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Mobility

Thank you for all the kind comments and outpouring of care expressed over the last few weeks. The gift of movement is much more appreciated by this farmer than ever before.  Essentially, I can walk pain free, but can’t kneel or climb stairs, and while I am waiting for the MRI results, I have adapted to farming with limited mobility. 

Once I understand the problem better, I will make the best choice going forward. Initially, when my knee locked up, I went into full rest mode hoping that it would heal quickly. After a few weeks of therapy, icing and rest with very little progress, I pursued an MRI. As I was resting and learning to drive an office chair 🙂, I realized that I was able to get around better with the limited mobility. So that is what I am doing.

If you check out our Instagram or Facebook page, you are probably aware that the farming portion of our business is about to explode. We have been primarily harvesting Lettuce, but now we are going to be adding Sugar Snap peas, Chards, and Bok Choy. Beans, Raspberries, and Blackberries are close also. This is the absolute best time to be a farmer and the absolute worst time to be LAME! But here I am. 

The hardest part for me is actually thinking in advance. There is so much that has to be done now and a lot of it gets decided the day of.  Decisions like: Do we save the Kohlrabi from being swallowed by weeds or do we trellis the peas? What time should we transplant the next round of cabbages and cukes—this evening or tomorrow? Or remember that we need to direct seed the 4th planting of beans so that we will have something to harvest in August. Don’t forget to pay attention to the Garlic. It is getting close and it is beautiful.

All these things are coursing through my mind as I WALK the fields wishing I could just jump right in and do SOMETHING! But I do have a new farm crew and they are quick learners. They can discern between pig weed and chard and thornless blackberries and blackberries with thorns. These are important skills. I am learning how to manage and be less of a doer. It is not an easy transition, because I love to farm, but, it is a necessary transition as I get older.

It is comforting to know that it takes four teenagers to REPLACE me (SMILE).  Not really. We are getting way more work done than I could by myself. I am also comforted that for the two weeks I was less active, Klesick’s kept humming along.

Our team, every one of them, is incredibly talented! This has made my ultimate goal of serving you by delivering organically grown farm fresh produce that moves the needle on your personal health uninterrupted.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when we are supposed to pause and be thankful, reflect, enjoy family and friends, and good food. For those of us who live in northern regions of the world, enjoying this season is a little easier because the weather and the day length lend themselves more to a warm fire and a good book. Even though my morning start time of 5am doesn’t change much with the season, I am getting more sleep, thanks in part to the shorter daylight hours and getting to bed earlier.

Anyone else out there, ever say, “Sleep is overrated!”? Definitely not teenagers! I will confess that I have at least thought that a time or two, but now that I am north of the half century mark, sleep is important and building that discipline going forward is new goal -trying to be asleep by 10pm, wish me luck! 

Habits are so hard to break and bad habits are the hardest. Over time, those bad habits are more like addictions than habits.  Eating is one of those categories that can be a sore spot for many of us. So much food and so many choices, and our will power to eat well and avoid processed or sugary foods can derail in spite of the best of intentions. 

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.

Tristan’s plan to eat a successful Thanksgiving Meal:

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!

 

Enjoy!

 

Tristan

Farmer/Health Advocate

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Systems

Sometimes it just comes down to a system—like my morning routine. I get up at 5 a.m. (unless the dog was barking at 2, then I get up 5:15 :)) and head downstairs. This is the trickiest part of the day in our old farmhouse. The steps are small and steep, and my preference is to use the steps as steps, not a slide!

After I navigate the steps and am more awake, I put on my headphones and start listening to the Bible. At this point, I am ready for action! I get the teapot, fill it up, and turn it on. Next, I get the small pan, put in a little milk, maple syrup, coconut and Cacao powder and turn it up. Then I grind a few tablespoons of coffee from Camano Island Coffee Roasters. (Joelle, my wife, really likes the Papua New Guinea medium roast.) Now the tea pot is starting to get hot and so is the milk. I grab a coffee filter and the ceramic pour over container and put in the ground coffee (this is an important step, trust me :)) Next, I pour the milk into the cup, place the pour over container over it and start pouring the hot water.

While I am waiting for the coffee to pour through the filter, I start making the morning smoothies for the Kiddos. Just about the time the coffee is ready, the smoothies are almost ready as well. When I deliver the coffee to my wife, the first set of kiddos start to awaken and I am well on my way through a ½ dozen chapters of the Bible. I really like serving my family.

Klesick Farms operates in a similar way. Just like I want to deliver the freshest coffee to my wife every morning, I want to bring you the freshest ingredients so you can feed your family incredible produce, and drink the freshest roasted coffee and freshest milk.

Our team has spent 20 years improving our system. The goal has always been the same: get the freshest organically grown ingredients to you ASAP. When it comes to produce, we are easily 2 to 7 days fresher than the traditional grocery store model. Our coffee is roasted to order and our milk is from a family farm in Lynden who is committed to getting us the freshest milk, so we can get you the freshest milk.

We can accomplish being ultra-fresh because our passion is to serve you. We do everything on purpose. Your box of good food arrives at your door because we have a system that ensures your produce, your coffee, your milk get to your door as fresh as possible.

And, just around the corner, you will be getting locally grown produce within a few days of harvest as myself and other local growers fire up our tractors and start growing food. Fresh, healthy, convenient. That is a recipe for busy families to eat healthy and be healthy.

Farmer and Health Advocate,

Tristan Klesick

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Excuse Me, Pardon Me

John, the intrepid Klesick farmhand, is all too acquainted with his rain gear this year. As Seattle Mariner announcer, Dave Niehaus, used to say, “My, oh my.” This is an amazingly wet year. Just as I start to get the itch to fire up the tractor and plant some peas, it rains and then, rains some more. Or it snows or hails or gets sunny and snows or hails and gets sunny again. About the only thing I can count on is that it will get dark around 5 p.m. and be dark at 5 a.m. when I get up.

And, does anyone else think that Daylight Savings time is early this year? Is it really already time to roll the clock ahead? Thankfully, cell phones make the adjustment automatically, or some of us would be waiting till Fall to get back to the right time. 🙂 Some of us will even actually spend another 6 months subtracting an hour every time we look at that clock. (You know who you are.) The irony of it all is that it will take about as long to do the math as to change the clock!

But I digress (a writer’s prerogative).

Back to farming.

In really wet years like this, it feels like a sprint when Spring actually arrives. In fact, John and I have been preparing by just climbing up into the tractor. Ten reps a day. We check the fuel, the oil and have our rain gear and boots all cleaned up and ready to go. We’re just waiting for the starter’s gun to go off or the spigot to turn off!?!?!? Tongue in cheek, of course, but rest assured, John and I are ready and eager to get going when the mud dries and the weather warms up. But, if you would, pray for two things: 1. that it happens sooner than later, and 2. it won’t be the first day of fishing season or on Easter Sunday, because, well, it’s complicated… or it’s competing priorities or it just wouldn’t be fair!

Thank you for being a part of our Organic Home Delivery service. Small to medium size farms like ours need local eaters in order to remain viable. Every time you order a box of good food, it encourages a whole lot of local organic farmers to press on and continue growing nutritious food for you and your families.

Cheers to your health,

 

 

Tristan Klesick,

Farmer/Health Advocate

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Pollinators

It takes a community to raise anything, accomplish anything. Earlier this week I was walking by this beautiful rhododendron and was compelled to stop. I walk by this plant every day, multiple times on my way to the front door. But this morning, at 5:30, the plant was all a buzz, literally buzzing with the humble bumble bee—what a wonderful symphony! All these beautiful insects were freely about their work, in and out of one flower and then off to the next one, hundreds of them sharing the flowers with each other. It is beautiful.

We have lots of these workers everywhere. Our farm is a safe haven for them and for many more less common critters, all equally important, filling their space on our farm and in our community.

The rhododendron is beautiful and fragrant, but it really doesn’t have any economic value for the farm, unless you consider the pollinators. When the pollinators enter into the equation, that rhododendron becomes indispensable!

With all the trouble honey bees are having with the myriad of chemicals farmers are using to grow their crops, I am thankful for the other pollinators. My guess is that the humble bumbles are also impacted, but because they are not colonized like honey bees we do not hear about their losses. But if given space to forage where the farm is “clean” and free of chemicals, the bumble bees, and a host of other insects, thrive.

And as a side note, the farmer gets the apples, pears, plums, and berries pollinated and you get the “fruit” of their work and mine!

Next time you see a humble bumble at work, whisper a “thank you” for all the work they happily do for us!

Farmer Tristan

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu: Grilled Carrots with Lemon and Dill

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 bunch carrots, scrubbed and patted dry

2 teaspoons avocado oil or other high-heat oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 tablespoon dill, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Trim tops and any fibrous ends from the carrots and cut crosswise into pieces approximately 3 inches long. Cut any thick ends in half lengthwise, so all pieces are about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. (If you are using an outdoor grill, see note below.) In a bowl, toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. Preheat grill pan or grill over medium-high heat. Place carrots cut-side down on the grill and cover. (Use a big pot lid or a metal sheet pan as a grill pan lid.) Grill for 4-5 minutes, until the carrots develop sear marks and are beginning to soften. Flip, cover, and grill for another 4-5 minutes. Carrots will be softened with a bit of crunch in the middle.

3. Transfer the carrots to a bowl. Mix in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, dill, lemon juice and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

If you’re using an outdoor grill, you may want to grill the carrots whole, so they don’t fall through the grates. After grilling, let them sit until cool enough to handle, cut them into pieces and proceed with the recipe.

Try using other acid and herb or spice combinations. A few ideas: lime juice & cilantro, balsamic vinegar & parsley, and orange juice & cumin.

Recipe from thekitchn.com

 

Know Your Produce: Green Onions

Also called scallions, green onions have a mild, sweet flavor; raw or cooked, they can be used in a variety of dishes. Unlike other onions, scallions are very perishable. Refrigerate them in a sealed plastic bag, and use within three days. Before cooking, cut away any wilted parts from the tops, trim the roots from the bulb, and wash thoroughly. Try them as a topping on pizza or cut up and added to soup during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Nutritional facts: Besides being higher than other onions in folate and potassium, green onions provide a significant amount of beta-carotene (in the green tops).

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It’s a good thing there are only 24 hours in a day

Hustle, hustle, hustle! When the weather turns and the sun comes out, it is all hands on deck. I have to keep reminding myself that it is only April and that I will be planting crops until August. I used to think that vegetable farming was a marathon race, but now I am more inclined to think of it as a track meet.

Yes, the season is long, but it really feels like a series of sprinting events, and the starter gun has definitely gone off. We are getting the peas, spinach, beets, chard and lettuce planted. We are also getting the ground worked up for potatoes, corn and winter squash. So in the spring we are mostly preparing the ground for planting and then planting it.

As the season marches on we are still working the ground for summer crops, like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but we add in weeding – lots of it (ugh!). We also add harvesting of those early planted crops of lettuce, spinach, etc.

About June we move into a weeding, watering and harvesting cycle. Life also begins to mellow and the days become more manageable (ahh! deep breath). Life feels normal. We are not quite there yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We have lots to do between now and November. This week we are planting strawberries and potatoes!

 

Sprinter (Farmer) Tristan

 

 

 

cow

Order your grass-fed beef before prices increase!

Prices for our local, grass-fed beef will go up $0.10 per pound after April 30th, so place your order today!

June beef is sold out, but we still have shares available for August and October.

 

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into small florets.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and simmer just until tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Drain the cauliflower florets and transfer them to a food processor. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the garlic and pulse for about 30 seconds.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the chives, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with additional chopped chives.

Adapted from Kelly Senyei’s recipe from justataste.com

Know Your Produce: Beets

If you’re not a fan of beets’ famously bright hues, then cover your work surfaces before you start peeling, slicing, and grating. To store beets, cut the greens from the roots, leaving an inch of stem attached, and place the different parts in separate plastic bags and refrigerate. Beet roots will last at least a month, but you should use the greens within three or four days.

Roasted Beet and Fresh Greens Salad

2 1/2 lbs. small beets, trimmed and scrubbed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

4 cups leafy greens, with any thick stems removed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on foil lined with parchment. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; season with coarse salt. Wrap foil into a sealed pouch. Roast beets on a rimmed baking sheet until easily pierced with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Carefully open pouch; when beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towels. Halve beets (or quarter if desired).

2. Arrange beets and greens in a serving dish. In a skillet, bring remaining 3 tablespoons oil and cumin seeds to a simmer; toss with beets and greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

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To 2017 and Beyond!

Week of April 17, 2016

Yes, I am looking ahead. On the farm I always have the past, present, and future on my mind. I am referring back to previous years, concentrating on the weather windows to do things on the farm the current year, and preparing for future years. So this year, with an eye towards the future, we are planting more plums, pears, raspberries, and strawberries again. Here is a little update on what we are growing for the future.

Plums.  The Yellow Egg plum, is a European plum that produces an abundance of large, oval, freestone, golden yellow fruit with a golden interior that tastes like honey. The Yellow Egg has juicy flesh and is very sweet and is grown for the outstanding quality of the fruit which is excellent for dessert, cooking, and canning. This addition to the Italian plums and Green Gages will round out our plum plantings. We will have Italian and Green Gages in September, but look for the Yellow Eggs in 2018.

Pears. This year we relocated our Stark Crimson pears and added some Orcas pears and a few Asian pears for pollination. The Orcas pear was discovered by horticulturalist Joe Long. He discovered this tree growing on his property on Orcas Island, Washington and it has become a regional favorite. The fruit is large, flavorful, scab resistant, and loaded each year with yellow fruit with a carmine blush. The pears are great for canning, drying, or eating fresh. Look for them in 2018. We will have Bosc and Conference pears this fall.

Raspberries. Tulameen is the “go to” choice for fresh market farmers. These fresh market berries are large, have good sugar content, and are bred for hand picking. We pick them every two days during the season. Our new plantings will produce in 2017, but really come on in 2018. For this season we will have Tulameen from our plantings in 2014.

Strawberries. Albion is an ever-bearing type with long, conical, symmetrical, and firm fruit bursting with sweetness. This strawberry produces from June to October. We love this berry because it is sweet, but also does well in August (when there is less rain!). Look for these in August 2016, with them really producing in 2017.

I have selected these fruit varieties for three reasons: 1) they grow well in Stanwood, 2) they work with my organic approach to farming, 3) I personally like the flavor and am excited to eat them!

Lastly Tomatoes. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. We are planting hundreds of them, but for you home gardeners we will be offering plants very soon! These plants are grown by our friends at the Rents Due Ranch. We will start selling tomatoes (slicers, pears and cherries) and pepper plants in early May. The May window to plant tomatoes will be perfect this year, given the colder and wetter spring we have had. Stay tuned for more information!

Back to the farm, I am sure I can find something to do. 🙂

Tristan Klesick

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into slices 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored (if large), cut into same size as carrots

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey (such as heather, chestnut, or wildflower)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  1. Add carrots and parsnips.
  1. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
  1. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.
  1. Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.
  1. Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  1. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

 

Know Your Produce 

Radishes

Benefits: Radishes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as many other trace nutrients. Due to their dietary fiber and diuretic properties, radishes promote healthy digestion and purify the kidney and urinary systems.

Storing: Remove the green leaves and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preparation: Wash radishes and trim the roots just before using. You do not need to peel radishes. Soak red radishes in ice water for one hour to crisp before serving. You can grate or slice them for salads, or add as a garnish.

Search online to find new ways that you can add this power vegetable into your diet.

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A Time To Plant

I was talking to a group of second graders the other day about farming. I found that they ask some amazingly insightful questions; an insight, I think, that comes from their simplicity. A few were already well on their way to a life of healthy eating.

But as we talked back and forth, I wanted to impress upon them that eating good food starts with the soil and ends with a choice. Choosing an apple or carrot (the most popular vegetable) will help them grow up smart, healthier and strong. I explained to them that healthy plants don’t get sick, and the healthier we are, the less sick we get. It was a delightful 30 minutes with young ones eager to learn.

I too have a choice. I choose to farm without chemicals and work with nature to raise food in a watershed, in a local community, on a family run farm.

Thank you for the choice you also are making. You have chosen to support a farm that raises food without chemicals, in your watershed, in your local community, run by a family on a farm. That choice will make all the difference in the world for your health, your family’s health and your community’s health.

That is why planting the first crops of spring are so special for me, because I get to raise food for local folks – who get it!

Last week we took advantage of the nice weather and got a goodly amount of healthy lettuce and peas planted! It feels so good to get some crops in the ground.

Hang on, the local season starts with planting and ends with good food on your plate!

Tristan