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Eat Better and You Will Feel Better

Anybody else ready to move on from the Sugar Manufacturer’s lovefest, AKA Halloween, and start focusing on eating better? I for one am no fan of what the Sugar Manufacturers are doing to America’s population. Let’s be honest, no one really considers Halloween to be a healthy event.

Thankfully, we don’t have to eat that way. We might choose to eat that way, but nobody is forcing us. It is by choice. One of my goals for the next 2 months of holidays is to create some non-negotiable rules.

I am choosing natural sugars and mostly whole fruit. You won’t find real honey or maple syrup in a candy bar. That nonnegotiable alone will limit the majority of your sugars. I am mostly not eating processed foods that have sugar in them.

Eating 3 meals a day is my next non-negotiable and only filling my plate once (important especially on Thanksgiving). I am going to fill my plate with organic vegetables, salad items, and meats. I am not going to be snacking, but will let my digestive system rest between meals.

And lastly, I am going to (loosely) preplan my meals for the next day. I am going to have a plan for my food based on what is in my refrigerator and the pantry. Nothing derails eating well more than letting the moment dictate your meal options. Ever try to find something healthy to eat at a convenience store???

Healthy eating made simple is my goal, and given what seems to be the normal hectic unsustainable pace of life, having a few non-negotiables will help. It certainly helps that I usually have more energy, feel better and my blood pressure stays in the normal range when I follow these “non-negotiables”–and these are just a few of the “incidental” blessings from eating well.

Next Week 

Next week we will be gearing up for the Thanksgiving holiday and publishing our menu for the Thanksgiving Holiday Box. It will have all the ingredients for a great meal and you will be able to order a box, shop for individual items or a combination of both.

And, as you already experience every week, we will hand select the freshest ingredients (many from local farms) and save you the hassle of shopping at the store, especially during a holiday week. Doesn’t that sound nice? No parking hassles, no long lines and no time spent looking through the already picked over produce.

The Klesick Farm team is excited to be your partner in good health by delivering high quality produce at fair prices and saving you precious time that you can use for whatever you want!



Tristan Klesick

Farmer/Health Advocate



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Potatoes and Leeks

Nothing shouts Fall louder than these two winter staples. They just go together and this week we are featuring them in a recipe that consistently ranks as one of the all-time favorite Klesick Farm recipes – Potato Leek Soup. Soups are efficient, nutritious, and can make a great multi day family meal option. The great thing about soups is that you can jazz them up from day to day by adding a protein or more or different vegetables. Greens like Kale and Chard or Spinach can be easily added, too.

As Fall has officially started, many of us farmers are just like you, wishing for a few more days of warmth to put the finishing touches on our crops. These cool nights and warm days send a signal to the plants to switch gears and focus on ripening their fruit. And alas at the same time, production drops off on tomatoes, zukes, cukes and beans. In some ways it is a welcome change and other ways you are back to wishing for a few more days of that fleeting heat.

I think it is about right, the weather, the crops, and the fall season. A good chunk of the farm has been tucked in for the winter with cover crops, which desperately needed the moisture we have received recently to germinate. Cover crops are aptly named, because their primary purpose is to cover the soil and protect it from the winter storms that can cause soil compaction, soil erosion and nutrient leaching. That is an important function on any farm and the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.

For a cover crop to be successful it has to get established and be at least a few inches tall going into the winter. This is why we try and get them planted in early September (check) and then get some water (check) and then some more nice weather (Jury is still out, but hopeful). Cover crops begin to pay for themselves, because as the crop starts to grow it uses any extra/unused nutrients to grow pulling them out of the soil and storing them in the plant. By doing this the plant is essentially acting as a living storage system and keeping the nutrients on the farm and not being leached away with floods or rain.

You might ask why is this so important, the simple answer is because we don’t want another Dead Zone like the one in the Gulf of Mexico that has been caused by the leaching of excess fertilizers/nutrients from agriculture soils. Cover crops wouldn’t have completely prevented the Dead zone, but it sure would have helped to not create the problem.

Cover crops are important and organic farmers have really embraced the use of them.


Farmer/Health Advocate

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Cukes and More Cukes

This has been the best year for cucumbers and tomatoes. They just keep coming. Ironically, they also take a while to get established, but when they do – oh boy! This season I planted an early crop of cukes in the greenhouse and then direct seeded a crop outside in early June and with another planting in mid-July. The greenhouse cukes are done, the June cukes are slowing down and the July cukes are hitting their stride.

Look for Klesick Farms cucumbers till the first hard frost. We absolutely love the flavor of the Silver Slicers. Those yellowish white cucumbers have great flavor and provide a nice break from the traditional green slicers that come most of the year.

However, we also plant the classic green slicing cucumber “Marketmore”. Whenever Marketmore’s are brought up in grower circles, you should hear the poetic waxing, “Those are beautiful.” or “The disease resistance is incredible.” or “They just keep producing!” or “They taste great!”. Jeesh, all this gushing about a cucumber! It is well deserved.

And when you plant a Marketmore or Silver Slicer in organic soils it tastes even better, but, really every crop tastes better when it is grown organically. The healthier soil combined with ample water and sunshine is a recipe for a bumper crop bursting with nutrition and flavor!

This week I am switching gears in the “boxes of good”. Our friends at Highwater farms have some excellent Fennel and I have a good quantity of beets, so we are pairing the two together and offering a roasted fennel beet salad for the recipe. Fennel isn’t on the dinner plate often, but every so often I like to stretch a few taste buds.

You can follow the recipe here or google how to use Fennel, or you can do what I do. I grab every root vegetable that has been hanging around waiting to be eaten (think: carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, garlic, onions, and fennel), chop them up into 1″ chunks, coat them with olive oil, sea salt and a little pepper, toss them into a pan and roast them all at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. YUM! The tricky thing about eating good vegetables is that you have to eat them to get the nutrition. I know the produce is beautiful and you just can’t bring yourselves to cook them, it’s okay, but their beauty really shines when you eat them.



Farmer/Health Advocate

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Back to School!

I have this tension that revolves around the school calendar. Every Spring I need help with planting and weeding and the kids are still in school. Then, every Fall I need help with harvesting and the kids are back in school, though I do appreciate the return to a normal schedule that comes with this time of year. But, unlike the Spring where the work is more tractor and less harvesting, the Fall is more harvesting. What typically gets planted as tiny seeds in the Spring will be harvested by the ton – think pumpkins, winter squash, potatoes, beets. So, if I could choose the ideal school calendar, it would be: out in mid-May, back in July, out in September and back in mid-October. That would accommodate a vegetable farmers schedule nicely!

But that is not the School calendar and I am not going to attempt to change it either. Farmers represent 1% of the population and an even smaller percentage of the 1% are vegetable/fruit farmers. Of those who are smaller vegetable/fruit farmers an even smaller percentage of those actually hire school/college kids to work on their farms. Which makes me a really small percentage of the farming population and an even smaller percentage of the overall population. Suffice it to say, it would be a better use of my time to work on solving the Salmon/habitat/farming issues that affect local food production in the Puget sound area than to try and change the school calendar!

Which is precisely where I have been investing my time for the last few years as a Co-Chair of the Snohomish Sustainable Land Strategy. In addition to parenting, running a home delivery company and a 40-acre vegetable/fruit and grass-fed beef farm, I also donate about 10-15 hours a week on environmental issues. So, when Fall rolls around and the farm begins to slow down, I also get to a little more sanity in my world. One reason is that the kids are going back to school, but mostly it is because my farm is requiring less of my time. Yes, it is a crazy life, especially during farming season! But each of us has a crazy element to our lives and managing the “crazy” goes with the territory.

Even though farmers are a very small part of the population, I hope is goes without saying that we need more local vegetable and fruit farms, not less; and those local farms need more places to sell, not less. Which brings it back to you. Because you choose to buy from a local farm, who also buys from other local farms, you get super fresh food, while supporting a different food system, a smaller more intimate food system.


With your help we are changing the food system one nutritious bite at a time.



Farmer, Health Advocate

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The Days Are Getting Shorter

This is the season where I just run out of gas, figuratively and sometimes literally. The one thing you never want to run out of is DIESEL. Nope. Never run a tractor out of DIESEL. Gas yes; Diesel no. But sometimes, I personally just run out of gas. I have been at this farming season for 7 months so far and there are a few more to go.

And this farm season has been hard. Wet early and well into June. Then DRY! The weather pattern has stressed some of the crops and blessed others. Great year for cucumbers and tomatoes; lettuces and spinach, marginal at best. Blackberries and raspberries were happy, as were the birds that descended on them like locusts. Farm years like this one require so much mental energy.

Twenty years ago, I made a choice to not farm with chemicals, to focus on soil health, biology and habitat. Which means that I have to work with nature. When the weather is too wet or too dry, the crops can get bug and disease pressures. But, if you are going to choose to not farm with chemicals/poisons, you are going to have “those” years that remind you how fragile the farming and the food system is.

But this is the time of year when local farmers have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We will be into peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers till the first frost and soon we will be harvesting our pears and plums. Potatoes and winter squash will be coming after that. And then we will start to put the farm to bed with cover crops of wheat, rye, oats and vetch to protect our soils and feed the biology.

As the days get shorter and Summer marches towards Fall, so does my outside work and I am grateful for that. Yes, life is returning to normal and I can get back on a schedule. Anybody else feel like you can’t wait for school to get out and you can’t wait for it to start? I know as a farmer, summer is just crazy. Your life is ordered around the day length and chores, but when school starts, life takes on a different rhythm.

It is a more peaceful rhythm like the “Resolve” at the end of a great symphony. Still very intricate, but as the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Fall, this farmer senses it is time to begin to hush the horns, percussions and, eventually, the winds and let the farm I partner with rest, rejuvenate and get ready for next season.



Farmer, Health Advocate


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What happened? One day I am in shorts and a T-shirt and the next I am in my wool L.L. Bean farm coat, which I have been secretly longing to wear again. I got the coat off eBay last year and absolutely love it. I also love the fact that it is 60 years old and was made when life was a little simpler.

Simpler times – doesn’t that sound nice? Everything is so complicated and fast paced. It takes effort just trying to “unplug.” Having lived in both centuries, I realize that we do have more choices with technology now, but I also think life was pretty crazy during the simpler times as well. It might have more to do with expectations, choices, or circumstances, than the actual era we are living in. And besides we are not rolling the clock back to the first Full House or Leave it to Beaver, either. So we have to figure it out for today.

Good things take time and often take time to plan. It is the same with living a healthy life. Living a healthy life takes a little planning and a little work and then with each small intentional step we build, maintain, and increase our health and our family’s health.

But those small steps can seem like big ones, especially in our minds, when the pressure of life is pressing in upon us: laundry, mowing the lawn, soccer practice, school activities, church, connecting with children or parents, doctor appointments, the list can stretch for miles.

I know that it is easier to eat the “organic” (or nonorganic) version of a health bar, a bag of chips, a pre-frozen meal or some snack foods than it is to make a meal from scratch. Processed foods are just more convenient and quite honestly just easier. And we often console ourselves with, “well at least it is organic.”

And, yes organic processed foods are better options, but what if we could make cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables more of a priority? What would be the benefit? A slower pace of life would be one, at least at that moment when we are preparing and cooking dinner or preparing lunches for the next day. Even if the kiddos wolf it down in five minutes or less. Anther benefit is that eating more fruit and vegetables in their minimally processed forms can lead to weight loss, lower blood pressure and an overall increase in vitality.

Maybe the side benefits to cooking are worth the extra steps in planning and preparing. Hmmm?

Farmer Tristan


Featured Recipe: Stir-Fry Mushrooms & Bell Pepper


2 tablespoons olive oil 3 green onions, slice 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 bell pepper, deseeded and diced 1 package mushrooms, sliced 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine 2 -3 tablespoons soy sauce 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds


1. Heat oil until hot. Stir fry onions (1 minute), then garlic (20 seconds). Then add the pepper and mushrooms. Stir-fry until it becomes a bit soft, (about 2 minutes).

2. Add the wine and soy sauce and continue to stir for 2 minutes.

3. When done, remove from heat and add the sesame seeds mixing it all together, and serve.



Know Your Produce: Kiwi Berries

Brought from Asia to the United States in the 1800s, the kiwi berry packs a big nutritional punch as the most nutrient-dense of all major fruits. Not just good for you, kiwi berries are delicious! Each variety has a unique flavor and color and their smooth skins make them the perfect snack. They can be eaten fresh, in salads, salsas, dessert sauces, ice cream and sorbets. Their tropical tastes pair well with orange, honey, and chocolate.

Kiwi berries should be allowed to ripen at room temperature. When they are ready to be enjoyed, the berries will turn a dark green color and feel slightly soft to the touch. Unlike most fruits, they are not ready to eat until they look slightly wrinkled and soft. Once they are ripe, store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or eat immediately. Let them come back up to room temperature before eating.

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A Homemade Thanksgiving

Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”

John Henry Jowett


It’s that time again isn’t it? Time to decide if the potatoes will be gratined or mashed. Mashed, definitely mashed. So then mashed with sour cream, heavy cream, butter or all of the above? Will the green beans be casseroled, roasted or simply blanched then tossed with browned butter? What sort of spice and herb mix will go into the stuffing? Perhaps you have had this all long figured out. Maybe there’s no change from year-to-year. I can appreciate that too.

I love scouring magazines, websites and cookbooks this time of year for the classics and new twists on the classics. But this year what I’m most struck with as I start to visualize the Thanksgiving table is not what recipes, flavors, and ingredients I’ll use but rather how incredibly thankful I am to have a spot at the table.

I’m finding myself less motivated by which method I’ll brine then roast the turkey and more inspired by the heart of the holiday; being thankful. The simple fact that I get to think about my potato preparation, which pies to include in the dessert line up, and who is joining me at the table, well, that’s enough.

Coming to this realization was first met with a bit of fretting over the fact that it’s already into November and I haven’t given the food as much thought as I normally do. Thoughts of letting people down, and lackluster side dishes began to swirl before that rational voice inside my head, however soft it may be, began to whisper, “just be thankful.”

There will be a feast, maybe it won’t be as inspired as the Latin Thanksgiving menu we enjoyed last year but I will be thankful, grateful and very full by the end of the day.



inspired by Ina Garten

Serves 8

This is a twist on the classic bird but the classic flavors are all there. Extra bonus – it doesn’t take nearly as long to roast.

The most difficult part about this recipe is tying the stuffed turkey just prior to roasting. It makes the job much easier if you have an extra set of hands help you get the turkey to submit. It’s going to be messy and you’ll feel a bit clumsy. Be brave and confident as it will come together and your reward for such bravery will be a flavorful and moist turkey that will sure evoke elation and cheers as it’s brought to the table for (easy) carving.

3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

1/2 cup brandy

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ cups diced onions (2 onions)

1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)

3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed

1 ½ teaspoons paprika

1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (homemade recipe below)

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons good mustard

1 whole turkey boned (save bones, wings and giblets for gravy and stock)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Place the dried cherries in a small saucepan and pour in the brandy and 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika and a pinch of salt. Add the cherries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and hazelnuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and spread the mustard over the turkey.

Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place any leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)

Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon paprika, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.


Homemade Stuffing Mix

3 cups ½” diced rustic bread

½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, sage, rosemary, thyme etc.)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt



Combine everything in a large bowl and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350*F until bread is golden and dried out, about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture halfway through the baking process. Taste and add more salt if desired.


-Ashley Rodriguez

Chef, feeder of three hungry children, creator of Not Without Salt and author of Date Night In, Running Press 2015.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving! ~ Ordering a Holiday Box with all of the Fresh Ingredients You’ll Need for Your Special Meal 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for the holiday! For a day that’s devoted to cooking, eating, family and thinking about what makes you thankful, a little planning ahead goes a long ways in making that special meal go off without a hitch.

We at Klesick would like to be a part of your Thanksgiving celebration by making your holiday planning easy. Every year in November, we offer an additional special: the Holiday Box ($36). The Holiday box, as its name implies, is full of traditional organic Thanksgiving meal items for your celebration. Keep in mind that you can schedule a Holiday Box to be delivered the week of Thanksgiving, but NEW THIS YEAR: you can order a holiday box for any week in November, as well as the week after Thanksgiving (available Nov. 4 – Dec. 5). You can have this box delivered along with your regular order or in place of your regular order (when you place your order please specify).

Along with the Holiday Box, you can order many of the ingredients you’ll need for your  big meal: hearth-baked dinner rolls, bread cubes for stuffing, cranberries, jams, apple butters, pickles and relishes, as well as all of your favorite fresh vegetable ingredients, like sweet potatoes, green beans, and greens for your favorite sides and salads.

Let us source, pack, and deliver your Thanksgiving good right to your doorstep!

An Opportunity to Give! ~ Donating a Holiday Box to Neighbors in Need

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Klesick is providing an opportunity for you to donate a Holiday Box to the food bank. The season of giving has started, with schools, churches and businesses kicking off food drives that have become annual holiday traditions. While commonly donated foods are high in salt, sugar or calories, these are poor choices for people with high blood pressure, diabetes and other diet-related health problems. We’d like to ask you or your organization to consider giving a box of organic produce this Thanksgiving.

If your celebration includes helping the less fortunate who live in our community, you may order an additional Holiday Box at a discounted price of $26.00. Like our Neighbor Helping Neighbor program, we will deliver donated boxes to the food bank prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. These will become available to add as a donation throughout the month of November. 


Holiday Box Menu

Granny Smith Apples, 2 lbs.

Cranberries, 7.5 oz.

Satsumas, 2 lbs.

Breadcubes for Stuffing, 1 lb.

Celery, 1 bunch

Acorn Squash, 1 ea.

Green Beans, 1 lb.

Garnet Yams, 2 lbs.

Carrots, 2 lbs.

Yellow Potatoes, 3 lbs.

Yellow Onions, 1 lb.



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Farmland, Food, and Livable Communities

By the time you get your box of good this week, I will have left Seattle, arrived in Lexington, Kentucky and spoken at the American Farmland Trust’s national conference, and gotten back to the farm, just in time to move into our new packing facility this weekend. My session at the conference was titled, From the Field: A Farmer’s Perspective on Soil, Nutrition and the Importance of America’s Farmland.

I must have been “sleep deprived” at the moment I accepted their invitation to come and share. Truth be told, I agonized over this decision for quite a while, because I knew that it would be happening during harvest and our move to the new building. This would make my trip to Kentucky more of sprint than a leisurely stroll. Nevertheless, since I am very passionate about the need to “preserve” America’s farmland for future generations, the opportunity of having access to policy makers, conservation organizations and natural resource planners to share about farming, meant I had to say, “Yes!”

I love the title for the conference: Farmland, Food and Livable Communities. It says it all: no farmland, no food, no communities. Cities and farms have always been associated together. Neither is able to survive without the other, because we have to eat to live and city folk, they have to eat as well.

Ah…but therein lies the rub. With refrigeration, diesel and airplanes, the farms can be moved further from the cities, which means the cities will eventually lose their connection to the farms and where their food comes from. As the farms move further and further away, so does the quality of the food. We accepted farms 100 miles away, then 200 miles away, then in the next state, country and before you know it, Chinese apples are on the shelf. I am not excited about that progression, and I am certainly not excited about losing any more farmland to development.

That is why I went to Kentucky—to invest in the folks who make their living trying to preserve farmland and other natural resource lands. I wanted to encourage them to press on, plow ahead, and not grow weary in well doing. Their work is important, it is important now and for generations to come.

Thank you for sending me to Kentucky. Because of your support of our farm and our box of good, I had a platform from which to speak!



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Pumpkins for Pateros

I love my Klesick Family Farm community. What a resource it is! I am not a writer by trade and feel far more comfortable one-on-one or one-on-250, than I do at the computer. Once a week, I get a “nudge” from Jim reminding me that he needs me to write a newsletter for the following week. One would think that after 17 years of writing newsletters I wouldn’t need those reminders. Thankfully, I usually have something I am “ruminating” on! This week, I surprised Jim with a newsletter before he even asked!

Last week, I wrote about our community initiatives and I was struggling with a paragraph that wasn’t working for the newsletter. So I posted it on FB and was blessed to have a few professionals tighten it up. It still didn’t quite fit the topic for last week, but it does this week! The new improved paragraph in question is below. Drum roll please!!!!!

“We grow and deliver only healthy food – grown and nourished with compost, cover crops and minerals to help produce the healthiest food possible. We all have to eat, so why not eat something that does more than tantalize your taste buds and expand your waist line? Why not eat something that actually feeds and nourishes your body?”

That says it all. That is what Klesick Family Farm is all about. From farm to table, you can trust us to only deliver what will nourish your families and do it in a way that is sustainable. So, a hearty “Thank you” to my FB editors!

As a result of all that compost, cover crops and minerals, I have a lot of oversized sugar pie and Cinderella pumpkins and turbin squashes this year. I really do try and grow them to be a little smaller, but those two crops loved all the “groceries” we fed them this summer! And they just won’t fit in our boxes of good.

But I have an idea to make good use of these over-achieving pumpkins and turbins – I am calling it “Pumpkins for Pateros!” Here is how it works: For every Pateros fire relief donation of $10 or more that we receive between now and the end of November, Klesick Family Farm will send you a beautiful, super nutritious sugar pie pumpkin, Cinderella pumpkin or turbin squash as a thank you!

What do you think? I get to move some over-achieving squash and together we can help our neighbors in Eastern Washington rebuild? Sounds like a win-win! To make a donation, please visit our website and select the Giving category on our Products page or give our office a call!