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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

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. 


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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. 

 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 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.

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,


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Any reason to be reminded to give thanks is a good reason and our whole country will have the opportunity to be intentionally thankful. That sentence was a mouthful. 😊 

Every Thanksgiving is new and yet the same. Who is at the table changes and the menu can flex, but the reason to gather is to connect with family and friends. I know that our table has gotten smaller since the older 6 children have moved out, gotten married and have move away or are spending time with the other family in their life.  

Sometimes when I sit at our dinner table with only 5 dinner places set, I pause for a moment. I know all too soon there will be only 4 dinner places, then 3, and then it will be just 2, the love of my life and myself. During that pause i look at the other half of the table that is empty. I reflect on those days a decade ago when all our children were still at home and the farm table was filled elbow to elbow.  

It was also during those years that our Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations filled our home. During that season, our parents were younger and travelling to the farm was easier for them. We would have the “Card” tables attached here and there and have quite the full house. And as the kiddos moved out and got married and grandkids got added to the family our home got a little fuller, a little noisier and a lot more active! 

As more of our children have moved out and moved away 🙁 it is not as easy to gather our tribe into one spot. It is also not as easy for our parents to join us. Life is always changing and so is our dinner plans and who will be at the table this year. We had a thanksgiving meal two weeks ago with two of our children and their families, because it was the only day, they were available. This week we will be hosting another 2 sets of our adult children and the grandkids on Thursday, and be connecting with our parents at their homes, too. 

It might be a different year, but we are thankful that we can gather with the family that is available and connect with the others via facetime or messenger and tell them all how much we love them and are thankful for them. 

We wish you the happiest of moments with your family and friends this Thanksgiving. 

Tristan, Joelle, and the box of good crew

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Time Stamps

In its truest sense, a time stamp records when an event happened. I have been thinking about how the Time Stamps of my life have shaped who I am today. There are lots of things that have shaped me, genetics, family dynamics, outside relationships access to opportunities through all of these. And within in all those external and internal factors there are those moments that have been burned into our Psyche.

I find it interesting that I am now 56 (how did that happen?). And so much has happened on this journey. I have been thinking a lot about the next 25 years, and if I am being completely honest, the aging process is not something I am looking forward to. However, with every season of life I have learned to lean into the opportunities. The time stamps that are yet to come are important and while I cannot control the ones that will happen to me, things that I cannot control.

Those are the times stamps that I cannot control. While I can insulate myself from other’s or events, I recognize I must accept some of them and process my response to them. World events and political posturing are outside of my control. 

 I would venture to say that we can all agree that the pictures of Wuhan, BLM rallies, border crisis, or Afghanistan have left indelible marks. Some of you have said goodbye to a loved one when you dropped them off at a hospital wondering if you would see them again and some of you did not get to see them again. It has been a hard and difficult season, and harder for some than others.

 Many of us reading this newsletter, have never lived through a season like these last 18 months. The outcomes of a lot of these external events have worked their way to our local communities and it is at this point where we, our families, our collective efforts can make a difference. The holidays are the time of year that many time stamps will be created in our lives. We can make this holiday better for some local families, which is why we have partnered with so many local food banks. The food banks exist because a community member, recognized a need and did something. We can partner with those on the front lines of serving at the food banks and make this holiday not only better, but also healthier.

Please consider purchasing one of our Holiday Donation boxes and partnering with local hunger relief organizations. Just call or email the office and we can add a Holiday Donation box to your account and deliver it just in time for Thanksgiving.

Thank you,


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We’ve got you covered. For those of you newer to our service, we plan a box specifically for Thanksgiving called the Holiday box and it is filled with your traditional fixings for all of your side dishes. We aren’t able to provide the turkey though, but everything else is available to make this day a cooking and hosting success. 

And for those of you hosting Thanksgiving early or later, we will make this box available the week before Thanksgiving and the week after. And if you are not hosting this year, don’t be bashful, order one anyway! 😊

Of course, all of our standard menus will be available during the Thanksgiving week, as well. And as always, you can add on to your order just the Thanksgiving items you would like to buy, like one of Wild Crow Apple pies, or order some Granny smith apples to make your own. Look for an email highlighting all of the options soon.

For those of you ordering a Holiday box, let us know if you would like the Holiday box and YOUR REGULAR ORDER or the Holiday box ONLY. We just want to make sure you get the right order.

Lastly, we work with several food banks and provide them with tons of fresh veggies and fruits throughout the year and we have a special opportunity at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you would like to join us in our cause to feed families facing hunger in our communities, please consider buying a Holiday Donation box and will delivering them to several of our local food banks. With your help we have donated thousands of these Holiday boxes over the last 23 years. 

I absolutely love being a giver and I love being able to make someone’s day a little brighter!  The Holiday donation boxes allow us (your family and ours) to partner with those volunteers who are on the frontline week in and week out. They get to give out and extend care with quality organic fruits and vegetables and those on the receiving end are so grateful.

Thank you for joining us in serving our local communities and thank you for supporting local farms and businesses.

-Tristan for Joelle, Alaina and Box of Good crew.  

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If Trees Could Talk

I have been thinking a lot about trees lately, probably because we are in the throes of harvesting walnuts. As near as I can tell our walnut trees were planted sometime after 1914, because I have a photograph from that year and they are not present. I believe they were planted in the late 1940’s and there are quite a few walnut trees of the same variety and size on several of the neighbor’s farms. I suspect that it was a trend coming out of WWII. All the trees that I can think of in the valley were more akin to homestead plantings as opposed to production or grove style plantings. Our valley does not grow many nut trees, although there are a few Filberts in production now. 

Where the walnut trees are planted belies their intention as a multi-purpose tree for shade, firewood, and food. Our trees are English walnuts and were probably grafted onto a Black walnut rootstock. These trees must have some amazing stories to tell over the last 80 or so years. 

I know in the brief time (18 years) we have lived and farmed here we have added to its memories. One memory is Chaps, our beloved Golden Retriever who moved with us to the farm. And as you would anticipate, he was a ball loving and undeterred retrieving machine. He would pester you till you threw the ball, which was a mistake, but it was the only way to get any work done. Chaps had us right where he wanted us. The children figured out that if they put the ball a few branches up in the walnut tree, it would keep him busy for a while. The operative phrase being “a while.” Doggone if he did not figure out how to climb that tree and retrieve that ball. From that time on it was just fun to see Chaps climb the tree. 

It was also common for the kiddos to wave down at Joelle from perches 30 or 40 feet up. I tried to discourage this practice, but some trees are meant for climbing.  

One of the most precious memories that these trees offer us is the wedding of our oldest son, marrying the love of his life in front of our home nestled under her majestic branches. Ironically, when they asked if they could get married on the farm and began to make plans all the branches were high off the ground. But by the time August rolled around those branches had moved several feet lower with the weight of the leaves, new branches, and walnuts. It was as if she wanted a closer look at all the festivities. And of course, all the groomsmen and our son had to have a picture suspended off the ground hanging from one of “her” branches.  

Not only did that tree greet us and our six kiddos when we moved to our farm, it has since looked over the 3 more that were added to our ranks under her tenure. And now the 3rd generation is climbing those same branches, and swinging from the tree swings, just as their parents did. The pure joy on a child’s face when they greet you from her branches is so precious. 

The only thing strangely missing from these old trees are some initials with a heart surrounding them. I am sure she has seen a quiet kiss or playful game of tag under her watch. 

…And then I would be remised to not mention the years of enjoying their fruit! Nothing compares to freshly harvested nuts!  

I look forward to continued enjoyment and more memories being made every season and every year. 

Tristan for Joelle, Alaina and the Box of Good crew