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This is the foodie holiday of food holidays. So much energy is going to be invested with planning, shopping, house cleaning, meal prep and cooking. A few of you will even have 2 or 3 engagements and you might have to eat turkey TWICE! But before I delve into my plan to eat healthy this Thanksgiving, I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to our box of good community. This Thanksgiving holiday we have donated over 170 Holiday Boxes to local food banks totaling almost $8000.00 in high quality organically grown fruits and vegetables.  

These donations are powerful and convey hope and help the food bank community extend care into many vulnerable populations. Year to date as a box of good community we have delivered, through our Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, over 800 boxes to 12 different food banks. 800 boxes of good donated by our customers is incredible. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  

Tristan’s plan to eat a successful Thanksgiving Meal 

This week is one of those food “traps” that will be foisted upon Americans. Yep, Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful will be greeted with a barrage of pies, ice cream, jello, lots of gravy and, and, and. Just the sheer amount of food will be immense and the selection on most tables will be enough to feed a family for a week.  Most of us are not going to be in control of how much food gets set on the table, but we can control how much food gets put on our plates. 

To be a successful eater at the Thanksgiving table, I would encourage a few Non-Negotiables.  

Choose to eat better so you will feel better and not bloated or stuffed. It is a choice. 

Limit snacking and choose the fruit and veggie snacks. 

Plan to eat at the main meal, whether that is lunch or dinner for your family, but be reasonable with your portions.  

Just one plate, not one plate at a time, not heaping (wink, wink). Just one plate, it will be enough food.  

Remember, dessert will be coming, so pick none or just one. I know this is a hard one, because there will be lots of selection and a sampling will be tough to turn down. 

These simple non-negotiables or guidelines will help anyone enjoy family, friends and the Thanksgiving meal with energy and enthusiasm. Imagine feeling full and thankful this Thanksgiving. That’s my goal! 



Farmer/Health Advocate 

Vegan Apple Crisp 

Author Notes: A straightforward, fuss-free, no-nonsense apple crisp. Enjoy it for dessert, or hell, enjoy it for breakfast. Coconut oil helps to create an irresistibly sweet and buttery topping — without so much as a hint of butter! —Gena Hamshaw 

Serves: 6 to 8 


For the apple filling: 

7cups (about 8 to 10 medium sized) sweet-tart apples (such as Gala or Jonagold), peeled, cored, and chopped (1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces) or thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)

tablespoon lemon juice

¾ cup organic sugar or organic light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon clove

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch

½ cup water

For the crumble topping: 

cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup quick oats

cup organic brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

¼ teaspoon salt

teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup melted coconut oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. 
  1. Place the apples in a large mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Place these ingredients into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. 
  1. Whisk together the arrowroot and water, then pour the mixture over the apples. Toss them lightly with your hands to get everything coated with the arrowroot. 
  1. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a food processor, and pulse a few times to incorporate everything. Add the coconut oil and pulse the ingredients quickly in the processor until they’re forming large crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve. 


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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/19/18)

Apples are one of those quintessential healthy eating choices! You can dice them up and throw them into your hot cereal with some cinnamon for a fresh take on breakfast, toss them in smoothies, slice them atop green salads to sweeten them up and add texture, dip them in nut butter or yogurt for a snack, roast with savory fall veggies, bake with a topping of your favorite granola…so many ways to enjoy them! And perhaps the best part? Antioxidants and phytochemicals in apples have been linked to help prevent a number of chronic diseases, including: Alzheimer’s, lung cancer, heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and more. Store unwashed apples in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Be sure to store separately. See for more nutrition information on Apples!

Green Beans:
Greens beans make a great side for dinner, especially if you sauté them in little olive oil and garlic. To cook more evenly blanch first by adding to a pot of boiling for 2 minutes. Then drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process. Sauté garlic in olive oil and add green beans, sautéing until lightly seared. Add salt and pepper to taste. Green beans can also be easily baked in the oven like any other vegetable. Simply spread out evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Take out after about ten minutes and shake to turn. Sprinkle with some parmesan and serve.


You’ve no doubt seen frisée before, perhaps without realizing it, tucked away inside a mesclun baby greens mix. Also called curly endive, the curly, pale green leaves are frizzy in appearance. Frisée is a variety of chicory, as you’ll be clued in to with the first solo bite: it’s one of those bitters we were talking about in last week’s newsletter. Store: in the fridge for up to five days (rinse first), in plastic or other non-breathable material, so it doesn’t wilt. Use: most often served fresh in salads, try it wilted or sautéed to mellow its bitterness. Frisée pairs well with flavor-packed ingredients and fats: Dress leaves with a warm vinaigrette of roast-chicken pan drippings and sherry or red wine vinegar, toss in browned bits of thick-cut pancetta, ham, or steak bits, or top with a poached or fried egg.


Featured Recipe: Farmer’s Market Salad

This dish combines all of those wonderful summer veggies with a creamy, yet light, dressing that is full of flavor. This version has cooked chicken, but this salad can certainly be served on its own. Likewise, feel free to swap in your favorite vegan dressing if dairy isn’t in your diet. Serves 3-4.


2 medium (about 1 lb.) summer squashes (zucchini, yellow crookneck), sliced thin

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups tomatoes cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups frisée, chopped

½ cup green onions, sliced

1 ear fresh corn, off the cob or 1 cup

6” length of cucumber, sliced

2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced, this would be 3/4 uncooked boneless chicken breast


1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup soy-free mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper


If you are starting with uncooked boneless chicken breast, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast for 15-20 minutes until cooked though. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees.

Let cool and either slice into thin strips or shred with a fork.

In a large bowl combine the summer squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, frisée, green onions, corn, cucumber, and shredded chicken.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Combine well. Serve at once.


Recipe adapted from

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/16/17)


Chives are an herb, related to onions and garlic, with long green stems and a mild, not-too-pungent flavor. Chives are typically chopped to be used as a garnish. They can be featured in all sorts of recipes, from baked potatoes to soups, salads, sauces and omelets. They’re frequently mixed with cream cheese to make a savory spread. Chive butter, a compound butter made by blending freshly chopped chives into butter, is frequently served with grilled steaks or roasted poultry.


Celery is a popular finger food as well as a flavorful addition to soup or salad. It has a salty taste, and, depending on the variety, may taste very salty. The natural organic sodium in celery is very safe for consumption. In fact, it is essential for the body. Even individuals who are salt-sensitive can safely take the sodium in celery. Because of it’s boat-like shape, celery works great with a filling as a fun and healthy snack. You can get creative when it comes to what to pair it with. Peanut butter is a common ingredient, but you can stuff your celery with things like cream cheese with chopped nuts and raisins, garlicky chicken spread, or a nut butter with seeds and honey. When making a celery themed salad, you can either go sweet (with thinly sliced apples, pecans, raisins, yogurt or sour cream, honey and a pinch of cinnamon) or savory (adding it to your everyday green salad or making a chicken salad with it).

Featured Recipe: Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash


1 medium acorn squash

2 teaspoons butter

1 medium apple, cored and finely diced

1⁄4 cup dried cranberries

3 -4 tablespoons orange juice

1⁄4 teaspoon apple pie spice

2 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon maple syrup


1. Cut the squash in half; discard seeds.

2. Place the squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish; add 1/2 inch of water.

3. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender; drain.

4. While the squash is cooking, melt the butter in a non-stick skillet and add the diced apple.

5. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 to 3 minutes, add the orange juice, apple pie spice, cranberries and chopped pecans.

6. Continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the orange juice has evaporated, stir in orange zest.

7. Divide the mixture between the squash halves, drizzle with maple syrup and place under broiler for a few minutes to brown lightly.

Hint: For easier cutting of the squash, place in microwave and microwave on high for 1 minute or until slightly warm.

Recipe adapted from

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Tree Swallows, Bats, and Barn Owls

I can be a little batty at times, but now that label will be justified! There are a few ways to combat pests on a farm, but keeping pests under control in an organic system can be challenging. I know that there are “sprays” that kill pests, even organically approved sprays, but I just don’t like to use that technology. I do have a sprayer, but I use it primarily for spraying nutrients, things like Kelp or Potassium, to help keep the plants at their optimum health.

However, we do have a few persistent pests, particularly in the orchard and especially, the dreaded Apple Maggot Fly that can render a whole crop unmarketable! The solutions to keeping that critter in check are mostly sprays. (Yuck!) I am not willing to go down that path. So, I have been spending a fair amount of time thinking about how to naturally (using nature) control those critters.

Strategy #1: I have decided upon a few nesting boxes for Tree or Violet Green Swallows, a bat house and a nesting box for Barn Owls. Swallows are insect eating machines and will be for daytime bug control. The Bats will be for nighttime bug control and the Barn Owls will help with the rodents that also call our organic farm home.

Strategy #2: I am going to use black plastic on the orchard floor to prevent the Apple Fly larva from emerging from their winter rest and becoming adult flies.

Strategy #3: I will use some sticky traps as well. Yes, all of this is a lot more work than using a spray, but, like I said earlier, “I don’t like to spray.” Check back in September to see if I was successful. 🙂

Increasing biological diversity is the best strategy. Using nature to keep nature in balance. Whoa! That’s revolutionary!

Tristan Klesick, Farmer, Health Advocate

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Everything is Early!

While our family was picking Gravenstein apples last week, I couldn’t help but notice that the Honeycrisp trees were full of red fruit. The telltale sign of ripeness is when the underlying color turns from green to yellow. On a red apple that can be a little harder to discern from a distance, but up close it is pretty obvious. Another sign that the fruit is getting ready is with how easy it comes off the tree. Most of the time, when an apple is not ripe, picking it resembles a tug-o-war match. At that moment, wise farmers concede defeat and wait a few more days J. The worst way to determine when an apple is ready to pick is to wait till they are all on the ground! With that said, there are always a few overachievers that ripen early and fall, which is a sure sign to get picking!ravenstein and Honeycrisp apples are three weeks early, potatoes are early, winter squash is really early, garlic and raspberries are not so much early, and corn loves this weather. But most things are early, especially for the later maturing crops. The good thing is that they are early and not dead! The dry spring and early summer has taken its toll on crops, but with good management we were able to use the heat to our advantage.

Having some late August rain has certainly helped take the edge off the fall harvest. The squashes—Delicata, Acorn, the three varieties of pie pumpkins, Kabocha (yes, Eileen, I planted those for you!) and Sweet Dumplings—have loved this weather. If truth be told, they are ready to be picked, but it just messes with my mind to think about havesting winter squash in August. So I will continue to walk past them, smile, and pretend they have a few weeks to go!

If the weather pattern continues trending with wetter winters and drier summers, us farmers will begin to shift the timing of our plantings and eventually even the crops we grow, to better fit the “new” growing season. Things like June strawberries will be replaced with May strawberries – I can hardly even say, “May strawberries.” On our farm we will definitely plant spinach, beets, chard, and peas earlier to take advantage of the rain and warmer springs. I will probably plant tomatoes and peppers outside the greenhouses.

There is an upside to drier summers: the heat produces sweeter tasting fruit and little water stress “kicks” the sugar off the charts. It just requires us farmers who are normally “water rich” to adjust to less water and watch for signs of stress. I am confident we can make the switch!

The long and short of it is that local farmers are going to have a few challenges with when and what to plant for the next few years, but dealing with weather isn’t new and growing food isn’t either.


Farmer Tristan

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Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Apples

1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only
4 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into tiny-inch cubes (optional)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.
Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.
In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts – gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts. This isn’t a dish you want sitting around, the flavors change dramatically after ten minutes or so, and I think that is part of the reason brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Even I don’t like them after they’ve been sitting around.
Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side.