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August

It is that funny month, where you hang onto every last drop of Summer and yet are looking forward to Fall. The mornings are cooler, but the days are still hot and smoky! A good rain would sure be appreciated by everyone across the West. I recently paused and read this great email/newsletter written by Tom Stearns from High Mowing Seeds that summed up the season better than I could. It is written for growers by a grower. I pulled out this small excerpt to share with you. (Disclaimer. I receive no financial benefit by saying this ?. I purchase most of my organic seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds and would encourage you to give them a try, too.)

 

In Need of Pause

August. What does it bring to mind for you? Perhaps it is harvests: long, seemingly never-ending harvests. Or maybe it is water: the drips we give our thirsty plants, or the lakes, ponds, streams and rivers in which we cool our over-heated bodies after a long day in dusty fields. Certainly, August embodies the Sunday Syndrome of summer: although the season is not yet over, we already begin to look past it to what the next has to offer. This strange, hot month offers us a respite – a needed breath of air before plunging in again for cool, abundant autumn.

I have always appreciated how the poet Helen Hunt Jackson described this month in her poem of the same name: an “interval of peace” in which “all sweet sounds cease, save hum of insects’ aimless industry.” It truly is a pause – a greatly needed one – in which our plants are finally at stasis, if only briefly, and we can at last sneak away for an afternoon or an evening to do nothing but perhaps listen to the hum of aimless insects and recharge the wellspring for the final push of summer.

Wishing you a welcome pause this month,

Tom Stearns, Owner & Founder
High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

Farmer or not, those words aptly describe what most of us are experiencing.

Our farm is at that spot, plantings have slowed, summer harvest is going strong and weeding is mostly caught up. Fall is often busier than Spring and ironically, what went into the ground as a seed in June is now coming out by the ton.  My attention is definitely on Fall crops, like making sure to pick the apples before they fall! That doesn’t always happen, but when one drops, the rest are not far behind. Corn, winter squash and pears are not far off either and then there is the last plantings of garlic, winter kale, frisée, and Radicchio’s to be planted. We will also be planting cover crops to feed the soil and protect it from the compaction of winter rains.

I am tired just thinking about it all, but at the same time I am energized to see it through to completion.

 

Tristan

For the tired farm crew.

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When Time Flies By…

When I was younger I thought I had the “tiger by the tail.” I had unlimited amounts of energy and ideas and was constantly moving and doing. But now I have a little more seasoned appreciation for life and where to invest my limited energy and unlimited ideas.

Farming is one place where an unlimited amount of energy has served me well. When Joelle and I started farming over 20 years ago, you couldn’t even “google” us and “earthlink” was our internet dial up provider.  That’s akin to shopping for school clothes at Montgomery Wards or Sears! If you are lost about now, you can “google” it and get a history lesson. ?

We have chosen to stay small, local and control our own deliveries. It is an important distinction that we control so much of our offerings. When your name is on the Box of Good, you want it to be as perfect as possible.

“Mr. Klesick is a passionate person” or “He cares about the big picture.” These sentiments come across my desk quite frequently. It stems from my desire to bring you the freshest and healthiest organic fruits and vegetables because the freshest and healthiest vegetables are what fuel our bodies to serve our families, friends, and communities. Eating is important as is eating the best of the best and that is what the Klesick team tries deliver to you every week.

I also believe that Americans and the world are eating less vegetables and fruit and less diversity of vegetables and fruit. Consequently, these important nutrients are missing in a majority of Americans’ diets. Sadly, they are being replaced with more shelf stable and processed foods. I firmly believe that if Klesick’s is going to be a part of the solution to America’s nutritional crisis and the host of maladies that come from eating a diet low in vegetables and fruit, our boxes of good need to have a diversity of fruits and vegetables to maximize our health.

This is no easy task because all of us have different taste buds and all of us to one extent or another have been “tricked” by our taste buds (or corporate America), to prefer sweet and salt and not the subtle taste profiles of greens or plums.

For me, I use a “crowd out” strategy to eat healthy. On my plate I “crowd out” room for the more processed foods by filling my plate with a lot of vegetables and fruit. It takes a while to get use to eating this way, but by leading with the healthier fruits and vegetables my body says, “thank you.” And this body is the tool that I get to use to serve my Lord, my family, my community and you! I want to be as healthy as I can, so I can serve others as long as I can.

Tristan

Your farmer and Community Health Advocate

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A Time to Heal

Last week was the week I decided to fix my knee. I had twisted it around Mother’s Day and had been limping along for a few months between doctor visits and what not. Finally, it became obvious that surgery or limping along for the rest of my days were my two choices. I settled for surgery and had my knee scoped and all cleaned up—hopefully for a good long time, too.

Can I state the obvious? July on the farm is not the best time to slow down and few things slow you down more than a knee surgery. Currently, the Klesick farm team is in full harvest mode, planting mode and playing mode, but I am in CONVALESCING MODE! Not for long! I am already feeling better and gaining mobility.

When to schedule a surgery? That was a surprisingly easy decision. I took the earliest date possible. Around here we say, “Why put off tomorrow, what you can do today!”

So, for the last two weeks I have been running the farm from the “seat of my pants” in a very literal way! I have an awesome team and am grateful for their help.

Frisée

This week we are featuring Frisée and all its health benefits. The Bitter Greens are so foreign to the American taste buds, but so critical to our health. Here is an excerpt from an article by mindbodygreen.com:

Imagine if you could eat something that would help your liver, act as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, assist in weight reduction, cleanse your skin, eliminate acne, improve your bowel function, prevent or lower high blood pressure, prevent anemia, lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half, eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods, and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. 

If I also told you that this wonder food also tasted good in salads, teas, and soups, what would you do to get your hands on this treasure? Well, thankfully you have nature on your side, providing these miracle plants in abundance during spring!

I’m talking about bitter greens. Dark and leafy, some great examples include dandelion, arugula, and kale. In addition to being vitamin-rich (like most greens), bitter greens are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. They have a bold flavor that may take some getting used to, but the health benefits are definitely worth the effort!

Cheers to your Liver’s Health!

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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Wedding Bells

Wedding season or farm season? It’s BOTH around here! It is a very special week at Klesick’s. Joelle and I are excited to welcome Abigail into our family. We have known her parents and family for years and have had the pleasure of watching Abby grow up before our eyes. She is a beautiful young lady and Andrew, our son, has definitely found the love of his life. We think she is pretty special, too.

What makes this wedding unique, is that Abby is Mike’s youngest daughter. Yes, the very same Mike, who responds to your emails and returns your phone calls is the proud father of the bride and future father-in-law to our son, Andrew.

Our families are excited for our children and their future.

 

Tristan Klesick

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Keep the Holidays Healthy

Does anyone else think that this is a lofty goal?! Everywhere you turn there is an advertisement to buy something, do something, donate to something, plus all the running around and mental energy to keep up with it all! To complicate matters, our will power is severely depleted when it comes to food because we have already made another 100 decisions that day. We just don’t have the energy, time or will power to cook or prepare a healthy snack. And the winner is…. Sugar and Processed Foods! The loser is….

But there is an antidote to the food traps. Planning! We have to plan to eat healthy or most of us will have a lot more to “lose” in January. It is the same with our finances. If we don’t want to owe VISA/MC for this holiday, we will have to plan where our money goes and how it gets spent. Otherwise, come January, we will have two crises, a visa bill crisis and a “I ate too much in December?!?!”-crisis. But personally, I want to have “0”, NADA, no, crisis in January. Not a financial crisis. Not a weight crisis. And I want that for you, too.

With Thanksgiving down and Christmas coming, I am going to have to be diligent. It is hard enough to eat well, but during this season there is SUGAR everywhere and for a lot of folks, sugars and flours are addictive. If you are one of those people and honestly find yourself craving sugar, this season is especially hard. Just saying “no” probably hasn’t worked in the past and it probably won’t work now either.

I personally don’t believe that this is a will power issue. Many of us have elevated insulin levels in our bodies and elevated insulin levels block a hormone called Leptin whose primary job is to let us know that we are full and to stop eating. This means that for a whole lot of people, the natural processes of eating and feeling full aren’t working. This is due in part to a diet with too much processed foods in it. The other challenge is that in order to make this switch, a person will need accountability—firm, loving, compassionate accountability–to help them hold on to the new way of eating.

The good news is that our body is so resilient that we can lower our Insulin levels so Leptin will begin to work again. The solution is simple, we will need to eat whole foods and less processed foods, and, yes, eliminate Sugar (except that which is found in fruit and vegetables.)

Look for more information next week on eating better during the holidays. Until then continue to eat healthy and be healthy,

 

Your Health Advocate and Farmer,

Tristan Klesick

 

 

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Green Cabbage Julienne with Chef David Royer

Green Cabbage Julienne

This recipe is from a family relative & sustainable restaurant chef from France—Chef David Royer. This warming dish serves as a nice starter for winter!

 

Ingredients

Sauce

6-8 green cabbage leaves

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

1/8 tsp salt

 

Stir fry

Vegetable oil for the pan

Remainder of Cabbage, julienned

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup cashews

Salt & pepper, to taste

Fresh herbs, for garnish

 

Instructions

Rinse and core cabbage. Then, separate 6-8 of the green outer leaves. Take the rest of the cabbage and cut into a fine julienne or grate it. Refrigerate until ready to make the stir-fry portion.

For the Sauce

In a large saucepan over low heat, add water, white wine, cabbage leaves, and salt. Cook cabbage slowly for 2-3 hours. At this point, the cabbage will be very soft. Push cabbage mixture through a chinois (or use a fine mesh sieve + wooden spoon if you don’t have a chinois) to “juice” it. Set aside.

For the Stir-fry

When the cabbage leaf mixture is nearing the end of its cook time, place a large skillet or wok over medium heat and stir-fry cabbage, cashews, and raisins in vegetable oil of choice until cabbage is tender. Season to taste.

To Serve

Place the stir-fried julienne portion into individual deep plates or bowls, pour the juiced cabbage portion over the top and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve.

 

 

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Thanksgiving

It is here, and we are here to make your Thanksgiving simpler and less stressful. For the last 20 years we have been helping families enjoy the holiday more by trusting us to source their organically grown produce and through meal planning, allowing people to skip the hectic store shopping. There are two specific events in which our home delivery really saves you time and measurably lowers your stress level: 1) during Thanksgiving week and 2) just before a predicted snow storm! Well, we got the snow storms out of our system and now it is time to brace for the masses who will be heading to the grocery stores.  

Years ago, before I was a farmer, I worked in retail produce, both small boutique and large produce departments. I could almost predict the weather based on shopping patterns—for Thanksgiving, hang onto your hats, that was a wild ride trying to keep the shelves full. If I was lucky enough, I wouldn’t have to work the register and those never-ending lines.  I much prefer the life of a farmer and delivering fresh fruits and vegetables, especially during Thanksgiving. 

Our network of local producers and suppliers allows us to get you the freshest ingredients all year and Thanksgiving is no different except we will be squeezing 5 delivery days into 3 days. Yes, it is a little crazy for us, but not for you. Sit back, place your order, and we will do the rest. 

Food Banks

Every week of the year, Klesick’s, with your help, donates 20 boxes of good to area food banks which is in addition to the “end of the week” produce that is still useable but not up to our quality standards.

 We also have an opportunity to partner with local food banks for Thanksgiving. The Holidays are especially difficult for families in need. We partner with local food banks because:

1. We believe that access to good organic produce is not a privilege, but a basic right.

 2. We believe that local problems are best solved at the local level. 

3.  We have the relationships, the network and distribution system to make a difference in solving hunger at the local level.

Please consider partnering with us this Thanksgiving by purchasing one (or more) Holiday Donation boxes and we will do the rest. We will send you a tax receipt in January for your donations that you can deduct from your taxes.

 We are stronger together,

 

Tristan

Farmer/Health Advocate

 

 

Shop the Holiday Box here: 


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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. In doing research for this article I came across this article from Everyday Health. Cancer is complicated and if you or a someone you know is battling cancer, any type of cancer, you are in a fight. I have copied and pasted the opening paragraph from the article below.

A cancer diagnosis can often be directly linked to your family medical history, your lifestyle choices, and your environment. You can’t control your family medical history, and only some aspects of your environment are up to you. But lifestyle choices like diet, weight, activity level, and smoking are yours to manage.

“Preventive measures are so heavily underutilized by people. And yet they work. Everything in moderation really works”, says Richard R. Barakat, MD, chief of the gynecology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. (Emphasis mine)

Diseases like Cancer are heart-wrenching and emotionally, physically and financially devastating. I hate what it does to individuals and families. I know that hate is a strong word, but what Cancer does to an individual and their family is devastating.

At Klesick farms, we have a plan to come along side and help. Our Klesick Farms Cancer fighting plan is:

1.We believe in prayer. If you would like us to pray specifically for you or someone you know who is fighting Cancer (or anything else) Email Mike@klesickfarms.com. He organizes our prayer time and customer interactions. All of us care, but Mike is gifted when it comes to caring. Or you can use this link to submit a prayer request or share your story.

2. Everything we sell is a part of the solution. We don’t carry GMO products and 95% of what we provide is fruits and vegetables. Some customers have joined together to fund a Cancer Fighter’s account, so that they don’t have to shop or think about it. Home delivery is great way to come along side and add tangible help. Call us to set up an account for a friend, co-worker or family member. 360-652-4663

3. Lastly, we have discount program for families fighting cancer or heart disease. If you are in the fight of your life, let us know so we can add the health discount to your account. If you would like to donate towards this, we will make sure your donation gets applied to a family fighting Cancer. We are here to help and be a part of the solution.

 

 

Tristan

Farmer/Health Advocate

 

 

Support Healing Through Nutrition

$5 from each purchase goes to our Healing though Nutrition program.

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) we are offering Fruit Baskets with Pink Ribbons for $30 delivered to you or directly to the person you want to bless.

 Click Here to add a Basket

 

 

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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.

 

Tristan,
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!

Fennel
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.

 

Tristan

Farmer/Health Advocate