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Grace Harbor Farms Dairy

We are excited to announce that starting the week of January 31st we will be adding Grace Harbor Farms from Lynden to our mix of local farms we work with. You are going to love their healthy, locally produced yogurts, kefirs, goat, and cow’s milk. Visit our website to order for your family. I am sharing a snippet from their website so you can get to know them. You can also visit their website at https://graceharborfarms.com

We have been family owned and operated by the Lukens Family since 1999.

All of our products are made without the use of artificial flavors or gums. Our dairy products are true whole milk, 4.5% butterfat on average. We never separate the cream out or homogenize the milk. Because we don’t remove anything, we don’t have to add synthetic vitamins back in.

All of our products are vat pasteurized and ready to eat. Please keep refrigerated, consume or freeze by the “use by” date.

*We have used organic style farming before organic was cool. We still do today. We promise that the animals will have pasture access (weather permitting) and grass to graze on. We believe we are stewards of the land and animals, and we do our very best to keep everyone healthy and happy.

Box of Good Daily Curbside Pick-Up Now Available

And starting the same week, Customers will be able to schedule same day pick up of fresh produce, by choosing “Curbside Pick-Up.” This feature allows customers to swing by our packing facility in Stanwood, and pick up their order, during our office hours of 8:00am – 2:00pm, Monday-Friday.

Thank you for supporting our family farm, our online grocery store, and the other family farms and local producers who we partner with.         -Tristan, Joelle, Alaina and the Box of Good crew  

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Deja Vu

This past week has been all too poignant for me. As a farmer and resident in one of many flood plains in WA state, seeing what was unfolding in the Centralia and Chehalis area last week brought me right back to the mid-December Floods of 2007.  

That year our valley was spared, much like this year, but in 2007 the Chehalis River ravaged that community. It was a freaky event, that was exacerbated by a mudslide caused by a clearcut. With little to no warning the river left its bank. The losses were significant to both livestock and property. Our family helped with cleaning up a few of the farms in that community. So much pain and resilience and community was on display. 

Fast forward a few years and my valley got hit hard. Our farm was spared but, many of our neighbors did not fare as well. It took a week for the water to drain from behind the dikes. It gave the community time to develop a plan and begin the cleanup. Sadly, no, thankfully, what I had learned from helping in Chehalis a few years earlier became important to help my valley get back on its feet. 

Fast forward 15 years. We have not had a serious flood for over a decade in the Stillaguamish River Valley and the City of Stanwood (proper) hasn’t flooded since 1956. But this year has not been kind to Whatcom and Skagit County families that were overwhelmed by a deluge of water. And now Lewis County is getting flooded. Flooding is never easy on anyone, but farm families understand the risks and have lived through many floods. There is institutional knowledge that can span 3, 4 or 5 generations.  

Joelle and I live in the flood plain, we expect it to flood at some point. The folks who live behind dikes have shorter memories and for good reason, flooding is not very frequent. But when a dike overtops, or heaven forbids breaches flooding becomes very scary and quickly. Or for residents of cities like Sumas or Centralia who also live in the flood plain, but they are slightly higher in elevation and/or protected by dikes the flood risk is not top of mind either. My heart goes out to those folks, the flooding that is happening this year is devasting.  

In a strange Irony, I now have two daughters and their families living in the City of Centralia. Both sandbagged their homes. And even though this flood is going to have a significant impact, one daughter commented that it is scary to get a call from the city to evacuate, but still amazing to see the community working together to sandbag and serve one another.  

I know all too well that our valley will have its day and I also know that our community will rally just like in Sumas and Centralia to serve and begin to move forward.  

Life is full of twists and turns and opportunities to serve and build community happen all the time. 

-Tristan

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Butternut Squash Apple Walnut Salad With Sweet Citrus Dressing

Butternut Squash Apple Walnut Salad With Sweet Citrus Dressing

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 2 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or other fat for roasting
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large pink lady apple cored and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts chopped
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach chopped
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup optional

Instructions
 

  • First, it's time to roast that butternut! I always roast my butternut with coconut oil, but choose whatever fat you like that is safe for high heat.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Melt your fat and toss it with the butternut squash cubes. Add the 1/2 tsp salt and toss again. Arrange cubes in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet (for maximum sweetness and crispness, do the parchment!) Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, flipping/stirring once in the middle of cook time, or until browned, soft inside and crisp outside.
  • Set your butternut aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Combine your baby spinach, chopped apple, and walnuts in a med-large salad bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon, lime and orange juice, and maple syrup if you are adding that. (The salad maple syrup will really sweeten up the dressing, so only add this if you want a pretty sweet salad!)
  • Now add the cooled butternut squash to the salad bowl. Just before serving, whisk up the dressing again, drizzle over the salad a little at a time, and toss. Serve alone or as a delicious side dish!
Keyword Apple, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Walnut
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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 leeks white and light green parts cleaned, halved, and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 large) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 medium potatoes Peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups in 1" chunks). I highly recommend using Yukon gold potatoes for their creamy texture.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne pepper and sauté 30 seconds longer.
  • Add the butternut squash and potato, and sauté 1 minute more. Increase the heat to medium, then add the bay leaf and broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the squash and potato are very tender. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf.
  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender or high speed blender until smooth.
  • Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Keyword Butternut Squash, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Vegetable Stock
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Penne with Cauliflower and Leeks

Penne with Cauliflower and Leeks

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks white and light green parts thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cauliflower cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 fresh red chile seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound penne rigate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and chile. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, about 25 minutes. Add the wine and water, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 12 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain the pasta, then toss it with the vegetables in the skillet. Season with salt and black pepper and serve.
Keyword Cauliflower, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Leeks
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Sautéed French Green Beans

Sautéed French Green Beans

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, French
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 173 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Lb French green beans (haricot verts) trimmed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped herbs such as dill, tarragon, chives, parsley, or chervil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. capers drained, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large scallions cut into 1" pieces

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add chopped walnuts. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, stirring often so they don't burn. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then add anchovies. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to carefully press into and break apart the filets. Be careful, oil may splatter. Cook until the anchovies are melted and broken down, then pour into a mixing bowl.
  • Make the vinaigrette. To the bowl with the anchovy oil, add chopped herbs, vinegar, capers, Dijon, whole grain mustard, and sugar. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
  • Cook the French green beans. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add trimmed green beans and cook, stirring often, until blistered (not burnt!), about 5-7 minutes. Green beans should still have a slight crunch to them. Season with kosher salt.
  • Add the vinaigrette. Pour the anchovy vinaigrette into the skillet along with the sliced scallions, then toss to combine. Transfer cooked green beans to a large serving bowl. Top with toasted walnuts, then serve immediately or at room temperature.
Keyword green beans, Green Onions, Walnut
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 

Joelle and I wanted to take a few moments and say “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” to the Box of Good Community. 

Your spirit of generosity throughout the year and this holiday season is inspiring. Together we have made an impact in our local communities. Next week I will recap the amazing amount of “good” accomplished with your support and purchases of fresh organic foods. We are grateful and honored to participate with each of you to extend kindness to those experiencing food hunger, battling cancer and to many PNW local farm families. 

Autumn Frost. Many of you will be getting the Autumn Frost squash in your boxes this week. We are at the tail end of our fall harvest and this beautiful Butternut squash variety is a newcomer to the vegetable world. There are so many choices when it comes to growing vegetables and the Autumn Frost made the cut this past year. I hope you will love it as much as I do. I have made butternut soup, both pureed and with cubes, I have made them into “fries” with feta and garlic and I have also just roasted them and added them to a salad with goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and an olive oil dressing. Bon Appetit! 

Wishing you the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest of Holidays this season. 

Tristan, Joelle and the kiddos still at home. 

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Why Vitamin D?

Coming off the wettest November in years, I have been thinking about Vitamin D and its importance to the PNW families and our health. I wanted to write about the benefits of it and I thought, “I bet Dr. Chelsea Gordon and the Flourish Family Medicine team in Mill Creek has already covered it.” And I was right. You can find this article other helpful information on their Instagram page.  https://www.instagram.com/p/CSKD-tLtpbp/?utm_medium=copy_link 

 Vitamin D, fat soluble, also called calciferol, labelled as D2 or D3⁣ 
⁣ 
Vitamin D is often low in this part of the country and we often have to supplement for it. That is simply because of where we are located on planet Earth. We do not get enough UV rays hitting our skin for long enough periods during enough times of the year.⁣ 
⁣ 
Can we get enough through food? That depends on the time of year.⁣ In the warmer months, say June through most of September, we may not need much vitamin D from food if we are outside enough.⁣ 
⁣ 
During the transitional periods, say April, May, some of September, and October, if we are outside during peak UV times and eating high vitamin D foods, likely we are doing okay.⁣ During the colder winter months, most of us need some supplementation *not all, but most of us. And that is because we need a fair amount of skin exposed during peak UV times (around noon to 2 pm) for at least 20 minutes.⁣ 
⁣ 
The other part of the equation is food. What foods contain vitamin D?⁣ Few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources. An animal’s diet affects the amount of vitamin D in its tissues. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks have small amounts of vitamin D. Mushrooms provide variable amounts of vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets, but if we aren’t eating fortified milks, juices, or packaged foods – we are missing out.⁣ 
⁣ 
Eat a varied diet. And get outside in the sun *without sunscreen* for 20 to 30 minutes each day. Let your face, arms, and upper chest, at least, be exposed to the sun, then if it is the summer – put on some mineral sunscreen, if winter – put on your coat, and talk to your provider about a supplement. ⁣ 
⁣ 
~Shelby, RDN  

Gift Cards 

If you are doing any last-minute gift giving for teachers, coworkers, or friends gifting health from Box of Good might just be the ticket (or email). You can email them directly from our site, pick the day you want them to receive it, write them a note and then the recipient can easily redeem it at their leisure. 

Have a great week, 

Tristan, Joelle and the Box of Good crew  

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Gift Cards and Walnuts

I have been walking by our two old majestic Walnut trees admiring their strength, beauty and purpose. I have waxed poetically about these trees and their multipurpose place on our farm for darn near two decades. Walnuts are a super food and we slow dry them in our greenhouses which imparts a softer texture and sweetness to our walnuts. These gems are hand harvested, slow dried and delivered to your door. Make sure to add them to your Box of Good before they are gone for the season. Get out the nut crackers and order some for next week’s delivery.

I copied this excerpt from Organicfacts.net about walnuts. This entire article is pure gold, but I am just sharing a snippet here.

According to the USDA Food Data Central, walnuts are a rich source of vitamin C, B vitamins (vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate), vitamin E, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. [3]

Walnuts are 65 percent fat by weight and 15 percent protein. They are richer than most nuts in polyunsaturated fats (often considered the “good” fats) and have a relatively high amount of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are also particularly rich in an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid.

Walnuts contain other essential nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as phytosterols. They are a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants (ellagic acid, catechin, melatonin, and phytic acid). All of these beneficial nutrients contribute to walnuts being thought of by many as ‘power food’. 

Gift cards 

We have just added the ability to send an email Gift Card through our website. Now you can easily send the gift of health for any reason and in any season. The recipients will be notified and gifted through email. What I love about this gift card option is you can send it to multiple people, by simply placing a comma between each email address. They can be delivered immediately, upon ordering, or you can select a day in the future, like Mother’s Day, birthdays, Christmas Eve or for a specific purpose, for Thank You or after a baby is born. Any moms out there appreciate having a Box of Good delivered after introducing your new blessing to the outside world? This is also a great way to bless a family experiencing a health or financial crisis or both. Please make sure the recipients live in our delivery area. 

If you would like to give the gift card in person, rather than by email, simply send it to yourself and write the or include the coupon code in a card. We are excited to make giving health so much easier this holiday season.

Tristan, Joelle, and Box of Good crew.  

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Bolognese and Bisque 

I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, especially now that the weather is more wintery and the nights start sooner. For me, I love to read a recipe and then head to the refrigerator and pantry and see what is available. Lately, I have been using a lot of winter squash in my cooking; waffles, pancakes, Bolognese sauce and bisque type soups. 

Last week, I added some Butternut squash to my Bolognese sauce and then I made a hearty bisque soup for Thanksgiving, using Sweet Dumpling squash and yams. It was simply delicious. The Butternut added a little more sweetness to the Bolognese and using the Sweet Dumpling and yams for the base of my Bisque created an incredibly earthy and natural sweetness. 

When I am in the kitchen, I have found that a few minutes of organization and a few hours of simmering turn the simplest of ingredients into wholesome and hearty dishes, and they are also easy to make for just two people, or a big batch for leftovers, and it can be “freshened” from one meal to the next by adding salads, or pasta, or side dishes. I have cut and pasted a few definitions from a few fun websites.

So, what exactly is Bolognese sauce? Bolognese sauce is basically a sauce made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs, and served with pasta. It’s an Italian meat sauce that originated from the city of Bologna. However, it’s more than just beef, onions and a jar of spaghetti sauce. It’s about the depth of flavor you get from cooking all the ingredients in stages and letting the sauce simmer so it becomes thick, rich, and hearty.

What is Bisque? A traditional French chef would define a bisque as being a thick, creamy soup made with shellfish and thickened by a paste made from their shells. Julia Child was one chef to popularize lobster bisque in the United States; her recipe uses both the shells of the lobster and rice to thicken the bisque. Today, the definition of bisque has expanded to include vegetable bisques, like tomato and butternut squash. The word is more related to the smooth texture of the dish and the use of cream. Most modern bisques are thickened using rice. Some cook the rice in the broth and strain it out later, using only the left-behind rice starch to thicken the soup. Others puree the rice into the soup to thicken it. Almost all bisques are finished with hot cream for a velvety texture. The richest bisques also include butter! Bisque should feel smooth and luxurious so it must be very thoroughly blended. In the past, chefs would’ve used a vintage tool called a food mill to ensure everything was absolutely smooth, but you can use an immersion blender. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/what-is-bisque/

Cooking with fresh produce is both an art and a science! I’m hoping to share some of our favorite meals throughout the winter months. Stay tuned.

Happy Meals,

-Tristan