Posted on

Oh My

peas, opened pod

I feel like we are in the middle of an energetic piece of music. Every instrument is playing and playing hard and I while I can play almost every instrument, I have been relegated to the position of Maestro because of my knee injury!

I don’t relish that spot. I much prefer to be a part of the orchestra and conduct on the side. But as with most things, when your attention is divided, so is the work and so is the result. I am still working around the farm—mostly checking on what to do next, picking a few berries, monitoring the health of the crops, what needs water, what needs weeding, what is going in the ground next and when and what we will harvest in the near future.

As with most good pieces of music, the Farm season starts out slow. First, the planning, studying and selecting the vegetables: How will I modify the system this year? What works best for our farm, climate, crew? So many pieces before a single piece of dirt is plowed. As with most things, a little planning goes a long way and a lot of planning can really help.

I will say that with farming, though planning is critical, you hold onto them loosely because farming is a living system and is impacted by the weather in a very real way. As an example, last year it stopped raining June 15th and started raining September 15th. This year it didn’t rain in May and mostly rained in June. On the farm that means it has been a great year for lettuce, beets, peas, but cucumbers and tomatoes are not as happy. Of course, this year I planned for a lot of tomatoes. I still believe we will get a hot summer and my tomato crop will come.

The planning is done for the year. Now we are modifying the plan. Currently, I am weighing whether to plant a Fall crop of leaf lettuce or let the season play out. I will probably do both—some more plantings, but not as much. That’s primarily due to more warm weather, but also school starts up and fall soccer kicks in which can make it hard to find enough help to weed and harvest.

But for now, it’s all hands on deck. It is the busiest time of the season. The local crops are being harvested daily and delivered to you as fresh as possible. My poor packing crew. They almost run the other way when I roll in from the farm or neighboring farms, because they know that I will bringing something that needs to be fit into the menus, something that’s fresh, nutritious and just needed to be picked!

I love this season, but when Fall rolls around, I am more than ready for the Farm to quietly resolve and end peacefully. Although this year as your fulltime Farming Maestro I am not sure what that season will look like, I imagine that in September I will already be thinking about January’s planning of next year’s Farming season. Hopefully, with a fully functioning knee!



Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

Posted on

Change is 80% Behavior and 20% Mental

If you believe in something that is realistically attainable and have the right attitude (mindset) coupled with realistic goals, you more often than not will be successful at reaching the prize. The challenge comes when our head knowledge (knowing the right thing to do) hasn’t become heart knowledge.

For instance, EVERYONE knows that eating more fruits and vegetables is the right thing to do. Nobody argues this fact. Yet this fact has a hard time travelling the 12 inches from our brain to our heart. Sadly, it usually takes a few rounds in a boxing match with a health issue like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity to provide enough motivation to travel the 12 inches. Those 12 inches are the hardest to travel in every area of our lives, whether it is food, finances, exercise, reading, or not texting while driving.

Or take the world of finance. EVERYONE knows that it is better to start your retirement planning earlier than later.  For example, if you start investing $167/mo ($2k/yr) in mutual funds (avg. rate of return 12%) at age 19, and do that till you are 26 and then stop (investing a total of 16k), at 65 you will have $2.3 million—Wow, 16k becomes $2.3 million! Ahhh, the miracle of time and compound interest! But if you are a late bloomer and start saving $167/mo at age 27 until the age of 65, at 65 you will have $1.5 million. Even though the second person invested 78k, they never caught up! (Adapted from

It is the same with eating fruits and vegetables. Starting earlier here, however, pays immediate health dividends (unlike finances), with a large payout in our retirement years (like finances). Time is definitely on the side of our children and the 20- and 30-somethings. If they embrace eating well, they will reap a more vibrant and healthy life for years to come. But for the over 40 crowd, we better get after the goal of eating better NOW!

Most of us reading this newsletter have already travelled that first 12 inches because we are getting a box of good, but each of us probably has room to improve our health! How about a goal to do one more thing this week that will improve your health now and in 20 and 30 and 40 years! It could be something as simple as one more glass of water or one less glass of soda. It could be eating a salad a day or going for a brisk walk (even when it is raining!)

Right now, you have already thought of one or two things. Do them and travel those 12 inches for yourself and your family. It will be worth the effort. The sooner you get started, the healthier you will be.





Posted on

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.



Posted on

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!



Posted on

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!




Posted on

Wish You had been Here

It was a normal work day here in the office at KFF, as we were getting ready for the next day’s deliveries, when a visitor knocked at our door. When she introduced herself as Marlene Smith, we knew immediately who she was. Marlene is from Pateros, WA, one of the communities in eastern Washington so affected by the devastating forest fires, and is married to Phil Smith, who pastors the Pateros Community Church. That’s the church KFF is partnering with to bring needed funds to the people of Pateros as they rebuild after this recent disaster. Marlene was visiting with her mother who lives here in Warm Beach less than a mile from our office! What a small world. Marlene came by to express her deep appreciation to all of you who are contributing to our Methow Valley Fire Relief Fund.

What stories Marlene had to tell. The Smiths had lost their own home in the fire, but the church, which was right next door, was saved. A young volunteer fighter arrived on the scene and thanks to her efforts and those of three other volunteer fire fighters, they were able to save the church, which sustained some minor damage but still stands. One of those fire fighters happened to be our “own” Bruce Henne, from Earth Conscious Organics (ECO) in Brewster, WA—the  people who grow your apples, pluots and cherries. Gratefully, ECO’s orchards were spared in the fire, even though the fire came to the very edge of their apple orchards. We also heard how one of the people in Pateros purchased the old grocery store in town and turned it over to the people coordinating fire relief efforts, so there would be a place for people to come and get help.

As we talked, I told Marlene about a phone call we had from a person who receives deliveries from us. When she heard that we were organizing fire relief efforts, she just had to call. She grew up in Pateros and went to Pateros High School. She was so thankful that funds were being sent to help the people of this community recover from the fire. She too adds her thanks to all of you who are helping.

Connections. That’s what amazes me. The very people we are trying to help way over in Pateros have family just down the road from our office! Bruce Henne, whom we have known for years and talk to every week, was directly involved in fighting the fires there. One of the people we deliver to every week grew up in Pateros. We’re not just sending money to who knows whom and to who knows where. We can put faces to the people we are helping. We’re connected. They’re real people with real needs.

I wish you could have been here to talk with Marlene yourselves. You would have seen the gratitude and appreciation she has for your generosity. You also would have felt the connection. The Smiths have lived in Pateros for nine years now and have come to love and care for the people there. They know the community and its needs first hand. We can be assured that the money being sent there is being put to good use.

Thanks to all of you who are contributing. Any of you can still do so by either going online (select “Giving” on our products page) or by contacting our office to either make a one-time contribution or make a recurring one. Together we can make a difference.

Mike Lama

KFF Customer Care

Posted on

The Kick

This time of year is the best! I love fall. Fall is when farmers, well at least fresh market farmers, are in that part of the race where you start your “kick” to finish the race well. By now most of us have been harvesting all summer and are tired. The summer harvesting is what pays the bills (e.g., weeding, fertilizer, seed, and labor), but now we are heading toward fall.

Every farmer I know has a bead on what the fall will look like in July. We can tell if the crops need water, weeding or some feeding, and based on these observations, reasonable expectations can be drawn. Nevertheless, getting the crops out of the field and into your boxes has a lot of variables in play. For the most part, however, farmers know how the fall is shaping up in July!

After getting through my son’s August wedding, I am turning my attention to the winter squash and potato crops. All summer I have been eyeing those delicatas, carnival, acorn, turbin, two kinds of sugar pie pumpkins and few cindarellas. I love growing squash. We plant it by the handful and harvest it by the truckload. All squash have an amazing yield and a diversity of flavors and cooking methods: baked, pureed, roasted, steamed, soups and pies. Hmm! Hmm! A few more weeks and we will be picking the first squash of the season.

Potatoes are a close second. This year we have four varieties: one yellow, two reds and a purple. Every year I am always surprised by the amount of potatoes under the “hills.” I know I planted them, but it just seems like a miracle every year. The kiddos and I head out and pull up a couple plants and there they are—big beautiful potatoes! The ritual just brings a smile to my face every time we do it. And now that I have a grandson, the tradition gets to continue!

Lastly, we are “harvesting” a new packing and processing facility in the City of Stanwood. It has been in the works for over a year, but it looks like we will be moving to the new facility in October.

Between the wedding and the building, plus all the farming, the final leg of this year’s race (aka, farm season) will surely require a little R&R. I just might need the whole winter to recover. Oops…got caught day dreaming! Back to work—there is still a lot to do before then!

Posted on

I thought summer was my busy time!

At last, fall has arrived, the geese have returned and the mornings are crisp! This time of year is full of hustle and bustle on and off the farm. It seems that during the summer we are busy farming and tossing in a few family outings, but when fall rolls around and school starts up, hang on.
It is the convergence of harvest, school and SOCCER! Does anyone else feel like you need a summer vacation to get ready for fall soccer? This year we have three soccer players and one ballerina. Between all the practices and games I can scarcely find a free night. I do love this season though. 
This year, I got the “your son’s team doesn’t have a coach” phone call. So I volunteered to coach, after all I was going to be at practices, anyway. It has been nearly 40 years since my parents were coaching my 5 year old teams. Hmmm, is this a generational commitment? Really how hard can it be to coach 5 year old boys? Pretty easy. My motto: keep them moving, ask them if they want to do the drills the big boys do, and take frequent water breaks. We are having a ball with the ball, playing games and scrimmaging. It is so much fun. 
But, we still have the farm work to fit in amongst school, homework and soccer. That is why this season is so busy. So for a few months our family will be harvesting crops, doing homework and playing soccer. Then just about the time soccer ends, the farm work will come to an end as well and then we will rest.
So, in between coaching, watching soccer or helping with homework there will be more fruits and veggies coming your way.
Posted on

Feathered Friends & Farming

As I sit to write this newsletter, I have to stop and marvel at a pair of hummingbirds. I wonder at how fast those wings beat to stay stationary in one place (up to 80 times per second with the smallest species). Talk about amazing creatures! This year we have had an explosion of feathered friends. Multiple species are now calling this place home. The other day, when I was mowing some hay, I had a bald eagle land not more than 15 feet from me. Shoot, around here, those birds are about as domesticated as my chickens. I think my favorite neighborly bird is the American gold finch—what a striking color contrast to the green backdrop of the apple trees.

Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I set up my irrigation it rains and, boy, did it ever! I will have to try that trick more often. The rain is both a blessing and curse. For many of my friends, it means they are unable to make hay and they have hundreds of acres to put up. We have been fortunate this year and  been able to get our most “pressing” hay fields cut, tedded, raked and baled between rain storms. If you need hay this year, talk with your farmer and let them know you are interested, it looks like it is going to be a tight year.

This week we are finally harvesting lettuce and spinach. With this cold season, things are not coming (growing) quickly, but now we get to harvest. YEAH!  On the flip side, the weeds are loving life and living large, so this week I am bringing a big crew to weed the carrots, basil and beets. The beautiful thing about the rain is that it makes weeding a ton easier. When the ground is dry, it is almost impossible to pull the weeds and get their roots, but with this rain the roots will come easier.  Conversely, so will the roots of the carrots and basil, so the crew will have to be slow and steady. And the last blessing about weeding and the rain is that the dirt clods will be easier on our knees, much appreciated after a few hours of crawling around.

Farming is so much about managing the weather you get. Hopefully we will get some sunshine to go with this moisture and the crops will really start to come (grow).

I hope you have our farm day on your calendar. For this year’s event (August 20th) we are adding music. I have several friends coming to play and if you have a fiddle, violin, guitar, banjo or djembe, bring it along and maybe you can getting in on the jamming. As always, our farm day is a blast—part old fashioned picnic, part educational and part historical.

Farming really slow food this year!