Jonathan, our farm staffer who is also chair of the Sutton Selectboard, was confronted with a crisis a couple of weeks ago when the state let Sutton know that 86 recent legal immigrants from Haiti would be dropped off at the Red Roof Inn on Route 146 in Sutton. The past two weeks have for him, his family, many local officials, volunteers and churches been a flurry of activity to learn about this new phenomenon that is being placed on the shoulders of suburban towns as the influx of immigrants grows all around the country.
As we all grapple with this increasingly “front burner” issue, I have a few reflections.

First is to say that I truly believe that our chickens are coming home to roost. Our decades of war-making all over the world has disrupted massive populations of people. Add to that our exporting of toxic agricultural chemicals, bullying economic programs like WTO, GATT, NAFTA, and massive domestic grain subsidies that undercut foreign farm families and throw them off the land. Now we are seeing many of these displaced peoples at our doors, both legally and illegally. As we work as a country to devise a sane and considered immigration policy that is fair to asylum seekers while protecting the fabric of American society, we also must respond to the real people right now needing food, shelter, employment, schooling and integration into community.

We are looking for the best way that MHOF can be part of the solution for those needing what we have — food and employment — and are open to any ideas for how we can be most helpful to the human beings involved that are now knocking on our doors.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It is to Jonathan and all of the folks in and around Sutton who are working overtime to help these 86 Haitian immigrants. Such a testament to the largeness that human beings exhibit for each other.

Videos this week

Making grape juice and grape seed extract

CSA News Week 16

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

  • CSA
    • Lettuce – from our new crop in the pond field – these are beauties

  • Chard – this is from a new crop in the south field. The deer continue to decimate our west field crop
  • Collards/Brussels sprouts tops – we take the tops out of the Brussels sprouts so that they can form bigger “sprouts”
  • Broccoli and cabbage – mediums this week
  • Cucumbers – our older crops are going or gone so these will be light this week, however, we have a new crop coming in a week or two
  • Tulsi – finding it hard to use this? Dry it and save it for tea later in the season. I do like it fresh in salads and stir fries too. Tulsi is a super food
  • Basil – we have had a long run and it is slowing down now, so enjoy for another week or two
  • Beets – we have had these a lot this year, and I hope you enjoy them – the best cleansing food out there.
  • Squash – also switching over from our first squash crop to our fall crop so quantities are light
  • Ground cherries – as many as we can hand out – enjoy these gems that take a fair amount of time to pick each day, but are such a treat
  • Carrots – moving into another crop from the pond field to the west field
  • Cilantro – a new crop
  • Parsley – back on line
  • Tomatoes – starting to look really beautiful now, and I hope you enjoy the taste as Jack and I have
  • Kale – enjoy this crop that Tim labels “better than the best”
  • Potatoes – still in large quantities. Enjoy!

Labor, Labor!

Working shareholders always welcome
As we move into the significant harvest time needed for the fall, we can still use your help – especially on M, W or F mornings, but also on T and Th if you are interested in planting and weeding/mulching projects. Come join us!

We are looking to hire more staff for the fall
This week we hired Jennifer, our communications director, for a day of farm hours, and Carlos, who has been working up to a paid job from volunteer status, will work three days per week. We are still holding space for the right person to come along to fill Clare’s large and roomy shoes, so if you are interested in a strong leadership position with MHOF, reach out.

Job Description
Many Hands Organic Farm is looking for a full-time or part-time farmer. We are a certified organic highly diverse family farm in Barre, MA raising vegetables (2 acres), large and small fruit (1 acre), pigs (6 seasonal), chickens for eggs (175) and meat (250), and turkeys (100). We focus heavily on carbon sequestering methods on our 55 acres of land and prioritize maximum nutrition and biodiversity and stacking of enterprises. We are no till. In Barre for now 41 years, we offer a lot of wisdom and perspective to aspiring farmers looking to gain agricultural understanding. You must be physically strong and have a positive and convivial attitude. Duties include animal, vegetable, fruit management, machine and hand work, carpentry, some chain sawing, sometimes leading volunteers, food preservation and making value added products – you name it, we do it. We start at $15/hour and will pay more depending on experience (and hustle) for 40 (full-time) or less (part-time) hours of work each week (Monday – Friday), with a rare need on weekends. Omnivorous meals (breakfast, lunch and morning snacks) are provided. We are looking to hire immediately and have work through the year, with fewer hours over the winter months (particularly December 15 – February 28). Apply to or call 978-257-1192. Check us out at Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge

Come Sing with Us

After working out a “deal” with the Barre Town Hall for rehearsal space this week, we have backed up our starting date for Circle of Song to Thursday, September 21 from 7-8:30 pm. We are particularly looking for tenors (who isn’t?) If you are wanting to be convinced that being a member of our super fun chorus, give me a call.  Concert date – Saturday, December 16.  Here is our lineup.

  • Alleluia                 Randall Thompson
  • America the Beautiful     arr. Darmon Meador
  • Ballade to the Moon       Daniel Elder
  • Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light    JS Bach
  • Christian Goodnight       Sankey/Doudney
  • Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord     arr. Undine Moore
  • Dona Nobis Pacem         Mozart/Liebergen
  • Imagine                John Lennon/Pentatonix
  • Long Tim Ago                Aaron Copland/Irving Fine
  • My Lord, What a Morning        Harry T. Burleigh
  • Lullabye               Billy Joel/Lawson

Contact me to join or discuss; 978-257-1192

Article of interest

The Link Between Biofilms and Your Chronic Health Issues: What You Need to Know – Isaac Eliaz –

I am a big fan of Modified Citrus pectin and take 1 T per day (2 divided doses), mix a number of medicinal mushrooms into our breakfast drink (made with grape, apple and tomato juice), and also kelp.
You can subscribe to Dr. Eliaz’ newsletter that comes out each week.

New Product at MHOF – bitters

There is a large body of research that explains the value of bitters as a digestive aid that will help strengthen our entire digestive system. We have a new product available for your purchase. Our bitters blend has dandelion root, burdock root, yellow dock root, wormwood, tulsi (all from our farm) and organic purchased angelica root. The herbs were steeped in organic vodka for a t least two months. Bitters are best taken about 10 minutes before each meal to stimulate the digestive juices. Our 4 oz. bottles go for $20. If you are taking pharmaceuticals, it is wise to check with your health care provider before using digestive bitters.

A friend told me the other day that now that she is taking a squirt of our bitters before each meal, she has experienced much improved bowel function!

Time to sign up for the Fall Share

We have 71 shareholders lined up for the fall and at this point are looking to take on a total of 80. So, only nine share spaces still available. Now is a great time to sign up for 4 more weeks of great food. The greens are growing nicely in the fields and we are starting the process of storing the crops like onions, potatoes and winter squash.  This is a large share. What you can’t eat right away you can save for December and January. Enjoy!

Workshops at MHOF

Two more workshops coming up this fall

Food Preservation with Many Hands Organic Farm – only 5 spaces left
Saturday, September 16, 2023
10 am – 2 pm with pot luck lunch at noon
Many Hands Sustainability Center
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA

Jack and Clare and I have put together our agenda for Saturday’s workshop. We will be working with drying, canning, lacto-fermentation, freezing and discussing root cellaring. Crops we will be working with “in person” include tomatoes, tulsi, basil, parsley, garlic, chicken feet, greens, beans, cucumbers, squash, cabbage and more.

Limit – 20 participants. We now have 15 registrants.
Price for workshop: $50-$100. Register here

Hedgerows for Food and Diversity; Agroforestry on Farms and Homesteads October 7, Jono Neiger to lead; 10-3 with pot luck; $50-$100
This will be a great workshop to take a look at how best to incorporate perennials in our farms, gardens and landscapes.

Register Here

Farm Doin’s

I was reminded this week that it has not been a hot summer. However, we got a large dose of heat this past week, and I was counting the days until the break finally came on Friday. We have had it easy this year!

It was a short week with Monday off for Labor Day, so a large part of the week focused on filling very full CSA bags.

Digging carrots on Tuesday

We got some weeding done – cilantro, second crop Swiss chard, and finishing up mulching our late cabbage mulching.

On Wednesday we harvested half of our beautiful onion crop. A central focus was managing grapes.

They are all almost harvested and juice making is about half done. Jack is quite excited about our newest product – soon to be released – grape seed and skin extract. Tomato canning is ramping up also and with the heat of this past week, running the wood stove to can was a bit hot . . . .

Jonathan and John made substantial progress on the chicken house with more planned for this next week.

Jonathan did get some more hay fields mowed, and we picked up some hay on Friday. Clare and I met with our AEA consultant, Bella, on Thursday and we started planning for proper preparation for frost as it threatens, both to extend the life of our annuals, and to build bud strength in our fruit trees.
Jack is working on an application to MDAR for crop losses due to weather anomalies. Our walk-in cooler shut down on Friday and we are hoping we can get it to limp along until December when we will put in the new one that Jack got a grant for.


Jackson working on the farm Tuesday

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