Garden Treasures is the perfect family outing

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Have you been desperately wanting to have a family outing to enjoy the summer weather, but want to stay close to home and not break the bank? Well, a trip to Garden Treasures to harvest from a variety of nutritious food, grown locally may be the ideal destination. This organic u-pick farm is located just over 20 minutes from the heart of the Tulalip Reservation. Conveniently located off exit 208, Garden Treasurers offers an everyday farmers market and garden center filled with fresh food.

Taking the family on a farm excursion to pick produce allows children to gain a sense of where their food comes from, demonstrates the satisfaction of seeing how seeds grow into fresh produce that nourish their body, and is a fun way to spend a summer day together.

“I really enjoy having elders and kids visit the farm,” said farm regular, Tulalip elder Dale Jones. “They have big smiles on their faces while enjoying the opportunity to be out in the farm and eat the fresh foods. The kids can see how the food grows and they learn how it’s better for them than fast food and candy. Too many of our people our battling diabetes and obesity because they learned bad eating habits as kids. Making fruits and vegetables a priority at a young age can really make a lifetime’s worth of impact.”

Spending time outdoors while wandering the vast berry fields and green houses at Garden Treasurers is an opportunity to get back to nature, both physically and spiritually. Their seasonal u-pick garden is currently filled with an assortment of flowers, perfectly ripe raspberries and strawberries, and a variety of vegetables, like bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and onions. They don’t use any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, so your u-pick experience is safe, clean, and all-natural.

Tulalip tribal members, their families, patients of the Tulalip Health Clinic, and Tulalip employees were encouraged to take full advantage of a unique partnership between Garden Treasures and Tulalip’s own award-winning Diabetes Care and Prevention Program. From 10am to 4pm on July 13th, the Tulalip community turned out in droves to visit the farm, enjoy a healthy bite to eat, and receive a tour by Diabetes Care staff. Most importantly, each visiting household was allowed to pick $30 worth of nutritious produce.

Unlike overly priced grocery stores and organic shops, $30 worth of fruits and vegetables at Garden Treasures goes a long way. You can easily pick an assortment of sweet and spicy peppers, enough raspberries for the kids to snack on for days, some herbs to season up your favorite meals, and make a flower bouquet with the $30 credit. Numerous Tulalip citizens did just that, and for many it was their first time ever picking veggies. 

Donna and Jim Furchert brought their daughters, Joy and Patience, to Garden Treasures and came away with quite the colorful harvest. “We’ve never picked fresh fruit or fresh veggies before, so I wanted us to experience this as a family,” explained Donna. “We’re going to incorporate everything we picked into our dinners over the next few days.”

Six-year-old Patience said she liked digging for peppers the most and was super excited to stumble upon the strawberry patch. She was seen devouring the bright red, heart-shaped berry straight off the bush at every opportunity.

Michelle Martin was another first timer to the Arlington farm. She brought her three young boys Anthony, Brayden and Caiden on an afternoon outing with their grandma and grandpa. “It’s our first time out here and we absolutely love it!” said Michelle while perusing the fields. “Never knew we had a u-pick farm this close to the reservation. This seems like an ideal way to get fresh veggies and fruit. My boys love fruits and were excited to run around the farm to pick their own berries.”

When 5-year-old Anthony and 3-year-old Brayden were told they could pick out some flowers to make their mom a bouquet, they quickly scoured the spacious flower gardens for a colorful bounty.  

For a Tulalip community desiring to eat healthier in order to escape the processed food and refined sugar wasteland, Garden Treasurers is an oasis offering a variety of essential nutrients and vitamins that can make everyday meals more nutritious. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases and a better immune system. Plus, eating fresh produce will make you feel better and have more energy to take on every day challenges of the 21st century. 

In addition to all the health benefits is the wisdom and positive encouragement the dedicated Diabetes Care and Prevention Program staff had to offer to those visiting the farm. They were willing to assist in produce selections, answer any questions, and offer advice about healthy meal making and dietary requirements for those managing diabetes.  

“I am getting to an age in life when it’s important to pass down knowledge and share my gifts with others, especially the younger generation,” explained Roni Leahy, Diabetes Program coordinator. “I love being with the people and listening to them talk about their experiences in the garden or the kids discovering how the plants they eat grow. It is such a precious opportunity to talk about the plants and how important they are in health of our bodies. This truly is prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

“My favorite part is seeing the community members and their families out at the farm enjoying the vegetables and knowing they are going to go home and prepare a meal they will all remember and enjoy,” added Brooke Morrison, Diabetes Program assistant.

 Visiting Gardening Treasures u-pick farm to harvest the freshest foods can boost your family’s health without creating a dent in your wallet. Bringing the kids can only help them create a lasting relationship with their nature world, while planting seeds of curiosity and excitement for eating a variety of clean food, grown locally. Maybe even, this will be the inspiration your family needs to plant a garden at home.

During the summer months, the farm offers some of the best fresh produce around. Try and grow a diverse palette of seasonal products for a single meal, or stock up the pantry for winter. The next few weeks are the perfect time to find sweet strawberries, delicious raspberries and other garden-fresh produce at your local, organic u-pick farm.

Family Spirit: Evidence-based, home-visit program developed for Natives by Natives

Sasha Smith, Family Haven  Family and Youth Support Coordinator.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

To spread the word about their new program, Family Spirit, Tulalip Family Haven held a giveaway last month, raffling off fun summertime prizes such as sidewalk chalk, a Radio Flyer Wagon and bubble wands for young kiddos and their families. Participants were entered into the raffle simply by calling-in and inquiring about the program and hearing how Family Spirit can assist them along their parenting journey.

Geared toward tribal members who are either moms-to-be, expectant fathers, grandparents or caregivers of a Tulalip child under the age of three, the program is a resource that families can utilize during the early years of their kid’s childhood, to help establish a strong foundation for both the child and parent as they grow together.  

Although Family Spirit is new to the community of Tulalip, the program has actually helped thousands of tribal families across the country since the early nineties. Developed by the John Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Family Spirit is a home-visiting program that was designed for Natives by Natives, who unfortunately knew all too well about the struggles that many Indigenous families face, largely due to a lack of resources and support for first-time parents and families raising young children.

Sasha Smith, Family Haven’s Family and Youth Support Coordinator, explained, “Family Spirit has been really successful in other tribal communities. It’s evidence-based and the information is culturally relevant, and we really try to intertwine our Tulalip culture and what those experiences look like for us. We talk about historical trauma to get a better understanding of why parents parent the way we do.”

Addressing future participants of Family Spirit, Sasha continued, “Your first meeting would be an opportunity for us to get to know you, what stage of parenting you’re in, a little bit about your hopes and dreams and what parenting looks like for you. And depending on where you are at, we’ll go from there.”

The program’s area of focus surrounds having a safe and healthy pregnancy and subsequently, raising a healthy and happy baby by teaching parents about childbirth, newborn care, and early childhood development. The participants design a personalized parenting plan and Family Spirit provides any necessary and available resources, as well as modern and traditional teachings in regards to parenting. Most importantly they offer their support, helping empower young parents by giving them the tools to ensure their child has everything they need to embark on a bright future.

  “We have lessons that we go by, but if you don’t want to talk about a certain topic right away, we can form it to the way you need it to be,” Sasha stated. “If you don’t want to talk about labor and delivery, we can talk about getting the home ready and what a safe home looks like to bring home baby. Or we can do goalsetting for a healthy family. And at the beginning and the ending of each meeting that we have, we’ll do referrals. So, if they need to get on WIC or they need to contact housing, whatever it is, we can check up on that – just making sure we share those resources with them.”

Along with helping their clients with all their children’s needs, Family Spirit also assists parents by making sure they’re on track to meet their personal life goals, providing referrals for job training, or helping them through the process of beginning or continuing their academic career, and even routinely checking-in with a parent who is in recovery.

Ideally, in a COVID-free world, the Family Spirit paraprofessional (i.e. Sasha) would pay a weekly visit to the client’s home in order to conduct lessons or provide services, for as long as the parent or family requested or until the child reached the age of three. However, since the virus is still present, Sasha explained that for the time being they are willing to make adjustments so that parents, caregivers and families are comfortable when participating in the program. 

“We’ll meet the client wherever they want,” she said. “Primarily we are an in-home service, but it all depends on the comfort level of the parent. We can do Zoom, we can meet in-person at my office, or we can find a place where they’re most comfortable. The kids can be included or not included. It’s really just trying to meet them where they’re at, building that personal connection and learning what they need to grow as a parent.”

To learn more about Family Spirit, please contact Family Haven at (360) 716-4402.

Cannabis supports war on COVID

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Seems like only yesterday both federal and state governments were raging the war on drugs. Now in a stunning turn of events, marijuana, the long hyped ‘gateway drug’, is being strategically used in a war against COVID.

Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board announced earlier this month it would allow state-licensed cannabis retailers to provide one joint to adult consumers who receive COVID-19 vaccination at an in-store clinic. The weed-friendly program is the latest vaccination incentive in Washington, where an impressive 73.1% of all adults are already vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

When word reached Tulalip’s own Jennifer Ashman, manager of the Tribe’s cannabis store Remedy, she immediately contacted Tulalip Pharmacy staff to coordinate a Joints for Jabs event. It didn’t take long to work out the details and send out promotional materials to Remedy’s dedicated fan base. 

“We were fortunate that Tulalip declared our retail shop and employees as essential early on in the pandemic,” explained Jennifer, cannabis enthusiast and Remedy manager. “This is a poetic opportunity for us to not only give back, but to incentivize efforts to create a more vaccinated community. Plus, it’s truly a historic occasion being able to give out free cannabis. Who doesn’t love that idea?!”

On Tuesday, June 22, a red medical tent was setup outside Remedy where diligent Pharmacy staff awaited with both scheduled appointments and casual walk-ins who were eager for the sense of relief that typically accompanies the vaccine. 

“I’ve been wanting to get vaccinated, but it never worked out with my hectic work schedule,” shared 24-year-old Bayley King after participating in Joints for Jabs. “When I found out about this event I was excited because it was on my day off and the process of making an appointment was so simple. Getting my shot means returning back to normal and regaining my freedom.”

With roughly 200,000 small businesses forced to shut their doors forever as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s quite the unanticipated accomplishment that retail cannabis shops like Remedy continue to thrive. Industry-wide cannabis sales continue to soar as a result of society doing its best to cope with the uncertain times brought on by COVID and the residual aftereffects of isolation, social distancing, and incessant mask wearing.

Remedy has benefited from an influx of new customers as it’s stellar reputation for customer service and product knowledge has spread via word of mouth advertising. While some cannabis enthusiasts look to relieve every day ailments associated with aches and pains, others desire to elevate their mental state in an effort to calm their nerves, diminish anxiety and lower tensions brought on by the new normal. 

“It’s a real stressful time right now and being able to just relax is a real luxury,” said Remedy regular and Marysville resident Michelle Moe after receiving her single dose vaccination. “Cannabis helps with pain and anxiety and depression, it’s an all-in-one therapeutic really.

“I’ve put off getting vaccinated for a long time now because I was really nervous about it. Ideas like if there’s been enough research or has it really been proven to be safe made me hesitant,” she added. “But at this point so many of my friends and family are vaccinated and doing just fine. Figured that was good enough for me to make this decision now and add the additional protection for myself and those I’m around socially by getting vaccinated. I’m definitely feeling a new sense of freedom already. Just in time for 4th of July celebrations.”

Participation in Remedy’s Jabs for Joints event reached the double digits. Although not allowed to spark up their free pre-rolled joint while getting vaccinated, one participant was witnessed lighting up that complimentary melon-flavored Stinger in his car. Imagine this community oriented citizen thinking to himself, “Merica! Boosting the vaccination rate one puff at a time.”

What a time to be alive.

iLocalbox makes prescription pick-up easier at Tulalip Pharmacy

By Kalvin Valdillez

“When the pandemic first hit, we were very concerned about what would happen if our staff members became ill,” expressed Tulalip Clinical Pharmacy Director, Kelvin Lee. “What if we could not continue face-to-face service, what were we going to do? This is basically a solution to that question.”

The iLocalbox is a new and safe option for Tulalip Pharmacy patients who need to pick up their prescriptions after the pharmacy’s standard hours of operations. While utilizing the technology’s large touch screen, patients will be required to verify a number of credentials before receiving their medication from the new distribution system. 

Kelvin said, “This is a new concept. And it is also the very first dispensing kiosk in Washington state. A similar product to this would be the Amazon lockers, which most people are familiar with. When you go to a Whole Foods store, you see those lockers where you can pick up your Amazon orders, and this is kind of equivalent to that. We wanted to have a mechanism to dispense prescriptions to patients after hours and this machine can definitely do that. When they order their prescriptions, they can ask us to put it in the kiosk and they’ll be able to pick it up after hours.”

The kiosk is located right outside the pharmacy’s doors. With over fifty storage units, the iLocalbox can hold any type of medication, including refrigerated items. This was an important feature that the pharmacy sought out, as many of the pharmacy’s patients are being treated for diabetes, and medication such as insulin needs to be stored at a specific temperature in order to be effective. 

“The bigger units are actually refrigerated units,” said Kelvin. “We need those because a lot of our members are diabetic and they need insulin and have medication that needs to be refrigerated. We don’t want to limit this service to just regular prescriptions, and we are happy to have the refrigerated units, so we can store all those items and our diabetic patients can pick-up insulin after hours.” 

The contactless self-service system allows the patients to engage in a fully-digital pharmacy experience, where they can order, pick-up and even pay for their prescriptions with their smart phones. 

“When the prescriptions are ready, they will be getting an e-mail notification from us as well as a text message notification,” Kelvin explained. “On the notification, there is a QR code and they can bring their phone to the kiosk and scan the QR code on the machine. After they sign their names on the screen, the corresponding locker will open-up and they can pick-up their prescription. Safe and secure, because we want to make sure the prescription goes to the right person. Our patients also have the option to pay for their prescription right when they receive the e-mail or text notification, or they can choose to pay for it on location. It’s very convenient.”

Kelvin explained that there are some restrictions to the kiosk’s services and they are listed as follows: 

  • Prescriptions will only stay in kiosk for seven days.
  • No controlled substances will be allowed in the kiosk.
  •  Patient must receive consultation before they are allowed to pick up new prescriptions.
  • No pick up from 12am – 7am.
  • This service is straightly for patients who cannot make it to the pharmacy during regular business hours. Please refrain from ordering kiosk service if you can pick up during regular hours as there are only limited number of lockers available.

To learn more about the iLocalbox, please contact the Tulalip Clinical Pharmacy at (360) 716-2600. 

Family Haven introduces new parenting program with an enticing raffle

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

If you are an expectant mother, first time parent or part of a blossoming family with children under the age of three, Tulalip Family Haven wants to hear from you. 

Throughout the years, the department has assisted Tulalip tribal members, the community, and members of other tribal nations by developing programs that cater to local youth, parents, and families. 

Through these programs, such as teen outreach, life skills, and a number of family-based programs, Family Haven provides their clients with educational tools and resources while building a space where the people they service can support and relate to one another, offer tips from personal experience, or simply lend a listening-ear to others in-need. 

No matter the program, Family Haven has made it their priority to ensure that their families, from birth to parenthood, are on-track and in the best position to meet their personal short and long-term goals. By providing all the necessary tools and support, Family Haven designed each of their programs to empower tribal youth and families. 

Keeping true to that successful formula, the department is introducing a new course to Tulalip. And they are doing it in a unique and fun way to engage people right off the bat and build a connection with local parents to better serve their needs.

“We’re officially launching Family Spirit,” said Sasha Smith, Family and Youth Support Coordinator for Family Haven. “We are accepting clients and want to get the word out. It has been really successful in other tribal communities and it’s evidenced-based, which is pretty hard to come by. It’s one of the very few.”

Tulalip News has the inside scoop on what the new program is and the specifics of everything that it entails. However, we will refrain from releasing this information just yet, at least until after June 25, when the winners of the Family Spirit promotional raffle are announced. 

Sasha shared, “For one-week people can call-in, ask questions and get familiar with the program and in turn they will be entered into the drawing. We bought fun raffle prizes for those that call-in and we’ll close it on June 25, and deliver the prizes that week. We would like to gain that relationship, get to know you and listen to your needs and wants as parents.”

Prizes include an InstaPot pressure cooker, a Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 car seat, and a summertime gift bundle that contains sidewalk chalk, bubble wands and a full-sized Radio Flyer wagon. 

“The biggest thing is having that personal connection and creating an opportunity to really talk,” Sasha stated. “Because what happens when people call-in and ask about the program, I get to understand a little bit more about them. We want to raise awareness to the community about [Family Spirit] and make sure that we are sharing those resources with them. If you or someone you know is pregnant, if you have little ones under the age of three, or if you just want to learn more about parenting, call us on up!”

To learn more about Family Spirit and to be entered into the giveaway, please contact Family Haven at (360) 716-4402.

stəgʷad (Salmonberry) season

Submitted by AnneCherise Jensen 

stəgʷad (Salmonberries) play an important role in the culture, traditions and way of life of many Native Americans tribes – all the way from the west coast of Northern California, through Canada, and up to Alaska. Traditionally, the Salmonberry is named after Coast Salish Native Americans fondness for eating the berries with both salmon & salmon roe. Salmonberries also play a significance in similarity in how they look a lot like salmon roe, with their orangey-pink color of the berries. The berries were generally eaten fresh, due to their high water content and difficulty to preserve – and considered a delicacy in Native American culture. To this day, salmonberries have also been known to be made into jams and jellies, and can be preserved by freezing. 

 Salmonberries are the earliest berry to ripen and harvest in the Spring, harvested anywhere as early May to late July depending on the elevation of the berry shrubs. Lower elevation bushes will be the first to ripen, while higher elevation will ripen later in summer.  Salmonberry bushes tend to have fewer thorns than some other berry species, and typically make for a smooth and pleasant harvest.  Salmonberry colors vary from dark red, to pink, to bright orange. Each color tends to have its own unique flavor, with the vibrant red known to be slightly sweeter and the orange berries slightly more tart. They are a native northwest plant, growing in abundance in marshy, wetland and forested areas with nutrient rich, unbothered soils. 

Salmonberries are an extremely nutrient dense and healthy food, some may also even refer to it as a superfood. Salmonberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help nourish & replenish the body. They are especially high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, Manganese, fiber and rich phytonutrients. Here is the nutrient information on one serving (1 cup) of salmonberries. As you can see, salmonberries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and are a great traditional food to add to your diet this time of year. 

Serving Size:  8 oz or 1 cup 

Nutrient % Daily Value  (% Daily Value is  the percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of the food. The Daily Values are recommendation amounts of nutrients for individuals to consume each day for optimal health outcomes )

  • Fiber 15%
  • Folate 10%
  • Riboflavin 11%
  • Phosphorus 9% 
  • Magnesium 9% 
  • Manganese 108% 
  • Vitamin A 22% 
  • Vitamin B6 14% 
  • Vitamin C 23% 
  • Vitamin E 16% 
  • Vitamin K 34% 

stəgʷad Salmonberry Jam recipe

Salmonberry jam is a great way to preserve and utilize a large salmonberry harvest. The jam can either be made within 24 hours after harvest, or you can freeze them and make the jam at a later time. The sugar to berry ratio is as follows; Measure the berries to find out how many cups you have and put them in a saucepan. Measure out 2/3 cup of sugar for every 1 cup of berries. For example,  for three cups of berries, you will need 2 cups of sugar. For every 3 cups of berries, you will need a half a cup of lemon juice. 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups Salmon Berries 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice 

Directions: 

  • Rinse salmon berries in light lukewarm water. 
  • Add salmonberries, sugar and lemon juice into a large saucepan. Your ingredient measurements may vary depending on how many berries you plan to process. 
  • Turn the saucepan on medium heat and mix all ingredients together. Allow to warm up the mixture for about 15 minutes. 
  • Once ingredients start to warm up, use a potato masher to slowly break down the berries into smaller pieces. 
  • Once berries are broken down – turn the heat up and allow the jam mixture to boil anywhere from 5-8 minutes. This will create a thicker consistency and the volume of the mixture should reduce to half. 
  • After boiling, turn on low and allow to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. 
  • Test the thickness of the jam by taking out a teaspoon and allowing it to cool. 
  • Once you get a thickness you like – remove from stove top and place into your favorite container. 
  • Refrigerate. Should last approx a year in the refrigerator. 
  • Enjoy salmonberry jam on some whole wheat toast, protein pancakes, or some vanilla frozen yogurt! 

**This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Sources: 

https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Salmonberries

http://nativeplantspnw.com/salmonberry-rubus-spectabilis/