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At What Price

Fresh salad with hummas and walnuts

I love what we do. I love that our team gets to grow, source, and deliver health. I love that everything we deliver is better for your heath and better for the environment. For the last twenty years we have been offering nutrient rich fruits and vegetables to families like you every single week. That is a long run! Many of you reading this newsletter have been a customer for a decade or more and more than a few of you have been customers from the beginning since 1998.

For us, doing business is more akin to serving our neighbors. We want everyone to eat healthy and be healthy. We want each of you to have access to the freshest and healthiest foods to nourish your body and provide energy to accomplish everything on your to do list – everyday!

I firmly believe that health and health care start at the farm and our forks. When we choose a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, our bodies tend towards a normal weight as does our A1C, lipid panels and blood pressure. We also introduce a lot of antioxidants into our bodies that just love to tie up damaging free radicals.

The other day I saw this ad in the Everett Herald – “Ready to Get Healthy”. There was a picture of a smiling obese person. The sub text said, “Sign up to attend a free seminar on Bariatric surgery.” To be perfectly clear, Bariatric surgeries can work, but so can sewing your jaw shut! Our stomachs are about 1 liter in size. That is not very big and to go through an intense and invasive surgery to limit our ability to overeat seems extreme.

I think it would be better for insurance companies to invest the thousands of dollars that this surgery costs and spend it on a one month stay at a health clinic where a person could get educated about a healthy diet, be fed a healthy, primarily plant-based diet and given an appropriate exercise regime – all monitored. The same money would produce better, less intrusive results and would impact other people in the immediate family and circle of friends.

Of course, the FDA and USDA could just require purveyors of junk food to pay for the medical bills out of their obscene profits instead of expecting the taxpayers or insurance companies to pay for the medical costs as they use their profits to sicken more. Or, the USDA and FDA could just ban known junk food that is contributing to the health crisis, but don’t hold your breath for these changes.

Unfortunately, legislating health is not likely, but we get to choose health one bite at a time, 3x’s a day. Even having just one salad a day can have immense health benefits.

I also want to share that is both hard to eat healthy and easy to eat healthy. So, where ever you find yourself on the continuum of eating healthy or being healthy, that is where you are. You can’t change that.

You can’t go backward, only forward. So today, tonight, pick up that fork and make a healthy choice and another and another.

The culmination of all of us saying yes to healthy food will have a powerful impact on our personal health, our family’s health and eventually our Nation’s health.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Health Advocate

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From Rain to Hot

I have never direct seeded Green beans in April before. As a matter of fact, I have never seeded Green Beans at the same time as Sugar Snap Peas either. The weather pattern is shifting and after a few years of extra-wet springs followed by a heat wave, I am starting to have to adapt to this new weather pattern.  Last year really caught me off guard. This Spring we started our transplants a few weeks later than normal.

I was getting nervous that even starting 2 weeks later wouldn’t might have not been late enough. But the weather broke in our favor and we were able to empty the greenhouses and transplant thousands of romaine, green and red leaf plus seed those green beans, peas, kohlrabi, cucumbers, yellow and green zucchini, chard, bok choi, mizuna, frisée, beets and sweet corn. This week we will continue to seed more lettuces and winter squash in transplant trays, plus direct seed the list mentioned above.

What used to be a slow warm up in weather and the farming season has become a mad dash to capitalize on the soil moisture and heat. I am feeling pretty good about where we are to date. I am planting my favorite winter squash – Delicata this week. If you haven’t cooked up the Delicata from last week, get cooking, it is so good!

As a farmer and a business owner involved in the organic food world, I can assure that food doesn’t magically appear. I will grant that it is somewhat magical that wind or bees can pollinate a crop of apples or kiwi berries or cucumbers! Absolutely fascinating and magical. As an organic farmer I spend a lot of time thinking about how to enhance the biology and ecosystems on my farm to attract and keep as much wild diversity as I can to. We do everything from bird, bat and owl houses to planting beneficial flowers, to trees for birds to nest in and escape to. We plant cover crops to feed the soil food web, which in turn feeds the plants, which in turn feed us. Working with nature and its wild cohabitators is absolutely vital to a successful farm and food production system.

The solution to Americas health crisis is right here on my farm. It would be also be helpful if the other Washington would implement meaningful food policy that didn’t line the pockets of the chemical and multinational food companies. But I don’t see that shift happening soon, so it will be up to you and me to say “no” to their food and “yes” to real food and real nutrition grown on farms that respect your health and the environment.

Which is why I get up every day and source or grow and deliver the freshest organic produce I can find. Serving local families with healthy food is all we have done for the last 20 years and I don’t see any reason to change now.

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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Summer Fun at Klesick Farms

The weather has finally turned in our favor and we are thrilled to get out and work the dirt! It’s the first step in getting delicious, healthy, organically grown produce from our farm to your dinner table! We love what we do here at Klesick Farms and we are wanting to share the wonder of it all with our amazing customers! We would love for you to join us in any one or all our farm events this summer. The great line up of events and farm tours will run from June through September! We have events including farm tours, an on-farm painting class and a local floral design class. It is an eclectic offering of fun on our farm.

June 3rd Klesick Good Food Farm Tours, 10am – 12pm (tours start on the hour) – Free event – Please register for planning purposes: REGISTER HERE!

July 8th 10am –11:30 Good Food Farm Tour with NW Healthy Mama Angela Strand – Free event – for planning purposes, please R.S.V.P. through NW Healthy Mama. Click for more info. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

July 29th ‘Mountain & field landscape’ Acrylic on canvas, 11×14 Painting Class with Nancy Hansen. Limited availability – materials provided Cost: $35/person. Registration required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

August 12th Good Food Farm Tour 10am –noon (tours start on the hour) – Free event – Please register for planning purposes. REGISTER HERE!

August 22nd 6pm –8:30 Flower Design with Deanna Kitchen from Twig and Vine – limited availability – materials provided Cost: $65/person. Registration required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

September 30th 10am- 4pm Squash Fest – Free event **CANCELLED**

In addition to these exciting events, stay tuned for more spontaneous adventure! Watch for “Volunteer Opportunities”. We’ll be offering random farm experiences for the entire family. You will have a chance to work alongside us as we cultivate, plant, weed and harvest! Know your farm, know your farmer, and better yet, join your farmer! Consider laying aside the everyday demands of life and come rejuvenate. Experience the quiet thrill of working with nature in all its wonder and beauty!

 

Looking forward to seeing you here on the farm,

 

Tristan and Joelle Klesick

 

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Tree Swallows, Bats, and Barn Owls

I can be a little batty at times, but now that label will be justified! There are a few ways to combat pests on a farm, but keeping pests under control in an organic system can be challenging. I know that there are “sprays” that kill pests, even organically approved sprays, but I just don’t like to use that technology. I do have a sprayer, but I use it primarily for spraying nutrients, things like Kelp or Potassium, to help keep the plants at their optimum health.

However, we do have a few persistent pests, particularly in the orchard and especially, the dreaded Apple Maggot Fly that can render a whole crop unmarketable! The solutions to keeping that critter in check are mostly sprays. (Yuck!) I am not willing to go down that path. So, I have been spending a fair amount of time thinking about how to naturally (using nature) control those critters.

Strategy #1: I have decided upon a few nesting boxes for Tree or Violet Green Swallows, a bat house and a nesting box for Barn Owls. Swallows are insect eating machines and will be for daytime bug control. The Bats will be for nighttime bug control and the Barn Owls will help with the rodents that also call our organic farm home.

Strategy #2: I am going to use black plastic on the orchard floor to prevent the Apple Fly larva from emerging from their winter rest and becoming adult flies.

Strategy #3: I will use some sticky traps as well. Yes, all of this is a lot more work than using a spray, but, like I said earlier, “I don’t like to spray.” Check back in September to see if I was successful. 🙂

Increasing biological diversity is the best strategy. Using nature to keep nature in balance. Whoa! That’s revolutionary!

Tristan Klesick, Farmer, Health Advocate

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What’s New?

What’s new is that it’s July and I am wondering what happened to June!? It looks like chilly June is going to carry over into July. Sorry tomatoes and peppers, maybe August will be your month!

After last year, I made a conscious decision to plant heat-loving crops early and take advantage of the changing climate. That decision has not worked out so well. The tomatoes and peppers look like they want to put on my wool sweater, but I am not giving up :).

Speaking of tomatoes, I planted 200 Early Girl/Stupice type red tomatoes. I got them all caged up and cleaned up and growing in the right direction and now there are a few starting to ripen, but they are ripening orange! I apparently transplanted orange tomatoes. They taste great, but that is not what I was expecting to grow.

For the last few months, I have been looking at those plants and wondering about them, I knew they were “setting” fruit differently, but with the cool, wet weather, I just chalked it up to climate change. So this year we are growing Klesick Farm’s tasty orange colored tomatoes. #ithappens #ohmy #atleasttheyarestilltomatoes

Another telltale sign indicating that I guessed wrong about the weather this season was the cucumbers. They were direct seeded in early May…and GERMINATED LAST WEEK! Seriously, that is a head-scratcher, but they are up and growing now. Thankfully, I planted some cucumbers in the greenhouses also, and they are happy – really happy. I mean, they are rivaling Jack-and-the-Bean-Stock happy. Long story short, cucumbers are going to be in the boxes of good food, picked daily and delivered daily.

This week we are putting a lot of Klesick Farms-harvested good food in the boxes. We use a KF next to items from our farm on the newsletter, and an * next to other local NW farms’ fruits and veggies. So this week, my crew and I are picking, packing and delivering chard, chives, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and a few raspberries.

We are also getting cherries and carrots from two other organic growers that I have been working with since 1997! Those are some seriously long relationships. All of our customers – some since 1997 – have nourished their families with these farmers’ produce as well.

We are a different kind of food system; a more sustainable, more earth-friendly option – as we have been for the last two decades – helping families to eat better food and feel better about the food they eat.

Bon Appétit!

Farmer Tristan

 

Recipe: Indian Roasted Potato Salad with Chard

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. potatoes, halved and/or quartered

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. ground turmeric

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bunch chard, shredded (or cut into thin ribbons)

2 Tbs. Greek yogurt

2 Tbs. lemon juice (more if desired) salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place the diced potatoes on a large baking sheet, covered in foil. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Slide into a 400°F oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until browned all over and tender, tossing halfway through.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, remaining oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl place the ribboned chard and roasted potatoes. Drizzle with the lemon dressing and toss to coat.

4. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or basil, if desired. Or even bacon bits!

Recipe from bevcooks.com

 

Know Your Produce: Chard

Chard has large, fleshy but tender deep green leaves and thick, crisp stalks. Although they’re unrelated, chard is similar to spinach, but with a stronger, more assertive (some think, bitter) flavour.

Different types of chard have different coloured stalks and ribs. Some stalks are white, some are a golden orange and some are red (called ruby or rhubarb chard) – there’s even rainbow chard. There’s very little difference in taste, but ruby and rhubarb chard can have a slightly stronger flavour.

Prepare: The leaf and the stalks should be cooked separately. Wash, then cut the stalks from the leaves and either leave whole or chop, depending upon your recipe. On some older leaves you may need to cut the ribs out of the leaves, too.

Cook: Leaves: boil (1-2 minutes); steam (3-4 minutes). Stems: stir-fry (around 2 minutes); boil (3-4 minutes); steam (4-5 minutes); roast (10 minutes).

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It’s a good thing there are only 24 hours in a day

Hustle, hustle, hustle! When the weather turns and the sun comes out, it is all hands on deck. I have to keep reminding myself that it is only April and that I will be planting crops until August. I used to think that vegetable farming was a marathon race, but now I am more inclined to think of it as a track meet.

Yes, the season is long, but it really feels like a series of sprinting events, and the starter gun has definitely gone off. We are getting the peas, spinach, beets, chard and lettuce planted. We are also getting the ground worked up for potatoes, corn and winter squash. So in the spring we are mostly preparing the ground for planting and then planting it.

As the season marches on we are still working the ground for summer crops, like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but we add in weeding – lots of it (ugh!). We also add harvesting of those early planted crops of lettuce, spinach, etc.

About June we move into a weeding, watering and harvesting cycle. Life also begins to mellow and the days become more manageable (ahh! deep breath). Life feels normal. We are not quite there yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We have lots to do between now and November. This week we are planting strawberries and potatoes!

 

Sprinter (Farmer) Tristan

 

 

 

cow

Order your grass-fed beef before prices increase!

Prices for our local, grass-fed beef will go up $0.10 per pound after April 30th, so place your order today!

June beef is sold out, but we still have shares available for August and October.

 

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into small florets.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and simmer just until tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Drain the cauliflower florets and transfer them to a food processor. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the garlic and pulse for about 30 seconds.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the chives, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with additional chopped chives.

Adapted from Kelly Senyei’s recipe from justataste.com

Know Your Produce: Beets

If you’re not a fan of beets’ famously bright hues, then cover your work surfaces before you start peeling, slicing, and grating. To store beets, cut the greens from the roots, leaving an inch of stem attached, and place the different parts in separate plastic bags and refrigerate. Beet roots will last at least a month, but you should use the greens within three or four days.

Roasted Beet and Fresh Greens Salad

2 1/2 lbs. small beets, trimmed and scrubbed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

4 cups leafy greens, with any thick stems removed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on foil lined with parchment. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; season with coarse salt. Wrap foil into a sealed pouch. Roast beets on a rimmed baking sheet until easily pierced with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Carefully open pouch; when beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towels. Halve beets (or quarter if desired).

2. Arrange beets and greens in a serving dish. In a skillet, bring remaining 3 tablespoons oil and cumin seeds to a simmer; toss with beets and greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

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Pre-Order Your Local Berries, Canning Veggies, and Herbs!

bulk produce 2015

 

For 17 years, we’ve been bringing the local harvest to you.

Each season, while the Northwest harvest is at its peak – we deliver it to your door!

How can you get your share of the local good? It’s simple. Contact us to let us know which of the bulk fruits and/or veggies you’d like, and we’ll put your order on our reservation list. When the harvest is at its peak. We will contact you before sending out your order, so that you can prepare for its arrival.

locally and organically grown

 

Please note, all harvest dates are approximate and are subject to the laws and whiles (and wiles!) of nature. 

  • Strawberries: Half Flat (6×1 pint): $24 – Available now!!
  • Harvest dates: June-August (note, some gaps in between harvests to be expected)
  • Blueberries: Full flat (12×1 pint): $40
  • Half Flats (6×1 pint): $22
  • Harvest dates: late June-August.
  • Raspberries: Half-flats (6×1/2 pint): $22.
  • Harvest dates: late June-August.
  • Pickling Cucumbers: Order as many as you need!
  • 5-lb. units. $7.50/ 5 lbs.
  • 40 lb. boxes. $50
  • Harvest dates: August-September
  • Dill: 1 bunch is a 2-3 inches in diameter. $4/bn.
  • Harvest dates: August-September
  • Green Beans:
  • 5 lbs. $15
  • 20 lb. boxes. $45
  • Harvest dates: August-September
  • Bulk Basil: available in 1 lb. units (about a grocery bag full). $8.50/lb.
  • Harvest dates: August

Click here to email us your order.

*Important note: delivery week for these bulk orders are determined by harvest dates. If you will be away on vacation during specific weeks this summer, please let us know so that we don’t schedule your delivery while you are away. 

These items are served on a first-come, first-serve basis. Availability may be limited. 

Bulk orders will be delivered on your regular box of good delivery day. 

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Time to Prune

Last year, we “top worked” some Comice pear trees in our orchard—36 to be precise. We saved 12 of these trees to pollinate the Buerre Bosc pears. I planted the orchard five years ago, but the Comice pears have not performed well and seemed unhappy in our microclimate. The Bosc pears, however, took to the microclimate like a duck takes to water. So this winter, I cut some scion wood from the Bosc pears and am going to “top work” the last 12 Comice pear trees. Last year, we grafted the Comice pears over to Conference pears and four Asian pear varieties. The picture in this article is Stephen cutting off the “nurse” limb we left to stabilize the tree from the aggressive pruning.

Definitions:

Top working is a term that refers to grafting a new variety onto an existing tree. In a sense, you are working on establishing a new “top” for the tree. It can save a few years in establishing a new variety  and  lots of dollars.  “Top working” makes sense if you are happy with orchard layout, irrigation tree spacing, and if the new variety is compatible with the existing root stock.

Nurse limbs are designed to allow the tree to funnel energy to the new shoots that have been grafted onto the top of the “stump.” It works well because the “nurse” limbs are lower and the tree begins to put energy into building a new top. In the following spring we come back through and select the best of the grafts and cut off the “nurse” limbs.

Grafting is the process where one variety is grafted into or onto another tree. As mentioned earlier, it can really speed up the process of getting back into fruit production by 2-3 years.  It is a relatively straitforward process, but you need to be ready to do it when the weather is right, towards the end of April. You also have to gather the scion wood in the dead of winter and store it at near freezing to keep it dormant.

Scion wood is the wood that is grafted onto the existing tree. We typically use a 4-6 inch piece of wood with 3-4 good buds (buds become the future branches). Amazingly, as the main tree adopts the grafts, they will grow 2-4 feet over the summer. And now we are selecting the best “grafts” from last year to grow the new tree.

If all things go as planned, we should see a small crop next year of Conference pears and a larger crop of Buerre Bosc pears in two years from the “top worked” trees this year.

tristan-sign