Don’t put ice cream on top of poop – Kim D’Eramo

Welcome back everyone. I missed you! After looking at light boxes for 3 plus weeks now (almost 2 weeks to go), I actually am seeing better! Most noticeable is that it is easier to drive places and to do it with calmness. The light box will be followed by 12 weeks of vision therapy. Sky is the limit!

My inner work these days has been shepherded by The Tapping Summit – It is getting down to the end, but you may be able to pick up the last few sessions. All free, and all good food for thought. Everyone talks about fight or flight these days, probably because we so often are in that place of triple warmer overdrive. I used that first quote to get your attention, and here are some other wonderful quotes/concepts that I picked up this week: “as within so without”, “shifting our physiology,” “receive the experience I am having now,” “invite the trigger,” “growth requires risk,” “creativity requires risk,” “if you don’t make a choice, you have still made a choice,” “failure is part of success,” “feeding the body from inside out”. Tapping is free and there are hundreds of resources on the internet. This particular realm of energy psychology focuses on accessing the unconscious (some say that we are only about 10% directed by our conscious mind and 90% by our unconscious) and changing old and no longer productive “tapes” that we have in there to mature and constructive behaviors and thoughts. Cool stuff. Check it out!

Never too early to join the CSA
March is CSA sign up month. We are putting on a super push this month to attract you in. This is our major fundraiser for the farm and it can be your source of true health for half of the year. We spare nothing to bring you the healthiest, most nutrient dense produce possible – and the taste is phenomenal. As I noted at lunch on Friday, eating our collards is like eating a steak – so full of nutrition. This year we are going to feature regular education on many of our crops, how to use them, how to preserve them for winter, how to enjoy their health giving properties. We are likely to run a couple of food prep, food preservation workshops this summer too.
You can sign up here –
And if you are already a member and can help us with outreach, contact me at We can discuss ways to reach out to your friends and relatives. We now have pick up sites in Barre, the Barre Health Center, Holden twice, Worcester, Princeton, Gardner, Athol, Shrewsbury, and Sutton.

Large shares in the bag on July 9

Food Corner:  Chard
Chard is a versatile vegetable that you will likely receive 22 out of 22 weeks with our CSA share.  You can throw it in just about any dish to add a punch of nutrition into your meal.  It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin A, C, & E to name a few.  It has a mild sweet earthy taste with bitter and astringent qualities.  It stimulates peristalsis (the movement of food through the GI) and is a known diuretic.  While cooking, you use both the stalks and leaves.  The stalks have a similar consistency of cooked celery but a little softer.
Here is a link to how to prep and store your chard:
Here is a link for some creative chard recipes:

Just saying, I take an Epsom salts bath about 5 days per week. Happy, calm, inspired is how I always feel upon completion. Enjoy this article by Ellen. World peace, I am certain, would follow immediately upon magnesium sufficiency in our bodies!

Mad for Magnesium – Ellen Kittredge
Did you know that magnesium is involved in over 300 different physiological processes in this body?

A couple key highlights that we might be important to consider given your own personal health status include:

  • Its ability to relieve stress
  •  The role it plays in vitamin D absorption/creation (if you have struggled to keep vitamin D levels high, it may be because you are magnesium deficient)
  • The role a deficiency of this nutrient plays in constipation
  • The way it supports the heart (irregular heart beats can be linked to magnesium deficiency – check with your doctor)
  • The role it plays in sleep (you may want to consider taking this if you are not sleeping well/suffer from insomnia).

Magnesium supports the heart muscle (in fact deficiencies are associated with a variety of heart troubles), relaxes muscles and the nervous system, allows for improved blood flow of oxygen and nutrients through the body, and relieves menstrual cramping. Magnesium is also essential for bone-building, and it greatly increases the alkalinity of the blood, which brings significant health benefits.

Did you know that magnesium is 18 times more concentrated in the heart than in the bloodstream? Wow! Given that heart-related conditions seem to continue to be on the rise, this is really essential info to be aware of!

Unfortunately magnesium deficiency is rampant. Some estimates are that least 80 percent of Americans (I imagine it would be similar in other countries) are magnesium deficient. This deficiency won’t show up on a blood test until it is quite severe, so there is no way to test for it, unless you do deeper cellular testing.

It seems it may be right up there with Vitamin D deficiency as a chronic deficiency for most of us. The main reasons for this are that the soil substrates that we grow our food on may be depleted already in magnesium, AND the the typical diet is very deficient in magnesium.

Plus, we burn through magnesium big time when we are under stress! And I know some of you may feel that these last two years have been some of the most stressful of your life.

So, what do we do about this?

The highest natural source of magnesium is in raw cacao, which is why so many people crave chocolate, and feel better when eating it. (There are other reasons and other things that are in the chocolate too). Raw cacao, if used regularly in the diet, can support correction of this common deficiency.

Other common food sources of magnesium that also contribute to an overall healthy anti-inflammatory diet are: nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), chard, spinach, and all the dark leafy greens, pink salt, fish, nuts, legumes, sprouts, sea veggies, avocados and bananas. Black beans are the highest in magnesium of all the legumes/beans.

How about supplementation?

While we ideally want to be getting all of our nutrients from the food we eat, because it can be hard to get adequate amounts of certain nutrients in the diet, it can be wise to consider supplementation.

Here are my three favorite non-food ways to bring more magnesium into the body.

1. Epsom salts baths
2. Magnesium spray or oil that is applied topically to the body
3. Internal supplementation

Epsom salts baths are such a gift to the body! And if you don’t have a bathtub, foot baths that you’d added ample amounts of epsom salts to is another great way to absorb this essential nutrient into the body.

For folks with really sensitive digestion, the topical spray or oil may be the best method of application.

For most people, internal supplementation is likely beneficial, but I stay away from making blanket statements when it comes to supplementing with anything, even something that is relatively very safe, like magnesium, because especially if you are on medications, you will need to just double-check with your doctor regarding possible contraindications. A quick google search with any medications you are taking will pull up the answer to whether there is data on contraindications.

I will share though that the brand I take here in the UK is called Advanced Magnesium by Autoimmune Research. I really love how it works for my body and that it has multiple forms of magnesium in it, which then helps in various different ways. In the US, I recommend calling the Village Green Apothecary in Bethesda, MD (where I used to work) or going to your local health food store to look at brands. There are many good brands to chose from, but they will likely not be at CVS, Walgreens, (Boots in the UK) or a place like that.

There are many different forms of magnesium, so it can get a little confusing when you start to look at brands/forms.

Guidance on the many brands/types of magnesium

Generally speaking I recommend to not take the form of magnesium that is Magnesium Oxide UNLESS you are constipated. It’s the best form to take if you are constipated, but it will not absorb well into the tissues and cells of the body so is not great at replenishing depleted cells. Use to become un-constipated, and then switch over to a form that is more absorbable!

Many people find Magnesium Citrate (a common brand is called Natural Calm) to work well for both sleep and for stimulating a healthy bowel movement in the morning, so that’s a brand I often recommend. Magnesium Citrate also works well to relieve constipation, AND the cells can absorb it, so it’s beneficial all around. However, Magnesium Citrate is NOT a good form for someone with histamine intolerance to take, as it is fermented.

Rather than going into too much more detail here, if you’d like to look into the specific forms a bit more to determine which form(s) might be best for YOU, Here’s is one helpful article. And here is another.

Drugs and Magnesium

There are certain drugs that deplete magnesium, so definitely consider talking with your trusted medical professional about your magnesium levels if you’re taking any of the following prescription meds: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Depakote.

Also, did you know that caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients in addition to causing the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, trace minerals and all essential elements necessary for good health?

Magnesium and Green Veggies

Despite the widely divergent dietary theories you may have come across in your own research and reading, one area that every nutritionist, registered dietitian and other health professional can agree upon is that we should eat more vegetables.

And I’d have to add my own voice to that recommendation as well…while perhaps getting a little more specific.

While all vegetables contain essential sources of some of the key nutrients our body needs to function and stay healthy, in my mind all veggies are not created equal.

Green vegetables, specifically dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, collards, chard, cabbage, bok choy, mustard greens, escarole, etc (and this is not a complete list – there are many more!) are the types of vegetable that are both most missing in the standard American diet, and are perhaps the most nutritious.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. They also contain high amounts of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

Some of the specific benefits that dark leafy greens offer include: blood purification, cancer prevention (especially the greens that belongs to the brassica or cruciferous family, like broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards and mustard greens), strengthened immune system, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, and cleansing of the some of the main organs of elimination, like the kidneys and liver. Greens also help to improve circulation and to clear congestion in the lungs.

Minerals, Greens and Cravings 

I find that my clients who make a commitment to eating at least a cup of dark leafy greens per day for two weeks find that their cravings for salt go away, and I believe this is because the minerals in the greens are helping to satisfy the mineral needs (including magnesium) that their body has. Interestingly enough, salt cravings can actually be an indication of inadequate mineral levels in the body.

I also find adding greens into the diet be helpful with sweet cravings, This is because they give the body such great energy through increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals that are nourishing the cells, that the body no longer craves sugar for energy. Simply feeding the body with the right foods, those foods that contain high amounts of nutrients, does wonders for cravings and for energy.

Give your body the gift of good health, and add in a dark leafy green today! (see recipes below for the most seasonally appraise choices!)

Eating more greens will do wonders for your overall nutritional status, and also specifically help to boost your cellular levels of magnesium.

Want to increase the likelihood that you are getting the highest levels of magnesium in your green veggies? Make sure you are sourcing your greens from local, organic/biodynamic, and/or farms that practice adding soil amendments and otherwise doing things to increase the levels of nutrients in the soil/plants.

Preparing Those Delicious Magnesium Rich Greens

If you’re unsure of how to prepare greens, here’s a few ideas for you!

Boiling makes greens plump. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea if you’re using organic greens.

Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to shed a little around the middle.

Raw salad is also a wonderful preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling, and supplies live enzymes.

Might You Be Magnesium Deficient?

If you’re wondering if this article today applies to you, I want to direct you to a helpful article that lists ten signs of magnesium deficiency.

I hope, as always, that you’ve found today’s article helpful, inspiring and supportive in any effort you may have to optimize your health and wellness!

Happy eating to you! Please enjoy the relaxing, heart-healing and nervous system regulating effects of adequate magnesium levels in your diet as you adopt any recommendations above that feel aligned for you!

p.s. Are you in need of some focused and individualized support with your health goals? I have a little time in my schedule between now and early April. Things are likely to get quite busy again starting in April, so now is a great time to schedule with me for some private support!

And on the dark side – everyone needs to understand the role of glyphosate (RoundUp) in our lives. It is ubiquitous. I encourage you to educate yourself if you haven’t yet, and be part of a non-pesticidal solution for our world. For a deep dive check out Carey Gilam’s book – Whitewash –

The Poison in Our Daily Bread: Glyphosate Contamination Widespread in Essential Foods – thanks to Ed Stockman – Jennifer Margulis and Stephanie Senneff – Thanks to Laurie Lentz-Marino

Working Shareholders
We are well set for Friday working shareholders, but are in need of folks for Mondays and Wednesdays. On Monday you get the pleasure of working alongside the kids from Stetson School, as an additional benefit. Read more here on what working shareholders “get” – . I absolutely love our working shareholders who are really the backbone of our success as a farm. Most of us this year are over 60, but we love the young uns’ too.

My thoughts about the farm:
Learning. Growing. Therapy!
I absolutely LOVE being a farm volunteer! I wished I found Many Hands years ago!
Julie and Jack and Clare have created such an inviting, loving, and accepting work environment especially for one, like me, who knew nothing about farming. I learn something every time I visit!
I look forward to my FriYays at the Farm…My heart always does a happy dance when I arrive! It’s like free therapy!
It is truly a blessing to me to be able to participate in Julie & Jacks mission/dream to bring high quality, nutritious, organic food to local folks… while participating in farming practices that are environmentally responsible. I especially enjoy the free-range farm animals and how they model treating them with love & kindness!
Got to mention ….all of the food tastes…amazing! Julie is so kind to offer her volunteers a full breakfast and nutritious lunch…she is the best Organic chef I know!! Love her to pieces
Kerri Mahan

We hired Jonathan
At some point when I was off-line Jonathan Anderson, an old customer, friend and colleague wrote and asked, “Is the job still open?” Jack and I called him up and hired him on the spot. He has been here for 3 weeks already and is a treasured member of our team. Soft spoken, competent, positive spirited, neat! (so good at cleaning up afterwards), he is at present farming part of the day and managing the garage upgrade part of the day. He is tall and strong too. And he is going to manage a Sutton drop off for the CSA too. We are elated.

We also hired Kamarin
Kamarin lives at Stetson School. I have had my eye on this remarkably competent, kind, executive, strong go getter when he comes for his Stetson work days on a rotation with the other Stetson kids. He worked for us on school vacation week and topped all of Clare and my expectations. We can’t wait to have him back in April and then over the summer.

Another job opening – for a carpenter
Every 20 – 40 years we need to upgrade our various buildings and sheds. This spring and summer we are starting with the garage, presently in process. If all goes well we will move onto other projects.
Looking for help reroofing and repairing a one-story building.

Many Hands Organic Farm, Barre, MA is looking for one or two workers to help stripping and replacing a low roof on our storage building/brooder house. We also will be replacing a couple of doors and windows and repairing the sheathing.  Depending on people’s schedules and how many workers we can hire the work should take one to two months, possibly into May. This work will be accomplished on weekday afternoons. We have other projects which we might want to do this spring if this one goes well.

We will hire unskilled trainees or workers with experience in construction and pay accordingly, starting at $15 per hour. You will need a car or other way to get to our farm each day. Contact Jack at; 978-355-2853

Lyme and the Buhner Protocol

I know it is still March, but it is never too early to get your tick management protocols in place.
Natural Tick Repellent – Stephen Buhner
Take ½ teaspoon each of the essential oils

  • Rhododendron Tomentosum
  • Tagetes Minuta
  • Chanaecyparis nootkatensis
  • Artemisia absinthium
  • Myrica gale (bog myrtle)
  • Juniperus Virginia
  • Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon eucalyptus)
  • Origanum majorana (marjoram)
Add the essential oils to 8 ounces pure grain alcohol – 95%. Blend well and keep in a tightly topped brown bottle out of the sun. These oils range in effectiveness from 50-95 % in repelling ticks. You can put it in a 1 ounce brown herb bottle with a spray spritzer attachment for daily use.
On Farm videos on this and that

Deb and Paula putting in the tracking for the blue house.

Kerri feeding the chickens.

Eggs and veg for breakfast.

Seedlings came up in 8 days – our first chard and kale.

Starting some peas and oats in blue house.

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. holy basil, burdock, 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. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each
  7. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  8. frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart
  9. frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart
  10.  frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb.
  11.  ham and bacon – $18/lb.

Farm Doins
A lot can happen in the space of 3 weeks. Our last update was on February 14. Here Clare, Liz, Leslie and Laurie are sorting screws so that we could clean up the shed. We can now get in and find stuff.

We also cleaned up the shed attic, gave away all of the bee stuff (yes, we are out of business) and are now stashing little bits of fencing therein.

Jack and Jonathan discuss the garage project.

Starting seeds – Clare, Laurie, Kamarin, Jonathan.

Kamarin is the man. We were graced with his presence on school vacation week.  He will be back whenever his schedule permits over the next year.

Liz Williams is our new girl traveling from Arlington every Wednesday.

Yes, we finished the blue house, with an amazing array of leadership and support staff over the 6-8 weeks that it took us to completely rebuild it.

Eloise had her kittens on February 25, on our bed, as usual.

Jonathan doing the weekly foliar in the yellow house. Lettuce looks good, spinach still coming up. Chickweed growing strong (no, we didn’t plant that!)

Prepping beds in the blue house.

We actually pruned the entire home orchard this past Thursday and Friday, took down some dead trees, and cleaned up the firewood and brush. A very successful start to the pruning season.

The garage crew reconnoiters. Friday they fixed the corner of the garage where a big truck took it out several years ago. Great leadership by John and Stu as always.

I know, I know, it has been really cold this past week, but the sun is strong and there is spring in the air!