Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,
Preservation – as in food preservation. It is that time of year again, and it really brings out the squirrel in me. Friday afternoon Maya, Juan, Ari, Clare, Ann and I sat around the table and tipped and chopped an entire flip top of green and purple and yellow pole beans for freezing. Catch the video that Ari and I put together.
We have already frozen peas, strawberries, garlic scapes and various other berries, but it starts in earnest now. And preserving food is something that both Jack and I relish doing. For the next two months we will spend each evening with our knives and cutting boards watching a fun movie and getting things ready for one of our 9 freezers. We already produced a Swiss chard video and add this one on beans. Look for more food preservation videos coming up over the next weeks. There is no good reason not to preserve food, whether it be drying, freezing or canning. Having a year’s worth of bounty in your cupboards and freezers provides a huge amount of food security of the highest quality.
Circle of Song
Circle of Song, our community chorus, restarting September 16 here at MHOF.
Since 2001, Circle of Song has been in existence and singing 4-part harmony. We usually have between 12-18 members and we sing music from all over the world and from many genres. Some would say what we do is challenging, but all of us like to stretch a bit, but not too much. We are comprised of musicians of differing abilities, but are all folks who love singing and love singing with others. We read the music and teach those who feel less secure how to be better readers. You can check out some of our past concerts at https://circleofsong.net/.
After taking off 1 ½ years for Covid, we are restarting on Thursday, September 16 and are looking for new and returning members. We meet at the home of Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson at 411 Sheldon Road, in Barre, on Thursday evenings. We will gather for a potluck on the 16th at 6:30. Our singing hours will fall somewhere between 6:30 to 8 or 7-8:30 depending on the wishes of the members. We have a sliding scale membership rate which is very modest.
We often perform with instrumental groups and are investigating working again this Christmas season with Peter Lewis and the HS band at Quabbin Regional High School. We are looking for sopranos, altos, tenors and baritone/basses and would love to welcome you. Our directors are Julie Rawson and Nancy Afonso, local musician local to the Quabbin region. For more info contact Julie at Julie@mhof.net or 978-355-2853.
CSA Update – Week eleven best guess at what you will get
- Lettuce – two for larges and mediums, one for smalls
- Summer squash and zucchini
- Cukes – new item – we were able to give these out on Friday. The crop is just starting to come in
- Beets, cabbage or broccoli for larges
- Tulsi back again
Don’t forget to buy some flowers on your way out of the barn on CSA day
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. Thanks to Anne and to Nikki with multiple donations to this program. You can donate here: https://mhof.net/community-fridge-farmshare/
Order Your Fall Share Before It’s Too Late!
The 2021 Fall Share starts the week of October 25 and goes through the week of November 22. There are only 100 spots for the share available, so make sure you put in your order for a fall share before they sell out! The Fall share costs $150 for 5 weeks of produce. Fall Shares are available in one size. Weekly averages are between 7-9 lbs. depending on the season. Over the five week season these shares might include: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cilantro, carrots, celery, garlic, chicory, kale, leeks, onions, parsley, potatoes, arugula, spinach, parsnip, head lettuce, Mesclun lettuce mix, kohlrabi, collards, winter squash, radishes, and turnips. Order your Fall share on our order form or online here: https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
We have been planting all the time these days to get crops ready for the Fall. These beds might not look like much now, but they will be filled with veggies for you all in no time!
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/
Email from a new/old CSA member
Sorry I missed you on Wednesday. I was very happy that I got to say hello to Franny. Next week I will come earlier to hopefully say hello to you.
I am wondering if you are taking donations of cardboard?
Also, I wanted to say how wonderful everything looks and smells and tastes! Sometimes my memory of a thing creates an unreasonable expectation and I end up being disappointed when I experience it again. This was not the case! You have exceeded my potentially inflated expectations. The thyme actually made me gasp I used some of it in a ferment with a few garlic cloves, kale stems, carrots and some of the beans. I added some oregano flowers and a horseradish leaf from my yard too.
Thanks to you and your crew for the good work you do!
So glad that the farm overmet your expectations. Since 2016 we have significantly improved our fertility, so I suspect the food does taste much better!
Yes, we do take cardboard, and I hope to see you on Wednesday too. So good to have you back. Julie
We ended this past week feeling quite productive. Cathleen and Anthony got another bird house repaired and on line for the baby layers and started a new one. Cathleen also started soaking logs for shiitakes for a fall harvest. Maya was able to dry more calendula flowers and some chamomile, Ari started our fledgling flower sale business. Clare started another round of seedlings – lettuce, Asian greens and some cauliflower, and we all prepped and planted many beds – 2 of beets, 2 beds of lettuce transplants to complete a neighborhood of 5 lettuce beds started last week, 2 beds of carrots, 1 of green beans, 2 of fennel, one of radishes, one of kale, and three of rutabagas. Next week we hope to put in a bunch more fall crops. We made our first 6 quarts of applesauce from our early Crimson Beauty, cleaned up our blackberries, thinned all 25 of our peach trees (very late, but better late than never), and finished Friday, after freezing beans, weeding some fall carrots. Jack and I shelled and out packaged up ample supplies of sugar snap, maxigoltt and green arrow peas for next year’s seeds.
We barely got any rain this week and that was a thing of beauty! And now this week coming up might even be hot enough that we will have to complain of said heat!
For those farmers among you, this is the time to keep keeping on with planting, mulching, cover cropping, etc., even though it might not seem as fun as it was back in May. It will help assure bounty right up through November.
Though we have so many struggles with weeds, this well tended area of kale is a sight of our sore eyes. Check out the latest photos from the farm on our Instagram!