The Promise of the Solstice

On Friday Kamarin graduated from Stetson, and last week he moved into his first apartment and bought his first vehicle (from money saved from working here last summer!). On the farm growth is bursting around us – there are the 250 meat birds and 100 young layers who grow by leaps and bounds each day, and now the addition of the pigs on Thursday. The weeds, of course, are multiplying in size by inches each day, but so are the crops that we so carefully tend. There is no question that this moment in the year can be exhilarating while at the same time feel overwhelming. Saturday morning, I took a quick walk around the farm and put together a mammoth list for this upcoming week which would take twice the number of friends that farm here to accomplish. But that is the beauty of possibility. Participating in this new beginning in a human’s experience while shepherding the new vegetable and animal beings on the farm brings with it a deep satisfaction that we are lucky enough to be involved in this integral part of the cycle of life.

Kamarin receiving his diploma

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Jim St. Laurent stoppe

d by on Wednesday to let us know that he stayed up late on Tuesday night considering lactobacillus sprays. Jim has been integral in our construction of the brewing barrel and has followed us through its management and utilization. But a note in this newsletter that some of our crops weren’t doing as well as expected started his wheels turning and he did a deep dive into the use of lactobacillus sprays in vegetable production, coming up with the guidance that we should substantially lower our usage to 1 T per sprayer tank when we are doing our foliar feeding, though this spray is really good at cleaning up manure and crop residues. Thanks, Jim, for being part of our “research and development team”. As you know, time to think is in short supply this time of year.

From Our Readers

Thanks, Marcia, for this article from the University of California on their research to implant vaccines into lettuce and spinach – yikes!

Dear Julie and Jack,
We so appreciate being part of your CSA this year. What a gift to receive such amazing produce by faithful farmers. Thank you for all your long hours of hard work, organizing, motivating and educating. You are both a gift.
And thank you for sending native lamb’s quarters with the recent CSA. As newbies to the area (from upstate NY), we were excited to learn about native edible plants. And appreciate you enhancing our education!
Thank you for incorporating diverse plants into our diet. Not sure if you’ve heard of this book Fiber Fueled, but it touts the benefits of plant diversity in diets for overall GI and anti-inflammatory health. So thank you for fueling our plant diversity by introducing us to lamb’s quarters.
Hope you have a wonderful week and the farm bounty flourishes with this steamy weather!
~Rachel and Rich Lopez
Thank you, Rachel and Rich!

I love lamb’s quarters, and I know I should get to know Bishop’s weed and pig weed too, and many others, but have been slow to venture into even more local weeds. Your email is heartening and a good reminder that it is the diversity of foods that we consume that brings us such vibrant health.         Julie

Videos this week

Scott has taken on the job of making our You Tube Channel more enjoyable for listeners and masterminded this intro video about our farm. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel!

Mulching kale

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Harvesting lamb’s quarters while weeding and mulching onions

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Weeding, hilling and mulching potatoes

Kittens Available again

3 kittens available this upcoming Saturday, June 24. Sadie is one of our best cat mothers and has brought into the world 3 beautiful kittens – a tuxedo black and white, a 3 colored white based and a mostly black three-color kitten. Kittens cost $50 each, are not neutered or shot, and have eaten a wonderful diet with Instinct Cat food, pork stock, raw egg, raw liver, and cod liver oil. Contact me to reserve a kitten for pickup this Saturday at 1 pm. First come first served, no selecting kittens in advance.

Would you like some turkey poults?

Walter Anair of Horse and Buggy Feeds in Winchendon has 75 turkey poults he would like to sell. Contact him at 978-297-2518

“We have about 75 day-old turkey poults available at $7.95 each. At this time we are feeding organic turkey starter from Green Mountain and will do so for at least two weeks or until we are sold out.”

CSA News Week 4

Here is the line up for this week.
Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week

  • Lettuce – 3 for larges, 2 for mediums and 1 for smalls
  • Beet greens
  • Lambs’s quarters
  • Swiss chard is back, and kale is taking a week’s growing break as it gets manicured, weeded and mulched
  • Cilantro – this is from our older bed and we will harvest it one last time before tarping it over to prepare for another crop
  • green onions
  • Broccoli – Friday larges received broccoli this past week, and Monday and Wednesday larges will receive it in their shares this week

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

We could use another working shareholder each on Wednesday and Friday 8-12 where we focus on the CSA for the first 2-3 hours, followed by progress work on weeding, mulching, planting, etc. You can join us on a Tuesday or Thursday and spend the morning doing field work. It is not too late to join us.

Ways to Donate to MHSC

Worcester Community Fridges

We are now providing 14 summer shares to these folks and only need $1300 more to provide 14 fall shares to the Worcester Community Fridges.

If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center and send to 411 Sheldon Road, Bare, MA 01005 or make a donation on line here –


Workshops at MHOF

  • The Permaculture Farm and Agroforestry hedgerows – we will postpone this one until October 7 as Jono is too stretched right now
  • Cooking with your CSA share – July 22; Clare and Julie to do this one. -noon with complimentary lunch; $25-$75
  • Food preservation– September 16, Julie, Clare and Jack; 10-2 with pot luck; $50-$100

Register Now

Farm Doin’s

All hands-on deck these days. Our sprayers show up at 6:30 am to beat the sun (I know it has been cloudy and rainy these past days), and we endeavor to be out on the field by 8. That means foliar feeding much of the farm, and doing three kinds of chicken chores before the working shareholders show up to start picking. Some days we don’t bother to go out and eat lunch on the front lawn because it takes that much more time to set up and clean up.

One of my long-term strategies has been to use the larger CSA crews to help weed and mulch as we work our way around the farm. We can pull this off on days that aren’t as hot, so it did to good effect this past week. We have 8 beds of onions in the pond field that are the seedling onions, that will be ready for late summer and fall shares. Many years we don’t get those onions weeded in time and lose the crop, but this week we cleaned up and mulched 4 of the 8 beds – for which we are very proud. We also have been chipping away at the 25 rows of potatoes and now have 14 of the 26 pathways heavily mulched. 20 of the 25 beds have been weeded and properly hilled. We also weeded our two parsley beds and 1 flower bed, and stayed reasonably ahead of the weeds in our two beet beds from which we are harvesting beet greens at the moment. We have finished weeding and mulching 3 of the 5 kale beds and got half done with the first beds of green beans.

Happy and diligent onion weeders

Zeroing in on the parsley weeding

Clare and Danny chipping away at potato mulching

Luckily, we had less to plant this past week, which takes precious time away from management, but did put in our eggplant (though the potato bugs are feasting on it!), some marjoram, and we replanted holes in our tulsi and parsley beds. We also planted another lettuce bed and started more trays of lettuce. This upcoming week will be a heavy planting week, and we will also have to cut another large chunk of the hayfield.

We mulched 2 ½ of our three hoophouses and replanted melons where some hadn’t made it. Clare and I spent all of Thursday driving to Albion, ME to pick up our 6 feeder pigs from long term farmer friends Katia and Brendan Holmes. Jonathan and friends made some progress on chicken house deconstruction.

the new pigs

The chicken house is looking more abandoned as time goes on!



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