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Mobility

Thank you for all the kind comments and outpouring of care expressed over the last few weeks. The gift of movement is much more appreciated by this farmer than ever before.  Essentially, I can walk pain free, but can’t kneel or climb stairs, and while I am waiting for the MRI results, I have adapted to farming with limited mobility. 

Once I understand the problem better, I will make the best choice going forward. Initially, when my knee locked up, I went into full rest mode hoping that it would heal quickly. After a few weeks of therapy, icing and rest with very little progress, I pursued an MRI. As I was resting and learning to drive an office chair ?, I realized that I was able to get around better with the limited mobility. So that is what I am doing.

If you check out our Instagram or Facebook page, you are probably aware that the farming portion of our business is about to explode. We have been primarily harvesting Lettuce, but now we are going to be adding Sugar Snap peas, Chards, and Bok Choy. Beans, Raspberries, and Blackberries are close also. This is the absolute best time to be a farmer and the absolute worst time to be LAME! But here I am. 

The hardest part for me is actually thinking in advance. There is so much that has to be done now and a lot of it gets decided the day of.  Decisions like: Do we save the Kohlrabi from being swallowed by weeds or do we trellis the peas? What time should we transplant the next round of cabbages and cukes—this evening or tomorrow? Or remember that we need to direct seed the 4th planting of beans so that we will have something to harvest in August. Don’t forget to pay attention to the Garlic. It is getting close and it is beautiful.

All these things are coursing through my mind as I WALK the fields wishing I could just jump right in and do SOMETHING! But I do have a new farm crew and they are quick learners. They can discern between pig weed and chard and thornless blackberries and blackberries with thorns. These are important skills. I am learning how to manage and be less of a doer. It is not an easy transition, because I love to farm, but, it is a necessary transition as I get older.

It is comforting to know that it takes four teenagers to REPLACE me (SMILE).  Not really. We are getting way more work done than I could by myself. I am also comforted that for the two weeks I was less active, Klesick’s kept humming along.

Our team, every one of them, is incredibly talented! This has made my ultimate goal of serving you by delivering organically grown farm fresh produce that moves the needle on your personal health uninterrupted.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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A Family Farm

Every farm at one time was a family farm. But along the way, farming became more business-like and less farm-like. Don’t get me wrong, farming has a bottom line and to stay in business a farm has to make a profit. What changed though? When did our food become so impersonal? It’s just lettuce, or tomatoes, or?

Just lettuce, for example, takes a year in the making. The lettuce seed farmer has to grow the lettuce plant to produce seeds, clean the seeds, and then package the seeds. Then a lettuce farmer has to buy the seeds, fertilize the fields, and plant the lettuce seeds. Then about 6-10 weeks later that farmer gets to harvest the lettuce and sell it to a thankful customer. But because our farming regions are further and further from urban centers, we are losing touch with the farming industry that is essential for life.

As a farmer I am in awe that food is so readily available and that we have so much local food available. The Puget Sound/Salish Sea area of Western WA has a robust local farm economy. We are blessed with so many smaller farms, surrounded by larger farms – dairies and berries. The whole system is interwoven and supported by tractor dealers, farm suppliers, veterinarians, food processors, etc.

To feed people you need farmers and farmers need land. Thankfully, much of Western Washington farmland is in flood plains—AKA not good places to build houses. These rich alluvial soils that are some of the most productive in the world are right here in our own backyard! This same farmland is a multi-benefit landscape providing many other benefits to our local communities. In addition to local food and food security, local farms store flood water, filter water from the hillsides and cities before it gets to the rivers and estuaries, provide open space and lots of habitat for a host of non-human critters too.

But what makes all these direct and indirect benefits of local farmland possible? A willing consumer and a willing farmer that have developed a mutually beneficial and meaningful relationship. For us, local customers are the reason we are farming. Because of you we grow food—organic, non-polluted food—that nourishes you, your family and indirectly benefits the entire local ecosystem. You might say that having local farmland farmed by local families is a win for you, the farmer and the local eco system.

 

Growing food for you,

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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Breathe

There is a brief lull in the action coming my way soon. Most of our first plantings are in. Round two for the beans, summer squash, and corn will start in another week. Also, we are seeing blossoms on some of the early sugar snap peas! I am thinking that probably next week we will have a lighter load before we start harvesting lettuce, weeding everywhere, and more plantings.

A few years ago, I planted a new blackberry variety called Black Diamond. This season is its first fruiting and it is way earlier than I expected. I also grow some Doyle blackberries and they come on considerably later than the raspberries, but I am thinking that the Black Diamonds may be earlier than the raspberries—time will tell.

Why did I plant blackberries? Because I like them! And I also like not having to fight with the wild blackberries that engulf a mile of my property line. The Black Diamond is a “thorn less” variety that I can contain, farm, and harvest much more reliably. Harvest is an important consideration. It is hard enough trying to find farm help and it is even harder to find farm help to pick wild blackberries!

Blackberries and raspberries also grow upright and this older 6’ 2” frame of mind appreciates harvesting while standing up. This provides a nice break because practically everything else we grow on our farm is grown and harvested at ground level (e.g., lettuce, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, etc.)

The local season is upon us and local food will be finding its way into your boxes of good food from now on!

Enjoy!

Farmer Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved

1 bunch baby spinach, trimmed

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with juice

2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked (substitute with rice for gluten free option)

Directions:

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

2. Add the olive oil and heat.

3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove the chicken and set aside.

5. To the same pan, add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Remove from the pan and set aside.

7. Lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

8. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes.

9. Place the couscous in a serving bowl.

10. Top with the spinach, chicken and balsamic-tomato sauce.

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe from foodnetwork.com

 

Know Your Produce: Bartlett Pears

Did you know that Bartlett Pears contain probiotic benefits that support your gut health? New research has found that pears can balance beneficial gut bacteria. Check our blog this week for more info on the benefits of pears!

Ripened pears can be used at once or put under refrigeration (35º to 45º F) until you want to use them. Refrigeration will delay further ripening but will not stop it altogether, giving you adequate time to include fresh pears in your menu planning. Remember, pears need to ripen at room temperature, so don’t refrigerate an unripe pear!

A ripe pear is a sweet pear. A little known fact about the pear is that it is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree. The pear is harvested when it is mature, but not yet ripe, and, if left at room temperature, it slowly reaches a sweet and succulent maturity as it ripens from the inside out.

Store: Place under ripe pears in a fruit bowl at room temperature near other ripening fruit like bananas, which naturally give off ethylene and will help speed up the ripening process. And if you find yourself with a few too many overripe pears, blend them into smoothies, soups, sauces and purees!

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Creamy Homestyle Veggie Soup

Soup weather is here to stay! This week’s box of good contains a staple soup ingredient: Celery. Celery is an often-neglected veggie, but it tastes absolutely delicious in soups, especially in a poultry or vegetable-based broth. Avoid letting it slip out of sight and out of mind in your vegetable drawer: rinse, slice and dice, then add it in as the star of this tasty soup!

Recipe adapted from: The Daring Gourmet

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) OR 1 medium leek, greens removed, white parts well-rinsed, and finely chopped
  • 2 cups celery, very finely chopped (about 5 large stalks, organic recommended for optimal flavor).
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • About 2 purple carrots OR parsnips, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1½ cups whole milk (or use ¾ cup milk and ¾ cup cream for even tastier results)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste (if you use a low-sodium broth, you may need to add more salt)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, optional, for garnish

Pairing Suggestion

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat and cook the onions (or leeks if using), celery and until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots (or parsnips if using) and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Increase the heat and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, add the milk/cream and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat, dish into soup bowls and garnish with optional parsley. Serve alongside warm or toasted slices of buttered bread. Enjoy!
  2. If using this soup as a base for other recipes, this soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.

Notes

One batch of this soup is roughly the equivalent (in quantity) of 2 cans canned condensed cream of celery soup. Enjoy as a stand-on-its-own soup or you may use in any recipe calling for prepared canned condensed cream of celery soup.

If you’d like this soup to be thicker, use an immersion blender or food processor to process part or all of fully cooked soup (working quickly, to keep hot soup from cooling off too fast) until desired consistency is reached and then serve with garnishes.

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An Eagle, Fog, Dew…and a Farmer.

As a farmer, the seasons are ingrained into my psyche. Day length, temperature, dew, clouds, every element, every nuance speaks to my soul.

One morning last week the moon was just hovering above the cottonwoods, a light fog was lifting, and the sun was just about to crest above the Cascades when I entered this predawn scene. As I stepped out of the old white farmhouse into a new day, I came into the beauty of the Stillaguamish River Valley—its stillness, quietness, and peacefulness. I was alone with my Creator in His creation, basking in all of it.

Stepping off the front porch and taking a few more steps towards the west, there was that brilliant globe suspended above the tree line. I stopped, mesmerized by its beauty and my smallness in it.

Not more than 100 feet above was a bald eagle circling. The same sun that illuminated the moon caught the bald eagle’s white head glistening as it glided through the fog. Its majestic wingspan and silhouette were shimmering with every turn, around and around, lower and lower, filled with grace and power, effortlessly sifting through the predawn sky.

Just at the tip of the tree line the bald eagle straightened out and sailed through the trees. At that moment I, too, returned to my home at peace, excited for what this day would bring.

An eagle, fog, dew, and the early morning dance of the moon and sun. As a farmer, moments like this speak to my soul. They remind me that I am the steward of this farm. My purpose is to balance growing food for you and for all the other creatures that call this place home. This is my work, this is my passion.

tristan-sign

Tristan Klesick

 

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Too Big To Fail

That was the battle cry of DC when the economy collapsed in ‘08. Yet, the large greedy financial institutions were then rewarded with a bailout, while many Americans lost their investments or jobs or homes. It feels like Congress is adopting a similar attitude towards Monsanto and other proponents of GMO technology.

The House of Representatives has passed the DARK Act in favor of protecting GMO companies from each individual state working on this issue. Why does a $15,000,000,000.00 (yes that is right, a $15 billion company) need legislative help to compete in a free market system? Congress is wrong to enter this fight on behalf of Monsanto and the other GMO companies.

If Congress really wants to clarify the issue, they should require labeling and give citizens the right to know instead of protecting GMO companies. Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association could then spend their money advertising trying to build their case to the public for why GMO’s are safe.

I am not proposing a label that bludgeons companies that manufacture GMO’s or food manufacturers that use GMO products in their ingredients. I believe that a simple addition of an * to each GMO ingredient on the label with the note “*Genetically Modified” located at the bottom is all that’s needed. That’s it!  Simple, straightforward, honest!

I believe that this is what Congress should be doing, then allow the American people to decide what they want to eat.

The labeling issue has important long term ramifications for our nation’s health and the future of farming. Therefore, our senators should temper the House of Representatives’ appetite to protect GMO companies and not pass their version. Instead, labeling GMO’s should be the law of the land.

Please contact your senators today and let them know that you would like them to not pass the DARK Act. Also, if you agree with my idea for labeling please let them know that as well.

Senator Maria Cantwell

425-303-0114

Senator Patty Murray

425-259-6515

 

Thank you.

 

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We're Digging!

Last week, Joelle and I and a few kiddos went out for our usual walk on the farm.  We started out at the sunflowers, headed over to winter squash, then grazed on a few raspberries, and checked out the pears, plums, apples and potatoes.  The potato plants looked ready for harvest, so we pulled up a few plants and WOW! We dug reds, yellows, and purples. The yellows, which you are getting this week, were the most ready.

We always like to dig a few potatoes right away. When you dig potatoes early, the skins tend to be “loose” or not “set”.  Our normal strategy is to dig a few rows early in the season and let the remaining potatoes “set” their skins. It takes about six weeks from when we mow the tops of the potatoes to start the process. Mowing the tops stops the growth and sends a signal to the plant to get ready for winter.

I am thoroughly amazed at the earliness of the potato crop this season. The plants didn’t grow as large as I usually expect, but the flavor is outstanding and the quality matches it. If you are new to Klesick’s, these potatoes are like nothing you will ever see in the grocery store. The skins will be loose or flakey because, as mentioned earlier, these are ultra-Klesick Farm fresh.

We like our potatoes cut into small pieces, 1 inch x ½ inch, and oven roasted at 425 °F with a little olive oil and salt. Simply delicious!

Potatoes_Farm

The Nature Conservancy

This weekend the Nature Conservancy is hosting an open house at the Port Susan Bay Preserve. If you have time check it out. The Port Susan Bay Preserve is beautiful and serene, truly a treasure and I am glad that it has been preserved for generations to come. If it works into your schedule come on out and enjoy the Stillaguamish River Valley.

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Progress. One Bite At A Time.

This week we start delivering to the Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and Inglewood communities on Wednesdays. And on Thursday we are going to be delivering to North Seattle or 145th Street North to Snohomish County.

This is very exciting news for us here at Klesick Farms. For the last 17 years we have been growing, sourcing, and delivering only organically grown fruits and vegetables. We haven’t deviated from our mission or our message of helping growers stay on the land and helping our customers eat well.

We are passionate about healing our Nation through farming and believe that the health of our Nation is tied to the health of our food supply and helping more customers eat healthy food is a big part of the solution.

Over the years, what was a dream to be a family farm became a good food community; a community of passionate growers and urban allies, working together to build a better food system for future generations. This is a community of folks who believe that the environment and farming can do more than coexist, the two can thrive together. Folks who see the through ruse of the GMO proponents and believe that world can be fed using organic growing practices AND SHOULD BE!

I love what we do, I love that we have done it every day, with every delivery to every customer for so many years. We believe that by working in unison, Klesick Farms, our growers, and you, we are making a difference locally and beyond.

And as a local good food community we are also a part of a larger difference that is being played out in communities across America and the world.

We are turning the tide of a corporate driven food system one bite at a time.

 

Farmer Tristan

 

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Join Me in Protecting the Integrity of Our Food Supply

Locally, we have been fighting to preserve farmland and now I need your help to convince our two Congress Representatives to vote NO on HR1599: the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. This bill essentially prevents states from adopting their own GMO laws and REVERSES any laws that have already passed. That is the wrong kind of leadership on this issue.

The anti-GMO community is calling this the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know Act).  I have spoken with Congressman Rick Larsen and Congresswoman Suzan Delbene’s office and neither of them are committing at this time on which way they are going to vote. The vote is in two days – I know how I would vote!

Please click on the link and express your opinion. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday. Also, please share this and let’s let our representatives know that GMO’s are not the future and should not receive preferential treatment from the federal government. ASK them to vote NO on HB 1599, aka the DARK Act.

 

Tristan

 

 

Act Now on GMO Labeling to Stop the “DARK” Act

Contact your Representative in Congress today!

From the National Organic Coalition 

The innocuously named HR 1599: the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act has been dubbed the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right-to-Know Act) by members of the good food movement. The DARK Act will be voted on in Congress next week.

The DARK Act will:

  • Prevent states from adopting their own GMO labeling laws and reverse laws that have already passed.
  • Prevent state or county laws regulating GMO crops.
  • Prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring companies to label GMO ingredients and instead continue a “voluntary” labeling policy. In 14 years, not one company has voluntary labeled products containing GMO ingredients.

Take action now to stop the DARK Act!

  1. Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask for your Representative’s office where you can leave her or him a message.
    Click here to find out who your Representative is.
  2. Click here to send an email: Tell Congress to oppose the DARK Act and support mandatory GE food labeling!

Below is some sample language for your message to your Representative.
Please customize this to fit your voice.

Please oppose HR 1599 (the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”). Congress should focus on the labeling solutions that Americans are asking for – not legislation written by and for big food and chemical companies that only serves to keep Americans in the dark.

You may also thank legislators who have come out against the Dark Act and for labeling:

Chris Gibson of New York
Peter DeFazio of Oregon
Barbara Boxer of California

For more information, and to send a message today, click here.

GMO food labeling is important to Americans, with over 90% consistently supporting transparency in the marketplace. In 2013 and 2014 there were over 70 GMO labeling bills introduced across 30 states, with laws being passed in Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

View this post on Cornucopia.org

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Klesick now serves Shoreline & Inglewood Communities

We have exciting news! We are expanding our delivery zones to serve Shoreline and Inglewood communities next week!

Let your friends, co-workers, and family know that we are now offering a box of good to the Inglewood/Bothell communities to 116th St. on Wednesdays and to the North Seattle/Shoreline communities down to NE 145th St. (Hwy 523) on Thursdays.

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, due to the disappointing vote from The Snohomish County Council a few weeks ago, concerning farmland preservation, I am now working on a different strategy. If the county won’t help us preserve farmland, we will have to do it ourselves – one intentional bite at a time. The strategy is simple: deliver more fruits and vegetables from local farms to local eaters.

Throughout this last year we have been preparing to expand our delivery service and areas in order to build strong bonds between local farmers and local customers.

In October we moved into a new packing facility in Stanwood, nearer to our farm and to other farms that we work closely with in the region. At that time we added more infrastructure to better serve local farmers and you, our customers. We added additional cooler space and freezer space as well as expanding our packing capacity.

Last month we expanded our delivery days from 4 days to 5 days.

Last week we updated our shopping cart to be more mobile-friendly than ever. Ordering organic, local, and GMO-free produce just got easier.

This brings you a fun referral opportunity: For every person you refer from anywhere, you will receive a free bar of Theo Chocolate and your name will be entered for a chance to win a free two-night stay at the beautiful La Conner Channel Lodge.

Farmer Tristan