Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Dear CSA friends,

I knew when we got married over eleven years ago that life with Oliver would probably lean more towards chaos than order.  I was right.  The combination of Levis life and our choice of farming as our livelihood has made me a lot more comfortable not knowing what's coming around the bend (hmm… we're building a bakery… okay, sure…) and can handle the idea that I'm not totally in control of things (hmm… the walk in cooler thermostat went haywire and all our produce is frozen).  I am used to highs and lows, but I have to admit that this past week has felt significantly more out of control and a little more low than usual.

We've been hearing about more and more farmers that have lost all of their crops, all of their fall and winter income.   Seeing the photos of flooded, decimated fields feels raw and empty.  It's not just about the vegetables or the money but their way of life that has dissolved.  The same for folks who aren't farmers who have lost so much in Vermont, in Texas with the fires, in Japan with the typhoon.  Checking up on the news has become a bit like checking up on the apocalypse.  And it has felt heavy, unsettling and just not right.

In that mood, I walked out to the CSA pick up today.  And I was reminded that I really like what I do and didn't feel like the world was completely falling apart.   To be able to see your babies growing bigger (even if I forget their names), meet your parents, learn about your new business ventures and chat about school politics, fermentation and husk cherries was the highlight of my day.  I value these relationships and feel very lucky to live in a community where people support what we do. I also feel deep gratitude to our crew who we could clearly not function without.  They are a group of folks who are incredibly generous with their energy and patience and are just plain fun to be around.  They care about what they are doing here and they hold an important place in our business and our family.

After the CSA was Eden's naptime and then on to pick up Guv and Talula from school.   Which is when the second highlight of my day happened.  It was Talula's first day of full day pre-k and I was, of course, a tad late.  As I was rushing towards the cafeteria entrance, they walked out of the building holding hands and she had a huge, beaming, ear to ear smile on her face.  And I pretty much melted.  All three of them are such amazing kids.  Not easy, but awesome.  I occasionally need to remind myself of that.  And of everything else that is good in life. 

Here are 2 suggestions for how you can help Vermont farmers affected by hurricane Irene:


The Vermont Farm Fund offers small, zero-interest loans very quickly to storm-affected farmers. or 802-472-5840. This fund was set up by Pete Johnson, a hugely successful organic grower in northern VT whose barn burned down over the winter. After the fire he raised $160,000 in donations to help him rebuild. Since then he has been repaying that money into a fund to help other farmers with interest free revolving loans for their emergency needs.


Alternatively visit Evening Song Farm's website, they are a young couple whose farm just south of Rutland was devastated by the storm. 7 of their 10 acres were washed away when the Mill River stormed through their farm. Most farms only suffered a loss of produce, but these folks lost their soil, permanently eroding their farm (which they just bought last year). They have posted a link for donations at .


Be Well!


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

Friday, August 12, 2011


follow this link to see a beautiful 2011 E.S.T. slideshow from our friends Jay and Michelle

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Hello CSA folks,

July flew by as it usually does with lightening speed.  This season has been an interesting challenge because of the bakery and the expanding VT Goldburger enterprise (we recently realized that we are in 18 co-ops throughout VT, NY and MASS ). Although the work is (mostly) fun, we do try to emerge from our bubble occasionally and we did it in high style last week—we celebrated Oliver's birthday with a retro roller skating farm prom.  Oh man was that fun.  We highly recommend Rollerama in Schenectady—totally worth the schlep. 

In more farmy news, we harvested our garlic last week.  It was a lot of fun to have the whole team out doing one task together- we're usually scattered amongst many field/kitchen/construction projects so it was a treat to have many hands taking a big project to completion.  Those (approximately) 5,000 heads of garlic have been drying out in the greenhouse and today's goal is to tie and hang them from rafters in the bakery loft.  Speaking of the bakery, you'll notice the beginnings of walls. Baby steps. 

Another agricultural accomplishment of the past 2 weeks has been planting our new asparagus patch (500 crowns).  They are usually planted in the spring, but we got a deal on these from our friend David at Elmore Roots nursery in the Northeast Kingdom, he specializes in cold hardy plants and fruit trees.  The asparagus won't be ready for harvest for a couple years, but we are excited to be putting in more long term perennial plantings (like rhubarb which should start producing next year). Both of these crops will help fill out the early season csa shares .

We are also pleased to announce that our youngest chicks are now laying eggs.  We are proud of them for this very delicious developmental milestone.  Especially in the midst of some harrowing experiences—we have seen a dramatic increase in predation, Matt, one of the bakers and general jack of all trades wwoofer, decided to do several stake outs and has shot: a fox, a skunk, and 3 raccoons (one of which is being turned into a hat). As you can see- chicken is very popular.

Another project that we've been working on is farmer's table night at the Wilburton Inn.   We cook an enormous globally inspired vegetarian buffet dinner and bring it over to the inn for folks to enjoy on the terrace.  We think about a theme that we're in the mood for and then jump headfirst into the walk-in cooler to see what veggies are left from the csa pick up to create the meal.  Today's theme is Mediterranean.  $20 covers the buffet and dessert; beer and wine is available for purchase.  Seating is from 7-8.  It's a kid friendly, fun way to spend a Tuesday night.  Call the inn at 362-2500 to make a reservation.  And look for your potatoes growing on the hill as you go up the driveway.


If you're hungry for more earth sky time delicacies, we'll be vending food at the Hildene arts and crafts festival this weekend.  Expect grilled goldburgers, hoomoos , breads and seasonal salads.    Also, there's a new special treat available at the Friday pick ups—swoon worthy Isobel and Appleby fruit pies.  We know they are fabulous because our good friend Lily Calfee bakes them here in our oven.  And we get to try them all.  We are truly lucky folks. 

Hope you're all having a great summer.


Bonnie, Oliver and crew

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happiness must be earned (and then eaten).

Lately I've noticed that when I see things become ripe and ready for use, I almost forget all the time and work that goes into each plant - almost.  I become so distracted at the shiny and new offering, it's a mind blowing feeling to walk around the fields and see so many (read: too many) things to eat.  Throughout this season I've become lightly obsessed with the method that things grow, the patterns of the plants, and the cycle of plant life and death.  When I do get around to thinking of the effort and time spent, it still seems so worth it to have the ability to be in the midst of cooking and go run out to grab exactly what is needed right at that very moment.  I know this isn't possible forever, but while the getting's good, it's good.

Shout out to everyone at the EST for making good with nature.

Cari B

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Patience is rewarded handsomely! (do you need any squash?)

For the last month our grounds have looked green, lush, and verdant.  Beautiful.  But somewhere along the way, at least for me, green became redundant.  Please don't misinterpret me...I adore the old standards of spinach and lettuce.  I've now savored the crisp, buttery taste of both tot soi and bok choi.  Arugula and I have a long, torrid love affair.  Yes! -  all was green and delicious but...I was left craving more. 


In the past two weeks, our other cherished vegetables have begun to ripen.  Sweet peas were spotted first.  Now, bright squash blossoms beg for our attention.  Plump raspberries dangle with a come-hither stance.  Kohl rabi beckon us over with their eager, flailing leaves.  Cherry tomatoes cascade down, each a jewel to appreciate with anticipation.  Yellow, pink, purple, and red - the farm is inundated with eye-candy.  With the sunflowers high above us, harvesting for the CSA, market, and ourselves is truly a feast for the soul!


Being here is both fulfilling and satisfying.  We hope that our vegetables, bread, and other prepared goodies project just this sentiment! 


Hoomoos, Pesto, and VT Goldburgers have just met our newest edition:  Uncle Moishy's Pickles.  We've achieved a delightful, crisp pickle perfect for a snack or sandwich pairing.   Simple ingredients create pure taste!  Oh!  We also just met Uncle M's cousins – The Relishes.  One's a bit sweet and the other is slightly spicy.  Come meet the whole family at the market!          

See you there!

megg- ww'oeuf

meg likes a regular egg!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Put it on the LIST

Dear Diary,

I have never felt so strongly that the day's allotted hours are not enough.  The actions and conversations here have spawned so many good ideas/projects and I deflate a bit when I realize how many of these I have already forgotten about.  I vote to create a WWOOFer official-blow-the-whistle list of stuffs we should be doing at any and all times.  It feels mighty fine that I am in a position wherein I can pick and choose projects and goals that are so diversified; and I look forward to working on banging out the list with my homies on the farm-front.

In other news, the plants are growing (and bolting) faster than we can currently deal, and I hope to be able to get a handle on this before it gets all MacGruber in here.  

xo and much harvesting,
Cari B

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everyone's Atwitter

Dearest Llopis Oven,

You are currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  We are plotting what we will do with you with much excitement.  Here's an idea.

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Love and safe travels,
Cari B

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chick Shack

One of my favorite things about working on a farm is raising chicks.  Everything from setting up the brooder to helping them take their first sips of water to seeing how fast they grow and how quickly they outgrow their first home is both exciting and miraculous.  It is always comforting after a long day of hard work on the farm to spend time with the chicks, watching them hop around, jump over each other to reach their food, and cuddle under the heat lamp.

When I arrived at EST at the beginning of March there were about 300 week old chicks living in the basement in a cardboard box.  It was a great surprise and in my first few weeks I busied myself feeding them three times a day and cleaning their brooder every few days to keep them dry and prevent their smell from reaching the kitchen.  Soon they were figuring out how to jump out of their box and had grown so big that they took up 3/4 of their box.  It was clear that they were getting too crowded and would need to be moved.

Oliver and I spent some time deciding which greenhouse they would do best in and then got to work building them a new home.  We screwed together a few boards of plywood, put on a plastic roof, and installed a sliding door for easy access.  Next we loaded the chicks up into boxes, 100 at a time, and drove them down to their new home as they chirped nervously, not knowing where they were going or what their future held.  As we unloaded the chicks their screams of terror were almost unbearable.  We knew that they were scared and confused and vowed to monitor the situation.  However, by the end of the day they had settled into their new home and were chirping contentedly.  The only thing left to do was name their home.  After throwing around a few names we decided on the "Chick Shack." 

They've been out their now for a few weeks and they are thriving.  The've survived many a cold night, started to eat compost, and have practically survived the awkward "teenage years" when their feathers change from yellow to brown.  Not too far down the road they will be moved again, this time to live with the rest of the chickens where they will start laying eggs and become productive members of the farm. 

Happy Spring!


Friday, February 25, 2011


semantics debate earth sky time style:
"it's as good as the best baguette you can get anywhere"
not the same as boasting that he made the best baguette
"i'm tied for first place"
says oliver

it was a damn good baguette

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Oven

On Tuesday we went to Orchard Hill Bakery in New Hampshire to test out an oven that Oliver and Bonnie want to buy. It's a huge rotating oven from Spain that cooks a lot of bread (or veggie burgers) at one time, and we loaded it up with VT Goldburgers to see how they would fare. The experiment was a success, and the campaign to get the oven is underway!