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Farming and Family!

Anyone else have summer chores that just didn’t get done?!!!! I have a few that are pressing, but I am content with what we did get done. And often what is left over or unfinished would have been nice to finish, but in reality, those projects could wait.

I also have noticed that as I get older, my energy or appetite to tackle as many big projects is waning. When I look back over the last 20 years, I think “we did that”. We resurrected a dilapidated farm house, rescued a farm from the chemical agriculture world, planted habitat for wildlife, planted a 200-tree orchard, built farm buildings, poured concrete, fenced and refenced 40 acres, and farmed with Belgian Draft horses. All the while having babies and raising children, seeing them grow to adulthood and find their spouses. It is overwhelming just recounting that and I am sure we were overwhelmed while we were doing that! For that season, Joelle and I had the energy of 30-year old’s!

But now that I am turning another year older and I look back I can only smile at all the memories, all the hard work and heartache, all the love and all the life. And because I am an eternal optimist, I can hardly wait for the next 20 years to unfold. What will this life bring, what changes are on the horizon?

For sure, life is not static, and I know that Joelle and I will continue to live rich meaningful lives surrounded by our family and grandkids! And those grandkids are running circles around us, it just seems like it was yesterday that our parents were playing ball or games with my children, and now it is Joelle and I that are playing ball with our grandkids. And they are quick, I mean way quicker than my children ever were!

John Maxwell tells a story about parenting. My paraphrase. John says, “you want to let your children live to adulthood, so you can get grandkids and that is the real prize for being parents! When you see your first grandchild, ‘you think to yourself, this is the smartest human being ever born.’” As the story goes, John was at a conference sharing this story and his son was in the audience. Well John proceeded to tell everyone that Intelligence skips a generation and that his grandkids were considerably smarter than his own children. Of course, the audience, which was primarily grandparents completely understood John’s sentiments. His son caught up with him behind stage and John said, “now son that stuff about you not being as smart as your children, is all fun and..” But his son stopped him and said, “Dad, I think you are onto something, Grandpa and I were just having the same conversation about you last week!”

If I have learned anything in the last 5 decades, it is that every season of life is meaningful and important and so is every generation!

Cheers to your health,

 

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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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Our Food System Is Broken

We care more about our air and water quality than we do the food we eat. Last time I checked, we need to breathe, drink and eat. My cynical side says, “This means the coal lobby isn’t as strong as the sugar lobby.”

The EPA is lowering the boom on coal, but the FDA and the USDA are doing the old “wink-wink” when it comes to our food. The American food supply has been coopted by the sugar and processed food industries, with the blessing of the FDA and the USDA. But what has been the result of this high carb, high sugar, low fat experiment? An unhealthy American population!

The only way we are going to change our personal health is by not buying corporate America’s food! Only by removing the profit from Coca Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks, General Mills, etc. will the health of America change. When we intentionally stop eating their processed “food” they will respond. Of course, first they will advertise more to promote “the benefits” of their products. Then they will lobby Congress to protect them from the consumer, but finally they will produce healthier and more nutritious processed foods to earn your business back. They will do this not because they love you or care about your health, but because their pocket book is hurting! It’s simple. NO SALES, NO PROFIT.

If we are going to effectively change our food system and take it back, we are going to have to do it one bite at a time, by saying “yes” to more organic fruits and vegetables, and better quality dairy, meat, and wild fish.

The easiest way to win this war on our health (waistline) is to not eat their processed sugar laden products! If we consciously choose to not eat their food, we will win this battle. It only takes a 5% shift in their sales and they will respond.

And do you know what else? If you cut back on processed foods (a.k.a., sugar foods), you will avoid eating GMOs.

And do you know what else? You will lose weight just by not eating processed foods.

And do you know what else? You will feel better (after a few days as your body detoxifies) because you are eating better.

WOW, am I ever fired up! If we cut out sugar, we change the food system for everyone, and we will feel better and healthier!

Give it a try this week. Intentionally cut out sugar. Your body will thank you.

Cheers to your health,

Tristan

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Planning for your Thanksgiving Meal

Planning for your Thanksgiving holiday meal, plus your easy Thanksgiving order form PDF!      

Klesick Farms is grateful for the opportunity to help you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Just the thought of you and your loved ones gathered around the dining room table, sharing good food and good stories, warms our hearts. Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving captures the true meaning of a box of good.

Our Special “Holiday Box” Traditional Meal Items

We are excited to once again offer our special annual Holiday Box ($40). This special box of traditional holiday produce can be purchased in addition to or in place of your regular order. You can also purchase a box even if it is not your normally scheduled delivery week. See pre-order form, below.)

 

Holiday Box Contents:

Yellow Onions, 1 lb.

Yellow Potatoes, 3 lbs.

Yams, 2 lbs.

Carrots,2 lbs.

Green Beans, 1 lb.

Organic Bread Cubes for Stuffing, 1 lb.

Granny Smith Apples, 2 lbs.

Cranberries, 8 oz.

Celery, 1 bunch

Delicata Squash, 2 ea.

Navel Oranges,2 lbs.

*Due to the special ordering necessary for this box, menu items cannot be changed or substituted.

 

Delivery Schedule:  Holiday Box deliveries will be made November 3rd through December 5th. The week of Thanksgiving, all deliveries will be made Monday through Wednesday. Please check the newsletter that comes in your box of good for your alternate delivery schedule the week of the holiday.

 

An Opportunity to Give! ~ Sending a Holiday Donation Box to Neighbors in Need

If your celebration includes helping the less fortunate who live in our community, we make it easy for you to give. For the discounted price of $32, you can purchase a Holiday Donation Box for us to deliver to a local food bank prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. How good and easy is that? Plus, for every Holiday Donation Box you purchase, we will send you Matty Ride’s Christmas CD as a gift (a great stocking stuffer)!

Donate a holiday box to the food bank today! Click here to add the Holiday Donation Box to your cart, or call our office at 360-652-4663 and we’ll be delighted to add that for you!

 

Thanksgiving Week Pre-Order Form PDF

You can leave this order form out for your delivery person, mail it to us,email a photo of it to us, or use it as a guide when emailing or calling us:

[email protected]    360.652.4663

Thanksgiving Holiday Box Order Form_2015

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Klesick’s Special Thanksgiving Holiday Box

Every Thanksgiving holiday season we offer a special Holiday Box ($40) full of traditional organic Thanksgiving meal items for your celebration. Not only can you schedule a Holiday Box to be delivered the week of Thanksgiving, but it is available for the entire month of November (available Nov. 1-Dec. 5). You can have this box delivered along with your regular order or in place of your regular order (please specify your preference when placing your order). The box menu is as follows:

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Remembering Neighbors in Need.

If your celebration includes helping the less fortunate who live in our community, we would like to partner with you by giving you the opportunity to purchase a discounted Holiday Donation Box for only $32, to be given to local food banks the week of Thanksgiving. Last year 122 Holiday Donation Boxes were distributed and this year we’d love to have a greater impact. The volunteers at the food banks have expressed again and again how wonderful and satisfying it is to be able to supply people with fresh produce. You can order a Holiday Donation Box online or by contacting our office.

Special Thank You Offer!

For every Holiday Donation Box you purchase, Klesick Farms will send you a copy of Matty Ride’s Christmas CD

KF Christmas CD Art

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Tristan Klesick

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Creamy Homestyle Veggie Soup

Soup weather is here to stay! This week’s box of good contains a staple soup ingredient: Celery. Celery is an often-neglected veggie, but it tastes absolutely delicious in soups, especially in a poultry or vegetable-based broth. Avoid letting it slip out of sight and out of mind in your vegetable drawer: rinse, slice and dice, then add it in as the star of this tasty soup!

Recipe adapted from: The Daring Gourmet

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) OR 1 medium leek, greens removed, white parts well-rinsed, and finely chopped
  • 2 cups celery, very finely chopped (about 5 large stalks, organic recommended for optimal flavor).
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • About 2 purple carrots OR parsnips, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1½ cups whole milk (or use ¾ cup milk and ¾ cup cream for even tastier results)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste (if you use a low-sodium broth, you may need to add more salt)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, optional, for garnish

Pairing Suggestion

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat and cook the onions (or leeks if using), celery and until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots (or parsnips if using) and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Increase the heat and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, add the milk/cream and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat, dish into soup bowls and garnish with optional parsley. Serve alongside warm or toasted slices of buttered bread. Enjoy!
  2. If using this soup as a base for other recipes, this soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.

Notes

One batch of this soup is roughly the equivalent (in quantity) of 2 cans canned condensed cream of celery soup. Enjoy as a stand-on-its-own soup or you may use in any recipe calling for prepared canned condensed cream of celery soup.

If you’d like this soup to be thicker, use an immersion blender or food processor to process part or all of fully cooked soup (working quickly, to keep hot soup from cooling off too fast) until desired consistency is reached and then serve with garnishes.

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An Eagle, Fog, Dew…and a Farmer.

As a farmer, the seasons are ingrained into my psyche. Day length, temperature, dew, clouds, every element, every nuance speaks to my soul.

One morning last week the moon was just hovering above the cottonwoods, a light fog was lifting, and the sun was just about to crest above the Cascades when I entered this predawn scene. As I stepped out of the old white farmhouse into a new day, I came into the beauty of the Stillaguamish River Valley—its stillness, quietness, and peacefulness. I was alone with my Creator in His creation, basking in all of it.

Stepping off the front porch and taking a few more steps towards the west, there was that brilliant globe suspended above the tree line. I stopped, mesmerized by its beauty and my smallness in it.

Not more than 100 feet above was a bald eagle circling. The same sun that illuminated the moon caught the bald eagle’s white head glistening as it glided through the fog. Its majestic wingspan and silhouette were shimmering with every turn, around and around, lower and lower, filled with grace and power, effortlessly sifting through the predawn sky.

Just at the tip of the tree line the bald eagle straightened out and sailed through the trees. At that moment I, too, returned to my home at peace, excited for what this day would bring.

An eagle, fog, dew, and the early morning dance of the moon and sun. As a farmer, moments like this speak to my soul. They remind me that I am the steward of this farm. My purpose is to balance growing food for you and for all the other creatures that call this place home. This is my work, this is my passion.

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Tristan Klesick

 

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Here We Go!

Harvest is in full swing at the farm! At last I can start to recoup some of my investments from the spring. Sounds crazy doesn’t it – paying bills from the spring.  But that is how it works for most farmers. We spend a lot of money early in the season on fuel, seed, fertilizers, etc., hoping to nurture our crops through the season and get to harvest. That was no small task this year! But we are here.

Some CSA type farms charge their members $500 to $800 upfront and then manage the money for the remainder of the farm season. Our model is different, as we let you pay as you go and rely on earning your business with every delivery.

Sure, it would be nice to collect a pile of cash up front instead of digging into our savings every year, but that isn’t the model Joelle and I chose. We chose a pay-as-you-go model for several reasons, the primary one being access to organic food. I want as many families as possible and as many families that want to eat locally and healthfully to not be deterred by a hefty up front lump sum like $500 -$800.

Anyhow, now is the time that the Klesick farm starts to replenish our ability to farm next year. We have been harvesting all summer, but the peas, apples, raspberries, and garlic help us keep the cash flow positive. The potatoes and winter squash are the crops that really serve as the work horses to pay the bills. So now we are busy taking advantage of the remaining good weather to get those crops up and out of the field.

For folks that like to stock up (and there are a quite a few of you), the following Klesick farm items are online and available for purchase:

Bulk potatoes: red, yellow or mixed (unwashed) 50 lbs. for $50.00

Winter Squash Collection 30 lbs. for $37.50 (This would make a great harvest display on your table or porch, which is where Joelle stores our winter squash)

Winter luxury pie pumpkins (not pumpkin pie, but they make a mighty tasty oneJ) $5 each

SquashFest is October 3rd and 4th, at the farm from 11am to 5pm. Come on down and help us harvest some winter squash and potatoes. We will also be planting next year’s garlic that weekend and you are welcome to help us plant – many hands make light work.

Cheers to another Harvest!

Farmer Tristan

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Too Big To Fail

That was the battle cry of DC when the economy collapsed in ‘08. Yet, the large greedy financial institutions were then rewarded with a bailout, while many Americans lost their investments or jobs or homes. It feels like Congress is adopting a similar attitude towards Monsanto and other proponents of GMO technology.

The House of Representatives has passed the DARK Act in favor of protecting GMO companies from each individual state working on this issue. Why does a $15,000,000,000.00 (yes that is right, a $15 billion company) need legislative help to compete in a free market system? Congress is wrong to enter this fight on behalf of Monsanto and the other GMO companies.

If Congress really wants to clarify the issue, they should require labeling and give citizens the right to know instead of protecting GMO companies. Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association could then spend their money advertising trying to build their case to the public for why GMO’s are safe.

I am not proposing a label that bludgeons companies that manufacture GMO’s or food manufacturers that use GMO products in their ingredients. I believe that a simple addition of an * to each GMO ingredient on the label with the note “*Genetically Modified” located at the bottom is all that’s needed. That’s it!  Simple, straightforward, honest!

I believe that this is what Congress should be doing, then allow the American people to decide what they want to eat.

The labeling issue has important long term ramifications for our nation’s health and the future of farming. Therefore, our senators should temper the House of Representatives’ appetite to protect GMO companies and not pass their version. Instead, labeling GMO’s should be the law of the land.

Please contact your senators today and let them know that you would like them to not pass the DARK Act. Also, if you agree with my idea for labeling please let them know that as well.

Senator Maria Cantwell

425-303-0114

Senator Patty Murray

425-259-6515

 

Thank you.

 

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We're Digging!

Last week, Joelle and I and a few kiddos went out for our usual walk on the farm.  We started out at the sunflowers, headed over to winter squash, then grazed on a few raspberries, and checked out the pears, plums, apples and potatoes.  The potato plants looked ready for harvest, so we pulled up a few plants and WOW! We dug reds, yellows, and purples. The yellows, which you are getting this week, were the most ready.

We always like to dig a few potatoes right away. When you dig potatoes early, the skins tend to be “loose” or not “set”.  Our normal strategy is to dig a few rows early in the season and let the remaining potatoes “set” their skins. It takes about six weeks from when we mow the tops of the potatoes to start the process. Mowing the tops stops the growth and sends a signal to the plant to get ready for winter.

I am thoroughly amazed at the earliness of the potato crop this season. The plants didn’t grow as large as I usually expect, but the flavor is outstanding and the quality matches it. If you are new to Klesick’s, these potatoes are like nothing you will ever see in the grocery store. The skins will be loose or flakey because, as mentioned earlier, these are ultra-Klesick Farm fresh.

We like our potatoes cut into small pieces, 1 inch x ½ inch, and oven roasted at 425 °F with a little olive oil and salt. Simply delicious!

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The Nature Conservancy

This weekend the Nature Conservancy is hosting an open house at the Port Susan Bay Preserve. If you have time check it out. The Port Susan Bay Preserve is beautiful and serene, truly a treasure and I am glad that it has been preserved for generations to come. If it works into your schedule come on out and enjoy the Stillaguamish River Valley.