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20 Years: 1998-2018

It is hard to believe that it was back in 1998 that Klesick Farms first opened its doors. That was a long time ago! Since the first day of business our family has been providing and delivering organically grown produce. Our mission has always been your health and organic fruits and vegetables. And it has been a very rewarding run.

The Klesick family is a first-generation farm family. We wanted to farm and found a way to do it. We did it because of customers like you that wanted organically grown farm fresh produce delivered directly to your home. In 1998 home delivery was original, novel, and definitely “outside-the-box” type of thinking. In fact, when we started you were lucky to have dial up (my grandparents still had a “party” line), you couldn’t GOOGLE anything, and copiers were the size of a Ford Fiesta. To place an order for fresh produce you had to call the office or email us. You can still call or email us, but now you can also text, IM, DM or PM and we will get back to you!

Facebook what was that??? Instagram, Snapchat or Pandora, Spotify and Hulu. I thought Hulu hoops (wink) were something you rotated around your hips in P.E. class. I was never very good at that!

A lot has changed, but a few things still remain the same—we still deliver organically grown fruits and vegetables to local families and we still answer our phones.

Here is a fun fact. Since our first week of 50 home deliveries of fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables in 1998 we have delivered over 700,000 boxes of good food. That is amazing! That is over 2 million apples, 600,000 bunches of carrots and thousands of strawberries, blueberries, cherries etc. Farm fresh produce delivered to one family at a time over 20 years has had a huge impact on our communities’ health, your health and has blessed a lot of organic farm families.

#Celebrate20

To celebrate our 20 years of delivering farm fresh fruit and vegetables, we have a special offer for our existing customers and your friends. Between March 1 and March 20th (20 days) we are going to be giving you a $20 credit on your account for each friend that signs up for weekly or every other week delivery. If 5 friends sign up you will get $100 credit, 10 friends $200 credit. We will apply your credits immediately to your account and your friends will get their $20 new customer credit spread over their first 4 deliveries ($5/delivery).

Let your friends know that now is the time to sign up and remind them to mention your name in the referral box so you can get your $20 credit. Have them use the coupon code: CELEBRATE20 to redeem their gift.

 

Thank you for making 20 years of Klesick’s a reality and thank you in advance for telling your friends about Klesick’s Box of Good!

 

Tristan Klesick

Health Advocate, Farmer, and Small business owner for the last 20 years.

 

 

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Systems

Sometimes it just comes down to a system—like my morning routine. I get up at 5 a.m. (unless the dog was barking at 2, then I get up 5:15 :)) and head downstairs. This is the trickiest part of the day in our old farmhouse. The steps are small and steep, and my preference is to use the steps as steps, not a slide!

After I navigate the steps and am more awake, I put on my headphones and start listening to the Bible. At this point, I am ready for action! I get the teapot, fill it up, and turn it on. Next, I get the small pan, put in a little milk, maple syrup, coconut and Cacao powder and turn it up. Then I grind a few tablespoons of coffee from Camano Island Coffee Roasters. (Joelle, my wife, really likes the Papua New Guinea medium roast.) Now the tea pot is starting to get hot and so is the milk. I grab a coffee filter and the ceramic pour over container and put in the ground coffee (this is an important step, trust me :)) Next, I pour the milk into the cup, place the pour over container over it and start pouring the hot water.

While I am waiting for the coffee to pour through the filter, I start making the morning smoothies for the Kiddos. Just about the time the coffee is ready, the smoothies are almost ready as well. When I deliver the coffee to my wife, the first set of kiddos start to awaken and I am well on my way through a ½ dozen chapters of the Bible. I really like serving my family.

Klesick Farms operates in a similar way. Just like I want to deliver the freshest coffee to my wife every morning, I want to bring you the freshest ingredients so you can feed your family incredible produce, and drink the freshest roasted coffee and freshest milk.

Our team has spent 20 years improving our system. The goal has always been the same: get the freshest organically grown ingredients to you ASAP. When it comes to produce, we are easily 2 to 7 days fresher than the traditional grocery store model. Our coffee is roasted to order and our milk is from a family farm in Lynden who is committed to getting us the freshest milk, so we can get you the freshest milk.

We can accomplish being ultra-fresh because our passion is to serve you. We do everything on purpose. Your box of good food arrives at your door because we have a system that ensures your produce, your coffee, your milk get to your door as fresh as possible.

And, just around the corner, you will be getting locally grown produce within a few days of harvest as myself and other local growers fire up our tractors and start growing food. Fresh, healthy, convenient. That is a recipe for busy families to eat healthy and be healthy.

Farmer and Health Advocate,

Tristan Klesick

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Miss Moo, the Family Milk Cow

There was a time when the Klesick family had a milk cow, and not any cow, but a Jersey milk cow. Her name was Miss Moo. Jersey milk cows are smaller than Holsteins and their milk is slightly higher in butterfat, which makes it, dare I say, more flavorful. The milk wasn’t free though, for she had to be cleaned and brushed, and provided clean bedding and fresh hay, but in exchange she gave us rich nutritious milk twice a day, EVERY DAY! Hmm…thinking back to those days, I am not sure who the owner was, Miss Moo or me.

Oh Miss Moo—she was quite the character and loved to have her ears scratched. One of the kiddos referred to her as a real “lubber dubber.” Even though Miss Moo was a brown cow, she produced copious amounts of white milk. This totally shattered our young’uns’ hopes for chocolate milk, but they soon got over it, especially when we would make ice cream, yogurt, or cheese.

With non-homogenized milk, the cream really does rise to the top. This is often called a “cream plug.” The cream can be loosened and shaken back into the milk, but we would skim the cream plug off for a few days and then make butter from it. Every so often we would set out to make a little whipped cream, get a little over zealous, and, voila, we’d end up with butter instead :)! You can’t over shake the cream, unless you want some butter, that is.

A real family favorite was making “squeaky” cheese from our milk. We would heat up the whole milk, add a little lemon juice to help the milk curdle and form curds, drain off the whey, and salt the curds and enjoy. It is called squeaky cheese because, well, it sort of “squeaks” when you rub it between your fingers or bite it. I’ve included the recipe (below).

I often look back on those days with Miss Moo and fresh Jersey milk with fondness. Recently, Larry, from Twin Brook Creamery, asked if I would be willing to carry his milk. I paused and thought long and hard. I love that Twin Brook is pretty much a grass-based dairy, l love that the milk is ultra-fresh, I love that the milk is from Jerseys, I love that it is milk from one local herd and not a thousand herds, and I love that it is not homogenized. Although I am not a milkman, at the heart of Klesick Farms is good food, and the more local the better. So, after some serious thought, we added local milk delivery from a local dairy to our offerings.

Now, once again, I am making cheese and yogurt, but this time Larry gets to milk the cows. That is a fair trade in my book. Enjoy!

Farmer Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Squeaky Cheese

Ingredients:

2 quarts of milk

1/4 cup vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice

Butter muslin

Directions:

1. Heat the milk to 185 degrees F, then remove from heat.

2. Add the vinegar slowly while stirring, until curd forms. The milk will curdle almost immediately once the vinegar is added.

3. Once the milk has finished curdling, either skim the curds from the pot or strain them through a colander.

4. Tie the cords of the butter muslin together and hang the cheese where it can drain for several hours.

5. After draining you can either use it as is or go on to make queso blanco.

 

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes for the BBQ

Ingredients:

4 red potatoes, thinly sliced 1 large onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup butter, cubed Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat grill for medium heat.

2. Layer sliced potatoes on aluminum foil with the onion, garlic, basil, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Fold foil around the potatoes to make a packet.

3. Place potato packet on heated grill over indirect heat, and cook for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Turn over packet halfway through cooking.

-adapted from allrecipes.com

 

Know Your Produce: Potatoes

Add a little whole milk to our freshly dug potatoes and turn them into mashed potatoes for dinner this week and you will be in for a special treat.

This week we are digging extremely fresh potatoes from the farm. You will notice that the skins are not set on the potatoes and will easily rub off. Don’t be alarmed because this is normal for freshly dug spuds. The freshness also means that they won’t keep as long either.

I will often boil the spuds one day and make hash browns the next or a potato salad. My favorite way to eat them is cubed. For this, placed the cubed potatoes in an 9” x 12” baking pan with salt, pepper, parsley, and olive oil. Mix them up and bake at 425 degrees F. They rarely make it to the table in the Klesick household!

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Now Delivering: Farm-fresh Milk from Twin Brook Creamery

In case you missed it…here are the need-to-know details on fresh, local, all-natural dairy, delivered to you.

We’re now offering local milk products from Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden, Washington. You can now add whole, 2%, and 1% milk, half and half, and whipping cream to a regular delivery!

Shop the local dairy section here.

Order Deadlines:

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Friday before your delivery day.

Friday and Saturday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Wednesday before your delivery day.

Not sure what your delivery day is? See our delivery areas guide here.

Free delivery with a box of good order, or if you’re not getting a box of produce each week, our minimum order for free delivery is just $20. Consider adding your milk order on a weekly or bi-weekly rotation and you’ll never have to remember the milk again!

What you need to know:

Twin Brook Creamery products are:
  • All natural and GMO-free.
  • Local.
  • Non-homogenized.
  • No synthetic hormones used (such as RBST).
  • No commercial fertilizer or pesticides used on our grass fields or pastures.
  • Kosher certified.

Although Twin Brook Creamery is not certified organic, they produce a high quality natural product that is free from synthetic hormones (such as RBST) that artificially stimulate growth or milk production. Because they strive not to feed any GMO feeds to their cows, their grass fields and pastures are free from commercial fertilizers or pesticides, and any concentrate supplements they have to buy for their animals’ health, so as to give them a balanced diet, are non-GMO whenever possible (e.g., they use barley instead of corn as an energy source). Twin Brook Creamery strives to be the best possible stewards of the land, providing wildlife habitat and using the best management practices that are available.

Note: Leave your clean empty glass bottle(s) out on your next delivery day to avoid a $2 bottle fee.

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Savoring Summer

I am not going to be one of those people that starts lamenting the end of summer at the beginning of August, but I won’t lie – I’m feeling the end ticking nearer and nearer. Okay, so maybe I am one of those people, but rather than hosting a pity party and shedding tears that there weren’t enough tomatoes, days with sand in our toes, and sun on our faces, I’m going to do my best to soak up each day.

It’s probably no surprise that one of my favorite ways to savor the season is to eat of its bounty. So from here until the end of September, you will find me eating pounds and pounds of tomatoes, serving up slices of melon with a whisper of vanilla salt (just tried it last night for the first time and I’m never going back), picking blackberries off the wild vines, eating fresh peaches and letting their sweet juice drip down my arms and face.

We’ve had a pretty incredible summer this year and perhaps that’s why I’m already feeling a bit of sadness to see the days slip away so quickly, but what I’ve learned with seasons – any season in life – is that if you spend your time willing it to not pass, it won’t listen to you. I’d rather spend these days tucking away flavors and memories to recall when another season is upon us.

This recipe mingles all of my favorite flavors of summer into one bowl. It’s where sweet and savory collide into a flavorful salad filled with vinegar-spiked bread and a showering of fresh herbs. We really believe in the adage “What grows together, goes together” here, when peaches and tomatoes become fast friends. And it’s not just with this recipe—the next time you make the classic Caprese salad, try slipping in a few peach or nectarine slices there as well.

I hope that we all find the time to savor all that this season blesses us with. And may there be an endless supply of tomatoes and peaches until squash hits the basket.

Ashley Rodriguez

NotWithoutSalt.com

Award-winning food blogger

Author of Date Night In

 

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Peach Panzanella

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1 pint / 280 g cherry tomatoes, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 cups / 85 g 1⁄2-inch bread cubes from a rustic loaf

2 garlic cloves, minced, divided

1 peach, diced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chopped assorted herbs (I used basil, dill, mint, and tarragon)

1 cup baby arugula

1⁄3 cup / 60 g goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place half the pint of cherry tomatoes on the prepared sheet and toss with a generous pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through the cooking process. Cut the remaining cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.

3. Place the cubes of bread on a second parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 minced garlic clove. Toast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and completely crisp, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted tomatoes, remaining minced garlic clove, diced peach, vinegar, oregano, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gently toss to combine and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Finish the panzanella by adding the crisped and cooled bread cubes to the bowl, along with the herbs, unroasted tomatoes, and arugula. Toss well and let sit for 10 minutes so that the juices start to soften the bread, still leaving a crunch. If you prefer the bread a bit softer, you can let it sit for longer.

6. Finish with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

 

Know Your Produce: Summer Stonefruit Care

Stonefruit’s (peaches, nectarines, pluots, etc.) biggest enemy while ripening is moisture, coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered counter top or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen, which lessens the chance of them rolling and bruising.

To test for ripeness, gently press around stem – when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Never squeeze the sides of the fruit, as even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is most likely overripe.

Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Once refrigerated, plan to use within a day or two.

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Local Milk and Honey

We are excited to now offer local milk products from Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden, Washington. You can now add whole, 2%, and 1% milk, half and half, and whipping cream to your regular delivery. Twin Brook milk comes in old fashioned glass bottles, is non-homogenized (the cream rises to the top), is pasteurized using the low temperature vat pasteurization method, and is kosher. They process milk in their freshly renovated bottling facility from their own purebred registered Jersey cows. Jerseys produce milk with a higher protein and butterfat content, which greatly enhances the flavor.

Although Twin Brook Creamery is not certified organic, they produce a high quality natural product that is free from synthetic hormones (such as RBST) that artificially stimulate growth or milk production. Because they strive not to feed any GMO feeds to their cows, their grass fields and pastures are free from commercial fertilizers or pesticides, and any concentrate supplements they have to buy for their animals’ health, so as to give them a balanced diet, are non-GMO whenever possible (e.g., they use barley instead of corn as an energy source). Twin Brook Creamery strives to be the best possible stewards of the land, providing wildlife habitat and using the best management practices that are available.

You can find Twin Brook Creamery products on our website under the “Dairy” category. When ordering dairy products, please keep the following in mind:

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Friday before your delivery day.

Friday and Saturday customers: Orders are due by 8:00 a.m. the Wednesday before your delivery day.

We are also happy to once again offer local raw honey. Our honey is the product of hard working Snohomish County bees and Mike and Christa Miller of Sunshine Honey Company. The honey comes in 12 oz. and 25.6 oz. glass jars. We also offer certified organic honey from Brazil. Honey can be found on our website under the “Grocery” category and under “Sweetners.”

 

Farmer Tristan

 

 

 

Recipe: Greek Marinated Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are marinated with fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil to create a simple and delicious side dish. Great roasted or broiled as well.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant – sliced in ½ inch rounds

1 large zucchini – sliced on the diagonal

1 large (or 2 small) pattypan squash – sliced in ½ inch rounds

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves – grated

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch red chili flakes

¼ cup fresh mint – minced

¼ cup fresh oregano – minced

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat grill on medium-high heat.

2. Place eggplant, zucchini and pattypan squash in a large bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, chili flakes, mint and mint oregano. Pour mixture over the sliced vegetables and toss well to coat.

4. Grill vegetables until soft and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes flipping once halfway through.

Notes: Dried herbs work fine if you don’t have fresh on hand. Simply use half of the amount listed for fresh since dried herbs are more potent.

From Liz DellaCroce | TheLemonBowl.com

 

Know Your Produce: Summer Squash

here are numerous varieties of summer squash, ranging from dark green to bright yellow, long to stubby, smooth to lumpy to ridged. Unlike winter squash, these varieties of summer squash have soft, thin skin that is perfectly edible, with varying degrees of light to dense flesh. Some varieties are: zucchini, round zucchini, pattypan, crookneck, zephyr, cousa, tatuma, gourmet globe, tinda, and luffa.

Summer squash is technically not any one vegetable, but comprises many different cultivars of a few different species of edible plant. It also is actually classified as a fruit – a “pepo” or type of berry with a hard outer rind.

Summer squash can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a mild flavor that can range from sweet to nutty, and though the difference in flavor between varieties is subtle, it’s distinct. Summer squash can be grilled, steamed, boiled, sautéed, fried, or used in stir-fry recipes. They mix well with onions and tomatoes in vegetable medleys. Summer squash can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Some types of summer squash can give off a lot of moisture, so depending upon your recipe, you may need to blot grated or cut squash to absorb some of the moisture. Use them within three to four days of purchase for their best taste and texture.

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Local Solutions

When I have an opportunity to use my talents and resources, I jump on it! At Klesick Farms we are in the good food business – we grow, source and deliver good food to our local neighbors in Island, Skagit, Snohomish and King Counties. And each of these counties have hunger issues and together we are a part of the solution.

Our part of the solution has been to deliver local food to the food banks through our Neighbor Helping Neighbor (NHN) program. Year-to- date, through your partnership, Klesick Farms has sent over 384 of our $28 boxes of good food to local food banks.

I am now adding a new partner to our NHN giving program – The Everett Recovery Café. While technically not a food bank, they are also serving a group of our local neighbors. The Everett Recovery Café “is a community of healing, purpose, and hope. This safe haven from the streets provides an ongoing base of support for men and women who have suffered trauma, homelessness, addiction and/or mental health challenges. As these men and women contribute to the café community and develop relationships with peers and staff, they establish stability in housing, mental and physical health, relationships, education and employment.”

If you would like to help us extend a helping hand to the Everett Recovery Café or to the 8 other food banks (Everett, Oak Harbor, Anacortes, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Arlington) you can schedule regular donation and we will do the rest. Your regular $28 partnership accomplishes a lot:

  1. Our less fortunate neighbors, who avail themselves of the food bank system, receive high quality fruits and vegetables, instead of the culled, lesser quality produce.
  2. The farmers we work with get to grow and sell more from their farms to help feed local families. This is a big deal. Our NHN food bank boxes have an average of 10 different items in them. For an example, year-to-date, with your purchases, we have sent over 10 extra cases of apples, 16 extra cases of lettuce, etc. Those are real numbers to a farmer and real food to local family!
  3. Klesick Farms matches every 4th box that is donated by you.
  4. We send a year end tax statement for you to deduct your donation.
  5. But most important, your gift of one of our NHN boxes is a gift of compassion and care to local folks who are our neighbors in need.

Our NHN program is one reason why we use the tag line a box of good!

Farmer Tristan

Learn more about the Everett Recovery Café here.

Know Your Produce: Baby Bok Choy

Bok Choy, a member of the cabbage family, has been cultivated by the Chinese for over 5,000 years. Besides China, it is also grown in California and Canada.

Bok choy is high in nutrition, containing several minerals, including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and vitamins A, C, K, and a wide spectrum of B-complex vitamins.

Do not wash bok choy until you are ready to use it. Unwashed, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to six days.

Besides being used in stir fries, bok choy can also be added to soups for a delicate flavor, pickled for a refreshing appetizer, grilled or sautéed as a delicious accompaniment.

 

Recipe: Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

8 oz. cornbread, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup cubed fontina cheese (can substitute gouda)

1/2 cup cubed cucumber

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Toss gently to combine.
  • Place in a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe from foodnetwork.com courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

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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%
Vitamins
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%
Electrolytes
Sodium 10 mg <1%
Potassium 375 mg 8%
Minerals
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%
Phyto-nutrients
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,

 

tristan-sign

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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.

 

tristan-sign