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Miss Moo, the Family Milk Cow

There was a time when the Klesick family had a milk cow, and not any cow, but a Jersey milk cow. Her name was Miss Moo. Jersey milk cows are smaller than Holsteins and their milk is slightly higher in butterfat, which makes it, dare I say, more flavorful. The milk wasn’t free though, for she had to be cleaned and brushed, and provided clean bedding and fresh hay, but in exchange she gave us rich nutritious milk twice a day, EVERY DAY! Hmm…thinking back to those days, I am not sure who the owner was, Miss Moo or me.

Oh Miss Moo—she was quite the character and loved to have her ears scratched. One of the kiddos referred to her as a real “lubber dubber.” Even though Miss Moo was a brown cow, she produced copious amounts of white milk. This totally shattered our young’uns’ hopes for chocolate milk, but they soon got over it, especially when we would make ice cream, yogurt, or cheese.

With non-homogenized milk, the cream really does rise to the top. This is often called a “cream plug.” The cream can be loosened and shaken back into the milk, but we would skim the cream plug off for a few days and then make butter from it. Every so often we would set out to make a little whipped cream, get a little over zealous, and, voila, we’d end up with butter instead :)! You can’t over shake the cream, unless you want some butter, that is.

A real family favorite was making “squeaky” cheese from our milk. We would heat up the whole milk, add a little lemon juice to help the milk curdle and form curds, drain off the whey, and salt the curds and enjoy. It is called squeaky cheese because, well, it sort of “squeaks” when you rub it between your fingers or bite it. I’ve included the recipe (below).

I often look back on those days with Miss Moo and fresh Jersey milk with fondness. Recently, Larry, from Twin Brook Creamery, asked if I would be willing to carry his milk. I paused and thought long and hard. I love that Twin Brook is pretty much a grass-based dairy, l love that the milk is ultra-fresh, I love that the milk is from Jerseys, I love that it is milk from one local herd and not a thousand herds, and I love that it is not homogenized. Although I am not a milkman, at the heart of Klesick Farms is good food, and the more local the better. So, after some serious thought, we added local milk delivery from a local dairy to our offerings.

Now, once again, I am making cheese and yogurt, but this time Larry gets to milk the cows. That is a fair trade in my book. Enjoy!

Farmer Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Squeaky Cheese

Ingredients:

2 quarts of milk

1/4 cup vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice

Butter muslin

Directions:

1. Heat the milk to 185 degrees F, then remove from heat.

2. Add the vinegar slowly while stirring, until curd forms. The milk will curdle almost immediately once the vinegar is added.

3. Once the milk has finished curdling, either skim the curds from the pot or strain them through a colander.

4. Tie the cords of the butter muslin together and hang the cheese where it can drain for several hours.

5. After draining you can either use it as is or go on to make queso blanco.

 

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes for the BBQ

Ingredients:

4 red potatoes, thinly sliced 1 large onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup butter, cubed Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat grill for medium heat.

2. Layer sliced potatoes on aluminum foil with the onion, garlic, basil, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Fold foil around the potatoes to make a packet.

3. Place potato packet on heated grill over indirect heat, and cook for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Turn over packet halfway through cooking.

-adapted from allrecipes.com

 

Know Your Produce: Potatoes

Add a little whole milk to our freshly dug potatoes and turn them into mashed potatoes for dinner this week and you will be in for a special treat.

This week we are digging extremely fresh potatoes from the farm. You will notice that the skins are not set on the potatoes and will easily rub off. Don’t be alarmed because this is normal for freshly dug spuds. The freshness also means that they won’t keep as long either.

I will often boil the spuds one day and make hash browns the next or a potato salad. My favorite way to eat them is cubed. For this, placed the cubed potatoes in an 9” x 12” baking pan with salt, pepper, parsley, and olive oil. Mix them up and bake at 425 degrees F. They rarely make it to the table in the Klesick household!

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Savoring Summer

I am not going to be one of those people that starts lamenting the end of summer at the beginning of August, but I won’t lie – I’m feeling the end ticking nearer and nearer. Okay, so maybe I am one of those people, but rather than hosting a pity party and shedding tears that there weren’t enough tomatoes, days with sand in our toes, and sun on our faces, I’m going to do my best to soak up each day.

It’s probably no surprise that one of my favorite ways to savor the season is to eat of its bounty. So from here until the end of September, you will find me eating pounds and pounds of tomatoes, serving up slices of melon with a whisper of vanilla salt (just tried it last night for the first time and I’m never going back), picking blackberries off the wild vines, eating fresh peaches and letting their sweet juice drip down my arms and face.

We’ve had a pretty incredible summer this year and perhaps that’s why I’m already feeling a bit of sadness to see the days slip away so quickly, but what I’ve learned with seasons – any season in life – is that if you spend your time willing it to not pass, it won’t listen to you. I’d rather spend these days tucking away flavors and memories to recall when another season is upon us.

This recipe mingles all of my favorite flavors of summer into one bowl. It’s where sweet and savory collide into a flavorful salad filled with vinegar-spiked bread and a showering of fresh herbs. We really believe in the adage “What grows together, goes together” here, when peaches and tomatoes become fast friends. And it’s not just with this recipe—the next time you make the classic Caprese salad, try slipping in a few peach or nectarine slices there as well.

I hope that we all find the time to savor all that this season blesses us with. And may there be an endless supply of tomatoes and peaches until squash hits the basket.

Ashley Rodriguez

NotWithoutSalt.com

Award-winning food blogger

Author of Date Night In

 

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Peach Panzanella

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1 pint / 280 g cherry tomatoes, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 cups / 85 g 1⁄2-inch bread cubes from a rustic loaf

2 garlic cloves, minced, divided

1 peach, diced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chopped assorted herbs (I used basil, dill, mint, and tarragon)

1 cup baby arugula

1⁄3 cup / 60 g goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place half the pint of cherry tomatoes on the prepared sheet and toss with a generous pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through the cooking process. Cut the remaining cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.

3. Place the cubes of bread on a second parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 minced garlic clove. Toast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and completely crisp, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted tomatoes, remaining minced garlic clove, diced peach, vinegar, oregano, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gently toss to combine and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Finish the panzanella by adding the crisped and cooled bread cubes to the bowl, along with the herbs, unroasted tomatoes, and arugula. Toss well and let sit for 10 minutes so that the juices start to soften the bread, still leaving a crunch. If you prefer the bread a bit softer, you can let it sit for longer.

6. Finish with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

 

Know Your Produce: Summer Stonefruit Care

Stonefruit’s (peaches, nectarines, pluots, etc.) biggest enemy while ripening is moisture, coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered counter top or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen, which lessens the chance of them rolling and bruising.

To test for ripeness, gently press around stem – when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Never squeeze the sides of the fruit, as even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is most likely overripe.

Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Once refrigerated, plan to use within a day or two.

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Local Milk and Honey

We are excited to now offer local milk products from Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden, Washington. You can now add whole, 2%, and 1% milk, half and half, and whipping cream to your regular delivery. Twin Brook milk comes in old fashioned glass bottles, is non-homogenized (the cream rises to the top), is pasteurized using the low temperature vat pasteurization method, and is kosher. They process milk in their freshly renovated bottling facility from their own purebred registered Jersey cows. Jerseys produce milk with a higher protein and butterfat content, which greatly enhances the flavor.

Although Twin Brook Creamery is not certified organic, they produce a high quality natural product that is free from synthetic hormones (such as RBST) that artificially stimulate growth or milk production. Because they strive not to feed any GMO feeds to their cows, their grass fields and pastures are free from commercial fertilizers or pesticides, and any concentrate supplements they have to buy for their animals’ health, so as to give them a balanced diet, are non-GMO whenever possible (e.g., they use barley instead of corn as an energy source). Twin Brook Creamery strives to be the best possible stewards of the land, providing wildlife habitat and using the best management practices that are available.

You can find Twin Brook Creamery products on our website under the “Dairy” category. When ordering dairy products, please keep the following in mind:

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Friday before your delivery day.

Friday and Saturday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Wednesday before your delivery day.

We are also happy to once again offer local raw honey. Our honey is the product of hard working Snohomish County bees and Mike and Christa Miller of Sunshine Honey Company. The honey comes in 12 oz. and 25.6 oz. glass jars. We also offer certified organic honey from Brazil. Honey can be found on our website under the “Grocery” category and under “Sweetners.”

 

Farmer Tristan

 

 

 

Recipe: Greek Marinated Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are marinated with fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil to create a simple and delicious side dish. Great roasted or broiled as well.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant – sliced in ½ inch rounds

1 large zucchini – sliced on the diagonal

1 large (or 2 small) pattypan squash – sliced in ½ inch rounds

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves – grated

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch red chili flakes

¼ cup fresh mint – minced

¼ cup fresh oregano – minced

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat grill on medium-high heat.

2. Place eggplant, zucchini and pattypan squash in a large bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, chili flakes, mint and mint oregano. Pour mixture over the sliced vegetables and toss well to coat.

4. Grill vegetables until soft and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes flipping once halfway through.

Notes: Dried herbs work fine if you don’t have fresh on hand. Simply use half of the amount listed for fresh since dried herbs are more potent.

From Liz DellaCroce | TheLemonBowl.com

 

Know Your Produce: Summer Squash

here are numerous varieties of summer squash, ranging from dark green to bright yellow, long to stubby, smooth to lumpy to ridged. Unlike winter squash, these varieties of summer squash have soft, thin skin that is perfectly edible, with varying degrees of light to dense flesh. Some varieties are: zucchini, round zucchini, pattypan, crookneck, zephyr, cousa, tatuma, gourmet globe, tinda, and luffa.

Summer squash is technically not any one vegetable, but comprises many different cultivars of a few different species of edible plant. It also is actually classified as a fruit – a “pepo” or type of berry with a hard outer rind.

Summer squash can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a mild flavor that can range from sweet to nutty, and though the difference in flavor between varieties is subtle, it’s distinct. Summer squash can be grilled, steamed, boiled, sautéed, fried, or used in stir-fry recipes. They mix well with onions and tomatoes in vegetable medleys. Summer squash can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Some types of summer squash can give off a lot of moisture, so depending upon your recipe, you may need to blot grated or cut squash to absorb some of the moisture. Use them within three to four days of purchase for their best taste and texture.

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It’s a good thing there are only 24 hours in a day

Hustle, hustle, hustle! When the weather turns and the sun comes out, it is all hands on deck. I have to keep reminding myself that it is only April and that I will be planting crops until August. I used to think that vegetable farming was a marathon race, but now I am more inclined to think of it as a track meet.

Yes, the season is long, but it really feels like a series of sprinting events, and the starter gun has definitely gone off. We are getting the peas, spinach, beets, chard and lettuce planted. We are also getting the ground worked up for potatoes, corn and winter squash. So in the spring we are mostly preparing the ground for planting and then planting it.

As the season marches on we are still working the ground for summer crops, like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but we add in weeding – lots of it (ugh!). We also add harvesting of those early planted crops of lettuce, spinach, etc.

About June we move into a weeding, watering and harvesting cycle. Life also begins to mellow and the days become more manageable (ahh! deep breath). Life feels normal. We are not quite there yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We have lots to do between now and November. This week we are planting strawberries and potatoes!

 

Sprinter (Farmer) Tristan

 

 

 

cow

Order your grass-fed beef before prices increase!

Prices for our local, grass-fed beef will go up $0.10 per pound after April 30th, so place your order today!

June beef is sold out, but we still have shares available for August and October.

 

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into small florets.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and simmer just until tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Drain the cauliflower florets and transfer them to a food processor. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the garlic and pulse for about 30 seconds.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the chives, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with additional chopped chives.

Adapted from Kelly Senyei’s recipe from justataste.com

Know Your Produce: Beets

If you’re not a fan of beets’ famously bright hues, then cover your work surfaces before you start peeling, slicing, and grating. To store beets, cut the greens from the roots, leaving an inch of stem attached, and place the different parts in separate plastic bags and refrigerate. Beet roots will last at least a month, but you should use the greens within three or four days.

Roasted Beet and Fresh Greens Salad

2 1/2 lbs. small beets, trimmed and scrubbed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

4 cups leafy greens, with any thick stems removed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on foil lined with parchment. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; season with coarse salt. Wrap foil into a sealed pouch. Roast beets on a rimmed baking sheet until easily pierced with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Carefully open pouch; when beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towels. Halve beets (or quarter if desired).

2. Arrange beets and greens in a serving dish. In a skillet, bring remaining 3 tablespoons oil and cumin seeds to a simmer; toss with beets and greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

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To 2017 and Beyond!

Week of April 17, 2016

Yes, I am looking ahead. On the farm I always have the past, present, and future on my mind. I am referring back to previous years, concentrating on the weather windows to do things on the farm the current year, and preparing for future years. So this year, with an eye towards the future, we are planting more plums, pears, raspberries, and strawberries again. Here is a little update on what we are growing for the future.

Plums.  The Yellow Egg plum, is a European plum that produces an abundance of large, oval, freestone, golden yellow fruit with a golden interior that tastes like honey. The Yellow Egg has juicy flesh and is very sweet and is grown for the outstanding quality of the fruit which is excellent for dessert, cooking, and canning. This addition to the Italian plums and Green Gages will round out our plum plantings. We will have Italian and Green Gages in September, but look for the Yellow Eggs in 2018.

Pears. This year we relocated our Stark Crimson pears and added some Orcas pears and a few Asian pears for pollination. The Orcas pear was discovered by horticulturalist Joe Long. He discovered this tree growing on his property on Orcas Island, Washington and it has become a regional favorite. The fruit is large, flavorful, scab resistant, and loaded each year with yellow fruit with a carmine blush. The pears are great for canning, drying, or eating fresh. Look for them in 2018. We will have Bosc and Conference pears this fall.

Raspberries. Tulameen is the “go to” choice for fresh market farmers. These fresh market berries are large, have good sugar content, and are bred for hand picking. We pick them every two days during the season. Our new plantings will produce in 2017, but really come on in 2018. For this season we will have Tulameen from our plantings in 2014.

Strawberries. Albion is an ever-bearing type with long, conical, symmetrical, and firm fruit bursting with sweetness. This strawberry produces from June to October. We love this berry because it is sweet, but also does well in August (when there is less rain!). Look for these in August 2016, with them really producing in 2017.

I have selected these fruit varieties for three reasons: 1) they grow well in Stanwood, 2) they work with my organic approach to farming, 3) I personally like the flavor and am excited to eat them!

Lastly Tomatoes. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. We are planting hundreds of them, but for you home gardeners we will be offering plants very soon! These plants are grown by our friends at the Rents Due Ranch. We will start selling tomatoes (slicers, pears and cherries) and pepper plants in early May. The May window to plant tomatoes will be perfect this year, given the colder and wetter spring we have had. Stay tuned for more information!

Back to the farm, I am sure I can find something to do. 🙂

Tristan Klesick

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into slices 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored (if large), cut into same size as carrots

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey (such as heather, chestnut, or wildflower)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  1. Add carrots and parsnips.
  1. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
  1. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.
  1. Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.
  1. Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  1. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

 

Know Your Produce 

Radishes

Benefits: Radishes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as many other trace nutrients. Due to their dietary fiber and diuretic properties, radishes promote healthy digestion and purify the kidney and urinary systems.

Storing: Remove the green leaves and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preparation: Wash radishes and trim the roots just before using. You do not need to peel radishes. Soak red radishes in ice water for one hour to crisp before serving. You can grate or slice them for salads, or add as a garnish.

Search online to find new ways that you can add this power vegetable into your diet.

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A Time To Plant

I was talking to a group of second graders the other day about farming. I found that they ask some amazingly insightful questions; an insight, I think, that comes from their simplicity. A few were already well on their way to a life of healthy eating.

But as we talked back and forth, I wanted to impress upon them that eating good food starts with the soil and ends with a choice. Choosing an apple or carrot (the most popular vegetable) will help them grow up smart, healthier and strong. I explained to them that healthy plants don’t get sick, and the healthier we are, the less sick we get. It was a delightful 30 minutes with young ones eager to learn.

I too have a choice. I choose to farm without chemicals and work with nature to raise food in a watershed, in a local community, on a family run farm.

Thank you for the choice you also are making. You have chosen to support a farm that raises food without chemicals, in your watershed, in your local community, run by a family on a farm. That choice will make all the difference in the world for your health, your family’s health and your community’s health.

That is why planting the first crops of spring are so special for me, because I get to raise food for local folks – who get it!

Last week we took advantage of the nice weather and got a goodly amount of healthy lettuce and peas planted! It feels so good to get some crops in the ground.

Hang on, the local season starts with planting and ends with good food on your plate!

Tristan