Posted on

Supporting Your Health

Last week I wrote about seasons, farming, and cover crops. It would be very easy to make a similar analogy about our health.  

Planning is happening all the time. It is also overlapping, with multiple stages and events. One of those activities is eating. How do you plan for fueling your body? What is your eating strategy? Isn’t eating one of the most confusing things to figure out? Paleo, Keto, Plant based, Truly Plant based, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dr. Atkins, eat for your blood type, Mediterranean, High Fat, Low Fat, Fruit only, Starch only, No sugar, No carbs… when to eat, how much to eat, and how long to fast. 

It is flat out confusing. I do believe that eating plants is the most important part of the diet. But we sell plant-based food. Some meat proteins, but mostly plants. Big surprise that I would think that plants should be a large portion or your diet. But not just any plants. Plants that are recognizable and minimally processed, not food made in a factory or laboratory.   

High fructose corn syrup is plant based, much of it from GMO corn. Does that make it healthy? Eating mostly plants that we prepare ourselves is healthier than the premade, sweetened, and salted versions at the store or restaurants. I am not even sure how food manufacturers are even able get that much salt into bowl of soup! Of course, there are exceptions, but if America is going to change its health trajectory, it is going to have to change the way it eats. Exercise, while important, is not going to be the solution. The solution to our health crisis is at the fork. It is what we eat that will make Americans healthy again. 

Thankfully, in America we still have the freedom to eat what we want, most of what we are being offered as food is edible, but is it healthy? Klesick Farms started out 23 years ago offering organically grown fruit and vegetables. Today, we are still offering organically grown fruit and vegetables, but we also offer an assortment of organic groceries and grass-fed, organic, or wild meat. Healthy eating is an option, the hard part is getting our beliefs, our behavior, and our schedule to line up. Easier said than done.  

We are here to help support your health goals and, at the same time, help the environment by growing sourcing and delivering organically grown food to your home.  

Thankfully we still have the freedom to eat what we want, when we want. Thank you for choosing Klesick Farms as your partner in health. 

-Tristan

Posted on

THIS WEATHER!

It is winter in the NW. For those of us who have been juggling kiddos, school closures, and late starts, it sure is nice to get back to cold, wet, and gray! Although the white, while a challenge to navigate, is beautiful, and our region is dependent upon sufficient snowpack to keep our watersheds happy and functioning properly. 

I am really proud of our team and their commitment to pack and safely deliver your boxes of good! The packing team made it every day and our driving team chained up when necessary, and safely delivered 95% of the orders. A few of you live on the less travelled and moderately travelled roads and we couldn’t quite get there, sorry. 

On the farm, this weather is just fine. We take it in stride because we mostly focus on the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. The only crops actively growing are our cover crops and garlic. The garlic is happy as a clam, not sure what that means, but it is a NW saying. They have poked through the mulch and are about 3-4 inches tall.

This year we are experimenting with a new mulching material. Normally we use organic wheat straw, but this year we added leaves from our walnut trees. Our farm produces walnut leaves in MASS! Normally they end up in the compost and then spread on the fields in the spring, but this year we raked them up and spread them out on top of the garlic. The work to gather and spread the leaves is comparable to the work to purchase, pick up, bring to the farm, and spread the wheat straw.  I will be evaluating how they decompose, weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil structure under each mulch. So far, I am pleasantly surprised. 

The cover crops we plant are to nourish the soil, hold nutrients in the plants, and protect the soil from compaction. Cover crops are a vital part to farming, but they do have their limitations. We use them on 90% of our soils and leave that remaining 10% “open” or “uncovered.” One of the purposes of a cover crop is to prevent the leaching of nutrients like Nitrogen or Phosphorous out of the root zone, and also out of the aquifers or watersheds. Think the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  

Why do I not cover crop the remaining 10%? Through experience, I have learned that cover crops also have a downside. In a wet spring, they can grow, REALLY GROW, and once the weather warms and I can get into the field to till them in, it will take a few weeks for them to break down. The soil bacteria are busy breaking down the cover crop and won’t get to work on growing vegetables for a little while longer. So, we intentionally leave that 10% uncovered for our early plantings of peas and lettuce. It’s just that simple! 

Stay warm, 

-Tristan

Posted on

Leaning Into the Harness

When I farmed with Susie, Katie, and Karen, I had to learn to work with them, and at their pace. They were the most willing workers, and farm work is hard work. It will leave your body sore for days until you get farm fit. Those girls were amazing and made farming a unique experience. It has been half a dozen, or so, years since I worked with them.  

When I first got the bug to farm, I knew it would be organic, and it would involve Draft Horses! A friend named Lynn Miller shared some great advice about getting my first team. He said, “When you look out into a big herd of horses, which horse catches your eye?” Romance and farming go hand in hand. I was always drawn to brown with a splash of white. I knew if I ever got to farm with horses, it would be Belgians! Practically every Hallmark movie used to have horses in them. Susie and Karen were my trained team, and Katie was just learning. 17 hands and 2 tons of horse, they could pull a plow and never get stuck.  

When I worked with them, time stood still, and so would we. The horses need rest when we were working, and rest was the perfect time to contemplate the next steps, the next project, the last conversation with my spouse, or maybe just nothing. Sometimes we would stop under the old snag and watch the bald eagle peer down on us and, as we moved on, he would move on. 

Last week, I delved into will power and how hard it is to change a habit; how we only have a limited amount of will power at our disposal, and the harder the change you are tackling, the harder it will be to accomplish. That is why will power, which has about a 15-minute reserve, will quickly get used up if you tackle several lifestyle changes at once. 

What I learned from farming is also important to making lifestyle changes. When I would harness the horses, I would make sure that all their equipment fit well, especially their collars. Having a smooth, well fitted collar was key to working long days and not getting sore shoulders. 

Equipment aside, I wanted to talk about “leaning into” your new goals or lifestyle changes.  For the horses, when we were going to tackle a big project, everything became important. I knew what the goal was, and how long it would take. After my team was brushed, harnessed, and hooked to the single trees, we would calmly walk to the field. They knew it was going to be a good day of work ahead.  

The very first moment I set the plow, it was always the same. We would pause, then I would cluck to the team, “Susie, Karen ‘step’.” I would release the lines a little, and they would ease into the harness and begin to move the plow. Slow and steady, leaning into the harness, we would get the work done. When you tackle those lifestyle changes, know your goal and how you are going to get there, then “lean” into your work slow and steady. 

I believe in you!

-Tristan

Posted on

Looking Back and Being Thankful

Last year in partnership with our box of good community, almost 1100 boxes of high quality organically grown produce was donated to 12 different local food banks in our delivery areas totaling over $24,000 in giving.  In addition to the high quality organic produce that is donated to local food banks every week, Klesick’s also donated last year a considerable amount of #2 imperfect produce to local food banks. We make sure that none of the edible food goes to a landfill.  

And what produce doesn’t meet our quality standards for our customers and isn’t food bank quality is composted on our farm, where the soil bacteria convert it to nutrients for our crops completing the circle of life (think Lion King here). If you started singing the CIRCLE of LIFE you were not alone (SMILE)! 

It has been our passion to serve alongside the tireless volunteers and staff at our local food banks and recovery kitchens partnering where the most vulnerable and those teetering on the financial edge could extend hope to them. This is one of the primary reasons that we call our organic home delivery program a box of good! 

For the last 23 years, we have tried to extend hope in tangible ways through our box of good community. If a customer loses a job or has a financial crisis we offer a discount or deliver produce at no charge. We have a Health discount we apply to customer orders for families battling Cancer. We also found a way to serve the local food bank community creating the Neighbor Helping Neighbor program. And lastly, we believe in prayer. there is a web form on our home page that you can fill out and send your prayer requests to us and that are only seen by our team members. 

A box of good truly embodies our family mission and is how we serve you and your family, other local farmers and the local food bank community. Together (Klesick’s and you) for the last 23 years have made a difference in the lives of those around us and 2019 was another banner year of giving that reached many vulnerable families in our local communities. 

If you would like to partner with us in 2020, consider adding a Neighbor Helping Neighbor food bank box once a month and extend nutrition and hope to the less fortunate in our communities. We have 12 different food banks to select from. Pick one and we will do the rest. 

Thank you for partnering with us. 

Tristan 

Posted on

Hello New Decade!

This is the time of the year that change seems so possible. For many of us change is going to be absolutely necessary, especially coming off a 5-week dessert binge. And we better get after it, because football parties and Valentine’s day are right around the corner!  

On the brighter side, every day is a new day, and a chance to commit or recommit to a healthy new regime. Exercise, drinking more water, eating more vegetables, Eating less sugar. 

Goals or changes can be broken down into two basic types. There is the “get to” and “have to”. “Get to” are more like increasing a habit you really like. If you like to exercise, adding an extra workout is not a big deal, because you like to exercise. The “have to” goals are when you add exercise, and you rarely, or never, use your treadmill, rowing machine, or gym membership. The “have to” changes are the hardest to start and maintain, but more than likely they are the most important thing you need to work on! 

This comes down to will power. There appears to be a 15-minute reserve of will power. It is not a muscle that you can build up, and that is why it is important to tackle any new “have to” goals one or two at a time. If you add exercise, drinking more water, drinking less sugary drinks, and eating more vegetables to your regime you will definitely be healthier and in relatively short time to boot. Sadly, that will probably give your healthy goals the boot all to soon too. 

If the aforementioned goals were in the “get to” category, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we (wink)? We admire people who can train like no tomorrow or are not tempted by dessert, but that doesn’t mean they have more will power, that just means that those areas aren’t triggers. Rest assured, they, too, have their own “have to” goals that are extremely hard for them, they just don’t happen to be the “coveted” exercise or diet related ones. 

The long and the short of all of this is, we all have areas of our lives that need improvement, and most of us have a pretty good idea what areas those are. 

I would like to encourage you to pick one, two at the most, lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes fall into the “have to” category and they are going to require you to say “no” to something and when you say “no” it will drain your will power reserves. The beautiful thing is that once you start to win at that “have to” goal it becomes easier with time and requires less and less of your will power. YEAH! And then you can apply the same technique to another lifestyle change! 

Embrace change and get after that first goal, you know exactly which one to tackle first! 

You got this! 

-Tristan

Posted on

Christmas Cheer

This season has been nothing short of a blur. I spent some time rereading some older newsletters. It is like strolling down memory lane. We have been producing this newsletter with a few modifications at best for over two decades. Some of you even have the physical newsletters stored in binders for that long, too.

I know this is true because I ran into a customer the other day and she has been saving them. It serves as reminder to the importance of the written word and fun recipes! I write because I like to write. I love to share – share hope and goodwill to all. I love the message of Christmas and, in some ways, I try to carry the message of hope and goodwill to all throughout the year. For me, every season is a reason to celebrate and make the world a better place. Christmas is an especially amazing season, and so much good is generated.

Think about Giving Tuesday or the myriad of choices to bless those around the globe with clean water, a farm animal, vegetable seeds, health care, education, or a micro loan, etc. We can extend good through our local food banks or serving at shelters for humans or for animals. Each of us has a unique spot to serve those around us and, quite literally, only you know what will impact those in your sphere of influence. 

This last week, someone in our office asked us to participate in loading up a good size Rosemary plant with gift cards for cancer patients. Her thoughtfulness generated over $900 dollars of gift cards for the patients and their families to forget the moment and enjoy a moment. Or another person who orders extra produce to cook up and deliver an extra meal to an inbound friend. The ideas to extend hope and goodwill are limitless.

When I see and/or am able to participate even in the smallest acts of kindness, it reminds me that Christmas is meant to be experienced throughout the year- extending hope and goodwill to all.

If you have a moment, please share an act of kindness that you experienced, participated in, or witnessed. It might be the seed that inspires/encourages another to extend hope and goodwill in a similar way to those in their sphere of influence. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours.

-Tristan Klesick

Posted on

All Is Well

On Thanksgiving I was pondering family. We had an early meal at 1pm. This Thanksgiving was a little different than most. Joelle and Maleah were in Mexico with our church, building a small house for a family in Mexico. Our church builds 5 or so every year in cooperation with the YWAM base in Ensenada. 

Many hands make light work is certainly true on these mini mission trips. The teams can build, paint, and furnish a home in two days. The homes are more akin to a garage with a bedroom attached but, compared to the pallet or makeshift housing the people are used to, they are perfect, and gratefully received. 

Back at the farm, we pieced together a pretty good Thanksgiving meal. Even though Joelle wasn’t here, her planning was evident. Mind you, I am more than willing to cook up a feast at a moment’s notice, but planning is not my strength. Joelle knows when to start the potatoes, yams, stuffing, squash, etc. I know how to make those, but timing is not my expertise, especially when it comes to multiple dishes at one time.  

I love to cook all the side dishes, but I don’t like to cook turkeys. I made this wonderful Acorn Squash, stuffed with wheat berries, mushrooms, onions, and garlic, with a little lemon and some apples and pomegranate. So good, so good.  

But Joelle knows me like no other, and she organized the desserts, drinks, a few sides, a turkey delivered by Emily and Aaron, cooked and ready for the table at 1pm! And bless her heart, she knew that I would want to cook, so I got to do mash potatoes, that squash dish, stir fried veggies (asparagus, brussels sprouts, and carrots), apple sauce, a green salad, and fresh baked rolls.  

At one moment I was thinking to myself, “if Joelle was here, she would know when to start cooking, and when to start warming.” It all came together beautifully, in large part to my amazing wife and the other talented Klesick cooks! 

That saying about many hands make light work was evident as the crew brought the meal, cleaned up, and boxed up all the leftovers, then it was game time. 

The adult children were at the kitchen table playing a card game and laughing, the grandchildren and younger Klesick children were in the “bonus” room playing and laughing, and I was in the living room, holding the newest Klesick grandson, Bazil, all of 6 weeks old. As I sat there holding another generation, I was struck by how precious life is. In one ear I hear the laughter of my other grandchildren, and in the other ear I hear the hearty laughter of my adult children.  

And there I am, looking at a sleeping little baby, who ties us all together. 4 generations gathered under one roof, laughing, sharing, and living life.  

And 5 hours later, our home was quiet. Thankfully, it won’t be long before the next gathering brings us all together to celebrate and enjoy each other again. 

Tristan                                                                                                                             Farmer/Health Advocate                                                           

Posted on

Thanksgiving

This is the foodie holiday of foodie 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.  

Over 900 boxes to 12 different food banks donated by our customers this past year. That is incredible. These donations are powerful and convey hope and help the food bank community extend care into many vulnerable populations. 

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! 

Tristan                                                                                                                              Farmer/Health Advocate                                                          

Posted on

Only A Few Weeks Left

We have been adding an extra ordering page for the Thanksgiving holiday. We used to routinely include a flyer with every order and then our customers would return it and we make changes, add-ons or vacation skips. It seems that digital communication streamlined most of that communication, but this year we are bringing it back for the next few weeks.  

You can use the form as an actual honest to goodness old fashioned order form. Fill it out and leave it for your driver to pick up on your next delivery. OLD SCHOOL. Or you could fill it out and call us, also OLD SCHOOL. Or you can fill it out and take a picture and EMAIL it to [email protected]’s.com, Not so OLD SCHOOL, or you could take a picture and IM or DM or…. now we are getting techy. You could even go online and just place the order 😊. We are happy to help you get the freshest food for your holiday table, and whichever way works best for you – Have at it! 

We also use this holiday to partner with you to extend a box of good to the less fortunate in our community through our food bank systems. We support 10 food banks with weekly local boxes of good that are donated by you our customers. We call it Neighbors Helping Neighbors, but at Thanksgiving we design a HOLIDAY DONATION box. It is the same box that you are able to order for your thanksgiving meal, but we sell it for $10 less. This is our way of participating in making the holidays a little better for others. 

If you would like to join us as we continue 22 years of donating Holiday Donation boxes, please fill out the form and get it back to us (using one of the methods mentioned above), and we will do the rest. Actually, we will order, assemble, and deliver the freshest organically grown produce to our local community food banks and THE FOOD BANKS WILL EXTEND YOUR KINDNESS TO THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. 

I love local solutions to local problems, and together we have made a difference and are making a difference. 

Thank you, 

-Tristan

Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule

Note your new delivery day

Posted on

Time To Plan

Isn’t it hard to believe that it’s already time to be planning for Thanksgiving? Those of us in the farming and food business have already been planning for this major food holiday, but now it is time to share with you what we are “cooking up” on our end for deliveries. 

Delivery Schedules: 

For the week of Thanksgiving, all deliveries will be happening Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Which means if your normal delivery day is Thursday, Friday or Saturday, your order Thanksgiving week will be before the Holiday. Don’t worry about it now, we will email and communicate the delivery changes well in advance. 

Holiday boxes:  

For the Last 20 years we have been helping families with their Thanksgiving meal planning. This year will be no different, except, we have two ways to order your Thanksgiving items. 

1. You can either order the Holiday Box (with my regular order) or the Holiday Box (replacing my regular order). Either way, the Holiday Box is the same box. But, inevitably, Alaina and the Klesick’s team will be thinking about Holiday box orders that also have your regular boxes still being ordered. Many of you intend to order a holiday box and your regular order and, conversely, many of you intend to only order a holiday box but forget to move your current order out a week. This change in how you order the Holiday Boxes will make it easier on our Klesick’s team to get your order perfect and make sure you get exactly what you ordered. 

2. The Holiday Boxes are available for the weeks of November 11th, 18th, 25th, and December 1st. The Holiday box is a popular box all month. 

3. You can also send a Holiday Donation Box to one of our 10 food banks that we partner with weekly and make this Holiday Season even more nutritious for a family in need. For each donation box purchased, we send out end of year tax receipts. 

4. And as usual, you can order all your Thanksgiving ingredients “a la carte“. 

5. The Holiday Box menu and prices are available below.   

Thank you,

-Tristan 

Farmer/Health Advocate 

Holiday Box Menu: