CSA Week 16, September 16-20

Dear friends,

It is starting to feel like fall now, if only at the ends of the day. This is the time of year where I don my shoes for short periods of time, but still shed them with relief once it gets a bit warmer in the morning. I think one of the big reasons I am a farmer has to do with walking barefoot on the farm. There is a lot of interesting research around the topic of earthing that suggests that we are truly fed by contact with the real world. See this from Dr. Mercola – https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/04/why-does-walking-barefoot-on-the-earth-make-you-feel-better.aspx. Anyway, I cherish these last days where going barefoot is still possible. And of course bare hands in the soil will still go on for another 2-3 months, and that works too.

The pear saga – I promised you pears two weeks ago, but didn’t deliver. We had a huge wasps nest in our Moonglow pear tree, and when we started harvesting, they let us know that they felt these pears were just for them. First Dan, Sammy and Doodle ran out with some rocks and knocked the nest partially out. Then Mario donned Clare’s bee suit and went and cut down the nest. That helped, but there was still a little part of the nest in the tree. Brent then came in to mow around the tree, because that particular area of the tree had become connected to the ground via some pesky bind wind that grew up into the tree. Brent left in a hurry, leaving with a nice sting in the face, and the tractor under the tree attached to the mower. Dan came back and moved the tractor at night and then the next day took the last piece of the nest out. We thought we were all set, so the Stetson volunteers and I went out last Monday to pick up pears.    With 4 more stings between us, we made our harvest and left. On Wednesday we noticed that 30 or so wasps where still hanging around the branch. I suited up next and brought a saw out to cut off the branch. I went up into the tree with my suit on and shook it and then collected the pears. The wasps helped me, and I sang to them to keep my nerve – it is very anxiety producing to have these big white faced wasps flying at your face, even if they can’t get through the screen of the hat and actually sting you. Then I got the hand mower and mowed all around the tree, got rid of all of the bind weed and left. That was last Wednesday and we collected enough to take care of Wednesday and Friday. I walked out there today and I think they have moved out completely! Whew. So, enjoy those pears! A lot of people went through a lot of pain to get them.

Dealing with pears – when we harvest them they are not completely ripe. Leave them on the counter for 1 – 3 days. Test them with your teeth. If they sink in, voila, enjoy. They do change to a color that is a little less green when they are ready, so that is a good way to test them too. Don’t wait too long because if you do, they become mealy and lose quality. If you did wait too long, cut them up and cook them down with a little bit of water and enjoy them as pear sauce. Pears are really good for your gall bladder and your liver – very cleansing. And I hope to have some for you over the next several weeks. We have 3 trees that are in the process of ripening right now.

Our skeleton crew of Brent and Clare and I are keeping up with the farm work pretty well. We hope to have the last of our transplants in the ground by week’s end. We have a lot of weeding in our late carrots, Asians and lettuce, and try to get a bit of that in each day. This week is potato harvest week, which will take a few hours. The last of the winter squash will need to be harvested also, ahead of the rodents (true for the potatoes too). Our perennials too need lots of work – weeding and mulching – keeping the bind weed and Bishops weed and comfrey from taking over; this will be more a project for October.

Jack and I will be at the Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange on September 30 doing a workshop on our farm practices. It is a great event to enjoy if you have not yet attended.

Food Preservation

            I hope that you are doing some! This week we have available for larger purchases for preservation for the winter, the following items –

  • Kale at $2.50/lb.

           Food this week 

  • CSA

o   Summer Squash for Monday (didn’t get any last week) but not on Wednesday or Friday

o   Cukes – are gone – we replanted the hoop house where many of them resided and the others finally died, after our most successful year yet

o   Brussels sprouts tops – we are still in the process of cutting the tops off of these plants so that we will have big and beautiful sprouts in late October or November

o   Kale

o   chard

o   leeks

o   Lettuce

o   Pears

o   Tomatillos (husk cherries)– just pop them out of the husk and eat straight – I really enjoy picking these little lanterns – amazing how nature packages her best delicacies

o   Tomatoes – some left in the field and some nice ones in the hoop houses – but of limited quantity

o   Peppers

o   Potatoes – yes we will dig those starting this week

o   Beans – not sure how many this week – maybe just for larges

o   Peppermint

o   thyme

Now is a good time to sign up for the fall share

It runs the 4 Mondays in November and you can pick up here in Barre or at Living Earth or at Teresa Wolcott’s at 51 Boyden Road in Holden. The share costs $120 with an $8 delivery fee for the out of towners. More of the good stuff for another month. You can sign up here – https://mhof.net/2018-csa-share-options/

From the members

 Hi Julie,

Tomatillos- Something else I’ve never heard of or seen before lol . . my 2 yr old granddaughter Noelle loved them, especially after I showed her how to open them herself.   She proceeded to eat the whole container.  Unfortunately I had quite the gross diaper to clean & put her in the tub!

The life of a MiMi 

Thanks again for providing delicious healthy produce, I rave about you all the time!

Susan Haines

We can use your recycled plastic grocer y size bags

Yes, just leave them in your share bag – don’t forget to return it this week, and we will use them for packing vegetables. We can reuse the rubber bands too!

 Still taking members for the summer share

Every week the price will go down each week (by $30 for larges and $20 for mediums), and it will be updated on the website – https://mhof.net/2018-csa-share-options/     

 Other things for sale at MHOF right now

Frozen whole chickens – $6.50/lb.

Pork roasts – $9.50/lb.

Hot dogs – $12/lb.

Bacon – $14.25/lb.

Ground beef, stew beef and short ribs – $10/lb.

Rib eye steak and strip steak – $13/lb.

Brisket and chuck roast – $11/lb.

Sirloin steak – $15/lb.

Tenderloin steaks – $20/lb.

Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz. jar

Peppermint and lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar

Garlic powder – $9.50 for 1.9 ounce

Lard frozen – $20/quart

Frozen peaches – $12/2 lb. bag

Chicken and pork stock frozen – $7.50/quart

Thanksgiving turkeys – $5.50/lb. – for preorder

Check out our Facebook at this address https://www.facebook.com/manyhandsorganicfarm… You can like us, refer us and also write a review if you enjoy what you are receiving. That all helps get the word out for our farm. Thanks for what many of you have already done to help us get the word out.

We are also on Instagram at Many Hands Organic Farm. Clare and Lisa post pictures there all of the time.

It may be awhile before you hear from me again. I hope all is well for you in this time of transition.