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I am not surprised that the Senate and House of Representatives cast their votes to send the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act to President Obama to sign, but I am saddened that President Obama signed it, and so willingly!

Essentially, for all of its purported good, it does nothing to protect the health of Americans and will not cause any meaningful information to be labeled on foods manufactured using GMOs. The DARK Act is wasted time and energy and is meaningless legislation that does nothing for America’s health or environmental crises. It does allow corporations an escape hatch when it comes to GMOs and more than a few elected officials to “pat” themselves on their backs. The biotech farms and grocery manufacturers of American lobbies are powerful—they wield heavy swords. The congressional and presidential backbone to stand up and protect the environment or our health doesn’t get any of them reelected.

Well, common sense tells me that something is amiss. What is amiss is that our food supply is over processed and laden with empty calories, and the DARK Act does nothing to help consumers (sometimes called constituents) get better information to make more informed healthy food choices. I understand the game. However, it would have been nice if Congress would have changed the rules and required real information through legislation, but they didn’t! Shocking (wink, wink)! It’s sad, but that’s okay, I can live with it. Congress can do all the grandstanding they want. Monsanto, the sugar lobby, and the GMA can spin and spin to their hearts’ content on how their products are safe. That is what they have always done. It is good for their profits, though not good for your health or the environment. The only things that have changed are: 1) the aforementioned companies and lobbies will no longer have to spend millions of dollars of their profits to fight labeling laws state by state and 2) the states, which is you and me, now have less control.

The fact that Congress even remotely toyed with passing a GMO labeling bill tells me that healthy-minded consumers have been putting the “hurt” on some multinational food and chemical companies. All we need to do is keep the pressure on their profit streams and continue to not support their products with our dollars. So in essence, the game hasn’t changed and the players are still the same. It is still us against them.

As for the Klesick family? We are going to continue to support companies that are committed to organic and GMO-free principles. I am not confused or deceived by their advertising or the new DARK Act passed by Congress.

Let’s continue to work together by saying “Yes” to better food companies and we will continue to change our food system for everyone just by eating. The last time I checked, you are free to eat whatever you want, so let’s exercise that freedom one bite at a time.

We are changing the food system!

Farmer Tristan



Recipe: Roasted Beets and Carrots with Rosemary Butter


1 bunch beets, greens removed, peeled and cubed

1 bunch carrots, greens removed, peeled and cubed

3 tablespoons butter or ghee

3 garlic cloves, mashed

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the beets in a large mixing bowl, and the carrots in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. (Mixing the roots separately keeps the carrots from turning pink from beet juice.)

3. Place the butter or ghee in a microwave-safe coffee mug and add the garlic. Microwave until the butter is melted. Stir in the dried rosemary.

4. Pour half of the melted butter mixture over the beets, and pour half over the carrots. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss each of the root vegetables to coat them with the butter mixture.

5. Dump the beets into the baking dish with the carrots.

6. Roast for 55 minutes, stirring halfway through.

7. Serve.

Recipe adapted from



Know Your Produce: Starkrimson Pears

Starkrimson pears are a summer pear variety that is excellent for fresh eating and salads or paired with a strong cheese like blue cheese or goat cheese. The striking crimson color of Starkrimson pears makes it a great choice for coloring up a green salad.

Unlike most other fruits, pears ripen from the inside out, so by the time they are soft on the outside the inside flesh may be overripe and mealy. Leave unripe pears at room temperature in order to induce ripening. To speed up the ripening process, place pears in a brown paper bag. This traps ethylene (a naturally occurring gas) which pears produce as they ripen. To determine if a pear is ripe, check the neck of the pear daily. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to the stem end of the fruit. Once it gives slightly to pressure it is ripe and ready to enjoy.

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It is Getting Closer!

We are slowly working our way towards the starting line. We just planted some sugar snap peas that will be transplanted mid-March, we are finishing up on the last minute maintenance that needs to be done on our equipment, we are checking seed supplies, and we will be “pulling” soil samples in the next few weeks.

The soil sampling is important. It helps us monitor nutrients in our soil and know what organic nutrients we need to order for our crops. We also take leaf samples throughout the growing season to check how well the plants are absorbing the nutrients from the soil. Based on the soil and leaf tests, I will foliar feed my crops to give them some extra nutrition.

You might be saying to yourself that is a lot of “fussing” over nutrients. So what’s all the “fuss” over soil and plant health really about? It is about you! Growing food for you is a privilege, and I want the food I grow for you to help you live a vibrant and healthy life. And food grown without synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides is better for you, the farmer, and the environment. But food grown with nutrition at its foundation is the prize! And that is what I grow for you – nutrient rich food. Bon Appétit!

But I have another prize for the next two weeks!

We are running a Share the Good Food campaign for the next two weeks.* We have teamed up with Theo Chocolate to offer a month’s worth of their 70% organic dark chocolate for every one of your friends who signs up for a box of good food. And as a thank you for referring your friend, I will send you a month of Theo dark chocolate with each of your deliveries, too. A month of free chocolate for you and your friends—now that is worth sharing!

*If a friend you refer signs up for delivery between 2/28-3/13, you will both receive a bar of chocolate with each of your deliveries that fall within the next four-week period, starting with when your friend signs up for delivery. The more friends you refer, the more chocolate you receive!



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Democracy in the Grocery Isle?

One of the more interesting takeaways from the state-based battle to enact GMO food ingredient labeling has been the deluge of money that Monsanto, their biotech allies, and Big Food corporate interests have been willing to spend to drown out your right-to-know about what you are putting in your mouth. Cornucopia’s research reveals that these supporters of ignorance have collectively showered more than $100 million on the four state referendums to date, in California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United, whatever constraints existed on corporate spending in elections have evaporated. Although state referendums are a different electoral animal, the willingness of corporate power to spend all that they need to prevail has been fully demonstrated. They have juiced the system and tilted electoral power in their direction.

While Monsanto and their allies have thus far proven successful—albeit narrowly in three of the four states—the handwriting may be on the wall. Good food activists are growing increasingly aware that they hold power in the marketplace that even the corporate behemoths must respect.

It is somewhat ironic that democracy may break out in the marketplace while it is being squelched at the ballot box. Clearly, the biotech forces and Big Food need us to buy their products in our consumer society. Yet in spite of their sophisticated, expensive advertising and packaging, increasing numbers of conscious consumers are doing their own food and product research (fueled by help from organizations like Cornucopia).

Using their heightened awareness and their focused purchasing power, these savvy eaters are forcing companies like Kashi (owned by Kellogg), WhiteWave, Organic Valley, Kraft, and Stonyfield to make healthier changes to products. Why? For the most part, these companies are terrified of how their investors and/or Wall Street will react and punish them for unresponsive arrogance and diminished sales.

Amplify your power as a conscious eater. Investigate our various food and commodity product scorecards (visit, and then share this information and the related web links with your social network. This research is regularly updated so that you and your friends can make the best “vote” in the marketplace.

This story originally appeared in the spring issue of The Cultivator, The Cornucopia Institute’s quarterly print publication. Used by permission.

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Know Your Produce: Parsnips

Know Your Produce: Parsnips

Parsnips are sweet, succulent underground taproots closely related to (surprise!) the carrot family of vegetables.

Store: parsnips in a plastic bag and place inside the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator set between 0°C and 5°C. Do not place raw parsnips in the freezer compartment.

Prep: to prepare, wash them in cold water and scrub or gently peel the skin. Trim off the ends. Cut into cubes, disc, and pieces as you desire.

Tender parsnips can be cooked in a similar way like carrots. Do not overcook; they cook early as they contain more sugar than starch.

Use: Raw parsnips add unique sweet taste to salads, coleslaw, and toppings. Grate or very thinly slice when using raw.

Parsnips can be cooked and mashed with potato, leeks, cauliflower, etc.

Slices and cubes added to stews, soups, and stir-fries and served with poultry, fish, and meat.

Used in breads, pies, casseroles, cakes, etc., in a variety of savory dishes.

Try them: sliced and roasted with coconut oil and sea salt. Once you remove from the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon and then drizzle some raw honey on top. Serve and enjoy!



See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)


Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 75 Kcal 4%
Carbohydrates 17.99 g 14%
Protein 1.20 g 2%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g 13%
Folates 67 µg 17%
Niacin 0.700 mg 4%
Pantothenic acid 0.600 mg 12%
Pyridoxine 0.90 mg 7%
Riboflavin 0.050 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.090 mg 7.5%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 17 mg 29%
Vitamin K 22.5 µg 19%
Sodium 10 mg <1%
Potassium 375 mg 8%
Calcium 36 mg 3.5%
Copper 0.120 mg 13%
Iron 0.59 mg 7.5%
Magnesium 29 mg 7%
Manganese 0.560 mg 24%
Phosphorus 71 mg 10%
Selenium 1.8 µg 3%
Zinc 0.59 mg 5%
Carotene-α 0 µg
Carotene-ß 0 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg
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Memorial Day

We honor the memory of those in our armed forces who have laid down their lives to preserve our freedom. To these men and women we are forever indebted.


This is a hard week for most in the Oso and Darrington communities.  The amazing outpouring of local, regional, and national prayers and financial resources was incredible and showed the generosity of the American people.  But the Oso and Darrington communities also gave future generations a gift as well.

Because of the tenacity of the Oso and Darrington communities, FEMA has changed in its approach to local volunteers and how they are integrated into search and recovery teams.

On day two or three of the disaster, family and friends were “lobbying” (I am being PC) hard to get in there to find their loved ones and to try and rescue as many as possible. These families, of course, had a very vested interest in finding their loved ones and friends, but FEMA policy “had” been to allow only “professionals” to do the searching. But the local knowledge of the area and local fortitude of these communities forced FEMA’s hand and a decision had to be made. Were FEMA and the local leadership going to try and keep out the “locals” or integrate them?

Honestly, there was no option but to integrate because, short of military intervention, those locals were going to help. And because of their tenacity, FEMA now has a blueprint to integrate other local community members into search and rescue teams where appropriate.

While this disaster is still very raw for many of us, it has left a “path” for closure and healing for the untold number of natural disasters to come—all because one community and one government agency saw a way to work together and get more accomplished than either could do alone.

Oso Strong,



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Smashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Serves 6 as a side


1.5 lbs red potatoes, cut in half (unless they are tiny, in which case, leave whole)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup of sour cream

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Coarse sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Handful of fresh chives


1.            In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water and a lid and boil until fork tender. About 30 minutes or so depending on the size of your potatoes. Just test them with a fork every 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2.            Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

3.            Brush the bottom of a large baking sheet with olive oil.

4.            Place the potatoes on the baking sheet with a few inches of space between each one.

5.            Using a potato smasher, press each potato until the skin breaks and it resembles a lumpy potato cake.

6.            Brush the top of each potato with the melted butter.

7.            Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

8.            Bake for 15 minutes.

9.            Top with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chopped chives. Enjoy!.

Recipe adapted from: foodfamilyfindscom

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Bees and Butterflies

There has been a lot of news surrounding the honey bees and butterflies in the agricultural world. Large multi-national companies are spending/investing big dollars into research to figure out why these two insects, primarily honey bees, are dying in droves.

Honey bees are best known for their honey, but their pollination services are the most sought after commodity. It only makes sense that honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are making headlines and garnering the lion’s share of research dollars.

Honestly—no, bluntly—honey bees and butterflies are really “canaries in the coal mine.” They are bell weather indicators to the health of our agricultural systems. If the health of honey bees is an indication of the health of our food supply, we are in trouble, big trouble.

I would make the stretch to say that conventional or chemical agriculture and most non-organic world farms are detrimental to the ability of honey bees to survive. American farmers have plenty of toxic options to kill pest, weeds and anything else they don’t want competing with their crops, and, unfortunately, there are no selective insecticides. Farmers just kill the good and the bad and wreak havoc on the balance of nature. And really, there are no bad or good insects, they each provide an important ecological function, just some insects are more desirable or beneficial in our minds.

I would contend that we are not going to solve the plight of the honey bee, butterfly or the thousands of unnamed insects until we embrace the problem. The honey bee die-off is the symptom, much like heart disease is a symptom. The solution mostly lies in changing how we farm, not changing the honey bee.

Large chemical companies are lining up to “help” solve, in my opinion, the very problem they have created with the production of their chemical products. It is, at best, an expensive public relations campaign or possibly some form of mitigation. I have little faith that the research will yield actual solutions because that would require these companies to go out of business, which is not an option for them.

Just maybe, if the American public wants to save the honey bee, it might inadvertently save itself because the only thing that is going to save the honey bee is a change in how we farm. One thing is for sure, improving the health of the American people has not proven itself to be a big enough driver to elicit the change, but maybe the honey bee will have enough sting to make it happen!

The other way to save the honey bee is to continue to do what you are doing now—supporting local farms that value all life and raise food that doesn’t support the chemical companies.



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Black Bean Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa

TOTAL TIME 25 mins

These meatless tacos feature spiced black beans and homemade mango-avocado salsa wrapped in fresh lettuce. Quick to prepare and bursting with flavor!

Yields: 6 tacos


For the tacos:

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 onion, finely diced (yellow or red)

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 ½ cups cooked)

6 leaves lettuce

For the taco seasoning (or use 1/2 packet of your favorite non-MSG taco seasoning):

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cornstarch

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup water

For the mango avocado salsa:

1 mango, peeled and diced

1 avocado, peeled and diced

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 jalapeño chilies, seeds removed and minced

1/4 sweet onion, diced

1 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves

salt and pepper to taste


First prepare the salsa. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all taco seasoning ingredients. The tacos come together quickly, so I like to do this before anything goes on the stove.

Add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add garlic and onion and sauté until soft, 4-5 minutes.

Pour in black beans and taco seasoning and stir to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through and some of the water is evaporated, 2-3 minutes.

Serve with lettuce leaves to be used as taco shells and mango avocado salsa.


Recipe source:

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Health Tips From Ashley

Here we are in March, where days of sun give hope for spring and colorful crocuses push through the stiff dirt in protest of those long dark winter days. It’s also the month where we’re focusing on health.

Children Playing

I was asked to talk to you all about my tips for how I stay healthy and to be perfectly honest, at first I laughed. Me, talk about health?! I ate ice cream last night and have a roll of cookie dough lounging in the the fridge because you never know when the urge might strike. And then I started thinking a little deeper, beyond my sugar cravings, and realized that I do have a lot to say on the subject.

First of all, I have no rules. There was a time when I put a lot of limits on the way I eat. You know what happened? All I could think about was food. All day long I would sit, hungry, dreaming about the food I told myself was off limits. I’m terrible with rules. Give me a rule and I’ll obsess over it. I thought about food day and night and yet never felt satisfied. I limited myself so much that it became my obsession. When I broke a rule I felt terribly guilty and shameful. These rules took the joy out of food and nearly made it my enemy.

With a diet of no rules, however, I can think more clearly about eating that cookie. Do I really want it? Today, maybe yes. But I don’t sit around dreaming of the cookies I can’t have, so I don’t crave them nearly as much. When I do enjoy them, I savor it—feeling good about its sweetness. I don’t fret over the calories. I enjoy the moment and move on.

I also listen to my body. I know that I feel much better when I eat meals laden with fresh produce. There’s no denying it. I feel strong, alert, energetic and healthy. I like that feeling. So when I’m not feeling those things, I take it as a sign that I need more vegetables and good food. Those are the times when I pack the blender with fresh spinach and toss in an apple, carrot and lemon juice.

When you listen to your body you are also aware when it says, “I’m done.” There’s no need to keep eating when I’m full. Again, when there are no rules it’s much easier to avoid overeating because you have no reason for an unhealthy binge. You’re free to stop and look forward to the next meal when you’ll feel hungry again.

I practice radical moderation. What’s so radical about it? Sometimes even my moderation needs moderation. I’m a firm believer in Julia Child’s great quote, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” There are vacations, birthday parties and holidays which make healthy eating difficult. Enjoy the party then the next day recover with salad. I’m not talking about plainly dressed greens here. Even salads can be fun (see recipe above).

Just like everything else in life, it’s all about the little decisions. Do I really need to find the closest parking spot? Why don’t I take a few moments to walk around the block? Is that second latte the best idea? One cookie really is enough, mostly. These little decisions add up to big changes over the course of a few months, years and a lifetime. It’s not about big, radical changes that fall by the wayside before dinner is ready. It’s about a lifetime of little decisions that value yourself, your health and the health of your family.

One last thing before you go make the salad. People often ask how I teach my kids about health. I live a life following the advice I just gave you. My kids are watching. They see me choosing to walk to the store rather than drive, they see me happily enjoying a produce-packed smoothie and a colorful salad for dinner. They also see me enjoying a bowl of ice cream. I want my kids to see food for the gift it is. Not a burden or a set of rules that need to be governed. My desire is for them to respect food and to love their bodies well. I teach them by doing the same for myself.

Ashley Rodriguez

Food Blogger



Adapted from The A.O.C. Cookbook             Serves 4


Ingredients for the Salad:
2 Cara Cara Oranges, peeled and segmented
1 head Romaine washed and cut into thin ribbons
2 heads of Endive (optional) cut into thin ribbons
1 ripe avocado
1 cup crumbled Feta
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Ingredients for the Dressing:
1 large, ripe Haas avocado
Zest and juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch chile flake


Directions for the Dressing:
Combine the avocado, lime zest and juice and water in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.

Pour in the olive oil and pulse just to combine as you don’t want to bruise the olive oil or it will taste bitter.

Add a pinch of salt and chile flake. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Combine the clean greens in a bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat. You will have leftover dressing. I like to give the greens a pinch of salt too. Seems strange, but I assure you even lettuce perks up with a bit of seasoning.

Add the orange segments, avocado, cilantro and feta. Finish with the sesame seeds, if using.

Serve immediately.

Well covered, extra dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.

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Always Organic ~ Always GMO Free

2-19What’s the rub when it comes to GMO free and organic? Understanding where the organic and GMO free movements connect and do not connect can create some friction or rub some people the wrong way. I would like to tackle the organic, GMO free definitions. This opinion is my own, shaped by 20 years in the good food movement (my oh my, where did the time go?) and countless conversations, workshops and books I have read. I have been blessed to know and interact with some of the most incredible farmers, food activists, and conservationists during this time.

The organic movement was founded in direct response to the abuse of the soil and continual decline of the nutritional value of food. In the early days, the farmers or visionaries behind this movement recognized that there is a big difference farming with nature versus trying to conquer nature. These die-hards respected the soil and recognized that a functioning farm should resemble a healthy eco system. From this foundation, the organic food movement has developed a list of what can be called “best management practices.” These practices govern what can be applied to the soil and when it can be applied, and it is governed by third party certifying agencies and the USDA.

It is important to know that organic does not mean “no sprays,” no pesticides, or no herbicides because there are naturally derived pesticides (like bt) or herbicides (like vinegar) that can be used. Organic does mean that no synthetically derived sprays, pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers can be used. Organic farming is a system of farming and it requires different management principles than non-organic farming, but organic farmers still have an arsenal of sprays, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers at their disposal. The difference is from what source they are derived—natural or synthetic. They are also GMO free by definition, since GMOs are prohibited by National Organic Program (NOP) standards.

The GMO free community is an important movement that is gaining lots of traction. We are seeing labeling initiatives springing up all over the place. But is GMO free better for you? Yes and no. It is true that a GMO free label means that these food products have been processed with beans, corn, or canola that have not used genetically modified organisms in the seed stock. But if the label doesn’t also say USDA Organic, it means that that product is grown non-organically using synthetically derived pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. So while the seed itself is not laced with pesticides or herbicides, the plants are more than likely sprayed with them. This is an important distinction, which means that GMO free products fall into the same category as non-organic fruits and vegetables.

Your best bet is to eat organically grown fruits, vegetables, grains and organic processed foods to avoid food that is farmed with synthetically derived pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Organic is better for you and better for the soil.

Which is why Klesicks is always organic and always GMO free!