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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 Time

When we moved to our current farm back in 2003, something was missing. Our farm isn’t overly large at 38 acres, but when you consider that at any given moment you could be ¼ mile away from home, Joelle and I needed an effective way to get the attention of the farmhands (AKA our children). This old house probably at one time or another had a “triangle or bell” to announce it was time for dinner, but it wasn’t obvious where it would have been.

We decided on a big cast iron bell that I tracked down from Pennsylvania. It has a clear and loud ring and has been mounted on the back porch ever since. The bell itself has been relegated to ceremonial use or the occasional ringing as one walks by. It is just a sign of the times. The bell has been mostly replaced by cell phones, and sadly, even on the farm, electronics have a stronger pull than the great outdoors.

A few years ago, if we wanted to announce it was dinner time, instead of ringing the bell, we would just unplug the Wi-Fi and everyone at the farm would “magically” appear 🙂 But even today, unplugging the Wi-Fi isn’t as effective as it used to be, because everyone has access to unlimited cellular data! Alas, the dinner bell is more akin to a group text!

       

This weekend the Farm came alive. We have a been plugging away, but mostly at idle for the last month. This weekend it shifted to another level. And you know what? No one was late for dinner, because they had all worked up a ferocious appetite.

   

Bell, triangle, or your stomach calling. Whatever. But, eating at least one meal a day together is good for the soul.

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Health Advocate

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Family

When I think about Christmas, I think about Jesus, His birth and His life and then I think about my wife and children and our parents and our siblings. Christmas, much like Thanksgiving, draws family together. At least in thought, if not in presence.

At the Farm, times have really changed. We only have four children at home now. I think the last time we had four children at home for a Christmas was 1998 and those original 4 kiddos are all married now! Between 1998 and today the old farmhouse has swelled to capacity and shrunk again. The older married ones have another side of the family to navigate now and have to make choices about where to go and when to come or not. I am thankful for FACETIME!

This year, we were blessed to have had all 9 of our children and their families in for an early Christmas last Sunday. It is a rare day, save a wedding, that the entire clan is able to gather together.

In my mind, I wrestle with the past, present and future. The present is both bitter and sweet, for I know that it will be harder to get on their schedules as life marches on, just as it was for our parents when Joelle and I started our family. But when all of their schedules align, like this Christmas, it is so wonderful!

And one day, Joelle and I will be the great grandparents. And with our strength fading and our love increasing, there will be a parade of progeny that comes by the old farmhouse to visit and extend Christmas wishes. And we will talk about chasing cows, or harvesting lettuce early in the morning so we could go swimming later. Or when this one or that one got their first hit or scored their first goal. And Joelle and I will get to hold another crop of Klesick’s for the first time and beam with pride as our pictures are taken.

Family is the gift that matters most. And it is the same this Christmas as it will be next Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tristan Klesick

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The Bowl Craze Explained

The one-dish meal is having its moment. The bowl craze started with the smoothie bowl and has since become a menu staple in many kitchens and restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you haven’t seen one of these protein-packed bowls on a menu, you’ve likely seen one on your Instagram feed.

Though its contents may vary, most grain bowls follow a simple blueprint. It begins with a grain base, like rice or quinoa. Then, you could spoon almost anything over your grains and call the result a bowl (and some do). But the best bowls have a balanced combination of flavors and textures, and of vegetables, proteins, sauces and garnishes. Let your creativity soar in the combination of toppings and you’ll be surprised with the results!

Once you have selected your grains, you then need veggies – preferably something green, like kale or spinach. Raw, cooked or steamed vegetables will work great too.

Now you need a protein. Think of small amounts of braised or roasted meats, whether left over or freshly cooked. Beans are a great option as well. Adding a soft-cooked egg, preferably one with a runny yolk to coat the other ingredients like an instant sauce, is always a great idea.

Once you have the bowl assembled – grains, vegetables and protein – it’s time to think about garnishes, which add character and depth. Something pickled or pungent keeps things interesting, and something crunchy (sesame seeds or nuts) diversifies the textures.

Finally, a sauce on the side for everyone to mix in to taste. Use ingredients that mesh with the flavors of the bowl. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and rice vinegar or lime juice for Asian-inspired combinations. Pesto goes nicely with roasted red peppers, eggplant or anything else vaguely Mediterranean. A simple salsa works great for a Latin inspired bowl. Bottled hot sauce provides spice to the fire-toothed. And a basic vinaigrette will get along with practically anything else.

Another reason for grain bowls’ popularity is that they’re very customizable. Mix and match. Then mix and match again. If you do it right, you will never serve the same bowl twice – not unless you want to, that is.

Last but not least, bowls can be seasonal! In today’s world of mass production and far-flung distribution, the seasons blend together. Fruits and veggies that used to be available just once a year can now be found 365 days a year. However, thanks to our local farmers we can enjoy ingredients at their prime and find them more flavorful and nutritious than their off-season counterparts.

No wonder the bowl has become a favorite way of eating: out of a bowl, fresh ingredients, bold seasonal flavors, and various textures and temperatures. I’m in – time to mix and match!
Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

 

Kale-Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 avocado ¼ cup homemade pesto

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 cup baby broccolini, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

1 cup mushrooms, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 cup fresh kale leaves

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup pine nuts + plus a handful for garnishing

1 large garlic clove

3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the eggs to your liking. I like mine runny so I cook them for exactly 7 minutes in boiling water.

While the eggs are cooking, add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor. Process until almost smooth.

Prepare your breakfast bowls: Add 1 cup quinoa, broccolini, mushrooms, tomatoes and half of the avocado thinly sliced and pesto sauce to taste.

When eggs have cooled, peel them and slice in half. Add to the bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts.

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Grandparents

I heard John Maxwell share this story when he was talking about grandchildren. He was talking about how he is convinced that intelligence skips a generation, because his grandkids are considerably more intelligent than his children ever were.

Anyway, John’s son was in the audience and just after the session ended his son met him backstage. John of course reassured him, “That was all fun and games and, of course, nothing was meant by those comments.” But his son stopped him, “Dad, I think you might be right.” At this point John is looking a little perplexed. And then his son elaborated, “Grandpa and I had a similar conversation last week about you!”

Now that Joelle and I have three grandchildren, this Christmas is going to resemble some of those Christmases of old. For me, having grandchildren focuses me on the future, and all those same hopes and dreams we had for our children are coming forth again in this next generation.  After all, Christmas is about the birth of a baby named Jesus.

When I hold one of our grandbabies, life just slows down and a whole bunch of “really” important things get put on the back burner. I just look into their eyes (while I am doing the Grandpa two step) and pray for them, connect with them and let them know they are loved and I am going to be here for them. Always.12313729_1012241812183156_6440637861751532491_n

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Tristan Klesick

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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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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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Kale Power

I wish I could tell you that I’ve always liked kale. The healthy-leafy-green vegetable that now seems to be everywhere from smoothie bars to every menu across America.

For the first 30+ years of my life, I didn’t know kale existed. My introduction came about five years ago, when I started to juice, the flavor was “grassy” almost “metallic” like, I just couldn’t take it. I wanted to like it. But it caught me off guard. Kale was not part of my grocery list.

But when you love to eat, and the latest food trend catches up with you, it is almost impossible to avoid this grassy green. So I started to try it in different dishes. I would cook it, use it raw, puree it, and now… I can’t get enough of it.

One of my favorite restaurants in Washington State serves it simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, golden raisins and pine nuts. That’s it! So simple, it’s impossible not to like it. Now, I feel somehow responsible to defend kale, the misunderstood child of the vegetable family. With its thick, curly leaves, it can easily seem intimidating, as though you’d have to wrestle it into submission before it agrees to be cooked.

Around the United States, everyone is talking about kale. So what’s all the kale hype about? Flavor aside, I love kale for three fundamental reasons: Kale tops the charts of nutrient density, possesses incredible culinary flexibility, and is easy to grow almost anywhere, which means you can enjoy local kale just about anywhere when it’s in season. I recently learned about its power to support brain health, and will be sharing that with you on the Klesick Farms blog.

As explained by doctor Drew Ramsey, author of Happiness Diet, the power of phytonutrients do amazing things. 

Sulforaphane

Sulforaphane is one of the reasons that cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli are on everyone’s “superfoods” list. Its antioxidant action helps fight high blood pressure, while its ability to stimulate natural detoxifying enzymes reduces brain inflammation as well as the risk of breast and prostate cancer. These protective effects may also be responsible for the observation that sulforaphane helps improve learning and memory abilities following brain injury. It can kill the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for stomach ulcers and gastric cancer risk.

Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an omega-3 fat found mainly in plants. It is an essential fatty acid, meaning your body can’t produce it and you must obtain it through your diet. Plants use this fat to convert sunlight into energy, making it vital to our planet’s energy production. In the brain, ALA is converted to the longer omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are particularly important for brain and heart health. Higher intakes of ALA are linked to a lower risk of depression and may decrease anxiety and the effects of stress.

Folates

Plant-based diets are key to brain health, and one reason are folates. At least eight forms of these water-soluble B-complex vitamins exist in food. Folic acid is the synthetic version. Folates, also known as vitamin B9, are needed for a healthy brain and good moods as they keep brain cells healthy, ward off heart disease (drastic risk reductions), and even fight cancer.

So what are your thoughts on Kale? What is your favorite way to enjoy this leafy vegetable?

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

 

 

Kale, Apple and Parmesan Cheese Salad with Roasted Garlic-Lemon Dressing

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, thinly sliced

1 apple

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the kale, toss to coat and let stand 10 minutes.

 

While the kale stands, cut the apples into thin matchsticks. Add the apples and cheese to the kale. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.

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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.

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Progress. One Bite At A Time.

This week we start delivering to the Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and Inglewood communities on Wednesdays. And on Thursday we are going to be delivering to North Seattle or 145th Street North to Snohomish County.

This is very exciting news for us here at Klesick Farms. For the last 17 years we have been growing, sourcing, and delivering only organically grown fruits and vegetables. We haven’t deviated from our mission or our message of helping growers stay on the land and helping our customers eat well.

We are passionate about healing our Nation through farming and believe that the health of our Nation is tied to the health of our food supply and helping more customers eat healthy food is a big part of the solution.

Over the years, what was a dream to be a family farm became a good food community; a community of passionate growers and urban allies, working together to build a better food system for future generations. This is a community of folks who believe that the environment and farming can do more than coexist, the two can thrive together. Folks who see the through ruse of the GMO proponents and believe that world can be fed using organic growing practices AND SHOULD BE!

I love what we do, I love that we have done it every day, with every delivery to every customer for so many years. We believe that by working in unison, Klesick Farms, our growers, and you, we are making a difference locally and beyond.

And as a local good food community we are also a part of a larger difference that is being played out in communities across America and the world.

We are turning the tide of a corporate driven food system one bite at a time.

 

Farmer Tristan

 

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