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21 Years

It is really hard to believe that our family has been serving our local community with organic goodness for that long. One crop of garlic leads to another and before you know it 21 years have snuck right up on us. Joelle and I have had the privilege of serving many of you for 2 decades. Some of you even remember us when we opened the Organic Produce Shoppe at Manna Mills in 1998.  

I met my first organic growers in Portland Oregon in 1994. Who knew that meeting a farmer selling lettuce would have such an impact on our life? We still buy vegetables from that farm today. Ironically, lettuce is my favorite crop to grow. Really, I just love to grow food and I love to serve people.  

It was hard to start our little farm business back in 1998. Home delivery was so new, only a few of us were doing it. We transitioned to home delivery in 1999 full time and started with just 50 customers, but I believed it would work. Absolutely crazy! Our first crops were garlic and sugar snap peas. We still grow those today plus lettuce. 

I remember one time when Andrew, who was 3 at the time, went missing. And so was Chaps, our golden retriever. At this time, we had a much smaller home and farm in Machias. When I look back on that first farm it was really just a big backyard, but we were farming! It must have been the end of June or so and the search was on! We wandered towards the pea patch and found him and Chaps. Chaps was laying down in front of him with his head up, crouching down, but ready to jump at a moment’s notice. And Andrew had not one but two handfuls of sugar snap peas, which he was sharing with his “babysitter.” 

Fast forward a few years and we had finally found our farm, 39 acres in the beautiful Stillaguamish River Valley. Chaps made the trip, of course, and while we were remodeling the old farm house he continued his babysitting duties. Like most dogs, he loved us, and we loved him. One day the kids were tired from throwing the ball for Chaps. Like any retriever, if you took the bait and started throwing the ball…Let’s just say you would wear out before he would. One time, Micah decided to put the ball in the Walnut tree out of jumping distance. Wouldn’t you know it, Chaps climbed that tree.  

A lot of life has happened in these last 21 years. When we started, we had 5 children. Now we have had 5 weddings and added 5 grandkids. We have been blessed to journey with so many of you for so many years.  

Thank you for allowing our family to serve yours,


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Eat To Heal

The organic food movement is in transition again. It is always a challenge to stay current in a constantly changing environment. So many new fads, trends, and research reports. How does one settle in and choose a course? What we eat affects so much of our lives, and if the current health trendline continues, Americans are still choosing the wrong course and eating the wrong things. The Standard American Diet is appropriately abbreviated SAD, and the food processors and pharmaceutical companies are really “giddy” that Americans overwhelmingly choose their food offerings. In the end big Pharma reaps the long-term gains. 

Crazy as it sounds healthy food is important, really important. It is really important to our health. Healthy food is really important to our local, regional and international ecosystems, too. With plastic islands emerging and tainted water supplies from chemicals/pharmaceuticals, it is even more critical than ever to choose organic and less packaging. 

By shifting our dollars to local farms and sustainable products, we are investing in both our personal health, and the environment. Every choice we make has an impact. The more we shift dollars towards companies we believe in, the greater our impact will be.  

And you know what is really amazing? Eating more fruits and vegetables is the solution to our national (personal) health and our environmental woes. And I believe that the human body wants to nourish itself every time we take a bite, and I also believe that the environment begins to heal itself every time we choose organically grown fruits and vegetables. We are made to be resilient! 

Resiliency is such a gift, we have to embrace it and feed ourselves the best food, and the benefits will follow.

For the last 21 years, Klesick Farms has partnered with other local organic farmers and organic suppliers to deliver healing foods to your family that impact your health, and at the same time impact the health of the environment.

We love being a part of something bigger and definitely better.

Thanks for choosing Klesick’s!


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Still A Bit Chilly Out There

Winter is still hanging on in this part of the world, but for some crazy reason the lawn is “asking” to be mowed. Mowing the lawn is a sure sign that spring is on the way. Now all we have to do is determine if it is going to be a wet one, dry one, or a combination of the both.  

I am sure we will have ample moisture to work with from the snowy deposits. Ironically, the moisture can be “sucked” right out of the field if we get a few hot weeks in April! You never know the weather you are going to wrestle with until you are in the midst of it! I suppose that is why they say, “hindsight is 20/20.” But the past helps to inform the future and we are planning on a glorious summer. And, given the weather trends, we have made some bold predictions, like we are exclusively growing all our tomatoes outside! 

We like growing tomatoes, and it is way more enjoyable to be harvesting them outside than inside a sweltering greenhouse. But even more than that, the tomatoes are growing just fine for us outside and, as mentioned a sentence ago, farming outside is rather enjoyable!  

So, what do we do with our greenhouse? We use them to grow cucumbers and start our transplants.  We have started seeding lettuce and will keep that up for the foreseeable future. We grow a red leaf, a green leaf, and a green romaine. Pretty exciting stuff! Really, it is pretty exciting. We exclusively delivered Klesick lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes to you for several months last year. We also support several other organic growers throughout the growing season and deliver their produce to you, too.  

Klesick is a good food hub of activity year-round, and it is all possible because of our customers who say “yes” to local farms and want to eat healthier foods grown organically.  

Soup. I love to make it and I love to eat it. And a hearty bowl of soup is just what is needed to warm a person up! Soup is great because it is so easy to make and can be a good use of leftovers. You can make a broth one day, add veggies another, then add some rice, or quinoa, or a protein. Literally, soup can be a ready-made base to feed any family for a few nights during the week. And there is absolutely no way that a homemade soup would ever need to have 1000 milligrams of SALT per serving!  

If I have learned one thing about eating healthy, it is way easier when you cook at home! 


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It Is Almost Time

We mostly grow crops outside of a greenhouse! Our greenhouses are more akin to propagation houses, especially this time of year. The first week of March is when we sow our first lettuce plants. We typically use what are called 128’s. 128 is an abbreviation for transplant trays that have 128 cells in a 10”x20” tray. 

We will seed lettuce in trays every two weeks from March till the end of June, and hopefully plant 1000 plants every other week. Of course, that is the plan on paper. And I can guarantee one thing: farming with a pencil is a whole lot easier than the real deal! 

But without some planning, the odds of having a successful year get a lot slimmer.  I know that if I don’t have a plan to grow food for you, I won’t be as successful.   

The trick is to recognize that that plan is just a plan, and implementation is where the plan meets reality. Our farm plan allows us to flex when needed, but our farm plan is not designed to be always in flex mode. That is subtle a difference, but it is important to not always be in “flex” mode. Flex mode is used when a deviation is needed to course correct and then get back to the plan.  

We try to stick to our farm plan. It has been honed from years of trial and error. For us, we grow lots of staples. Our main crops are lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, beans, raspberries, pears, plums, apples, and garlic.Last year’s plan worked awesome! The weather cooperated, and the weeds were manageable. If I could only order last year’s weather! 


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It Has Been Over a Decade, Maybe More

I honestly can’t remember the exact date we had a snow storm that disabled the PNW. I do remember as a kid walking on Lake Stickney in the late 70’s. Even the Snohomish River froze over that year! But that was a snowy cold snap that lasted for days. This recent one was mostly cold, but not a deep-freezing, prolonged kind of cold. I do remember the storm in ‘97 that left its mark on our communities. 

In 21 years, we have only missed deliveries due to snow one other time. It was the week after Christmas in ‘05 or ’06. The weather forecast was for snow and then a deep freeze that wasn’t going to thaw in the foreseeable future. That year we cancelled all deliveries for the week. The hard part is that when we cancel deliveries, we have to make the decision 5 days in advance. The other hard part is no deliveries, no revenue – ouch! 

When we cancel deliveries early in the process it accomplishes a few things. First, it lets our suppliers know that we won’t be buying produce. Then it allows us to communicate with you to give you ample time to make other plans. And lastly, it keeps our drivers and packing team safe. 

We will make every effort to make deliveries, but safety is our number one priority when it comes to adverse weather. Fortunately, we live in the NORMALLY MILD PNW. Thankfully, for this last event, the weather prognosticators have really upped their game, and I am able to rely on their near-term forecasts better than ever before. It does make the unpleasant task of cancelling deliveries easier. 

The good news is that the Klesick Driving team (Mikey, Nate, John and Kathryn) did an excellent job! We were able to deliver all but four of our routes in the last two weeks. That was an amazing feat!  

Snow Geese: 

I wanted to give my beautiful wife, Joelle, a shout out. She captured some amazing winter images of nature at work on and around our farm. Thousands of snow geese descended upon our farm last week. Their black tipped wings glistening in the foreground of the Cascade Mountains. Breathtaking! 

I might write the newsletters, but when you notice an amazing photo, she is more than likely behind it. I am in awe of her ability to see things that I never notice. If you haven’t scrolled through our FB page or Instagram, take a “gander.”  

On this organic farm, not only do we raise food, we also coexist with nature.


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Fear Pushes and Vision Pulls

I was listening to Ocean Robbins on a podcast with the folks from Mastering Diabetes last week, and he said something that I had never heard. He said that “fear pushes, and vision pulls.” I believe that, and I live that, but I have never heard it said quite like that. Fear pushes and vision pulls. I like it.

Everyone tends to be driven by some fear, and we react out of fear sometimes. But what if we could be so comfortable in our own skin that we could be ourselves and not be afraid? There are lots of areas where people walk in fear. Of course, Ocean was talking about lifestyle choices, food in particular. I couldn’t help but be saddened by all the superficial things we do as people. The way we dress, where we buy our coffee, what gym we belong to (but rarely attend, or attend because we want to be seen there). Who eats Kale salads because you don’t want to get cancer, or stopped eating Mangos because you have Diabetes?

Fear, Fear, Fear. It pushes us to buy every last gallon of water in the grocery stores, and every comfort food because it is going to snow. Advertisers use fear all the time. Many of us are afraid to put down our phones, because we might miss something that someone just posted. But we are apparently not afraid to miss out on a conversation with the person in the same room with us.

There are no magic bullets, and no magic pills or diets, and the pursuit of them can lead to burnout and despair. Fear pushes us and vision pulls us. What if we decided to put down our cell phones and turn off our media? What if we just chose Kale because it was better for us?

What would a better world look like to you? What would a better you look like to you? Instead of wishing you won’t get cancer, heart disease, or diabetes…. or wishing you would lose 20 lbs. Think about how much fun it will be playing tag with your grandkids or climb Mount Pilchuck every year till your 80.  If you wanted to do those two things or pick another amazing thing that being healthy would allow you to do and use that vision to pull you to the tops of mountains, to not only out smart your grand kids (or kids) but out run them too!

What changes would you make today? Some of you are thinking, I could have done that 20 years ago or 20lbs ago or I never could do that, and you are probably right, but the goal isn’t to do the seemingly impossible today. The goal is to start to do the seemingly impossible thing today, based on your vision for the life you want to live and the legacy you want to leave. Small steps can equal miles of satisfaction and joy, step into a plan based on vision and enjoy this life even more.

Change is hard, but change is possible!


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Spring, Not So Fast

Oh My! 

It has been a little chilly in Michigan! Michigan is where my oldest son and his wife live. My advice: “try and stay warm, son!” And as much as I miss him, I am not really interested in visiting anytime soon. However, we have been a little on the chilly side in the mornings and a little on the warm side after lunch around here.

As a farmer, I am asked about the weather quite frequently, especially now that we have had such a mild winter. For the record, there will be no “working the soil” ‘til it’s time. It is so difficult to fix a muddy mess that I have learned to be patient and wait for the soil to “speak” to me. There is a certain look to the land, a feel in the air, and an activity in flora and fauna that announces the Spring and the time to farm. 

Of course, I am referring to working outside and not in the greenhouses. For the greenhouses we try and anticipate an earlier or later Spring so we can time the plantings of our lettuce transplants. There have been years where we have planted 3 or 4 successions at once, and others where we have had to compost a couple thousand plants because the ground was too wet to plant. And no reasonable weather opportunity to plant was coming, either. Those plants made for some expensive compost! 

One year, I ordered a small planting of 4 trays for an early February planting in the greenhouse. Imagine my surprise when I received 40 trays. That was an expensive “0” to have added to my order. Thankfully, we had a funky February and we were able to work the ground and literally mud them in. We had the earliest lettuce of anyone that year. Let’s just say there is a reason that vegetable farmers don’t plant lettuce in February, unless it is in the greenhouse! 

We have learned that there is a time for everything, sowing and harvesting included. We will wait, maybe push the envelope a little earlier this year, but not much.  

We have just about finished pruning the fruit trees, and good thing, because they might wake up early this year. And our greenhouse is full of garlic greens, which we will be harvesting in the near future. Think green onions, only they are garlic. I will share more about the impetus behind that crop at a later date. 

We are here to serve you.

Your Farmer and Health Activist,


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Count, Curb, and Confess

The other day I was listening to a Bible devotion on the Youversion app from Your Time of Grace. I really like their devotions. This one was about tackling sin in our lives and how to get victory over it. 

As I was thinking about the concept of Count, Curb, and Confess, I thought about the last 4 or 5 newsletters and how I have been sharing strategies to win with food. Food isn’t a sin, but our attitudes towards food can certainly manifest in addictive ways, prideful ways, shameful ways.  

Disclaimer: I have only 500 words to share each week in this format and will never be able to fully unpack any of the concepts that I introduce or am writing about. There isn’t enough space in this newsletter to go very deep.  

For people who are addicted to anything, getting/trying to get back to “normal” is why they use harmful drugs. From the research I have read, many addicts do drugs, alcohol, sugar; not to escape, but to feel normal. The book “Brightline Eating” does a really good job of explaining this. Having a good relationship with food is important because we don’t want the pursuit of food to be consuming our lives, we want to consume food to help us pursue life and health and happiness.  

Getting back to Count, Curb, and Confess. The pastor encouraged the listener to Count the sin and how many times a day they were engaged in it (swearing, or drinking excessively, watching bad movies, …) and then Curb the inappropriate action or attitude, and lastly Confess it. What I wanted to share with you is that changing habits is hard, and taking a real honest look at ourselves is hard and humbling. But I believe people can change and win, but sometimes we don’t really know how big the problem is. That is why the pastor said “Count it” so you could know how big the problem is. How many hours did I spend on Social media today? How many sugar laden foods did I eat today? Personally, I am not a calorie counter. I don’t like to count calories, but I could surely count how many unnecessary treats I ate or look on my iPhone to check my screen time.

Once you have a good understanding of how big or small the problem is, you can Curb it, and finally, Confess it. This is the hardest step for a lot of people. If you are addicted to anything or wanting to change something, you are going to need accountability. You are going to need someone in your life that will hold you accountable. That person has to love you enough to be honest with you, and you have to love yourself enough to be honest with that person. You might even have to switch friend groups.  

I would like to look at this idea of Count it, Curb it, and Confess it inversely. Instead of counting things/habits we want to change from a negative perspective, count them in a positive perspective. First of all, change is possible. You can make change, don’t let anything/anyone dissuade you. Is change easy? No. Instead of counting sugary treats or sugary drinks or calories from sugar, try counting servings of fruits or vegetables you eat in a day. Did I eat a piece of fruit, have vegetables, cook a meal with vegetables?  

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that 1 in 10 Americans eat enough fruit and vegetables. 10 percent! That is unacceptable. Use a Medium size apple (1 cup) as your guideline when thinking about servings and try to get to 10 every day. That is not a lot, but almost no one gets there. Your homework this week is, once you have read this newsletter, to think back one day and count all the servings of fruit and vegetables you ate yesterday, and your family ate yesterday. Then, if you believe that fruit and vegetables are important, make getting 10 servings a day your goal.

Your Farmer and Health Activist,


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Exercising is Important

The most important kind of exercise is one in which you exercise self-control! 1 pound of fat equals 3500 Calories. Which means if a person would like to lose 1 pound of fat, they would need to eat 500 calories less a day (7 days x 500 calories = 3500). For those of us who would like to lose 10 pounds over 10 weeks, we would need to eat 500 calories less a day for 70 days or eat 35,000 calories less over those 10 weeks.

That is crazy?!??? But that is just the math. Shedding 500 calories a day is not as difficult as one would think. A Cliff Bar or Lara Bar each have 200 calories packed into those healthy “cookies”. A Grande Latte averages 200 calories. Snacking on nuts, even a small handful = 180 calories. And who can eat just one handful of nuts?

Exercising a little dietary discretion can really jump start your diet and health goals. Just losing the extra weight improves your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers. America could sure use a course correction in the world of healthy numbers!

If a person did nothing else but cut out some “treats” or all treats and didn’t add anything to replace them, it would be enough to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. What happens if you add walking one mile a day? A 150 lb. person burns 80 calories/mile. The pace is important but not that important.

The trap here is that most people “reward” themselves when they do something healthy with a treat! Don’t buy the lie! Just do the math! For a 150 lb. person to burn off one latte or Cliff Bar or a small handful of nuts, they would have to walk 2+ miles a day to ZERO out that treat. Do we have to mention ice cream as a reward???? The deck is figuratively stacked against healthy choices and healthy gains.

What can a person do? I believe that eating mostly whole plant-based foods and exercising are critical steps to losing weight and being healthier in the long run. But exercising only accounts for 10% to 15% of calories being burned. It is important for heart health and strength, but not as important for weight loss. If a person would like to lose weight the biggest factor is eating better and eating less. Our bodies burn 70% of their calories just by doing body things: thinking, breathing, digestion, pumping blood, etc.

Adding exercise to your regimen is great but exercising self-control over what you eat will have the biggest impact at the scale. For me, the real goal is to live as healthy a life as I can for as long as I can. Which means that today, tonight, and tomorrow I get to make another healthy food choice for a healthier me, and you get to make the same choice for a healthier you.

I believe in you, cheers to a healthier you in 2019!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,



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Have To and Get To

Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar had a lot of great quotes, and the two ideas that always come to mind from Zig are “No Stinking Thinking” and “You don’t have to, you get to!” For Zig everything was a positive, the glass was never empty, never half full – it was always full.

To make changes to anything (diet, working out, not swearing, showing up to work on time, cutting down on social media… you pick it) you have to have a “can-do attitude.” All of us have a list a few blocks long that we would like to work on. So much to accomplish and so little will power to do it.

But starting with the right attitude is the first step in making changes. Let’s assume you already are wanting to make changes. Wanting to change is a good place to start but wanting is not starting. So, if we are going to turn a want into a start, we have to start. And the best time and place to start is now and where you are. Don’t let time hold you back, don’t let where you are hold you back, and for sure don’t let the past hold you back.

Last week I shared that it is best to pick one goal/lifestyle change and get after it. When you pick one new goal it will require a lot of will power to change and at any given time you only have 15-minutes’ worth of will power to use. 15 minutes is not very much and saying no to any temptation (donuts, cookies, mochas) takes effort and a plan. That is why I recommend only 1 change at a time. I know, you are thinking “I have so many things I want to change.” I hear you – me too!

But if you commit to one meaningful change and develop a strategy to help you “conquer” that goal you will end up winning in other areas of your life. I have seen it happen over and over. Someone cuts out sugar and loses weight? The reason is because when you cut out sugar, you cut out a lot of high fat and high sugar foods. And cutting out those two categories sheds pounds like nothing else.

However, you are going to have to commit to “no stinking thinking!” The reason you are making the change is because you want a healthier version of you. That is a great reason, don’t let any negative thoughts change your mind. You can do it.

The other thing that you have to train your mind away from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this”! Yes, you do get to do it. Other people have done it, which means you can do it too.

I know you can do it,

Your Farmer and Health Activist,