Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,
Happy New Year! I received this from daughter Ellen – the best explosion of “flowerworks” that I have ever seen. https://www.facebook.com/ellen.kittredge/videos/10225226741439664
Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
Thanks to the two shareholders who signed up last week. We made budget for 2020! Hooray. We will be adding about 10,000 square feet of growing space this year so we can raise more amazing produce. A lot of last week was spent spreading the remainder of our basalt rock dust on these two areas, along with some Kansas grey salt which comes from underground mines from ancient sea beds estimated to be around 240 million years old. As I understand it, Kansas was covered by an ocean a mile deep at that time. Next week we will be spraying the areas with a mix of minerals and molasses and biology and then covering them with black silage tarps to do some “cooking” for a few months. We will remove the tarps around May 1 or so and hopefully have a very receptive planting area.
We came in with a $131,000 break even budget vs. actuals for 2020. Our budget as of January 1, 2020 was $91,000, but then along came Covid and we realized that we could raise a lot more food, and there were a lot of folks out there wanting it. We will be expanding our budget to $170,000 for 2021 with increased production planned for meat birds, turkeys, pigs and produce. We will expand the CSA to around 175 members (70 in 2019 and 150 in 2020).
For CSA members we offer egg shares for the 27 weeks of the season. But once it is over we have a lot of eggs for sale. Keeping sales happening between December 1 and June 1 can be tricky. Luckily we have picked up a couple of accounts here and there, and many of you have started making weekly, bi-weekly or monthly trips to the farm for eggs. We can still take some more regular customers for pick up at the farm. They are $8/dozen and you can arrange pickup by calling – 978-355-2853 or emailing to Julie@mhof.net. These chickens are completely free range this time of year (once I let them out of the house in the am). This past week they dined on their certified organic grain from Green Mountain feeds, oyster shell, cracklings from lard production, some rotten beets, and left over feet from turkey stock production, along with whatever they find in the fields still growing. They have a wonderfully diverse diet, even in winter.
Products available now
- Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
- Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
- Lard – $20/quart
- Pork stock – $7.50/quart
- Eggs – $8/dozen
- Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
- Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
- Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
- Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
- Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
- Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
- Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
- Frozen applesauce – $6/quart
Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net
Accomplishments on the farm this week
Mostly we broke our backs spreading rock dust that had gotten wet and gummy, but were also happy to get 1 ½ grape trellises weeded, blackberries removed, cardboarded and wood chipped. Anthony spends afternoons bringing in wood and Clare is ordering seeds right now. I spend most afternoons on finances and customer management.
Rock dust spreading (left) and mulched grape trellis (right)
NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
Every spring folks gather to organize and pick up the bulk order at our farm – March 9 this year. You can get in on this bulk buying of fertility products, cover crops, tubers, onion sets and farm/garden supplies from now through the end of January. And don’t forget to come help us unload trucks, eat, talk about all of our amazing agricultural plans for 2021 and generally chew the fat. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/
Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Thanks for the overwhelming response to requests for cardboard. Folks have been bringing it from all over the state, and a special shout out to Higgins Energy Alternatives, and the Harvest Coop, who make their dumpsters available to us.
We are especially looking for brown cardboard right now, hopefully with no staples or tape on it, though we can remove that if you can’t. We don’t want the shiny cardboard that has been plasticized, as it is harder for the microbes to break that down. 5 fruit trees mulched and 95 to go. And we are also doing a massive mulching job on our grapes and blueberries – both necessitating cardboard and chips. Why cardboard? It smothers unwanted grass and also seems to be a most favorite food of earthworms – which provide some of the best livestock manure around (along with soil aeration).
Jack collecting cardboard
Quote for the week
“Nature is more collaborative than she is competitive” – Ray Archuleta
My favorite ag podcast this week – Ray Archuleta with John Kempf – Collaboration, Sprit and Change
Also from Archuleta, this thoughtful post about context – https://soilhealthacademy.org/blog/soil-health-principles-with-context/
Favorite Health YouTube for the week – Ben Warren
Gut Health – Ben Warren top 10 tips for a healthy gut – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRdEEC4i_3w
Some Resources on Covid-19
These links have been provided to me by our daughter Ellen who is a nutrition coach in her professional life. Interesting reads and listens –
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971220307323 – Covid-19 hyperinflammation and post-Covid-19 illness may be rooted in mast cell activation syndrome
Existing antihistamine drugs show effectiveness against COVID-19 virus in cell testing
Dr. Tina Peers, lays out the specific nutrients she’d recommend that help to stabilize mast cells and calm down the overly reactive immune system for symptom relief.
Upcoming Events where Jack and Julie will be presenting
Ari has nicely built out our Many Hands Sustainability Center website after it lay dormant for a while. On this page you can keep up with opportunities where Jack and or Julie will be speaking
- NOFA Winter Conference 2021: Root Cellaring And More – Preserving Food For The Entire Year – January 9
- Real Organic Project Virtual Symposium – Julie is on January 10 and 17
- Connecticut + Rhode Island NOFA Workshop: Building Soil Carbon for our Gardens/Farms, Health, and World – March 6 or 13