Sounds suspiciously like enlightenment, doesn’t it?

“To let go of the notion of self, except as a sum of parts, and as part of a whole…it sounds suspiciously like enlightenment, doesn’t it?”

-Stephen Skolnick

The degree to which we favor our in-group over the out-group may be determined partly by our biochemistry, but who we think of as belonging to each…that’s learned, that’s up to us. It’s not always possible, especially when times are hard, but seeing all people, and even all life as part of an in-group—that’s a goal worth striving toward.

Check this guy out. He is a turkey customer who just enlightened me regarding his blog. This particular one was on oxytocin. His blog is titled “Eat, Shit, and Prosper.”

Stephen Skolnick –

Expressing Gratitude this Week

This week was highlighted several times by the return of old friends and the meeting of new friends. On Monday Molly, wife of Tim (our newest working shareholder) had the day off and rocked it here with us.

Tim, Paula and Molly harvesting lettuce for working shareholders

On Tuesday, via a tip from Beth Ingham, Eileen with her vice principal at St. Johns in Shrewsbury came with 6 strapping young men from the school, and did we get a lot of work accomplished. And I learned about life in Egypt and what is like to be a Filipino immigrant from Michael and Cole.

Alex and Hannah showed up from Yorkshire England that day also. Great farmers that son Dan sent over.

Michele, who was a working shareholder all the way back in 2012 and 2013 came with her three daughters Jordan, Anneliese and Margaret on Thursday. A great reunion!

And Kamarin, who will soon be on staff when he graduates from Stetson in June was here on Thursday and Friday. When Kamarin is around, life is just perfect.

Join the 2023 Summer and Fall CSA

We have 94 shareholders signed up for 2023 and are looking for about 150 in order to meet budget. Now is a good time to take the leap to upgrade how you eat and how you feel. Sign up today. Information is below. Thanks for keeping that CSA application investment coming!

Reason #6 to join the CSA

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Reserve a 2023 CSA Share

Quabbin Community Band

Now, I happen to know that many of you out there play a band instrument and that sometimes you wish you could pick it up again and enjoy playing with others. Do I have a deal for you! The Quabbin Community Band, which has been around for over a hundred years, with many different evolving names, is starting up again on May1. Every Monday night from 6:30 – 8:30, you can join us at the Barre Town Hall – corner of Exchange and Mechanic Sts., to play your instrument with folks as young as 12 and as old as 75. Our director, Margaret Reidy, is a wonderful teacher and conductor and all the folks in the band are super friendly. Concerts start on Father’s Day and go through August 13, on the South Barre and Barre Commons. Contact me if you want more info, or just show up at the Town Hall., 978-257-1192.

Circle of Song

Our concert is coming up on Saturday night, May 20 at 7 pm at the Barre Town Hall. We have definitely bit off more than we can chew, but with one month left until the concert, I promise that we will have it well masticated by the concert date. We are collaborating with members of the Quabbin Community Band for two numbers – a West Side Story suite and Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhauser.

Cheap Health Tip

I am hoping to keep this tip going for a while. Let’s see if I can keep it up as the season progresses. This week I want to focus on dandelion greens. They are in season now and they are power packed with incredible nutrition – Here is a short list – vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C (in its raw form), and a good source of calcium and potassium.

Controlled blood sugar. Dandelion greens can lower blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Diuretic effects. Due to the high potassium content of dandelion greens, they work as a diuretic. Diuretics help increase urine output and treat water retention.

Lower blood pressure. Since dandelion greens are a diuretic, they can treat high blood pressure for some people. While the diuretic effect isn’t as powerful as a prescription medication, it can still be helpful when a mild diuretic is needed.

Lower inflammation. Dandelion greens contain natural anti-inflammatories. Reducing inflammation in your body can reduce your chances of developing certain cancers and heart disease.

Antioxidants protect your health. Oxidative stress can damage your cells and contribute to cancer, metabolic disorders, and disease. The antioxidants found in dandelion greens can protect your body and keep your immune system strong.

Control cholesterol. Dandelion greens affect lipid metabolism. Preliminary studies show they might be useful in lowering cholesterol.

From WebMD

Hopefully you have dandelions in your yard that you can cut, but if not, we have them for sale this week.

Farm Videos From Last Week

We are in the process of trying to sign up 1,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel. With that in hand, and with 4,000 hours of viewing, we can then apply to start monetizing our site, which could become a viable income stream for the farm. Right now, we’re at 457 subscribers (we picked up 6 subscribers this week!) Subscribe here.

MHOF on YouTube

Update on our spring seedlings

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Working Shareholders Always Welcome

The weather is beautiful right now (just a very few black flies) and we have plenty of occasions for you to build your physical body and nourish your spirit. M, T, Th, F – 8-12 and lunch. And right now, eggs and greens. What an opportunity. Contact Julie.

Does it seem like I am forever asking for something from you? Well, yes, it is true. Hopefully what you get back from us will be worth your investment.

Ways to Donate to MHSC

Many Hands Sustainability Center – our farm non-profit

Community Fridges

We have been donating food to this elegantly simple project in Worcester whereby four refrigerators are stocked with fresh produce from volunteers, and those in need shop for free at these locations.

We have received some generous Community Fridges donations this year. We have raised $1,600 so far.  To provide 14 summer shares and 14 fall shares there will be a total need of $7840. The Community Fridge folks have committed $3500 as of this week. And with our donations from you all, the amount committed is now $5,100. If we can raise another $2740, we will be able to provide these shares. If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center or make a donation online here:


Thanks in advance for your generosity.

For Sale

This week we have the following items available for sale. Order on Monday and pick up on Tuesday (8-3). Some items are in short supply – so best to order early in the day.

Spinach – $12/lb.

Arugula – $12/lb.

Mixed lettuce greens – $12/lb.

Dandelion greens – $8/lb.

Chives bunches – $3/bunch

Workshops at MHOF

We hosted 8 folks on Saturday for our chicken tractor workshop. These two hour workshops are quite enjoyable.

Other Upcoming Workshops

Growing Shiitakes Mushrooms on Logs with Many Hands Organic Farm
Saturday, May 13, 2023
10 am – noon with potluck lunch at noon
Many Hands Sustainability Center
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA

Come learn how to easily grow your own mushrooms at home! In this 2-hour hands on workshop we’ll be plugging our latest batch of oak logs with shiitake spawn. We’ll tour our mushroom yard in the woods and talk about managing logs for production throughout the season.

Price for workshop: $25-$75. Register here.

Other Upcoming Workshops

  • MHOF vegetable production intensive (all day) – June 10; 10-3 with pot luck lunch; $50-$100; Clare and Julie to lead
  • The Permaculture Farm and Agroforestry hedgerows – June 24; 10-3 with pot luck lunch: $50-$100; Jono Neiger to lead
  • Cooking with your CSA share – July 22; Clare and Julie to do this one. 10-noon with complimentary lunch; $25-$75
  • Food preservation – September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100

Register here

Farm Doin’s

With all the help we had this past week, we were very leisurely finishing things up by Friday, rather than pushing things forward to this week.

All told we planted about 85 pounds of onion sets over last week and the week before. CSA members can look forward to wonderful green onions for approximately the first 10 weeks of the CSA.

Danny spraying transplant drench for the onions

Onion planting

Our kale, collards and early Asian green plants did not look their best, but we planted them all this past week. We have started seeds again of these crops as an insurance policy. We also planted some good looking lettuce, and were excited to see that our turnips and radishes from planting the previous work were already germinated. Peas are up too.

Monday we put in a new grape trellis and planted it. We finished all of our small fruit pruning and transplanting this past week – red and black raspberries, blueberries, hardy kiwi, blackberries and elderberries. Hurray.

Chicken tractors are in process – two new ones will be added this year. We mowed the bittersweet in the home orchard, cleaned out under our very old apple tree on the stone wall, and cleaned up our Northern property line of hawthorne (they have such long spiky thorns!). We started peppers, tomatoes, annual flowers, eggplant, Aunt Molly, and more celeriac, cabbage, lettuce and celery.

We are also moving tarps around onto spaces where planting will happen in a month or so – thus making bed prep easy going forward.

We spent time in the tomato trellises cleaning out under them to ready them for tomatoes. They will receive a stopgap crop of oats to feed the soil for the next month.

The tractor is still down, but Dave is working assiduously on its diagnosis and repair.


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