May 3, 2021

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Ah yes, they are here, until they turn into mosquitos. Lucky we are that there are still bugs out there. Do any of you who are old enough remember when you would go driving on a summer night and find your windshield completely opaque with squished bugs? Perhaps soon with all of the wonderful energy there is in favor of ecological and environmental restoration happening all over the world, balance will return. Here is a tip for managing small biting insects – B vitamins, specifically B6, and diminution of processed sugar, along with consumption of complex carbohydrates and other whole foods. I often find in the field that the bugs aren’t bothering me while others are being attacked. Interestingly, just as healthy plants aren’t palatable to their line of insect pests, neither are healthy human beings. And speaking of ticks, Franny has taken Skippy on, along with Dingo, in her daily tick removal campaign for these two lucky dogs. I have to remove Franny’s ticks – a nice intimate caring relationship each evening that we have.

Farm work has gotten hard and sometimes seemingly unrelenting already. Ramping up production calls for precise and thoughtful management each day, with careful attention to utilizing the myriad skills of paid and volunteer labor that shows up each day – along with nice breakfasts, lunches and snacks to keep everyone fueled. This week we were able to plant the following – 2 beds each of carrots and beets, 4 beds of Brussels sprouts, 4 of cabbage, 5 of broccoli, and 4 of lettuce, cilantro, arugula, chicory and endive, kohlrabi, and 2 beds of fennel. Additionally, we got in another bed of kale and collards.  We prepped for bees and young layers to show up on Monday, and mostly fixed our hand cart – Anthony promises it will be completed in its multi-colored coat of paint and heavier gauge metal frame by week’s end. We completed our dandelion and yellow dock harvest for the spring, started on the burdock and have tinctures for all three on to soak. Clare finished up the grape pruning, and we finished mulching the blueberries across the street, along with planting 15 new ones there, and putting in 24 rhubarb plants in the home garden. We continue to either re-place, or move our tarps to new locations, and all in all got very wet all week though we are not complaining about the rainy weather – April was a most beautiful and normal one.

Maria worked in the rain the entire day on her first, and still said she loved it (top left), 13 kittens being raised together; Eloise added 7 to Scraps’ 6 this week (top right), Ram with his collards (middle left), Heinrich raking beds (middle right), Click to watch Deb, Stu, Clare, Ram rolling the tarp up for moving in Instgram (bottom left), Click to watch Kim’s 26th (bottom right)

CSA Update
We hit 50% of our Summer CSA goal this week – $41,546 to be exact. This week we added pick up locations in Athol and Shrewsbury to make it more convenient for folks. Only 3 weeks until the CSA starts. Tell your friends and neighbors. Remember, for every friend that you recommend the CSA to who signs up between now and May 24th, you will earn a ticket for our drawing. First prize is a tin of our comfrey salve, homemade soap, and a yellow dock tincture (amazing for the liver). Second prize includes our amazing hemp salve and our homemade peppermint soap, and third prize is a bottle of our dandelion root tincture (to support gut health). To enter, email the name of the friend that you recommended who has signed up between now and May 24th, or have your friend mention you in their order form. Prizes will be available when you pick up your CSA.

Share the CSA with your friends – especially in Athol and Shrewsbury!

Next Workshop – Starting seeds and seedlings in greenhouse and field – Saturday, May 8 – 10-12
Clare and I are eager to share our years of mistakes and improvements regarding the process of getting seeds to seedlings and then into the ground. This is the most important time in a plant’s life and we all should take this period super seriously if we expect bounty at the other end. We will be sharing our timing plans, our fertility plans, our use of the biodynamic calendar, and all in a hands on and hand out fashion. Stick around for a pot luck lunch at the conclusion.
Register here.

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
  • 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

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 to have your funds be counted toward the SNAP recipient fund. Thanks to Brenda and Joe this week.

Help for Autoimmunity
With Jack’s RA we are constantly searching for answers. I mentioned Kiran Krishnan a few weeks back and want to return to him. We watched one of his 2018 webinars titled Environmental Triggers in the Development of Autoimmune Diseases – The confluence of environmental, genetic, diet and leaky gut influences can bring on autoimmune disease. This 1 ½ hour webinar steps through the pathology, the contributing factors and some practical solutions for slowing, stopping and often turning around this disease, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. Well worth the listening.

Staff Update
Krischaun will leave us after today’s combined birthday and farewell party. Clare is making a special cheesecake and I have agreed to let him drive me around the farm in the 2003 Subaru. Anthony and Cathleen and all of the others have helped Krischaun with his coming of age as a young farmer. We will miss him and his over the top personality.

Maria joined us as a working shareholder and Ann is back!

Staff evaluations brought out some amazing ideas for upgrades – longer notice on farm plans, new drills, keeping worker morale on an even keel with high expectations and careful tending to volunteers, and a number of other great ideas.

Potatoes, more carrots and beets, arugula, chard and seedling onions are on the top of the planting list this week.


Community Events
Saturday May 15: Grow Your Own Plant Medicine: CBD and other Herbs: Learn organic methods for planting, care, and harvest of home-scale CBD plus other herbs for health and happiness. This is a joyful, super informative growing workshop not a policy/licensing workshop. For 21 and over.
Sunday May 30: No-Till for Everyone, Everywhere: Learn three methods for low maintenance, climate resilient, bountiful gardens and farms: the cardboard method, cover cropping, and tarping. Leave with new skills and ample inspiration to initiate or renew your garden or small farm.
Workshops run from 10am to 4PM. BYO lunch, farm fresh salad provided. All are taught by Seeds of Solidarity co-founders and farmers Ricky Baruc and Deb Habib. Group sized capped at 15. Email to save your spot and for register. Sliding scale fee $50-$100, pre-registration required. COVID protocol (distancing and masks when in proximity) in place. Enjoy our farmstand or new self-guided tour after the workshop.

Herb Spotlight