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Wow!

It is finally here! Thanksgiving came so early that Christmas seemed like a longways off and BAM! Well hopefully, you are mostly ready for this Holiday Season because it is happening now! I know that for us it can get a bit crazy at the Klesick home. At any given moment we can go from a few of us at home to 25 people and it looks like Christmas is trending towards 25 at the farm.

Last week, the Klesick team took a field trip to the WSU Bread Lab in Burlington. We rolled up our sleeves and prepared a meal with Niels Brisbane, WSU Culinary Director. We made pasta, lots and lots of pasta. We made all sorts of shapes and sizes of pasta. The roasted vegetables with a hazelnut, roasted chili pepper and olive oil dressing – incredible! As was the fennel and onion sauce for the pasta, OH MY WORD! I would have never thought to cook onions and fennel together and then blend them to make a pasta sauce. I love to cook and eat really good food and it was fun to bless my team with a fun cooking/Christmas party. They even stayed and helped with the dishes!

This week’s newsletter (found here) features a hummus recipe (found here) which is a perfect side dish to bring with your vegetable platter to all the holiday parties you have scheduled for the next few weeks 🙂 Be sure to stock up on chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and whatever spices you want to mix in!

Lastly, keep in mind the upcoming delivery day changes for the week of Christmas. Some minor adjustments have been made with the holiday falling on a Tuesday, so double check your day. And of course, if you have travel plans for the next couple weeks, be sure to change your next delivery date from your account online, or contact us and we’ll handle it for you.

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!

See you after Christmas!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan

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Hoping for a Gully Washer

Actually, I am looking for a good rain to clean the air and end the fire season early or at least allow a respite for all the fire crews and families directly impacted by all the forest fires. And for the rest of us breathing this smoke, it would be most appreciated too. Lord, please send the rain.

Last week, Joelle and I and a few of the kiddos snuck off to Moclips for a few days before soccer starts, school begins and the final push to the Fall farm season. Fortuitously, it also happened to have the best air quality in the state, not great but not above 100 either.

We just played at the beach.

The waves just kept coming and coming and coming! Awesome power and rhythmic. When all was quiet during the wee hours of the morning, (I might be on a vacation, but I still get up at 5am) you could hear the constant roar of the ocean, like a freight train, but it is never accompanied by a crossing signal or the faint coming or going of a train. What power, magnificent power!

Most of us reading this newsletter, appreciate the tide coming and going as it pertains to the Puget Sound of Salish Sea. And for sure the sound can be very stormy, but it is a tame beast compared to the Pacific Ocean.

We wandered out into the Griffiths-Priday state park and waded the quiet waters of the Copalis River. We made our way to the mouth of the river, a completely different experience than the Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. There we came across the biggest hoof prints I have ever seen. Definitely not coastal black tail, or horses, they belonged to an elk. I guess Elk Creek was appropriately named after all! The tracks were huge, and the gait had to be 6 feet between hoof prints. We followed the tracks in the wet sand till it crossed back over the Copalis River and though we searched and searched, we couldn’t find the tracks on the other side of the river. But it was fun to look and since we are on vacation and no need to be anywhere at the moment, looking was perfectly acceptable.

Nature is beautiful. It is beautiful at the ocean, and in the city and on the farm. There is so much intricacy on a centipede or a robin or skate. Leaves floating above the water and leaves jostling below the water both making their way to the ocean or the bottom, but both destined to rejuvenate the ecosystem.

It is a privilege to participate actively or passively with nature and all its wonder.

 

Tristan

Last week wanderer, this week farmer

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August

It is that funny month, where you hang onto every last drop of Summer and yet are looking forward to Fall. The mornings are cooler, but the days are still hot and smoky! A good rain would sure be appreciated by everyone across the West. I recently paused and read this great email/newsletter written by Tom Stearns from High Mowing Seeds that summed up the season better than I could. It is written for growers by a grower. I pulled out this small excerpt to share with you. (Disclaimer. I receive no financial benefit by saying this 🙂. I purchase most of my organic seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds and would encourage you to give them a try, too.)

 

In Need of Pause

August. What does it bring to mind for you? Perhaps it is harvests: long, seemingly never-ending harvests. Or maybe it is water: the drips we give our thirsty plants, or the lakes, ponds, streams and rivers in which we cool our over-heated bodies after a long day in dusty fields. Certainly, August embodies the Sunday Syndrome of summer: although the season is not yet over, we already begin to look past it to what the next has to offer. This strange, hot month offers us a respite – a needed breath of air before plunging in again for cool, abundant autumn.

I have always appreciated how the poet Helen Hunt Jackson described this month in her poem of the same name: an “interval of peace” in which “all sweet sounds cease, save hum of insects’ aimless industry.” It truly is a pause – a greatly needed one – in which our plants are finally at stasis, if only briefly, and we can at last sneak away for an afternoon or an evening to do nothing but perhaps listen to the hum of aimless insects and recharge the wellspring for the final push of summer.

Wishing you a welcome pause this month,

Tom Stearns, Owner & Founder
High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

Farmer or not, those words aptly describe what most of us are experiencing.

Our farm is at that spot, plantings have slowed, summer harvest is going strong and weeding is mostly caught up. Fall is often busier than Spring and ironically, what went into the ground as a seed in June is now coming out by the ton.  My attention is definitely on Fall crops, like making sure to pick the apples before they fall! That doesn’t always happen, but when one drops, the rest are not far behind. Corn, winter squash and pears are not far off either and then there is the last plantings of garlic, winter kale, frisée, and Radicchio’s to be planted. We will also be planting cover crops to feed the soil and protect it from the compaction of winter rains.

I am tired just thinking about it all, but at the same time I am energized to see it through to completion.

 

Tristan

For the tired farm crew.

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When Time Flies By…

When I was younger I thought I had the “tiger by the tail.” I had unlimited amounts of energy and ideas and was constantly moving and doing. But now I have a little more seasoned appreciation for life and where to invest my limited energy and unlimited ideas.

Farming is one place where an unlimited amount of energy has served me well. When Joelle and I started farming over 20 years ago, you couldn’t even “google” us and “earthlink” was our internet dial up provider.  That’s akin to shopping for school clothes at Montgomery Wards or Sears! If you are lost about now, you can “google” it and get a history lesson. 🙂

We have chosen to stay small, local and control our own deliveries. It is an important distinction that we control so much of our offerings. When your name is on the Box of Good, you want it to be as perfect as possible.

“Mr. Klesick is a passionate person” or “He cares about the big picture.” These sentiments come across my desk quite frequently. It stems from my desire to bring you the freshest and healthiest organic fruits and vegetables because the freshest and healthiest vegetables are what fuel our bodies to serve our families, friends, and communities. Eating is important as is eating the best of the best and that is what the Klesick team tries deliver to you every week.

I also believe that Americans and the world are eating less vegetables and fruit and less diversity of vegetables and fruit. Consequently, these important nutrients are missing in a majority of Americans’ diets. Sadly, they are being replaced with more shelf stable and processed foods. I firmly believe that if Klesick’s is going to be a part of the solution to America’s nutritional crisis and the host of maladies that come from eating a diet low in vegetables and fruit, our boxes of good need to have a diversity of fruits and vegetables to maximize our health.

This is no easy task because all of us have different taste buds and all of us to one extent or another have been “tricked” by our taste buds (or corporate America), to prefer sweet and salt and not the subtle taste profiles of greens or plums.

For me, I use a “crowd out” strategy to eat healthy. On my plate I “crowd out” room for the more processed foods by filling my plate with a lot of vegetables and fruit. It takes a while to get use to eating this way, but by leading with the healthier fruits and vegetables my body says, “thank you.” And this body is the tool that I get to use to serve my Lord, my family, my community and you! I want to be as healthy as I can, so I can serve others as long as I can.

Tristan

Your farmer and Community Health Advocate

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A Time to Heal

Last week was the week I decided to fix my knee. I had twisted it around Mother’s Day and had been limping along for a few months between doctor visits and what not. Finally, it became obvious that surgery or limping along for the rest of my days were my two choices. I settled for surgery and had my knee scoped and all cleaned up—hopefully for a good long time, too.

Can I state the obvious? July on the farm is not the best time to slow down and few things slow you down more than a knee surgery. Currently, the Klesick farm team is in full harvest mode, planting mode and playing mode, but I am in CONVALESCING MODE! Not for long! I am already feeling better and gaining mobility.

When to schedule a surgery? That was a surprisingly easy decision. I took the earliest date possible. Around here we say, “Why put off tomorrow, what you can do today!”

So, for the last two weeks I have been running the farm from the “seat of my pants” in a very literal way! I have an awesome team and am grateful for their help.

Frisée

This week we are featuring Frisée and all its health benefits. The Bitter Greens are so foreign to the American taste buds, but so critical to our health. Here is an excerpt from an article by mindbodygreen.com:

Imagine if you could eat something that would help your liver, act as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, assist in weight reduction, cleanse your skin, eliminate acne, improve your bowel function, prevent or lower high blood pressure, prevent anemia, lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half, eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods, and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. 

If I also told you that this wonder food also tasted good in salads, teas, and soups, what would you do to get your hands on this treasure? Well, thankfully you have nature on your side, providing these miracle plants in abundance during spring!

I’m talking about bitter greens. Dark and leafy, some great examples include dandelion, arugula, and kale. In addition to being vitamin-rich (like most greens), bitter greens are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. They have a bold flavor that may take some getting used to, but the health benefits are definitely worth the effort!

Cheers to your Liver’s Health!

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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From Peas to Beans

I can’t remember a year when I went from picking peas to picking beans. I wish I had more of those wonderful sugar snap peas, but…they love the cool weather and July is about when they decide to call it quits. This has a been a particularly good year for leafy vegetables and peas. I am always amazed at the fortitude of plants. Their whole purpose is to reproduce and as a farmer my whole purpose is to keep harvesting so that the plant will continue to keep producing, in this case, peas.

We have picked peas 2-3x a week for the last three weeks and even though I try and stagger my plantings, they all finish up around the same time. When it comes to peas, I have learned to plant once. The challenge with that is you can lose a crop when the weather turns south or, as in this year, hit a home run!

Now we are transitioning to Beans. My hamstrings are hurting just thinking about picking them. We grow a bush type bean that concentrates the harvest over a two-week period. Beans unlike peas handle staggered plantings pretty well. I have found that the April plantings are only a week a head of the early May plantings. There are also June and July plantings of beans. Those July plantings always make me a little nervous because most of my summer help heads back to school and Soccer season starts up about the time I need to pick them. They’re planted now!

We are also in the throes of raspberries and blackberries. We pick them every day and put them in our menus. This time of year, the menu planning is a little “squirrely”! Have you ever gone to a restaurant and the menu says, “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”? Around here that is how we roll. I am constantly bringing up a few more random fresh vegetables and the packing team is tweaking the menus to fit it in and get out to you.

A good example of this in action is raspberries and blackberries. The season starts with raspberries and then blackberries start a week later and then both are on at the same time and then raspberries slow down and the blackberries keep trucking which is where we are right now. So, we will plan to bring you either raspberries or blackberries depending on which is ready on a given day.

This is probably too much information, but it is a glimpse behind the curtain of a working farm. And I believe that getting you the freshest fruits and vegetables is my primary job and sometimes it works itself out like “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”, but all of it is organic and good for your health!

Thank you,

 

Tristan

Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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Oh My

peas, opened pod

I feel like we are in the middle of an energetic piece of music. Every instrument is playing and playing hard and I while I can play almost every instrument, I have been relegated to the position of Maestro because of my knee injury!

I don’t relish that spot. I much prefer to be a part of the orchestra and conduct on the side. But as with most things, when your attention is divided, so is the work and so is the result. I am still working around the farm—mostly checking on what to do next, picking a few berries, monitoring the health of the crops, what needs water, what needs weeding, what is going in the ground next and when and what we will harvest in the near future.

As with most good pieces of music, the Farm season starts out slow. First, the planning, studying and selecting the vegetables: How will I modify the system this year? What works best for our farm, climate, crew? So many pieces before a single piece of dirt is plowed. As with most things, a little planning goes a long way and a lot of planning can really help.

I will say that with farming, though planning is critical, you hold onto them loosely because farming is a living system and is impacted by the weather in a very real way. As an example, last year it stopped raining June 15th and started raining September 15th. This year it didn’t rain in May and mostly rained in June. On the farm that means it has been a great year for lettuce, beets, peas, but cucumbers and tomatoes are not as happy. Of course, this year I planned for a lot of tomatoes. I still believe we will get a hot summer and my tomato crop will come.

The planning is done for the year. Now we are modifying the plan. Currently, I am weighing whether to plant a Fall crop of leaf lettuce or let the season play out. I will probably do both—some more plantings, but not as much. That’s primarily due to more warm weather, but also school starts up and fall soccer kicks in which can make it hard to find enough help to weed and harvest.

But for now, it’s all hands on deck. It is the busiest time of the season. The local crops are being harvested daily and delivered to you as fresh as possible. My poor packing crew. They almost run the other way when I roll in from the farm or neighboring farms, because they know that I will bringing something that needs to be fit into the menus, something that’s fresh, nutritious and just needed to be picked!

I love this season, but when Fall rolls around, I am more than ready for the Farm to quietly resolve and end peacefully. Although this year as your fulltime Farming Maestro I am not sure what that season will look like, I imagine that in September I will already be thinking about January’s planning of next year’s Farming season. Hopefully, with a fully functioning knee!

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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Wedding Bells

Wedding season or farm season? It’s BOTH around here! It is a very special week at Klesick’s. Joelle and I are excited to welcome Abigail into our family. We have known her parents and family for years and have had the pleasure of watching Abby grow up before our eyes. She is a beautiful young lady and Andrew, our son, has definitely found the love of his life. We think she is pretty special, too.

What makes this wedding unique, is that Abby is Mike’s youngest daughter. Yes, the very same Mike, who responds to your emails and returns your phone calls is the proud father of the bride and future father-in-law to our son, Andrew.

Our families are excited for our children and their future.

 

Tristan Klesick

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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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As Luck Would Have It????

This year we have committed to growing even more food on our farm than we have in the past, which precipitated a need for more help to handle the additional weeding, harvesting, more weeding etc. Like most years, I have a big appetite for planting and while I do plan, the amount of work is often deemphasized while planning. As is often the case, the work is always considerably more.

This year we were fortunate to have a gaggle of teenage boys apply and I hired them. Strong young men who would like to earn some money. The challenge is that they were still in school and could only really work on Saturdays. This all changes this week and none too soon, because the weeds are coming with all the rain we got last week and the sun we got after that!

Normally, our family and a helper try to handle most of the farming chores, but this year I decided to add some help with the increased farming we added. And it was a good thing. With the wet April and the warm May, we were forced to pack a lot of farming into a fairly small weather window. This means that there is a ton of good work for those young men and our family.

Even more providential is that about two weeks ago I twisted my knee and have been unable to farm. I went from 12,000 steps a day to 100 steps overnight and have been limping along ever since. Oh, I miss farming, but having hired those young men plus John, our full-time farm hand, things have been trucking along. I have moved more towards managing the farm and doing less “farming”.

Even though I am a lame farmer for the foreseeable future, I am a “thankful” lame farmer and have been able to focus on some other important things like spending time with my children and grandchildren. As you might imagine during this season, I would rarely stop moving from sun up to sun down. But, this year I have been practicing how to SIT! My mom will attest that I came out of the womb and never stopped moving. So, this has been a big change for me.

I have had a chance to test a hypothesis though. I have often thought that weight loss has more to do with what a person eats than exercise. I believe in exercise, but now that I am a “lame” farmer, I got to test this hypothesis out. I know that a lot of people who tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle tend to gain weight (eek!). I am happy to report that I actually lost a little weight over the last three weeks, even though my physical activity has been sharply curtailed. I didn’t eat less or differently, just continued to eat a diet rich in plants. I am looking forward to getting back to farming, but as “luck” would have it, I have a great farm crew that has stepped up!

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist