Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Life is like a pile of kittens . . .because despite having follow them around to clean up any bodily indiscretions, they provide complete entertainment all day long. From arm to arm combat with one another, to racing back and forth just to  jump one another, to sleeping in my top desk drawer (they like to enter from the back of the desk), to stopping for a quick cuddle, these little beings give a good example of how joyful human existence and family and community can be. Sorry, they are all called for!

First On Farm Workshop for 2021 – January 30 – 10:30 am
The Five Risky Decisions that Defined our Lives
We spent all day Friday trying to make our old old Mac Pro accept zoom, then all night moving my desktop computer out to the kitchen, only to find that in the transfer the sound no longer worked. This is being written prior to the workshop. We are holding out for Ari and Maya to show up and help us with our tech needs. 24 signed up, and I will report back next week. We may use some of the generous contributions to the MHSC to upgrade our tech infrastructure for the next workshop. (Don’t worry, all went without a hitch! – Ari)

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
Ari has sent out the special invite to all of you past shareholders to rejoin for this year. We hope you choose us again this year. Clare and I spent the better part of Friday morning doing my most favorite task of the year – laying plans for what and how much we will be putting where on our farm in 2021. We have a new bed for annual medicinals, have added another large perennial medicinal bed, more rhubarb and asparagus, and a spot for scozonera (look that one up!). Here is the link – https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Some time off this week
We barely pass 2 weeks here without a birthday, but there was a big one this week. Jack turned 77 and was feted by sons Dan and Chuk and daughter-in-law, Cathleen.

Immigrant Farmer Fellowship – Please Pass Along!
Many Hands Organic Farm is seeking to hire a full-time farm staff member as a part of our Immigrant Farmer Fellowship. This position is perfect for those interested in farming as a profession and may not otherwise have an opportunity to learn skills on a working organic farm. Responsibilities include caring for crops, harvesting for a 175 person CSA, caring for farm animals, and operating some farm machinery (including a tractor and sprayer). No prior experience necessary, but a desire to learn is a must. Applicants should be punctual, willing to work in inclement weather, able to lift at least 50 pounds, and able to arrange transportation to Barre, MA. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, criminal history, disability, gender identity or Veteran status. Compensation is $15/hour and includes a weekly CSA share June – November.

Hours:
March-May: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 3:00pm;
May through summer: Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 3:00pm
Descending hours in late fall

Contact Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge at [email protected], or call us at 978-355-2853 to set up an interview.

Learn About Organic Seed Starting on MHOF’s YouTube!
The second installment on our YouTube channel is up. Click the image below to learn about organic seed starting, including information on potting soil and the recipe for the transplant drench that we use. The beets planted in the video will be transplanted into hoop houses in a few weeks when they’re ready.

Ag Tip this week – don’t forget to sign up for the Soil and Nutrition Conference
Go to the Soil and Nutrition Conference https://soilandnutrition.org/ web page and choose to register,  you can input “manyhands” into the partner code field at the bottom of the registration form.  You will get a confirmation note, and they will log it in the database for $25 to be shared with us at Many Hands Sustainability Center. For the next 8 months on Thursday afternoons from 3-4:30 you can tune in to some of the most creative thinkers from around the world on the topic of soil and human nutrition.

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 [email protected]

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Many thanks to AJ and Natalia who helped Clare and me strip tape off of cardboard and then lay it and cover it with snow while we waited for Clare to bring us leaves, which were frozen in their bag. After several stunts we were able to get them out of the bag and onto the cardboard – all in the frigid Thursday temperatures. We still have several hundred square feet to cover, so keep that cardboard coming.

Julie

Weekly Staff Spotlight

Jack Kittredge has always been interested in a self-sustaining lifestyle. In 1982, he and Julie made the decision to move the family out to the country to raise their kids in connection to the land and grow their own food. Jack believes it is best if: “people raise their own food, raise their kids that way and live closer to nature.” While Jack was never a strong proponent of running a commercial farm and selling raw crops in New England, he was determined to support Julie’s passion and contributed his skills of budget management and machine repair, and labor in construction. Jack was the editor of the NOFA newspaper, The Natural Farmer, from 1987 through 2020, was the policy director of the Massachusetts chapter of NOFA for 28 years, and intermittently continued working with his partners from the 1970s designing board games. He feels fortunate to have been able to develop such opportunities for work at home to support the homestead’s success.

In Jack’s ideal world, more people would be able to pursue a lifestyle such as his and Julie’s. Many people have expressed that desire over the years, he says, but feel that is not possible for them. He thinks it can be done by many more, however. He says, “I think we’re vastly under farmed in terms of the people involved in farming. We need more hands-on people and less machines, diesel fuel, and chemicals.” Jack continues to be constantly aware of environmental impacts and has written a number of papers and articles about carbon sequestration and how it relates to soil building.

Check out the latest photos from the farm on our Instagram!