Cows are happiest when they are knee deep in the green grass. Here’s a video update of the Klesick Family Farm cows in April, 2014.
etter than takeout. There’s nothing fried, and no MSG, or HFCS’d (high fructose corn syrup) included. And then we add the mango because mangos are extremely delicious this time of year.
2 tablespoons olive oil (sesame oil is good here if you have it)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1-2 ripe mangos, peeled and chopped
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup organic tamari soy sauce (or liquid aminos), low sodium is best
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsweetened creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon chili sauce
- In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, orange zest, maple syrup, peanut butter, and chili sauce until well combined (note: it’s okay if the peanut butter doesn’t incorporate all the way). Set aside.
- Add olive oil to a large wok or sauté pan and heat to medium-high.
- Add the onion and sauté until it begins to turn translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes
- Add the chopped raw chicken and cook for 5 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium high and add the soy sauce and continue cooking, stirring frequently, allowing the mixture to boil about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the chopped mango and cashews.
- Serve the cashew chicken over a long-grained rice such as volcano, or brown basmati rice. Serve with a side of greens. We’d suggest one of the leafy greens that came in your box of good this week.
Recipe adapted from theroastedroot.net
When it comes to greenhouses, I am a newcomer. For years, I have eschewed the technology, but after a spring like this, “I am a believer!” We have taken a beating from the weather this spring and our planting windows have shrunk considerably. I know I have a relatively short memory (comes with age), but I am a little dismayed by the lack of farmable weather for April—March was a better month.
But if you saw my “Wednesday Farm update Video” last week on Facebook, you can tell that I have turned 180 degrees on my opinion about greenhouses. If it wasn’t for my two greenhouses, I wouldn’t have gotten peas planted and then transplanted out to the fields. Granted, I mudded them in, but they are growing and when the weather breaks they will take off and get growing in a hurry.
For the first time, I planted an early spring crop of lettuce and spinach in one of the greenhouses and, experimentally speaking, I might make it a habit. The spinach is not as profitable to grow in the greenhouse as the lettuce, but it does grow a few weeks quicker and can be direct seeded. Lettuce, however, needs a little warmer nights to start from seed, but as transplants they are good to go. Next year, I will probably grow lettuce exclusively in both houses. Mostly, lettuce is a little simpler to harvest and handle than spinach. And during most springs, “simpler to harvest and handle” is appreciated by this farmer.
In our valley, the farmers are traditionally dairy farmers or they raise crops like spinach, cabbage, chard and beets for seeds. The dairy farmers need to start cutting their fields soon, before the grass is overripe, and then they need to get the corn planted. The seed crop farmers (farmers who raise crops for their seeds and not the vegetable) need long growing seasons and April is a critical month for them. But this hasn’t been a normal “wet” spring and some of my large farming neighbors are going to be financially impacted if warmer dry weather doesn’t come pretty darn quick.
Ironically, the weather is one reason I like to farm. I like the challenge of working with what comes my way and the different management styles each season, crop and weather require. The weather is also why I grow different crops, because from year to year, I won’t know which crop will “pay the bills.” It can be spinach and other leafy vegetables or potatoes or tree fruit or beef cows or any combination thereof.
But then the weather can be almost perfect like last year, when almost everything we planted did well. And in those rare seasons, when all the crops do well, it had a lot to do with the weather!
Collard raab? What on earth is that? Known also as rabe, this spring delicacy can also come from cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Raab is the result of over-wintered plants in the brassica family flowering and sending out their seed shoots. The result is a tender green superfoodx100.
Raab is most tender before its florets burst into a yellow or white flowers, and are a fantastic spring treat in stir-frys, raw in salads, added to soups, or on the grill. It can also be boiled, steamed, braised, or sauteed, and it pairs well with pastas, hot peppers, or spicy sausages.
This recipe is simple. Reminiscent of Italian sauteed greens, with a distinctive bite. The recipe takes just 15 minutes to prepare and serves 4 to 6 people as a side.
1 bunch collard raab
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
1. Wash the collard raab, chop, and set aside.
2. Combine the water, garlic, and soy sauce in a pan. Bring to a boil, and then ease the in the collard raab.
3. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes, until crisp-tender.
I have been thinking about the act of giving. Giving is an opportunity to participate in making some thing, some place or some one’s circumstances better than could be accomplished by itself. Giving requires sacrifice, a lot or a little, but you have to be willing to deny yourself something in order to give.
This past week, the world celebrated Easter—a holiday to remember the resurrection of Jesus. Nothing has more radically impacted the world than His birth, ministry, death and resurrection. He is the ultimate example of giving.
We believe in giving. And we believe the act of giving, whether money, talents or time, is freeing. It reminds us that we are not the most important entity in this world. It changes our focus. It intensifies our senses and awakens us to the needs of others and other things. Giving also allows us to give more, and it is contagious and infectious. Being generous is a surefire way to live a happy life.
This is why, when an opportunity to give arises that we can participate in, we are all in, in whatever capacity we can participate. But we have had to learn where to draw our giving boundaries over the years. Here is what we have learned about giving:
1. We have planned giving and then we dig deeper for emergency giving.
2. We always pray for whatever the pressing need is.
3. Then we assess how we can help. Is it with time, knowledge, communication, money or all of the above?
4. Sometimes we are unable to participate because of location or skills needed.
5. If we cannot help physically at the location, that is okay. Help comes in many different shapes, sizes and methods, and all of it is needed.
6. Refer to #3 and decide what you can do and then do it with all your heart!
Lastly, we are grateful and thankful for your partnership as we reach out to the Oso and Darrington communities. As a group we are able to collectively do more than as an individual, but community can only happen when two or more agree to walk together.
Thank you for walking alongside us to help Oso and Darrington land on their feet again.
Rhubarb & Strawberry Lemonade
Makes around 8 cups of Lemonade
We’ve used raw honey here, but you can also replace it with raw cane sugar or grated palm sugar or maple syrup.
4 cups (1 lb.) rhubarb, chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups (12 oz.) strawberries, divided in half
3 inch ginger, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup raw honey (add more if you prefer it sweeter)
1 vanilla pod, sliced open
4 cups water
1 lemon, peeled into strips
Juice from 1 lemon
20 fresh mint or 15 basil leaves
In a medium size saucepan, combine rhubarb, lemon strips, strawberries, ginger, honey, vanilla pod and water. Bring it to a boil and then lower the temperature. Add the lemon juice and the mint leaves. Simmer for 20-25 minutes while stirring occasionally. Strain the lemonade through a sieve, removing the pulp. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
If left in an air-tight container the lemonade can stay fresh for about a week. Serve in a pitcher with lots of ice, a handful of fresh rhubarb, strawberries and more slices of lemon.
This week, it looks like we are going to have a decent stretch of good weather and every farmer is going to be hard at it working the ground. As much I try every year to get ahead of or prepare for the farm season, I never feel that I am quite ready for it to begin. We have been plugging along doing many non-weather-related projects, but these can be miserable chores when it is raining sideways or hovering around freezing. But we do get many of them done; albeit, all layered up and looking like the Michelin man trying to stay warm.
Although Urgency and Procrastination are distant cousins, they both can be task masters. I try to strike a balance between the two of them, between what has to happen and what can wait. Nevertheless, there is nothing like a few good days in spring to put a bounce in your step and a burst of “get ‘er done” coursing through your veins!
Much to the disdain of Cousin Procrastination, we have made some pretty significant changes this winter. We have realigned our farm fields to make them more efficient to farm, upgraded fencing for our grass-fed cattle and invested in farm equipment to help us with harvest and post-harvest handling.
I find it ironic how Cousin Procrastination lives with me, but I am not quite sure when Cousin Urgency is going to pay me a visit. Although I do expect a visit every time this year, I am just not sure when it will be. However, the thought of Cousin Urgency coming does tend to accelerate the pace of activity and the need to get ready for the visit.
Well, Cousin Urgency has arrived and the Klesick family is going to be busier than a “one-armed wallpaper hanger.” We still have fencing to button up before the cows arrive. We have 3,000 pea plants to get in the ground and trellised, plus another 10,000 peas to direct seed. There is a ton of potatoes waiting to be planted, so I need to get that ground ready, fertilized and composted, and IT ALL HAS TO BE DONE YESTERDAY! At least this is what Cousin Urgency is saying. In reality, it can be accomplished over a few weeks and everything will be just fine. Striking that balance is the hard part, and as sure as “the cream rises to the top” the most pressing tasks make it to the top of the list.
Thanks for checking in. Your good food team will be hard at it growing, sourcing and delivering organic and GMO-free fruit, vegetables and grocery items for you this week and every week.
1 bunch baby broccolini, just the ends of the stems trimmed
Zest of ½ a tangerine (about ½ teaspoon)
1/2 cup fresh Murcott tangerine juice
2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted (about ½ teaspoon salt) water to a boil. Cook broccolini until just tender (12 to 15 minutes). Drain. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine tangerine juice, shallots, vinegar, and pepper flakes, if using. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup (3 to 4 minutes).
3. Spoon sauce over baby broccoli, add the tangerine zest, toss gently.
4. Serve and sprinkle with optional grated parmesan cheese.
The sun peeks out from behind the clouds and I can’t help but get in the spirit of celebration of a new season. It’s time to set aside the stew pot and rev up the salad spinner. I don’t know if this happens for everyone at the turn of each season, but every fall I am excited to pull on my jeans and sweater and start making soups for dinner. Now it is March and I am ready for dresses, T-shirts and salads!
As earth leans towards our shining star, days become longer and brighter, our brain tunes in and our bodies get perfectly in sync with the natural environment we live in. It stops producing so much melatonin (guilty of promoting sleep) to enjoy that extra time in the sun; it has plans for us.
People smile a lot more—serotonin working—and Facebook and Instagram get loaded with tons of beautiful natural scenery from around the world. Our adventurer side is ready to rid of winter. The more serotonin our brain orders into the system, the more social we become. We are more eager to go out and make new friends or meet someone special.
As it’s warmer, we feel better outside breathing fresh air and taking in the amazing show of blossoming nature. We dust the grill off and invite the neighbors for casual weekday BBQs as excitement builds in anticipation for the new seasonal produce to show up on our dinner tables.
I love living in an area of the country where you can fully experience each and every season, and just when you are about to get tired of it, newness comes with the next season. So, let’s embrace it, invite friends over for dinner, try a new recipe and eat dinner “al fresco”!
Last spring, I tried featured salad (recipe below), Spanish Red Onion and Oranges, for the first time. The unexpected combination of flavors is amazing: tart oranges, spicy onions, bold olives, crunchy walnuts and sweet raisins make this salad a show stopper. This colorful and refreshing orange salad, made by my sweet friend from www.thefarmchicks.com, was one of the biggest hits at one of our Spanish themed dinners, with nearly all the dinner guests asking for the recipe!
Spanish Red Onion and Orange Salad
• 4 ripe medium oranges, peeled
• 1 small red onion, sliced
• 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
• Sea salt and black pepper to taste
• 3 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained
• 15 to 20 black olives, pitted
• 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
• 2 tablespoons blanched almonds
• Fresh parsley and mint, chopped
1. Remove pith from oranges and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange on a serving platter and scatter sliced red onion on top.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Spoon over the onion and oranges.
3. Sprinkle with raisins, olives, chopped walnuts, and almonds. Garnish with parsley and mint. Serve chilled.