Genes are not our destiny; they are our potential

Perhaps we all have the narrative in our heads that we are certain ways – smart or dumb, talented in sports or music or not, in line for a heart attack or in line to die in our 90’s, all because of our genetics. And although research shows that we indeed have certain propensities, both lucky and unlucky, the study of epigenetics is all the buzz these days. Defined thus, “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.”, a lot of study of late is around potential to beat the odds as it were, of expressing certain diseases or so called negative attributes that we might have inherited. I encourage anyone who is intrigued by this topic to get a copy of Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition, a book about Frances Pottenger’s experiments with cats to improve overall health of the family line with excellent nutrition and also decrease their chances through poor nutrition. I like this quote that I ran across this week, because I am all about beating the odds, in all aspects of my life. Moving away from a feeling that I am stuck with this body or this attitude, or this level of intelligence, or musical ability, or what have you, to a realization that my life is in my own hands is quite invigorating. As we enter this time of renewal on Tuesday with the passing of the Solstice, this knowledge is just the ticket as we consider our New Year’s resolutions.

Speaking of the Solstice, Clare is a Solstice Baby.
Click on picture to watch video!


Daughter Ellen’s Annual New Year’s Cleanse
Hello! The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in the Rawson/Kittredge family. As I’ve been contemplating my new and exciting focus for my upcoming Gentle Winter Cleanse, I recalled a conversation I had with my mom (Julie) a couple years ago. We were discussing the meaning of life, and she promptly said something along the lines of: “To have the healthiest gut microbiome possible so that you can live a long and healthy life and do whatever it is that you love!”
Well, I intend to support people in doing just that in 2022!
If you would like to join me on my upcoming Gentle Winter Cleanse, you’ll have a chance to not only avoid all the toxic and inflammatory foods that might be causing a host of health issues (mental and physical – did you know much anxiety and depression can be directly linked to the gut micro-biome, and/or food sensitivities?), but also learn how, in just 24 hours of eating certain specific foods, you can support the growth of the ” good guys” in your gut, so you can have better immunity, reach an optimum weight, stabilize blood sugar, and correct a host of other imbalances you may be experiencing.
I’ve been offering my gentle 21-day food-based Cleanses for almost 13 years now, so it’s a tried and true program, at a very low cost, which I’d love to have you join if you want to get a handle on better health for 2022!
All the details are here, including what we do and don’t eat, the various bonuses I’m offering with this Cleanse, and the registration/cost. Early bird discount good till Dec. 31st, and save even more when you register with a friend/family member! Please email me with any questions. (

Ellen Kittredge, CHC
Evolutionary Wellness
Nutrition Counseling, Energy Healing, Nature Connection
US Cell phone/What’s App: +1 202-577-1940


Job Opening at MHOF
Many Hands Organic Farm is looking for a full-time farmer. We are a certified organic highly diverse family farm in Barre, MA raising vegetables (2 acres), large and small fruit (1 acre), pigs (8 seasonal), chickens for eggs (175) and meat (250-300), and turkeys (100-150). We focus heavily on carbon sequestering methods on our 55 acres of land and prioritize maximum nutrition and biodiversity and stacking of enterprises. We are no/low till. In Barre for now 40 years, we offer a lot of wisdom and perspective to aspiring farmers looking to gain agricultural understanding. You must be physically strong and have a positive and convivial attitude. Duties include animal, vegetable, fruit management, machine and hand work, carpentry, some chain sawing, sometimes leading volunteers, food preservation and making value added products – you name it, we do it. We start at $15/hour and will pay more depending on experience (and hustle) for 40 hours of work each week (Monday – Friday), with a rare need on weekends. Omnivorous meals (breakfast, lunch and morning snacks) are provided. We are looking to hire as early as February 1 and have work through the year, with fewer hours over the winter months. Apply to or call 978-355-2853. Check us out at Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge


Pre-Order your 2022 CSA Share
Last chance. We are going up next year. Thanks for the continual stream of subscriptions for next year – 17 folks already. 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. If you order in this calendar year and put down a down payment you can be assured of this price. Order here:

Pork Cuts and stock
We have made our first round of sales for our pork and have a few cuts left over – ground pork, regular style ribs and roasts. These cuts are $11/lb. and are available until they run out at the farm. We are also making stock from our heads, tails, bones and trim. We boil the parts down for about a day in water with salt and vinegar (from our farm). Then we separate the meat and marrow and puree it with the water it was cooked in. We sell the stock frozen in quart plastic containers for $7.50. It is a marvelous and flavorful stock for soups. We also have chicken stock available for the same price.
Jennifer put together this nice YouTube of pork stock making. Please note that it is four pounds of meat per head, not 10, that I don’t always just stand around while Clare does the work, and yes, I know that it is a bad idea to talk into the wind if I want to be heard . . .

Working Shareholders
Thinking about coming out to the farm to volunteer? If you like cold weather, starting with us in the winter can be fun. We are hosting working shareholders on Wednesdays and Fridays 8-12, with breakfast and lunch included. Your pay also includes a dozen eggs. Coming on an irregular basis in winter is quite fine. We are always involved in a variety of adventures, and there is a lot of soup stock, lard, soap and salve making besides our outside work. Enquire.


Email contributions

Good Morning Julie ~~ We are so happy to hear you all are on the mend from your bout with covid.  I’ve been breathlessly awaiting your next newsletter to see how you were fairing with it.  I keep your family and you in my daily prayers, but gave special petitions that you would recover quickly.   I was surprised to see how high functioning you were during your recovery.  I was wondering if you could expand on your experience in recovery as well as Jack’s and Claire’s since there seems to be so much mystery for those of us who have not had it yet.

Sending you lots of loving transformative energy!
Have a blessed week!

Love ~ Chris

Hi Chris,

That is so kind of you to keep us in your prayers. The outpouring from all around made it impossible for us all to not get well quickly!

Immune support, physical conditioning, energy balancing and lots of in person contact with other human beings, the 4 cats, 3 dogs and 106 chickens (when I come out the back door there is usually a rush of about 75 chickens coming to see what I might have for them – a very heady experience!) are all things that I try to practice every day, and thus think that a return to health is a multi-factor experience. Short of writing a book on this, however, I offer some things that we did to up our nutrient levels above what we already do.

We upgraded from 5,000 IU of Vitamin D to 20,000 IU
We added black seed oil – a couple of glugs per day – this really helped with chest congestion
We added 50 mg of zinc taken with supper – zinc depletion is, as I understand it, associated with the loss of taste and smell with Covid
We added 500 mg of lysine daily as sometimes Covid can reactivate herpes in the systems of those who have latent herpes (that is me )
I already take about 2,000 mg of vitamin C but would recommend that for those who don’t already
I already take a magnesium complex every day, but would suggest that if you don’t.
And although I take many epsom salts baths, I  upped those to daily, as I understand magnesium is another mineral like zinc that is important in healing from Covid.
Lots of water

I got outside every day, often for extended periods, and also took as many naps as I needed. I hope this is helpful. And thanks again for sending us all that healing energy.

Love, Julie

Hi Julie,

Please take me off your email list. I love you, your farm and the wonderful food you provide. And I respect that it is your decision to not vax — that is not why I’m asking to be taken off your email list.

What I don’t want is to read a discussion about COVID that is all about individual protection (eating healthy) and totally leaves out any responsibility to try to protect others (masks, ventilation, distancing, etc). Especially distressing when discussing “daily well-populated lunches around our kitchen table.”

We’re a community, not just a collection of individuals. I already get too many messages premised on the latter.

I’m glad you all are safe. Too many people I know are not.

Best wishes,

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your note. And I will ask you to go to the very bottom of the email and click unsubscribe. I actually can’t do that from my end.

While I think it is a personal decision to vaccinate or not for Covid, I don’t think it is appropriate for people to determine for others what is safe and what isn’t. If I believed that the best way to protect our people was to prophylactically stay away from one another, I would do so. And as a matter of fact, once I realized I had Covid, I contacted everyone who I came in contact with because of the length of time in my presence or the proximity we were in, who might be exposed. I let them know that I had tested positive.  And then I went through the process of finding folks to sell our turkeys during my contagious time so I would not potentially infect others.

I have read many assertions from scientists who understand viruses that the viruses are so small that masks are totally ineffective for controlling spread. One person made an analogy that stuck with me that suggested that using a mask to be safe from Covid exposure is like putting up a chain link fence to keep mosquitos out. And then there are the studies that show multiple reasons why masking is deleterious to the user.

Regarding ventilation, I agree that it is always a good thing for health, wherever one is.

And distancing, well, in my opinion, we people just don’t do well when we are away from one another. We need proximity to thrive, including hugs. And diseases do spread through us from time to time and have since human time began. And some people die. And because there is a risk of death with this virus, we have always been totally upfront with anyone who comes to the farm, that we rarely wear masks (which in my opinion only provide a false sense of security). And that we are not vaccinated. They can then make their own decisions whether they feel safe in our presence, and take responsibility for their actions. Some folks come to the farm and volunteer but decline eating with us, which is perfectly fine. Each to his or her own comfort level.

I feel that my contribution to the public welfare during this time is to raise health-giving food and make it available to as many folks as possible. Additionally, because I feel that living a healthy lifestyle, including what we put in our mouths, but also how we relate to others, exercise our bodies, and deal with our emotional and spiritual needs is what supports true health.

Thanks for your honest email and best wishes to you. Julie

Farm store hours
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 – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full farm free range lifestyle.
  2. dandelion, holy basil, burdock, yarrow and yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  3. frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
  4. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each
  5. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  6. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  7. frozen lard – $20/quart
  8. frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart
  9. frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart
  10. frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $11/lb. – supplies waning quickly
Farm Doins
Over the past two weeks we have made in excess of 100 quarts of pork stock, a couple batches of chicken stock with old layers and feet as the base, 50 or so quarts of lard, 2 batches of soap (lavender and peppermint), and a batch of comfrey salve. Outside, we stacked 6 cords of wood for winter, fixed 3 bird houses and parked them for winter, finished taking down one of the two hoop houses that we will take down, picked up about half of our sandbags and stored them on field edges, gathered 6 1 ton totes of leaves (that’s one ton of feed, not of leaves!), and two truckloads of leaves to use as winter mulch for the strawberries. We had a sad chicken story on Friday. We were on the road raking leaves and all of the dogs were there. A woman drove by fast with barking dogs in her car. Dingo went crazy and chased after her, and a chicken who had come up to check for worms under our disturbed leaves ran across the road just in time to get nailed by the car. Franny quickly dispatched her after her fatal wound. Then there was a huge piece of town equipment that came by followed by a school bus, but no other incidents . . .On Thursday and Friday we staged a last ditch effort to finish weeding the strawberries before we dumped the leaves on them. It was actually quite fun to weed on December 16 and 17! We rehung the barn tractor door, and winterized our mowers. So, to answer the interminable questions about ‘what do we really do in the winter?’ the answer is that we make things to eat and put on or in your body, and catch up on all of the work we should have gotten done in the fall. Well, it isn’t really winter yet, I suppose. But stay tuned for our exploits as we enjoy January, February and March on the farm – more relaxed and also full of good exercise for not too many hours in a row.
Gathering leaves in the driveway while Franny and Skippy supervise.
Chickens enhancing their diet with worms that are often right  under the leaf litter.
Moving sandbags.
Too busy to get a shot while in process. Special thanks to Doodle and Raffi.
As it turns out, we spend a lot of time on the road these days, moving houses up for repairs and collecting leaves off the roadside.
Making comfrey salve, and just to confirm that this double recipe has 4 quarts of olive oil (that is 16 cups) and 8 cups of dried comfrey leaf.
Click on picture to view movie.
Beautiful comfrey salve.
Picking up leaves off of the road.
These leaves will make a thick mulch for the strawberries this winter and hopefully the week end storm will cover them so they don’t blow away.
And Merry Christmas, by the way. I hope you all have had as stellar a December as I have.