Had We Known in 2015 What We Know Now…

January 18, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

This week has had a definite “silage tarp” focus. Over Thursday and Friday we successfully covered about 34,000 square feet with silage tarps, in some cases first putting down a preparatory spray of molasses, microbial stimulants and fish, and in others, putting down cardboard before the tarps. Of our 3-4 acres we targeted areas that are presently sod (we are expanding again in 2021 (first heavily dosed with basalt rock dust), or have had a lot of grass grow back in already cultivated areas. The plan is that leaving those tarps on for the next 3 or so months will slowly and gently prepare the soil for planting obviating the need to use any “steel” to prepare the soil. Although we are still doing some cardboard and hay on irascible vegetable areas, Clare and I hearkened back to 2015 when it took us three solid months of work to cover ½ acre with said cardboard and hay. The learning curve on how to do the most effective and efficient and fertile no till system is still a steep one.

First On Farm Workshop for 2021 – January 30 – 10:30 am
The Five Risky Decisions that Defined our Lives
This is the first of our free monthly series of wide ranging and educational workshops that we will be holding at our farm. This first workshop will help you get to know Jack and Julie and our journey over the past 40 years. We feel we have a rather unique lifestyle that has allowed us to live our lives and raise our 4 children relatively unfettered by socially accepted norms.
These workshops are free, and you can come in person (and stay for a pot luck lunch at noon) or join us via zoom.

Register here – bit.ly/MHSCWorkshop1

Download this poster and get it around to friends – https://mhof.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Many-Hands-sustainability-Center-3.pdf

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
The shares keep rolling in and so far (along with swift egg sales)  we have been able to keep up with payroll, annual farm insurance, monthly payroll taxes, seed purchases, etc. We truly appreciate those of you who early sign on the dotted line.
https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

A dream come true
We had been selling produce and eggs to the Living Earth in Worcester since 1985 until they closed their doors at the end of 2019. One of the people who I so appreciated for the past 15 years of our relationship at Living Earth was Rob White, the produce manager. I walked into the Wholesome Farmers Market in Barre last spring and felt a huge difference in the air in this small former IGA. 2 weeks later Rob called to let me know that he had been hired to become the produce manager. For anyone who has been shopping there for many years, or for perhaps just a few months, you will be surprised at how much produce there is and how attractively it is presented. And how bustling and friendly and vibrant the whole store has become. Rob, with a straight face said. “That’s because of me. Whenever someone comes within 10 feet of me in the store I say hi and thank them for coming and ask what their produce needs are.” Rob met with Clare and Jack and me this past week and we put together a long list of produce that we will sell to them, at organic prices, come spring and summer. Pretty soon this store is going to rival or exceed most stores in Central Mass for quality and quantity of organic and local produce. It is so good to be back working with Rob.

Health Tip this week
I am back hyping Graeme Sait again, ag consultant from Australia. His most recent podcast – Grame Sait – 5 Profit building tips  . . .  – https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming/episodes/Five-Profit-Building-Tips—Boost-Your-Productivity-and-Sustainability-eolrr7
He has a very thorough list of recommendations for protecting against Covid, building your immune system generally and working with Covid should you be unlucky enough to get it. An important listen with recommendations for vitamin, D, A, C, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and more.

Ag Tip this week
Don’t miss the Bionutrient Food Association’s Soil and Nutrition Conference, starting February 4th and running every Thursday at 3 through September. Son Dan is the ED of this organization that puts on a top notch conference which focuses on soil health and human health (do you see a family theme developing here? 🙂) You can sign up here – https://soilandnutrition.org/. Some of my favorite teachers and mentors are always featured at this conference.

We have also started a YouTube channel for the farm! You can expect longer videos than our social media accounts. We hope that this can serve as a resource for other farmers and homesteaders. Click the image below to watch out first video, Making Lard on our Wood Cook Stove.


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
  • Canned (jarred) tomatoes) – $6/1 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

Pray for Ann Please
Ann Harris, one of our most memorable and remarkable working shareholders, is in the hospital with kidney issues. She is challenging her doctors to help her find natural solutions to her ailments and keeping the doctors and nurses variably in stitches and on their toes. She can use a little boost from all of us to get better and get out and get back to her work of supporting her very large community of friends and family in their evolution as healthy human beings. Thanks for whatever energy you can offer.

NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
Just two more weeks to order your supplies. Don’t tarry. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
We blew through all of our cardboard supply last week and this week will be focusing on covering some areas that the tarps couldn’t quite reach. We so appreciate your offerings.

Julie