry or roast it, but just make sure you
use it this week.
rest of the garlic will be curing and available later in August and into the
winter. If you haven’t noticed I am big fan of garlic and am all in on
Peter Rabbit and his siblings have taken up
residence this year! The rabbits are cute and fun to watch scurry around. And
they definitely feel at home! You can practically walk right up to
them. The other day I found one sunning themselves in the greenhouse under the
cucumbers. The nerve!
I haven’t seen too much vegetable damage from the
rabbits. But I have been scratching my head lately, wondering why the drip
irrigation is leaking in unusual places. I even replaced a section the other
day that was all scratched up. Hmmm!
I mentioned this story to John, my #1
farmhand and it was like a light bulb went off above our heads. He just
replaced two complete sections of drip tape which was all scratched up! But
they weren’t all scratched up, they were chewed up, apparently those lazy
critters are helping themselves to a drink every now and then FROM THE DRIP
Part of the problem is that our farm dog has
gotten along in years and while his desire to chase rabbits still exists, the
motivation to chase rabbits has long since left🙂. Of course, having a good rab bit chasing dog has its
advantages (like less rabbits wandering willy-nilly here and there). But, since
that option isn’t present, we will have to go to Plan B. I am going to put a
plywood rabbit door that us humans can step over or move and then I am going to
put a water dish outside the greenhouse.
Obviously, our “farm ecosystem” is a little
out of balance, which is why we have a lot of rabbits. Eventually, the
coyote/owl/falcon/hawk/eagle populations will respond to the new increased
food/rabbit supply and create balance again. It will take time, which means I
will need to manage the operation a little differently and possibly get another
rabbit-chasing farm dog.
This week’s menu has 13 locally grown fruits and
vegetables. It has been a very late start to the local season, but we’re
harvesting now! We are even seeing a few tomatoes ripening, both the Early
Girls and the Sungold Cherry tomatoes. And we are going to have a bumper crop
of cucumbers, green beans and beets. The potatoes have really loved the cool
spring and this dry stretch. Of course, everything has really loved this dry
stretch of warm weather, even this farmer
What is fun
about market/truck farming is that the landscape is always changing. Every week
we are planting something, then we add weeding to the planting, and then
eventually you add harvesting to the planting, and weeding–which is where we are
right now–and it is busy! Around September planting slows down your focus on
harvesting and weeding. In October, you stop weeding altogether and keep
harvesting, and then in November you take a long nap and wait till Spring to
start the cycle all over again!
But right now, it is local produce time and us local
farmers are getting it out of our fields and delivered to your door
fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
cloves garlic, minced
pinches lemon pepper
tablespoons olive oil
For the Pasta:
In large, heavy
skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking.
Add the garlic and onions;
sauté until golden– about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add spices and chicken
chunks; cook through–about 10 minutes.
Add diced Roma
tomatoes to chicken/Marinara sauce.
Simmer while cooking
pasta according to package directions.
Toss Marinara sauce
gently with cooked pasta; serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Divide (1/2 cup) between the squash, top with parmesan cheese and
bake 10 minutes.
For the Green Beans:
Place green beans into
a large skillet and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to
medium-low and simmer until beans start to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain
water. Add olive oil to green beans; cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Cook and stir garlic
with green beans until garlic is tender and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Season
with lemon pepper and salt.