Buying from an athletic, super precise biologist with empathy

Two years ago this week Laura, Liva and Mari coaxed hens from tree perches, sliding around

Doing things the hard way

snow-covered ground, our hands stiff and barely functioning with temperatures in the low teens. That is when we figured out how fast Liva is.  Eventually the hens were corralled into the newly completed first hoop house and we vowed not to leave them out so late again. As tonight’s cold rain falls, we rejoice that we are making some progress in our systems… If winter waits any longer we will really be ready for it this time!


As Liva harvested this week’s greens and briefed us on hoop house management during her vacation her speed and accuracy were again noted. You all don’t get to see all this but it relates to how good your salads are! Suffice it to say that when Liva demonstrates it is a bit like the cooking shows, hands move, results are noticed, but it was all fast enough that you really need an instant replay.  Thinking back to recent comments about the quality of our fall greens I realize most folks don’t know that larger farms in Vermont, those not even at the industrial scale, often use mechanical harvesting. Your greens are hand

Pasture walk, photo by Rose Wall

picked which means the few that are substandard are less likely to make it in your bag. Also, unheated hoop houses are fantastic but they aren’t miraculous! Liva chooses just the right time of day and best time each week to water, harvest and care for the greens, triangulating temperatures, forecasts, etc.  All this is critical when we extend seasons and ask these plants to perform precariously close to impossible growing conditions.


We especially love when Liva has to pull out her full geeky biological prowess to diagnose a struggling plant or pest. As Laura and Mari prep to steer the big plastic ship through the next few weeks we re-realize how lucky we are to have Liva to make the detailed observations, remember the latin names for things, diagnose, strategize and plan to eek out delights by exploiting some steel and plastic as winter looms.


Saint Liva marshalls the vegetables of Righteousness to Victory against the hosts of famine and pestilence: Art and caption by Anna Svagzdys

Still, not even Liva can lift the sun higher in the sky. With or without snow and in almost any temperature, the next 60 days just don’t harbor enough daylight to grow much of anything.  Liva has stockpiled beautiful rows of greens, mostly cold-hardy spinach, for us all to enjoy during this period.  Those ready to harvest as well as those yet to put on much leaf, will sit in a suspended animation and when the conditions are right we’ll slip in, uncover the rows and harvest. In the meantime, enjoy some wonderful salads the next couple of weeks and coach your inner-localvore towards more squash, canned tomato and winter vegetable recipes!  When the days lengthen in February, the greens will start growing with vigor again.







Liva holding Gemini

As Liva welcomed the three new goat does (meet Wangari, World Beat and Takamba in the front field) during chores with some extra time and empathy we at the farm who were appreciating her realized, our customers are as lucky as we are… we all benefit from Liva’s speed, precision, knowledge and empathy!  Thanks Liva and have a great and well deserved holiday break with your family.





A few other images to celebrate all that Liva gives to our farm:

Liva & Uno, photo by Rose Wall

Liva cleaning fennel, photo by Rose Wall