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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/26/18)

Pluots

STORE: ripe pluots in the refrigerator for up to three days.

PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum x apricot).

Cauliflower

Containing unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, cauliflower is also very easy to add your diet. It’s tasty, easy to prepare and can replace high-carb foods in recipes. Cauliflower can be chopped up and added to salad or soup, roasted in the oven, tossed in a stir fry, boiled and pureed as a stand-in for mashed potatoes or to make a creamy soup, baked into a pizza crust as a flourless alternative, or simply eaten raw. You don’t even have to cut it up. Try baking it whole by simply cutting off the leaves and stem so it can sit upright, baste in olive oil, salt and spices of your choice, and bake on a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet at 450° for about 45-60 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily. Because of its mild flavor, cauliflower goes well in spicy dishes or curries as it soaks up all the other flavors

 

Eggplant

Larger globe eggplants should be peeled and salted before cooking. To peel, use a small knife or peeler and cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some of the peel still intact to help hold its shape when cooking. Then cut into slices or cubes. The most important step is to “sweat” the eggplant. This helps in getting the best flavor and consistency (helps it not be bitter). Do this by tossing in a generous amount of salt and leaving in a colander for about an hour, then squeeze dry. Rinse well under cold water and completely dry by squeezing them between a towel. To cook you can grill, bake or sauté.

 

Featured Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts

The eggplant soaks up lots of flavor from the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness. Toss it all together with chewy quinoa and you’ve got a satisfying whole-grain salad to enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, or about 3 cups cooked

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chile pepper, optional

1 teaspoon minced hot green chile such as serrano, optional

3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or more as needed

3/4 teaspoon dried mint, preferably spearmint, optional

For the salad:

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (less than 1/4 inch)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.

To prepare the quinoa, add the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and dried chile to a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the grain is tender with a slight chew, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and chile, drain if needed, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the minced chile, Aleppo pepper, and dried mint and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the eggplant and the onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and combine well, using your hands. If you don’t mind the extra dish, it’s a bit easier to toss everything in a large bowl.

Roast the mixture until the eggplant pieces have softened and are browned in spots, and the onion slices have caramelized, turning them once with a spatula in between, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the fresh mint and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Toss well with a spatula — this will soften the mint leaves and take the sting out of the vinegar.

To finish, add the warm eggplant mixture to the quinoa. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar and toss to combine. Season with salt and vinegar to taste. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mint and the pine nuts and serve.

 

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/5/18)

Melons, Cantaloupe      

Cantaloupe provide a range of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and electrolytes which have been shown to have multiple health benefits. Two types of powerful antioxidants in cantaloupe (carotenoids and cucurbitacins) have been linked with the prevention of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. They help to stop free radical damage within the body and slow the aging process. —dr.axe.dom

Storage and Eating: They may look hardy, but melons can perish quickly if not kept in the refrigerator. Keep ripe melons away from other fruit so that the ethylene gas that they produce does not speed up the fruit’s ripening. Uncut ripe melons should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out ripe fruit and then freeze to add to smoothies.

Green Cabbage

Cabbage has the highest amount of some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables – phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes. Research has shown these compounds to protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. They also help lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad cholesterol” levels in blood, which can build up in arteries and cause heart disease. —foodfacts.mercola.com

Eat it: Cabbage is a handy thing to have around. There are endless opportunities to use it up. You can add it to “just about anything” veggie-wise. Make cabbage “shavings” by first cutting the cabbage in half, then simply shaving off pieces from along the edges. Also, if you’re like me and rarely use a whole cabbage in one sitting, keep the cut edges from drying out by rinsing and storing in a sealed plastic bag.

Featured Recipe: Cabbage Salad

This delicious, filling comes from the one by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. This combination of greens, seeds and currants will fill you up quickly and keep you full.

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups green cabbage, grated (approx. ½ cabbage)

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dried currants or cranberries

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp unhulled sesame seeds

For dressing:

1/3 cup almond or hemp milk

1 apple, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Mix all salad ingredients together.

In a high-powered blender, blend almond/hemp milk, apple, cashews and vinegar and toss with salad.

Garnish with currants and lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/29/18)


plumsPlums

Your plums will continue to ripen once off the tree. Simply leave them on the counter away from the sun. When ripe, store unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days. If stored in the refrigerator, remove your plums (same goes for pluots) before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks. Use them as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated for fruit snacks or make into jam.

Roma Tomatoes

Store tomatoes in a single layer at room temperature and away from direct light. Refrigerate only after slicing, as refrigeration makes tomatoes lose their flavor. Romas are great for cooking (especially soups and sauces) as they don’t have the seeds and excess water that many other tomatoes tend to come with. You can also eat them raw, roasted, fried, or broiled; they are great paired with a little olive oil and salt, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta. And yes, you can totally freeze those extra tomatoes for fresh flavor all year (slice first).

Featured Recipe : Niçoise Salad with Frisée

“This salad from the South of France is a meal on its own and you vary endlessly with the ingredients. This one is made with Frisée which adds a slightly bitter touch. A perfect companion to the other ingredients of the Niçoise like green beans, tomatoes and anchovies.” — lovemysalad.com

Check out more great info on Frisee from the front page of this week’s newsletter, HERE.

Ingredients:

1 Frisée lettuce

2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced

3-4 whole green onions, roots removed, sliced into thin rings

0.75 lb. green beans or haricot verts

handful of black olives such as Kalamata

4 hardboiled eggs

2 cans of tuna in oil, drained (feel free change this up: top with smoked or baked salmon instead)

8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

Instructions:

Put a large pan of salted water on medium high heat. Rinse the green beans and cut of the stem of each bean.

When the water boils add the green beans and cook them just until al dente. Rinse with cold water and let them cool.

Wash and dry the frisée and divide over 4 plates. Cut the tomatoes and eggs in wedges.

Divide onion, cooled green beans, artichoke hearts, olives and eggs over the frisée.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and divide the dressing over the salad.

Divide the tuna (or salmon) chunks and anchovy fillets over the plates and serve with a lemon wedge.

 

Recipe adapted from lovemysalad.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/22/18)

Kale:

As a salad, kale keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. Kale can be a little tricky because it tends to be a bit tough and sometimes bitter (it gets bitter as it ages, so plan to eat within 5 days).

Tips for making a tasty kale salad: make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!); Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and makes it so it’s evenly covered.

For the dressing, I like to use a combination of vinegar and olive oil. Once you have prepped your kale and worked in the dressing, add your toppings. Try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Radicchio:

You can add to a mixed salad (see recipe below) or opt to savor them alone with the simplest of olive-oil dressings. Or, you can cook radicchio; the tonic bitterness is a good contrast to rich or fatty flavors. Radicchio is good braised, grilled, or in a soup. Store: keep radicchio in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 

Featured Recipe: Spring Pea, Asparagus, Kale & Quinoa Salad w/Kale Pesto

Finding asparagus and peas in your box of good is a sure sign that it is spring. “The pesto really takes it to the next level and this recipe makes about twice what you will need so feel free to enjoy the next day on your avo toast, breakfast salad w/ fried eggs or on pasta. Mmm all so good.” —caraskitchen.net

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE PESTO

4-6 leaves kale, de-stemmed, chopped

1/4 Cup walnuts or pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil, more for smoother pesto

1 medium lemon, juiced and zested

1/4 Cup cilantro, leaves and stems

Pinches salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE SALAD

1 Cup (heaping) asparagus chopped in 1-inch pieces

3/4 Cups green peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 Cup mini bell peppers, thinly sliced on an angle

4 Cups salad greens (kale, red leaf lettuce, radicchio)

3 Cups cooked quinoa, rice, or pasta

1/4 Cup cilantro chopped (any fresh spring herb will work like basil or mint)

1 medium lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 avocado, cut in cubes

Chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions:

Make the pesto: De-stem kale and put everything into a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds. scrap down the sides and continue to pulse 30 more seconds. Scrape down sides again and then turn on high until desired consistency is reached.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Create and ice bath with ice cubes and water, set aside.

Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces, measure out 1 heaping cup full. Once water is boiling add in the peas and asparagus and blanch. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and once bright green transfer to ice bath using a slotted spoon.

In a large bowl combine your salad greens, lemon zest and juice, oil, quinoa, peppers, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste if desired and toss to evenly coat.

Add in asparagus, peas, avocado cubes and a couple big dollops of pesto. Divide amongst plates. This would be great with fried eggs, salmon or baked tofu.

 

Adapted from recipe by caraskitchen.net

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How Can I and Why Can’t I?

How am I ever going to lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds? Losing weight is a fairly simple mathematical equation—calories burned minus calories consumed. Calories are a measure of energy. The more energy you use the more calories you need to fuel your body and conversely, the less energy you use the less fuel your body needs to operate. So, in a sense, one could choose Bariatric surgery, wire their jaw shut, or eat only grapefruit and lose weight.

But is losing weight the real goal? Granted if we lose weight we will probably have better health numbers and being overweight or obese is a leading indicator for Prediabetes, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease…. So, in real sense losing weight is important. I would contend that when we say we would like to lose weight or need to lose weight, we are really saying, we need to be healthier. And for the most part if we are skinnier, we would be healthier.

Perhaps we could amend the question by saying, “We need to lose 10lbs, so we will be healthier.” That is a good reason to lose weight. And if you read last week’s newsletter, “To Serve or Be Served” you will remember that Americans and the world are not on a healthy trendline. Which means that the healthier folks are going to have to serve a lot more folks who are unhealthy.

But why is it so hard to lose weight so we can be healthy? I have been wrestling with that question for years. I know that I “bought” into eating the organic version of the Standard American Diet AKA SAD, but it was only minorly better than the nonorganic version of the Standard American Diet. It wasn’t until last October that I finally understood the forces that were at work to prevent me from being healthier. I picked up a copy of the book Brightline Eating by Susan Pierce Thompson. She explained why so many of us struggle with weight loss and how you can win with food.

Is Brightline perfect for everyone? Mostly. I do believe that the information, tools and strategies are helpful and have helped me lose 25 pounds and keep them off through the Holiday Gauntlet of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter and numerous birthday celebrations.

Having the science behind why it can be so hard to lose weight and get healthy was invaluable and then having a strategy to eat the right amount of food and the right foods was essential. Without a food plan/strategy it is almost impossible to compete with Grocery Manufacturers of America and their advertising campaigns. The GMA is not concerned about your health, they are concerned about the health of their bottom line.

But we don’t have to play their game, we get to choose. I have a plan for my food and to be as healthy as possible as for as long as possible. My plan looks like vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and high-quality proteins—both plant and meat—plus drinking water and getting exercise. This is my strategy to get and remain healthy, and those extra 25lbs I lost were a nice perk!

 

Thank you,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 11/26/17)

 

Kiwi

Kiwi is most commonly eaten as is by cutting in half and spooning out the inside, but it can also make a great addition to breakfast food, salad or dessert. It can be used in smoothies (try with bananas and avocado), as a topping for granola and yogurt or cereal, or as a decorative and delicious addition to pie or meringue. It makes a great addition to fruit salad or even a green salad if you’re feeling adventurous.

Why it’s GOOD for you: Kiwi is high in Vitamin C (per 100 grams you get 154 % of Vit. C— almost twice that of lemons and oranges), folate, and zinc, so it’s a great fruit to eat during the cold-season months. Vitamin C acts as powerful antioxidant, eliminating free radicals that could cause inflammation or cancer. It also helps in boosting the immunity of the body against harmful pathogens.

Green Cabbage

Try it: sauté cabbage with the portabella mushrooms in this week’s box. Cabbage and mushrooms go well together. In order to pep up sautéed cabbage, add a few sautéed mushrooms and voila! You’ve turned an ordinary side dish into a tasty concoction. Feel free to add a few snips of a favorite fresh herb to this, for example, dill would be great, as would thyme, but maybe not together. ?

Why it’s GOOD for you: a multi-layered veggie parcel and powerhouse of vitamins and minerals! Its high content of Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, E, C, K, calcium, iron, iodine, potassium, sulphur, phosphorus and foliate makes it a superhero among the category of leafy vegetables. In the Far-Eastern regions, on an average each person consumes about a pound of fresh leafy-cabbage class vegetables per day; either in the form of raw greens, in stews or as pickled (kimchi, sauerkraut).

 

 

Featured Recipe: Stuffed Sunburst Squash

You can modify this recipe and adjust the ingredients to fit your taste. You can use many different kinds of vegetables or proteins for the filling, and add additional herbs and seasonings if you like. Some good additions are chopped nuts, carrots, green onion, riced cauliflower, fresh thyme or green chiles. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

 

4 Small Sunburst Squash

1 Cup of Shredded Chicken (or leftover turkey!)

1 Cup Spinach (or kale, or chard) Leaves

1/2 cup celery (optional, but great if you’re trying to use leftovers), finely chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 Chopped Onion

1 Minced Clove of Garlic

2 Tablespoons Oil (EVOO, or Sunflower)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1 inch of water into a wide skillet, bring to a simmer.
  2. While you’re waiting for the water, slice a small portion of the ends off each squash. This will allow easier access to scoop them out, and also give them a ‘foot’ to stand on.
  3. When the water is ready, add the squash and let cook for five minutes on each side.
  4. When time has elapsed, remove from the water and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Empty the water and dry your pan. Return it to the stove set on a burner at medium-high heat. Add your choice of oil and let it heat up (don’t allow it to get so hot it smokes – there’s no need for it to be so hot is scorches).
  6. In the meantime, scoop out the squash cavities. Save all that scooped out flesh! Use a clean towel to squeeze out the water left in the squash flesh. Chop them up and add them to the veggies in the next step.
  7. Sauté the onion, mushrooms, celery, pepper, and squash until they just start to turn a golden color (4-5 minutes), then add your minced garlic. Cook for 30 more seconds and remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Once cooled off slightly, add the spinach, chicken or turkey and 1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper! (Alternately, you can place squashes on a sheet pan under a broiler in the oven for up to 1 minute or until cheese is melted.)

 

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Food is Culture

Does our food define us? Does it define us as a family, a community, a state, a nation? Can we define our culture by the food we eat? If we could, what would that tell us? These are not easy questions to answer. And, what kind of answers would we give to these questions? Types of food? How we prepare the food? How often we eat? By our health numbers like blood pressure, insulin spikes, or cholesterol? Or, by cancer, obesity, or mental health?

In many ways Americans have access to the healthiest food systems anywhere. For one, because we have a lot of resources. For another, because of the many different ethnic influences that have shaped this nation. Oh, the choices. Every ethnic group has brought a part of their culture and food with them and today, because of our global economies, we have access to it. And, I believe, our taste palette likes the new flavors and our mind is excited to try new things.

Of course, if we are what we eat, then our health will also inform us as to what we believe about food. Everyone I know believes that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables. Everyone I know also knows, and correctly, that a whole host of today’s maladies are attributed to “lifestyle” choices–not drinking enough water, eating too much sugar, eating bad carbs, not eating fruit and vegetables, or not getting enough sleep.

Sadly, the American mentality towards food and health is, “I can have my cake and eat it, too.” And we believe this about foods we “know” are not good for us. But, because our bodies are so resilient, we borrow against the future. Our future health bill as a nation is coming due and for some, it is already personally coming due.

For us as a nation, a community and as individuals, this trend can change and has to change, but it will only do so one bite at a time. One determined bite at a time that sends a message to the institutional food system, “You can’t have my money or my health!”

As a local farmer and business owner, I want my contribution to the local food culture to be life giving and life changing. It makes my life work more meaningful knowing that I am working with nature to grow food for local people who are defined by not “only” what they eat, but by where they choose to source their food.

Together we are building a healthy food micro-culture.

 

Cheers,

 

Tristan Klesick

Farmer/Health Advocate

 

 

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 11/19)

Rio Star Grapefruit

Not only are grapefruit high in fiber and low in calories, they contain bioflavonoids and other plant chemicals that protect us against serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and the formation of tumors. But the sweet-tart juicy deliciousness that grapefruits bring to the table are reason enough to eat them! Also, grapefruit (especially organic with its fuller flavor) doesn’t need sugar. If you don’t like them halved and eaten with a spoon (the traditional method), try peeling them and eating like an orange. If you prefer a mellower flavor, peel, halve them vertically; slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick half-moons, lay on a baking sheet and sprinkle on some cinnamon. Broil them for about 15 minutes. This makes them taste “sweeter” without the sugar.

 

Easter Egg Radishes

Store radishes in the crisper in a perforated bag. If you’re planning on eating the tops, use within 2 days. If you don’t plan to use the tops, twist them off prior to refrigerating to extend the life of the radish bulbs to a week. Radishes are great fresh, poached, baked, or pickled.

To make pickled radishes (use as a relish or atop salads or in wraps or sandwiches): Combine cleaned radish bulbs (about 10), 2 cups white vinegar, 1 tsp peppercorns, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and 1 tsp sugar in a clean glass quart jar. Cover, label, shake well to dissolve and distribute salt & sugar, then refrigerate at least 3 days-1 week before serving (shake jar once a day for the first 3 days to keep things distributed inside. Keeps up to 3 months.

 

 

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is one of those go-to recipes that you’ll find yourself coming back to, because its super simple and super tasty!

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

 

4 large russet potatoes

4 tbsps olive oil

1-2 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp parsley flakes (or use 3 tbsp fresh)

1 ½ tsps salt (or to taste)

1 tsp black pepper

 

Instructions:

1.            Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2.            Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and toss into a bowl with the oil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.

3.            Spread the potatoes on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

4.            If necessary, flip over and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Serve.

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Marginalia

Marginalia refers to 1) marginal notes or embellishments (as in a book) or 2) nonessential items. Marginalia are very personal. The notes that are made in the margins of books or articles reflect the moment in time for that individual as they are engaged in reading or learning or reflecting. Highlighted sections or a few scribbled notes capture those unique inspirational moments. A family cookbook filled with smudges and stains and several generations worth of marginalia guide us through a recipe, but also remind us of a family member who left the note. Just seeing my grandma’s hand writing brings me back to the Oso farm, rope swings, the over gown apple tree in the back 40…

The margin notes of our lives are anything but marginal. If we compare our lives to a book, an unfinished book, filled with several chapters, what would be some of the marginalia that have been written? For many of us our books span decades and multiple generations. The books themselves are chock full of wisdom and life lessons, but the marginalia of our lives are where we find deep meaning, joy, sorrow, life.

Many of the notes speak out to us from the midst of a full, but oft chaotic life. The birth of a child; the loss of a child. Cancer; cancer in remission. A wedding; a divorce. The first dance recital; the last dance recital. A first word; a last word.

It is in such places that the marginalia have been highlighted or written by life. Very important places. Places filled with deep love and pain, hope and sorrow, joy and sadness. And we can’t really know either without knowing both. I contend that in the marginalia of our lives there is very little of the nonessential. Rather, there we find the foundation of knowledge and experiences that can be used to create more love, more hope, more joy to heal the pain, the sorrow, and the sadness of our own lives and the lives of others.

Yet, are we willing to let others read the marginalia of our lives? All of us can use our margin notes to write on the lives of others, but what and how we share our marginalia will determine whether we have a positive or negative impact. Let us strive to write or speak words of hope and life. Let us do acts of kindness on purpose with intention to make the life of another better tomorrow than it is today.

 

 

Tristan Klesick

Farmer/Health Advocate