Food Preservation

It is beyond me why preserving food together is a most magical and spiritual experience, but Saturday’s gathering of 20 folks from all over Eastern and Central Mass reached new heights for me as we worked our way through 20 cabbages, 5 gallons of garlic, a crate each of parsley, tomatoes and tulsi, 3 packages of chicken feet, a bag of summer squash, 8 gallons of grapes, and a bushel of parsley and basil for pesto. Folks arrived early and stayed late and there was electricity in the air the entire time as we chopped, pureed, de-stemmed, boiled, pared, dried, foley food-milled and packaged in bags, jars and pint plastic containers our foods. It must be our deep “ant-like” ingrained instinct to put away food for hard times, done in community with others, that makes this practice so exhilarating and memorable. If you missed the workshop and still would like to get in on the action, check in almost any weekday afternoon from now until mid-October and we will hand you a paring knife.

Marcia and Karima making sauerkraut


Expressing Gratitude this Week

LaDawn was a remarkable member of the NOFA/Mass staff back around 10 years ago. During her time with us she experienced a health crisis. Jack and I one Saturday gathered together a cooler of healing foods and brought it to her. After that we fell off each other’s radar for a long time, but she not only showed up at our food preservation workshop Saturday, but brought 5 others from her family and network. With her health crisis resolved and her life trajectory reaching for the stars, I was reminded why Jack and I made that trip to Boston so many years ago. LaDawn is like a lighthouse to those around her. I am so grateful that we are back in each other’s lives. And I understand that when we make the effort to help another in need, it can often shower back on us in ways which we could only imagine.

LaDawn has on the “empowered woman”  t shirt

CSA News Week 17

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

  • CSA
    • Lettuce
    • Dill
    • Cilantro
    • Tulsi
    • Beets
    • Summer Squash
    • Cukes
    • Cabbage, broccoli or eggplant
    • Tomatoes
    • Husk cherries
    • Arugula
    • Chinese cabbage
    • Kale
    • Potatoes
    • Onions
    • Carrots

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! Thanks to Petra who showed up unannounced on Friday to help!

Petra on left with Jill washing carrots

Paige, a student from WPI, joined our Saturday 7:30 – 9:30 staff who help me move birds and manage pigs. The animals and I both thank you, Paige, for making the trip to help support good livestock health.

We are looking to hire more staff for the fall
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

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

One more workshops coming up this fall
Hedgerows for Food and Diversity; Agroforestry on Farms and Homesteads
Saturday, October 7, 2023
10am – 3pm
Many Hands Sustainability Center
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA

With Jono Neiger as our workshop leader we’ll first look at Many Hands Organic Farm through the lens of whole systems design. We will explore, and literally dig into, areas of the farm to see how the complexity of soils, water, vegetation, microclimates, and more are interwoven and incorporated into farm management. Finally, we will look at specific field edges to see how they might become multi-functional hedgerows.   We’ll walk through hedgerow design- looking at specific edges, identifying trees species, installation, and management strategies.

Hedgerows are an agroforestry strategy the goes far back into human landscape management- where trees, shrubs with other plants are employed and orchestrated to function in many ways.   They can function for windbreaks, fuel, fodder, pollination habitat, carbon sinks, and much more. These field and farm edges provide an opportunity to separate and interconnect parts of the landscape. Design and planning of hedgerows is both simple and complex and a chance to diversify the farm.

Jono Neiger is a founder and agroforestry planner at of Regenerative Design Group Cooperative, in western Massachusetts with 30+ years of professional experience in agroforestry, permaculture, ecological land and site planning, conservation, and restoration. He holds a B.S. degree in Forest Biology and a Masters in Landscape Planning and Design and authored The Permaculture Promise. He operates Big River Chestnuts, a chestnut agroforestry farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Price for the workshop: $50-$100.

Register Here

Farm Doin’s

Our walk-in cooler is dead, and Jack is scurrying to get the state to sign our contract for the new cooler that was awarded this summer. With that in place we will remove the old cooler from the barn and pass it on to son Dan who will outfit it with a Coolbot on his farm to keep its life going into another century of use. Meanwhile we count on the fact that it is pretty cool in the barn right now to hold our produce each CSA day. Jonathan and John have been working assiduously to get the next steps done on the chicken house rebuild. They finished all the joints for the bents, and good the sills bolted down with tops shaved off so that Chuk can come in and cover the PT wood with metal. Jonathan lost the muffler on the truck on Friday while picking up some rough cut lumber.

Monday was a beautiful foggy day in the am for picking.

Paula and Carlos in the beets

And in the afternoon, we finished harvesting all of the onions. They are now drying in the barn, a fantastic crop.

On Tuesday we harvested 4 more rows of potatoes, and with Thursday’s harvest we only have 5 rows to complete. Wednesday, we froze the rest of the corn, and Thursday we made pesto for the freezer.
We moved the turkeys around the corner from the south field to the pond field, separating them out into 6 cages now so they have a nice roomy 16-17 bird spacing. (Order your turkey now!) Someone is digging under the chicken houses but only staging an escape for them, not eating anyone. The Leghorns started laying on Saturday so we are now back to brown and white eggs after a year off. Scott, Clare and Carlos and I finished de-bindweeding the yellow hoop house on Tuesday – what a job. Blue house up this week!

I am taking off on a road trip with daughter Ellen this Friday and there will be no newsletter next week! I will be back at work on Monday.

Be sure this week to walk barefoot in the grass or better yet in the soil. 😊

Nice share last week!

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