In the Kitchen

Posted in Cooking, Family, Food, menus, mothering/mother's circle on April 21st, 2014 by adrie — 3 Comments







First: the wonderful Tonia is hosting a giveaway of my poetry book The Salt - hop on over to her blog to enter for a chance to win :)


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Our cafe & bakery officially closed its doors last week.  We celebrated this new stage of life (focusing on our grain CSA and expanding into more innovative farm shares, videos, etc) with a trip to see family and a bag of 50 raw oysters fresh out of the ocean, and came home to a freshly painted light blue front room.  I highly recommend that.

At home, we’re so blessed to be spending our days all together.  Cooking (of course), playing, gardening and working outside, visioning the years to come, and yes, heading inside to the office sometimes to share photos, answer emails, talk to farmers and vendors, work on paperwork and tying up loose ends.  It’s been a turbulent few months,  and our daughter is particularly sensitive to that, so I’m focusing on giving her lots and lots of healing time outside.  Right now, she mostly pretends to be a superhero, and sings long ballads about her adventures, while climbing around on the rocks and fallen trees.

In the kitchen, oh, we’ve been having fun.  Cooking for ourselves is very different than cooking for customers.  Ben made his genius bacon & eggs sushi for us again.  I’ve been eating salads for breakfast (and lunch) the past few months, and I really love it.  Greens, vinaigrette, saurkraut, lots of seeds and sometimes fruit, and an over-easy egg on top.

Last week’s menu was delicious, even though I never got around to the doughnuts.  I liked the buddha bowl so much I proposed one for lunch the next day (no one else was quite so enthralled, lol).  Here’s what I have planned this week (photos from this evening’s dinner, the first grilling of the spring!)

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Grilled Mackerel, Onions, & Honey Dill Beets

Homemade Veggie Burgers and Salad with Walnuts, Blue Cheese, and Sunflower seeds

Roast Chicken or Fish and Potato Sorrel Gratin (from Lulu’s Provencal Kitchen, one of my favorite cookbooks ever)

Lentil Salad with parsley, sundried tomatoes, and onions & Swiss Chard with Cashew Cream

Beef Short Ribs (probably asian flavorings) and roasted veggies

Homemade Gorditas from local corn, black beans, salsa, sweet potato fries

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Soup – I’m using the recipe from the excellent Ladled)

Another meal in a bowl, this time with hummus :)

Blessings on your week friends.  May you, too, enjoy the pleasure of food eaten with family or friends, the sunshine on your skin, the fresh grass and plants bursting up all around us.


Posted in poetry on April 16th, 2014 by adrie — Comment



Late Fragment
by Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


Posted in poetry on April 15th, 2014 by adrie — 6 Comments

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Barely April, we saw her – bright yellow

bursting bravely into the chill day.

Too foolish to wait for the safe

warm days and nights,

the proper dressing of green leaves, she rushes

into the world as if she knows we need her, sunny yellow

along her exposed branches, too eager

to wait, too joyful

to be stopped.

(c) 2014 Adrie Lester


Posted in homekeeping on April 14th, 2014 by adrie — 6 Comments

What a week.  From deciding to say goodbye to our cafe, to jumping right in on new business ideas, and starting to transform a neglected space in our home into a place where we will be able to shoot cooking videos and more . . . I think the photos speak for themselves.  Blessings on your week, friends.

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Cooking at Home

Posted in Cooking, Family, Food, homekeeping, menus, Wheatberry on April 12th, 2014 by adrie — 4 Comments

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A new sort of menu, for our new days here . . . we have our last week of open doors at the cafe, but with shorter hours so we are in between.  Realizing I have to get back in the groove of cooking three meals a day (and snacks).  Exciting, but a change for sure.



I really want to try these baked chocolate doughnuts.  With a few changed ingredients :)

Crispy almonds, recipe from Nourishing Traditions.

Homemade bread.  How funny, to move away from making giant batches of sourdough, to little home batches.  I’ve been missing our Seven Seed loaf- that’s what calls to me this week, but if I don’t have time for sourdough, I’ll probably make a simple whole wheat yeasted bread.

Deviled eggs.  Love.



(mostly, I want to have these made ahead and ready to go in the freezer or fridge)

Biscuits.  Oh, it’s been far too long since I’ve made biscuits.

Yeasted pancakes or sourdough pancakes.

Muffin cup quiches, such as these.



Polenta with vegetables and a fried egg on top, inspired by this one, using Plymouth corn from our grain share.

An abundance bowl, inspired by this one from Sarah – since really, spring veggies have not arrived here yet.

Big Comfy Sweet Potato, or maybe more traditional baked stuffed potatoes.  I’m definitely thinking bacon.

Homemade noodles and put together a simple lasagna, or rolled stuffed noodles, with spinach.

Roast chicken with tons of veggies roasted in the pan.  Salad on the side.

Honey Dill Roasted Beets – gotta find some new love for the beets we still have.

Thai Beef Salad, since we’re obsessed with Asian flavors these days.

* * *

Thank you for all your kind wishes on our journey.  We’re so grateful for the ten years we spent working on Wheatberry Bakery & Cafe, and all that we’ve learned.   And now, we’re so excited to jump ahead into doing even better for our grain share members, and adding some really incredible new shares (which we will be able to ship right to your door!), plus cooking videos, finishing our book, and more . . .  Stay tuned – kitchen painting begins tomorrow!


April 9

Posted in poetry on April 9th, 2014 by adrie — 4 Comments

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(Writing along for National Poetry Month, using a prompt from the sweet site A.L.M.)

Sunny Side Up

They wake, sometimes, calling
my name, or kicking at the blankets
like shackles, or sometimes I
am the one panting, trickling sweat,
half-believing the dream
was really lived – I am out walking
in the woods, lost in the pleasure
of talking with friends, and then into the house,
the daughter sitting the in the tub staring blankly,
the baby at her feet in the water, lifeless – but awaken,

it wasn’t true, the night was just another night,
shake it out, arms and legs,
wipe the sweat from our temples, here
in this morning
the sun is already up, sometimes
they wake up happy and I awaken to the little pitter
patter of their feet coming to my door, here
we all are, and we say good morning,
I love you, let’s go downstairs
and eat.

(c) Adrie Lester 2014

Big News

Posted in Family, Wheatberry on April 7th, 2014 by adrie — 9 Comments

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Big News!!

Our family has some huge news to share – after ten years of running our beloved bakery/cafe, and also running our extremely successful grain CSA, we will be making a change and shifting all our energies into our ever growing CSA.  We will also be developing a new share (top secret but really exciting!), and offering more to our current grain share members, including Youtube cooking tutorial videos, workshops, and more.
We will be closing the cafe in Amherst in a few weeks – for now, we will continue to offer pastries, drinks, farmstand, and bulk section, but not breakfast or lunch.  We’ll be open shorter hours – from 10-2, Mon – Fri, and then we will close the cafe permanently.

Thank you so much to all of you who have come in and shared real food and community with us at our cafe.

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It’s been a tremendous pleasure to serve the Amherst community and we’ve loved it and learned so much.  We’re really delighted to continue serving many people with amazing local foods, and hope that you will keep in touch!  We’ll be sending out news through the mailing list, but also please take a moment to like our CSA page.
Also, we’d love it if you come by in our final days to say hello and share a final scone or croissant.  You can post your favorite memories or wishes on our Wheatberry Facebook page - we love hearing from you.  You can keep in touch with our family by following our personal blog Fields & Fire, and we’ll be sharing many of your favorite recipes in the coming years when we finish our book, Love Real Food!
With love,
Adrie, Ben, & kiddos

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(p.s.  Look who lost a front tooth last week!)

Out of the Deep Winter

Posted in Family, poetry, Wheatberry on April 1st, 2014 by adrie — 6 Comments

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As the last snows melt, and the sun begins to warm more than the top inch of soil, I’m starting to really believe that we made it – spring is here!


This was a long. long. winter, in all senses of the phrase.  We had, like many places, deep snows (which we often do) and unusually long stretches of deep cold – weeks where the temperature didn’t go above the teens.  At our house, we had an entire month with no water in the kitchen sinks because the pipes were frozen (but thankfully didn’t burst).

Personally, and in almost every area of our life, we also experienced a severe winter.  We had a lot of struggles and changes to manage with our business, including suddenly finding out that we are required to install a handicapped accessible public bathroom if we want to keep our tables & seats for customers, and we have to install an Ansul system (fire suppression over our panini press and stovetop) if we want to keep cooking with butter and be able to serve cooked meats like burgers and sausage.  Add that to every sort of equipment malfunction, employee challenges, and general chaos and insanity that you can imagine, and you have an idea of our last four months.

At home, we’re still trying to restore our water – we’ve installed UV lights and a reverse osmosis filter system (which got damaged by the severe temps), and we still don’t have safe drinking water.  Now that the ground is thawing, we have to have the wellhead dug out and examined/repaired – I’m praying we don’t have to dig a new well.

So – holy moly.  There were many, many days of crying, darkness, and wondering if we should give up and walk away from it all, wondering if we had wasted the last ten yea.  To those of you who offered kind words and help – we are so, so grateful.

Amidst all the darkness, we’ve learned a lot, and the challenges have, thankfully, fueled our passion for our work and our love for what we do.  Everything always changes, sometimes very quickly, and sometimes very painfully.  We’re doing our best to humbly take any lessons we can from the experience, and keep moving forward.  I’ve been reminded which parts of life are deeply important to me, and which are not.  And how sometimes life chooses for us.

We’ll be launching a community fundraising campaign this week to help us install our public bathroom and Ansul system – please keep us in your hearts and thoughts.

For myself, I have found the relentless hard physical work a good distraction from getting stuck in negative thought patterns.  When I’m not at the cafe, I’ve been cleaning the house or hoeing in the hoophouse, getting the soil ready to plant.  Like many of you, I am so, so relieved to feel the sun’s healing warmth, and looking forward to more of it.  I’ve thought of this poem many times during our dark hours, and even though I shared it here years ago, I wanted to share it again.   Blessings on your week, friends, & Happy National Poetry Month.


Last Night, As I Was Sleeping

by Antonio Malchudo, translation from Spanish by Robert Bly

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error! -
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error! -
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error! -
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt — marvelous error! -
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.


March 20

Posted in poetry on March 20th, 2014 by adrie — 7 Comments


Spring Equinox


Today, we woke up

happy.  We fed the horse,

the sheep, we spread out a blanket

on the living room floor

and had a breakfast picnic,

giggling.  The sun warmed us,

we opened the windows, we remembered

this life’s perfection.

The day went on, and we forgot.

We were cranky, tired, our own

human selves.  We kept

the morning in our hearts, we tried

to remember again.

(c) 2010 Adrie Lester


Posted in Family, poetry on March 11th, 2014 by adrie — 4 Comments

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When spring comes

it breaks us open
like mercy

like we have finally

been forgiven.

(c) Adrie Lester