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