February 2020 MHOF Newsletter

February 2020


Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,


Halfway through winter we are and it is time to let you know about all of the wonderful things that we are growing to eat this year.


CSA https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

29 years in with the CSA we are happy to announce our CSA offerings for 2020. After many years at the same price we are edging up slightly to keep in tune with our improved salary structure for our hardworking staff, the cost of almost everything that goes into the vegetables and fruits – fertility, supplies, seeds, etc. and also, most importantly, the increased quality and quantity of the food we raise.

Large Shares will be $700 this year, Mediums will be $475 and Smalls, a new offering for the modest eaters, will be $350. Pick up locations and times are on the website along with pricing for delivered food. Some of our locations or days are not yet sorted out, but rest assured that long before the first of June we will have all of this sorted out. Newly in – we have a Worcester site – The Elan Vital Medical Center at 21 West Street. Food will be on the back deck. Thanks to Karen Way and Abbas Qutab for letting us use their space. And while you are there, you might want to set up an appointment with either of them. They are great health care providers. That will be a Wednesday pick up.

Want to get a delivery to a location closer to you? We can talk about how many shareholders we need to make that happen.

SNAP customers are very welcome to join the CSA. Ask.


I was talking to one of our turkey customers the other day, and he said, “That was the best turkey I have ever eaten.” Similar things are said about our pork and chicken. We have some pork cuts left in the freezer, and one turkey, but now is a good time to place pre-orders for 2020. Slaughter for meat chickens (presently sold out from 2019) will be August 30. Old layers will follow in mid to late October, pigs in mid-November and then turkeys on Thanksgiving week. You just can’t beat the meat we raise with certified organic grain, woods for the pigs, and pasture for the turkeys and chickens, all of which gets more nutritious every year. We have stocking rates all figured out, and Franny and Dingo have already signed on to be our pasture watchdogs for the entire poultry season.


Products on hand – email or call

  • Frozen Lard – your best source of Vitamin D and a great cooking fat with its higher combustion temperature than most fats – $20/quart and we will ship.
  • Frozen Pork stock – limited supply – $7.50/quart
  • Frozen Applesauce – this is so tasty – $6/quart
  • Frozen peaches – $12 for a 2 lb. bag
  • Hemp salve – Jack loves this for his aches and pains – $10/2 ounces – we will ship
  • Comfrey salve – my go to salve for all sorts of hurts and abrasions – $8/2 ounces – we will ship
  • Peppermint and lavender soap – $6/bar made from our own lard and tallow – we will ship


Working Shareholders sought – https://mhof.net/about-us/

This is such a deal for you and for us. Come at 6:30 for breakfast on your appointed day (M, W, or F) or from 8-12, with lunch regardless. Running through the CSA 26 weeks you will receive a large share in return for your efforts. Learn how to farm, have a great time, get lots of exercise, and make some new friends. We are looking for a total of 12 working shareholders. There may be an opportunity to pay for your gas with a delivery job for the CSA on your way home. You can start earlier than June 1 for a bag of frozen peaches, quart of applesauce or stock, or something else we have in abundance.


Circle of Song starts Thursdayhttp://circleofsong.net/music/index.php

We sing in four part harmony an array of wonderful music. This spring we will be doing Copland, Rutter, Barber, Walker, The Amidon and Mark Hayes in a “Copland and other Notable American Composers Concert” in mid-May. Contact me if you would like to consider joining. We meet at our house on Thursdays 7-8:30.

Looking for one more full-timer this year on the farm  . . .

to join Clare, Mario, Marj, Jack Dan and me plus an array of working shareholders and itinerants. Pay is commensurate with experience and hustle. All of the hundreds of things we do on the farm from raising animals, vegetables, fruits, tending hoop houses, cutting and stacking wood, preserving food, managing visiting groups,  marketing,  mowing, hay making, etc. are part of the job. Apply with a resume and a phone call.


What do farmers do in the winter, anyway?

This year we are building our firewood supply, cleaning up all sorts of junk, re-organizing all of our tools and stuff, pruning fruit trees, weeding greens in the hoop house, mulching fruit trees, ordering seeds, animals and supplies, working on the website and our extensive marketing profile, putting together our planting and fertility schedules and applying for organic certification, and doing all sorts of fun talks to Northeastern, NOFA Mass, CT and NH, and UMass so far.

What will be new on the farm this year?

Not a whole lot – mostly continue to enhance fertility – we are working in year 2 with our consultant at Advancing Eco Agriculture, we have added two more hoop houses – now 5 – for winter greens and summer goodness – melons, tomatoes, eggplant, looking forward to our first full year with our ripper to help us with bed prep, stockpiling lots of hay for mulching and putting together an intricate plan for cover crop usage throughout the season. Our foliar feeding protocol for this year will almost require a spreadsheet. We are focusing on improving our blueberries, tomatoes, apples, and finally coming to terms with slugs – hopefully encouraging them to go somewhere else. Our organic matter jumped at least 1% point in all of our fields in 2019 over 2018 and the food only gets that much more fantastic. We upped our meat birds to 250 and added another pig for 6 total. We hope to raise 2 steers again, but they won’t be ready for your freezer  until late 2021.


Enjoy the rest of winter. It will speed by. But don’t tarry on joining the CSA. We can use some cash right now as this is an expensive time of year! Julie