In the Comfort of Others

When we have a chance to delve deeply with others who our craft, it is immensely comfortable. This week I was lucky to welcome back on Monday Pete Herceg, a staff member in 2022 who is now farming with his partners at Rattleroot Farm in Princeton. On Tuesday Kerisa Perazella, who owns a farm in East Long Meadow, and who knew of MHOF through our work with NOFA, came to help all day. In both cases, we were able to discuss in detail on various aspects of our fertility, management systems, successes and failures in 2023, and generally go deep into many of the topics that we farmers ponder as we work through the days and years on our farms. The candor with which we shared our experience was so immensely refreshing (and educational). I was grateful this week to be able to share with not one, but two other farmers.

It was such a pleasure to work with Pete again

Kerisa posing by the onion braids

Expressing Gratitude this Week

I have alluded to having real problems with my heels and gait this summer. Not interested in cortisone shots, I have worked with many different health professionals, upped my exercise and stretching regimes, improved my nutritional intake, received many a foot massage by Jennifer, Clare and particularly Jack (he rubs my feet with oil when we are watching movies 3-4 evenings per week!) and tried to rest my feet as much as is possible in the busy farming season.

Last weekend I had an energy clearing and strengthening session with my friend Kelly, and signed on for 5 more intensive sessions, 2 more of which I have completed. She has me flowing! My legs are “lightening up”, my liver is draining, my thyroid is unblocking and my heels are beginning to enjoy the prospect of stepping firmly on the ground again. I expect to be dancing by November 1! Thanks, Kelly for helping me take this one home.

Videos from this Week

Separating turkeys into more houses to keep stocking numbers low

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Getting pigs out of the house on Monday morning, someone was coughing

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Jennifer learns the tractor

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Preserving squash

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Layers for sale

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Young Laying Chickens for sale

We are finding ourselves with a few more young layers than we need. These birds which are 3 ½ months old have been on pasture all summer and will soon be laying. They are certified organic and in excellent health. This variety of birds is the highest performing brown egg layer that I am aware of. We get about 85% production for most of the year.

$30 each. Contact me as below noted to get your flock started for fall production.

These young layers are Novogen Red from JM Hatchery.

CSA News Week 21

Last Week’s share

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

  • CSA
    • Kale
    • An Asian
    • Hakurei turnips
    • Arugula
    • Cilantro
    • Purple top turnips
    • Rutabaga thinnings
    • Cabbage
    • Celery

It was a hard year for celery, but we got a good harvest last week and will have smaller ones available this week

  • Chives
  • Summer Squash for some
  • Winter squash

Lots of great butternut squash, delicata and carnivals – not up to last year’s banner squash year, but we were happy with it

  • Potatoes
  • Onions

Sadly, the chard and lettuce have been decimated by the deer, and they also have possibly irreparably harmed out fall beets. But John, one of our Athol shareholders,  is coming out Monday to do some hunting!

Fall Share all sold out – back for a minute on the website

We do actually have two slots available. The fall share starts the week of October 30.
Deliveries to Athol, Barre, Gardner, Sutton – Monday
Worcester and Shrewsbury – Wednesday
Warwick, Holden, Community Fridges – Friday
Last day of fall CSA – Monday, November 20th – all deliveries on this day

Volunteering at MHOF

Volunteers make it possible for us to pay reasonable salaries to our paid staff and they also provide the necessary hands needed to plant, tend and pick the vegetables and move the birds each day. We are always welcoming volunteers – year round for a morning of work and a nice lunch at noon. Starting November 27, we will be working on M, T and F.

Star came back!

Good Podcast

Ari Whitten ran this podcast a few months ago, and reran it today. It is well worth the listen. Do You Have “BAD” Genes? Here’s What You Can Do About It | Kashif Khan
This is a great explication about what we can learn about our genetic potential (and hazards) and what we can do about it. You can do his test – through the DNA Company, and it you would rather “do-it-yourself” with a good book on the topic, you can read Dirty Genes by Ben Lynch.
The good news, expressed by both of these men is that our genes are not a “sentence” but instead an opportunity to learn our special needs to stay optimally healthy.

Farm Doin’s

Cooler – Tired of politely reaching out to the state each week to see if we could get a signed contract to start disassembling our defunct walk-in and get the new one installed, Jack reached our to our former state Senator, Anne Gobi for some advice. Well, by Thursday we got the word that the contract has been signed and we can start work. Thanks Anne! So starting this upcoming Friday we will be taking the old walk in down and by Monday the 23rd the folks will come in and start installing the new one. The barn will be kind of a mess for a week or so, but we will carry on and try to be creative with CSA distribution.

Food preservation – I hadn’t really thought that October was a big food prez month, but this past week we cooked down and froze 50 quarts of butternut squash, and harvested some celery seconds and steamed and pureed that for the freezer – maybe 30 quarts all told. Thanks to all of the pickers, peelers and choppers and puree’ers!

Blanched celery in background, pureed cooked butternut squash in foreground

Squash harvest – We started it a week ago Friday and finished filling the barn on Monday with all hands on deck. We will have ample supplies for the end of the summer CSA and the fall CSA.
Clare looks happy enough, but she hates this somewhat nail-biting phase of storing the squash

Ta da!

Don Persons visit – Don is the Baystate Organic Certifiers inspector that helps us through our inspection every year. This is our 37th year of being certified. Don sat at our table on Thursday all day, peppering us with questions about this and that, e while Clare and I processed celery and squash. We passed!

Raspberries  Monday late in the day we started to make sense out of our overgrown red raspberry patch and by Friday we had transplanted in a few canes from another patch – after weeding, pruning dead canes, mowing, fertilizing, and mulching with a heavy wood chip mulch – all accomplished in bits and pieces throughout the week – very satisfying.

Early in the week on the raspberry project

Chicken house – John, Jonathan and Stu worked assiduously on Monday and Friday on the chicken house, getting the rafters all up and starting the sheathing of the roof. They are making every hour count as we get closer to the time when the girls will have to come off the pasture. Meanwhile Jonathan fixed another mobile house that had a rotted front member.
Sheathing on chicken house

Jonathan and John hard at work on the chicken house

Every week we load the porch with a week’s worth of firewood

What a cute couple – Danny and Paula

Carlos taking over managing the DR

The pigs have worked almost their entire pasture – they move again on Tuesday

Stu, right after a smart remark!

Marcia wrapping up our squash prep

Ann and Matt washing up the Friday shares

It was a beautiful October week with just a little sprinkle of rain on Monday. We had a wonderful time here.


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