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Wow!

It is finally here! Thanksgiving came so early that Christmas seemed like a longways off and BAM! Well hopefully, you are mostly ready for this Holiday Season because it is happening now! I know that for us it can get a bit crazy at the Klesick home. At any given moment we can go from a few of us at home to 25 people and it looks like Christmas is trending towards 25 at the farm.

Last week, the Klesick team took a field trip to the WSU Bread Lab in Burlington. We rolled up our sleeves and prepared a meal with Niels Brisbane, WSU Culinary Director. We made pasta, lots and lots of pasta. We made all sorts of shapes and sizes of pasta. The roasted vegetables with a hazelnut, roasted chili pepper and olive oil dressing – incredible! As was the fennel and onion sauce for the pasta, OH MY WORD! I would have never thought to cook onions and fennel together and then blend them to make a pasta sauce. I love to cook and eat really good food and it was fun to bless my team with a fun cooking/Christmas party. They even stayed and helped with the dishes!

This week’s newsletter (found here) features a hummus recipe (found here) which is a perfect side dish to bring with your vegetable platter to all the holiday parties you have scheduled for the next few weeks 🙂 Be sure to stock up on chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and whatever spices you want to mix in!

Lastly, keep in mind the upcoming delivery day changes for the week of Christmas. Some minor adjustments have been made with the holiday falling on a Tuesday, so double check your day. And of course, if you have travel plans for the next couple weeks, be sure to change your next delivery date from your account online, or contact us and we’ll handle it for you.

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!

See you after Christmas!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 

This is the foodie holiday of food holidays. So much energy is going to be invested with planning, shopping, house cleaning, meal prep and cooking. A few of you will even have 2 or 3 engagements and you might have to eat turkey TWICE! But before I delve into my plan to eat healthy this Thanksgiving, I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to our box of good community. This Thanksgiving holiday we have donated over 170 Holiday Boxes to local food banks totaling almost $8000.00 in high quality organically grown fruits and vegetables.  

These donations are powerful and convey hope and help the food bank community extend care into many vulnerable populations. Year to date as a box of good community we have delivered, through our Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, over 800 boxes to 12 different food banks. 800 boxes of good donated by our customers is incredible. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  

Tristan’s plan to eat a successful Thanksgiving Meal 

This week is one of those food “traps” that will be foisted upon Americans. Yep, Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful will be greeted with a barrage of pies, ice cream, jello, lots of gravy and, and, and. Just the sheer amount of food will be immense and the selection on most tables will be enough to feed a family for a week.  Most of us are not going to be in control of how much food gets set on the table, but we can control how much food gets put on our plates. 

To be a successful eater at the Thanksgiving table, I would encourage a few Non-Negotiables.  

Choose to eat better so you will feel better and not bloated or stuffed. It is a choice. 

Limit snacking and choose the fruit and veggie snacks. 

Plan to eat at the main meal, whether that is lunch or dinner for your family, but be reasonable with your portions.  

Just one plate, not one plate at a time, not heaping (wink, wink). Just one plate, it will be enough food.  

Remember, dessert will be coming, so pick none or just one. I know this is a hard one, because there will be lots of selection and a sampling will be tough to turn down. 

These simple non-negotiables or guidelines will help anyone enjoy family, friends and the Thanksgiving meal with energy and enthusiasm. Imagine feeling full and thankful this Thanksgiving. That’s my goal! 

Enjoy! 

Tristan 

Farmer/Health Advocate 

Vegan Apple Crisp 

Author Notes: A straightforward, fuss-free, no-nonsense apple crisp. Enjoy it for dessert, or hell, enjoy it for breakfast. Coconut oil helps to create an irresistibly sweet and buttery topping — without so much as a hint of butter! —Gena Hamshaw 

Serves: 6 to 8 

Ingredients 

For the apple filling: 

7cups (about 8 to 10 medium sized) sweet-tart apples (such as Gala or Jonagold), peeled, cored, and chopped (1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces) or thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
 

tablespoon lemon juice
 

¾ cup organic sugar or organic light brown sugar
 

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
 

½ teaspoon nutmeg
 

1/8 teaspoon clove
 

1/8 teaspoon salt
 

1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
 

½ cup water
 

For the crumble topping: 

cup all-purpose flour
 

¾ cup quick oats
 

cup organic brown sugar
 

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
 

¼ teaspoon salt
 

teaspoon ground cinnamon
 

½ teaspoon ground ginger
 

½ cup melted coconut oil
 

Directions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. 
  1. Place the apples in a large mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Place these ingredients into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. 
  1. Whisk together the arrowroot and water, then pour the mixture over the apples. Toss them lightly with your hands to get everything coated with the arrowroot. 
  1. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a food processor, and pulse a few times to incorporate everything. Add the coconut oil and pulse the ingredients quickly in the processor until they’re forming large crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve. 

 

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Dinner

Last week I attended the Farm Fish Come Together dinner at Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish. This dinner was hosted by the Sustainable Land Strategy (SLS) of Snohomish County. I have been Co-chair of this group for the last 4 years and every other year the SLS Executive committee host a dinner for farmers, policy makers and elected officials.

It is a powerful time to interact face to face with all the Natural Resource community. At my table were folks from Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Partnership, State Legislator Derek Stanford, Terry Williams for the Tulalip Tribes and Rob Duff from the Governor’s office. The SLS hosts this dinner as meet and greet, because we believe that open dialogue about our limited natural resources between land owners and those that are tasked with managing/regulating the natural resources should find noncombative ways to work together. This is a different approach than what we are seeing unfold in DC or for that matter anywhere politics is in play. But as Dan Bartelheimer, the Snohomish County Farm Bureau President shared with the entire group, “we have more in common than less and most of us are sitting on the same side of the table.” He is absolutely right!

I have been involved in Snohomish County Land use and farmland preservation for over two decades and have donated thousands of hours during that time to imagine a community with farmers farming the land and rivers filled with Salmon. And I earnestly believe, that planning for local farmland, local food and habitat are critical for the future residents of Puget Sound.  This is no easy task when you consider the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and water shortages. And add the need for housing, education and mental health, so many compelling and real needs to balance. There is so much to consider and planning is the only way to go forward, but planning built upon relationships and from the ground up is best way to go forward.

And happily, in Puget Sound there is an earnest desire to work together from the farmer to the Governor’s mansion. Collaboration is the key to unlock a vibrant future for local food producers and for local habitat. We can have both and the Sustainable Land Strategy of Snohomish County is hard at work as a nonregulatory advisory committee. And the Farm Fish Come Together Dinner was just one part of this strategy that builds relationships to ensure a vibrant local farm community and the local habitat that make this place so beautiful!

Your Farmer and health advocate

 

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Hoping for a Gully Washer

Actually, I am looking for a good rain to clean the air and end the fire season early or at least allow a respite for all the fire crews and families directly impacted by all the forest fires. And for the rest of us breathing this smoke, it would be most appreciated too. Lord, please send the rain.

Last week, Joelle and I and a few of the kiddos snuck off to Moclips for a few days before soccer starts, school begins and the final push to the Fall farm season. Fortuitously, it also happened to have the best air quality in the state, not great but not above 100 either.

We just played at the beach.

The waves just kept coming and coming and coming! Awesome power and rhythmic. When all was quiet during the wee hours of the morning, (I might be on a vacation, but I still get up at 5am) you could hear the constant roar of the ocean, like a freight train, but it is never accompanied by a crossing signal or the faint coming or going of a train. What power, magnificent power!

Most of us reading this newsletter, appreciate the tide coming and going as it pertains to the Puget Sound of Salish Sea. And for sure the sound can be very stormy, but it is a tame beast compared to the Pacific Ocean.

We wandered out into the Griffiths-Priday state park and waded the quiet waters of the Copalis River. We made our way to the mouth of the river, a completely different experience than the Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. There we came across the biggest hoof prints I have ever seen. Definitely not coastal black tail, or horses, they belonged to an elk. I guess Elk Creek was appropriately named after all! The tracks were huge, and the gait had to be 6 feet between hoof prints. We followed the tracks in the wet sand till it crossed back over the Copalis River and though we searched and searched, we couldn’t find the tracks on the other side of the river. But it was fun to look and since we are on vacation and no need to be anywhere at the moment, looking was perfectly acceptable.

Nature is beautiful. It is beautiful at the ocean, and in the city and on the farm. There is so much intricacy on a centipede or a robin or skate. Leaves floating above the water and leaves jostling below the water both making their way to the ocean or the bottom, but both destined to rejuvenate the ecosystem.

It is a privilege to participate actively or passively with nature and all its wonder.

 

Tristan

Last week wanderer, this week farmer

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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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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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Wedding Bells

Wedding season or farm season? It’s BOTH around here! It is a very special week at Klesick’s. Joelle and I are excited to welcome Abigail into our family. We have known her parents and family for years and have had the pleasure of watching Abby grow up before our eyes. She is a beautiful young lady and Andrew, our son, has definitely found the love of his life. We think she is pretty special, too.

What makes this wedding unique, is that Abby is Mike’s youngest daughter. Yes, the very same Mike, who responds to your emails and returns your phone calls is the proud father of the bride and future father-in-law to our son, Andrew.

Our families are excited for our children and their future.

 

Tristan Klesick

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Protection or Free Trade

Last week we delved into the benefits of farmland and having farmers to work the land. Having local farmland is a national security issue, a national health issue and national environmental issue. Let’s face it, if we do not control our food supply we will be at the mercy of those countries that do. And food will become more like oil. And our presence in other countries becomes more important as other countries control or supply important commodities that America needs or thinks it needs. But whether it is a real or perceived need, if Americans (corporations) think it is important, there will be a demand to protect and ensure its supply/availability.

We are seeing this play out in a real time. Steel and aluminum are front and center. President Trump and this administration is deciding that protecting these industries are important to American security. Manufacturing jobs are good jobs and ironically, good union jobs, too. How did a Republican President of the free trade party take this stance??? We will have to leave this topic for another newsletter or newsletters.

Free trade, which is the issue under attack, is like most things; the pendulum swings one way and eventually swings back. We have been allowing Corporations to move jobs from America to other countries for decades, good jobs, but because it would be cheaper to produce somewhere else. Cheaper is an interesting word. Cheaper for the companies and the consumers who buy their products, but there were losers in the mix, too. Whole regions were shuttered and shoved aside and became “welfare” recipients.  One could argue that the consumers and corporations won, but consumers also had to pick up the tab for the loss of jobs, retraining, mental and emotional stress, shifting environmental damage to other parts of the world, etc. So much to talk about. 

This week, president Trump is trying to reestablish and protect American workers and the industries that remain. And other countries who have benefitted from Free Trade and developed industries to compete and supply steel or aluminum are fighting back because they need to protect their good paying jobs and their national security, economies, etc. 

It is also interesting that Agriculture is going to be the big loser. Farmers are always the first to get tariffs slapped on them, because America mostly exports food and imports everything else. So as this “reset” takes place, it is going to be a rocky road for a while as the world leaders try to figure out how to protect their own interests/corporations/consumers. 

So, to me, it looks like everyone at the table is looking out for their own interests and no one has the high moral ground. 

What I do know is that local food comes from local farms and having locally grown fruits and vegetables are vital to the health of every single person, regardless of where they live – America, China, Kenya, France, etc. And I hope that citizens everywhere invest in their health and strengthen their own local food economies. For most of us, voting with our dollars, does have local, national and international outcomes.

Thank you for your conscious choice to invest in your health and partner with Klesick Farms to keep local food and local farms viable and a part of our local communities.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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A Family Farm

Every farm at one time was a family farm. But along the way, farming became more business-like and less farm-like. Don’t get me wrong, farming has a bottom line and to stay in business a farm has to make a profit. What changed though? When did our food become so impersonal? It’s just lettuce, or tomatoes, or?

Just lettuce, for example, takes a year in the making. The lettuce seed farmer has to grow the lettuce plant to produce seeds, clean the seeds, and then package the seeds. Then a lettuce farmer has to buy the seeds, fertilize the fields, and plant the lettuce seeds. Then about 6-10 weeks later that farmer gets to harvest the lettuce and sell it to a thankful customer. But because our farming regions are further and further from urban centers, we are losing touch with the farming industry that is essential for life.

As a farmer I am in awe that food is so readily available and that we have so much local food available. The Puget Sound/Salish Sea area of Western WA has a robust local farm economy. We are blessed with so many smaller farms, surrounded by larger farms – dairies and berries. The whole system is interwoven and supported by tractor dealers, farm suppliers, veterinarians, food processors, etc.

To feed people you need farmers and farmers need land. Thankfully, much of Western Washington farmland is in flood plains—AKA not good places to build houses. These rich alluvial soils that are some of the most productive in the world are right here in our own backyard! This same farmland is a multi-benefit landscape providing many other benefits to our local communities. In addition to local food and food security, local farms store flood water, filter water from the hillsides and cities before it gets to the rivers and estuaries, provide open space and lots of habitat for a host of non-human critters too.

But what makes all these direct and indirect benefits of local farmland possible? A willing consumer and a willing farmer that have developed a mutually beneficial and meaningful relationship. For us, local customers are the reason we are farming. Because of you we grow food—organic, non-polluted food—that nourishes you, your family and indirectly benefits the entire local ecosystem. You might say that having local farmland farmed by local families is a win for you, the farmer and the local eco system.

 

Growing food for you,

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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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