3,000 pounds of green beans! That is a lot of handpicked and hand selected nutrition. This has been an incredible farm season. The weather was manageable. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold, and most rain events were welcomed. The smoke? Not so much!
Now that we are transitioning to Fall, the farm work shifts to putting the farm to “bed”. We are actively working ground that we are rotating to pasture that will be hayed for the next 3-5 years. We are also prepping the ground for garlic that we hope to plant in two weeks.
Speaking of garlic, this year’s crop was so good, large flavorful bulbs. I use garlic all the time for cooking. If I am roasting potatoes, beets, onions, or all of the above, I always toss in a few cloves. If I am sautéing or making a stir fry, I slice the garlic much like slivered almonds. And if I want to intensify the flavor of soup, I will mince it or use the garlic press add it that way. I am a big fan of garlic.
And since we are talking about garlic, John and I have decided to grow next year’s crop in hills that are going to be about 10” tall and 15” across the top. We are hoping that this will make it easier to harvest them next year. I am always tinkering and trying to find the best way to harvest or plant or just have a little less work.
Back to the farm, we are picking our last planting of green beans this week and next week. Fall beans tend to come on slower and yield a little less, but they also tend to hold a little longer on the vine than the summer plantings. A lot of growers will plant different varieties of the same crop at different times throughout the year. We see this with sweet corn where they want to stagger the harvest or tree fruit where you plant an early August apple, followed by a September apple.
Unfortunately, Organic growers, when it comes to green beans, have less options. But the Strike Bean seed happily grows from May – Frost and this year it did not disappoint. Beans are my go to snack when I am in the field – crisp, tender green beans.
Thanks for eating Klesick Farms green beans and garlic! Tristan
Although you’ll quite likely find yourself eating them straight from the bag that they traveled to your home from, you should also try serving cherries with dinner over ice. The ice slowly melts into the bottom of the bowl, dragging some of the buoyed little fruits with them. Those ones are the best – completely cold and crisp throughout, melting away the summer heat from the inside.
Fun Fact: The light skin and delicate nature of Rainiers occasionally leaves light brown spots on the skin. This is not a flaw, but actually an extra-sweet sugar spot.
Beets are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually, I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done). But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed or steamed as well so don’t throw them out! Don’t let cook them too long though or they’ll get slimy.
Zucchini is more often used as a cooking vegetable but can easily be enjoyed raw. It makes a great salad when sent through the spiralizer and tossed with carrots, cucumber, and snow peas. Like cucumbers, zucchini is good when marinated for a couple hours in the fridge. Simply toss in lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, cover and let sit in the fridge for a time. Add freshly chopped basil or parsley right before serving.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast cookies are the number one thing I bake for my kids during summer and when I saw zucchini on the menu this week, I knew I needed to share this recipe with you all! These Zucchini Breakfast Cookies are ideal for active, hungry kids.
If you can keep some old-fashioned oats, coconut oil, honey, salt and cinnamon on hand—-you’re well on your way. Often, we add in smashed bananas (also on the menu this week!), peanut butter, apple sauce (or diced fresh apples), dried fruit, nuts and chocolate chips.
My kids aren’t huge zucchini lovers so when I discovered that they’d gobble these, my day was made. I hope you try them out and that your people love them, too!
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
dash of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Grate the zucchini and put it in a bowl.
Sprinkle in a dash of salt and add in the cinnamon.
Measure in the honey.
Melt the coconut oil and then pour it in, stirring everything together well.
Add in the oats and flour. Stir well.
Lastly, gently stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are set and starting to lightly brown around the edges.
Notes: Feel free to add in raisins, peanut butter, nuts or dried fruit!
By Angela Strand
I am currently visiting my homeland of Peru. I was born and raised here – from kindergarten to college, Peru was my only home. At age 25, I moved to the United Stated to get my graduate degree and planned on returning to Peru after a few years living abroad. I eventually met Brad, who, three and a half weeks later, became my husband and just like that, I became a first generation immigrant! I never really thought of myself that way until about a month ago, when I was asked to write my “Defining Moment.” Now, I have two homelands, both with room for growth, both full of wonderful people willing to spread goodness and happiness around the world.
At first sight Lima, Peru can be chaotic, loud and cloudy. Lima is a city full of contradictions. It sits in the desert, right next to the ocean. It is the second richest land in natural resources and is still categorized as a developing country. It also happens to be GMO-free.
One of the first things I do every time I come to Peru is visit a farmers market. What used to be an everyday way of life has now become a weekend event, in an effort to remind us of where it all comes from. Foods I grew up eating (and forgot about over time) are the stars of the show. Some I loved, like lucuma, forte avocado and chirimoya, and some I avoided, like the beloved quinoa, amaranth and noni. Today, I cherish them all.
By moving away, I learned to appreciate what I have here. Cooking became comforting – a way of staying closer to home even though I was thousands of miles away. I found that keeping our culinary traditions alive was a way of keeping Peru always in my heart. In my constant search for fresh ingredients, I am reminded that no matter where I am, every civilization begins with agriculture.
Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, cannot ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food is to risk malnutrition and starvation. In modern times, in our urban cities, it’s easy to forget this fundamental connection. Insulated by the apparent abundance of food that has come from new technologies for the growing, transportation and storage of food, humanity’s fundamental dependence on agriculture is often overlooked.
All this to say, let’s share with those around us the importance of supporting our local farmers. Locally grown food not only tastes better, it was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. In addition, local food supports local farm families everywhere. For example, with fewer than one million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Therefore, local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.
As I spend more and more time in the field, I love that the farm is coming alive. Spring is like a magnet – it draws me from a deep restful slumber to a “Yes, I am ready for spring” experience. These daily spring walks invigorate my soul. I know what is about to happen. It has been the cycle of my life for the last 18 years, yet it is always fresh, always new, and always CRAZY!
If we are going to maintain or increase our health, what we eat will be important. And, let’s face it, we are going to eat. Why not eat the good stuff? I am a huge proponent of, “If we eat better, we will feel better.”
As spring marches forward, so does the bounty of the local harvest! Every day, as I wander through my fields, taking mental notes, noticing the garlic, fruit buds, dandelion blossoms, honey bees and other insects, the signs are clear. Soon I will be orchestrating a beautiful symphony of local, organic, and nutrient-rich food.
I can hardly contain my excitement! Every year I get a little winter’s rest and then the first crocuses show up and I am chomping at the bit to get out there and get going. As a matter of fact, I already planted my two green houses to spinach and radishes. I am planning on another early and warmer spring.
Do you know what my favorite crop is to grow? The one I am harvesting! If my plantings make it to harvest (most do), that is always my favorite crop at the moment. Picking it at the height of nutrition and flavor, packing it, and getting to you—that is exciting! And the nice thing about growing vegetables and fruit is there is almost always something to harvest.
I was just out in my fields, checking in on some overwintering curly parsley and chives, and you know what I found? Beets! Those beets were too small to harvest last fall, so we left them in the ground and now they are ready. The tops aren’t in the best shape, but the beets are solid and tasty. I wish I had planted more! Which is another nice thing about farming—I get to try it again next year! So, I will plant beets a little earlier (mid-August) and I will plant more of them, then I will have more beets to sell in the spring.
Now I might be the only farmer writing this newsletter, but a whole lot of you are chomping at the bit to grow some vegetables, too. Which is why Klesick Farms is now carrying vegetable seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. This is where I buy most of my seeds. I recognize that if we are going to have healthy food for generations to come, we are going to need genetic diversity in our seeds.
There are two ways to support organic seed production:
1. You can buy vegetables from growers who use organically grown seeds (if you are reading this letter you can check
2. Or you can plant them yourself and still buy some of your vegetables from me.
If you are a gardener and would like to support organic seed production, you can buy them through our website or you can go to: highmowingorganicseeds.com/klesick and order them directly. Either way, shipping is free.
Also, we have arranged with Michael, at Rents Due Ranch, to have organically grown tomato, peppers, basil, and strawberry plants available this spring, so stay tuned for updates in early March for their availability.
Bring on spring!
A recent study by Harvard Business School and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business determined that shoppers who brought their own reusable bags to the grocery store tended to buy more “organic” or “green” type products, but then tended to fill those bags with items from the middle section of the grocery store (i.e., high fat, high sugar and packaged). They were able to track these trends because the shoppers with reusable bags received $0.03 bag credit on their receipts. Ironically enough, the environmental good accomplished by using a reusable bag was offset by the items they were purchasing. And to compound the issue, the health benefits were more perceived than experienced because of what they were purchasing.
Another study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School recently followed shoppers through the grocery store. The study was designed to discover what shoppers were buying and how they flowed through the store. When the researchers were digesting the data, they discovered an interesting trend: customers who placed kale in their carts immediately followed that selection with ice cream.
I believe I understand what was going on in these studies: the shoppers “felt” better about their purchases because they were using a reusable bag and putting better “packaged” food in them. Granted, those “organic” or “green” packaged products are better than their nonorganic counterparts, but they are still not ideal for healthy living. This study is more intriguing because these consumers were purchasing fruits and vegetables and then treats. In both cases, the real desire to eat better, live better or do right by the environment was a driving factor, and since a good choice was made, a little latitude was granted to make a less healthy choice.
Many of us go through similar choices every morning. We wake up and stand on the all-knowing “barometer of life”—the bathroom scale—and at that moment we decide, “Uh oh, better eat better today L ” or “Yay! I am down a couple pounds, I have room for another latte, donut, ice cream bar, etc. J”
I think it is human nature to offset a good choice with a less than good choice. And while many of you, like me, had the luxury to eat like that in our younger years, I would contend that that window of luxury has passed. Today I need to make a more determined effort to stay healthy. The nice thing is that eating better leads to feeling better. Now all that needs to happen is to say “yes” to more fruits and vegetables and position myself to be successful. This is what you have done because you have a box of good food delivered to your home!
Every Thanksgiving holiday season we offer a special Holiday Box ($40) full of traditional organic Thanksgiving meal items for your celebration. Not only can you schedule a Holiday Box to be delivered the week of Thanksgiving, but it is available for the entire month of November (available Nov. 1-Dec. 5). You can have this box delivered along with your regular order or in place of your regular order (please specify your preference when placing your order). The box menu is as follows:
Remembering Neighbors in Need.
If your celebration includes helping the less fortunate who live in our community, we would like to partner with you by giving you the opportunity to purchase a discounted Holiday Donation Box for only $32, to be given to local food banks the week of Thanksgiving. Last year 122 Holiday Donation Boxes were distributed and this year we’d love to have a greater impact. The volunteers at the food banks have expressed again and again how wonderful and satisfying it is to be able to supply people with fresh produce. You can order a Holiday Donation Box online or by contacting our office.
Special Thank You Offer!
For every Holiday Donation Box you purchase, Klesick Farms will send you a copy of Matty Ride’s Christmas CD
A February like this is…just grand! Mowing my lawn in February – who would in their wildest dreams (or nightmares) have expected that?! Sure, it is only February, and the other coast is buried in snow, but not us! We might as well enjoy it while it lasts. As a farmer, I always have my eye on what I think the weather is doing and might do.
Okay, I am not quite doing cartwheels (Maleah is though), because it is February and we usually don’t start working the dirt until mid to late March. More often than not I hold off starting early, because the ground isn’t dry enough to really start. Also, more often than not I have to redo work when I’ve gone and jumped the gun. Now I know Diesel is amazingly cheap right now, but starting early in the fields can really harm the land and cause problems later.
That was a roundabout way to say that I am tempted to fire up the tractor and work the ground…but probably won’t.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “[Good] Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
Amen, President Lincoln! The art of knowing when to wait and when to hustle is a fine line. When I was younger, I would have been considered an early adopter, an opportunist always hustling. As I have become more “seasoned” through the years, I have learned when to wait and when to hustle. Right now, waiting to start the tractors is the prudent choice. As a caveat, if the weather is still this nice in early March, then I will need to get after it and start hustling.
But right now? I will take my time “warming up” to the weather and enjoy it (maybe even go canoeing!).
Last week I wrote about the journey that brought us to using recyclable cardboard boxes in our delivery business. This week I want to share how we came to the place of using plastic bag liners for these boxes. We currently line our boxes with a FDA approved biodegradable plastic bag. Each bag has perforated holes to help with ventilation and transpiration. Ironically enough, we are using plastic to save on plastic.
Before we started doing home delivery as our primary source of distribution, I worked in retail produce and had my own produce store as well. During that time I watched many customers load up on healthy organic produce and leave with a plastic bag of Fuji apples, navel oranges, lemons, onions, potatoes, garlic, lettuce, radishes, and a paper bag for mushrooms. This was just how it was done in the 90s and before. It was just more convenient, since every item had to be weighed separately. So when we switched to home delivery from retail produce, we did what we had always done, we used lots of plastic bags to deliver the produce.
As we matured as a company and moved from paper bags to recyclable cardboard boxes, we were able to cut out 90% of our plastic bag use by using one plastic liner inside the box and packing everything inside it. We still used the small plastic bags to pack the “extras,” like bananas, lettuce or apples, which customers ordered in addition to their “box of good,” but we were still using too many plastic bags in our service.
About five years ago we noticed a trend: customers were not only buying a standard box of good, they were also ordering many additional produce and grocery items as well. Some customers had also started ordering “a la carte” and not even getting a regular box. That was different. We were suddenly using more plastic bags again. Customers were shopping with us like a grocery store, and we found ourselves packing produce orders like a grocery store – using separate plastic bags for each item.
We were happy to fulfill these “a la carte” orders, to make healthy eating as easy as possible for our customers, but we did not want to be using that much plastic. We decided to start packing these “a la carte” orders like our regular boxes, which again drastically cut our plastic use. We now call these orders “custom boxes” and are packing 170 custom boxes a week, easily eliminating over 1,200 bags a week, which makes 60,000 less plastic bags a year! Add in our regular boxes and we are using 10,000 less plastic bags each week, which makes 520,000 less plastic bags a year!
Imagine, just by purchasing your organically grown fruits and vegetables through us, you are helping eliminate the use of over half a million plastic bags a year – plastic bags that are not being manufactured and thus not going to our landfills. WOW!
We are focused on bringing your family the freshest fruits and vegetables in the safest and most sanitary way possible, and doing it with less plastic is a bonus.