Posted on

How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/19/18)

Apples:
Apples are one of those quintessential healthy eating choices! You can dice them up and throw them into your hot cereal with some cinnamon for a fresh take on breakfast, toss them in smoothies, slice them atop green salads to sweeten them up and add texture, dip them in nut butter or yogurt for a snack, roast with savory fall veggies, bake with a topping of your favorite granola…so many ways to enjoy them! And perhaps the best part? Antioxidants and phytochemicals in apples have been linked to help prevent a number of chronic diseases, including: Alzheimer’s, lung cancer, heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and more. Store unwashed apples in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Be sure to store separately. See healthline.com for more nutrition information on Apples!

Green Beans:
Greens beans make a great side for dinner, especially if you sauté them in little olive oil and garlic. To cook more evenly blanch first by adding to a pot of boiling for 2 minutes. Then drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process. Sauté garlic in olive oil and add green beans, sautéing until lightly seared. Add salt and pepper to taste. Green beans can also be easily baked in the oven like any other vegetable. Simply spread out evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Take out after about ten minutes and shake to turn. Sprinkle with some parmesan and serve.

Frisée

You’ve no doubt seen frisée before, perhaps without realizing it, tucked away inside a mesclun baby greens mix. Also called curly endive, the curly, pale green leaves are frizzy in appearance. Frisée is a variety of chicory, as you’ll be clued in to with the first solo bite: it’s one of those bitters we were talking about in last week’s newsletter. Store: in the fridge for up to five days (rinse first), in plastic or other non-breathable material, so it doesn’t wilt. Use: most often served fresh in salads, try it wilted or sautéed to mellow its bitterness. Frisée pairs well with flavor-packed ingredients and fats: Dress leaves with a warm vinaigrette of roast-chicken pan drippings and sherry or red wine vinegar, toss in browned bits of thick-cut pancetta, ham, or steak bits, or top with a poached or fried egg.

 

Featured Recipe: Farmer’s Market Salad

This dish combines all of those wonderful summer veggies with a creamy, yet light, dressing that is full of flavor. This version has cooked chicken, but this salad can certainly be served on its own. Likewise, feel free to swap in your favorite vegan dressing if dairy isn’t in your diet. Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

2 medium (about 1 lb.) summer squashes (zucchini, yellow crookneck), sliced thin

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups tomatoes cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups frisée, chopped

½ cup green onions, sliced

1 ear fresh corn, off the cob or 1 cup

6” length of cucumber, sliced

2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced, this would be 3/4 uncooked boneless chicken breast

DRESSING:

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup soy-free mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

If you are starting with uncooked boneless chicken breast, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast for 15-20 minutes until cooked though. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees.

Let cool and either slice into thin strips or shred with a fork.

In a large bowl combine the summer squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, frisée, green onions, corn, cucumber, and shredded chicken.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Combine well. Serve at once.

 

Recipe adapted from anothertablespoon.com

Posted on

A Time to Heal

Last week was the week I decided to fix my knee. I had twisted it around Mother’s Day and had been limping along for a few months between doctor visits and what not. Finally, it became obvious that surgery or limping along for the rest of my days were my two choices. I settled for surgery and had my knee scoped and all cleaned up—hopefully for a good long time, too.

Can I state the obvious? July on the farm is not the best time to slow down and few things slow you down more than a knee surgery. Currently, the Klesick farm team is in full harvest mode, planting mode and playing mode, but I am in CONVALESCING MODE! Not for long! I am already feeling better and gaining mobility.

When to schedule a surgery? That was a surprisingly easy decision. I took the earliest date possible. Around here we say, “Why put off tomorrow, what you can do today!”

So, for the last two weeks I have been running the farm from the “seat of my pants” in a very literal way! I have an awesome team and am grateful for their help.

Frisée

This week we are featuring Frisée and all its health benefits. The Bitter Greens are so foreign to the American taste buds, but so critical to our health. Here is an excerpt from an article by mindbodygreen.com:

Imagine if you could eat something that would help your liver, act as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, assist in weight reduction, cleanse your skin, eliminate acne, improve your bowel function, prevent or lower high blood pressure, prevent anemia, lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half, eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods, and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. 

If I also told you that this wonder food also tasted good in salads, teas, and soups, what would you do to get your hands on this treasure? Well, thankfully you have nature on your side, providing these miracle plants in abundance during spring!

I’m talking about bitter greens. Dark and leafy, some great examples include dandelion, arugula, and kale. In addition to being vitamin-rich (like most greens), bitter greens are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. They have a bold flavor that may take some getting used to, but the health benefits are definitely worth the effort!

Cheers to your Liver’s Health!

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

Posted on

From Peas to Beans

I can’t remember a year when I went from picking peas to picking beans. I wish I had more of those wonderful sugar snap peas, but…they love the cool weather and July is about when they decide to call it quits. This has a been a particularly good year for leafy vegetables and peas. I am always amazed at the fortitude of plants. Their whole purpose is to reproduce and as a farmer my whole purpose is to keep harvesting so that the plant will continue to keep producing, in this case, peas.

We have picked peas 2-3x a week for the last three weeks and even though I try and stagger my plantings, they all finish up around the same time. When it comes to peas, I have learned to plant once. The challenge with that is you can lose a crop when the weather turns south or, as in this year, hit a home run!

Now we are transitioning to Beans. My hamstrings are hurting just thinking about picking them. We grow a bush type bean that concentrates the harvest over a two-week period. Beans unlike peas handle staggered plantings pretty well. I have found that the April plantings are only a week a head of the early May plantings. There are also June and July plantings of beans. Those July plantings always make me a little nervous because most of my summer help heads back to school and Soccer season starts up about the time I need to pick them. They’re planted now!

We are also in the throes of raspberries and blackberries. We pick them every day and put them in our menus. This time of year, the menu planning is a little “squirrely”! Have you ever gone to a restaurant and the menu says, “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”? Around here that is how we roll. I am constantly bringing up a few more random fresh vegetables and the packing team is tweaking the menus to fit it in and get out to you.

A good example of this in action is raspberries and blackberries. The season starts with raspberries and then blackberries start a week later and then both are on at the same time and then raspberries slow down and the blackberries keep trucking which is where we are right now. So, we will plan to bring you either raspberries or blackberries depending on which is ready on a given day.

This is probably too much information, but it is a glimpse behind the curtain of a working farm. And I believe that getting you the freshest fruits and vegetables is my primary job and sometimes it works itself out like “Seasonal Vegetables or Seasonal Fruit”, but all of it is organic and good for your health!

Thank you,

 

Tristan

Farmer and Community Health Advocate

Posted on

Mobility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

Posted on

The Days Are Getting Shorter

This is the season where I just run out of gas, figuratively and sometimes literally. The one thing you never want to run out of is DIESEL. Nope. Never run a tractor out of DIESEL. Gas yes; Diesel no. But sometimes, I personally just run out of gas. I have been at this farming season for 7 months so far and there are a few more to go.

And this farm season has been hard. Wet early and well into June. Then DRY! The weather pattern has stressed some of the crops and blessed others. Great year for cucumbers and tomatoes; lettuces and spinach, marginal at best. Blackberries and raspberries were happy, as were the birds that descended on them like locusts. Farm years like this one require so much mental energy.

Twenty years ago, I made a choice to not farm with chemicals, to focus on soil health, biology and habitat. Which means that I have to work with nature. When the weather is too wet or too dry, the crops can get bug and disease pressures. But, if you are going to choose to not farm with chemicals/poisons, you are going to have “those” years that remind you how fragile the farming and the food system is.

But this is the time of year when local farmers have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We will be into peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers till the first frost and soon we will be harvesting our pears and plums. Potatoes and winter squash will be coming after that. And then we will start to put the farm to bed with cover crops of wheat, rye, oats and vetch to protect our soils and feed the biology.

As the days get shorter and Summer marches towards Fall, so does my outside work and I am grateful for that. Yes, life is returning to normal and I can get back on a schedule. Anybody else feel like you can’t wait for school to get out and you can’t wait for it to start? I know as a farmer, summer is just crazy. Your life is ordered around the day length and chores, but when school starts, life takes on a different rhythm.

It is a more peaceful rhythm like the “Resolve” at the end of a great symphony. Still very intricate, but as the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Fall, this farmer senses it is time to begin to hush the horns, percussions and, eventually, the winds and let the farm I partner with rest, rejuvenate and get ready for next season.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

 

Posted on

Hand in Hand

Being a first-generation family farm has been an amazing journey. For nearly 20 years, Joelle and I have been supplying, growing, and delivering our produce and produce from other farms. As we near Fall and the Fall harvest, I am reminded that what was a little seed a few months ago is ready for harvest now. Time flies by.

For Joelle and I, our farm has transitioned from being the young farming family to being a multigenerational farm family. Time has flown by. With each season there are so many rewards and riches to be had, but some of the most precious are the excitement and wonder of children.

Our youngest, Joanna (7), still excitedly reminds us to look at the sunset every night. She hasn’t quite figured out how to remind us to look at the sunrise, though. ? Sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, but seeing another grandson or granddaughter join the family – that is life changing.

Joelle and I are both parenting and grand parenting. The older children have gotten married and are having children and our little Joanna is now an Auntie 4 times over with one more coming in November.

A few weeks ago, we welcomed Nathan Lee Klesick to the world. I haven’t got him on the tractor yet, but it will happen sooner than I can say scalafragilisticespcalldocius. Because, well, time flies by. And before I know it that little guy will be under foot harvesting strawberries alongside his grandparents, just like his older brothers and cousins, and just like their parents did.

Seeing your third generation is a gift. Having them grow up near the farm, spend time on the farm, and experience the farm, that is priceless. Right now, those little ones are more likely to get a taste of the dirt on our farm, but that taste could very well lead to a future taste for farming.

For me, I am going to work a little slower and take a little more time to get the chores done, because I will have the third generation trying to keep pace with grandpa’s footsteps. To hear “Grandpa, Grandpa” and turn around and see a little one toddling as fast as those little legs can go is all the motivation I need to slow down, bend down, and swoop them up!

Maybe it is just me, but I think that locally grown food tastes better, because a local family on a local farm is growing it and quite possibly, as it is with our farm, another generation of future farmers, too.

 

Teaching another generation to farm,

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

Posted on

Rain – It’s Overrated

Water. Who needs water?

We just passed a record without rain for the Seattle area that has stood since 1951. YES, 1951! My parents were wee lads and lasses back then. I wonder if global warming was the talk of the day. They were probably more concerned with the Russians coming through Canada or maybe it was how North Korea with the help of China and Russia invaded South Korea?

One could conclude that not much has changed since 1951. What are we talking about in today’s local and world events? How dry it is, North Korea, China, and Russia. Hmm, I guess I don’t have to worry about wondering what my grandparents were thinking about in the 50’s anymore. I am reliving it.

 

Oh, and of course the Modern Supermarket got a solid stronghold on the American marketplace. And our cheap food model has been exported all over the world to the detriment of local communities everywhere. What about today? We see a mini renaissance of local food outlets. Victory gardens and eating locally were still widely in use in the 50’s and lots of small farms dotted the landscape. But once again, we see the big getting bigger with Amazon buying Whole Foods and the PCC’s building another new store every year or another local farmer selling out and a larger farmer taking over.

 

But we are not seeing the local farm community keep pace; it is as if the American populace has chosen industrial food all over again, only this time it is even more convenient – you don’t even have to leave your home to get what you want!

 

In 1997, when we started a home delivery company based on a local farm and farm-direct model, quality and convenience was our niche. Back then, we knew that if we were going to make it as first-generation farmers, we needed to serve local families and that’s what we did. We chose to serve one family at a time, to provide the freshest ingredients at competitive prices. We built our farming methods around variety and quality and our business model around customer service.

 

These are the things that Joelle and I wanted for our diet – variety and quality – as well as actually being appreciated for being a customer. We extend these basic tenets to you, our customers, every day, in every interaction, whether it is through email, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or a phone call or when you get a box of good delivered.

 

The only reason that Klesick Farms is even a farm today is because a local family said we want the freshest, best quality, farm-direct fruits and vegetables. There was no other way for us to be able to farm unless a family like yours said “Yes” to a local farm and our delivery service.

And that is a good thing that I hope never changes, because local food only comes from local farmers and organic food only comes from organic farmers. I have the best of both worlds, I am small family farm serving local families in my community, just like it was in the 50’s.

 

May this never change.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/6/17)

This week’s How to Eat Your BOX and recipe brought to you by Ashley Rodriguez.

 

Green Beans:

I’m not one to eat green beans raw like my children although thinly sliced and added to green salads is a fine vegetal bite but the truth is my favorite way to eat green beans is when they are deeply tender and sweet.

This year I’ve discovered grilled green beans and that is now my favorite way to enjoy them.

Roasting is also a good choice when you don’t want to turn on the grill. Roast until thoroughly crisp and they’ve nearly shriveled down to nearly nothing. Dress in a simple vinaigrette and serve alongside anything.

When blanching green beans be sure to make the water taste of the sea. This will not only provide an adequate seasoning for the beans but also help to preserve the texture.

Zucchini:

Raw, roasted, sautéed, grilled – I love it all.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave long thin strips of raw zucchini. Toss with basil, olive oil, lemon juice or red wine vinegar and a heap of halved cherry tomatoes. Finish with fresh feta or goat cheese if you’d like.

Grilled zucchini steaks make a lovely accompaniment to grilled chicken, steak, or fish. Top with a fine chop of fresh herbs (basil, mint and chives are nice options), lemon zest, and garlic. Thin with a bit of olive oil.

Whenever you grill zucchini brush with plenty of olive oil and be sure to use a good bit of salt.

Small tender zucchini is best for eating raw or for a quick sauté. Larger zucchini can tend to lose some of its sweetness but are perfect for baking.

 

Grilled Green Beans with Basil Gremolata and Parmesan Brittle

This recipe is from my next book – yet to be titled. It uses my current favorite cooking method for green beans; grilling. While warm and freshly charred the green beans are tossed in a fragrant basil gremolata (an herb sauce laced with lemon, garlic and sometimes anchovy). It’s then topped with crispy baked Parmesan that you will want to put on all the things.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup basil leaves, finely minced

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Flake salt

1 cup crumbled Parmesan Brittle (recipe below)

Bring a large stock pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Blanch the beans just until their color shifts, about 2 minutes. Shock them to halt the cooking process by adding them to the ice water. I find a spider – the tool often used when frying – is the best for retrieving the beans from the boiling water. Or tongs.

Drain the cooled beans and toss with the olive oil and sea salt. Grill over high heat until the beans are tender and deeply charred in parts.

In a large bowl combine the basil, lemon zest and juice, and garlic clove. Toss the warm beans in the gremolata. Taste a bean and add flake salt or more sea salt if needed.

Turn out the beans onto a platter and finish with the Parmesan Brittle.

*To prevent the beans from falling into the cavernous grill set a wire cooling rack (not rubber coated) over the grill grates and place the beans on the wire rack.

Posted on

My Summer Garden

Last time we spoke I boldly proclaimed that this year I would finally give my little garden the attention it deserves. It has served us well in years past providing yard snacks of sugar snap peas, wild strawberries and raspberries. But this year I wanted to be able to cook a few dinners solely using the harvest from the garden.

In spite of me the garden flourished. By April I was giddy with the thought of spending extended periods of time outside again. Evening dinners by the garden seemed an impossible act when as the rains persisted. I started seeds on the ledge above our sink and watched their steady progress. For hours, I dug deep into the dirt extending the garden’s borders making room for squash, peppers, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, radish, and cucumbers. Hopes were high.

And then reality hit. Summer with three kids, camping trips, beach picnics, book writing and opening a retail/studio in Seattle leaves little time for pulling weeds. And yet the garden gives and rewards my efforts – no matter how lacking they may be.

Last week, after a quick jaunt to the islands, I came home to an empty fridge and a deep desire to order take out. I wandered into the garden to turn on the sprinkler but immediately found myself pulling weeds and making plans for dinner. There was a zucchini – a rare one not yet enjoyed by our squirrely garden guests, tender skinned potatoes, ruffled butter lettuce, green beans and plenty of fragrant herbs.

The potatoes I boiled in a vinegar brine then roasted until crisp on the outside and buttery inside. With the zucchini, I cut it into thick coins then fried in a bit of olive and finished with sumac – a brilliant red spice that tastes as if it’s laced with lemon – and mint. The greens were lightly dressed with a lemon yogurt dressing immersed with herbs. And the green beans, well, the kids ate those raw as a snack while they waited for their garden dinner.

Perhaps next year is the year I really dig deep into gardening and I can live out my dreams of weedless rows and towering teepees of greens beans. In the meantime, I’m thankful for tangled stems that produce tomatoes sweet and bursting with flavor, and jungle-like web of green beans that bring smiles to my kid’s faces, and potatoes springing from the dirt in which I proudly hold them high in the air and proclaim to my husband, I grew that! Really, the earth does the work and for that I am so grateful.

 

Ashley

 

Get Ashley’s recipe for this week’s box menu, here.

 

Ashley Ashley Rodriguez is a NW Mom, Chef, Food Blogger at notwithoutsalt.com and author of Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship

Posted on

How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/30/17)

Green Beans:

Green beans are a workhorse vegetable: nothing flashy, rarely the star, but always dependable in a supporting role. They’re versatile, too – they’ll work well with just about any cuisine.

Greens beans make a great side for dinner, you can steam them just until bright green and tender, then toss with a little butter, or, sauté them in little olive oil and garlic. To cook more evenly blanch first by adding to a pot of boiling for 2 minutes. Then drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process. Sauté garlic in olive oil and add green beans, sautéing until lightly seared. Add salt and pepper to taste. Green beans can also be easily baked in the oven like any other vegetable. Simply spread out evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Take out after about ten minutes and shake to turn. Sprinkle with some parmesan and serve.

 

Inchelium Red Garlic:

One of the most productive of all the heirloom garlics, this soft neck variety is also an artichoke type. This means that its bulbs cluster in layers like artichoke petals. This makes these garlic bulbs particularly perfect for roasting. Roasted garlic cloves are a softer, milder version of their spicy raw selves. Spread them over crackers or bread for a delicious appetizer or mix into spreads, dressings or dips for delicious flavor. Unlike raw garlic, roasted garlic won’t hurt your stomach so eat as much as your heart desires! While foil-wrapped garlic is a popular way to roast it, it is possible to avoid foil-wrapping your food and still get good roasted garlic.

To Roast Garlic: Remove the outside layers. Cut the tops of each garlic bulb, so can see the exposed the garlic within. Then, lay the bulbs cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook in a 350 °F oven for 35-40 minutes or until done. Let cool and peel the clove from the outside in. Keep roasted garlic in a canning jar (pint size should be sufficient) with lid, in the fridge for no more than 1 week (7 days).

3-Ingredient Garlic Broccoli Stir Fry

“Compared to your usual oven roasting method or blanching, this recipe does not require you to heat up the oven, or boil a pot of water. So, you save extra 15 minutes, plus you can finish up cooking in one pan! The hot pan will steam the broccoli in a minute, and lightly crisp up the garlic at the same time. For a light dinner, simply throw some leftover chicken into the pan and let it heat up with the veggies – dinner in 5 minutes!” – omnivore’s cookbook

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 big head broccoli, separated into florets

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chicken stock

  1. Heat a large heavy-duty skillet until hot. Add oil. Swirl to coat the bottom. Add garlic and broccoli, and sprinkle with salt. Cook and stir to coat broccoli with oil.

2. Add chicken stock. Cover and cook for 1 minute, or until the broccoli reaches your desired doneness. Turn to low heat and carefully taste the broccoli. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt, or cover to cook a bit longer if necessary.

3. Serve warm.

From omnivorescookbook.com