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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/26/18)

Pluots

STORE: ripe pluots in the refrigerator for up to three days.

PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum x apricot).

Cauliflower

Containing unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, cauliflower is also very easy to add your diet. It’s tasty, easy to prepare and can replace high-carb foods in recipes. Cauliflower can be chopped up and added to salad or soup, roasted in the oven, tossed in a stir fry, boiled and pureed as a stand-in for mashed potatoes or to make a creamy soup, baked into a pizza crust as a flourless alternative, or simply eaten raw. You don’t even have to cut it up. Try baking it whole by simply cutting off the leaves and stem so it can sit upright, baste in olive oil, salt and spices of your choice, and bake on a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet at 450° for about 45-60 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily. Because of its mild flavor, cauliflower goes well in spicy dishes or curries as it soaks up all the other flavors

 

Eggplant

Larger globe eggplants should be peeled and salted before cooking. To peel, use a small knife or peeler and cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some of the peel still intact to help hold its shape when cooking. Then cut into slices or cubes. The most important step is to “sweat” the eggplant. This helps in getting the best flavor and consistency (helps it not be bitter). Do this by tossing in a generous amount of salt and leaving in a colander for about an hour, then squeeze dry. Rinse well under cold water and completely dry by squeezing them between a towel. To cook you can grill, bake or sauté.

 

Featured Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts

The eggplant soaks up lots of flavor from the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness. Toss it all together with chewy quinoa and you’ve got a satisfying whole-grain salad to enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, or about 3 cups cooked

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chile pepper, optional

1 teaspoon minced hot green chile such as serrano, optional

3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or more as needed

3/4 teaspoon dried mint, preferably spearmint, optional

For the salad:

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (less than 1/4 inch)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.

To prepare the quinoa, add the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and dried chile to a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the grain is tender with a slight chew, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and chile, drain if needed, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the minced chile, Aleppo pepper, and dried mint and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the eggplant and the onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and combine well, using your hands. If you don’t mind the extra dish, it’s a bit easier to toss everything in a large bowl.

Roast the mixture until the eggplant pieces have softened and are browned in spots, and the onion slices have caramelized, turning them once with a spatula in between, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the fresh mint and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Toss well with a spatula — this will soften the mint leaves and take the sting out of the vinegar.

To finish, add the warm eggplant mixture to the quinoa. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar and toss to combine. Season with salt and vinegar to taste. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mint and the pine nuts and serve.

 

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

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

Apples:
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 healthline.com 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.

Frisée

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.

Ingredients:

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

DRESSING:

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

Instructions:

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 anothertablespoon.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/12/18)

Bartlett Pears

These are easy to tell when ripe because they brighten in color (turn from green to yellow in tone) and have a wonderful fragrance. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

Beets

If you don’t have time to roast or boil beets you can shorten the cook time dramatically by slicing off thin rounds and either sautéing, steaming, or boiling them, just peel them first with a vegetable peeler.

In the cooking world, beets are often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin” for their incredible range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Although beets can be cooked in a variety of ways (including as a secret ingredient for deep dark chocolate cake-Google it!), roasting beets is one of the easiest and most delicious. Roasting beets intensifies their flavor, brings out their earthy sweetness, and makes their skin tender and easy to peel off. Roasted beets are particularly delicious in beet salads or just as a complementing side dish.

Kale

We love Apple Kale Salad: (Kale, Apple, Pear, Red Bell Pepper, Green onion, Carrot….)

Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you! One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. Kale can be a little tricky because it tends to be a bit tough and sometimes bitter. Here are a few tips that have helped me. First make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!); Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and makes it so it’s evenly covered.

For the dressing, I like to use a combination of vinegar and olive oil. Once you have prepped your kale and worked in the dressing, add your toppings. Try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Broccoli:

Pass the broccoli! Broccoli contains plant compounds which protect against cancer. Broccoli is great in salad, stir-fry, soup, roasted, steamed, or raw with your favorite veggie dip. Add Broccoli to your next box of good food delivery here.

Featured Recipe: Roasted Broccoli

The high heat with this method causes the broccoli to caramelize making this one of the tastiest ways to prepare and eat broccoli. Leave off the pecorino for a vegan option (try topping with a drizzle of tahini instead). Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

1 and ½ pounds broccoli crowns (roughly 2 heads)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, pressed

large pinch of dried red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons raw, sliced almonds (with or without skin)

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated aged pecorino cheese (leave out for vegan option)

zest of half a lemon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer less crispy florets (or if your oven runs hot), you can reduce the oven temperature by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust cooking time as necessary.

Line a sheet pan with parchment. Trim any dry, tough ends of the broccoli crowns, leaving roughly 2-inches of stalk attached. Slice the broccoli into ½-inch-thick steaks, starting in the center of each broccoli crown and working out to the edges, reserving any small or medium florets that fall off for roasting. Slice any large remaining florets in half lengthwise.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, pressed garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli steaks and toss gently until evenly coated. Arrange the broccoli, cut-side down, on the lined sheet pan, setting them apart slightly. Sprinkle with salt.

Roast the broccoli for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the broccoli, and sprinkle the almond slices evenly across the sheet pan. Roast for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is evenly caramelized and fork tender, and the almond slices are toasted and golden.

Transfer the broccoli to a platter, toss gently with the lemon juice and top with the grated pecorino cheese. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. Serve hot or at room temperature (it also tastes great cold). Leftover broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

 

Recipe adapted from abeautifulplate.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/5/18)

Melons, Cantaloupe      

Cantaloupe provide a range of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and electrolytes which have been shown to have multiple health benefits. Two types of powerful antioxidants in cantaloupe (carotenoids and cucurbitacins) have been linked with the prevention of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. They help to stop free radical damage within the body and slow the aging process. —dr.axe.dom

Storage and Eating: They may look hardy, but melons can perish quickly if not kept in the refrigerator. Keep ripe melons away from other fruit so that the ethylene gas that they produce does not speed up the fruit’s ripening. Uncut ripe melons should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out ripe fruit and then freeze to add to smoothies.

Green Cabbage

Cabbage has the highest amount of some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables – phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes. Research has shown these compounds to protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. They also help lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad cholesterol” levels in blood, which can build up in arteries and cause heart disease. —foodfacts.mercola.com

Eat it: Cabbage is a handy thing to have around. There are endless opportunities to use it up. You can add it to “just about anything” veggie-wise. Make cabbage “shavings” by first cutting the cabbage in half, then simply shaving off pieces from along the edges. Also, if you’re like me and rarely use a whole cabbage in one sitting, keep the cut edges from drying out by rinsing and storing in a sealed plastic bag.

Featured Recipe: Cabbage Salad

This delicious, filling comes from the one by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. This combination of greens, seeds and currants will fill you up quickly and keep you full.

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups green cabbage, grated (approx. ½ cabbage)

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dried currants or cranberries

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp unhulled sesame seeds

For dressing:

1/3 cup almond or hemp milk

1 apple, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Mix all salad ingredients together.

In a high-powered blender, blend almond/hemp milk, apple, cashews and vinegar and toss with salad.

Garnish with currants and lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman

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A Family Farm

Every farm at one time was a family farm. But along the way, farming became more business-like and less farm-like. Don’t get me wrong, farming has a bottom line and to stay in business a farm has to make a profit. What changed though? When did our food become so impersonal? It’s just lettuce, or tomatoes, or?

Just lettuce, for example, takes a year in the making. The lettuce seed farmer has to grow the lettuce plant to produce seeds, clean the seeds, and then package the seeds. Then a lettuce farmer has to buy the seeds, fertilize the fields, and plant the lettuce seeds. Then about 6-10 weeks later that farmer gets to harvest the lettuce and sell it to a thankful customer. But because our farming regions are further and further from urban centers, we are losing touch with the farming industry that is essential for life.

As a farmer I am in awe that food is so readily available and that we have so much local food available. The Puget Sound/Salish Sea area of Western WA has a robust local farm economy. We are blessed with so many smaller farms, surrounded by larger farms – dairies and berries. The whole system is interwoven and supported by tractor dealers, farm suppliers, veterinarians, food processors, etc.

To feed people you need farmers and farmers need land. Thankfully, much of Western Washington farmland is in flood plains—AKA not good places to build houses. These rich alluvial soils that are some of the most productive in the world are right here in our own backyard! This same farmland is a multi-benefit landscape providing many other benefits to our local communities. In addition to local food and food security, local farms store flood water, filter water from the hillsides and cities before it gets to the rivers and estuaries, provide open space and lots of habitat for a host of non-human critters too.

But what makes all these direct and indirect benefits of local farmland possible? A willing consumer and a willing farmer that have developed a mutually beneficial and meaningful relationship. For us, local customers are the reason we are farming. Because of you we grow food—organic, non-polluted food—that nourishes you, your family and indirectly benefits the entire local ecosystem. You might say that having local farmland farmed by local families is a win for you, the farmer and the local eco system.

 

Growing food for you,

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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“Don’t Plow More Than You Can Disc in a Day”

Don’t you enjoy fun facts or sayings? “Don’t plow more than you can disc in a day” is akin to “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”. These two sayings are getting at a similar thought but were born out in real world examples. Most of us can relate to having taken on too much and the feeling of being unable to complete the task well.

I have a friend who can hardly ever say “No” to anything. I might be more like that friend than I care to admit. I have to work hard to say “No”. There are just so many good things to do. But I did realize the other day that I am able to say, “NO”. I say it all the time, but instead, I just keep saying, “YES, NO PROBLEM!” I am guilty of biting off a little bit more than I can chew. Can any of you relate????

The other phrase is from my days farming with Belgian Draft horses. When you plow and turn over the soil, the soil that is lifted from the bottom to the top is “soft” or “mellow”. So much so that if you immediately work it with a disc, it will turn into a manageable seedbed. The converse is true as well and I have experienced it many a time. If you plow the soil and don’t get back to discing it for a day or two, your work load increases immensely. You often can’t get that nice seedbed! As soon as the inverted soil “sets”, it tends to bind together. The best thing is only plow what you can disc in a day. It was wise 200 years ago. It is wise now.

This time of year especially feels full! I am thankful for increasing day length and a really nice break in the weather. John (Mike’s son) and I plus a few Klesick kiddos have been tackling the Spring farming season. We have been planning and preparing for this season. And like most Springs, it rarely goes as planned. Yet without some planning, the season would be lost before it started.

We have been planting lettuce every week into transplant trays. About 1000 plants every week get seeded. We purposely started a few weeks later this year anticipating a wetter spring, but I don’t know any farmers who anticipated an end of April start??? As you can imagine those greenhouse plants kept a growing. Last week, the farm crew planted the 3/7 and 3/15 and 3/22 plants all at the same time in the field. So much for planning. But if we hadn’t planned to “start”, we wouldn’t have had any lettuce or peas ready to go and would be unable to take advantage of the weather.

Because we had a plan, it allowed us to take a few minutes and think through some last minute changes. We decided to plant the Sugar Snap Peas in a different location and to plant the green beans earlier than normal. FYI, peas we plant once and beans we plant several times during the summer. We also cut back on the peas this year because the later Spring will push pea harvest into the raspberry and blackberry harvest. Crazy, but when you are working in a living system, flexibility and nimbleness are assets to be coveted.

I think we are well on our way to a good start to the local season. Let the planting continue and the weeding be nonexistent (just hoping)!

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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How Can I and Why Can’t I?

How am I ever going to lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds? Losing weight is a fairly simple mathematical equation—calories burned minus calories consumed. Calories are a measure of energy. The more energy you use the more calories you need to fuel your body and conversely, the less energy you use the less fuel your body needs to operate. So, in a sense, one could choose Bariatric surgery, wire their jaw shut, or eat only grapefruit and lose weight.

But is losing weight the real goal? Granted if we lose weight we will probably have better health numbers and being overweight or obese is a leading indicator for Prediabetes, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease…. So, in real sense losing weight is important. I would contend that when we say we would like to lose weight or need to lose weight, we are really saying, we need to be healthier. And for the most part if we are skinnier, we would be healthier.

Perhaps we could amend the question by saying, “We need to lose 10lbs, so we will be healthier.” That is a good reason to lose weight. And if you read last week’s newsletter, “To Serve or Be Served” you will remember that Americans and the world are not on a healthy trendline. Which means that the healthier folks are going to have to serve a lot more folks who are unhealthy.

But why is it so hard to lose weight so we can be healthy? I have been wrestling with that question for years. I know that I “bought” into eating the organic version of the Standard American Diet AKA SAD, but it was only minorly better than the nonorganic version of the Standard American Diet. It wasn’t until last October that I finally understood the forces that were at work to prevent me from being healthier. I picked up a copy of the book Brightline Eating by Susan Pierce Thompson. She explained why so many of us struggle with weight loss and how you can win with food.

Is Brightline perfect for everyone? Mostly. I do believe that the information, tools and strategies are helpful and have helped me lose 25 pounds and keep them off through the Holiday Gauntlet of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter and numerous birthday celebrations.

Having the science behind why it can be so hard to lose weight and get healthy was invaluable and then having a strategy to eat the right amount of food and the right foods was essential. Without a food plan/strategy it is almost impossible to compete with Grocery Manufacturers of America and their advertising campaigns. The GMA is not concerned about your health, they are concerned about the health of their bottom line.

But we don’t have to play their game, we get to choose. I have a plan for my food and to be as healthy as possible as for as long as possible. My plan looks like vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and high-quality proteins—both plant and meat—plus drinking water and getting exercise. This is my strategy to get and remain healthy, and those extra 25lbs I lost were a nice perk!

 

Thank you,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

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Spring Is Here

Does anyone else have a little extra spring in their step? I know I do. The sunshine draws you outside and the increasing day length, WOW, what a gift that is! Every year many of the PNW folks wander around in a mental fog from November to February – and farmers are no different.

It always amazes me that I will be busy all winter and then as soon as the days start to lengthen and the weather starts to warm, “BAM!” It is as if I was Rip Vanwinkle. I get a deep breath, start to notice how the ground is drying out, the spring birds are making an appearance, the ladybugs and other insects that call this place home are flittering about. The whole farm awakens from its winter rest! Now it is time to farm, for the local season to begin.

On our local farm we are still a few weeks away from actively farming the soil. It is ironic, that I consider driving my tractor and getting the seed beds ready for planting as active farming?!?!?!

Haven’t I been farming all winter? I have planned our planting rotations and ordered seeds and moved and repaired the greenhouse (thank you wind and snow). I have purchased different equipment, sold other equipment and done maintenance on said equipment. Our family is seeding 800 lettuce transplants every week. We also have been pruning and have just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost.

Sounds like we have been actively farming all winter, but…. There is something about “turning” the soil for a vegetable farmer that signals it is time to farm. Working with nature, discerning when it is dry enough to help the soil get ready to grow food, to feed (fertilize) the soil so the soil will feed the plants, so the plants can grow.

My job as a farmer is to help the soil, enhance the soil and work with the soil. The soil’s job and its host of helpers (bacteria, fungi, earthworms, etc.) is to feed the plants. That is why I just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost to help feed the soil, so the soil can grow the plants as healthy as possible, so the farmer can harvest the healthiest plants and deliver them to you, so you can eat the healthiest plants.

This is why I farm -the eater, the farmer and the soil working together in a mutually beneficial and respectful partnership.

 

Cheers to your health,

 

Tristan

 

 

 

 

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The Earth Does Matter

Suelo in Spanish, Sol in French, Suolo in Italian, Aferi in Ethiopia, Boden in German, Soil in English. Every country has it and everyone needs to care about it. The top 6 inches of the earth’s crust is where we get most of our nutrients to live. It is also the home to millions of microscopic bacteria and fungi and also the home to a host of insects, insect eaters, eaters of insect eaters, plant eaters and eaters of plant eaters. Everything starts with the soil, suelo, sol, suolo, aferi or boden. We have to protect it, nurture it, and feed it. Basically, we have to respect it.

For the last 20 years, Klesick Farms has done just that. We have never used synthetic chemicals on our fields and only supported farms that had the same passion. My friend Dave Hedlin tells a story that his mom would always share when anyone used the word “dirt” when referring to the soil.

“My mom worked with a soil scientist at Oregon State University in the 1940’s, and whenever one of his students would refer to the soil as dirt, he would correct them and say, ‘Dirt is what you sweep off the kitchen floor; soil is what you grow food in.’” Dave is full of wisdom like that and obviously, his mom was too. It comes down to respect. If we respect the soil, we are in a very real sense saying that we understand how interconnected life is—not only for us today, but for those who came before us and those still to come.

Organic farming is at its core a statement of RESPECT. Organic farming stands against a tide of easy, cheap and government subsidized food production that disrespects the soil and our health. Sure, it is easier to kill every good and bad pest, bacteria and fungi, and treat the soil like a sterile medium, but that is so short sighted. Nature always makes a comeback, but with more ferocity and determination. And our response to this natural correction by nature? Stronger chemicals and more toxic chemistry! For the most part since WWII, we have turned our attention to killing Nature to grow food. Why?!

That is a good question for another newsletter, but essentially, we don’t believe that health starts with the SOIL! Without soil, every culture has diminished or died out. We have this gift, a life changing, life sustaining gift—the Soil. The Soil is foundational to health. Change your food, change your life. It works both ways. Live on processed foods and that will change your life. Live on Organic produce, legumes, grains, nuts, proteins (and in that order) and that will change your life.

The health of the soil and our health is inextricably interconnected. Separate the two and you have what America has today—a health crisis. I am passionate about your health and my soil’s health. What we eat does matter! Organic is better for you and for the soil. And thankfully, we still get to pick what food system we support. Thank you for choosing the organic food system.

 

Tristan Klesick

Health Advocate, Farmer, and Small Business Owner for the last 20 years

 

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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 2/18/18)

Italian (Lacinato) Kale:

Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you!

Try it: in the Tuscan soup (recipe below), or, in a salad. One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. To prevent kale from becoming bitter, make sure to make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!). Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and keeps it evenly covered. Use an olive oil & vinegar combination for the dressing.

Toppings: try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Broccoli:

Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese.

Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

Bosc Pears:

Bosc pears are firm when ripe but you can tell when they are ready to eat when the area around the stem yields to light pressure and are lightly fragrant—usually after 2-3 days on the counter top. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

 

Featured Recipe: Zuppa Toscana

Serves 6

Ingredients:

 

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 lb. Italian Sausage (or sub 15 oz. Cannelloni Beans for vegan option)

¼ teaspoon Red Pepper flakes (or to taste—we advise don’t skip these!)

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Onion, diced

4 cups Chicken Broth (or, sub Vegetable Broth for vegan version)

3 Russet Potatoes, thinly sliced

2 cups Italian Kale, finely chopped

1 cup Heavy Cream (feel free to sub Half and Half or Whole Milk OR sub Coconut Milk OR Coconut Cream for vegan version)

salt and pepper to taste (note, because potatoes are salt-stealers, you’ll need more than you think you will)

Instructions:

Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the sausage until no longer pink (if using cannelloni beans, skip this step and add in along with the potatoes). Add the red pepper flakes and onion and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring often until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn or it will add that flavor your soup.

Add in the chicken or vegetable broth and potatoes. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

At the end of cooking, add in the kale so that it just wilts and turns bright green—no need to overcook it.

Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream or cream substitute of your choice (whole milk, half and half, coconut milk or coconut cream), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

 

Adapted from recipe by alaskafromscratch.com