Large share in barn before distribution.

Milestones are wonderful places where we can check our progress and move on with a sigh of relief or a new burst of energy toward what is coming next. On Friday we passed a milestone tradition since 1992. We picked for the last summer CSA share. It was a beautiful day and our stalwart Friday crew ambled through the morning with the delicious feeling that we had accomplished 22 weeks of food for 175 folks. Deb noted that she actually crawled during the picking up apples part! Though we have “many miles to go before we sleep” with 5 more weeks of an 85 person fall share, old layer, pig and turkey harvest, many more gallons of cider, and innumerable farm clean up chores, repairs, battonings of hatches, etc., enjoying our success for the morning with subsequent lunch on the front lawn, was a delicious moment of pause and celebration.

CSA Update – Week 1 (October 25 and 27) of 5

  • Last Week – Monday pick up only on November 22

Week 1 best guess of what we will get

The fall share takes place only on Monday and Wednesday, so if you were in the summer share, be sure to read the emails I have been sending so you pick up on the correct day.
These notes often refer to the summer share, which so many of you received. For newcomers, we are glad to have you with us. The frost did come on Saturday night/sunday morning but all we lost was the tulsi (we had hoped to give that to you this week) and the galinsoga – a very prolific weed. Things all of a sudden look much neater!

  • Dill – looking frilly
  • Parsley – if luck has it, we should have this almost every week
  • Sage – happy to be able to give this out this late in the season
  • Lettuce – looking good for a while yet
  • Carrots – we should have these for probably two weeks
  • Arugula – supplies are holding well
  • Fennel – not as large as last week, a cousin of dill
  • Husk cherries – as long as the frost holds off
  • Turnips – beautiful purple and white color
  • Kale – this should hold strong until the end of the CSA
  • Winter squash – from the barn; supplies holding
  • Radishes – a new crop coming from under row cover
  • Something Asian – bok choi, Chinese cabbage, tatsoi – we have a nice mix of these plants and they are quite attractive
  • Brussels sprouts – not our best year for sprouts, but hopefully enjoyable
  • Apples – at least one more week, maybe two

Cathleen and Clare sporting fennel.

2 Years of play testing and game design by Jack and partners comes to fruition

Jack and his partners have been designing games over the span of almost 50 years. And we are proud of this major accomplishment.

We saw the just-released movie DUNE Saturday night in Athol because Jack has been working on a board game based on it for the last year. This game is an easier version of the game he and his partners had published in 1979 (see reviews of that game here.) It is playable by 2 to 4 players in under an hour. The game was just released this month, along with the movie. If anyone is interested it is called: DUNE, a Game of Conquest and Diplomacy. Several other games using the DUNE name and movie images were also released recently, so if you are interested in Jack’s be sure you have the right one.

Director of Communications at Many Hands Organic Farm
The candidate of our dreams sent in an application Monday morning last week, and we hired her – Jennifer Peck, from Athol. Here is a little about her. We are blessed!

Jennifer is no stranger to farming.  She was raised on apple orchards, vegetable and animal farms as a child.  Jennifer started with us this year as a 2021 shareholder.  She had the opportunity to volunteer a couple times during the season this year at Many Hands Organic Farm, which brought her back to her roots.  She has great appreciation for the hard work it takes to farm.

Jennifer has over 30 years’ experience in communications, marketing, fundraising and development for both profit and non-profit businesses.  Her experience has afforded her the opportunity to be in business for herself for the last 5 years as a Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Health Counselor, and Reiki Master.

“I am excited for the opportunity to utilize my skills for not only my own business but to support the farm in which I receive my CSA share.  From the first day I picked up my share, I felt at home.  I knew this was a special place.”  Jennifer explains.  “My mission is to teach people how to find good health and wellness through lifestyle and diet.  Eating in season and local is a big part of great health.”

When Jennifer is not teaching, you can most often find her cooking up healthy and tasty meals, outside on one of her many yoga rocks, and spending time with family.   Jennifer shares, “Cooking has always been a great passion for me.   The key to healthy meals comes from using fresh organic foods.  I look forward to sharing many healthful recipes and helpful tips on utilizing all your vegetables in your share in the season to come.”

Jennifer on one of her many yoga rocks at her home.

Ham available in 2021
We have added an exciting new item to our 2021 meat order form, and we didn’t want you to miss out! We are already getting some maple bacon from Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT, and thought we would also get ham from them as well. Hams are $16/lb, and are usually 3-4 pounds. They are smoked at Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT and made using a natural cure of celery juice and sea salt. They will be available mid to late December. Although the pork is certified organic, the processing has not been organically certified. If you would like to order ham, please fill out the meat order form and send a check to us at 411 Sheldon Rd, Barre, MA 01005. Order here:
Pre-Order your 2022 CSA Share
It’s been an amazing summer season, and we can’t believe it’s already over! We hope that you enjoyed our produce this season, and might be willing to go on a culinary adventure again with us next year. That’s why we are offering pre-orders for 2022 CSA shares now. Put down a full payment, half payment, or $150 deposit to guarantee your spot in our 2022 CSA. We may raise prices in 2022 for our CSA shares, but we haven’t made a determination of that yet. If you order in this calendar year and put down a down payment you can be assured of this price. Order here:
Only 60 turkeys left
Don’t lose out on the opportunity to get a fresh local turkey.
Fresh for Thanksgiving, $6/lb.
Order here:

Farm store hours – a new addition to our opportunities to buy great eggs and more

M-F – 12-1 pm
Tuesday 5-7
Friday 5-7
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.

Available this week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – the chickens are presently enjoying a range diet of crimson red clover to enhance vitamin A content
  2. frozen certified organic range raised roaster chickens in the 6-8 lb. range – $7/lb.
  3. dandelion, holy basil, burdock, yarrow and yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  4. frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
  5. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $8 each
  6. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  7. certified organic garlic for seed or eating – $15/lb.
  8. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  9. Lavender soap – $6/5 ounce bar
  10. Cider in gallons – $15/gallon – we are presently out, but will make it again on Thursday. Order it with your share for the week of 11/1 or stop by.
Farm Doins
The week centered around finishing up the summer CSA. Bittersweet, it means cold weather ahead and not so many bare feet, but we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful October. We can reminisce about these autumn days as the season changes and so does our wardrobe and our job duties.
Anthony was gone all but Friday, and Ari was scarce here too, so accomplishments were slim. But we did get the broken pig house out of the woods and up behind the house for repairs. Working shareholder John Wilson and Anthony will repair it this week, and hopefully we can then give the pigs another move to fresh woods. We made cider once and also froze Swiss chard, winter squash (we freeze up all of the squash that develops soft spots) and some beautiful lacinato kale that was in the path of the layer chickens who are thoughtfully manuring our west garden field. Some UMass medical students came by so that Jack and I could bend their ears about true sustainability and the medical profession. A personal highlight was the visit by Mary and Lynda, old NOFA friends who stopped by for catch up and supper. And Cathleen shared some fennel liquor this week, in fancy glasses. Friday morning while the others were picking I did a walk and cover crop broadcast on most of the farm. For the first time I felt we had truly met our goal of leaving over 90% of the vegetable growing area covered with lots of green growing plants. Our “secret weapon” for bed prep next spring will be our silage tarps which laid down with appropriate timing (1-2 months in the spring) will perennial growing plants that have been feeding the microbial population all winter, and leave the soil soft and friable for planting. The microbes can exist on the roots and dying plant material until new plants start to feed them. Thursday afternoon through the week end saw a focus of getting bags and tags and administrative work prepared for the launch of the fall CSA on October 25.. Many thanks to the summer CSA shareholders who stuck with us for 22 weeks.