With Klesick’s Farms, Stanwood – A Box of Good Food
Nine months ago my family was just like any other when it came to eating in. It was happening less and less thanks to the convenience of fast food in our busy lives and, when it did happen, it was usually something frozen, boxed, or canned. We ate because we had to, not to enjoy it or because it was good for us. It wasn’t, and that was a fact that soon became all to real.
I had become a very busy person. For years I had been doing too much, and not taking care of myself. When I did eat, it wasn’t good or good for me. I was living off a steady stream of caffeine from coffee and energy drinks. I wasn’t sleeping, I was working seven days a week, and 14-16 hours a day. It was stressful, and all of it was taking a toll on my body.
I found myself facing a very serious health crisis just over a year ago. My pancreas was beginning to fail me, it was struggling to produce the enzymes necessary to digest food or take in the vitamins, sugar, and fat my body needed. I was suffering the consequences for it too. I was tired all the time, I was malnourished, I was losing weight faster than I could keep in clothes that fit me (thankfully I had a lot of it, who knew being overweight could be a good thing), my other organs were being compromised, and more times that not, eating made me extremely sick. My doctors had essentially given me one to two years to live with no possible hope of getting better.
I became committed to finding a way where my doctors couldn’t see one. There was a lot of research, a lot of experimenting with different foods and natural remedies, and a lot of failure and sick days and nights along the way. That went on for awhile, and then out of nowhere my job began prolonging my life. Everyone loved my recipes so much that I began doing more of them, which meant having to find more local ingredients.
There aren’t a lot of local food products out there, and I was already putting honey on EVERYTHING. That is when I started looking to local farms as another option. We got blueberries and strawberries for pancakes and desserts from Whitehorse Meadows in Darrington and Biringer Farm in Arlington. Then, despite how not a vegetable person I am, I started looking for them. Everything I was researching just kept pointing to them as potential hope.
I happened to stumble upon Klesick Farms of Stanwood during a local event and learned all about their Klesick – A Box of Good Food CSA Box program that could deliver fresh and, more importantly, healthy fruits and vegetables right to our door every week from their farm, as well as others in the PNW and beyond. After going home and looking into it more, we signed up for not only a weekly box, but local milk and eggs too.
I’m not going to lie, some of the contents of the first few boxes, as well as the brown eggs, got some skeptical looks from my children, and sometimes me (especially the celery root in the first one, which we did cook up and eat). There were a lot of things we had never seen before, let alone even knew what they were.
I was committed to giving it all a try though and spent quite a bit of time looking up vegetable names and finding recipes. It became a bit of an adventure in and of itself for the kids and I. We made a lot of different things, and ate … most of them. The more we tried though, regardless of the outcome, the more fun it got and the better we ate.
Over time I decided that starting with the basics and working our way up was better. I started adding onions, diced so small you wouldn’t even know they were there (especially if your mom didn’t mention they were), and fresh garlic and herbs.
We started eating salad with everything, using the lettuce and spinach grown by Klesick Farms and delivered to our door each week. I should probably rephrase that. I started putting salad on every dinner plate, and eventually everyone started eating it. There was also lots and lots of potatoes, cooked and baked in every way imaginable.
Eventually everyone caught on to what they were eating. Luckily they liked it and the skeptical looks when something unfamiliar was being thrown into a pan disappeared. As for myself, I noticed that my weight loss was slowing down and I was keeping more and more food in my body longer. The vegetables were working, they were hope where there hadn’t been any before, so I started adding more.
We began having bok choy with stir fry, broccolini (I’ll never be a full on broccoli fan, if you or your kids aren’t either, look this one up), and even brussels sprouts made into salads, once again without the kids knowing what they were eating at first. Next it was more and more root veggies. Parsnips, radishes, and carrots now make regular appearances in our breakfasts and dinners. We were enjoying vegetables so much that we started buying them at the Sno Isle Food Co-Op in Everett and our local grocer when they didn’t appear in our weekly box.
Vegetables are now a part of our everyday life, and Klesick Farms is the reason why. In June, The SnoCo Kid and I joined them for their Good Food Farm Tour. While there we got up close and personal with where our food was coming from, how it was grown, and who was growing it.
Farmer Tristan, the man behind it all, did an amazing and somewhat hilarious job of teaching us about the trials and tribulations of farming and the food that was growing on the farm. He also opened my eyes to things I had never considered before.
He spoke a lot about the reasons behind why the farm works with the outside farms and food producers it does for its delivery program. His standards are very high and rightly so. In today’s world there is so many unnatural things going into our food and our animals. It is more important than ever to know what we are eating, what is in it, and where it comes from.
As if that wasn’t enough to get me thinking, he also discussed the importance of local farms. The thing that stuck with me most was the fact that grocery stores in our communities only have about a days worth of food on hand and if our travel infrastructure was to ever go down because of a natural disaster, weather or some else, we would be in serious trouble without local sustainable food sources.
With a heads full of information, we left the farm and spent more than a bit of time thinking about other changes we could make, that we needed to make, to the food we eat. Farmer Tristan’s words inspired us to create a garden in our backyard, a project that is sadly still a work in progress since my health problems kept me from being up to the task during the summer. We are looking forward to working on it again in the spring though, and have even more ideas of things we can add, like a hive to make our own honey.
He also inspired us to be more aware of what was in our food. Thankfully the weekly CSA Box itself was enough to start causing changes in that. All the fresh fruit and vegetables were requiring us to actually cook and have real ingredients for recipes, ones that didn’t come out of boxes or cans. Fresh food was being used so often that we barely use our freezer anymore for meat or anything else. Our refrigerator gets fuller and fuller by the week, and it is all food that is good for us and our bodies, particularly mine.
We’ve started paying more attention to where our food comes from and what is in it. At the store, we choose local options, from our county, state, and the PNW, ones that are better for the environment because they don’t have to travel far to reach us. They are options that are all natural or organic, have ingredients we know, that were made or grown in sustainable ways, and that ensure our four legged friends are fed and treated well.
The more we changed, the healthier and fresher we ate, the better I began to feel. The health problems I face are not reversible, but thanks to our CSA Box and Klesick Farms working so hard to provide information and raise awareness, the symptoms they cause have improved and the damage they are causing substantially slowed, much to my doctors surprise. Almost a year and a half into my potential two year death sentence and I’ve lost 1/4 of the weight they projected and there have even been weeks where I’ve gained weight instead of losing it.
Food, part of what got me into this mess in the first place, is now prolonging my life. It is giving me and my family hope for the future. It has been a blessing that I am not wasting. I’m using the time that I’ve been given to do what I love, have more adventures, learn new things, and spend more time with my family. It has influenced my work in more ways than one as well.
I’m working harder than ever to promote the importance of local choices to our everyday lives and the benefits that come from making them. More and more content is centered around eating in and supporting local food makers, farms, produce stands, and grocers or eating out at local restaurants that use fresh and PNW sourced ingredients. I’m spreading the love and, hopefully, a bit of hope for you, your family, and local makers and businesses. It’s a big job, but someone has got to do it, and I plan on being around long enough to do it.
I encourage you to visit Klesick Farms website at www.klesicks.com to learn more about them, their Box of Good Food CSA Box delivery (they deliver all over SnoCo) and other food products they offer, as well as Farmer Tristan’s blog that is full of information, recipes, and more. P.S. Use coupon code to SNOCOLIFE at checkout to get $10 off your first order, bonus Live the SnoCo Life gets $10 as well that will go towards donating boxes to SnoCo food banks.