Our friend Bryan O’Hara says this upcoming week is the coldest of the winter

January 11, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

It has been a fun week. We were able to finish up making the lard for the year and also used up all of our cabbages that were laying around to make sauerkraut. During the winter particularly, lacto-fermented foods are super beneficial for our health. Watch this video of Stu operating the cabbage board.

Click the image above to watch Stu operating the cabbage board on Instagram!

We finally finished weeding one of our hoop houses and almost all of another. 3 more houses to go. Soon we will be starting a few things in our attached greenhouse for transplanting into the hoop houses by mid-February. We only mulched 3 fruit trees this week as our tractor went down temporarily. Clare got our first rash of seeds ordered, and Jack and I finished the budget for 2021. Pigs (12), layers (110), meat chickens (300) and turkeys (150) were all ordered and slaughter dates set. We have finished up our Microsoft word trifold and have those available for you to take a few if you would like. Or I can email the file to you for printing out. Cathleen ordered a few hundred mushroom plugs for oyster and shiitake mushrooms to enlarge our mushroom holdings in 2021. She and our son Chuk are quite adroit at mushroom production and will be sharing equipment and expertise to help us move to the next level with mushrooms.

Tractor temporarily down

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
We have 16 shareholders signed up already! Thanks to those who are taking care of this early. Only 160 to go. We have decided to up our numbers again in 2021. Clare is expending a lot of energy making plans for the first more difficult month of the CSA where we have to straddle hoop house production and out door production when it is still reliably cold through April and May. The summer CSA starts a week early this year, by the way – May 24.

It is not too late to sign up for fall also. This will be a 5 week CSA this year and the cost will be $150 – One size fits all.

Products available now – We had a swift business with you all this week. Not only is it helpful for the farm bottom line, it is such a pleasure to see everyone!

  • 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
  • Canned (jarred) tomatoes) – $6/1 quart – newly added to this list

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

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Thanks for the overwhelming response on requests for cardboard. Folks have been bringing it from all over the state.

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. 8 fruit trees mulched and 92 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).

Quote for the week
“If you haven’t discarded a firmly held belief in the past 12 months, check your pulse” – South Africa
This quote was brought to my attention by Christine Jones whose website is Amazing Carbon. https://www.amazingcarbon.com/

My favorite ag You Tube this week –
She is a leader in the regenerative ag world who hammers on the idea of green plants growing as many days of the year as possible in as many places as possible. This week I enjoyed learning from her Biological Pathways to Carbon Rich Soil keynote at the 2020 Soil Health Conference.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4uVKIGBk2s . I keep going back to her talks as she is ever adding more cutting edge information with more understanding of how microbiology works in the soil.

Favorite Health YouTube for the week 

Zach Bush MD: Humanity, Consciousness & COVID19 | Full Video #Podcast 345
Zach Bush is an interesting and very charismatic speaker with a long list of medical degrees who is worth a listen on this challenging topic of Covid 19. Let’s keep the conversation going as we all puzzle through next steps with the virus.

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

  • 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

Many Hands Sustainability Center offerings coming in 2021
Too distracted in recent years by our close to full-time jobs with the Northeast Organic Farming Association, we have given our MHSC educational offerings a bit of short shrift. But we are all retired now, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of fun on farm workshops. We are aiming to hold one per month throughout the year, or thereabouts, on a number of topics. We will have on site and zoom attendance available. There will be no charge, but donations are always welcome to the MHSC, which allow us to hire a person to work on the farm from an unprivileged background. Donate here – https://mhof.net/make-your-end-of-year-contribution-to-mhsc/

Our first workshop this year will be held on Saturday, January 30 from 11-2 with a pot luck lunch at noon. Come with or without a mask, whichever is most comfortable for you. Or sign up to attend as a zoom participant. Details for how to register will be forthcoming next week.

Here is a list of possible future topics for 2021. We are in the process of setting these up. More to come. Please write to us this week with your thoughts on which of these workshops (or others) you would like to attend.

  • Design aspects of the MHOF site of interest – root cellar, attached greenhouse, passive solar house heat, wood cook stove with hot water system attached.
  • Orchard fruit management – including pruning
  • Small fruit management highlighting grape pruning, and pruning for other small fruits
  • Seed starting and management  – in the greenhouse, and the field
  • Practical carbon sequestration for maximum photosynthesis – perhaps in different seasons of the year
  • Pastured chicken, turkey and pork production
  • Food preservation, perhaps at different times of the year
  • Managing a successful CSA
  • Stocks, lard, soap – producing animal products
  • Tinctures, salves, teas and dried herbs
  • Mushrooms
  • Cooking from scratch and with what is at hand

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/