Monday, July 23, 2012

CSA week 7

Hello CSA folks

As I write, the food processor is going full speed.  Hannah is preparing for our first FARM NIGHT!!!!!  We cook a huge gourmet vegetarian meal from our own produce and serve it buffet style on the terrace of the Wilburton Inn.  Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 17th) is our opening night and it's going to be especially fun because we are also hosting a contra dance with the Hubard Hall Tune Jam Band.  The cost is $20 per person, $10 for kids, under 5 free.  Dinner starts at 7, dancing starts at 8. Full bar service available.  Please make reservations at 802-362-2500.  We'll be doing Farm Night every Tuesday through September, so don't be devastated if you've already got plans for tomorrow night.

A project that has been close to Oliver's heart lately is haying our new field.  Since our flail chopper exploded at the beginning of the season, we had to drag out some ancient haying equipment that we haven't used in years (and that hadn't been used for decades before that).  With the help of wise locals (Hamilton Hayes and Gerald Wilcox) and wwoofer sweat, we've got tons of hay baled and ready for mulching at the new field and here at the home farm to make the chickens happier.  

Speaking of our new field, we have been really happy with the quantity and quality of the veggies growing there.  We've had some of the best broccoli, kohlrabi, and turnip crops we've ever grown and the future veggies look promising.  With all the help we've got now, we've even been able to vaguely sort of almost keep up with the weeding. 

In our spare time, we've been cranking out VT Goldburgers.  This month we are the producers of the month at the Brattleboro Food Coop which made us feel a little bit like rock stars with our photo on the cover of their newsletter and a full article/photo spread, and a radio spot.  Oliver and I got an especially warm welcome when we did a demo there last week and the orders have been flying in.  Mental note—do more things like this but maybe in the winter! 

As the saying goes, all work and no play…. So we managed to fit in some playing last week with a farm field trip to the stunning Hamilton Falls in Windham.  We also hosted a couple of circus smirkus kids and we all went to an amazing performance.  And we've been spending time watching our newborn kittens (Ramona, the proud mother, will be spayed as soon as possible).  We'll be offering kittens for a CSA point in a few weeks.  It's me and Oliver's 12 year anniversary today. We've been celebrating grandly so far… I cleaned out the fridge, organized 9 wwoofers, dealt with screaming children and Oliver is running around doing too many things on too little sleep.  Maybe we'll do something fun later.  Like go to sleep early if we're lucky...  we both know that we are infinitely lucky.

Hope to see you at farm night tomorrow!


-Bonnie, Oliver & Crew 

Oliver and Bonnie Levis
Earth Sky Time Community Farm
(802) 384 1400

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CSA week 3

Hello CSA friends

As we head into our third week of pick ups, we thought it would be a good idea to take a moment to stop and breathe and send you all an update.  We had a bit of a wwoofer shortage this spring, but we are grateful that a wonderful crew came together earlier this month to help us do everything we do.  Sarah has been with us since January and is much more than a baker, even though that's what she spends most of her time doing these days (have you tried her croissants!?!).  Someday she will figure out how to combine farming, baking, water conservation, herbalism and   midwifery into some sort of a career, but until then we hope she sticks with us.  Tristan, our assistant farm manager, hails from the West Coast with more attention to detail than we've had in all our years of farming.  Our cukes have never been so well mulched.  Hannah, a student at Vassar, is lots of fun to work with in the kitchen and has been learning the tricks of the veggie burger trade.  Her alarming quantity of sneezes has been a talent of hers since a young age and she likes to harvest spinach.  Abby and Peter are students at St. John's College in Annapolis and they read a lot of books.  Abby has been spending time doing farmers markets, CSA set ups, and French braiding Talula's hair while Peter has become our official tomato love person, spending hours upon hours pruning and trellising.  He is also a very good lion in jail for Eden's lion in jail game.  Marshall arrived out of the blue and we don't know what we'd do without him.  His gentle presence and ability to just sort of do everything that needs doing (baking, tractor work, raspberry wrestling, etc.) is remarkable.  Ally got here a few days ago and seems to have adjusted quickly to life in the Levis fast lane.  This group of folks works so hard with such a great collective attitude.  And they are so darn wholesome.  Once again, we have lucked out. 


While we are done with most of the early planting frenzy, we are still busy getting things into the ground.  Since the fire truck went to a higher bidder, the lack of a water source in our new field is still a big issue for us.   So we've been planting a lot at the home farm as well.  Besides the usual veggie crops, our latest accomplishment (as of 9 pm last night) is the completion of what we have dubbed "blueberry hill".  Approximately two hundred new blueberry plants have joined the ones we have been planting for the last several years towards the back of the meadow here (behind the garlic and to the right—feel free to check it out this week).  Much mulching still needs to be done, but we're glad they're in the ground.  We've also been planting a lot in the pick your own flower and herb garden.  Sarah and I took a vacation from the kitchen yesterday and spent many glorious hours in the sunshine creating a beautiful maze of flowers.  They need some time before they can be picked, but the basil is almost ready. Also, there is a healthy stand of lemon balm- perfect for iced tea in this heat.

-Bonnie (& crew)

Oliver and Bonnie Levis
Earth Sky Time Community Farm
(802) 384 1400

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 CSA

Bonjour CSA friends!

It's been too long since we've seen many of you. The winter flew by even faster than usual, (if it even came at all). And now it feels like spring and it's time to think about the CSA season. Oliver and I just returned from an exciting French adventure that of course revolved around food.  The reason for our trip was ostensibly the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, literally the bakery world cup, held every four years. Team USA won silver! But, our time in Paris was also spent biking around the city with Sarah and Dave our beloved British friends  (CSA folks from two seasons ago will remember them). We also had the opportunity to visit our friend Christine (from Saratoga Apple) at her family's farm in Provence. Out our window were their family's ancient olive trees and grape vines. It was striking to experience the deep history and the importance of locality of food in France.  

Upon my insistence, we drove through Le Puy, the center of French lentil growing.  Legally, one cannot call one's lentils Le Puy lentils unless they are actually grown in a specific radius around the city.  Our friend Christine is from Brie (who knew it was even a town?) and one cannot call one's cheese Brie unless it is produced there. The same for Camembert… Champagne, you name it.  In our globalized food system, that concept seems as ancient as the chateaux we stayed in. It makes sense- standards of quality must be higher if you are producing something that is your specialty, part of your history.  Of course, this could just be my romanticized impression of a very short visit. 

We had ample time on our flight back to make an overwhelming punch list for the beginning of the season. Oliver, inspired by our trip and being who he is, added "plant vineyard" and "build things out of stone" to the list.  Oy vey.  It does feel great to be back in the greenhouse.  Seeds are flying into soil blocks and frozen irrigation lines are getting repaired. Wind battered end-walls are being rebuilt.

As you might know, one of our biggest limitations has been the amount of farmland we have access to.  Crop rotation, an important component of organic production, is extremely difficult with such a small landbase and it generally turns into a very frustrating game of Tetris.  This year, we are extremely lucky to have the gotten the opportunity to use a huge piece of land in town.  It is a big relief to know that we'll have plenty of room to transplant out what we're starting in the greenhouse this spring.  And the hard working soil here on the home farm will certainly appreciate the rest.

We are also improving the logistics of the CSA. Now, in addition to the standard pick up times (Tuesdays 12-1, Fridays 4-6) we will also have a self service area in the farm stand where CSA members can pick up basic seasonal selections like: prebagged salad greens, tomatoes, new potatoes, as well as hearth breads, hoomoos,  Goldburgers and more, anytime.

We are keeping our share prices the same for yet another year. And we are striving to grow more plentiful, delicious and beautiful crops than ever. We hope you will all continue to be a part of the Earth Sky Time family.  If you sign up by April fools day, we'll give you an original EST silkscreened t-shirt. 

Here's the link to the CSA sign up.

PS: we have plenty of eggs so stop by the farm…  and fresh bread on Fridays after 3. we'd love to catch up. 


-Bonnie, Oliver, Gavriel, Talula, Eden, and all the wwoofers, chickens and plants

Earth SkyTime Community Farm
(802) 384 1400