Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,
For those of us who have been educating about and fighting against GMOs and glyphosate (commonly known as RoundUP) for the past 20 years, this is incredible news. Special shout out to husband Jack who from 2000 was a leader in NOFA in the regional fight against these two insidious practices/substances. And to daughter Ellen who worked for the Center for Food Safety way back in 2002 in the fight against Monsanto. Thousands of organizations and people have been working on this issue since the early 90’s. Glyphosate and GMOs together, are in my opinion, the two biggest threats to our personal and planetary health. Congratulations and a sincere thanks to all who have put their lives and careers and communities on the line in this massive fight. Read more about glyphosate in Carey Gillam’s wonderful book, Whitewash.
And lest we feel complacent, these words from the aforementioned article are a good reminder that we have “only just begun.”
“Sustainable Pulse and Detox Project Director, Henry Rowlands, commented on Bayer’s announcement; “It is a great victory in a small battle for the removal of glyphosate from the Lawn & Garden market, however this is just part of a much larger War. We must all remember that this will not stop glyphosate being sprayed in parks, schools and on our food crops in ever greater amounts across the U.S. and the world. It is time to phase the chemical out globally and to replace it with safe alternatives.”
- Where to From Here? A Ten point Action Plan; Grame Sait –https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming –I particularly liked his nutrition segment. Butyrate is big these days and resistant starch. Also, those NSAIDS really promote leaky gut.
- Here is the recording from the opening night of the NOFA Summer Conference, Ray Archuleta and Christine Jones are two of my favorite go to’s for fertility information for farming
- Zucchini Madness – Check out the article about 10 reasons to eat zucchini in daughter Ellen’s newsletter. I’ve included the article at the bottom of this newsletter, email email@example.com to join her newsletter!
Week eleven best guess at what you will get
- Lettuce is back
- Basil is back this week
- Summer squash and zucchini – check out daughter Ellen’s post on zucchini and its amazing health benefits – we love it steamed and served with a little butter and salt, or in any soup or stir fry
- Sage, thyme or spearmint
- Leeks – now that the green onions are all harvested, we will enjoy some of these wonderful alliums. You can slice them all the way up the plant and use the greens along with the white part in anything you would put an onion in
- Beans – we had a huge flush on Wednesday and now our pole beans are coming in too. Lots of great shapes to enjoy
CSA still open.
We are still taking shareholders. Check the website for the weekly downwardly changing prices. https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
Community Fridge shares –
We are holding strong at 9 shares for the Community Fridges that we deliver each Friday to Worcester. We are still taking donations if you are interested. Our friend and neighbor farmer Renee Toll-DuBois drops off produce each week to go to Worcester also. https://mhof.net/community-fridge-farmshare/
Learn more about the fridges or drop of your own food at the fridges here: https://www.worcestercommunityfridges.com/
Meat Chickens ready for purchase on August 29 fresh
You will not find a tastier and no doubt more nutritious certified organic range raised Freedom Ranger chickens. They are only available once per year, so don’t tarry in ordering. Hens weigh in around 5 lbs. and cockerels around 7. They come dressed whole in a plastic bag with giblets and the neck (separated). Once we have roasted the bird we then make delicious chicken soup and often have enough chicken left for chicken salad also. These birds are top of the line. https://mhof.net/organic-meat/
We have yellow dock root and dandelion root tinctures available now! Yellow dock is particularly effective at absorbing iron as well as improving liver function and gut health. Dandelion root is a digestive bitter that also targets the liver and moves stagnant bile and cleanses the blood. Each of these tinctures are $15 for a 2oz bottle. They are made with organic vodka. You can order these tinctures and pick up at the farm or have them placed inside your share bag if you are a CSA customer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the next few weeks we will be making some cut flowers available at the farm, 50 cents per stem. Make yourself a nice bouquet of local, organic flowers for $3-$5. Pickup will be available at the barn with your CSA after 1:00 on Monday, Wednesday, or Fridays, while supplies last. We will leave a basket out for cash, no pre-order necessary.
It was another fulsome week at Many Hands. We are now at a full house with our 300 meat birds, old layers of 100 and new layers of 100, 150 turkeys and 12 pigs that Anthony picked up on Friday. Many hours were spent this week setting up the shock system for the pigs and getting the fencing and housing all in place to receive them. They are spending the week end in their house and cross our fingers that when we let them out into the yard on Monday morning they will hit the fence and decide to stay within it. Otherwise, there will be a few runs up and down the road or through the orchard to bring them back home. Son Chuk, the gentleman contractor, will take on building a second pig house, which we will need to fit them all when they get bigger. This is a huge load off for him to agree to take this on. Thanks Chuk!
Aside from the pigs, we were able to finally mow, hoe and hill the potatoes in the west field. A little late, but they are still alive and hopefully growing great spuds. And we took the tarp off the back forty 5 beds and got those prepped for planting this week. Also, lots of work in the former garlic beds to prepare them for more planting. Boy were the earthworms thick in that very fertile area.
Thursday we enjoyed the folks from Home City Housing in Springfield for a teen gardener field trip. We picked up a bunch of hay for mulching, weeded and undersowed with clover some sweet potatoes and winter squash, started a massive number of seedlings, and shelled out our sugar snap peas that we saved for seed. We garnered 4 pounds of our own high quality seed.
We also mulched all the rest of the sweet potato, took down and stored the covering from another hoop house that blew off in Thursday night’s storm, and were B roll for the Bionutrient Food Association’s promo work.
We are definitely in the second half of the season now, and will be scurrying to plant as much as we can before it is too late, and continue on the weeding and mulching or undersowing of crops that still need attention. Animal chores take more time each day now, but are all part of the diverse farmscape that we have that builds more resilience in the system.
Activism for your favorite cause is a wonderfully nourishing activity for all of us. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the folks across the globe who have been involved in the anti-pesticide and food safety movement. This small victory will be massive down the line, and gives me hope that we can all pull together to ameliorate climate change and the huge destruction of climate and human potential that has been our experience up until now.
The Battle I’m Willing to Fight: A Little Light Humor & Zucchini Madness
How is your garden growing? Are you keeping on top of the abundance?
Where I live in England, the legions of zucchini (courgette for the British) are growing in numbers every day…
The other day, after coming back from a brief trip away and finding 7 gloriously exuberant zucchinis peeking out from under the large leaves of their plants, I must admit to feeling some defeat.
We’d already been mounting a concerted effort these last couple weeks in the kitchen in order to stay on top of the bounty…but I wasn’t sure we could surmount this one!
In case you’re feeling the same, here are a few ideas/recipes we’ve been experimenting with, plus some very surprising (to me) facts about the nourishing potential of this humble squash.
10 Reasons to Get Really Excited about Your Abundant Zucchini/Courgette Harvest
I must admit. I was surprised. I kind of just assumed that the ubiquitous summer squash, a clear herald of summer’s abundance, and a bane to many small gardeners and farmers because of said abundance, was kind of a “filler” vegetable.
It wasn’t until I began researching the nutritional profile that I realized that this ever-reliable yet under-appreciated summer veggie deserves a formal apology from me, and a lot more respect.
Here are ten reasons to eat your zucchini and summer squash, whether it be green, yellow, striped, spotted, or shaped like a flying saucer (my personal favorite), and whether you call it zucchini, or in these new lands that are my home now, courgette!
1. Eyes: Summer squash contains impressive amounts of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, along with beta-carotene. These nutrients confer very specific eye health benefits, especially for prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Weight/Appetite: Summer squash is considered a “low energy food”, which means it has lots of fiber and water. It helps to fill you up and regulates the blood sugar, resulting in weight regulation and appetite control.
3. Inflammation: Summer squash seeds contain Omega 3s, which help to counter the damaging effects of unhealthy Omega 6 inflammatory oils in the diet.
4. Diabetes Type 2: Summer squash contains a unique polysaccharide combination that has been linked – in repeated animal studies – to protection against diabetes and to better insulin regulation.
5. Heart: With its high amounts of Vitamin C and A, summer squash can help to keep cholesterol from oxidizing and building up on arterial walls.
6. Heart attack/Stroke: Summer squash contains magnesium, a heart-healthy mineral, and folate, a vitamin that helps to break down the amino acid homocysteine. Increased levels of homocysteine in the body are associated with increased stroke risk.
7. Cancer: With its high amounts of dietary fiber, zucchini helps to keep the bowels moving, which in turn keeps toxins from getting stuck for long periods of time in the GI tract and reabsorbed back into the body.
8. Blood pressure: The magnesium and potassium in summer squash help to lower blood pressure, thus alleviating stress on the body’s circulatory system.
9. Parasites: In folk medicine dried summer squash seeds have been used historically for treatment of intestinal tapeworms, and other intestinal parasites. And they are still used this way today!
10: Prostate: Another traditional usage of summer squash is for prostate health. In men diagnosed with BPH, the seeds of summer squash and the oils from the seeds have been used to help lower frequency of urination.
Wow! Impressed? I sure was…and am!
A favorite we’ve been experimenting with is a sugar-free, gluten-free zucchini bread (or zucchini muffin). Here’s a recipe by Olena Osipov, which I’ve modified slightly to be gluten-free and overall a bit healthier than the original version.
(Above pic is some of the ingredients ready to go. Below pic is the completed loaf)
Gluten-Free Zucchini Banana Muffins (or Bread)
Makes 12 muffins or one medium loaf
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup shredded zucchini packed and not squeezed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 3 tbsp oil (I use melted coconut oil)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder aluminum free
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour (if using self-raising flour, skin adding in the baking soda/baking powder)
- 1/3 cup pecans coarsely chopped
- Organic cooking oil spray or wax-paper muffin cups
- OPTIONAL: handful raisins/goji berries or other dried fruit of choosing
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and coat muffin tin with cooking spray (or place wax-paper muffin cups in muffin tin Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add bananas and mash well.
- Add remaining ingredients, except flour and pecans (and optional dried fruit), and whisk to combine.
- Now add flour and gently stir until well incorporated. Do not over mix otherwise muffins will be tough.
- Add chopped pecans (and optional dried fruit) and give a few more gentle stirs.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins.
Bake for 22-25 minutes.
Alternatively, bake in a loaf/bread pan. Baking time will be closer to 50 minutes to an hour. Make sure to coat pan with oil before spooning batter into the pan.
Here’s another recipe that’s gotten rave reviews in the past.
Grilled Zucchini Summer Salad
(source: Wall Street Journal)
4 small yellow green zucchini, sliced lengthwise and into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for pan, if needed
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
Leaves from 6 sprigs mint, plus extra for garnish
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon Sherry or red wine vinegar
1. Toss zucchini slices with a good pinch of salt and set aside. After 20 minutes, pat slices dry and toss with 2 tbsp oil.
2. Meanwhile, over medium heat, grill onion rounds or sear them in an oil-slicked pan until tender, about 1 minute per side. Chop rounds in ¼-inch pieces. Roughly tear up mint leaves. Halve cherry tomatoes.
3. Grill or sear zucchini slices over medium-high heat until tender, about 1 minute per side.
4. Place chopped onion, grilled squash and tomato halves in a large bowl. Toss with mint.
5. Dress salad with ¼ cup oil and vinegar. Season with salt, to taste. Garnish with extra mint.
And here are a few other quick and easy recipes/prep ideas we’ve been exploring:
- If you have a spiralizer, you can make some great zucchini noodles, which can then be topped with your favorite sauce of choice. We make pesto at least once a week, and have found it a wonderful topping for our zucchini noodles.
- If you don’t have a spiralizer, no worries! A simple grater will also work well! Just grate some fresh zucchini onto any green salad. We were able to use 1/2 a zucchini the other night this way – grated on top of a green salad with a squeeze of lime and a little sea salt.
- Add chunks of zucchini to bean dishes, soups, stews, curries and anything else you might be cooking that could do well with some more veggies in it!
- Zucchini steaks!! Slice zucchini, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper (and any other herbs you like and bake (or grill) till done.
- Add to a green smoothie (usually we just add a small amount of what’s left over from spiralizing or grating.)
- Chop some onions and a little garlic, and sautée in a frying pan in olive or coconut oil, then add zucchini that’s been thinly sliced and steam/sautee for another 10-15 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle grated parmesan on at the end.
- Add to scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Let me know how you are mounting the “attack” in your kitchen. 😉
We consider it a banner day if we’ve managed to creatively get zucchini in in at least three meals!!
Do these recipes and facts about the humble zucchini’s nourishing potential galvanize you to get back to it and refocus your creative efforts in the kitchen?
What are your favorite zucchini/courgette recipes?
In a world of more and more uncertainty, fighting the good fight of adequately appreciating one’s abundant harvest by making the best use of it feels like a good place to put my energy right now!
All blessings, and I’ll “see you” next month!
p.s. At any point this summer or fall you can join my Self Guided Cleanse Program – so please do share this option with friends/family if the Cleanse has supported your health and wellness. My next live Cleanse will be offered in January of 2022.