Sacred Reciprocity

What an incredible week it has been. Each day has featured time with some wonderful folks on the farm. Here is just a small slice.

Earlier in the summer, we got a call from Ryan looking for some certified organic piglets. As it turns out, they are in very short supply, because most folks don’t want to pay twice for grain which is certified. We get ours from Jan Johnson at Mill River Farm in Great Barrington, and she happened to have 4 extras that she wanted to sell. So, we hooked Ryan up and then picked up the pigs for him as Jonathan was making the trip out there anyway. Easy enough for us to do. Recently Ryan called up and wanted to repay in some fashion, and we negotiated a deal where his partner Dan would come and volunteer this past Wednesday and Ryan would come by and help me with chores on Sunday. Dan is now going to be a working shareholder, and Ryan helped me harvest 7 ½ gallons of chicken of the woods mushrooms after chores. Clare stated it well recently that each day features another person or set of people that come to the farm to be part of our agricultural family, and each day we look forward to their special gifts that they bring. With the weather almost perfect right now, who could ask for a better deal.

Jill has moved from Sundays to Wednesdays and Dan in the foreground picks beans

Ryan with Chicken of the Woods in hand

Videos from MHOF this week

We were hard at it in the food preservation department. My poor body forgot that sometimes hauling 5-gallon pots on and off the stove is harder than hoeing!

Preserving Corn
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Cover cropping for fall
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Making pear sauce
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Anyone in need of a rototiller? Pigs on new pasture
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CSA Updates This Week

CSA crops this week

  • Beet thinnings – our last crop of beets needs to be thinned, so this might be mostly greens
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers for some – beautiful plants this year and very little fruit for some reason
  • Green beans – they have to be coming down a bit – we harvested 45 gallons of beans last week
  • Cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Tulsi
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash – this week we will have some winter squashes for sure, the summers just don’t quite want to quit yet in their marathon season of 2022
  • Oregano – we ran out of time and space for this last week and will endeavor to get it into your bags this week
  • Apples – though we had perhaps 10 weeks of apples last year, this has been a low tree fruit year. We will give out apples this week, but it will probably be our only week in 2022
  • You pick flowers in the back of the south field for local shareholders. Enquire at pick up!

Videos From the Outside World

Interesting podcast on brain entrainment

Other News

Soil and Nutrition Conference

Son Dan is the ED of the Bionutrient Food Association and their annual conference, back in person after two years, will be held on the weekend of December 3 and 4 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel. It is always an opportunity to stretch your mind and meet interesting folks.

Ellen’s Latest Offering

Wisdom of the Body, Wisdom of Nature Begins October 9th!

All details here:

In this Course we learn to align ourselves with energies from nature that are part of our birthright and that can offer remarkable transformation in all areas of life. Scholarships are available for those in need, so please just ask.

“The connections developed during this course have brought forth a different sense of capacity – a fullness and deeper sense of wholeness. A love like no other. I couldn’t wait to be together with everyone each week.” – Stephanie Clement

Emails From Subscribers

Hi Julie, Just watched your video. Have a few questions. Our turkeys free range in our blueberries but still eat a ton of feed. How much of your T’s diet is feed compared to grass, comfrey.

Looks like we are going to have to process our birds this year. Do you do your own processing, if so What temp do you shoot for in your scalding water

Thanks as always, Hi to Jack


Hi Stan, 

Good to hear from you. I don’t know exactly how much of the turkeys’ diet comes from non-commercial feed sources. But I read in a book a long time ago that turkeys can get up to 50% of their diet from forage (chickens only 25% supposedly). I think that has to do with them being able to make more use of grasses. I think the best way for you to maximize the amount of forage that they utilize is to move them each day onto a new pasture area. It also promotes the best health outcomes. If you don’t have a comfrey plantation yet, you should plant one, because it is very nutritious and high in protein and minerals. 

We don’t kill our own birds, so I don’t remember that temperature of the water needed, but that info is widely available on the internet. You want the feathers to come off easily, but don’t want the skin to scald. People want their turkeys to look perfect for Thanksgiving, so a good looking carcass is a high priority. 

Best, Julie

I think I always used the test of just too hot to hold my hands in continually. If I could stand it, it was too cool. Hope that helps! — Jack

Thank you for the regular inclusion of Holy Basil. What a wonderful plant! We brought some tulsi tea over for lunch at a gathering and everybody loved it. It tastes great, but also offers amazing medicinal qualities too! It’s so flavorful, we got 2 and ½ boils out of the tea. And most people like the flavor so much, they don’t need a sweetener. No wonder it’s so common and revered in India!

Richard J. Longland

Thanks, Rich, so glad you are enjoying it. I have gotten into that habit too now, and love it. Julie

Book Review from Jack

by Jack Kittredge

Julie and I are reading an excellent short book I wanted to tell you about. It is “Transcend Fear” by Dr. Joseph Ladapo.

Ladapo is a Harvard educated medical doctor and scientist with a PhD in health policy. As a youth in Nigeria he had several traumatic experiences (he briefly explains these in his book) that caused him to experience a period of great fear as an adult. While now resolved, this made him very sensitive to the fear-based policies adopted by public health officials when Covid-19 hit in 2020.

He was a tenured professor and clinician at UCLA at the time and felt that the US response to the pandemic was seriously flawed: masking didn’t stop transmission, social distancing was not sustainable, lockdowns were more destructive than helpful, medications with demonstrated benefits were forbidden, vaccinations were improperly forced on everyone rather than reserved for those most in need, and public debate was prohibited with many brave doctors and scientists attacked and even fired for speaking out.

This was all done in a climate of fear and censorship that destroyed the very thing most important for effective public health policy – social cohesion and trust.

Ladapo responded at the time with a number of op-eds printed in USA Today, the New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal.  I had not been aware of these, but many are reprinted in the book and strike me as unusually insightful and predictive.  His language is always careful and restrained, his sources cited and his facts well documented, but his indictment is compelling. He believes far more people died because of these mistaken public health policies than would have died otherwise.

Ladapo himself, protected by tenure, did not lose his job for his criticisms — despite their prominence in the press (although there were efforts to dislodge even him.) In an inspired move a year ago Gov. Ron DiSantis appointed Ledapo to the post of Surgeon General of Florida, one of only a few states with such a position. Since then he has been using that office to craft a more open and effective public health program in the state. It will be fascinating to see what a man of his vision can develop compared to the disaster this country has experienced over the past two and a half years.

Fall CSA Share

Sign Up Now!

We will be picking for the fall share, starting October 31 and running for 4 weeks, on Mondays and Wednesdays. But on the last week we are picking all of the shares on Monday. Keep the good food flowing for one more month.

Reserve a Fall Share

Meat birds available for sale

The chickens are now in the freezer, so call or email to come buy some.


Working Shareholders Always Welcome

This week Dan joined our Wednesday crew, as did Jill, who used to be a Sunday chore person. Whew, it has been hard to get the shares picked on Wednesdays, and it was a breeze this past week. Sadly, Maria has to quit her Friday spot because her work calls. We will miss her!

Maria says this was the juiciest watermelon she ever tasted!

Jill with the medium chards on Wednesday

Dan washing our bean harvest

Alexandria taking a turn on the rope swing while Shantel looks on

Volunteer at MHOF

Farm Doin’s

It was perfect weather all week and we enjoyed it immensely. The CSA shares are now fitting better in the bags. Picking is still a big job, but we do get done by noon each day now. No sign of frost yet, but we may have to keep our eyes out for next weekend in that department.

Though we have some weeding and mulching to complete yet, we seemed to only get food preservation done in our spare time this week. The pigs enjoyed their weekly move, Stu, Clare, Alex, Pete and I almost completed the potato harvest and Jonathan, John and Stu got closer to finishing the garage siding. Also, Jonathan did some mowing around the farm, which helped with its rather shaggy nature.

Clare has been a star in helping me get the food preservation done, and also Paula all day with us on Tuesday. We finished the grape juice, got 54 quarts of apple and pear sauce put aside, another 5 bags of green beans, 23 bags of corn and 5 bags of broccoli (be sure to come on over for dinner in the next 12 months – we will have plenty to eat). I have been passing off tomatoes on anyone who will take them. If you are a shareholder who picks up here you might find some on the table to take home and use for preserving or just eating in profusion. Though the corn for the most part is laying flat or barely has its heads up, we are able to glean and freeze, and for that we are grateful.

This upcoming week after finishing potatoes and corn, we need to harvest all of the sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Getting close on the garage

Such beautiful tomatoes this year

Clare whipped through 3 crates of corn on Thursday afternoon

Maria’s health drink of celery juice with tulsi tea


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