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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.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-argentines-play-human-foosball-pandemic-200703063648353.html

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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Salad

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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Sunrises

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! 

-Tristan  

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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!

-Tristan  

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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!  

Sincerely,

Tristan  

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Spring has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung  

Over the last few weeks, the weather has been a mix of warm, cold, wet, really wet, and hot! For the most part a typical spring! 

Local products are starting to trickle in and before you know it, we’ll be immersed in the full-blown local season. This week and last week we’ve headed up to Mt. Vernon to pick up local, just harvested spinach, and asparagus. Local carrots, kale, and chard are next!  And, before you know it, peas, cherries, and a full bounty of NW produce will be harvested and delivered in your Box of Good.  Remember that all items featured in our boxes are available as add-on item if you’d like more of something.  Consider ordering extra of your favorite in-season produce while it’s available! 

Are you a home gardener during the local season?  We love hearing your gardening stories and encourage you to give it a try if you think it’s something you’d enjoy!  Lettuce is a common home garden vegetable.  Earlier this week, I answered the phone and customer, Rebecca, asked if she could somehow pass on the lettuce this week, because she’s swimming in lettuce from her own garden. My answer? Of course! We have a few ways to handle this request.  

-First option is to set up and use our “never-send” option. We can set a never-send for any item, and when that item, in this case lettuce, is on the box menu you have chosen, we’ll take it out and replace it with a similar item of the same value.  $1 per never send will be added to your box price to cover the additional processing and handling of swapping items. 

-Second option, switch to a different box, like the fruit box or the fruit and vegetable box. Both of these boxes do not have lettuce, so switching to either of these boxes will help her avoid receiving MORE lettuce. 

-Third option, Rebecca can order the specific items she would like for her family by building her own box and we’ll custom pack it for her. 

-Fourth option is a hybrid and the one she ultimately chose. The solution for her was to order a fruit and vegetable box and add radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers to her order. This solution helped her get fruit and cooking vegetables, no lettuce, and then she added her choice of additional salad items to go with her own lettuce. 

Everyone’s family dynamics, circumstances, and preferences are unique! From years of serving many different families we have learned how to help our customers get just the right portions and selection to make the most of their delivery and make their work best for them! Don’t hesitate to call or email us if you have questions, or you find yourself running out of your favorite items or find a few items piling up. Together, we can strategize and find the perfect weekly mix of fresh, nutritious, organic produce for your family! 

Enjoy the spring (whatever the weather is doing)! 

Tristan 

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Sweet Smells, Sweet Memories

Spring is filled with so many scents!  It’s the beginning a of sensory overload. Last week, I was walking up to the house, deep in thought as a northerly wind was blowing… I had been contemplating the unfortunate timing of having just planted seeds right before the big lightning and thunderstorm, which brought on lots of rain. Everything is well watered now!  

Our soil is a “heavier” soil, with a little clay, which has incredible advantages, but also disadvantages. It holds water well and requires less irrigation than “sandier” soils. It also warms up later but doesn’t dry up as fast either. With that said, a big disadvantage of “heavier” soils is that in the spring, when the weather finally is about right and the ground is ready to plant, a really good gully washer like last week can undue all of the spring prep work causing you to have to re-till for optimum planting ground.  

When a storm like last week’s rolls through, it’s usually followed by a warm stretch and the newly soaked fields can become baked like clay in a kiln. If the fields haven’t been planted, we can get to work on the fields again, but when you have planted seeds, it gets more complicated. We planted beans, beets and more peas. Those seeds should still germinate, but they are going to have to expend a lot of energy to break through the crust.   

We will cultivate the rows and gently break up the surface around the seed, but for the most part the seed must do the hard work of breaking through!  

While I was deep in thought, and passing through the flower garden, the pleasant smell of a flower brought memories from 1994, when our garden was 32 square feet. It was the same dimension as a sheet of plywood. But that year, I sold my very first crop – lilac blossoms.  On my way up to the house, I was immediately transported back in time 26 years ago.   

Memories are powerful; farming was a mere thought and certainly not feasible on our small city lot. It was during that time that I met my first organic farmers, as they delivered fresh produce and flowers from the Willamette Valley to where I was working in Vancouver. I knew at that moment, meeting those farmers, I would be a farmer one day, too. That spring lilacs bloomed on our small urban lot next to our little garden.  The farming seed germinated, and I asked the market manager if she thought anyone would be interested in purchasing our lilacs.  She brought them into the market and was happy to provide the beautiful flowers for customers to purchase! And that farming seed grew!    

And for the last 26 years there have been lilacs on our farm and every spring when the wind blows from the north and I walk by the lilac tree, I’m reminded about those first meetings with organic farmers and how a few cut blossoms have changed our life. 
 

-Tristan and Joelle 

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Home Delivery with a Local Farm Connection

With so many new families joining us recently, we would like to introduce ourselves. We are Tristan and Joelle Klesick and we farm, with our family, on 37 acres in the beautiful Stillaguamish Valley in Stanwood, Washington. Here at Klesick Family Farm we grow about 5 acres of fruit and vegetables. The rest of our acreage is used to rotate our crops or is planted to grass, which is harvested as hay for local animals. 

Throughout the summer we’ll grow garlic, chives, cucumbers, chard, summer squash, winter squash, peas, beans, beets, kale, and more. On our farm we have raspberries, strawberries, and grapes growing, along with 100+ apple, pear, and Asian pear trees. We begin working the ground, as spring rolls around and the soil begins to warm.   We farm during the spring and summer months until late fall when the weather begins freezing. The PNW vegetable farm season typically runs from April until October.  

In addition to farming during the local season, we own and operate Klesick’s Organic Produce Home Delivery where we deliver our Box of Good. During the summer, our boxes are filled with fruits and vegetables from PNW farms, including ours! Our produce items are always as local as possible, and then supplemented with fresh, organic produce from warmer climates. We also like to feature items that are not available locally, like bananas, pineapple and oranges.  As an added convenience, organic grocery staples and meat items are also available to our customers. 

We’ve been both delivering and farming for 23+ years! We’re glad we can source great quality organic produce items, and also share the local harvest! We love what we get to do!  We’re a local home delivery company and a local farm

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for health inspiration, foodie information and to see what’s happening on the farm!   
 

Tristan and Joelle

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School at Home : Nutrition

Have you heard of eating the rainbow? There are different types of nutrients found in different colored fruit and vegetables. Parents, use the coloring page we created as a fun way to get your kids excited about fruit and veggies and to start thinking about what they eat and why! You could even have them create their own rainbow log of all the colors (of produce items 😉) they eat throughout the week! Send us a pic of your child’s coloring page or post it on social media and tag us, and we will repost it in our Instagram and Facebook stories for all to see!