Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

We spent a fair amount of time this week cleaning up from the 4 days of somewhat brutal wind gusts last week. With 11 of our thirteen tarps we further battoned the hatches with more black bags each with more sand in them. The eventual goal is to slowly kill the green growth under the tarps to ready the land underneath for eventual no till planting, hopefully by mid May – late June. It has been a learning opportunity for us on how to use silage tarps. On Friday we decided to use our ripper on the soddy parts of the land that we are recovering. Clare ripped while Anthony followed up with a spray of soil digestants to help the microbes break down the tough grass roots.

And we have made significant progress on mulching our fruit trees with about 60 completed (the home orchard) by week’s end.

Friday we started 30 more seedling trays and moved the whole onion and leek family out to the unheated hoophouse and then covered them with floating row covers. The house greenhouse is back up to full capacity.

And the chickens, now that the snow is melted, are doing their usual pothole production performance in the blueberry patch and under the grape arbor. It looks like it is time to get them into their outside movable housing 24/7. Yes, spring has sprung, and as of April 1 we will go to 5 days per week.

Well behaved tarp with lots of sand on it! (top), Leeks and onions heading out into the big world (ed. Note: today we have three functioning vehicles, all with stickers, after a 18 month truck hiatus!) (bottom left), Parsley get extra attention to speed germination – soaking overnight with biocoat gold and then a little drying off on a plate before seeding (bottom right)

Organic Small Fruit Production
Our third on farm workshop for the year was as enjoyable as the first two. These workshops, beside causing Clare and Jack and me to be on our toes, also provide us with the wisdom of our participants as we all puzzle together how to be the most effective farmers possible.

Participants learn to prune grapes at the Small Fruit Workshop

Mushroom Plugging Workshop
Tis the season for creating new life, including mushrooms! On April 10, join the cast and crew at Many Hands Organic Farm for 2 hours of hands on learning. We’ll be hefting logs, plugging them with shitake spawn, and sealing the plugs over with cheese wax. When we’re done with that we’ll start our first ever oyster totems, using poplar logs. Potluck lunch to follow, questions encouraged, camaraderie required.

The workshop will be on April 10th from 10:00 to noon, at the farm. We will be primarily outside (depending on weather) and there will be no zoom option (but we will upload a recording of the workshop afterwards!). This workshop will be primarily run by our local mushroom expert Cathleen O’Keefe.

Register here: http://bit.ly/MHSCMushroom

Can you help with CSA outreach?
We brought in $2600 for the summer CSA this week.  Thanks to the 6 folks who took the plunge!
The farm staff sat down after lunch on Wednesday and came up with some outreach options that we would like to engage you in.

  • If you are a member and enjoy our food, can you get another new member to join?
    • Facebook and Instagram posts are great and here are some that Maya put together for you to share with your friends and neighbors. Click here to share the post on Facebook & Instagram.
    • We have flyers and posters that we can send you (or a link for you to reproduce them). We would love if you could pass them out to neighbors or post them at your favorite coffee shop. Ask here – [email protected]
    • Churches and civic groups that you may be a member of – use Maya’s Facebook post to share with your email lists, or inquire are we can send you a digital farm catalogue to share.
    • The best option – word of mouth. How was your life changed for the better when you started eating our good food? We so appreciate all of the customers that other customers have sent our way, so thank you so much!

And if you haven’t yet for 2021, sign up here – https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Products available now at the farm

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • 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 [email protected]

When can I start ordering meat?
Right now, as a matter of fact. For new folks, we pre-order all of our meat and it usually sells out long before slaughter. Chickens were gone by June last year, pork by August and turkeys by November 1. So, don’t tarry if you would like to order. Here is the page link where you can read up on what we have to offer. – https://mhof.net/organic-meat/

Cardboard update
Stu is off on vacation and can’t get us a bale of cardboard for a couple of weeks, so feel free to keep it flowing. 40 more fruit trees and all of our small fruit are waiting patiently in line.

From a subscriber –
“Hi Julie,
Glad to hear you have a regular supply.  I am from New Orleans and my children’s school grounds were under water for 2 weeks.  A friend and I replanted all of the flower beds and used cardboard because we heard that it helped with worms.  We had none after Katrina! Worked like a charm!

Love the work that you are doing and hope to make a road trip up to your farm one day.”

This week’s inspirational podcast – Jon Stika with John Kempf
I got the book, “A Soil Owner’s Manual” five or so years ago and enjoyed this simple and direct book (almost a booklet) that clearly laid out how biology works in the soil. Jon was John Kempf’s guest this week. And they discussed for a minute or two how the “ladies” J are usually so much faster at picking up the message that we have to work with nature than dominate it. Go figure . . . . .
http://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episode-66-jon-stika

This week’s inspiration from Jack – Walter Jehne at the Soil and Nutrition Conference
On Thursday I was privileged to hear an hour-long by Australian scientist Dr. Walter Jehne on climate change and the hydrological cycle.

I have seldom heard such a clear explanation of the role by which transpiration from plants feeds global cooling. It sends large quantities of water vapor high into the atmosphere, carrying the evaporative heat it absorbed from the earth and releasing it where much of it radiates into space before the water finally precipitates to the earth as rain.

The implications for climate change and cooling the earth are obvious: we need more green plants covering the planet for more time during the year. Human removal of green plants by desertification of agricultural land and paving of urban land has altered the hydrological cycle and the simplest way we can address climate change — and something we all can do – is to farm and garden in ways which keep more of the earth green longer in the year (maintaining cover crops, planting trees, mowing our lawns higher, etc.)

If you would like to know more about the work of Walter Jehne, check out www.regenerate-earth.org.

And it is not too late to register for the SNC, and that gives you access to all the recordings so far, plus Jehne will be the SNC guest two more times this year – https://soilandnutrition.org/

Online Educational Opportunity coming up March 30 and beyond
Christine Jones is one of my most favorite consultants about carbon, climate changes, cutting edge farming practices, and far ahead science as it relates to the world of the underground microbial scene and how they interface with nutrient regulation. In a rare opportunity, the Green Cover Seed Company is going to have Christine on a webinar 4 Tuesday nights in a row starting March 30 – 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET. All for free. Here is the info on how to register.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Mar 30, 2021 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Secrets of the Soil Sociobiome- Dr. Christine Jones
Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UMYnh5BdTmCsrWkKI-zsvQ
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Spring has sprung!  Julie

Weekly Farm Staff Spotlight:

A desire to be self sustaining and outdoors in nature has always resonated with Anthony Brogno. In high school, Anthony dreamed of living at an off-grid farm and community with friends. In his adult life, Anthony found himself presented with several opportunities to work temporary jobs in agriculture, including a month-long cranberry harvest in Eastern Massachusetts and volunteer work in Argentina. Most recently, prior to working at MHOF, Anthony was instrumental in getting a local first-year farm going. The mentorship from Julie and Dan in that project brought Anthony to MHOF, first as a working shareholder and now as full-time staff.

The relationships that Anthony has been able to build and foster in the agriculture community are central to his experience. He says farming has allowed him to “organically connect with people by being outside together, working in the garden, and learning together”. Currently, Anthony is excited about the new ventures on the farm including medicinal herbs and mushroom production. Additionally, Anthony is looking forward to the season with a dedicated staff and crew inspired to continue the work of constant progress and bringing the farm to its “absolute most flourishing state it’s ever been.”

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