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Sweet Smells, Sweet Memories

Spring is filled with so many scents!  It’s the beginning a of sensory overload. Last week, I was walking up to the house, deep in thought as a northerly wind was blowing… I had been contemplating the unfortunate timing of having just planted seeds right before the big lightning and thunderstorm, which brought on lots of rain. Everything is well watered now!  

Our soil is a “heavier” soil, with a little clay, which has incredible advantages, but also disadvantages. It holds water well and requires less irrigation than “sandier” soils. It also warms up later but doesn’t dry up as fast either. With that said, a big disadvantage of “heavier” soils is that in the spring, when the weather finally is about right and the ground is ready to plant, a really good gully washer like last week can undue all of the spring prep work causing you to have to re-till for optimum planting ground.  

When a storm like last week’s rolls through, it’s usually followed by a warm stretch and the newly soaked fields can become baked like clay in a kiln. If the fields haven’t been planted, we can get to work on the fields again, but when you have planted seeds, it gets more complicated. We planted beans, beets and more peas. Those seeds should still germinate, but they are going to have to expend a lot of energy to break through the crust.   

We will cultivate the rows and gently break up the surface around the seed, but for the most part the seed must do the hard work of breaking through!  

While I was deep in thought, and passing through the flower garden, the pleasant smell of a flower brought memories from 1994, when our garden was 32 square feet. It was the same dimension as a sheet of plywood. But that year, I sold my very first crop – lilac blossoms.  On my way up to the house, I was immediately transported back in time 26 years ago.   

Memories are powerful; farming was a mere thought and certainly not feasible on our small city lot. It was during that time that I met my first organic farmers, as they delivered fresh produce and flowers from the Willamette Valley to where I was working in Vancouver. I knew at that moment, meeting those farmers, I would be a farmer one day, too. That spring lilacs bloomed on our small urban lot next to our little garden.  The farming seed germinated, and I asked the market manager if she thought anyone would be interested in purchasing our lilacs.  She brought them into the market and was happy to provide the beautiful flowers for customers to purchase! And that farming seed grew!    

And for the last 26 years there have been lilacs on our farm and every spring when the wind blows from the north and I walk by the lilac tree, I’m reminded about those first meetings with organic farmers and how a few cut blossoms have changed our life. 
 

-Tristan and Joelle 

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School at Home : Nutrition

Have you heard of eating the rainbow? There are different types of nutrients found in different colored fruit and vegetables. Parents, use the coloring page we created as a fun way to get your kids excited about fruit and veggies and to start thinking about what they eat and why! You could even have them create their own rainbow log of all the colors (of produce items ?) they eat throughout the week! Send us a pic of your child’s coloring page or post it on social media and tag us, and we will repost it in our Instagram and Facebook stories for all to see!

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How to Use Your Box of Good

Quick farm update: We are seeing the first splash of locally grown produce, Kale Raab and Chives. This is time of year where the vegetable farmers begin to move into higher gears. For us our first crops to be planted will be Sugar Snap peas and then lettuce. This week though we are harvesting our chives. We have been nurturing our chive plants for 17 years and several hundred of you have been eating them that long, too!  

I am also working with Kai at Hedlin Farms in La Conner to bring his Kale Raab to you. This is a once a year harvest. Every spring the plants get a burst of energy from the lengthening daylight and warmer weather and begin to produce seed heads. Kale Raab is harvested right at that moment before it goes into full seed production. Use the tiny flowers, the leaves, the top of the stems but not the woodier base (save those for stock). Kale is one of the most immune boosting foods we can eat, and immune boosting is definitely front and center now.  

Working with What You’ve Got: Have you found yourself having to alter your meal planning during this stay-at-home season?   We have a few tips we’d like to share that could help simplify healthy eating during this crazy time.  As a matter of fact, we think you might even take a few of these ideas with you into the future.  

Some of our favorite recipes aren’t really recipes; they’re techniques. We love things like soups, stir-fries, roasted vegetables, salads and smoothies!  Once you understand the premise of creating each of these, you can alter the ingredients, use what you have on hand, and still come up with a delicious outcome!   

Soups: With soup, start with a good broth or create one as your base. Decide if you’d like to make a clear soup, a cream soup or a puree.  Clear soups will use the broth as the foundation and then vegetables and seasoning to taste.  Cream soups often use milk, cream or even cream cheese blended with a portion of the cooked vegetables.  Purees are smooth, thickened by blending things like potatoes, cauliflower, rice or beans.  Use salt, pepper and your favorite seasonings to finish to your taste. 

Stir-fries: Stir-fries are so versatile!  We use stir-fried vegetables as a base to go with meat, beans or vegetarian meals.   They’re great in wraps, over rice, with pasta or with salads.  Start with dicing your vegetables small!  We find that everyone eats more veggies that way.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok, add minced garlic, ginger, onion, and chilis (if desired). Add protein, vegetables, salt, pepper and seasoning, and sauté until cooked to your preference. Use taco seasoning for Mexican dishes, Italian seasoning for pasta dishes, Asian sauce or spice to be used over rice.   

Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables are a favorite comfort food and so quick and simple!  No recipe required, and virtually every vegetable can be cooked in this way.  Root vegetables are old standbys for roasting, but you can also roast broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers and onions. Start by cutting vegetables into bite size pieces.  Toss them with a mild non-hydrogenated oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasoning of choice.  We use lots of garlic powder!  Spread them on a baking sheet and give vegetable pieces lots of space.  Roast at 425 degrees until veggies get a bit charred around the edges.  Some vegetables are cooked much sooner than others.  Start with the root vegetables and then add softer vegetables a bit after, or roast like veggies in separate baking sheets, to easily take out when finished. 

I think everyone is familiar with the versatility of salads.  In addition to mixing up your salad fixings, try different homemade dressings as a great way to add variety! 

Smoothies: Smoothies are a super way to get a boost of extra nutrients and have so many possibilities! A kid favorite is always peanut butter-chocolate banana.  We start with a big handful of spinach leaves (shhh!) blended with coconut water, then add frozen bananas, peanut butter, a high-quality chocolate protein powder, and milk.  You can also add collagen, flax oil or whatever supplements that blend well and don’t over-power.  Frozen strawberries, blueberries and bananas are great to have on hand and combine well with leafy green vegetables.  A favorite of mine combines frozen banana, strawberries, avocado, spinach, kale, juice from hand squeezed lemon and oranges, turmeric, and ginger, blended with coconut water.  Give different combinations a try.  

Rest assured; you can use what you’ve got, and it’s going to be good! 

Tristan

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Spring has Sprung

Over the last few weeks, the weather has been a mix of warm, cold, wet, really wet, warm…. Seems like the weather is not impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. At least, I can count on the weather to be well, normal.  

This is the season when local products start to trickle in and then it will be a full-blown local season. This week and last week we have been heading to Mt. Vernon to pick up super fresh spinach, and Asparagus. Carrots, kales, and chards are close on the heels and, before you know it, peas, and cherries, and a bounty of NW produce will be harvested and find their way into your box of good. 

This is also the time that many gardeners are also beginning to harvest a few leafy greens. Earlier this week, I answered the phone and a Rebecca asked if she could skip the lettuce, because she is swimming in lettuce from her own garden. My answer? Of course! We have a few ways to handle this request.  

First option, we have a “never send” option, (call the office if you would like to know more about this). We can set a never send for any item, and when that item, in this case lettuce, shows up on the menu and in the box you are ordering, we will take that item out and replace it with a similar item and value. Each never send is an additional $1 to cover the additional processing and handling. 

Second option, switch to a different box like the fruit box or the fruit and vegetable box. Both of these boxes do not have lettuce, and since she is swimming in her own lettuce, switching to either of these boxes she wouldn’t receive any lettuce. 

Third option, Rebecca can order the items she would like to eat and build her own box and we will custom pack it for her. 

Fourth option is a hybrid and the one she ultimately chose. The solution for her was to order a Fruit and vegetable box and add radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers to her order. This solution helped her get fruit and cooking vegetables, while not getting any lettuce or salad items and then she added the additional salad items to go with her own lettuce. 

After 23 years of serving families from Shoreline to Sedro Woolley, we have learned how to help families modify their orders and make their box of good work for them. Don’t hesitate to call or email us if you have a question, or a few items are piling up. Together, we can strategize and find the right mix and box of good for your family. 

Always be serving,

-Tristan

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Home Delivery with a Local Farm Connection

With so many new families joining us recently, we would like to introduce ourselves. We are Tristan and Joelle Klesick and we farm, with our family, on 37 acres in the beautiful Stillaguamish Valley in Stanwood, Washington. Here at Klesick Family Farm we grow about 5 acres of fruit and vegetables. The rest of our acreage is used to rotate our crops or is planted to grass, which is harvested as hay for local animals. 

Throughout the summer we’ll grow garlic, chives, cucumbers, chard, summer squash, winter squash, peas, beans, beets, kale, and more. On our farm we have raspberries, strawberries, and grapes growing, along with 100+ apple, pear, and Asian pear trees. We begin working the ground, as spring rolls around and the soil begins to warm.   We farm during the spring and summer months until late fall when the weather begins freezing. The PNW vegetable farm season typically runs from April until October.  

In addition to farming during the local season, we own and operate Klesick’s Organic Produce Home Delivery where we deliver our Box of Good. During the summer, our boxes are filled with fruits and vegetables from PNW farms, including ours! Our produce items are always as local as possible, and then supplemented with fresh, organic produce from warmer climates. We also like to feature items that are not available locally, like bananas, pineapple and oranges.  As an added convenience, organic grocery staples and meat items are also available to our customers. 

We’ve been both delivering and farming for 23+ years! We’re glad we can source great quality organic produce items, and also share the local harvest! We love what we get to do!  We’re a local home delivery company and a local farm

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for health inspiration, foodie information and to see what’s happening on the farm!   
 

Tristan and Joelle

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A Seed of Hope

Wow! How did that happen? I just found out that it’s Easter this Sunday!  This last month has surely been a whirlwind!  Am I the only one that’s lost track of time?  I even look forward to Easter!  I find comfort in its message of hope.   

This international “pause” on life has given many of us an opportunity to reflect.  Hope is a great thing to reflect on during all this uncertainty.  Farmers are experts in hope.  Think about it; we take a little bitty seed and expect it to germinate, sprout, grow, produce fruit, and then harvest and share!  Unbelievable, really!  So many miraculous factors play into the whole process.    

I will admit that even though farmers are generally very hopeful and optimistic people, we do sometimes experience the unexpected, disappointment, and even hardship.  It might come in the form of bad seed that doesn’t germinate, pests that destroy crops, or weather that interferes with harvest.  There are a myriad of problems that can, and do, happen, in which case I give myself permission to grieve my losses and sometimes even get mad at the circumstances.  I reflect and think about whether there was something that I would do differently next time and sometimes there’s a valuable lesson to be learned.  But sometimes the circumstances are out of my control and I just need to know I did the best I could. 

Whatever the reason for hardship, it usually comes with a time to pause, grieve and reflect.  Oddly enough, when reflecting includes finding things to be thankful for, it leads to an optimistic future. That’s where the next seed of hope is found, and the next crop is planted, or a new season begins.   

Have you ever wanted to be a farmer?  Okay, so maybe not.  But you might need a seed of hope right now.  Maybe you’re doing okay, and you need to offer a seed to your neighbor (from 6 feet away, of course).  Plant a seed, water it, look for sunshine, dream of it sprouting, growing and producing fruit!  During this time of uncertainty, it’s okay to pause, grieve and reflect, but allow hope to bring you into the next season.   

We are thankful for each of you and wish you a happy Easter as we celebrate the message of eternal hope! 

-Tristan and Joelle

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Stable Ground

Everyone is looking for a firm footing. Each of our paths have a little “looser” rock to navigate than normal, requiring us to be aware of our surroundings and to plan each step carefully.   

And wouldn’t a normal walk in nature, down the street, or around town be nice; where we could exchange pleasantries and greet one another with a smile and a hug? But for now, we’ll digitally connect with friends and extended family, spend quality time with those at home, and look for ways to bring normalcy to our path!  

As we’re all keenly aware, our typical shopping habits are non-existent right now! As people look for ways to meet their family’s food needs, while avoiding the grocery stores, home delivery has become a way to navigate. We have been delivering produce to local homes for 20+ years, but never have we been more honored to serve our community in this special time of need. 

At Klesick Farms we have added several hundred new families and 4 new routes to our service in the last few weeks. To our long-time customers, we appreciate your patience as your delivery time may have changed as we accommodate the new families.  We will be arriving between 8am – dark. (smile) Don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any questions about your delivery. And as one customer commented after calling, “It’s so nice to have someone answer the phone instead of an automated menu to choose from.”  Yes! We do our best to get to all our calls as they come in, but if your call goes to voicemail, know that we’ll try to get right back to you!  

You matter, and your story matters.  Each of our paths are unique, but we share this journey.  Food has always been a source of connection.  Some of us are extreme foodies, health fanatics, and wanting to support local!  Some of us are just looking for a way to get fresh produce, while homebound (and we hope you’ll end up loving it and becoming some of our biggest fans!)  All of you take comfort in knowing that you’re feeding your family well and are providing a little stable ground during a time of uncertainty.  Good food is comfort food.  Gather around the meal table and cherish the people in your home.  Share your highs and lows of the day and think of the things you’re thankful for.  It will give you a moment to catch your breath, while nourishing your body and soul!  

Again, we are honored that you’ve joined our Box of Good community and it’s our hope that when your box comes it will feel like a big hug (if you’re a hugger that is)!  We love to be inspired by one another by sharing recipes and yummy, beautiful produce-filled creations!  Use our Facebook or Instagram page and let’s connect!   

And by the way, our team is incredible! The office staff, packers and drivers have all worked extra-long hours and have cheerfully done their part to provide our customers with the best possible experience and the highest quality. Thank you for allowing our family and our team to serve your family.  

Tristan and Joelle

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Oven Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus

  • 1 tsp minced garlic (divided)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cups butternut squash (cubed)
  • 1 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus spears (trimmed)
  • salt and pepper
  • shaved parmesan (optional)
  • toasted pine nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. Mix butter and olive oil then divide in half.

  3. Toss butternut squash with half the mixture, garlic and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

  4. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

  5. Toss the asparagus with the remaining garlic and oil/butter mixture.

  6. Take the squash out of the oven, add the asparagus and toss all together.

  7. Return to oven for 10-15 more minutes or until it is done as you like it.

  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

  9. Serve and Enjoy!!

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Butternut Squash Soup with Carrots and Potatoes

Butternut Squash Soup with Carrots and Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 3 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 potato (cubed)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Add olive oil to a large pot and cook garlic,onions, carrots, potato and butternut squash for five minutes on medium-high heat.

  2. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a boil.Cover pot, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

  3. Cool soup down a bit, and then transfer to a blender. Blend to desired consistency until smooth. You may need to do this in batches. Return pureed mixture to pot and set heat on low. Stir in cream, and then season with salt and pepper.

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Easy Winter Fruit Salad

Easy Winter Fruit Salad

  • 5 Kiwi Fruit (peeled and sliced into rounds)
  • 3 mandarin oranges (peeled and separated into sections)
  • 2 bananas (peeled and sliced into rounds)
  • 2 pears (cored and diced)
  • 2 apples (cored and diced)
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  1. Combine kiwi, oranges, bananas, pears, apples and mint in a large bowl.

  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together honey and lime juice.  Pour the juice mixture over the fruit mixture, then gently toss to combine.

  3. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.