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Farming and Family!

Anyone else have summer chores that just didn’t get done?!!!! I have a few that are pressing, but I am content with what we did get done. And often what is left over or unfinished would have been nice to finish, but in reality, those projects could wait.

I also have noticed that as I get older, my energy or appetite to tackle as many big projects is waning. When I look back over the last 20 years, I think “we did that”. We resurrected a dilapidated farm house, rescued a farm from the chemical agriculture world, planted habitat for wildlife, planted a 200-tree orchard, built farm buildings, poured concrete, fenced and refenced 40 acres, and farmed with Belgian Draft horses. All the while having babies and raising children, seeing them grow to adulthood and find their spouses. It is overwhelming just recounting that and I am sure we were overwhelmed while we were doing that! For that season, Joelle and I had the energy of 30-year old’s!

But now that I am turning another year older and I look back I can only smile at all the memories, all the hard work and heartache, all the love and all the life. And because I am an eternal optimist, I can hardly wait for the next 20 years to unfold. What will this life bring, what changes are on the horizon?

For sure, life is not static, and I know that Joelle and I will continue to live rich meaningful lives surrounded by our family and grandkids! And those grandkids are running circles around us, it just seems like it was yesterday that our parents were playing ball or games with my children, and now it is Joelle and I that are playing ball with our grandkids. And they are quick, I mean way quicker than my children ever were!

John Maxwell tells a story about parenting. My paraphrase. John says, “you want to let your children live to adulthood, so you can get grandkids and that is the real prize for being parents! When you see your first grandchild, ‘you think to yourself, this is the smartest human being ever born.’” As the story goes, John was at a conference sharing this story and his son was in the audience. Well John proceeded to tell everyone that Intelligence skips a generation and that his grandkids were considerably smarter than his own children. Of course, the audience, which was primarily grandparents completely understood John’s sentiments. His son caught up with him behind stage and John said, “now son that stuff about you not being as smart as your children, is all fun and..” But his son stopped him and said, “Dad, I think you are onto something, Grandpa and I were just having the same conversation about you last week!”

If I have learned anything in the last 5 decades, it is that every season of life is meaningful and important and so is every generation!

Cheers to your health,


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From Wet Dust to Wet Flooding

In August of 2003, Joelle and I purchased our current farm. That seems like a lifetime ago! The 1892 old farmhouse was in pretty bad shape and the bank wouldn’t let us move into until we remodeled it. Having sold our home in Machias, we were stuck in that awkward state of nowhere to live. In hindsight, the bank was right. The old farm had “good bones”, but was in serious disrepair.

It was hard, but rewarding. We were finally on our own farm and everyone was pitching in, both family and friends. So much work but we found amazing treasures too. Treasures that you would never find unless you rolled up your sleeves and got to work! There was so much lathe and plaster and wall paper and more wall paper. The whole place needed to be rewired and replumbed and insulated. I remember when we were started to “attack” the lowered ceiling that was made up of acoustic tiles. As soon as we pulled out those tiles, everything stopped. We were in awe. Untouched and as beautiful as the day they were first installed 10’ up in the air was a 20’ long cedar 1” x 4” tongue and grooved bead board.

We were stuck. We knew it had to come down in order for us to do the wiring and plumbing, but we also knew that you just can’t buy that stuff anymore. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. We just stopped working in that room for a whole month! There was no way to patch it up and do all the upgrades. It had to come down, but yet it was a part of this home, its history, its craftsmanship. Eventually a plan came together. We removed the ceiling and broke boards, but we were able to save lots of good useable pieces. We repainted that beautiful rich dark green cedar bead board the same color and used it as wainscoting.

Why all this reminiscing? Well, October of 2003 was also the first year we were introduced to the Stillaguamish River and from that day on, we understood who the valley really belongs to. And this week we have our first flood watch for the season. Hopefully a nonevent, but in 2003 it was supposed to be a nonevent too but turned out to be the largest flood on record. Thankfully, technology has gotten better, and the forecasts tend to be more accurate, but that first flood, oh my! 

This month we have also been talking about Cancer and asking people to share their stories. In some ways our old farmhouse and the valley we live in serves as reminder of how precious and how fragile life is. That old farmhouse was in need of some love and care and it couldn’t do it on its own. People battling Cancer or any major disease also need love and care. They need a team filled with hope to “carry” them at times and help them win this very real fight.

At Klesick Farms we are privileged to be a part of your team. We believe in you and we want you to be healed. If you would like to share your story or the story of someone you know battling cancer, please click the link and submit a prayer request. It can be anonymous or not. We pray on Thursdays for the prayer requests we receive.


Your Health Advocate and Farmer,



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Hand in Hand

Being a first-generation family farm has been an amazing journey. For nearly 20 years, Joelle and I have been supplying, growing, and delivering our produce and produce from other farms. As we near Fall and the Fall harvest, I am reminded that what was a little seed a few months ago is ready for harvest now. Time flies by.

For Joelle and I, our farm has transitioned from being the young farming family to being a multigenerational farm family. Time has flown by. With each season there are so many rewards and riches to be had, but some of the most precious are the excitement and wonder of children.

Our youngest, Joanna (7), still excitedly reminds us to look at the sunset every night. She hasn’t quite figured out how to remind us to look at the sunrise, though. ? Sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, but seeing another grandson or granddaughter join the family – that is life changing.

Joelle and I are both parenting and grand parenting. The older children have gotten married and are having children and our little Joanna is now an Auntie 4 times over with one more coming in November.

A few weeks ago, we welcomed Nathan Lee Klesick to the world. I haven’t got him on the tractor yet, but it will happen sooner than I can say scalafragilisticespcalldocius. Because, well, time flies by. And before I know it that little guy will be under foot harvesting strawberries alongside his grandparents, just like his older brothers and cousins, and just like their parents did.

Seeing your third generation is a gift. Having them grow up near the farm, spend time on the farm, and experience the farm, that is priceless. Right now, those little ones are more likely to get a taste of the dirt on our farm, but that taste could very well lead to a future taste for farming.

For me, I am going to work a little slower and take a little more time to get the chores done, because I will have the third generation trying to keep pace with grandpa’s footsteps. To hear “Grandpa, Grandpa” and turn around and see a little one toddling as fast as those little legs can go is all the motivation I need to slow down, bend down, and swoop them up!

Maybe it is just me, but I think that locally grown food tastes better, because a local family on a local farm is growing it and quite possibly, as it is with our farm, another generation of future farmers, too.


Teaching another generation to farm,



Farmer, Health Advocate

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Rain – It’s Overrated

Water. Who needs water?

We just passed a record without rain for the Seattle area that has stood since 1951. YES, 1951! My parents were wee lads and lasses back then. I wonder if global warming was the talk of the day. They were probably more concerned with the Russians coming through Canada or maybe it was how North Korea with the help of China and Russia invaded South Korea?

One could conclude that not much has changed since 1951. What are we talking about in today’s local and world events? How dry it is, North Korea, China, and Russia. Hmm, I guess I don’t have to worry about wondering what my grandparents were thinking about in the 50’s anymore. I am reliving it.


Oh, and of course the Modern Supermarket got a solid stronghold on the American marketplace. And our cheap food model has been exported all over the world to the detriment of local communities everywhere. What about today? We see a mini renaissance of local food outlets. Victory gardens and eating locally were still widely in use in the 50’s and lots of small farms dotted the landscape. But once again, we see the big getting bigger with Amazon buying Whole Foods and the PCC’s building another new store every year or another local farmer selling out and a larger farmer taking over.


But we are not seeing the local farm community keep pace; it is as if the American populace has chosen industrial food all over again, only this time it is even more convenient – you don’t even have to leave your home to get what you want!


In 1997, when we started a home delivery company based on a local farm and farm-direct model, quality and convenience was our niche. Back then, we knew that if we were going to make it as first-generation farmers, we needed to serve local families and that’s what we did. We chose to serve one family at a time, to provide the freshest ingredients at competitive prices. We built our farming methods around variety and quality and our business model around customer service.


These are the things that Joelle and I wanted for our diet – variety and quality – as well as actually being appreciated for being a customer. We extend these basic tenets to you, our customers, every day, in every interaction, whether it is through email, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or a phone call or when you get a box of good delivered.


The only reason that Klesick Farms is even a farm today is because a local family said we want the freshest, best quality, farm-direct fruits and vegetables. There was no other way for us to be able to farm unless a family like yours said “Yes” to a local farm and our delivery service.

And that is a good thing that I hope never changes, because local food only comes from local farmers and organic food only comes from organic farmers. I have the best of both worlds, I am small family farm serving local families in my community, just like it was in the 50’s.


May this never change.



Farmer, Health Advocate

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Garlic and Flowers

Hello August and Hello Fall Soccer! August is that transition month where a lot of us start thinking about back to school, fall sports and last vacations. And I am so glad that the Stanwood/Camano School district is starting after Labor Day. Because, I am going to need every available minute before my school aged crew goes back to school.

Labor is the tightest I have ever seen…but there are crops planted and they will need to be harvested and after all the work it takes to get a crop to harvest, you can be darn sure that I will get it harvested. It might take a harvest moon or two or head lamps, but it will get done! ?


Every year, I have this volunteer crop of sunflowers that grow. I let them grow so the birds can eat them, then I mow them and till them in. The next year what the birds didn’t eat starts to reseed. These sunflowers are special because they remind me of our oldest son’s wedding. You see, his future wife had asked for sunflowers for her wedding and I, being a farmer, was more than happy to comply. So, for the last four years, the Klesick family gets to enjoy and reminisce about the wedding on that special day in August.

We also have beautiful red Poppies that have re-seeded themselves from our second son’s wedding 3 years ago. Yep, you guessed it. His future wife had wanted wildflowers! And I, as a farmer, was more than happy to comply. ? This year there is a splash of color intermixed with the potatoes.

Joelle and I have been blessed to see our four oldest children get married. And you know what that means–GRANDCHILDREN! We will be adding two more grandsons, one in August and one in November, bringing the total to 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. It is pretty emotional to be walking around the farm with your grandchildren and think that the third generation is on its way.


Last week we harvested our Inchelium Garlic. A little later than I would have liked, but, like I shared earlier, we got it done. We don’t spend much time curing our garlic. Curing is the drying process that allows garlic to store longer. I don’t have a lot of extra storing capacity, so I plant less and sell it fresh. You can use your garlic like any other garlic, but use it sooner. Inchelium has beautiful flavor and would be great roasted or minced.

We are also starting our first picking of green beans. We have 3 plantings of green and 2 plantings of purple this year. Garden-fresh beans are the best. Steamed beans and carrots with a little butter. Incredible and so simple!




Tristan, Farmer and Health Advocate

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Seems Crazy

Rain from October to June and then it just stops; sunny and mid 70’s with a breeze. Beautiful, relaxing weather. Now, all I need is rain. It’s always too much or not enough or not at all. This weather is perfect unless we all want to eat!

Do you know who is eating well? Cedar Waxwings! And we have a bumper crop of fledglings this year. We also have a lot of robins, gold finches, and sparrows. But those Cedar Waxwings make robins a welcome addition to the farm. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but by inviting wildlife into our eco space, AKA organic farm, we have encouraged all types of birds to nest, procreate and EAT!

The wildlife, while still wild, is certainly not timid. I was picking blackberries and heard the distinctive call of the waxwing and stopped to see where the bird was “feasting”. Not more than a few feet from me! She hopped up onto the closest berry wire and sat there. If I had a net, I probably could have scooped her up.

So, the waxwing and I had a quiet moment, studying each other, neither of us fearing one another. I think she was saying, “Farmer Tristan, thank you for planting all these lovely blackberries and raspberries.” And, as I was peering back into those little black eyes, I couldn’t help, but notice the lovely shade of BRIGHT RED Raspberry lipstick! Let me tell you, L’Oréal has nothing to compare with the real deal!

One of the problems is that my berries come on well before the wild blackberries. So, every berry eating bird does what birds do. They set up residence near food, water and each other. Also known as Klesick Farms. Since I want to have early berries, I’m just going to have to contend with the berry loving avian population.

Going forward, I will have to net the berry patch to try and limit their access. I would rather put a sign up that says, “bird berries here, help yourselves,” but experience has taught me that only fish go to school.




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Never Plough More Than You Can Disc in a Day

This is sage advice from a bygone era of time. Yet, like most advice that has stood the test of time, it is timeless. Essentially it means don’t start what you can’t finish. Anybody relate to that???? As a farmer in the Stillaguamish Valley who is blessed with “heavy” (more clay and less sand) soils, you learn a lot about patience. If you happen to be travelling through the valley, you will notice that the farmers are busy as anyone can be. Often, they work around the clock or use two or three tractors at a time in the same field. Of course, most are still using humans to drive the tractors, but many are using GPS systems to steer them. It is only a matter of time before driver-less farming takes hold on the mega operations.

But I digress. You might notice on your trip to the valley that the farmers sure spend a lot of time working the soil before they plant. Soil preparation is pretty foundational to what we do. But, if you were to drive by that same field a few days later, you might take a double take. You might even say, “Didn’t they just work all that soil a few days ago?” And you would be right. Because our soil is so heavy, the farmers in this valley work the top 6 inches and get it ready to plant. Then they plow it over and repeat the process. This gives them about 12 inches of deeply worked soil. Then they plant the potatoes or carrots or cabbage.

The only wrinkle in the operation is the weather. If it rains too much, we get to start all over again. And this year, we have had lots of “practice” working our soils and even replanting a few times. The other reason many farmers use multiple tractors is that if you plow too much ground up and let it sit for a couple days, the clods that are plowed up become as hard as rocks and you will spend a lot more time trying to bust up those clods. So, when a farmer plows a field, most of the time we start discing the soil immediately. Better to do a little well than a lot poorly.

Of course, if you have light (sandy) soil, none of this matters. Instead, you will spend a whole lot of time moving your irrigation. 🙂

Good Food Farm Tours

Our first farm tour is this weekend. Tours start on the hour at 10am and 11am. On this tour, we will be focusing on the orchard (apples, pears, plums) and the berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and kiwi berries). Please register for a tour time here, for planning purposes. Every tour this summer will be different and will reflect the changing seasons. Looking forward to seeing you on the farm!


Tristan Klesick, Farmer and Health Advocate

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#fueledbyklesickfarms continues

newsletterWe have received some great pics from you and would love to generate a few more before we draw a winner! A winner? Yes, a winner. We are hosting a raffle to draw one person on July 31st that will win a month of free produce ($112 value). All you have to do is snap a photo and tag the photo with #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside and we will find it and enter your name into the raffle. And in addition to entering your name, you will receive free blueberries with your next delivery! So don’t be bashful, share that special shot from the beach, mountain tops, a sprinkler, etc.*

Joelle and I have had a fun-filled summer, seizing every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful area in which we live. Some getaways we plan, and others we, literally, wrestle ourselves away from the farm on a moment’s notice! We have to do both strategies or it just won’t happen. Life and farming are both relentless task masters. Planning, as well as taking advantage of opportunities as they come, assuage the taskmaster for a little while.

Last week we had a planned trip to Northern Idaho with the NYC relatives that came for a visit. Can you say cousin time? We had three full days of swimming, swinging, basketball, tennis, golf, paddle board and kayak adventures. Northern Idaho is beautiful.

Though Northern Idaho is a trek, Winthrop is a whole lot closer and has the same feel as Northern Idaho. Plus, you can visit Cascadian Farms to get some fresh organic blueberries and stop by the stunning Washington Pass Overlook, which has a good ADA trail with some incredible vista views. Make it a day trip.

I encourage you to get outside and enjoy this beautiful spot we call home and create some memories. The laundry will be there when you get home and so will the lawn (and weeds). Summer is short, so enjoy it!

As a side note, this week we are putting “green” garlic in some of the boxes of good food. Most of the time garlic has been “cured” and will store for several months. We are not curing the garlic, which means you need to use it this week. I would encourage you to roast it or stir fry with it, but use it right away. I popped a clove into a berry/spinach smoothie earlier this week. Just a hint of garlic, nice!

Farmer Tristan


What are the details? It is simple, while you are hanging from a rock or kayaking on the sound or watching/playing soccer or baseball anything outdoors this summer, snap a photo and use both #fueledbyklesickfarms and#optoutside in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and we will find it and send you Free Berries with your next delivery.* And for everyone who uses the above two #tags in their outdoor photo, we will enter your name to win A Month of Free Produce. So start uploading those photos and share your summer fun!

Please note: if you are using Facebook or Instagram, you may need to post or message directly to our page if you prefer to keep your post settings from an audience that’s public. Otherwise, we can’t see your pics!

*Must be current Klesick Farms customer. Berries are: 1 pkg. free blueberries, while supplies last, if n/a, other berries may be substituted. Offer runs now – July 31, 2016. Limit one entry, and one delivery of berries, per customer, per week. A month of free produce value of $112.

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I am currently visiting my homeland of Peru. I was born and raised here – from kindergarten to college, Peru was my only home. At age 25, I moved to the United Stated to get my graduate degree and planned on returning to Peru after a few years living abroad. I eventually met Brad, who, three and a half weeks later, became my husband and just like that, I became a first generation immigrant! I never really thought of myself that way until about a month ago, when I was asked to write my “Defining Moment.” Now, I have two homelands, both with room for growth, both full of wonderful people willing to spread goodness and happiness around the world.

At first sight Lima, Peru can be chaotic, loud and cloudy. Lima is a city full of contradictions. It sits in the desert, right next to the ocean. It is the second richest land in natural resources and is still categorized as a developing country. It also happens to be GMO-free.

One of the first things I do every time I come to Peru is visit a farmers market. What used to be an everyday way of life has now become a weekend event, in an effort to remind us of where it all comes from. Foods I grew up eating (and forgot about over time) are the stars of the show. Some I loved, like lucuma, forte avocado and chirimoya, and some I avoided, like the beloved quinoa, amaranth and noni. Today, I cherish them all.

By moving away, I learned to appreciate what I have here. Cooking became comforting – a way of staying closer to home even though I was thousands of miles away. I found that keeping our culinary traditions alive was a way of keeping Peru always in my heart. In my constant search for fresh ingredients, I am reminded that no matter where I am, every civilization begins with agriculture.

Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, cannot ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food is to risk malnutrition and starvation. In modern times, in our urban cities, it’s easy to forget this fundamental connection. Insulated by the apparent abundance of food that has come from new technologies for the growing, transportation and storage of food, humanity’s fundamental dependence on agriculture is often overlooked.

All this to say, let’s share with those around us the importance of supporting our local farmers. Locally grown food not only tastes better, it was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. In addition, local food supports local farm families everywhere. For example, with fewer than one million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Therefore, local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador

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Last week our family stole a few precious moments from the farm and headed off to Winthrop and Twisp for Father’s day. We wanted to take the kiddos away for a couple of days after school got out and we settled on the North Cascades. A brief excursion filled with rest and play. Of course we enjoyed the town of Winthrop, visiting galleries and shops and the Ice cream parlor!
The North Cascades are stunning. Sadly, I have not ventured this direction for several years, usually heading for the coast or the San Jauns, but that will change. A few hours away and you are in the middle of pristine mountains, crags, valleys and wildlife.  We just did the touristy things, like Fall Lake Falls, Pearrygin Lake, Twisp Salmon Ponds, the National Methow fish hatchery and the Smoke Jumpers Base. That Washington Pass Overlook was definitely worth a stop, stunning vistas! A full two days of fun.
We have a resident “selfie” taker who, of course, is a teenager. Let’s be honest I can barely answer the phone let alone take a selfie J. I do try, but when we are out and she is with us, I wisely defer to her abilities. So in front of Falls Lake Falls, it dawned on me. We are just like other families, who are out and about and why not have some fun with summer.
And Voila! Our new Summer campaign was born #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside. Our customers are adventurous “outdoorsy” folks who love life and love good food.
What are the details? It is simple, while you are hanging from a rock or kayaking on the sound or watching/playing soccer or baseball anything outdoors, snap a photo and use both #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and we will find it and send you Free Berries with your next delivery.*
And for everyone who uses the above two #tags in their outdoor photo, we will enter your name to win A Month of Free Produce. So start uploading those photos and share your summer fun!
Farmer Tristan

*Must be current Klesick Farms customer. Berries are: 1 pkg. free blueberries, while supplies last, if n/a, other berries may be substituted. Offer runs now – July 31, 2016. Limit one entry, and one delivery of berries, per customer, per week. A month of free produce value of $112.