Dear friends and customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Which of us is not impacted by Covid in one way or another every day these days? You can hear it on the radio, and watch it on the internet or TV. Every conversation inevitably turns to it at some point. Parents are readying themselves to prepare for another possible closing of schools as those of us who like to go out to public events, especially the unvaccinated, rush to get yet another test to prove themselves negative. As one of those who decided to not get vaccinated, I find myself to be the target of reproach- from family members, long term friends and colleagues, and more vaguely, from the media, and the more “liberal” community at large. That isn’t so very hard to tolerate, I have lived most of my life dancing on the edges of most of society, and holding a minority opinion. What I really want to get right at this point in my life, though, is to graciously and gracefully and peacefully navigate within all the communities of thought around vaccinations, masks, immune system support, outdoor exercise, etc. as if we were all in a big tent together, not ‘uses and thems’. My dear friend Leslie Cox used to always talk about the big tent when we tried to negotiate in NOFA the idea that organic farmers and conventional farmers had a lot in common, while holding some significantly different beliefs about how to farm.

This week Circle of Song, our local chorus that I started with friends 20 years ago, got back together after an 18 month hiatus. Some members are stepping back for a while, and for those who have decided to give it a go, it has been a cautious negotiation of where to rehearse, whether to wear a mask or not, and generally how to meet the needs of as many of us as possible to feel comfortable in each other’s presence while accomplishing what can become a very intimate and vulnerable process of melding our voices together in the beauty of song. We seem to be on the way to actualizing this compromising process that sees and hears the needs and desires of all of us, thanks to a generosity of spirit and a strong desire to connect as singers because of the power of making music together. Still taking members –

But I still fall down in the ‘us and them’ realm. I went off on someone this past week because of my sense of being ostracized and thrown out of the circle of acceptance by my lifelong employer, NOFA. Best to just get up again and try harder next time to see this complex issue from the standpoint that we as the human family are in this together, recognizing that drawing the lines of battle will only continue the habit of violence that we humans are so good at. A peacemaker I aspire to be, despite my regular transgressions. Thank you Leslie, for the reminder of the Big Tent that we all live in!

Anne enjoying her birthday raspberry crisp at Circle of Song

CSA Update
Reminder: Last Week – Week of October 18

Week 18 best guess at what you will get

  • Celery
  • Summer squash and zucchini – we have a new crop that will keep these squashes coming for a while yet
  • Tomatoes for a little while longer
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Turnip greens
  • Apples – these are coming in quite well. As Deb put it on Friday, there isn’t an apple from this farm that she hasn’t really liked. Please ignore the sootiness on them (exacerbated by the fact that it rains almost every day), as it is harmless to humans. Our weekly spraying of minerals and biological support with things such as kelp makes for full flavored fruit
  • Leeks
  • chives
  • Probably enough radishes for all this week
  • Fennel is back
  • Carrots
  • Bunched beet greens – this process will help us get our beets weeded and ready for the next round of larger beets
  • Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Some combination of eggplant, cabbage, broccoli for larges
CSA Week 17

From a community organizing colleague from Chicago from 49 years ago –

Hi Julie,
Gerhard shared your article about corn with me, and I loved it.  I, too, have “corn memories”.  My grandparents and Mom were raised in Iowa and moved to California when my Mom was in high school.  So, guess what they grew in California?  Corn, of course.
My memories are so similar to yours.  Harvesting, husking, and cooking the corn and then bagging it for the freezer.  It was a full day affair with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins all there.  Lots of hard work, food and laughter.  That was followed by days of preparing almonds and walnuts  … I don’t remember walnuts being quite as fun.  They were hard to open!  The best was going swimming after a really hot day of harvest!
We are so envious of your life on the farm … and, hope that we can visit some day soon.
Thanks for your writing!  And, for the memories!

And a former NOFA colleague

I can’t quite put into words how much today meant to me.  It’s such a reprieve from my day to day responsibilities.  This will sound a little dramatic but it truly feeds my soul.  I am grateful for our friendship and having a place that welcomes people just as they are.
See you next week,

Ed. Note – it must be my liberal use of expletives deleted that makes her so comfortable J

From a shareholder

Hi Julie,
Are we too late to order a fall share and / or 4 chickens?

Hope all is well.  Made some great apple crisp last night.  Now the trick is scoring the vanilla ice cream that seems in short supply this time of year.


No Pat,

Send me $150 for the share. And we still have a few chickens for sale too – $7/lb. And good luck finding the ice cream!


Chicken house workshop
Jack and Anthony and I had a great time hosting 6 folks for our chicken house building workshop. As it turns out Anthony is an excellent educator. Thanks Anthony. And many thanks to Maya and especially Ari who managed all the tech. Hard to say if we will do any more workshops this year, but they have all been quite fun.

Anthony and Jack chat about chicken house construction

Another submission from Ellen Kittredge

What 1 Thing is Your Very Best Friend Right Now? 
+ 10 Food Nutrients to Mitigate the Cytokine Storm
I feel it more imperative than ever to keep really good tabs on our immunity and make sure we are as protected and strong as possible this Autumn.
You’ve probably heard mention of the cytokine storm if you’ve been keeping up with the science around COVID-19 to any degree. 
But what exactly is it and why would it be wise to eat to prevent it?
And what is this thing that’s supposed to be my best friend?
Please keep reading to find out!

The Cytokine Storm:
“The problem occurs when your body’s reaction to an infection goes into overdrive. For example, researchers have observed that when the COVID-19 virus enters the lungs, it triggers an immune response that prompts immune cells to fight the virus and to create localized inflammation. In a small number of patients, however, the body releases excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines, which results in hyper-inflammation and may lead to serious complications or even death. This hyper-inflammation and consequent damage are called the cytokine storm.” Dr David Jockers, MD
Cytokine storms are not exclusive to COVID-19. They are a previously known phenomenon that occurs in other viral illnesses and even some non-infectious diseases that have inflammation as a root cause.

When it comes to the body’s natural inflammatory response, we want just the right amount of inflammation to fight an infection, but not too much inflammation to cause the runaway freight train effect of a cytokine storm.
According to ongoing research as cited by Dr Jockers, the main nutrients that can calm a cytokine storm and/or are generally anti-inflammatory and immune-protective are…

….Read reading at the following link for the ten nutrients you can incorporate into your diet to best benefit you right now!
If you want to go straight to the most up-to-date Vitamin D and COVID-19 research info, please see here:
Ellen Kittredge, CHC
Evolutionary Wellness
Nutrition Counseling, Energy Healing, Nature Connection
US Cell phone/What’s App: +1 202-577-1940
UK cell: 07594254863
Join me for a Gentle Self Guided Cleanse:

Farm Doins
The week started with our new Sunday working shareholder, Katrina, helping me with bird and pig chores – all the way from Brattleboro. And ended with Shantel and Alexandria helping with Saturday chores. And I received 3 pictures from Alexandria for the refrigerator!

This week was still highlighted with lots of grapes. Friday found Clare and me contorting ourselves to get the last of the grapes from the arbor next to the barn. Now it lies to me and Jack to get them all pulled and made into grape juice.The other big accomplishment was the final harvest of the potatoes. The harvest in the south field was better than the west, but still just modest – more work to bring this crop into high performance next year. We are patting ourselves on the back, however, as sometimes the potato harvest slips for too long.

Anthony spent many afternoons preparing our range bird house for the workshop that was held on Saturday. With this one completed, we will finish the year of housing repair and construction well ahead for next year. We mowed down the cover crops in the potato field and moved the turkeys in, split them into more houses – now 7 – and are now running them over the old corn too. These areas will then be put to bed with a mix of wintering over cover crops to build soil structure and keep the microbes happy all winter. We also made the turn for the layers in the pond field and for now they are on a straightaway making house moving every day a little easier.

We were able to weed a few things think rutabagas, lettuce and Asian greens. Now we hope that we don’t get an early frost like we did last year – September 19-22, and that all of these fall crops can make it to fruition.
Dan and the boys and I did another batch of cider, and already we are filling up the walk in for the next batch.
Not many pictures this week – not enough extra folks around so that I could drop out and photograph.
Rain and or long term cloudiness again this week. This year may go down as the coldest and wettest in recent memory.

Click on the top video to learn about our cover crop success, or see the bottom video of pressing apple cider (left) and feeding the leftovers to the pigs (right).

Volunteers on the truck (top), It was very peaceful harvesting potatoes surrounded by oats and dailon, and the soil is gorgeous (middle left), A quick weed in a harvesting pause last Monday (middle right), Maya with a potato (bottom left), Anthony with turkeys (bottom left).