February 8, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

We are really having some winter. How wonderful that is, and it seems it will be with us for at least another week. Normalcy is something that we have all come to crave over the past year, and this one aspect of a snowy winter is very grounding, and very beautiful. As Clare, Stu and Ram and I worked through the gently falling snow today, having to dig around to find out the boundaries of last week’s cardboard and leaf expeditions, it almost felt like that proverbial old fashioned winter. Today we emptied out our entire cardboard supply and 5 totes of leaves that we had carefully collected back in October, with a few antics along the way. Now on to the pond field where we will similarly cover another strip of land about 100 feet by 20 feet.

Ram and Stu jumping on the leaf tote (top), Clare banging the leaves with her tractor bucket (left) , the section of leaves that we accomplished today (right).

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
Memberships in the 2021 CSA continue to come in and we so appreciate the early subscribers. We still have many slots left. Consider signing up this week – https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

5 Risky Decisions Workshop Wrap up
There were about 27 folks who attended our 5 Risky Decisions workshop last Saturday. Ari saved the tech day and Maya and Ari took care of continuing tech issues during the workshop, for which we are continuously grateful. The split in person and zoom format seemed to work seamlessly, and the pot luckers stayed around for another 2 hours – great fun for all. You can catch it here:

Next MHSC Workshop February 27 10-12 (followed by a Potluck)
Organic Fruit Tree Production
At MHOF we have about 100 fruit trees with some of them as old as 40 years. They are managed in a certifiably organic fashion and both orchards are grazed at least once per year by our turkeys or chickens.

Jack will cover the biology of grafted fruit seedlings (including selecting root stock and variety), requirements for properly siting the orchard (including spacing the trees and digging and protecting adequate planting holes), the tools and equipment you will need, and managing the growing trees for shape, health, and light penetration as well as fruit size, quality and quantity.

In the section on fertility, Julie will discuss mulching, with cardboard and chips, dry fertility according to soil tests, foliar feeding throughout the growing season and the use of sap tests to determine in the moment nutrient deficiencies. We will also discuss care under the trees including grazing of animals, mowing, use of comfrey and undersowing of perennial pollinator plants.

In this portion of the workshop led by Clare we’ll take a walk through the orchards at Many Hands to look at the spacing of trees and work on pruning an apple and a peach tree together. We will cover identifying dead wood, making cuts for good airflow and sunlight throughout the whole tree to maximize photosynthesis, and talk about overall shaping of the tree.

Register for the workshop in-person or on Zoom by clicking here!

Products available now

  • 3 lbs. of fresh mustard – it is spicy! – $10/lb. first come, first served. We will pick it on Monday, February 15 if it is sunny enough that day.
  • And 3 lbs. of fresh spinach – also at $10/lb.  
  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart – sold out until December
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Beef Stock made from Chase Hill Farm beef bones – $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

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
We love it when it arrives flattened without any tape. Remember, we can only use brown cardboard with no shiny coatings.

Rob at Wholesome Farmer’s Market helping me pack up the day’s cardboard

Not too Late to Sign Up for the Soil & Nutrition Conference!
Hosted by the Bionutrient Food Association, the Soil & Nutrition Conference is one of the pre-eminent gatherings to explore the interconnectedness of fertile soils, thriving plants, and the health of humans and the planet.  Their 10th anniversary conference will be virtual with weekly sessions every Thursday from 3-4:30pm ET from February to September.  All sessions will be recorded and quickly made available to participants if they miss a session, or just want to play it again.

Not only is it a fantastic conference, but you can support MHOF when you attend!  We have partnered with the Soil & Nutrition Conference so that when you register — and enter code “MANYHANDS” — they will give us $25 of your registration fee!  You could call it a kick-back, but we like to think of it as mycelial culture in action.  Cooperation – the first principle of how Mother Earth works!

The Soil & Nutrition Conference brings together an amazing roster of 30+ speakers sharing their research, insights, knowledge, and wisdom alongside a vibrant community energy coalescing around a conscious and regenerative food and agriculture movement.  Don’t miss out on this vital conversation about the future of food, farming, and the planet!

Learn more and register today at https://soilandnutrition.org/.

Spiritual tip for the week
From the listserv Brain Pickings – Confucius on the 6 steps to good government and happiness

Health tip of the week
Ellen Kittredge, January 31, 2021

These are the foods I’d like to highly recommend you keep in your diet on a regular basis to continue to feed the liver what it needs to do all that it does for you! If your body is not detoxing adequately, you are likely not realizing the level of health you can realize. The liver is your key organ of detox. Let’s keep loving it up!

This information comes from the Medical Medium.

Apples provide an active living water that hydrates the liver and supports the liver’s ability to hydrate your body. Apples also starve bacteria, yeast and mold out of the intestinal tract and liver. In doing so they keep sludge out of the gallbladder. Apples can also dissolve gallstones. Eat one to three apples a day (or more) if you can.

Artichokes contain phytochemical compounds that inhibit the development of tumors and cysts in the liver. Artichokes also contain many chemical functions that help the liver neutralize toxins before they get to the brain or heart. They help the liver screen and filter your blood.

Asparagus is high in flavonoids and powerful anti-inflammatory compounds—they’re like a natural aspirin. They also expel and dislodge fat cells and other poisons. Asparagus cleanses, detoxifies and soothes the liver.

Bananas are antibacterial, anti-yeast, antifungal foods. The fructose in bananas provides a quick fuel for the liver—it’s one of the organ’s favorite food sources. Bananas also sooth the lining of the intestinal tract.

Berries are a rich medicine chest for the liver. Your liver contains a type of cell known as Kupffer cells, and wild blueberries especially contain the kinds of antioxidants those kuppfer cells need. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all powerful healing foods for your liver.

Brussels sprouts are an ultimate liver cleansing food. You can eat them raw, steam them or even juice them. Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables have a special sulfur that expels poisons and pathogens from your liver.

Celery contains cluster salts that protect liver cell membranes.

Cilantro binds onto heavy metals so you can safely eliminate them from your liver and body. Cilantro also contains phytochemical compounds that cling to other troublemakers, such as neurotoxins and dermatoxins, which end up in our livers. Cilantro is another liver cleanser.

Cranberries do many jobs for the liver. They cleanse the deep parts of the liver. The harsh fruit acid in cranberries kills pathogens. They also have a tremendous amount of vitamin C that steps the oxidation of cells.

Cucumbers are an ally for the liver. They provide a hydrating liver water just like apples. Cucumbers also cleanse the liver.

Dandelion greens trigger a squeezing action in the liver that helps it release toxins.

Lemons and limes improve hydrochloric acid (HCL) production in the stomach. They also cleanse fatty livers and help dissolve gallstones.

Melons are an incredibly powerful cleansing food that also have the ability to hydrate the liver. It’s ideal to have melons early in the day and not after eating something heavy.

Peaches remove old deep-seated poisons, debris and putrefied food in your small intestinal tract, which helps your liver get better.

Oranges and tangerines provide a wealth of calcium and vitamin C that the liver can use since it’s combined with the glucose in the fruit.

Pitaya, which is also called dragon fruit is a liver rejuvenator. It cleanses poisons from the organ. You can often find this red-fleshed food in the freezer department.

Raw honey contains a combination of the sugars that the liver needs along with the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that restore the liver.

Spinach has mineral salts and nutrients that help the liver. It also helps the liver receive vitamin B12 better.

Tomatoes harness critical phytochemicals, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that support the liver. The fruit acid in a tomato also helps the gallbladder eliminate some of the sludge that can sit in the bottom of the gallbladder. They also dissolve gallstones.

Wild blueberries have pigments that reverse damage to the liver.

Content Feedback Desired:
As you may have noticed, we have been working hard to create interesting and educational content for you recently! We would love to hear what you think – what is your favorite part of the newsletter and our social media, and what would you like to see more of? Reply to this email or send an email to julie@mhof.net with your thoughts. Thanks!


Weekly Staff Spotlight:

Since leaving Kentucky to go to college in Vermont, Clare Caldwell has been interested in sourcing local food. This passion was reenergized after returning from France where she was first introduced to farming through WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunites on Organic Farms). Although originally she wanted to teach English to ESL students, after working outside in France, it became clear that working in a classroom wasn’t for her.  Clare says that beyond just organic food, she was focused on quality and the nutrition value in food. Since then, Clare says that her interest has grown “more and more on human health, my own health and staying healthy during pregnancies and feeding young kids.” Now well into a farming career (spending the last 13 years at Many Hands) Clare is constantly thinking about what more there is to learn. Currently, she is thinking about how to improve production inside the hoop houses and planning for a significantly larger CSA this coming season.

The community element of farming and growing food is a primary motivator for Clare. She commented that something she loves about working at Many Hands is the daily ritual of meal prep, food preservation, and eating together around one table. “It’s pretty unique— I don’t think there are many places like it,” she says. She wants to pass this on by encouraging customers to cook and preserve their own food to eat throughout the winter. She always enjoys working with volunteers and the working shareholders and finds that Many Hands is more than a place of work— it’s a community.

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