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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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COVID-19

We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the hundreds of new families that have signed up in the last few weeks. We are Tristan and Joelle Klesick, a local family living, and working on our farm in Stanwood.  We’ve been sourcing, growing, and delivering fresh organic produce for 23 years in our community. We believe that fruit and vegetables are vital to health and only deliver organically grown high-quality produce. Over the years we have developed loyal relationships in the food industry, and because of those relationships we have been able to serve additional families during this tenuous time. 

I am so proud of our packing team (Joanna, Tasha, John, Maleah, and Stephen).  This week they just kept working and working and working to keep up, as we added 50, 75 or 100 new families to our delivery service each day. The driving team (Nate, Stephen, Hanna and Preston) must have wings on their shoes. And last Saturday, we had to split a route because there was no way it would all fit in our vans. 

Alaina and I manned the phones, took orders, placed orders, answered emails, and worked long after the team was gone to make sure we would have the produce to be able to deliver to families the next day. And wouldn’t you know it, our grocery supplier called at 3pm on Friday and said, “See you Saturday instead!” Because they too are experiencing extra ordinary demand and couldn’t keep up. We needed those groceries for Saturday orders, but…  We appreciate your patience!

Even for a seasoned produce veteran as myself, I have never experienced such volatility in produce supply and pricing. This is happening for a few reasons.

First is the COVID-19 and self-quarantining that has been asked of our communities. And with the uncertainty, the extra ordinary demand from every corner of our country has placed a lot of unplanned stress on the produce/food system. Please remember, growing vegetables requires 2 to 3 months of lead time to ramp up, and no one was expecting this!

Secondly, this time of year is always a difficult season for the produce industry. The “salad bowl” of America is leaving Arizona and transitioning back to California. And to complicate matters, it has been raining nonstop in California and Mexico, impacting harvesting schedules.

This really is an unruly storm condition given COVID-19 uncertainty, and the rain in our southern growing regions.

I’d like to explain pricing, especially if you are new to our service.  For the last 23 years we have always provided our customers with high quality produce at fair pricing.  This will not change!  But naturally, as wholesale prices increase for individual items, retail prices need to increase, as well. Given the extreme volatility of product and pricing, we are actively working with our suppliers in order to get families the best pricing possible during this time. When a customized order is placed the price listed reflects the current price, but prices may change between the day your order was placed and when you receive your delivery. Pricing on our pre-selected boxes will remain the same, but the menus may flux daily, as needed, based on availability and value.  So, even though we pre-publish our menus, know that they are subject to change, but the value will always be the same.

We are honored to serve your family during this time of uncertainty.  Thank you!

Tristan

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Health and Safety

We’d like to take a moment to address the COVID-19 concern.   

The US FDA has put out this statement regarding food handling and the virus.  “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.” 

Please be assured that we are meticulously following the CDC’s guidelines. We are implementing all our usual sanitation practices and our employees are going above and beyond our strict standards to keep all our loved ones safe.   

What Can You Do to Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy? 

The CDC guidelines:  

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. 
  • Stay informed. CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary will be updated regularly as information becomes available. 

We would encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines for avoiding sickness, and also purpose to provide your body with immune boosting support. Staying positive, exercising, taking quality supplements and eating lots organic fruits and vegetables are all important and empowering strategies to implement during this season!

Coming together prayerfully with our community,

-Tristan and Joelle Klesick

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

“The peas are coming on strong.   My nine-year-old son, Micah has beaten his dad with the first blossoms of the season.  Come to think about it his carrots are coming on sooner than mine, too. Around here there’s a healthy amount of weeding to do, and it is just plain work.  Some can be done with hoes, but a good portion is done by hand.  A few weeks ago the kids and I made a game of it.  We all started weeding and then after a bit, I would yell “tag” and then everyone would start running, very carefully of course, and I would try and catch them.  It was a “hoot”.  The other day we had some more weeding to do and the first thing Emily asked was, “Can we play that tag game, again?”  ~Tristan, May, 2000 

“I love Sugar Snap Peas. We like to grow big juicy peas that are bursting with flavor.  I remember one year when we farmed in Snohomish and Andrew was about 2 years old (that was 6 years ago, my oh my!!!!!).  Anyway, that little rascal had wandered off to the garden, without us knowing it.  After a headcount and a short panic, we went looking for him.  Guess where we found him?  He was smack in the middle of the Sugar Snap Peas, holding on to two fistfuls of peas and he had one in his mouth.  The whole scene was quite a sight!  We were all relieved and decided to sit down and join him for a nice evening snack.  And when we were done, Andrew got to ride back home in Dad’s arms.”  ~Tristan, May 2006

There’s something special about looking back and reading the newsletters my dad wrote to our customers over the last 22 plus years. There are so many fun memories I cherish. I was blessed to grow up with parents who were family-focused and passionate about health and farming! And now I don’t take for granite being able to bring MY kids to the farm and watch them enjoy all that grows during the summer. Hadlee, (4) is so excited for summer!  At each glimpse of sunshine, she excitedly asks if it’s summertime yet. She remembers last year running out into the fields and eating strawberries, raspberries, peas, and just about anything she could get her hands on.  She would often use the bottom of her dress like a basket and bring her finds to the house to share.  I think I can speak for all of the grandkids and say that one of the best things about summer is being able to go to grandma and grandpa’s house -AKA- “the farm”. This will be our 5-month-old son, Bazil’s first summer, and Hadlee is so excited to show him everything that grows on the farm. It brings me joy seeing my little ones enjoy the farm; from the pea patch to watching the sunset. I only hope we can continue to teach this generation, at a young age, the importance of organic farming, eating healthy foods and just simply enjoying the freedom of frolicking in the great outdoors! 

Thank you for allowing our family to bring you organic produce over all these years!  We appreciate each one of you!

Alaina Klesick

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Italian Prunes

I have been contemplating many changes on the farm. For the last several years our apples and pears, always have a good fruit set, but for some reason the Italian Prunes, aren’t as happy here. Italian Prunes are mostly self-fertile, meaning that they do not need an additional plum variety to cross pollinate.  

Our plum blossoms are awesome, the trees are loaded with white flowers. But they start blossoming earlier than the apple and pear trees. The new weather pattern seems to be warmer earlier, waking up the trees followed by a cold snap. The new weather pattern for our farm appears to be not as favorable for early plum blossoms and fruit set.  

I love Italian Prunes, but when they don’t pollinate and set fruit it is disheartening. Then the trees switch to growth mode and instead of growing fruit, they grow more WOOD! And as much as I love pruning and its peacefulness, pruning to prune is not a productive use of a farmer’s time.  

We have been getting a crop every 3 to 4 years. I could spray pollen, but even that requires pollinators to spread it from tree to tree. And I am the type of farmer that works with nature and, if I need to manufacture an environment to grow something, I am less willing to do it. There are plenty of other crops that like to grow around here. 

I think if my farm was on a hill, the plums may pollinate better. Farming in the valley bottoms is colder and damper and, maybe, the reason they are less conducive to an early fruit set. When Gary Lund at S & S Mowing was out this winter to mow the blackberries around the fence line, (no Roundup used around here) I asked him, “do you have bucket attachment for that mower?” If you know Gary, he got that smile and asked me, “Why?” At that moment the die was cast and the next day he dug up all 36 trees. Ten years of work gone in a few hours and all that was left was a pile of branches that would make every beaver west of the Mississippi green with ENVY! 

When you farm, making choices like this come down to dollars and common sense. This year I am going to grow lettuce and cucumbers where the plums trees once graced our farm. It is good, a new chapter if you will.  

And our first seedlings of lettuce are already up and will be ready to go out at the end of March. Let the growing begin! 

-Tristan 

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Helpful Produce Storage Tips

We love hearing the enthusiasm from our customers when they receive their Box of Good! We often hear: “It’s like Christmas and feels like opening a gift of health!” Some people tell us they eat more nutritiously when they get a box delivered, and their kids will even try new things! Customers appreciate that we take the guesswork out of finding high quality, organic, in season produce, and love the convenience of having it delivered right to their door! 

We want our customers to carry out that excitement throughout the week, while they use their fresh produce! So, it’s important to know how to best store your produce and how to plan to use it.  This week we’re including a link to our Helpful Produce Storage Tips.  We’ve found a few storage bags that we love, so we’ve made them available to our customers.  We now offer organic cotton produce storage bags as well as biodegradable produce bags.  Both are great, environmentally friendly, options for keeping your produce fresh longer.   

We’d like to also mention that, in order to increase longevity of your produce, it’s important that you unpack your box shortly after receiving it.  Don’t let it sit on the counter for an extended period of time.  As you unpack your items, assess what items should be used early in the week, and which items have a longer shelf life.  For example, oranges will last longer than berries, so plan to use the berries first.  Tender greens will not last as long as broccoli, so plan to use the greens earlier in the week.  Check your fruit for its readiness.  Ripe fruit can usually go in the fridge to slow down the process or, if fruit is unripe, you’ll want to set it on the counter.  Some items like carrot s, broccoli, or cauliflower can easily be cut up and stored in a sealed container making them easy to use raw as a snack, or to make a quick side dish.  Greens store well in the organic cloth bags and can be washed ahead of time but must be thoroughly dried before storing. If using biodegradable plastic bags for greens, wrap them in a paper towel before placing in the bag.  Proper attention and storage of your fresh produce will keep you enthusiastic about eating healthy from your Box of Good

Be sure to check out our Produce Storage Tips link below for helpful information about specific items! 

Klesicks.com/how-to-store-your-box/

Or click the storage link at the top of the klesicks.com homepage.

-Tristan and Joelle Klesick

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Why Choosing Local Matters

The feel-good messaging has been loud from venture capital funded mega companies encouraging consumers to purchase produce that is ugly or imperfect in order to address our country’s food waste epidemic.  However, an efficient system already exists to use blemished products. It goes to our food banks or is used for frozen foods, canned goods, juices, pet foods, and every type of processed food you can imagine.  

We’d like to share some of the long-term benefits of choosing to support local farms and businesses, and the environmental and benevolent impact it has in our own communities. Consider the Box of Good.

We are passionate about keeping local farmland viable!  Through the platform we’ve been given in our business, along with community involvement and countless volunteer hours, we’ve been able to play a pivotal role in impacting future generations, through farmland preservation initiatives, right in our own Stillaguamish and Snohomish Valleys. (Ask us about this if you’d like to know more!)

The number of for-profit family farms is shrinking at an alarming rate! We need local farms. In the PNW commercial fruit and vegetable farming in the winter is nearly impossible, however, the home delivery business model makes it possible for us to farm and source local in the spring, summer, and fall, then outside source in the winter. This model keeps local farmland in production, which helps maintain future food security and habitat spaces.

In addition to farming in this community, we are honored to partner with our customers to help meet the local needs of those experiencing financial hardship. Before we started donating to our local food bank, 23 years ago, they told us they almost exclusively supplied canned food for their customers, and only a few produce items. Last year alone, in partnership with our customers, over $32,000 worth of high-quality organic produce was donated to 12 local food banks! Our imperfect produce also goes to the food bank twice a week. NOTHING goes to waste!  We supply trimmings to local animal farmers, and we also compost in order to provide additional soil nutrients for next year’s crops! It’s a win for everyone!

Included in your Box of Good is our weekly newsletter providing information about our farm, farming and land use issues, PNW agriculture, understanding our government food policies, nutrition, the how and why of healthy eating, inspiration for healthy living, recipes, and tips for preparing your produce.  We love sharing our passion for farming, healthy living and community!

Our produce is always certified organic because that’s what we believe in!  When ordering from Klesick’s, produce will be fresh, carefully selected, and handled with care, both in our packing facility, and in our own delivery vans while en route to your home. Orders can either be simply placed online, or our helpful office staff is available to work with you to create the perfect box for your family. We are always happy to address any concerns or answer any questions!

At Klesick’s we offer high quality and nutrient dense home-delivered organic produce at competitive pricing!  We are a local farm and a local business with a heart for the people and the community we live in. We are honored when you choose us to supply you with not just a box of produce, but with a Box of Good!

-Tristan and Joelle Klesick