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Cauliflower Potato and Celery Soup

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Source: www.berrysweetlife.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, fry the onion for about a minute before adding the garlic and fry until glassy and fragrant. Add the cauliflower and celery and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes
  2. Now add the potatoes, broth and water – the veggies should be very nearly covered with the liquid. Simmer on a medium high heat for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, stir half-way through cooking time.
  3. Blend until silky smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with chopped chives, and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
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Back To Fall

Let’s face it, letting go of the leisure of summer and getting back into a fall routine can be rough!  For us, fall includes getting the kids up and going earlier, breakfast for all, packing school lunches, thinking about after-school snacks, and planning for evening dinner.  We don’t want to be caught off guard and resort to making unhealthy choices, so planning is key. 

Starting out with healthy ingredients in the fridge and pantry is a great start!  Customers tell us all the time that since they began receiving Klesick’s fruit and vegetable boxes, their family has been eating more nutritiously!  We love hearing that!    

Don’t let the busyness and hungry-belly time crunch push you into a corner!  Stay ahead of it so you’re not tempted to compromise your nutritional values!  When you get your produce box, take a few minutes to prep some of your vegetables so that the items are quick and convenient to use!  You can always chop up cauliflower and broccoli and then store in a sealed container.  You can scrub or peel carrots so they’re ready for dinner or a quick snack.  Also, evaluate the items for longevity.  Some of the pit-fruit, berries, or tender greens are best enjoyed within a few days after delivery!   

Take a few minutes and think about how you can add more fruit and vegetables to your meals.  Make a list of healthy choices and post it on your fridge so you can peak at it when you lack inspiration.  Our breakfasts often include a huge bowl of cut up mixed fruit and berries, topped with plain yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or homemade granola, so I make sure we always have fruit choices on hand. We also enjoy veggie omelets to go with Tristan’s homemade sourdough bread! Having pre-chopped or even pre-cooked vegetables ready to go make a morning omelet practically a fast food! 

For school lunches, we try to keep our kid’s favorite raw vegetables on hand; cucumbers, carrots, and peppers!  Our kids pretty much have them every day, so ordering these items as an add-on works great because then we’re sure to have enough for the whole week.   

After school snacks usually come straight from our HUGE fruit basket!  The kids can take their pick!  We also keep cut up veggies and a choice of dips, ready and available, in the fridge. 

We keep our dinners nutritious, but simple, and we rarely use recipes.  At our house, we make a lot of veggie stir-fries served with meat or beans, over rice.  We also love to make a huge tray of roasted vegetables and serve as a main dish, or side, or over a salad.  We also make a lot of soups, stews, and salads!  Once you get comfortable with any of these dishes, they are all super easy to quickly throw together, and you can even make enough to use as a base for the next day’s meal! Do as much prep work when you have free time so, when the pressure comes at mealtime, you are ready to take it on!   

Eating healthy is totally achievable in the midst of a busy schedule, but we’ve learned that having good ingredients on hand, and a little pre-planning, sure helps! 

-Joelle Klesick

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Roasted Corn and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

Yield: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Source: www.pinchofyum.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh sweet corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a handful of fresh basil ribbons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese

Instructions:

  1. Husk corn cob. Wash and dry the corn. Slice corn off the cob. Place corn in a sturdy non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter. Let sit for 3-4 minutes and stir. Repeat until corn gets nice and brown on the outside. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cut the tops of the tomatoes off and carefully scoop out the flesh, reserving the flesh in a separate bowl. Set whole tomatoes aside. Crush the tomato flesh with the back of a spoon or in a food processor until there are no large chunks. Don’t totally puree it – just chop/mash it up.
  3. Combine the mashed tomato mixture, brown rice, basil, corn and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add a small handful of the shredded cheese, reserving some for topping. Stir it all together until well-mixed.
  4. Preheat broiler. Stuff the whole tomatoes with the tomato, rice, and corn mixture until rounded on the top. Top with shredded cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese reaches desired meltiness and tomatoes are heated through.
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Jade and Marketmore

We grow two types of cucumbers here at the farm. We grow an old and trusted standby called Marketmore, and a newer up and comer called Sliver Slicer. We interchangeably mix and or match them as they come out of the field and find their way into your boxes of good.

Cucumbers are sneaky little plants. One day you think you have harvested all the ones that are ready to go, and the next day you come back and there is another 200 lbs. How did that happen?!!?!!!?!!

The farm season is especially challenging for the Klesick team. You may have noticed that the aforementioned cucumbers have been a staple for the last several weeks, as have the green beans. It is really hard for smaller farms like us to get the harvest quantities right. The quality is easy, but trying to figure out how many pounds of cucumbers are going to come off a week in advance is pretty tough!

With lettuce it is easier, just count them. Lettuce harvest does get tricky because they can ripen at different times and can also look ready when they are not.

But I think green beans are the trickiest of all. This year we switched back to another old and trusted standby in the green bean world, called Jade. I think they are a little happier planted in Mid-Summer, but the early May plantings did just fine. When you talk about Jade in the midst of farmers who have grown it for 30 or 40 years, their eyes light up and their voices get noticeably quieter. There is a reverence when it comes to Jade that is hard earned, and deservedly so. They are absolutely beautiful and tasty green beans.

Even within vegetable classes, some varieties are happier planted earlier, and some later. When it comes to Jade, it seems to work well as an all-season winner! I actually try to plan for a “gap” on cucumbers and green beans, but this year the harvest rolled from one planting to another to another and the harvest kept coming. Now I am not complaining, but we try to have variety in the box of good menus and not put an item in every week.

This year, the green beans and cucumbers have been prolific, and I must say… so, so, so fresh and delicious! We are literally picking one day and delivering the next day. For us, it is so rewarding that we can pick it, deliver it, and you can be eating cucumbers or green beans within a day.

That is best kind of fast food!

-Tristan

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Yield: 2 Servings | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Source: www.abeautifulplate.com

 For the Mushrooms

  • 2 large (4-inch diameter) portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
  •  extra virgin olive oil
  •  salt and pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

For the Sauteed Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • salt and pepper

 For the Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Roast the Portobello Mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center position. Lightly spray or brush a standard sheet pan with olive oil. Distribute the portobello mushrooms, stem side up, on the baking sheet and brush or spray lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes (*this time will vary depending on the size of your mushrooms, check after 10 minutes or so to be sure), or until tender. If any moisture collects in the mushroom caps, carefully drain and discard. Set aside on a large plate as you prepare the filling and crispy panko breadcrumb topping.
  2. Prepare the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced shallots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until soft and translucent. Add the baby spinach, increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté until just wilted, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Crispy Breadcrumb Topping: Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter is just beginning to sizzle, add the chopped shallots and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the panko breadcrumbs and minced garlic, and toast for three to four minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning, or until the breadcrumbs are very light golden in color.
  4. Assembly: Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the same sheet pan with parchment paper.
  5. Distribute: Spread the roasted mushrooms, stem side up in the center of the sheet pan so that they are just touching each other. Fill each mushroom with a large spoonful of marinara sauce. Distribute the sautéed spinach evenly among the mushrooms, spooning it on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and goat cheese is just beginning to soften. Be careful to ensure that the breadcrumbs do not brown. Serve immediately.
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Roasted Anaheim Pepper Salsa

Prep Time: 45 Minutes | Source: www.wrightfamilytable.com

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium sized anaheim peppers
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 mango (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 small limes, juiced (to taste)
  • ½-3/4 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • Green onion to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Start the grill and make sure it gets up to temperature. If using an oven, preheat it to 425 degrees.
  2. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, and mango (if using) on grill. (Using a grill wok for the smaller vegetables can be handy). A baking sheet will work for the oven just fine. Gently drizzle olive oil on the vegetables.
  3. Roast on the grill until vegetables become tender and begin to show nice color. (About 15 minutes). For the oven, roast veggies on baking sheet for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Let roasted vegetables cool about 5 minutes. Then dice them up to your desired size. A food processor can also be used to achieve a less chunky consistency.
  5. Combine all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl, add in lime juice and cilantro until desired consistency. Mix well.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with green onion. Allow salsa to chill for at least an hour before serving.
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Back To School

Many of you are getting your kids ready for back to school and thinking about school clothes, supplies, and LUNCHES!  I’d like to take a few minutes to share some ideas that have made our school lunches healthy, simple, and environmentally friendly!  

First of all, I like to use reusable storage containers.  We go the whole year without throwing out a single “sandwich bag.”  Ziploc makes a divided container that is spill proof and pretty durable.  Ours have lasted the whole year long.  If you’d rather steer clear of plastic, there are similar divided containers made of stainless steel.  We purchase cloth lunch bags that fit our containers perfectly, then add a freezer pack to keep things cold.  When using the divided containers, sometimes the items fit better with the addition of a large size silicone muffin cup.  This adds another “section” to the container.  

One thing I like about the containers is that it helps me think through what to send in their lunches.  One section we put in veggies, one section fruit, one section holds the protein, and the smallest section might have a healthy cracker, chip, or small homemade treat.

Most importantly, make sure you have a good supply of healthy foods that your kids will eat!  When ordering your weekly produce, remember that you can order “add-on” items to guarantee that you will have the special items that your kids like most.  For vegetables, I always have cucumbers, carrots, and peppers on hand, because I know my kids will eat these.  If available, my kids also enjoy raw sugar snap peas, green beans, and some even love shredded cabbage or raw cauliflower. 

Choosing fruit is easy! They all like cut apples and oranges!  Melons, grapes, kiwi, nectarines, pears, and berries all make a great addition to school or work lunches.  

For protein, sometimes we’ll send a half sandwich with organic cheese and veggies on homemade sourdough bread.  But there are so many other choices besides sandwiches.  We might send yogurt with chopped fruit and homemade granola, or a nut/seed/dried fruit mix, or a whole grain, honey-sweetened, zucchini or carrot muffin. One of my kids loves it when I send nut butter in one of the compartments along with chopped carrots, celery, and apples for dipping.  Some of my kids enjoy creating their own salad wraps, and I send the ingredients in the separate compartments.  Don’t forget you can send things like a quinoa salad or even dinner leftovers in a reusable soup thermos.  

We stay away from pre-packaged individual serving products.  With the divided containers there’s just no need, and the environmental impact with these items is just too high! 

We’re happy to bring you quality lunch supplies for your kids!  Take a few minutes to think through how we can best help you meet your nutrition goals for your kids this year, while simplifying the process!  

-Joelle

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Farms and Fish

When I was a kid, the strawberry bus would come by every June down to South Everett. The bus would pick up middle schoolers and high schoolers and haul them off to Marysville or Mount Vernon. As the season went on, the same bus would pick up mostly the same the kids and haul them to Mount Vernon, and they would harvest cucumbers.

Of course, machinery and/or a crew of professional seasonal migrant pickers eventually replaced kids at those jobs. I don’t remember those buses coming much after 1980 or so. Whatever caused the shift, the shift was here to stay. Many of those crops (cucumbers, berries, sweet corn) are not a major part of the acreage being farmed today.

Agriculture is not much different than other businesses. We have to deal with market changes, labor shortages, rising inputs, mechanical and technology issues. We are really not so different when it comes to the business climate. There are three areas where Agriculture diverges from many other businesses, and that is the issue of habitat, critical areas, and natural resources.

Unlike a store front, our business model is dependent upon having land to farm, and the best farmland in Snohomish County was in Marysville. The next best soils, although “heavier,” were in the valley bottoms from Monroe to Snohomish, and Arlington to Stanwood. The only farmland left in Marysville is what is north of town, and it is getting wetter by the year as the hillsides fill with houses, the water sheds down the mass of asphalt, and zero lot line houses stack up like cords of wood.

Why did we lose all that prime farmland in Marysville? We lost it because we don’t care about the long-term future of feeding people. Essentially because, Marysville was flat, didn’t flood, and relatively close to Boeing. 

Today, Snohomish County still has lots of farmland, but it is in the valley bottoms where flooding makes building houses harder (not impossible). There is another pressure facing Agriculture today, besides poorly planned communities that shed their water to next parcel below them and eventually into the valleys. The pressure today comes from the Natural Resources/Restoration community. This is a well-funded group, mostly by taxpayers, who work to restore the valleys to their pre-European functions for wildlife or, more specifically, Chinook salmon.

I am all in favor of clean water and healthy functioning watersheds. I have spent 21 years of my working career farming with nature. I have tallied many a month of 40 hours or more volunteering on salmon and farming boards – working on solutions for farms and fish. It is frustrating that almost every person working on the salmon issue is paid by a Salmon Grant to be at those meetings, and all those meetings are during the day. How many working people have time to participate in government???

So why do I continue to stay at the table and be engaged? Because I believe that we can have both a vibrant farming community, and healthy ecosystems. As a local community, we are going to have to decide that Farming and habitat/Chinook Salmon can coexist. The natural resource community may not be paving over the valleys like the Development community was encouraged to do in Marysville, but the outcome will be the same without a shift in public policy. No farmland, no farmers and, quite possibly, no Chinook either.  

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Hinges

I came across a quote from W. Clement Stone. He is attributed to have said, “Little hinges swing big doors.” Let that sink in for a moment. “Little hinges swing big doors.” What size hinge is necessary to swing the doors in our lives that are blocking progress? One needs the appropriate size hinge, the appropriate number of hinges, and the appropriate placement of hinges to swing any door. Small hinges can swing large doors. 

I am no hinge expert, but this is what I do know. Hinges facilitate the movement of the door. A door, by definition, must be able to open, or it would be a wall. Ironically enough, a door is also a wall, but a wall is not a door.

Alright Tristan where are you going? Thanks for asking. When we moved to our farm and farmhouse there were two front doors kitty corner to each other on the same porch (still somewhat of a head scratcher to me???). One of those doors was a door with a window, much akin to a back-porch door. The other door was this really ornate, cool, solid wood door on the adjoining wall. Both had doorknobs and both looked like doors, duh! They were both doors.

The really cool old door didn’t work, and the half-glass back-porch door did work. What couldn’t be discerned from the outside is that at some point in this farmhouse’s 127-year history, someone took off the hinges of that old door, nailed it to the wall, and then paneled over it on the inside. True story 🙂

Sometimes, when it comes to making life changes, we try the wrong door. It might even be the coolest door, or even what appears to be the correct front door, but if that door has no hinges, it is not going to open. When you locate the door with hinges, you have a chance to pass through it, and it will open rather effortlessly. This can either be a good thing or not, but for the most part, if you can open a door, it is at a minimum meant to be opened. If not, it would be locked, or in the case of our old farmhouse, nailed shut and paneled over on the inside.

When it comes to eating healthy, we complicate it. Eating healthy is not complicated, we are! The door to eating healthy is relatively well-oiled and placed in the open where you would expect a door to be. The door to fresh fruits and vegetables, the one door that moves the needle on health and longevity like none other, isn’t nailed shut, hidden, or hard to find. But sadly, for some reason, most Americans rarely open it up and walk through it.

Of course, your family opens the door to health every time a Box of Good arrives, ensuring fresh organically grown fruits and veggies are available for you and your family to eat healthy. Thank you for that. 

As a side note, we swapped out that back-porch door with the really cool ornate wood door, then filled the open space with a window. 

Enjoy,  

-Tristan

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Stuffed Patty Pan Squash with Beef and Feta

Yield: 10 Servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes | Source: www.southernliving.com

Ingredients:

  • 10 large pattypan squash (4 to 6 inches wide)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, divided
  • Chives, chopped (optional)
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1¼ cups)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut off top third of each squash, and scoop out pulp, using a serrated corer or melon baller, leaving a 1-inch shell intact. Coarsely chop pulp; reserve 1 cup of chopped pulp and discard remaining pulp. Place squash bowls in an 11×13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with salt. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes.
  2. Place beef in skillet, and cook, stirring to crumble, until starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and reserved 1 cup chopped squash pulp to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach; cover and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer beef mixture to a medium bowl; cool 10 minutes.
  3. Stir eggs, cooked rice, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the dill into beef mixture. Gently stir in cheese. Spoon mixture into baked squash bowls.
  4. Bake squash in preheated oven until tops begin to brown and squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle squash with remaining 1 tablespoon dill and chives to garnish.