This Thanksgiving, unlike those for the past 40 years, was spent by Jack and me all by ourselves. Yet I don’t think I have ever felt quite so thankful for all the blessings that have come our way, especially in the past week. Last week Jack and I tested positive for Covid, and Anthony too, closely followed by Clare. Yet on Monday we had to get 80 final CSA shares out the door, and get 120 turkeys to slaughter, back again and then sold to on farm customers. For different reasons and with differing levels of protection for themselves, our farm volunteers pulled together to help us make this final push. Special thanks to Dan, Maya, John, Juan, Forrest, Leslie, Ken, Tom, Jenn, Nikki, and Deb who went over and above to make it possible for us to meet our commitments this past week. As I recuperate I come into a greater understanding of what it means to be connected to other human beings and all life (and perhaps those inanimate objects like rocks too!). And with a little more rest, I will be chomping at the bit to make 2022 a banner year for the farm!
Maya and Ari are now gone. Many thanks to these two young people who started out as working shareholders in May of 2020. After working with them for approximately 2 hours I decided to hire them, and never regretted my decision.
Ari had been a paying shareholder for the three years while a student at Clark. Clearly an organizer even then as a shareholder, Ari organized other students from Clark to get shares and support our farm efforts. Their signature hello in the morning was always, “How can I be of service”, followed by jumping right in to whatever task I put before them. Always patient with our sometimes overwhelming number of volunteers, Ari would always take volunteers in hand and find something useful for them to do if I had become too flustered or busy to be able to properly employ them. Once Ari also took over the job of communications director, I sighed a huge breath of relief as I passed off innumerable administrative responsibilities to this person who was constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to get us out there.
Ari in the bean patch.
Equally as engaged, Maya would often show up at the kitchen sink in the morning, washing up the massive amounts of dishes that accumulate every morning as we prepare breakfast for 6 or 8 and lunch for 10 or 12. I actually hold great respect for those who will do the dishes, willingly, quickly and joyfully, as I think it shows a great level of self-confidence in the face of what some might consider grunge work. I always said to Maya that I wished I had that solid sense of self when I was her age. Competent in all things agricultural, and steady and responsible, and ready to step up for the heavier work when needed, Maya was imminently reliable too. And she upped our game on the herbal front, with a notable addition of 5 new tincture products this year. I often found myself sharing important personal thoughts and feelings with Maya, who has a way of listening without probing, and witnessing without judgment.
Maya with her tinctures.
Maya and Ari combined were 1/3 of the 2021 super-staff on the farm. We all will hold them in the highest regard in our memories as they strike out into the unknown life beyond the farm. Blessings to you both and our most humble thanks.
The CSA is over for 2021
Starting around May 1 Clare and I, though we have been planning and actualizing for the upcoming 27 weeks of the CSA (half a year), start to lose a little sleep at night wondering if we will have the food that we need to make the CSA successful, especially in the first weeks of June. By July 15 we know that we are proceeding well, despite any snows in May, drought in June, excessive rain in July, or any of the other curve balls that will be thrown our way. The anxiety starts to sneak back in around October 15 with no assurance that we won’t have a huge snow storm or a hard hard frost, despite the fact that we still have 6 weeks to go. But we made it this year, with no need to do a massive picking push in early November, and we are indeed grateful that Mother Nature has allowed us another pass. As we immediately start planning for next year, please take this chance to respond to our CSA surveys (both summer and fall) that we have sent to you. It will help us plan better and hopefully meet your needs for our 2022 season. Look for an email from Jennifer with a last chance to respond to the survey.
Winter egg shares
This is a new offering this year. For us to be able to provide eggs for shares during the season, we also need to sell eggs the rest of the year. Though we have a couple of wholesale accounts, we need to keep the direct sales going. Check it out here and sign up for either a Worcester pick up or at the farm. https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/winter-egg-csa/ For those of you who want to buy from the farm and don’t want to be particularly regular about it, just give a call or shoot an email to make sure we have eggs.
Nettles – I am sorry that for whatever reason we don’t have much of a natural supply of nettles on our farm, though they are commonly found in this region. Nettles is one of the regular constituents in our daily tea. Here is a good article that explains why nettles can be so valuable a constituent in you daily regimen. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8
Dr Zach Bush – https://zachbushmd.com/virome-replay/
Virome: A Template For A Regenerative Future
Zach Bush is putting out a lot of education right now about how the virome and the biome work in the human body. Here is another video that I hope you enjoy.
I have not had the head space until now to go deeper into my Ag education. But for the next 4 months, I hope to share a lot of great resources with you. I heard this thoughtful podcast by John Kempf (Advancing Eco Agriculture) with Dale Strickler of Green Cover Seed. http://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episode-74-dale-strickler?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=186467723&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9sdW-VLf7BXr0SQBjM0QFf5celxSCIOtksk3rteT6zzi52DeZP8jOPVjo4qL1GvN1wRRh99bobYlVaLA32Lfy47TfnsA&utm_content=186467723&utm_source=hs_email
Circle of Song Concert, Friday, December 3 7pm, Barre Congregational Church, 30 Park Street
We will be performing the following pieces in the first portion of the concert.
Long Time Ago by Aaron Copland
Ching-A-Ring Chaw also by Copland
Joy Shall Come in the Morning by Mary Alice Amidon
Sure on the Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen
What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
The highlight of the concert will be our rendition of A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. We will be performing movements 1, 4, 5 and 7 from this 7 movement choral masterpiece. Written between 1865 and 1868 this requiem may have been inspired by the death of Brahms’ mother. We will attempt to do justice to this very intricate but also accessible piece of music that is beloved through the ages.
We would all love to see you there to help us enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season in choral song.
Pre-Order your 2022 CSA Share
Thanks for the continual stream of subscriptions for next year. Your commitment to our solvency as a family, and more and more a community farm, inspires us to more agricultural aspirational heights.
We are offering pre-orders for 2022 CSA shares now. Put down a full payment, half payment, or a $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: https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
From time to time we will have guest articles from Jennifer. Enjoy.
by Jennifer Peck
Director of Communications @ MHOF, Ayurveda Health Counselor, Yoga Teacher and Reiki Master
As I reflect over the past couple of weeks, it’s had me thinking a lot about immunity and how now is the time to strengthen it with a lot of sickness going around. I consider myself pretty healthy. I haven’t been sick for many years. Well, it hit me, in the past 2 weeks I have been sick 2 times with 2 different bugs.
A wise woman told me recently told me, “We are in charge of our own immunity.” I wholeheartedly believe this and Ayurveda teaches us how to build and keep our immune systems running optimally.
Ayurveda, Sanskrit word for Science of Life, knowledge of life, is the Science of self-healing. It is an ancient holistic healing system that is still the largest healthcare system in the world. It recognizes that we are each unique, so our lifestyle and diet for great health may look different from person to person.
Ojas is Ayurveda’s word for immunity and healthy tissue. It refers to our underlying strength and vitality. Ojas gives our body the ability to endure physical and chemical stress and is a reserve to draw upon during the higher stress times of life. Ojas is affected by the foods we eat as well as our lifestyle habits. There are 3 areas to build Ojas; on a physical, mental and spiritual levels.
What and how we eat are critical to the health of immunity. Ideally all of our meals come from whole, fresh foods that are cooked daily. We should strive to eliminate processed foods and avoid eating too many leftovers.
Additionally, eating three meals a day at the same time every day with our biggest meal at noontime and avoiding unnecessary snacking is best for optimal health. I know there’s a lot of debate between eating smaller meals throughout the day verses three meals without snacking. Our digestive tract needs time to rest and digest before the next meal so that it can properly prepare for the next meal. If we are constantly eating, we don’t give our bodies the time needed for proper digestion and assimilation. Then Ama (toxins) begin to build in the body, relocate to the weak spot in your body, and over time becomes sickness or disease. Ama weakens the immune system.
Then there’s how we eat. Many of us eat mindlessly; while working in the office, in front of the TV, in our cars on the way to work, etc. This is a dangerous habit as we become completely unaware of what and how much we are eating. At the same time, we also ingest the stress and emotions that come with whatever it is that we are doing while eating. We tend to eat at a face pace and don’t chew enough, which is taxing for the digestive system. Working towards eating your meals in a quiet undistracted space and immersing yourself in the experience of eating and each taste will do wonders for health.
Our diets should change through the year, with the seasons. This is one of the things I love the most about a CSA share! Nature provides us what we need, when we need it. If you’ve had the great opportunity to join the MHOF CSA, you may notice that it starts light, with a lot of greens. As we come into summer, the bounty changes, yes we still have greens, but cucumbers and squashes are cooling vegetables that are prominent this time of year. As we approach fall, root vegetables, squashes and hearty greens like Brussels sprouts and broccoli are abundant.
Following the cycles of nature is the ideal way to boost our immune system and to have good health. One of the most basic ways to get a start on the road to better health is by eating 3 meals a day at the same time with lunch being your largest meal. Go to bed before 10 and wake before the sun rises. Get outside every day regardless the weather, even if just for a moment. Take time to consciously breathe throughout the day. Give yourself permission to take a break and find silence and stillness each day. Learn to slow down and let go.
Farm store hours
M-F – 12-1 pm
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.
Available this week
- Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full farm free range lifestyle.
- dandelion, holy basil, burdock, yarrow and yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
- frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
- 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $8 each
- 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
- garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
Besides scurrying to get out the final CSA and managing turkeys and sales this week, we were able to collect carrots and beets for the root cellar before we called it quits for the harvest of vegetables for 2021. We picked up most of the row cover and shut off the water system to the field. Next week we will finish covering the garlic, picking up hoses, putting away sand bags and getting the bird houses prepped for winter. Working shareholders will come on Wednesdays and Fridays and we will go to diminished farm hours.
Well, we got the van stuck in the field on Monday, after we had loaded a bunch of turkeys in the back of it.
Digging, adding lots of sand, using board.
No chance to get a final picture of us getting it out, as we were all quite busy pushing from behind!
A walk in full of turkeys!
Tom below, Anthony on the tractor bucket and Clare receiving banana boxes on the second floor of the barn – we now have enough boxes for egg sales for many months into the future!