April 12, 2021

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Yes, that is right. Thanks to the Soil and Nutrition Conference – https://soilandnutrition.org/ for a star performance on Thursday by Kiran Krishman. It is all about butyrate – eat those wonderful root crops to keep your immune system working properly (and your entire microbiome). Be the first one to use the word “holobiont” and impress your friends!  Check him out on google. And sign up for the SNC – you never know which gem of a speaker will show up each Thursday 3-4:30 on zoom. Jack and I have a permanent Thursday afternoon date. There was a lot of important discussion around Covid and clear explanations about how it all works.

Grame Sait talks about sulfur and liver health this month – always something to learn here – https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming

Farm update
By far the most important update on the farm this week was the introduction of Skippy into our midst. Everybody loves her, except Franny, but that will come. She slept outside with the big dogs on Friday night, and has thus been added to the pack. Smart, cute, lovable and spunky, she is quite a dog.

Bryan and Scott are two new guys who we were happy to add to the farming volunteer team this week. And Andrew, our once in awhile nephew was back on Friday. Great times! The pea fences are up – thanks to Cathleen, Anthony, Natalia, Bryan, Stu, and Andrew. That means we plant peas next week –  yippee! And on Friday we got half of our spinach planted in the field – our first veg planting. This week will be a big week for planting – more spinach, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, peas, onion sets, arugula, oh my!

Skippy (top left), Cathleen emerging from under the tarp – what was she doing under there? (top right), our stalwart raspberry mulching crew – Anthony, Ram, Clare, Deb (middle left), lunch – outside every day this past week (middle right), UMass geoscience was here last Saturday and said we have fantastic soil! We even have a spodosol (West Field bottom right, Pond Field bottom left).

Mushroom Plugging Workshop
With perfect weather and lots of thoughtful preparation by Cathleen and Anthony, we were able to set up some oyster mushroom totems (new for us) and significantly add to our shiitake logs. Thanks to all the participants who helped us accomplish this fun task of plugging logs and building totems. Stay tuned for a video recap of the workshop soon!

Next Workshop – Starting seeds and seedlings in greenhouse and field – Saturday, May 8 – 10-12
Clare and I will star in this workshop where we will take you through our seed starting and planting protocols from greenhouse to hoophouse to field. We will all together start seeds inside, plant in the field and also spend some time on our theories and practice (which don’t always conform with the norm) on how to get plants off on their best footing and keep them thriving throughout the season. May 8 is a “leaf” day on the biodynamic calendar, so we might be expecting some rain that day – a perfect day for transplanting leafy vegetables. Stick around for a pot luck lunch at the conclusion.
Register here.

Can you help with CSA outreach?
Thank you to all of you who have signed up this week for the CSA. We are at $28,476.12 with $4,000 new dollars in this week. This week I was able to return to Jack and me our personal loan to the farm and we are now building our balance to pay the weekly farm staff bill which grows as we spend more hours on the farm.

If you want to help us with outreach, here are some avenues.

  • If you are a member and enjoy our food, can you get another new member to join?
    • Facebook posts are great and here is one that Maya put together for you. Befriend us and share our posts too.
    • We have flyers and posters that we can send you (or a link for you to reproduce them). Ask here – Julie@mhof.net
    • Churches and civic groups that you may be a member of – use Maya’s facebook post to share with your email lists.
    • The best option – word of mouth. How was your life changed for the better when you started eating our good food?

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.
  • 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) – $7/1 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

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/

MHOF Toothache Tips – Maya Egan
On Monday morning we had quite a crew weeding the North-South hoop house, clearing out the chickweed and grass that had come up among the spinach plants. Julie was spreading the word that a new mix of herbs and mushrooms were doing great things for Jack’s rheumatoid arthritis which prompted Naomi to ask about any recommendations for toothaches. What a plethora of knowledge emerged! Maya suggested spilanthes, a powerful tooth-targeted herb and promised to bring in some herbal mouthwash they are currently brewing. Kym offered up oregano oil and others were singing the benefits of oil pulling with coconut; swish coconut oil around your mouth for twenty minutes and it will do wonders for dental health. Clare suggested cloves as a strong tooth medicine, mentioning its antibacterial and numbing effects. Clove oil is very strong so it should be diluted with an edible oil before applied to gums or use clove powder mixed with an oil. Julie also said that lavender oil is always a go-to for any gum or tooth aches. After our rapid brain dump, Naomi said she was glad she asked! It was a reminder to all of us that we each hold information that is valuable to our communities and how important it is to share it.

Consider supporting a low income individual to purchase a CSA share
We have a policy of not charging SNAP CSA customers for delivery, a $44 item for the season. We have been blessed with a burgeoning number of SNAP folks this year and wonder if anyone of you would be interested in helping us defray the cost of the deliveries. You can donate here through the Many Hands Sustainability Center. Please send an email to julie@mhof.net to have your funds be counted toward the SNAP recipient fund. Thanks to Margo and Andy for our first donation for two deliveries this week!

New YouTube Video!

Cardboard update
This past week we finished all the fruit trees and moved on to the red raspberries. This week’s dreams are to complete annex blueberry work and the grapes on the arbor by the chicken house.

Christine Jones continues on April 13
Last week we learned about Phosphorous and the holobiont (twice this week). Enjoy Christine with us this Tuesday 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:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Weekend Chores Working Shareholder Opportunity
If you are interested in learning more about our broiler chickens, layer chickens, pigs, and turkeys we have recently added a Saturday and/or Sunday animal care working shareholder position. Work 1-2 hours from 8:00am – 10:00am on Saturday and/or Sunday in exchange for some delicious and nutritious organic vegetables and/or eggs. This position is great for someone that is unavailable during the week, or has a particular affinity for farm animals. Note that this position will require some heavy lifting (we need to move mobile bird houses with a dolly and some heft and haul around 50 lb. bags of feed). Position is available from early to mid-April through Thanksgiving.
Contact Julie at julie@mhof.net or 978-355-2853(h) or 978-257-1192 (cell) for more information.

Lots of rain coming up to assist in our planting.


Weekly Staff Spotlight:

Heinrich Mukalazi grew up on a small farm in Uganda. His family raised animals, vegetables, and coffee. Although as a kid he struggled to always find joy in farming, now he is very proud of all his work. Heinrich says that his grandmother always encouraged farming as a career and although he is professionally trained as an accountant, now he is “loving every moment” when farming. In coming to the United States, Heinrich has noticed a big difference in how mechanized farming is, even at a farm like MHOF where we do lots of things by hand but still rely on the tractor.

Now that farming has become a true passion for Heinrich, he is motivated by all the hunger in the world and the effort to preserve the earth in the face of global climate change. He also finds that farming is a good stress release. Since coming to MHOF in the winter of 2021, Heinrich has enjoyed meeting all the new people who work at and come through the farm. He hopes to eventually have a farm in the US and create a trading relationship with his farm back in Uganda to import his coffee to the United States.

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