PFAS – per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances

Thanks, Rich, for sending over this article on sewage sludge and what it has done to farmland and the food grown on it. Here is the link:

(Note: it looks like some web browsers may require you to “create a free account” on the Wall Street Journal website in order to read the article. If you can’t access it easily please contact me for a text copy of the article that I can share with you via email.)

Katia and Brendan, the heroine and hero of this story, used to farm right down the road from us. At the time they were renting land on 17 farms in the area in order to accomplish their goal of raising organic dairy cows and selling their grass-fed certified organic milk.  And at that time there were very few folks raising this highest quality product. Jack and I were proud to be among the many folks who helped them out financially to buy a beautiful farm in Albion, ME so that they wouldn’t have to work quite so hard. You might note in the article that Katia is quoted as saying that they work 120 hours per week each on their farm. Dairy farmers are the farmers that have the most unrelenting work schedule, and everyone who eats any dairy products needs to know what a life investment they make to bring you this wonderful treat.

Katia Holmes learned earlier this year that the milk produced by her farm’s cows had a chemical that exceeded the state limit.

Regarding sludge, back in 1997 Jack and I in our roles in the Northeast Organic Farming Association launched a campaign to force the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to take the word “organic” off of their sludge fertilizer product. By the way, the word “bio-solids” was soon inserted in the place of “sludge” because it didn’t sound so bad. With the help of Toxics Action, an organization in Boston, we were able to accomplish our goals. And there were tireless leaders in NOFA-NH who worked on this topic for years.

My reading of 1491 supported my intuition that the collapse of the great civilizations was brought on by human beings disregarding the laws of nature. When will be our turn? I must say that my generally upbeat nature becomes cynical and negative when I read articles like this one about people, who in this case I know personally, who have dedicated their lives to the production of the highest quality food, and who have to pay the penalty of our civilization’s short-sighted and often greedy ways.

We are full for the Worcester Community Fridges

Thank you, everyone!

A total of 14 donors made it possible for us to put $3605 toward 7 small summer shares and 7 fall shares to go to the Community Fridges in Worcester. Add that to the 7 and 7 that Worcester businesses donated, and that makes a total of $7210 in produce will have left the farm over the course of 26 weeks to feed those in need in Worcester. Glad to be a conduit for your generosity.

Videos from MHOF this week

It is a bit of a slog right now to get crops weeded and mulched when we are pulled in so many different directions each day, but we accomplished the weeding and mulching of the Brussels sprouts this week.

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Maintaining the Swiss chard for a season long harvest

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Planting melons in the hoop house after tarping

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And planting more chard for our sales to IMS

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Setting up the turkeys that Jack brought home from Bob’s Turkey farm in Lancaster

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Prepping for carrots and beets

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More turkey shots


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CSA Updates This Week

Coming up this week

  • Lettuce – 3, 2, 1 for large, mediums and smalls. Enjoy your salads every day!
  • Chard – a standby
  • Kale -this standby might come in purple or dark bumpy green this week, or the standard curly kale
  • Beet greens and some beets again this week. We are still thinning and also sending along some beet root too. Be sure to enjoy the entire plant.
  • Radishes – this is the end of the present run. We will be replanting them soon.
  • Collards – this flat cousin of the kale is similar in taste and high nutritional value to kale. These dark green leafies are just the ticket for true health
  • Kohlrabi – for some of the larges
  • Chinese cabbage for some of the larges
  • We had summer squash and/or zucchini last week for the larges and Friday mediums. Soon there will be enough for everyone
  • Parsley is back. We are still weeding the third bed, but bed one is back and strong
  • Oregano again this week as we trim this bed down to keep it coming all summer off and on
  • Peas – either shell or snap. If you can’t tell the difference, try biting into them. With the snap peas one eats the entire thing. With shells, the pod is not digestible by human beings.

On deck are green beans, cucumbers, basil, fennel, cabbage – but not yet. It is looking more and more tasty and diverse out there.

Satisfied turnip customers, Sophie and Elliott

This is by far our best radish year so far

Ain’t this Freckles lettuce beautiful!

More oregano this week. I throw it in scrambled eggs, stir fries, the usual…

Here is a halloo from the beet greens to Antonia, old apprentice from 30 years ago who came to help prepare for the party and was the eminent hostess to all 125 guests. We miss you, Antonia!

Parsley back this week

These are sugar snap peas, they are curvier and you eat the entire thing

These straighter peas are the shell peas. Pop them open from the bottom end and pull them out

If you look carefully, you can see the tiny beans!

A nice zucchini on the hoof

More from MHOF

Young Layers for Sale

We have 13 extra laying birds that have been brooded and acclimated to the outside world. They are 10 weeks old and in top physical condition having been fed on organic grain and lots of comfrey from birth. They are $25 each. Please contact me to make your purchase. or 978-257-1192.

“Red Stars” – high production egg laying chickens

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

Maria Leo is back! After working with us all summer last year, we are happy to have her, her amazing weeding ability and her kind nature. And Laura, apprenticing at Cauldron Farm in Hubbardston, will be with us each Wednesday for the month of July.

Laura caught her first ever errant meat bird

Volunteer at MHOF here

Farm Doin’s

We catapulted into Tuesday and a short week, short Jonathan vacationing on the Cape, and long on company here. Regardless, we did accomplish a lot of our goals this week. Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up in large part with managing the CSA, and pea picking has become a daily task that is not quick! Regardless, we got one basil bed weeded and almost all mulched, made progress on our collard patch (north field) weeding, parsley, and cabbage. We completed the weeding and mulching of the Brussels sprouts. Our pond field collards are also looking good. They should be good until harvest. Over Thursday and Friday we planted the blue house to melons (perhaps a bit late), a patch of chard, 3 weeks’ worth of lettuce, a second crop of green beans and a restart on parsnips (they do not germinate quickly or well). We also planted 3 -125-foot beds of carrots and beets. Our first carrots succumbed mostly to weeds. They have the same problem as parsnips in that they are slower to germinate than the weeds and we have not yet developed the ideal management strategy for them – grist for 2023’s mill.

The Solstice craziness is behind us, however, and we are enjoying ideal weather for July that doesn’t kill us with too much heat. Progress in weeding and mulching and soon intercropping with clover in larger crops should hold well. We are enjoying great success with our squash, cucumber, tomato and green bean pre-harvest management. Likewise with the kale. Help is needed for collards, broccoli, and then taking care of the new crops in a timely fashion. With a five-day week and full staffing next week we should be good. I enjoyed a working visit by son Paul all day Thursday while he was here on vacation, and Raffi and Doodle are back helping on the farm now that school is out (supported by dad Dan too). We have a wonderful multi-generational operation going. I am looking forward to getting adequate sleep this week and not cooking for quite so many people. 😊

What a pleasure to have son Paul come work with us for a day this past week

Unidentified young farmer on the late shift Thursday picking some blueberries

Now this is starting to look like the farm of my dreams


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