Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Re: CSA Week 13

Hi CSA folks,

Progress has been made in many aspects of life here over the last month. One of the most exciting developments is the completion of our pond and the addition of a fantastic rope swing.  We are happily splashing away this week's heatwave, and we thank our brave woofer Zach for risking his life to set it up for our collective fun.

In kitchen news, we have a brand new (well, new for us) dough sheeter.  We got it to make the cracker making process less of a hassle—instead of running each cracker individually through a roller, it will hopefully allow us to roll out entire sheets of dough which we can cut into sesame cumin crackerbread.  This machine, which had faithfully served a now closed doughnut shop in Barre, VT for the past sixteen years, is a sight to behold.  When in use, the conveyor belts on either side of the central roller span about twelve feet.  When "stored away", the belts fold up into an 8 foot tall X that somehow resembles a bird of prey about to attack its dinner.  Folks at the Friday pick up got to sample the first experiment- perfectly poofed fresh pita bread, and we are making them again for today's bread share and tonight's farmer's table dinner at the Wilburton Inn (this week's culinary theme is Middle Eastern).

Out in the field we've been busy seeding, planting and mulching. The kids are back in school, but our season continues… 2 more months of CSA to look forward to together. 


Bonnie and Oliver Levis


1 eggplant
1/2 c. olive oil
1 c. diced celery
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce (or stewed fresh tomatoes)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. drained capers
1/2 tsp. salt
2 dashes black pepper
1 c. pitted black olives, cut in slivers

Wash eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In hot oil in a large skillet, saute eggplant until tender and golden brown. Remove eggplant and set aside.

In hot oil, saute onions and celery until tender, 5 minutes. Return eggplant to skillet. Stir in tomato sauce, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, capers, salt, pepper and olives. Simmer covered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate covered eggplant mixture overnight.

 our new pita factory, and our new pond.

1547 Main st. Manchester Ctr, VT 05255
802 384 1400

Monday, August 2, 2010

CSA Week 9

Hello CSA friends

We looked at the calendar and found out some interesting news---  it's already august? Weeks go by in a blur.  Being completely exhausted and motivated at the same time is a feeling that tends to afflict farmers during the mid season.  We can't keep up with our punch lists but somehow we keep plowing through and getting stuff done. We've been sifting through garlic, weeds, dishes; dealing with incoming woofers, dealing with children's incoming molars, lost phones and tools, digging our pond, swimming in our half full pond, seeding and transplanting, making soooo many goldburgers, getting back to the construction of our greenhouse that never got finished this spring and inventing new food products (try our apfelmoose—authentic Austrian applesauce made by our new authentic Austrian wwoofer, Caroline). 

Another new project for this season is Farm Table at the Wilburton Inn.  We cook an enormous gourmet dinner from our produce and schlep it to the inn where guests eat on the beautiful terrace over the Battenkill valley.  It's every Tuesday from 7 pm and costs $18 per person.  Sangria too!! Call the inn at 802-362-2500 to make a reservation.  And bring the kids along- they can run around with Guv, Eden and Talula while you eat.  We'll also be at the Hildene craft fair this weekend slingin' goldburgers and other farm treats.

And here are two of our favorite new recipes for two of our favorite underappreciated vegetables: kale & kohlrabi.

Nachos Redeemed:

Layer chopped kale (large ribs removed) with tortilla chips, black olives and shredded cheese on a baking sheet. Make sure all layers are mixed up so that all ingredients get a little cheesy. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and kale has crisped.  Top with salsa (make your own or buy it from us) and sour cream (make it fancier by mixing in finely chopped scallions). 

…Viva la Kale!

Kale and kohlrabi slaw: a hit from last Tuesday's farm table at the Wilburton

-1 bunch kale finely chopped

-1 bunch parsley finely chopped

-4 small kohlrabi peeled and slivered

-a couple of sweet, crisp apples diced smallish

-1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Combine all ingredients and add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. This dish can be easily converted into a pilaf by tossing in cooled wild rice.


Be Healthy and Happy!

Bonnie and Oliver Levis

1547 Main st. Manchester Ctr, VT 05255
802 384 1400

Saturday, July 17, 2010

CSA Week 6

> Hello CSA folks
> We hope everyone has recovered from last week's muggy heat wave.
> While it made working outside more difficult (and slowed the
> progress on our new greenhouse down to zero), it did give us a
> chance to reconnect with some favorite swimming holes and also
> motivated an unprecedented extra early morning schedule for our
> household.
> We are quite pleased with how bountiful the new herb garden has
> turned out. The basil and parsley are especially plentiful as are
> some of the lesser appreciated ones such as tarragon and greek
> oregano. Unfortunately, the weeds are also becoming especially
> plentiful. It would be great if folks who felt like getting involved
> could help out with weeding the herb garden. Just start in the patch
> of your favorite herb (or the weediest spot you notice) and go for
> as long as you feel like it. Nothing fancy.
> While you are there, nibble around. Taste sour sorrel, anise hyssop,
> Mexican mint marigold, spilanthes (the toothache herb), wormwood (it
> is only slightly hallucinogenic), Persian false lavender, lemon balm
> (which smells like pledge), or bring home a little catnip to drive
> your feline crazy.
> If you are on our facebook group, you will have already heard the
> good news that we got our organic certification this week. It
> doesn't really change anything about the way we have already been
> farming except that we need to keep more accurate records (more
> challenging for us than keeping the bugs away!).
> Bonnie and Oliver Levis

CSA Week 4

> Summer Greetings to all,
> We are a month into the CSA and we hope everyone has been eating
> lots of greens. July brings more variety to the table, and each week
> you will be finding new choices. June has had ideal growing
> conditions with lots of sun and plenty of rain. It's so nice to see
> things coming together in the fields. Yesterday we had a great
> farmers' market in Dorset. The weather was perfect and we had lots
> of new things to offer. Our lovely British wwoofers Sarah and Dave
> do such a good job at the markets. We have also started selling
> grilled VT Goldburgers, scrambled eggs and salads so folks can enjoy
> lunch or breakfast when they come shop at the market. The
> Manchester Markets have been a little quieter, but have been really
> fun. We love our new location downtown, and our spot on the green is
> right next to the children's art tent, which is pretty convenient
> for our 3 little assistants. We encourage everyone to support the
> new Manchester market Thusdays 3:00 – 6:00, and we are happy to
> allow our CSA shareholders to pick up shares there (with advance
> notice). In other farm news, we are thrilled that Tim Fisher, our
> beloved excavator friend has come to start digging out our new
> irrigation/swimming pond. It promises to be beautiful, helpful,
> refreshing and fun. Also you may have noticed the half finished
> skeleton of the new greenhouse in our field. We received a USDA
> natural resource conservation grant to build this unheated
> greenhouse for year round production. We had been working hard to
> get it done this spring, but then it fell off the radar when we had
> to get in the fields and plant your food. Now that we are pretty
> well caught up, we are attempting to wrap the project up, so if
> anyone wants to come help let us know. We hope to be working on it
> all week (and to be realistic, probably all next week too). Anyway,
> we wish everyone well and we'll see you all soon.
> Peace!
> Bonnie and Oliver Levis

CSA Week 2

>> Hello CSA
>> We hope everyone enjoyed the first week's produce and had a good
>> time coming to the farm. Beyond the constant work of planting,
>> harvesting, cooking, and construction, our efforts lately have been
>> focused on mulching. Some of you may have noticed the mountain of
>> steaming fermented grass near the CSA pick up area. This pile of
>> grass is mowed off about 15 acres of our neighbors fields. As you
>> can see from the photo, the flail chopper mows the grass and blows
>> it back into a hay wagon that is towed behind. When it's full we
>> tow the wagon back to the veggie field and unload it with
>> pitchforks before it starts to compost and get hot and heavy. In
>> fact, within 48 hours, the pile reaches 150 degrees. Last year,
>> Guv lost his croc in the pile and it had melted into a blob of
>> green plastic by the time we found it a couple weeks later. The
>> great thing about the heat is that it kills all the seeds in the
>> grass so that we don't end up spreading tons of weeds over the
>> fields. The mulch serves a few roles. First it keeps the weed
>> seeds in the soil from seeing sunlight and germinating. Second, it
>> keeps the soil from compacting as we walk down the rows to
>> harvest. Third, it creates a really nice environment for
>> earthworms which help decompose the mulch into usable soil/food for
>> the plants. Finally, the mulch keeps the soil cooler in the summer
>> and keeps it from drying out and if left in place over the winter,
>> it holds the soil in place and prevents erosion. So we love our
>> mulch! And although our mower is over 40 years old and is in need
>> of serious repairs and unloading the wagons is a hot, stinky,
>> sweaty, herculean effort, we think it is totally worth it.
>> This week we'll try to make maps of the farm so folks can start
>> walking around and finding stuff on their own. The flower and herb
>> gardens are not quite ready for picking, but are really beautiful
>> and worth walking through and sitting in and enjoying. Part of the
>> beauty of our CSA model is that you can slow down and smell the
>> flowers, pick some basil, talk to the folks who grow your food, ask
>> us questions about how it was grown, bring the kids- it' a safe
>> place for them to run around. We've built a giant sandbox for them
>> to play in. We've been creating nooks for picnicking or sitting
>> and reading. This is your farm, so enjoy, don't rush- it's slow
>> food.
>> Over the next several pickups you will be finding green curly q's
>> with a strong garlic scent… they're scapes (the pre-emergent flower
>> from the garlic plant). We clip them early to divert the plant's
>> energy toward bigger bulbs, and offer them to you because they are
>> delicious. Consider them something between a leek and a string bean
>> with the flavor of garlic. Start your cooking by carmelizing some
>> scapes (chop 'em up and slowly sauté in olive oil with salt) then
>> add in whatever you want.
>> See you soon,
>> Bonnie, Oliver & Co.

CSA Week 1

Hello CSA folks

Where to begin…  spring has been a blur of busyness, building greenhouses, working new fields, seeding and transplanting, constantly chasing 250 free range chickens with a taste for organic lettuce. We've had heat spells, epic thunderstorms and lately, perfect planting weather. It's been crazy, but there's no turning back, the markets have been great, the fields are coming together, and we can't wait to see you, our friends this week.

One especially gratifying task has been converting the lawns and underutilized parts of the property into productive cropland.  What once was just grass is now a lovely labyrinth of flowers and herbs.  Behind the house, our new field, the "South Lawn" is planted full of onions, eggplants, peppers and melons. The Obamas would certainly be proud. Interspersed throughout Earth Sky Time are plantings of blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, elderberries, plums, peaches, kiwis, and apples. And our two new hives of bees are nearby, ready to perform pollination magic. The vision is that eventually, every nook and cranny of this space will be productive and beautiful.

And the folks that are helping us achieve this vision are our trusty wwoofers. (willing workers on organic farms). Sarah and Dave (the Brits) have returned from across the pond to save the day once again.  They are artists whose talents run the gamut from jewelry making and ceramics to gonzo poetry and skateboarding and just about everything that needs to be done around here.  And then there are the Ben Horns, (two wwoofers named Ben who are both horn players) Ben 1 is a saxophonist/ journalist who has given up life in the big apple to follow his dream of becoming a farmer.  Ben 2 is a trumpet playing music major whose gentle disposition makes working with him a pleasure.  Alex studies media communications but not so secretly aspires to be a baker, so we are indeed lucky to have her baking the bread for our new bread share. Grant is an engineering major and a fantastic drummer- not even a mysteriously swollen eye has slowed down his hard work.  Jess recently arrived from Skidmore with her violin, sitar, and graceful willingness to be a part of our kooky community.  Merrilee and Dennis are couple from Westchester, NY. They both escaped their jobs at Trader Joe's to come grow food with us.  They got here yesterday and have already unloaded hay, jumped in it, and schlepped chickens in the dark.  What an initiation. 

This week's super quick recipe idea: Cheap pizza night a la Depot 62

Everyone in Manchester knows that Monday night is half price pizza night at most of the local pizzerias. But our favorite pie in town is the arugula pizza at Depot 62, the quirky wood fired oven/ furniture store on 11-30. We suggest jazzing up a half priced plain cheese pizza by adding tossed fresh arugula greens right on top of the pie and then drizzling some good balsamic vinegar and adding a bit of grated parmesan. This recipe will work even better in a few weeks when we have an abundance of tomatoes to slice up and throw on top. Bon appetito!

See Y'all soon
Bonnie and Oliver Levis

1547 Main st. Manchester Ctr, VT 05255
802 384 1400

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Heat!

The season is in swing and we want to get in touch with an update. The potatoes are all planted, the peas are climbing high, the garlic is cultivated, the cucumbers are starting to vine out, salad greens are growing like weeds, weeds are growing like weeds. Our new pick your own garden is shaping up, the hens are laying eggs like crazy, and we’ve been swimming in the Battenkill every day. We built and planted one new tomato greenhouse and we are presently working on the next one, the plants are ready to go in so we’ve got to hustle. Late blight has already shown up in PA and Maryland so everybody has to be extra careful again this year. We have scaled up our food product production, just packed 80 containers of the season’s first pesto, and holy moly, today we make 600 veggie burgers. In other news we just submitted our paperwork to become officially certified organic. But we still have so much to do that it is hard to rest on any accomplishments. It has been too hot to transplant this week, and we’ve got to get stuff into the ground. Keeping up with irrigation has been a challenge. And we still need to set up a structure for CSA pickups and bring over the walk-in cooler and equipment from the old farm. As the saying goes make hay when the sun shines… oh shoot I have to do that too!

We’ll be in touch again soon to give everyone the details for the 1st pick ups. Until then you can find us Sundays from 10-2:00 at the Dorset farmer’s market or swing by the new farm to say high and pick up some eggs. Also we are happy to sell starts for your home gardens, the greenhouse is overflowing with many incredible plants so come check it out. And save us your egg cartons its that time again.

Oliver, Bonnie, the kids & the crew

Friday, February 26, 2010

CSA Greetings

Hey hey CSA friends,
How have you all been? Well, we hope. For our part, we’ve been busy. It’s been an especially crazy winter, lots of renovation projects and sniffly children. And here we go again, time to mix up potting soil, fire up greenhouses, and sell our CSA shares.

As you probably know, we have moved our operation to Earth Sky Time, and we’ve changed our name accordingly. The new farm offers lots of improvements including, way more room for pick your own crops, a real barn for CSA pickups (well… that’s not done yet, but soon) and the great advantage of living right next to the fields where the crops grow. And this year we are offering a whole grain bread share. For an additional $60, shareholders will be able to pick up a loaf of freshly baked organic bread along with their veggies at Friday pickups for the entire 20 week season.

As promised we are planning a spring fever / housewarming party here on March 21st at noon. We’ve saved lots of veggies from last season, so you can look forward to a feast sure to bring back the taste of summer. We will also be happy to show you around the farm, including the greenhouses and our new kitchen. We hope you can all make it!

As the days have started to get longer, our hens’ egg production has started to pick up. So if you miss those golden yolks come on by to say hi and pick up a dozen from the fridge. The winter markets at JK Adams have come to an end, but we still have plenty of Granola and VT Goldburgers available for sale right from the house.

Finally we want to put in a plug for our new website: www.EarthSkyTime.com we just put it up this week, and it is full of great photos and info about us, the farm, the food and a quick link to sign up for the 2010 CSA.

Wishing everyone a happy healthy productive spring, and looking forward to seeing you soon,

- Oliver, Bonnie, Gavriel, Talula, Eden and all your friends down on the farm

ps. CSA Share prices remain unchanged for 3 years running, and we once again are offering an early bird discount for shares payed by the end of March. As always, we want to make it easy for you to… “eat local organic food grown by your friends!”