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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 10/15/17)

Asian Pears:

Crunchy, juicy, and sweet. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).


Parsnips have an almost peppery sweet flavor to them that comes out nicely when roasted. They make a great addition/alternative to the more traditional baked or sautéed root vegetable.

Try these diced into bite size chunks or julienned, drizzled with olive oil and tossed in a bowl with a little salt and cayenne (or other spices). Bake on bottom rack at 450° for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned and crispy.



Featured Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, and Broccoli

Prep time: 20, Cook time: 40, Ready in 60 minutes. Serves 6.



1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles

1 1/2 cups Broccoli cut into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces

4 cups potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices

3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices

1 cup sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


  1. Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Place vegetables in baking sheet and add the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil. Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry.


  1. Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.


Recipe adapted from:

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 9/24/17)

Conference Pears:

As with all new crop pears, these will need to be ripened for 4-7 days before they are ready to eat. Check the neck for ripeness by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.


Besides potato leek soup (recipe below), there are other delicious ways to eat leeks. Used as an onion swap they make a great base in just about anything. Cook in a little oil until tender as a base for a sauce, sauté, scrambled eggs, soup, etc. The flavor is milder than an onion so I don’t mind having larger chunks. I like to cut them into quarter inch rounds. Leeks are cousins to the old, familiar onion, but have a sweeter, more delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic or chives and are delicious no matter how they’re cooked. Additionally, leeks contain generous amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making the vegetable a great addition to a healthy diet. You can cook leeks by poaching them in chicken broth, pan-frying them in a little oil, or boiling them until tender.


Packed with nutrition, potatoes are among the most popular of all the root vegetables. Low in fat and high in health and beauty-promoting dietary fiber, potatoes are a rich source of B vitamins as well as vitamin C, and vitamin K. Potatoes are an excellent source of healthy, energy-giving complex carbohydrates, and contain good amounts of certain essential minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper and potassium. Be sure to store potatoes in a cool dark place so they don’t develop green spots (from exposure to light) or sprout.


Simple Potato Leek Soup

You will be able to make this simple soup in no time flat, and can feel good about filling up your belly with healthful ingredients!


2-3 large leeks, white and light green parts only

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Kosher salt

6 medium-to-large potatoes

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade vegetable stock or water)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Sour cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add leeks and garlic and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened but not browned, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. While leeks are cooking, fill large bowl halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each in bowl of water immediately after peeling to prevent browning. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Drain potato slices and add to pot along with stock and a few generous grinds of pepper. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.
  3. Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in standing blender. If you like your soups on the hearty side, you can skip this step, or lightly puree (some pureeing makes for that lovely creamy texture, so don’t skip it completely). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with parsley and sour cream if desired. Soup reheats well and will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.
Recipe adapted from

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Potatoes and Leeks

Nothing shouts Fall louder than these two winter staples. They just go together and this week we are featuring them in a recipe that consistently ranks as one of the all-time favorite Klesick Farm recipes – Potato Leek Soup. Soups are efficient, nutritious, and can make a great multi day family meal option. The great thing about soups is that you can jazz them up from day to day by adding a protein or more or different vegetables. Greens like Kale and Chard or Spinach can be easily added, too.

As Fall has officially started, many of us farmers are just like you, wishing for a few more days of warmth to put the finishing touches on our crops. These cool nights and warm days send a signal to the plants to switch gears and focus on ripening their fruit. And alas at the same time, production drops off on tomatoes, zukes, cukes and beans. In some ways it is a welcome change and other ways you are back to wishing for a few more days of that fleeting heat.

I think it is about right, the weather, the crops, and the fall season. A good chunk of the farm has been tucked in for the winter with cover crops, which desperately needed the moisture we have received recently to germinate. Cover crops are aptly named, because their primary purpose is to cover the soil and protect it from the winter storms that can cause soil compaction, soil erosion and nutrient leaching. That is an important function on any farm and the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.

For a cover crop to be successful it has to get established and be at least a few inches tall going into the winter. This is why we try and get them planted in early September (check) and then get some water (check) and then some more nice weather (Jury is still out, but hopeful). Cover crops begin to pay for themselves, because as the crop starts to grow it uses any extra/unused nutrients to grow pulling them out of the soil and storing them in the plant. By doing this the plant is essentially acting as a living storage system and keeping the nutrients on the farm and not being leached away with floods or rain.

You might ask why is this so important, the simple answer is because we don’t want another Dead Zone like the one in the Gulf of Mexico that has been caused by the leaching of excess fertilizers/nutrients from agriculture soils. Cover crops wouldn’t have completely prevented the Dead zone, but it sure would have helped to not create the problem.

Cover crops are important and organic farmers have really embraced the use of them.


Farmer/Health Advocate

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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!


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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Fresh Spuds

Last November we ran into two issues on the farm; rain and storage. The weather had turned bad and we were harvesting more mud than spud. J We’d also run out of room to store any more potatoes. So we left them in the ground, anticipating that the rainy and freezing last winter would kill the spuds.  Last week we “opened up” a few fields with the disc to start drying out the soil. As soon as we started down those left behind rows of potatoes, it was like we hit a brick wall. Bam! The disc sliced through some of the whitest, rock hard potatoes. I was not expecting to see that.

As a farmer, I spend a lot of time building my soil and my soil biology (microbial and fungal populations). I earnestly believe that having healthy soil and microbial activity helps my produce grow better and last longer. However, to have those spuds overwinter and be in as good of a shape as they are was not even on my radar. I called a few farming friends and shared what I discovered – radio silence. So I sent them a picture of the inside and then their responses came in as “WOW!” or “Nice!”

Of course we had to cook up a few and yes, they are good! So we geared up, got the digging equipment set up and headed out. Bummer! It turns out that the winter weather has caused our soils to pack together so tightly around the potatoes it is almost impossible to dig them. Ugh! As we ran the digger through the soil ever so carefully, we were cutting through more than we were harvesting! We have had to resort to hand digging to get the potatoes out. That is really the epitome of slow food!

Needless to say, what was going to be a pretty good harvest and a little extra profit has produced fewer high quality potatoes, which means I could only put them into a few boxes this week. That is painful for me! I love to grow food and love to get it to you.  We will keep digging, but it will be more of a slog than a jog!

I have definitely learned that digging potatoes in the spring is not going to work, but it was sure fun to find this buried treasure.

From local spuds to local speaking!

Last year, our team added a goal to have me spend more time out in the community sharing about organic farming, eating healthier and just visiting! I have spoken to Rotarians, preschoolers and at large farm conferences, and I have been to health fairs and community meetings.  So if you need some entertainment at one of your local meetings or events, just call the office and we will do our best to come and share about the importance of local farms and healthy eating. I will even bring a box of good to be raffled or auctioned off with the proceeds going to your group’s favorite charity.

The farm is waking up!


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Know Your Produce: New Potatoes

New potatoes are freshly harvested young, or small, potatoes. They have paper-thin skins and lots of moisture inside, and they tend to be sweeter than older potatoes (in much the same way that freshly picked corn is so much sweeter than cobs that have been sitting around for a few days). New potatoes are pure perfection in potato salads or simply boiled with a bit of butter and a few chopped herbs. Skins that are starting to flake away from the potato are fine – that’s the price of such youth and delicacy! New potatoes are freshly harvested and a bit of dirt just shows that they really are new potatoes and not just small potatoes.

Store: Because they have such thin skins and high moisture levels, new potatoes don’t keep as well as more mature potatoes. Keep them in a paper bag or loosely wrapped plastic in the fridge and use new potatoes within a few days of buying.

Don’t fall prey to the temptation to wash new potatoes before storing them. That bit of dirt clinging to their skins will actually help keep them fresh and any water on the outside will hasten bruising and softening.

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Inhibition can be a Good Thing

potatoesI mean, really, if you think about inhibition, it is a form of self-control, as opposed to prohibition which is a form of outside control. Personally, I am more of a fan of inhibition and self-control than the other. I know, I know, some prohibition is necessary, but I would prefer less than more.

Well, when it comes to potatoes, inhibition has gone wild. As a farmer, I would encourage you to eat as many as you like. There are so many great ways to eat them: boiled, roasted (my favorite), baked, in soups and even in pancakes. There are also many different sizes, colors and shapes. We have reds, blues, yellows, bakers, fingerlings, heirlooms and hybrid. One might conclude there is a different potato for every palette.  So, toss all inhibition to the wind, but don’t overdo it and fall into the trap of gluttony—nothing worse than ruining a good meal by eating too much. I know that they taste incredible, but a little inhibition on over doing it will go a long way toward not feeling stuffed! And everyone knows that things that are stuffed don’t usually have much life in them!

Now, sadly, the chemical minded farmer shows very little inhibition on something that should definitely be on the prohibition list. They grow the beautiful potato from seed and abuse it with chemical fertilizers and sprays all season long. Then at the end, as if adding “salt” to an injury, they spray the potato with sprout inhibitors. That is terrible. Most of the potatoes Americans are eating have been sprayed with sprout inhibitors, unless you buy organic or local from a farmer direct.

Storing potatoes is big business and keeping those “fritters” from sprouting is of paramount importance to the USDA, the potato growers, and the grocery and restaurant supply chains. But is it more important than our nation’s health, your health? I say not, so I won’t use them!

Now, don’t let a little sprout here or there become the inhibitor to eating my potatoes. A sprout just means that a potato is being a potato—you know, acting just like God intended it to.  So, if you see one of those sprouts “peeking around the corner,” do the same thing as farmer Tristan and his clan—“pop” it off and get to cooking a mess of something awesome, like Tuscan soup!

And if you ever do spy a sprout, you can send a thank you to your farmer for showing some inhibition to using a chemical sprouting inhibitor on the food he is growing for you.


tristan signature

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Boursin & Parsley Potatoes

Image from

1.5 pounds of Red, Yukon, or new potatoes, scrubbed clean under running water
Salt to taste for potatoes
1/2-1 pkg of Boursin cheese (herb flavored), (or other soft cheese, such as 4 oz of Neufchâtel)

1 Spanish onion, diced
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ to 1 stick butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespooons dried parsley
1 T olive oil

Cut potatoes in chunks, there’s no need to peel. Boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain leaving about 4-5 T of the water. Add the above ingredients. Mix and continue to cook until well blended. It will look like chunky mashed potatoes.

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Know Your Produce: Potatoes

Image from the Maine Food & Lifestyle blog

  • Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. the ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperature, the potatoes will keep for several weeks. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, as a temperature below 40 degrees F. will cause the potatoes to develop a sweet taste. This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which causes potatoes to darken when cooked.
  • If you store potatoes at room temperature, use them within a week or so.
  • Wait to wash potatoes, until you are ready to use them, as they will keep longer & this prevents loss of nutrients.
  • It is not recommended that you freeze cooked potato dishes, as they tend to become watery after reheating. As the potato is 80% water, this water separates from the starch causing the reheated potato dish to be watery.
  • Potatoes are easier to prepare and healthier for you when cooked with their skins on. Always rinse and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before using.
  • When you are using cut up potatoes in your cooking, preserve the color by place them in cold water. Limit the water soaking time to two (2) hours to retain the water-soluble vitamins. Color discoloration (pinkish or brownish) happens from the carbohydrates in the potato reacting with oxygen in the air. Potatoes that do become discolored in this way are safe to eat and do not need to be thrown. Usually the color discoloration will disappear with cooking.
  • Sometimes potatoes will get a spot that is a greenish hue. A potato in this condition is “light-struck” which causes a build-up of a chemical called Solanine. This is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. (store out of light!) The green part, if eaten in large quantity, can cause illness. If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.


For more tips on boiling, baking and making mashed potatoes.