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Never Plough More Than You Can Disc in a Day

This is sage advice from a bygone era of time. Yet, like most advice that has stood the test of time, it is timeless. Essentially it means don’t start what you can’t finish. Anybody relate to that???? As a farmer in the Stillaguamish Valley who is blessed with “heavy” (more clay and less sand) soils, you learn a lot about patience. If you happen to be travelling through the valley, you will notice that the farmers are busy as anyone can be. Often, they work around the clock or use two or three tractors at a time in the same field. Of course, most are still using humans to drive the tractors, but many are using GPS systems to steer them. It is only a matter of time before driver-less farming takes hold on the mega operations.

But I digress. You might notice on your trip to the valley that the farmers sure spend a lot of time working the soil before they plant. Soil preparation is pretty foundational to what we do. But, if you were to drive by that same field a few days later, you might take a double take. You might even say, “Didn’t they just work all that soil a few days ago?” And you would be right. Because our soil is so heavy, the farmers in this valley work the top 6 inches and get it ready to plant. Then they plow it over and repeat the process. This gives them about 12 inches of deeply worked soil. Then they plant the potatoes or carrots or cabbage.

The only wrinkle in the operation is the weather. If it rains too much, we get to start all over again. And this year, we have had lots of “practice” working our soils and even replanting a few times. The other reason many farmers use multiple tractors is that if you plow too much ground up and let it sit for a couple days, the clods that are plowed up become as hard as rocks and you will spend a lot more time trying to bust up those clods. So, when a farmer plows a field, most of the time we start discing the soil immediately. Better to do a little well than a lot poorly.

Of course, if you have light (sandy) soil, none of this matters. Instead, you will spend a whole lot of time moving your irrigation. 🙂

Good Food Farm Tours

Our first farm tour is this weekend. Tours start on the hour at 10am and 11am. On this tour, we will be focusing on the orchard (apples, pears, plums) and the berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and kiwi berries). Please register for a tour time here, for planning purposes. Every tour this summer will be different and will reflect the changing seasons. Looking forward to seeing you on the farm!

 

Tristan Klesick, Farmer and 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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Snohomish Farm-Fish-Flood Initiative: Finding Common Ground

Published in the Everett Herald, Sun Sep 11th, 2016 1:30 am

Since the retreat of the Vashon Glacier 13,000 years ago, the area that is now Snohomish County has been one of the best places on earth to live. A rich tribal salmon culture flourished here for millennia; settlers came for timber, fish, and fertile farmland; cities grew up around natural ports on our protected inland sea.

But the “resource lands” of Snohomish County – the farms, forests, natural habitat, open space and parks – that make this such a productive and beautiful place to work and live are facing historic challenges. An additional 200,000 people are expected to move here within 30 years; a changing climate – bringing droughts, floods, reduced snowpack, and sea level rise – is impacting agriculture, fish, forests, and communities; salmon runs are crashing; and the political and economic demands upon farmers, tribes, agencies, and developers are unprecedented.

Despite this complex landscape, groups are coming together in the spirit of “collaborative conservation” to work towards win-win solutions. The recent Farm-to-Table dinner hosted by the Sustainable Land Strategy (SLS) Agriculture Caucus, Snohomish Conservation District, and the Snohomish County Farm Bureau brought together a remarkably diverse 75-person group that included tribal leaders, flood control and drainage districts, big and small farmers, conservation groups, and high-level government officials, from County Executive Dave Somers to Puget Sound Partnership Director Sheida Sahandy and the Conservation Commission’s Mark Clark. On a pastoral 100 year-old farm on the banks of the Snohomish River, individuals shared their stories and their fears, listened to others’ perspectives, and experienced first-hand what exactly is at stake.

For over six years, the Snohomish County Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS) has been providing a multi-stakeholder forum for identifying “net-gains” for simultaneously preserving and enhancing agriculture and salmon habitat.

The SLS, and similar regional “multi-benefit” initiatives like the public-private Floodplains by Design partnership between TNC, Ecology, and the Puget Sound Partnership, are based on the premise that science, collaboration, and coordinated investment can begin to bring together historically opposed groups, and address fish-farm-flood needs in a comprehensive way.

The benefits of this approach are beginning to emerge. The SLS brought together Lower Skykomish farmers, Tulalip Tribes, and other stakeholders to utilize reach-scale assessments and GIS maps to overlay potential habitat restoration areas, flood mitigation and drainage projects, and water quality sites. The Stillaguamish Tribe worked with the City of Stanwood, the Stillaguamish Flood Control District, and farmers to create a package of seven multi-benefit projects that received full funding under the Washington State Legislature’s Floodplains by Design program.

The SLS and its partners are also developing innovative models around conservation easements and the purchasing of development rights, incentives for stewardship practices, and climate resiliency planning.

In recognition of the efforts to advance this collaborative conservation model, and the national significance of our resource land base, the President recently designated the Snohomish basin as one of four focus areas under the federal Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative. The timely potential for positive impacts within our communities and ecosystems has never been greater or more imperative. We are all coming to the table with different needs but a common agenda: the long-term stewardship of these lands, and of our future.

Tristan Klesick, Klesick Family Farms, SLS Co-Chair

Terry Williams, Tulalip Tribes, SLS Co-Chair

Monte Marti, Snohomish Conservation District Manager

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#fueledbyklesickfarms continues

newsletterWe have received some great pics from you and would love to generate a few more before we draw a winner! A winner? Yes, a winner. We are hosting a raffle to draw one person on July 31st that will win a month of free produce ($112 value). All you have to do is snap a photo and tag the photo with #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside and we will find it and enter your name into the raffle. And in addition to entering your name, you will receive free blueberries with your next delivery! So don’t be bashful, share that special shot from the beach, mountain tops, a sprinkler, etc.*

Joelle and I have had a fun-filled summer, seizing every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful area in which we live. Some getaways we plan, and others we, literally, wrestle ourselves away from the farm on a moment’s notice! We have to do both strategies or it just won’t happen. Life and farming are both relentless task masters. Planning, as well as taking advantage of opportunities as they come, assuage the taskmaster for a little while.

Last week we had a planned trip to Northern Idaho with the NYC relatives that came for a visit. Can you say cousin time? We had three full days of swimming, swinging, basketball, tennis, golf, paddle board and kayak adventures. Northern Idaho is beautiful.

Though Northern Idaho is a trek, Winthrop is a whole lot closer and has the same feel as Northern Idaho. Plus, you can visit Cascadian Farms to get some fresh organic blueberries and stop by the stunning Washington Pass Overlook, which has a good ADA trail with some incredible vista views. Make it a day trip.

I encourage you to get outside and enjoy this beautiful spot we call home and create some memories. The laundry will be there when you get home and so will the lawn (and weeds). Summer is short, so enjoy it!

As a side note, this week we are putting “green” garlic in some of the boxes of good food. Most of the time garlic has been “cured” and will store for several months. We are not curing the garlic, which means you need to use it this week. I would encourage you to roast it or stir fry with it, but use it right away. I popped a clove into a berry/spinach smoothie earlier this week. Just a hint of garlic, nice!

Farmer Tristan

 

What are the details? It is simple, while you are hanging from a rock or kayaking on the sound or watching/playing soccer or baseball anything outdoors this summer, snap a photo and use both #fueledbyklesickfarms and#optoutside in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and we will find it and send you Free Berries with your next delivery.* And for everyone who uses the above two #tags in their outdoor photo, we will enter your name to win A Month of Free Produce. So start uploading those photos and share your summer fun!

Please note: if you are using Facebook or Instagram, you may need to post or message directly to our page if you prefer to keep your post settings from an audience that’s public. Otherwise, we can’t see your pics!

*Must be current Klesick Farms customer. Berries are: 1 pkg. free blueberries, while supplies last, if n/a, other berries may be substituted. Offer runs now – July 31, 2016. Limit one entry, and one delivery of berries, per customer, per week. A month of free produce value of $112.

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Perspectives

I am currently visiting my homeland of Peru. I was born and raised here – from kindergarten to college, Peru was my only home. At age 25, I moved to the United Stated to get my graduate degree and planned on returning to Peru after a few years living abroad. I eventually met Brad, who, three and a half weeks later, became my husband and just like that, I became a first generation immigrant! I never really thought of myself that way until about a month ago, when I was asked to write my “Defining Moment.” Now, I have two homelands, both with room for growth, both full of wonderful people willing to spread goodness and happiness around the world.

At first sight Lima, Peru can be chaotic, loud and cloudy. Lima is a city full of contradictions. It sits in the desert, right next to the ocean. It is the second richest land in natural resources and is still categorized as a developing country. It also happens to be GMO-free.

One of the first things I do every time I come to Peru is visit a farmers market. What used to be an everyday way of life has now become a weekend event, in an effort to remind us of where it all comes from. Foods I grew up eating (and forgot about over time) are the stars of the show. Some I loved, like lucuma, forte avocado and chirimoya, and some I avoided, like the beloved quinoa, amaranth and noni. Today, I cherish them all.

By moving away, I learned to appreciate what I have here. Cooking became comforting – a way of staying closer to home even though I was thousands of miles away. I found that keeping our culinary traditions alive was a way of keeping Peru always in my heart. In my constant search for fresh ingredients, I am reminded that no matter where I am, every civilization begins with agriculture.

Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, cannot ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food is to risk malnutrition and starvation. In modern times, in our urban cities, it’s easy to forget this fundamental connection. Insulated by the apparent abundance of food that has come from new technologies for the growing, transportation and storage of food, humanity’s fundamental dependence on agriculture is often overlooked.

All this to say, let’s share with those around us the importance of supporting our local farmers. Locally grown food not only tastes better, it was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. In addition, local food supports local farm families everywhere. For example, with fewer than one million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Therefore, local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

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#fueledbyklesickfarms

#fueledbyklesickfarms

Last week our family stole a few precious moments from the farm and headed off to Winthrop and Twisp for Father’s day. We wanted to take the kiddos away for a couple of days after school got out and we settled on the North Cascades. A brief excursion filled with rest and play. Of course we enjoyed the town of Winthrop, visiting galleries and shops and the Ice cream parlor!
 
The North Cascades are stunning. Sadly, I have not ventured this direction for several years, usually heading for the coast or the San Jauns, but that will change. A few hours away and you are in the middle of pristine mountains, crags, valleys and wildlife.  We just did the touristy things, like Fall Lake Falls, Pearrygin Lake, Twisp Salmon Ponds, the National Methow fish hatchery and the Smoke Jumpers Base. That Washington Pass Overlook was definitely worth a stop, stunning vistas! A full two days of fun.
 
We have a resident “selfie” taker who, of course, is a teenager. Let’s be honest I can barely answer the phone let alone take a selfie J. I do try, but when we are out and she is with us, I wisely defer to her abilities. So in front of Falls Lake Falls, it dawned on me. We are just like other families, who are out and about and why not have some fun with summer.
 
And Voila! Our new Summer campaign was born #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside. Our customers are adventurous “outdoorsy” folks who love life and love good food.
What are the details? It is simple, while you are hanging from a rock or kayaking on the sound or watching/playing soccer or baseball anything outdoors, snap a photo and use both #fueledbyklesickfarms and #optoutside in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and we will find it and send you Free Berries with your next delivery.*
 
And for everyone who uses the above two #tags in their outdoor photo, we will enter your name to win A Month of Free Produce. So start uploading those photos and share your summer fun!
 
Farmer Tristan

*Must be current Klesick Farms customer. Berries are: 1 pkg. free blueberries, while supplies last, if n/a, other berries may be substituted. Offer runs now – July 31, 2016. Limit one entry, and one delivery of berries, per customer, per week. A month of free produce value of $112.

 

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Update: Operation Stem the Tide of Weeds

Thankfully, school is over and a few weeders, pickers, farm hands and all around great people have some time to dedicate to working! Managing a vegetable operation around a school, sports, assemblies, life, etc. schedule keeps me hopping (much like those rabbits that seem to be everywhere!) With school removed from the equation, we can dedicate some serious attention to weeding and other farm chores.

With weather patterns changing we are able to plant a little earlier, but the crops are ready even earlier than my psyche is accustomed to. This makes it a hair harder to manage when school gets out mid-June and the farm is in full production early May. In fact, I am thinking that we should all start referring to June strawberries as May strawberries! And correspondingly, have school get out in May. 🙂 This is a little tongue-in-cheek, of course, as we can’t change our school system to the benefit of the farmers. After all, there are more people incarcerated in America than there are farmers, and the number of farmers who actually grow fruits and vegetables is considerably smaller yet.

But back in the early 80’s in south Everett, a school bus would show up and bunch of middle and high school kids would climb on and head off to the berry fields in Marysville and Mount Vernon. Once they’d finish with berries, they’d start picking pickling cucumbers. Granted that was 30+ years ago, but agriculture was still a vibrant part of our economy; enough so that hundreds of kids from Everett would load up on buses and head to the fields. Many of these kids probably had parents who had done a similar thing when they were in school. Did any of you catch that bus or work on farms when you were in high school?

Sadly, most of that work has gone the way of the dinosaurs – replaced by chemical applications and mechanization. What also happened was a large migrant force of workers replaced the kiddos and the farmers also chose to not grow those labor-intensive crops any longer. Eventually, the school buses stopped coming and good summer jobs for young people stopped as well.

Farming is hard work and growing vegetables organically is very labor intensive. If we could shift our national food policy from corn and soybeans to fruits and vegetables, that would stimulate the farm economy to hire more young people. Eating organically grown fruits and vegetables is so critically important to the health of our nation (think diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc.) and to the local environment (think salmon, swallows, earthworms, rabbits, trees, etc.).

Farming for you, the environment, and the health of our nation.

Tristan

 

 

Recipe: Garlic Scape and Swiss Chard Pesto

Ingredients: 1 bunch garlic scapes 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves only 1/4 cup raw walnuts (optional) 1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) Juice from half a lemon 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Blanch the Swiss chard leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, just to remove chalky taste. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out the water.

2. Put blanched Swiss chard, garlic scapes, walnuts, crushed red pepper and lemon juice into the bowl of your food processor and process until still slightly chunky. Gradually pour olive oil in to feeder tube and continue processing until smooth.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve tossed with your favorite gluten-free pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid from the pasta to loosen up the sauce, if you wish.

Recipe from tasty-yummies.com

 

Know Your Produce: Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the beginning of what would be the garlic plant’s flower; if they’re left on the garlic plant, less energy goes towards developing the head of garlic underground. So, by harvesting these scapes, you cooks get an early taste of the garlic to come down the road, and the bulbs can keep developing.

You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes.

Store: Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Store away from your fruit, because garlic is generous with its fragrance, and you may not appreciate biting into a peach and tasting…garlic. Garlic scapes will keep up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container.

Prep: Wash under cool water when ready to use.

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Wow!

One would think that after almost two decades of farming I would have this farming game figured out! I do have the basics mostly down, but every year, around Father’s Day, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with what? Thanks for asking. WORK! All of the sudden, everything needs to be harvested: lettuce, spinach, peas. Everything needs to be weeded: lettuce, spinach, peas, beets, tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, strawberries. And more needs to be planted: lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, squash, beets, kohlrabi, corn, etc. I know it is coming, but it always catches me off guard, like a sneaker wave at the beach – all of the sudden you’re wet.

A lot of this has to do with timing and trying to figure out the changing climate patterns and the changing availability of willing workers. The climate impacts are just unpredictable. Last year at this time we were burning up and this year we have had huge swings in temperatures and a fair amount of rain.

This year I got out early and planted some summer loving, heat loving crops in early May, expecting it to get hot early, but June is looking more like “Junuary.” Although hitting a high of 58 degrees in early June really slows down the crops, it also keeps things from bolting, like spinach and lettuce, and peas from burning up. This is farming though: I do my best, I get the weather I get, I adapt, then I get to harvest what crops liked the weather best.

But the weeds, well, they love all types of weather. On our farm we are a hand-weeding operation, and it is hard to find people excited about rows and rows of vegetables to be weeded, sometimes with a hoe, other times on your hands and sometimes we just throw up our hands and use a tractor and start over. We have managed to stay almost caught up, but you can see the “tide” of weeds rising. This week will be the week to stem that tide!

As always, we work hard to grow the healthiest, tastiest and freshest fruits and vegetables for you and your family. We want to be that bright spot in your week, where on your delivery day a box of good food brightens your day and nourishes your body.

More locally grown good food is on its way.

Cheers to your health!

Tristan

 

Recipe for this week’s box: Asian Cucumber & Carrot Slaw

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 medium carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon water

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or other oil of choice)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Using a julienne peeler or grater, shred the cucumber and carrots into long strips.
  1. Toss the vegetables in a medium bowl, along with the vinegars, water, sugar, and sesame oil.
  1. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.
  1. Chill until ready to serve. Best served cold.

Recipe adapted from wayfair.com

 

Know Your Produce: Stonefruit 101

IMG_20150427_100811

“Stonefruit” refers to members of the genus Prunus, which includes peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, cherries, and apricots. The season for summer stonefruit is short-lived, and delicious! With the fruit coming and going so quickly, we don’t want you to miss out by having to toss spoiled or improperly ripened fruit. Here’s some info on proper storage in order for you to make the most of these short-season gems.

Care – Store unwashed fruit at room temperature until ripe (usually only 1-2 days), then place in sealed container in the fridge.

Ripeness – Gently press around stem and when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe.

Tips for Preventing Spoilage – Stonefruit’s biggest enemy while ripening is moisture coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered countertop or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen. This lessens the chance of then rolling and bruising. Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Take special care when handling your stonefruit – never squeeze to check for ripeness! Even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening.

Use – Once fruit is ripe, and you’ve placed in the refrigerator, plan to use within a day or two (this gives you a total keeping time of about 4-5 days). Stonefruit is refreshing as a healthy breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. For grilling, or for topping green salads: use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. All Stonefruit bakes up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

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The Bowl Craze Explained

The one-dish meal is having its moment. The bowl craze started with the smoothie bowl and has since become a menu staple in many kitchens and restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you haven’t seen one of these protein-packed bowls on a menu, you’ve likely seen one on your Instagram feed.

Though its contents may vary, most grain bowls follow a simple blueprint. It begins with a grain base, like rice or quinoa. Then, you could spoon almost anything over your grains and call the result a bowl (and some do). But the best bowls have a balanced combination of flavors and textures, and of vegetables, proteins, sauces and garnishes. Let your creativity soar in the combination of toppings and you’ll be surprised with the results!

Once you have selected your grains, you then need veggies – preferably something green, like kale or spinach. Raw, cooked or steamed vegetables will work great too.

Now you need a protein. Think of small amounts of braised or roasted meats, whether left over or freshly cooked. Beans are a great option as well. Adding a soft-cooked egg, preferably one with a runny yolk to coat the other ingredients like an instant sauce, is always a great idea.

Once you have the bowl assembled – grains, vegetables and protein – it’s time to think about garnishes, which add character and depth. Something pickled or pungent keeps things interesting, and something crunchy (sesame seeds or nuts) diversifies the textures.

Finally, a sauce on the side for everyone to mix in to taste. Use ingredients that mesh with the flavors of the bowl. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and rice vinegar or lime juice for Asian-inspired combinations. Pesto goes nicely with roasted red peppers, eggplant or anything else vaguely Mediterranean. A simple salsa works great for a Latin inspired bowl. Bottled hot sauce provides spice to the fire-toothed. And a basic vinaigrette will get along with practically anything else.

Another reason for grain bowls’ popularity is that they’re very customizable. Mix and match. Then mix and match again. If you do it right, you will never serve the same bowl twice – not unless you want to, that is.

Last but not least, bowls can be seasonal! In today’s world of mass production and far-flung distribution, the seasons blend together. Fruits and veggies that used to be available just once a year can now be found 365 days a year. However, thanks to our local farmers we can enjoy ingredients at their prime and find them more flavorful and nutritious than their off-season counterparts.

No wonder the bowl has become a favorite way of eating: out of a bowl, fresh ingredients, bold seasonal flavors, and various textures and temperatures. I’m in – time to mix and match!
Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

 

Kale-Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 avocado ÂĽ cup homemade pesto

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 cup baby broccolini, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

1 cup mushrooms, lightly sautéed with salt and pepper

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 cup fresh kale leaves

ÂĽ cup parmesan cheese

ÂĽ cup pine nuts + plus a handful for garnishing

1 large garlic clove

3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the eggs to your liking. I like mine runny so I cook them for exactly 7 minutes in boiling water.

While the eggs are cooking, add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor. Process until almost smooth.

Prepare your breakfast bowls: Add 1 cup quinoa, broccolini, mushrooms, tomatoes and half of the avocado thinly sliced and pesto sauce to taste.

When eggs have cooled, peel them and slice in half. Add to the bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts.

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Kale Power

I wish I could tell you that I’ve always liked kale. The healthy-leafy-green vegetable that now seems to be everywhere from smoothie bars to every menu across America.

For the first 30+ years of my life, I didn’t know kale existed. My introduction came about five years ago, when I started to juice, the flavor was “grassy” almost “metallic” like, I just couldn’t take it. I wanted to like it. But it caught me off guard. Kale was not part of my grocery list.

But when you love to eat, and the latest food trend catches up with you, it is almost impossible to avoid this grassy green. So I started to try it in different dishes. I would cook it, use it raw, puree it, and now… I can’t get enough of it.

One of my favorite restaurants in Washington State serves it simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, golden raisins and pine nuts. That’s it! So simple, it’s impossible not to like it. Now, I feel somehow responsible to defend kale, the misunderstood child of the vegetable family. With its thick, curly leaves, it can easily seem intimidating, as though you’d have to wrestle it into submission before it agrees to be cooked.

Around the United States, everyone is talking about kale. So what’s all the kale hype about? Flavor aside, I love kale for three fundamental reasons: Kale tops the charts of nutrient density, possesses incredible culinary flexibility, and is easy to grow almost anywhere, which means you can enjoy local kale just about anywhere when it’s in season. I recently learned about its power to support brain health, and will be sharing that with you on the Klesick Farms blog.

As explained by doctor Drew Ramsey, author of Happiness Diet, the power of phytonutrients do amazing things. 

Sulforaphane

Sulforaphane is one of the reasons that cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli are on everyone’s “superfoods” list. Its antioxidant action helps fight high blood pressure, while its ability to stimulate natural detoxifying enzymes reduces brain inflammation as well as the risk of breast and prostate cancer. These protective effects may also be responsible for the observation that sulforaphane helps improve learning and memory abilities following brain injury. It can kill the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for stomach ulcers and gastric cancer risk.

Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an omega-3 fat found mainly in plants. It is an essential fatty acid, meaning your body can’t produce it and you must obtain it through your diet. Plants use this fat to convert sunlight into energy, making it vital to our planet’s energy production. In the brain, ALA is converted to the longer omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are particularly important for brain and heart health. Higher intakes of ALA are linked to a lower risk of depression and may decrease anxiety and the effects of stress.

Folates

Plant-based diets are key to brain health, and one reason are folates. At least eight forms of these water-soluble B-complex vitamins exist in food. Folic acid is the synthetic version. Folates, also known as vitamin B9, are needed for a healthy brain and good moods as they keep brain cells healthy, ward off heart disease (drastic risk reductions), and even fight cancer.

So what are your thoughts on Kale? What is your favorite way to enjoy this leafy vegetable?

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
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Kale, Apple and Parmesan Cheese Salad with Roasted Garlic-Lemon Dressing

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, thinly sliced

1 apple

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the kale, toss to coat and let stand 10 minutes.

 

While the kale stands, cut the apples into thin matchsticks. Add the apples and cheese to the kale. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.