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August is one of the hardest months on the farm for me. Early in the spring there is so much optimism and hope. Nothing has been planted, but you’re ready for the fresh start!  You start watching for those windows of dry enough weather to get out and put your farm plan into action.  

Of course, this year has been anything but normal, in more ways than one!  The weather didn’t really break until mid-July, but the last few weeks have been glorious with lots of sunshine and just enough rain. It is unusual to not have had to irrigate much at all this year. On the farm, irrigation is referred to as IRRITATION! Seems like you are always chasing a leak here and fitting there, and water pressure, but when it all comes together, there are few things as beautiful as a working sprinkler system. Although, nature is the most efficient irrigator of all, and as much as we try to imitate a rain event, our efforts are a mere distant second to a good rain event. 

August can present as a tough month because the farm is in so much transition. As I walk the fields, there are big gaping spaces where a crop used to be but has been harvested. I walk by places where lettuce, beets, peas, beans, and garlic have been planted, cultivated and harvested. Months of work finally ready for your Box of Good. Interspersed among these newly created spaces where vegetables once inhabited are newer plantings of lettuce, cabbages, kales intermixed with more beans and a very healthy winter squash crop. 

Literally a few weeks ago the farm was feeling near capacity with not much open ground and now as if one flipped a switch, it starts heading back to more open and less planted. It is what is supposed to happen, it happens every year, but the most rewarding time for me on the farm is when most things are just about ready to harvest and the farm looks full.  

Much of the spring plantings are finished and we are busy planting our fall crops. The season has been good and even with bare spots where veggies once inhabited there lingers the memories of rows and rows of crops. . .  

As we march forward, I am simultaneously, looking back and looking forward. We have made the decision to change our farming methods and to streamline our beds. We are placing stakes where beds will begin and end reconfiguring our “blocks” for next year’s vegetables. The biggest change will be the complete work up of all our beds making them all 200 feet long with ample headlands to turn a tractor. This will make everything more uniform from our plantings, to irrigation and yes, even weeding. It is so much easier on your mind when you only must hoe 200 feet instead 260 or 240 or 300-foot-long beds. Making all the beds uniform is long overdue and the process has already begun, because all the fall plantings and garlic are being planted at the new 200-foot length. 

That’s all for now, 

-Tristan Klesick

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Kohlrabi is an amazing vegetable that has really never caught on in the States. It is in the Brassica family and derives its name from the German word Kohl meaning cabbage and Rabi meaning turnip. It is often referred to as a German Turnip. It has the shape, feel and look of a turnip, but its flavor is all its own.

I have been reading the book Fiber Fueled and the author shares that in order to have good gut health we need to be eating plants and conversely getting a lot of fiber into our diets. I tend towards a plant-based diet with a little protein, but Dr. Bulsiewicz (@theguthealthmd) shared in his book that no matter what diet you eat, adding around 30+ different kinds of plants weekly to your eating regime has an incredible impact on your gut health.  I know this intuitively, but it’s always good to be reminded and affirmed. 

Kohlrabi is such a versatile plant that can be used like a turnip, a cabbage or like a radish. It can be eaten raw, cooked or fermented. It makes wonderful additions to soups, stews, salads or added to your favorite roasted vegetables.  Salads, soups, roasted veggies are excellent strategies to get more plants and variety into your diet. 

Our weekly menus are built every week around the familiar and seasonal fruits and vegetables and we try to incorporate a little bit of the unfamiliar. Because, just like @theguthealthmd, we believe that diet filled with plants and eating a variety of vegetables will make us healthier.  Plants alone feed the 30 trillion bacteria that live inside our bodies. And if you feed the good guys lots of plants, they will out compete the bad guys. 

We try to have lots of ingredients on hand to pretty much whip up a healthy “fast food” of stir-fry, soup, salad, steamed vegetables or even just some cut up fruit and veggies to graze on while we play! If you offer lots of healthy variety, more variety will be consumed!

No matter how you slice it, eating heathy is going to take some planning and a full larder (refrigerator) filled with fruit, vegetables and legumes.

This is a long-winded way of saying, no matter how you choose to eat, if you try and eat 30 different types of plants a week you will probably be healthier for it. 

This week we are harvesting green and purple Kohlrabi. Turn the page to find a few ideas on how to incorporate this not so common nutritional powerhouse into your next meal!

-Tristan Klesick

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Summer’s Song

Joelle and I are raising our last 3 children still at home and are often blessed with an assortment of grand kiddos at any given time. The farm is so different through the eyes of a child. What do they see? What do they hear? What excites their imaginations? Where did they go?!?! 

Each year the farm season unfolds from the winter’s rest into several mini scores of lyrical geniuses, some ominous or foreboding, others dancing on the clouds, and some making their final push to the crescendo. Let’s be honest, Disney wouldn’t be Disney without music. And given the season of life with 6 grand kiddos under 8, a Disney anything is only a couple clicks away!  

And lest you think that I am being a nice grandpa, I also happen to like Disney, too. As I typed the title, I hear Olaf singing, “In Summmmmmmer!” 

A musical score is an apt way to capture the farm season and to capture life. Every crop is its own instrument playing to its own sheet of music written exclusively for it. Some of the moody opening pieces are like peas and spinach where the spring weather is similar; moody and unpredictable. And as we march from March to June their scores come to an end.  

And if by magic, the beans, cucumbers and tomatoes chime-in, overlaying and adding complexity to the changing landscape, with warm notes much like the weather (usually). These heat-loving summer crops thrive on increasing day length and heat units. Heat units vary for each crop and help a grower determine harvest dates. We don’t rely on technical heat units, but we do rely on HEAT to help these crops flourish. 

Every week we add new plantings till mid-August and from the end of April till October we are harvesting something. And if you happen to be waxing poetic with me and dreaming of farming, let me bring you back to earth! We weed something, somewhere, every week from April to October.  

Some people say, “a dog is a man’s best friend”, but as an organic farmer, a Hulu hoe is a close second! Weeding is hard work, but it is also very rewarding, it was one of the few chores when you are done you get immediate feedback! One of our summer weeders shared that, “it is so rewarding when you get the whole root.” Yes, it is! 

And now we are midway through this year’s musical and it has been a unique rendition. 2020 will be a year for the record books, but not because of the crops; because of the weather and the extenuating circumstances. 

And just like any live performance, once the show has begun, the conductor/director must make decisions in real time. Which just may be why farming has always kept my attention.  It is never the same score from year to year. 


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Here Be Lions

The name is derived from an old mapping tradition in which explorers marked unknown, dangerous territory with a symbol and the phrase “Here Be Lions.” I have also heard the term “Here BDragons.” 

Maybe I remember the phrase from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Regardless, I have been thinking about it for several weeks. It’s like the whole COVID19 is a big map with lions and the phrase “Here Be Lions” boldly stamped all over it.  

For most of the young and healthy and even the older healthy, COVID19 seems mostly manageable and the map is less dotted with the “Here Be Lions.” For those with underlying health conditions the COVID19 map has a lot more “Here Be Lions” on it.  Just as in the days of old, some of the markings were just unknown territories, places yet uncharted. Others were charted and known to be areas to respect. Each of us has our own map and depending on your underlying health, your map will look different than your neighbor, parents, and children. It is impossible to know what everyone’s health map looks like which is why we need to, more than ever, be kind and mindful of others, while also being proactive in our own personal choices. 


I am fascinated with the subject of fiber and nutrition. We love how organic home delivery of fruit and vegetables provides people with easy access to quality organic produce, with amazing sources of critical fiber!  We believe that fruit and vegetables are integral to the health of every person and access to them is so important, especially during this season!  

I am reading a book called Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome by Will Bulsiewicz, MD.  I have been ruminating (sorry couldn’t resist a farming analogy) on some things I’ve read recently.  In essence, the author says that it’s of the utmost importance that we feed the good bacteria in our microbiome with fiber rich foods, in order to help them (the good bacteria) fight off the bad bacteria. It’s a way of being proactive in the “battle” if you will.   Eating as much nutritious and clean food as possible will give your body the nutrients it needs to enhance your immunity.   

There are of 30 trillion bacteria living inside our colon alone. That is equivalent to looking at all the stars in the Milky Way and times it by 100! Dr. Bulsiewiscz also shares that an argument could be made that we are 10% human and 90% bacteria. Which means that what we eat, those critters are eating, too!  With every bite we can affect our gut health, by encouraging/feeding our bodies and theirs a diet rich in foods that are high in fiber. Fiber is absolutely critical to our health! 

During this season where we don’t really know where the Lions and Dragons are, a few mindful choices of what we eat can be life impacting. 

Thank you for inviting us to partner with you in good health. 

-Tristan Klesick

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Human Foosball

I subscribe to an email that comes monthly called Non-Obvious Insights. Rohit Bhargava curates an amazing assortment of information that is bubbling underneath the radar. This last week he highlighted how the Argentines are adapting to a world without soccer or football. If you are from anywhere else other than the USA you may wonder how the NFL got the name football when the rest of the world is using the same word for soccer??? Diving into that would be beyond our scope here! 😊

Having a need is the inspiration for all invention and finding solutions becomes the driving force. As you may or may not know, life without sports for a whole bunch of people, is unbearable and for Latin America life without football/soccer is devastating.

Personally, I have found the break from sports to be somewhat refreshing as it frees our schedule.  I wouldn’t wish it for long, but it has served as a reminder how busy life is when the calendar is full of practices and games. 

Getting back to the Non-Obvious Insights newsletter, Rohit shared a story. I will quote his commentary and you can look up the link at your own convenience. 

Like the child’s game of Four Square, this reinvented version of soccer (creatively described as “human foosball” in the article) is the perfect pastime for Argentines desperate to get back to the sport they love. The rules are simple … no tackling and you have to stay inside your box or else you get a penalty. This is absolutely better than nothing – and a beautiful example of people finding a way to keep themselves sane in a time when that feels harder and harder to accomplish.

It is nice to have a positive story about how everyday folks are pivoting to safely engage in community and find ways to connect.

This time in history will be one filled with stories, many sad, but if we look and are open to seeing the silver lining during this season, there are glimmers of hope and optimism.

On to dinner. I have resorted to roasting vegetables in the Schlemmertopf clay pot, since it seems like winter! And I might add…the summer garden vegetables like TOMATOES, GREEN BEANS AND CUCUMBERS think so, too!  We could all use more summer sunshine!  But in the meantime, let’s get creative with our activities, enjoy roasted veggies, and find the silver lining!

Be well and stay safe.  

Tristan Klesick

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Why I Weed

The primary reason I weed is to make sure I don’t lose a crop. It would be fair to say that I am a weed tolerant farmer.  A few weeds don’t bother me, but I prefer they don’t go to seed and repopulate! Too many weeds can smother a crop and keep it from maturing.

This year has been a challenge. Six inches of rain in June is a lot and it has delayed us from working in the field more than once. The rain did NOT delay the weeds from growing though! It’s going to take a herculean effort this week to get caught up and hopefully stay ahead of the weeds for the rest of the summer and fall.

Speaking of weeds, right now the corn in the valley is about 3–6 inches tall and weedy. In a few weeks, when the weather is dry enough, the dairy farmers will fire up the sprayers and spray the entire field with glyphosate and kill everything but the corn that has been genetically altered to survive the chemical onslaught. 

My neighbors grow a lot of corn for silage. Silage is akin to Kimchi for cows. Most of the local corn seed planted is GMO seed and is injected with glyphosate to create a Roundup-ready resistant corn crop (aka Genetically Engineered or Genetically Modified). They will spray hundreds of acres in the same time it will take me to hoe and hand weed a ¼ acre of vegetables. They are busy spraying 60 feet at a time, and I am busy hoeing 6 inches at a time. Before the days of GE/GMO crops, farmers spent a lot of time mechanically weeding their fields. When GMO corn hit the market, many farmers felt liberated from the sweat and toil of weeding and their per acre expenses dropped significantly. But some farmers were skeptical, despite the efficiencies. 

The USDA told farmers that it was safe, and the biotechnology should be trusted.  Some farmers bucked the system and became GMO-free or organic and many consumers responded by supporting those farmers and their crops. The GMO-free farmers still use pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, but they don’t use GMO seeds. I want to be clear GMO-free or non-GMO labels are not the same as ORGANIC. Organic farmers do not use GMO seed AND do not use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. GMO-free is good, but organic is better, better for the environment and for the health of the general public, and the consumer.

Americans have applied 1.8 million TONS of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974.  Scientists have linked glyphosate to cancer.  We’d rather weed by hand, hoe or mechanical tillage.  It’s harder work and more time consuming, but that’s okay.  We feel good about it!

Thank you for joining us on a healthier journey for you and the environment.

Tristan Klesick

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Enjoy summer’s local harvest salad-style!  Organic salads are the perfect summer meal!  They’re cool and light on a hot day (it’s coming!).  You don’t have to heat up the oven or stove top and you can prepare most of it ahead of time and be ready with a nutritious meal after a long day of work or play!  

There are basically 5 types of salads with endless possibilities.  There’s the green salad, the fruit salad, the rice and pasta salads, bound salads, and the dinner salad.  Each uniquely highlights different produce items perfectly!

The green salad is often referred to as a garden salad and usually consists of lettuce, spinach or leafy greens of any sort.  It’s often topped with a vinaigrette or light dressing.  In American restaurants we’re usually served green salads before a meal.  In some European countries the green salad is served at the end of the meal and thought to improve digestion.  Maybe we pick to have it first so that we’re sure to eat it before we’re too full! Some parents pick to serve salad first, because the kids are more likely to eat it if it’s served before carbs.

Everyone loves a delicious fruit salad!  There’s no fussing to get kids to eat it and could be added to every meal or as a dessert!  Fruit is high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and has a low energy density level.  There’s no right or wrong way to create a fruit salad. Simply chop up and put together your favorites! Adding a little lemon, orange or pineapple juice to your fruit salad will help keep the colors of the fruit bright and prevent them from browning. Fruit salad is best consumed shortly after preparation to maintain freshness.

Rice, quinoa and pasta salads are a great base for adding all sorts of diced up veggies, increasing the nutritional value of your more filling meal or side dish.  They can be prepared ahead of time and will even take on more of the flavors as they rest in the refrigerator for a bit.  If you dice up the veggies small, you can keep them raw and pack in a lot of nutritional density, filled with lots of beautiful colors, and yummy crunch!  

The bound salad generally is made of hearty, non-leafy ingredients bound together with a thicker dressing and can even keep its shape if scooped with an ice cream scoop.  Bound salads are often used to make a delicious hearty sandwich by topping a piece of whole wheat bread with a scoop of something like a chicken salad or chickpea salad and topping it with lettuce.  Or a bound salad could be a side dish of potato salad, combined with a variety of veggie crunch!

Last but not least, is the dinner salad.  The dinner salad is a hearty stand-alone that fills your plate with a combination of delicious and nutritious produce items and usually includes an added protein. Some popular dinner salads include taco salad, Buddha bowls, Asian salad, salmon salad, but the sky’s the limit! Variety is also multiplied when you factor in salad dressings! They deserve their own spotlight and we’ll talk more about that later!

We’d love to see some of your favorite salads and be inspired by your creations!  Share on social media and tag “Klesick’s” and we’ll reshare for all to enjoy!

Joelle Klesick

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I have the privilege of saying good morning to Mt. Pilchuck and the Three Fingers every morning. The sunsets are obscured by the tree lines, but the mornings in the valley are stunning. I have been getting up early for so many years that sleeping in looks like 5:15am!  That 4-5 a.m. start happens to be the quietest part of the day; a time to read my Bible, gather my thoughts and mentally prepare for the day ahead. This morning reminded me of how my early to rise habits can be breathtakingly satisfying. For a good part of the year everyone in our household gets to see the sunrise, especially during the fall and winter months. This time of year, as we dutifully march towards the solstice, you need to get up pretty early to catch the yellow orb as it peeks over the peaks.  

The increasing day length is one of the NW advantages in the farm world. A lot of crops really respond to increasing day length and WARMTH. Lately, we have been missing the warmth! It has been a good year for spinach and peas, but the early green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes –meh??? I think they are hunkering down, building some roots and “praying” for a few more degrees on the thermometer. Personally, I would be happy with a few more degrees, too. 

This week we are harvesting our experimental crop of pea vines. Did you know that pea vines are considered a delicacy? Most of the peas we planted are Sugar Snap peas and even the kids know that they better not eat the shoots off those! We’ll be eagerly waiting the Sugar Snaps.  But we put in a variety specifically to harvest as shoots.  I must admit I’m half tempted to string the whole patch and wait for another month and then harvest them as full pods. This variety is called Oregon Sugar Pod 2. It’s a giant snow pea variety.  They are also ideally suited for bunching as pea vines. I will probably end up somewhere in the middle and harvest most of them as pea vines and keep a small test plot to trellis. The pea leaves and tendrils are tender and full of nutritional fiber. They’re an excellent addition in salads, eaten raw or stir fried.  

Trying new things like this is fun and keeps it interesting! Over the years we’ve tried a lot of different things.  We’re first generation farmers so let’s just say, we’ve done a lot of trial and error!  Add the fact that each soil type is unique and subject to different advantages and disadvantages, and you could say we’ve fumbled through figuring out what works best for our farm. With our soil being heavy and clayish it doesn’t grow the prettiest carrots.  Carrots do better in sandier soil where they can easily grow into the loose soil. We have purchased carrots from Ralph’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon for 20+ years!  They have great soil for carrots and they do an amazing job growing delicious varieties!  

We love the fact that we can bring you great local produce from all around the PNW and we can all do what we do best! 


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The Time is Now

The Covid19 situation has me thinking about various forms of preparedness.  But first, I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge those that have recently faced serious illness, lost loved ones, or have experienced serious loss from economic shut down. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.

Who knows what the future holds and how it will affect us as individuals and as a community?  It’s wise to prepare for crisis in whatever ways we can.  I’m thinking about emergency preparedness in general and plan to double check our essential supplies so that in future crisis I won’t be caught off-guard and have to scramble to find them.  But also, I’m thinking about how to immerse our family in a healthy lifestyle to create a good foundation to withstand and prepare us for whatever comes our way! 

Eating healthy is a paramount strategy to fighting off sickness and lifestyle diseases. We know there are some aspects of health that we can’t control.  But those will likely not hit us as hard if we are proactive in what we can control! Let’s start with our mindset!  We can take charge of our physical, emotional and spiritual health and be mindful of our stress levels and attitudes!  We can control the amounts of sugar, alcohol, and exercise we partake in.  We can neglect or nurture our body with the nutrition it needs to be its best.  We have choices and those choices have impacts negative or positive.

Many contemplate living a healthy lifestyle but due to various reasons just don’t take the steps to make it happen.  It’s easy to put off nutritious eating habits, but radical change becomes motivating when faced with serious health issues. It’s better to be proactive and not wait until faced with a health crisis to embrace healthy habits. 

Which gets me thinking about our food security and community preparedness. With the recent health crisis, we were reminded of how fragile our food system is.  When this country went into lockdown mode, I was on the phone sourcing produce, changing menus daily, looking for values and variety to help feed the families we serve. Many items were difficult to source for several weeks. Thankfully, with our long-standing relationships in the produce industry, we were given favor and I think our customers barely noticed!  There were a few items people had to go without for a short bit, but it worked out to be a minor inconvenience.  

Just like a personal health scare can be a wakeup call, this felt like a wakeup call to prioritize and invest in local food security.  Let’s be proactive, not reactive. If sourced food, from distant places, becomes scarce, for any unfathomable reason, having access to local food is critical!  We need to have local farmland and farmers available to grow extra food for our own community.  Our season in the PNW is limited due to the weather and cooler climate, so even more resources would need to be available to grow enough to store and use throughout the colder seasons!  Local infrastructure must be viable and in place for there to be true food security. 

We are thankful for each of you and your support as we continue our mission to grow, source and deliver quality organically grown fruit and vegetables and be a voice for local farmland preservation. 

The more local families that eat locally grown food, the stronger our local farm community will be. . . and please remember to support ALL local businesses!


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Farm Happenings!

This week we’re increasing our plantings and our weeding! The weather windows are favorable to really start getting things checked off our list! If you follow us on FB or Instagram, you can see what we’re up to. This last weekend we started moving towards a big push to get our fall crops in. We planted a couple thousand winter squash starts, which will find their way into your Box of Good in SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER. We are focusing on staples like pie pumpkins and acorn squash, adding Honey Boat (a delicata-type squash) and a butternut variety.  At our house we especially love butternut squash! It’s delicious both roasted and as a creamy soup!  The nice thing about our home delivery model is that we can source and enjoy butternut from other farms throughout the year, and also enjoy it locally when available.  We love having delicious variety year-round and also growing vegetables and supporting local farms!

This week we’re harvesting our chives and paring them with carrots from Something Good farm along with some new crop California yellow potatoes. Sweet carrots, quartered potatoes, a little butter or olive oil and chives. So good!  Give it a try and let us know what you think!  

Our peas are growing like crazy and it’s time to build our trellis for both our sugar snap and snow peas. Without a trellis the plants would become all tangled up among themselves and be impossible to pick.  Some years the peas grow 8 feet tall. Those are good years! 🙂 The peas are looking great and healthy now, but hot weather can stress peas, which prefer cool weather. Bottom line, we won’t count our chickens till they hatch or in this case, we won’t count our peas before the harvest! But I am excited about those peas! 😊

…And flowers! Lots of flower seeds have been planted with the help of our kiddos and grandkids!  We live and work on the farm and let’s face it, farm season is filled with lots of hard work!  All the beautiful colors of summer flowers are inspiring!   

Lastly, I wanted to say, “thank you” for your kindness and generosity to our farm, packing and delivery team. They are always cheerful, hard workers, but they have worked especially hard during this season to get good quality organic produce to our community, while keeping everyone safe!  Your generous tips and kind notes have been much appreciated by our staff!