May News on the Farm
First the marketing promotion – join our summer CSA
We are now at 50% full for our CSA. If we fill up, we will meet budget with no stress and trauma, and we will be able to devote 95% of our vegetable production to the CSA for the months of June – October. If you have been hesitating about joining, or just not gotten around to it, now is the time to commit. With many improved systems in place, a higher level of organization, bursting fertility and 2 2000’ rolls of row cover, we are poised to bring you the best food you have ever eaten for 22 weeks straight! At 8 lbs of food per week for larges and 4 ½ lbs per week for mediums, you will get a wide variety of great stuff. And there will be a generous supply of fruit in your bags too in season – including peaches, pears, some raspberries, and hopefully apples again this year. Check it out at www.mhof.net/CSA. We start on the week of June 2, just one month away. And if you would like to get a dozen eggs in your share each week, contact me separately to sign up – email@example.com.
Meanwhile we have been supplying Living Earth in Worcester with spinach, mesclun, and some arugula and chard. Those cold hoop house crops were planted in the late fall and are now pumping out the most amazing greens – thanks in part to our weekly drenches and foliar feeding of our special “bubbly” recipe - which also includes NDSC’s complete liquid feed, a little comfrey, nettles and raspberry leaves, and Tainio Technologies’ Micro 5000 in the brew.
This month we have succeeded in planting about 50 lbs of onion sets, 8 beds of lettuce, 4 beds of spinach, peas, beets, carrots, Swiss chard, and some broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnips, cilantro, and radishes. We are mulching as we go, sometimes with hay, and then a polyester row cover to enhance growth in the early part of the season. Next week we will put in the onion and leek transplants. April has been almost perfect (if you forget the week of the 15th where it got very cold and snowed!). So much nicer than March, however you cut it. Ed has been making perfect raised beds, we are tilling only to the depth of 2”, if at all, and Jason is getting the drip operation all set up for us to give everyone a weekly feed with micronized minerals all season. Before planting we spread spring blend from son Dan’s NDSC company, rock phosphate, wood ash and worm castings from our worm bins.
Still available at the farm – call or email ahead
- Beef, pork and chicken stock by the quart
- Eggs always
- Comfrey salve
- Peppermint and lavender soap
And don’t forget to order your meat for the season. The baby chicks will be here momentarily with the pigs arriving in late May. The latest arrivals will be the turkeys in July.
We did decide to get calves again, after wavering a bit earlier (arriving in June). I can’t live without all that amazing cow manure. And now I eat drink and sleep carbon sequestration, cover crops, mulch, worms, and resiliency. Here is a good book to get and read that will really educate you about the climate crisis and agriculture’s role in getting the carbon back into the soil and out of the atmosphere – “Grass, Soil, Hope”. Educational and light at the same time, funny and quite serious, this book takes the reader around the world to where very innovative people are making big changes with flerds of sheep and cows, marsh reclamation, permaculture (our own Eric Toensmeier of Holyoke), growing grains and sunflowers in pasture settings – all with a very understandable backdrop of education about carbon sequestration and how it works through photosynthesis.
This month’s health tip
Well, I am still eating chia seeds every day. These days I make a drink of 1 T chia seeds in a glass of water and let it sit for an hour before drinking it. It looks and feels like fish eggs by then, but goes down easy, and is a great afternoon snack with high-powered nutrition and digestion enhancement properties. And since Ellen’s cleanse of March I have been able to lose and keep off 5 lbs.
But the real tip this month is dandelions. They are out there right now in your lawn. Dig up the whole plant. Cut off the root and chop fine and add it to your soup stock (along with other things like onions or chives, meat, garlic, roots of one sort or another). Cook as long as you would cook carrots or beets. Right before serving the soup, throw in the chopped greens and wilt for one minute in the stock. Yum yum – and so good for you. Get yourself a food dryer if you haven’t yet. And harvest enough dandelions every day for the next 2-3 weeks to fill the trays. Dry the roots (chopped in advance) for a full 24 hours and dry the greens for only half that time. Store in glass jars or plastic bags in the dark. You can use each of these products all year long for a mineral rich, digestions enhancing, blood building supplement.
Circle of Song Spring Concert May 10, 7 pm, Barre Town Hall
In our personal lives Jack and I sing with the Circle of Song, a community chorus that does surprisingly good work. Join us for a free concert. We share the stage with the Hubbardston Grade School select chorus. It is a nice evening out, and quick too – under an hour. You can find Jack’s award winning deviled eggs at refreshments at the end. Here is the line up for this concert. And if you want to sing with us, give us a call or email. We are always looking for folks to join. We sing September – May on Thursday nights – and we don’t all wear the same clothes to concerts! firstname.lastname@example.org; 978-355-2853.
Away from the Roll of the Sea – Allister MacGillivray
Dust in the Wind – Livgren/Emerson
The Flight of the Moon – Wilde/Snyder
If I Had a Hammer – Hays and Seeger
In My Room – Wilson/Usher/Emerson
The Last Words of David- Randall Thompson
The Long and Winding Road – Lennon/McCartney/Huff
Soon Ah Will Be Done – Dawson
Soldier – arr. Emerson
Promotion for the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Mass Chapter
For our day jobs I am the ED of NOFA/Mass and the education director and Jack is the policy guy and is working assiduously on GMO labeling right now. He also is editor of The Natural Farmer – NOFA’s interstate quarterly publication. That alone is worth the price of membership at www.nofamass.org.
Do you buy things from Amazon? If you do, you can have .5% of the price of eligible items donated to NOFA/Mass every time you shop. Go to this link and follow the simple steps. Just remember when you shop, that you will have to use this link – but it is easily saved on bookmarks. smile.amazon.com/ch/22-2987723
Korean Natural Farming workshop on May 3
Learn how to brew your own fertility, in the fashion of Masanobu Fukuoka’s Farmers for Forty Centuries. This event is close by at Heifer International in Rutland. Spend a little money on registration and save a bunch this summer by producing a lot of your own fertility. http://www.nofamass.org/events/korean-natural-farming
Never been to the NOFA Summer Conference? You will come away a different person than when you walked in. In the space of two days there is more information and networking packed in than you could ever hope for, if you grow, eat, or concern yourself with organic food. Check it out this year. You will come home smiling and feeling hopeful about life – and you probably will have made some new friends.
NOFA Summer Conference
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
Early bird pricing through July 11
The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) invites you to attend its 40th annual Summer Conference, featuring 200 workshops on farming, gardening, land care, nutrition, and food politics.
This is a family-friendly event. While you attend great educational workshops, your children get to experience age-appropriate and fun workshops about these same topics, with tracks for children 5-12 and teens 13-17, as well as childcare for children 2-4.
Organic meals and budget conscious accommodations are available, including camping and dorms, as are creative financing options (like work exchange). 100+ exhibitors offer unique products and services throughout the weekend.
Friday pre-conferences include a full-day intensive by keynote speaker and renowned soil scientist & researcher, Dr. Elaine Ingham, who will be teaching growers to foster soil microbial life in “Changing Dirt into Soil.” Three half-day pre-conferences will be offered Friday afternoon: “Tools for Resilient Urban Ecosystems” with Scott Kellogg; “Healing the Gut and the Body through Nutrition” with Dr. Chris Decker; and “Bioregional Herbalism: Stocking the Home Apothecary with Locally Abundant Herbs” with Jade Alicandro Mace.
To register and for updates, visit nofasummerconference.org.
Keep your calendar clear for a visit by Christine Jones, and Australian researcher and educator who is one of the world’s leading experts on carbon sequestration through farming. She will be here September 1 and 2 in Boston and Amherst, and staying at our house. A speaker not to be missed.
Thanks for your continuing support of our farm. We are having a great time here, and encourage you to stop by any M, W, F am and stay for lunch.