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Growing and Changing

Tristan and I are grateful to get to live and work at such a beautiful place. 18 years ago we were looking for a place that we could live, farm, and run the business. Farm ground was the first priority because that’s the one thing that can’t really be changed or remodeled. When we stumbled upon this place it was “a tear down”.  It had good growing ground, an outbuilding we could work with and the house had good bones. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! Through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and prayer), we made it our own! 

Klesick Family Farm grew from a vision to create a lifestyle of learning for us and our kids! We saw the value of both working hard and playing hard, of adventuring and creating! Over the years we’ve fueled our kids interests by helping them find resources to blossom in those areas. We’ve had kids take on chickens, honey bees, milk goats, a milking cow, beef cows, draft horses, dog training, flowers for fundraising, event planning, hay-baling, welding, restoring tractors and they’ve managed crops from start to finish. They’ve had great opportunities that have grown and stretched them. Over the years our farm has morphed and changed as much as our family has! Interests have come and gone and six of our nine children are grown and are writing the next chapter of their lives.  But we share memories and we’re enjoying the opportunity to share farm life with grandkids! 

During this season we’re focusing on growing vegetables and don’t have any animals on the farm except our family dog and cats. 

Farm life is a lot of hard work, commitment, and unpredictability! Neither of us grew up farming. We’ve had a lot of learning curves along the way! We’ve had both crop failures and bountiful harvests. We LOVE providing food that’s nutritious and healthy for our customers and the planet! But I think it’s the journey that really keeps farmers growing! Farming isn’t as much an occupation as it is a lifestyle. Our family has been shaped by it. It’s not for everyone. But farmers need people who appreciate their product in order to keep growing! We are thankful for each of you and that you’ve joined us in this journey! 

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram and watch our stories for extra glimpses into what’s happening on the farm this season! 


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Last week I mused that farming starts when we begin to rototill our fields. Of course, there is way more going on before any dirt is rototilled. Sometimes farming happens the season before like garlic or berries or pruning.

Farming is a catch all term. What does it mean to farm? Is planning farming??? Is ordering seed farming??? Is ordering fertilizer farming??? Is buying fuel or doing maintenance on your equipment farming??? Or are all the activities needed to support farming their own category???

For whatever reason, it FEELS like farming when the rototiller begins to till the ground, everything else is a warmup. But if truth be told all the warmup stuff is really important to growing food. Planning goes a long way to having a successful season and certainly, growing healthy, organically grown food benefits from the planning.

One thing that is really outside my control is the weather. I am able to flex my schedule a little, but sometimes the weather can really throw you a tough pitch to hit! Every year I think the weather is going to be perfect. It is my nature to be optimistic. The weather will be perfect for some crops like cabbages or tomatoes or cucumbers or garlic :). With a plan our farm team can flex as needed with whatever weather pattern shows up.

Last week, the weather turned cold and the soil didn’t warm up, but the first few thousand lettuce plants are ready to go and for our farm it is time to plant peas. The lettuce plants are ready and need to get from the transplant tray to the soil to avoid being root bound. But if the weather is as predicted, getting the pea seeds and lettuce plants into the ground last Saturday will have been a good decision. And with the weather warming, planting peas last Saturday will allow the seeds to gather moisture and the warmth of the soil will help them germinate sooner.

Warm weather is really important to growing crops and for these old joints, the warm weather is definitely a plus! 

The local season is well underway, and the bounty of our NW farmers will soon be a part of every delivery!

Thanks for supporting the Box of Good and it’s local network of farmers,

-Tristan & Joelle

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At Last

Our team is finally “farming”! We have been out in the field, greenhouses, and in the barn preparing starts. But to me I think farming really starts with the first time a rototiller gets hooked up and turns the earth. That happened last week.  

The first passes with the rototiller are shallow and designed to incorporate the cover crops and weeds. Once we have the organic matter broken down, we then use a spader. The spader is a European designed tool that mimics double digging and works the soil about 10 inches deep. After that we rototill and begin to shape the beds for planting, then we spread fertilizer, rototill again and then mark the beds for planting. 

This year we have really expanded the vegetable production and are literally planning to grow tons more organically grown vegetables.  

I love this season! It is absolutely crazy, but with the increasing day length and the weather warming it surprises me what we can accomplish!  We have a passion for sourcing and delivering the freshest organic foods, but it feels like an honor to get to actually grow food for your family, too! 

Last week, I asked Stephen if he would take on the greenhouses this season. He just turned 14 and has been working on the farm for about 14 years 😊. I told him it’s a big responsibility, but I know he’s ready. He said he’d take it on. I told him thank you and to take note that if he were to forget to water we could lose weeks of work and thousands of dollars in one afternoon. I smiled at him and headed off to my next project. Later that night, he shared with me that he had never thought about the importance of the greenhouse and how much responsibility it was. Of course, I will still pay attention to the greenhouse, but I’m proud of him. The magnitude of this responsibility was not lost on him and he was still willing to take it on. This season a lot of your vegetables are going to come through those greenhouses. 

It is a privilege to serve your families with organically grown fruits and vegetables from our own Klesick Family Farm. Your Box of Good will become more and more local as our farm and our network of other local farmers begin to harvest the northwest bounty. 


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Box of Good

We have been delivering produce for 23 years, 52 weeks a year. I am not sure what sounds more impressive that we have been serving local families since 1998, or for the last 23 years or 276 months or 1200 weeks! But, WOW, it’s fun to look back and reminisce. When Joelle and I started the produce business it was originally called the Organic Produce Shoppe and we sold produce within a whole foods warehouse.  At that time there were very few retail outlets for organic produce, and we loved the idea of making high quality, organic produce more readily available and a year later we started bringing it right to homes! But becoming organic farmers was our long-term dream. It’s difficult in our PNW region to be full time farmers with our short growing season.  

We built a delivery business so we could farm seasonally and have an outlet to sell our harvest and support other local farms and promote and sell organic agriculture year-round! It was with great pride that in 2003 we purchased our current farm where we’ve raised our nine children while raising food crops together! We changed our business name to Klesick Family Farm! We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work as a family all these years! Our oldest is 30 this year and our youngest just turned 11! As you can imagine a lot has changed over the years!  We have 7 grandchildren and 3 kids still at home!

Within a short amount of time, we started referencing our box as a Box of Good! That tag line caught on quick!  Most importantly, our boxes are filled with the freshest, nutrient-dense, organic fruits and vegetables available! And we are pleased to have added an abundance of grocery and meat items to choose from, as well. 

Providing the highest quality products at fair prices has always been our priority!  The produce that is imperfect or doesn’t meet our highest standards is donated to our local community food banks where healthy food can be distributed freely and nothing goes to waste! That is GOOD!  Beyond great quality with fair pricing, we bring it right to your home, so the burden of sourcing fresh produce is eliminated! We provide recipes and tips and share our farm stories so you can follow along and feel connected to your food source! We have also volunteered and served over the years in our local community in ways that benefit local farmland preservation and environmental impacts, providing long-term food security and sustainability. By supporting organic farming, you are supporting a healthy earth, healthy communities and a healthy you! So much GOOD packed into your BOX! 

As things have grown and changed, much like our family, the evolution and use of the term “Box of Good” has become what best embodies and defines the home delivery part of our business. Klesick Family Farm remains the beautiful place in the Stillaguamish Valley, where we live and are honored to seasonally grow food for the Box of Good.  Because the content of your Box of Good comes from such a variety of certified organic farms throughout the year, we wanted to separate our family farm for clarity’s sake. With all that said, we’ve chosen to rebrand the home delivery portion of our business to Box of Good by Klesick’s. 

As our family begins our 23rd year of delivering organic produce and our 21st year of farming, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve your family and our community and we appreciate how you’ve shared the good over the years!  

From the Box of Good team,

-Tristan and Joelle

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Spring is always welcomed and so is its mix of rain, sunshine, cloudy and warm and frosty moments. This time of year, and in years gone by, you had to keep jumper cables nearby! Inevitably you would leave the house when it is dark and arrive at work when it is light and forget to turn off the car lights!?!?! But for the most part, cars are a lot smarter and lights turn themselves off now.

However, those same cars, at least in my price range, don’t roll the windows up when I hop out and head out. Of course, when you head to the store, you would naturally roll up your windows, but I am talking about the times you are at home and hop out and forget to roll up your windows and it RAINS! Who knows, maybe TESLA is working on an App that is synced with a weather station and when it is about to rain it pings the car and it rolls up your windows!

I am a little nervous about all of these intuitive smart choices out there. Anymore, the lights turn on by themselves, the water comes on by itself, toilets flush themselves. I am really concerned about this new generation though as they are always leaving the lights on, the water on and forgetting to flush the toilets! Most of these things will work themselves out when they have to start paying the light and water bills and look for a plunger!

Technology like most things is part useful, and part silly. On the farm we mechanize as much as possible, but somethings never change. Right now, we are busy walking the fields, visually checking the depth of the mud puddles. Or how high the water splashes when one of the grandkids jumps into it! Yep, still have water in them, But they are drying up! 

One day, it will be “go” time and every farmer in our valley will move from tinkering (pacing) here and there to a full-on sprint. Yes, all the preparations like ordering seeds, fertilizers, compost, and fuel are a part of farming, but for me farming begins when we start the tractors and use them every day.

And like any race, I am anticipating the starter’s pistol to go off, but unlike a race I could continue pacing for another day, week or month. The farm team is hanging around the start line waiting for this year’s season/race to begin.


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Transplants and Wintering Crops

Last week I shared about why and how we transplant.  I grimaced when I shared how an overly warm spring day could wipe out weeks of work by cooking small transplants and or how a slug can eat their way through hundreds of transplants in an evening. You can read it on our blog if you missed it. Well after last week, I have a new potential disaster to add to the trials of growing transplants. 

I was heading out to the greenhouses to check on the onion transplants. On my way, I checked in on the garlic. What a beautiful crop. The green tops look really vibrant and healthy. We have great germination on that planting. All signs point to a great crop in July. 

I also noticed that the wintery weather has been kind to our overwintering chard and kale crops. I am thinking that this will be the last picking/harvest for these two beauties, but if the quality is still good in a month or so, we will certainly harvest them again. Winter imparts a sweetness to chards and kales that has always drawn me to plant them every winter. This year it has worked perfectly – enjoy!

After checking out the garlic and greens, I looked in on the swallow houses. Should have a few new residents soon. Swallows and other birds are really important to the farm’s ecosystem. They eat their weight in insects every day! 

At about that moment, I glanced at the greenhouses and …. all was not well. We use a combination of sawhorses, 2×4 supports and pallets as temporary tables to hold our transplant trays. When you look in the greenhouses from outside, you can see the “tables” through the plastic. As I approached, it was obvious that eight feet of tables had collapsed and so did 20 trays of onions ☹ Ugh! Not all was lost. We were able to salvage 50% of the onion transplants. We can also reuse the potting soil for other transplants. The thing we can’t salvage is time. We lost 3 weeks of work.

In my 2 decades of farming, I have learned that stuff happens and since I can’t go backwards, I assess, develop a plan of action and move forward. Sometimes a crop gets set back like the onions and sometimes a crop is a bumper crop like the overwintering chards and kales. I do know one thing, if I don’t plant there won’t be a harvest. 

Time to get planting again!

Enjoy those greens!


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Start Your Engines

What’s happening might be tied to increasing day length, or how the birds are starting to gather in bigger flocks before they migrate elsewhere. It could be the color of the grass and how it’s starting to grow. It is probably all of the above. But I can hardly wait to get out and work the dirt and get plants in the ground!  I’m especially excited as we have made significant changes to our vegetable rotations, growing processes, added new equipment, all designed to help us grow more vegetables for you this year. 

I have a morning routine during the winters with pretty much every day starting at 5am. I stretch, make coffee, build a fire, read the Bible, and plan. These are my quiet moments, and they are especially quiet during the winter and a little slower paced. It is my time to prepare for the day, but also to ponder and plan for the upcoming farm season. Our family is busy year-round with the Box of Good, but soon we will be adding farming back into the rotation. My morning routine provides rest and clarity. But, I am also acutely aware that my quiet mornings will soon get scrunched (not eliminated) as the farm season awakens. 

I had an old-timer describe a farmer during the winter months. He said, “Most farmers walk around all winter as if there is a dense fog. And then, out of the blue, they snap to attention, their eyes open, they take a deep breath and the fog clears.” Every year I relive this scenario, just like clockwork! I will be putzing around working on this or that and then, “BAM” I have energy, direction and purpose. The first hint of spring starts coursing through my veins and now I am like a horse chomping at the bit raring to go. 

Don’t get me wrong, farmers do work in the winter, but it’s different. It’s usually lots of fixing, planning, purchasing, preparing…and getting all the paperwork and things done that have been put off all growing season!

Farmers are dreamers and with the first signs of spring that means our visions will start to unfold! We’re honored to have our Box of Good community to share the excitement with and also the fruit of the labor! 

-Tristan & Joelle

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The Revolving Door of Monsanto

It doesn’t appear to matter much who is in control of the White House or Congress when it comes to the USDA Secretary. Back for round 2 is Tom Vislack who served under the Obama administration and is every bit the underling for the Genetically Modified (GMO) or Genetically Engineered (GE) community.  

One would somewhat expect the Republican party to appoint a USDA Secretary that was cozy with the Monsanto’s of the world, but the Democrats claim the environmental higher ground. Too bad it is only political posturing from the left. Talk is talk, but actions speak volumes.  

Essentially, it is business as usual for the Bio Engineered (the new term being used) growing community. In fact, start to pay even more attention to the genetically altering food producers. They are and will be rebranding themselves with cute and friendly imaging to lure and hide their products. 

Sadly, it will require even more diligence to avoid this unhealthy and unnatural part of our food system.  I am especially grieved for the unsuspecting consumer who expects that all foods available at the grocery or restaurants are safe to eat. After all, our government is looking out for us (eyeroll). Yes, they are edible, but eating a diet filled with GMO corn, soy and canola oils, along with excessive sugars will wreak havoc on the immune systems, waistlines and lead to many of our lifestyle diseases. What we eat is foundational to our health.

If our country needs anything, from the USDA, it is a level playing field and less dependence upon an overly processed food supply. Sadly, President Biden’s choice for the next USDA Secretary will be another Monsanto friendly supporter.

I am thankful that there is an organic food system. We are not interested in GMO’s or GE’s. We don’t mince words, organics are the only way to avoid GMO’s and GE’s. But let me also be clear, you can eat a lot of processed organic foods and suffer from many of the same lifestyle diseases. Eating primarily clean meats and organically grown fruits and vegetables is the foundation to better health. And for the last 24 years, I am happy to report that is what we have delivered to our customers. 

We believe that our bodies are resilient and when fed with nutritious foods it can fuel us, fight off disease and heal itself from a host of lifestyle diseases. We have chosen health and a healthy environment as our core values. 

Thankfully, who oversees the USDA does not affect our ability to serve your family or to buy organically grown foods.


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Citrus, Farming and Musings

There is so much great citrus available right now! The grapefruit from Texas Reds to Melo Gold to Pomelo’s are crazy good. And the tangerine world is similar with Tangelos, Clementine’s and Blood oranges. Every season is unique and during this season it is Citrus’s time to shine!  

On the farm, John and I are busy finishing up the maintenance and starting seeds. We just seeded thousands of onions to be transplanted in the April/May window and we will be seeding our first round of lettuces (about 2000 plants) this week. We will be seeding and transplanting lettuces every two weeks until June. We grow lots of lettuce, cucumbers, squash, cabbages, kales, beans and tomatoes. All of them will either be direct seeded or transplanted at the appropriate times and “weather windows.”  Weather windows are those opportunities you get to get things done! Sometimes the ground is barely dry enough and other times we have to just mud something in.  

These weather windows tend to be fewer in the spring, requiring us to pivot our work schedules to accommodate some good weather. I remember one year when April was beautiful and it was like I was farming in California 😊. I could not have asked for better weather to start seeds, work the ground and plant crops. Then came May and it rained every day! We were dancing between rain showers trying to get crops in the ground.  

Another year, I had ordered 1200 lettuce transplants to transplant early into our greenhouses. He mistyped the order and 6 weeks later, delivered 12,000! Oh, my word! 12,000 lettuce plants ready to go in the ground in February! My heart skipped more than one beat that week. As it turned out, we had one of those rare Februarys that allowed us to get a seed bed acceptably ready to transplant into. It wasn’t perfect but it was good enough.  And as a side benefit, we had the earliest lettuce we have ever had that year! it also gave my soon to be son in law, an opportunity to help harvest on the farm. He showed up at 5am and pitched in. 6 years later, he is still making my daughter happy (and me, too). 

This time of year is all about maintenance, repairs, farm planning and praying. When it comes to maintenance, I took the opportunity to have knee surgery and “clean” up some cartilage that had been bothering me for a few years. It was one of those decisions you make because it’s better to be proactive and pick a season when the farm and business work would be the least impacted. Happy to report that the second time around for that knee seems to have accomplished the goal!  I’m ready to get farming! 

Another major change this past winter was the decision to “pull” out the orchard. It was a hard decision, but needed to be made for a variety of reasons, and before another season of pruning, thinning, tree maintenance and harvesting got started. I really enjoyed our season of tree fruit farming, but I also really love growing vegetables. The decision was difficult to make, but watching those tress come out, was even harder! This year the orchard spot will be filled with pumpkins and winter squashes. Assuming there will be no restrictions to farm visits, we look forward to inviting the Box of Good community to come out and get pumpkins on the farm this fall! Stay tuned! 

Thank you for supporting small farms and small businesses, 


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#celebrate #healthychoices #boxofgood

Each day there’s a new opportunity to pursue healthy choices! But what is a healthy choice? That’s not an easy, one size fits all, answer! When we’re presented with a choice that affects the health of our body, mind, spirit, or environment, and we choose the greater good, we’re making a healthy choice! I love the idea of celebrating each little step we take, acknowledging the good, knowing it brings us that much closer to creating healthy habits that can last a lifetime! 

A specific healthy food choice for some might be to eat 80% organic in order to cut out chemical pesticides and herbicides! A plan to make that happen could include being intentional in both food purchases and meal planning. Another healthy choice might be to add a greater variety of vegetables to one’s diet and focus on “eating the rainbow”. The fridge would need to be stocked full of several colorful choices and a goal could be to eat 3-4 different fruit or vegetables at each meal! Your Box of Good can help with that!

We can all be more mindful of our food choices but be careful not to judge others and don’t judge yourself! Negativity never sets the stage for victory! Let enthusiasm for the good choices inspire! Some people have bought the lie that what’s healthy won’t satisfy, but that can’t be farther from the truth. As we pursue healthy choices and experience the satisfaction associated with it, dopamine and serotonin are released; two types of neurotransmitters in the brain. Both are associated with happiness. They empower us to continue to make healthy choices!

What other areas besides food do we make choices that affect our health? Don’t let it overwhelm you, but the possibilities are endless! Consider some of these. We can take time to sit, pray, meditate, and just breathe. Be in the moment with those we love! Express gratitude. Pay attention to sights, smells, sounds all around! Learn to laugh at ourselves. Say something kind to a stranger. Shake up our daily routine and add a little adventure. Take time to both move and strengthen our bodies. Drink more water. Take quality supplements. Get sunshine and fresh air. Take a nap if needed. Organize and minimize “stuff.” Clean up after ourselves. Complete a project. Do something creative. Volunteer for a noble cause. Be helpful to someone in need. Plant something. Reduce, recycle and re-use. Support sustainable practices. Learn something new. 

So many opportunities to choose good! Let’s be intentional with our health, cheer each other on and watch the overall health of our community grow!

Have a wonderful week and thanks for choosing a Box of Good!