April 19, 2021

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

What is it about pets, cats and particularly dogs that pulls people together? By now seemingly the whole world knows that Skippy took off on Tuesday night last week. And despite all sorts of folks looking for her and yes, praying for her, she showed up in the dog house Wednesday morning – perhaps a little wiser, and somewhat hungrier and happier to see us than her previous very friendly self was the day before. Anyway, I have now been impressed twice (Dingo took off the first day he was here 2 years ago) that neighbors and dog lovers from far and near jump instantly into action to help find lost dogs. There is a God… 🙂

Click the video above to see us process dandelions and Skippy return to playing in the field with Dingo

Farm update
Well, the 6 inches of snow on Friday was typical April Fools weather. We spent most of the day in the hoophouses freezing, and called it a short day. Backing up in time, we with a huge crew on Wednesday were able to prepare 6 150’ beds for our 96 lbs. of onion sets. We also this week got our radishes and turnips, and 4 beds of Asian greens (all 60’ beds) into the soil and covered with floating row cover. Prep also happened for 6 more 100 foot beds for Asians and our first outdoor planting of lettuce plants. These aforementioned crops will be early stars in the CSA. Myai came by and pruned half of our grapes, we passed out the final NOFA bulk order potatoes and onions, planted our peas, and finished up plugging our shiitake mushroom logs and organizing our mushroom yard. We planted and mulched 6 new fruit trees, did a major dandelion harvest and drying, and started a few more things in the greenhouse, while moving forward on wood harvest, splitting and stacking for next winter.

Farm crew prepping beds (top), peas in (left), beds all prepped for onions (right)

Personnel update
New folks this week included Laurie from Belchertown who also brought her daughter and husband on different days, and Krischaun, who we hired this week as he is planning to transition out of Stetson School. He is flourishing here. We will miss him after his short stay here – only through the first week of May.

Mushroom Plugging Workshop
Check out the recording of our workshop here – I don’t think those shiitakes liked the snow this week!

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 $32,616.61, 39% of the way there with over $4,000 new dollars this week. Only $50,000 to go!
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.
  • 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/

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 Laurie and Amy this week who both supported two SNAP recipient delivery fees.

Cardboard update
Faced with the prospect of not going to the Wholesome Farmers Market to pick up cardboard twice per week Clare and I have decided to double down and find even more uses for it. We will cardboard the pathways between potatoes, squash, and tomatoes, add some hay to make it look nice and then plant our cover crops on top of the whole mess. Less weeding, more worms, more organic matter!

Another haul from WFM and Higgins

Christine Jones finishes up on April 27
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.

Looking like a reasonably cool week ahead – time for us to catch up on our perennial work, and to get those 96 lbs. of onions in the ground.