Two people kneeling near a chicken coop

Everybody wins when we ask for help

“Everybody wins when we ask for help”

– Rob Wergin

I really enjoyed this very simple but elegant piece of advice this week. In this case Mr. Wergin was speaking of asking for help from our spiritual guides, but even if we are merely speaking of the physical plane, it is a sound practice. I know that sometimes I will defer asking because I don’t want to “bother” someone. But then I remember that when someone asks me for help or advice, it provides me with a sense of connection and allows me to be of service and to use my gifts.

Personal Health Tips

How to Make Beet Salad at Home

Daring Classrooms

An interesting talk that I happened upon regarding shame, blame and empowerment.Brene Brown – “Daring Classrooms”

Agricultural Education from MHOF

Early Season Cover Cropping

This year we are making a concerted effort to get in some early cover crops of peas and oats, and sometimes daikon, ahead of crops that will be going in the ground late May or early June like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, etc. We tarped the areas that will be accepting early crops, but for these later crops, there is a real opportunity to build biomass, keep the soil covered in green growing plants, and keep the microbiology at the kitchen table, rather than starving.

The worms are happy too, and these fast growing crops will provide a lot of good tilth to the soil so that our transplants can hop right into a good growing situation. When it is time to make the switch over from covers to vegetables, we will mow the crops down, make holes for transplants, pop them in and then mulch the soil.

Two people hoeing a garden bed

Prepping the garden for oats and peas

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So we started this week hoeing up green residue (mostly grass and overwintered clover), and then immediately doing a fertility soil drench and broadcasting these cover crop seeds. We are running against the clock however, because every day the grass (which is not such a friend in annual systems) greens up and more fully roots. Our goal is to have the 8 beds in the south field, 5 trellises in the north, and 9 beds in the west, hoed, sprayed and cover cropped by week’s end. We actually couldn’t start the process this week until midday on Wednesday as the ground was still frozen. But we completed the garden’s 7 beds and got a start on the south.
Oat and pea seeds in a white bucket

Planting the oats and peas

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I can speak to your group about organic gardening

I had a great time speaking at an organic gardening workshop at the North Brookfield library last Monday. This is a wonderful time of year to get the juices going to have the “best garden ever.” If you would like me to talk to your group or library, I can bring a PowerPoint presentation and charge $100. You will need to provide the laptop and a wall or screen and make all the arrangements for attendance and site.

More Farming Education

NOFA Podcast

This was a fascinating and well-run podcast in the NOFA series that taught me everything I know about farming sugar kelp (previously my knowledge base was at zero). I was reminded why I like being with farmers who share knowledge, resources and technique.
A person in orange rain gear on a boat pulling in seaweed

NOFA Podcast with Suzie Flores

Season 5 Ep. 1 Tools and Practices of Ocean Farming Kelp

Opportunities from MHOF

Now is the Time to Join the CSA

We had a good bite from the College of the Holy Cross this week. They might sponsor a CSA pick up site for their staff and students. And a number of small shares came in too. We are still in an uphill climb for memberships. With $13,700 in the kitty, we still need to attract another $54,000 in CSA sales to make budget for 2022.   Now is a good time to invest in our farm and in your good health – a win-win. Expenses run high this time of year. This week we dropped $2,000 for fertility. See Below for a helpful link for signing up for the CSA.

A basket of greens, tomatoes and peaches poured onto a table

August 30 Large Share, 2021


Working Shareholders

We had a rash of outreach from folks wanting to help out on weekends. Chantel and Alexandria are coming back for season 2. Sam signed on Saturday to be a regular am chore person. Welcome Sam. And it looks like we might have Sundays covered too. We may be close to all set for weekend chores by publication. However, we are still looking for working shareholders during the week. Be in touch. Lots of exercise possibilities right now! Check the link below.

A person snuggling kittens

Sam enjoying a moment with our kittens after chores and good breakfast.

Farm Store Hours

Monday-Friday: 12-1 pm
Tuesday: 5-7pm
Friday: 5-7pm

Always call ahead to be sure of supply
(978) 355-2853; (978) 257-1192

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. Tinctures (Holy basil, burdock, yellow dock)- 2 ounce bottles – $12 each

  3. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $10 each

  4. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each

  5. 2 ounce jars of calendula salve – $10 each

  6. Garlic powder – $10/2 ounce

  7. Frozen pork stock – $7.50/quart

  8. Frozen chicken stock – $7.50/quart

  9.  Frozen pork cuts –regular ribs, ground pork and roasts – $12/lb

  10.  Ham and bacon – $18/lb

How About an Easter Ham?

Let me tell you how tasty they are! We have a few left.
A hand holding a cooked ham, slicing it with a knife

Sign Up Now for MHOF 2022 Meat

Some folks mentioned that we have not yet announced that our meat offerings for 2022 are available. Well, they are.

You can pre-order meat birds for August 28, pork for late November and turkeys for the week of Thanksgiving.

Two red pigs laying in the shade

Pigs resting on August 27, 2021

All of our meat is certified organic, which out of the starting gate means that they are eating GMO-free feed. But we also carefully range them with daily moves for all of the poultry, on hay pastures or end of season garden beds. For the pigs, they move through the woods and woods edges with a biweekly move to a new location. Our meat is of the highest quality, and taste. See the link below to read more and to place an order.

Close up of turkey poults

Little turkeys on pasture August 18, 2021

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Purchase MHOF Meat

Jobs at MHOF

We hired Christy Bassett this week. Christy and I first met back in 2017 when she interviewed for the NOFA/Mass membership coordinator position. I was impressed during her interview that she very nicely pointed out how we could be doing a better job of membership outreach. We hired her and then she rose through the NOFA hierarchy into the role of communications director. She has really smartened up all of NOFA communications.

Two people sitting at a table in front of laptop computers

Jennifer and Christy going over the transition

When I left NOFA in 2020 Christy was one of those folks who I was unhappy to lose in a close collegial relationship. But when Jennifer found it necessary to focus more on her own business, I reached back out to Christy, and she was game for this gig. She is hard at it already and will soon have us dressed up like nobody’s business. Welcome Christy, who, handily, lives across town and has been a shareholder for several years.

Other Opportunities

Good Local Maple Syrup

From Travis Knechtel

“Our syrup is a small family operation. We primarily tap in West Orange along the Millers River Valley.  We currently have syrup in tins, quart mason jars, plastic, and 1/2 liter glass jugs.

Tins and quarts – 20 each

1/2 liter jugs – $10 each.

We have all grades in stock from fancy to dark.

Folks can call or text me to make arrangements to purchase syrup:

Farm Doin’s

This week we finished the pruning of all of our fruit trees.

Monday afternoon we took a moment to strain and bottle our yellow dock tincture and now have it back in supply.

We had to straighten out the tarps again this week due to the high winds.

On Wednesday we moved all the seedlings back out to the hoop house after the severe cold snap. Some of the youngsters had come up and were lying flat reaching for the sun, but hopefully they are righted now that they get full sun.

On Friday we started about 60 more flats of seedlings and refilled our attached greenhouse with flats of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, fennel and endive.

We started the great pre-season hoeing on Wednesday which will probably go on for another week or two.

Jonathan and John made good progress on the brooder house.

Many of us took some time to weed spinach and lettuce in the yellow house that is growing in ground.

We move quickly from one job to the next now and spring has definitely sprung and we are starting the race with the sun clock.

Two people moving 50 lb bags of fertilizer

After hoeing for a couple of hours we thought it would be fun to unload 1 ½ tons of fertilizer that Brandon from Horse and Buggy brought to us on Thursday.

Bags of fertilizer in a tractor bucket

Clare guides the fertilizer up to the second floor of the barn for us to unload and store.

A person moving flats of seedlings inside

Seedlings in, seedlings out!

A person pouring liquid into a jar

Debbie pouring off the yellow dock tincture.

Two people kneeling near a chicken coop

Paula and Kerri doing chicken chores.

Two people inside a chicken coop

This week Jonathan and Clare installed another egg laying box in each chicken tractor to enhance the ladies’ experience.

A man stands in front of a newly framed wall

Jonathan at the end of the work week in front of the framed in brooder house wall.

Moving into busy time!


Are you a customer or fellow farmer who has something to let folks know about? Especially if your goods or service are not what we offer, we are quite happy to “advertise” (for free of course) your wares for you. Enquire.