Two Old Horses

Friday was a trip down memory lane. About 35 years ago Jack and I and all four kids, probably aged 7 to 11 or so, crammed into our stake body truck and drove to the soon to go defunct Mission Hill Food Coop in the Back Bay to pick up the walk-in cooler that they were donating to us. We had been members of the coop, from 1977 – 1982, and they thought of us when they closed up shop. I actually don’t remember much about the dismantling of the 7’ x 7’ cooler, but mostly remember the fact that we were all crammed into the cab of the truck, because the 1 ½ hour trip each way was somewhat physically painful! But we got it home and stored it in our garage for about 4 years until we built our barn in 1982, which Jack actually designed around the specs of the walk-in. Any of you who have been customers of ours in the past 31 years will remember the walk-in, as it has temporarily housed tons of food over the years. Yesterday the HVAC people took it down for us as the first step toward the construction of a new walk-in, which I am sure will be lighter inside (this one had dark wood paneling), roomier and more energy efficient, but will also be rather sterile feeling. The front door alone of our old cooler is worth the price of admission.

The heartwarming news about this walk-in is that son Dan picked it up and took it to his farm where he hopes to give it a new life.

After putting together the CSA in the back yard, crawling over workmen to get the potatoes, onions, garlic and winter squash out of the barn second floor, setting up the Barre CSA distribution on the front porch, and cleaning up from our busy day of activity, Jack and I did what we do best. We did a work project. The wood stove was way overdue for a cleaning of the ash that had filled in around the oven and all inside the back of the stove. Okay, so we should have cleaned it a year ago . . . . . . Once completed the stove-cleaning task at around 4:30 pm, I had such a sense of satisfaction and purpose that I was still creating, maintaining and transforming with my life partner. Our relationship started off with us making our living room couch and coffee table that you will see when you walk into the house. And from there we built a family, a house, a farm, NOFA, and a few other things along the way.

As the walk-in moves into the next phase of its life, we continue to design and implement the next phase of our lives. Change is a reality. Jonathan confirmed what I already knew to be true, that he will leave us at the end of December. Another door closing for the farm. Yet Wednesday Jack, Clare, Carlos, Leslie and Paula and I hosted, worked and educated 38 students from Clark University. There are always new folks coming up, and life continues to flow. Through all of this I am grateful to be hitched to the yoke with my horse mate, the person with whom I can manifest miracles.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

This week’s gratitude goes to Stetson School. For some number of years that I no longer can count, a staff member and two students from Stetson School come to volunteer on the farm on Mondays from about 9-1. It is a great opportunity for these young guys who will be moving into the “real world” soon to get some life work experience, and for us to avail the help from their young strong bodies to help with the never-ending work that keeps the farm moving forward. Right now with sore heels, I just can’t manage taking heavy boxes of vegetables down the steep barn stairs from the second floor, but James was right there Monday, and more than excited to haul for me. And Jacob jumped right in to pick vegetables, even when he didn’t know exactly what he was picking. I appreciate the boys’ youthful energy that brings a special flavor to the farm each Monday.

Videos from this Week

Turkey outages

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Meat for Sale at MHOF

“I can’t tell you how amazing my first roasted chicken was.  Everything about your chicken is wonderful and different than any other chicken I have ever cooked (organic from the store). The taste is delicious but also the consistency, the bones, the color and….I don’t know, everything!!
I cook for one so I had a soup and different meals from one chicken. I even froze one of the breasts and wasn’t sure how it would be freezing after cooking but it was also, wonderful

Thank you Julie,
Donnamarie (Donna)”

We do have roaster chickens in the freezer right nowuntil they run out. Plan a visit to buy some.

The pork is officially sold out, but you can place a waiting list order if you would like. This year’s pigs are as beautifully healthy as any pigs we have raised over the past 38 years.

Turkeys are going fast, though not sold out. Order soon to avoid disappointment. They are great, obviously, for Thanksgiving, but also freeze well, for a festive meal down the line and lots of turkey and stock for soups and great dishes from the freezer.

Old layers are sold out and will be going to meet their maker on Sunday, October 29.

CSA News Week 22 – This is our last week!

Returning your bags – please, please, please, return your bags this week. If you don’t mind bringing a bag of your own to your pickup site and loading the produce into it, while leaving that and any other bags you have, at your site, we would be immensely grateful. The bags are expensive and we can save money not having to buy new ones when we can reuse them.

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

  • CSA
    • Kale
    • An Asian
    • Arugula
    • Celery for Friday (sorry, we forgot it in the shuffle on Friday)
    • Some green beans for Monday shares
    • Parsley
    • Chives
    • Peppers or Eggplants
    • Winter squash
    • Onions
    • Garlic

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.

Good Health Info

Here is a recipe from Jennifer.

Cast Iron Halved Baked Potatoes with Summer Squash & Onions

This is something I make in my home weekly during the cold seasons for a nourishing and grounding meal that is simple to make.  MHOF has had a beautiful crop this year of potatoes, squash and onions.  It’s been such a treat to make this with the best vegetables on Earth.  Enjoy!  ~Jennifer


  • 1 – 4 halved Potatoes (number can be adjusted to how many you are cooking for.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 or 6 Tablespoons of Ghee (butter may be used as a substitute)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a 10″ cast iron pan, melt ghee or butter.
  3. Cut potatoes in half and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and turmeric.
  4. Place potatoes with cut side down in cast iron pan.
  5. Brush more ghee and salt the skins of the potatoes.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.  Then flip the potatoes in the pan and cook for another 20 minutes or until tender.
  7. In the last 20 minutes of the potatoes cooking, heat a skillet on the stovetop.
  8. Add ghee, onions, salt and pepper and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  9. Add summer squash and cook until tender.
  10. The last 5 minutes of the potatoes, turn your broiler on high, sprinkle cheese on top and cook under broiler under golden brown.
  11. Serve with sour cream or more ghee.
  12. Enjoy!

Beautiful Kale – This week’s fertility tip

Clare met with Bella from AEA last week and asked her about cabbage loopers and aphids. Bella suggested these upgrades to our sprays for the fall – 4 quarts of photomag per acre, 2 quarts of seastim and 1 pint of molybdenum (all AEA liquids that we use). Danny and Jonathan sprayed on Monday and by Friday we had the most beautiful dark green kale that I have ever seen.

Danny, our top notch Monday sprayer guy

Son Dan has potatoes

$3/lb. – North Brookfield – contact him at 978-257-2627;

Farm Doin’s

We had a big focus on getting ready for the folks to take away the walk-in, making plans for how to run the CSA on Friday without being in the barn, taking down shelves in the barn and generally cleaning up before and after. Big thanks to Jack for managing the project and to Dan for taking away the parts of the cooler.

Partway through the cooler dismantling

Doing the CSA on the lawn was kind of fun, actually

Leslie proudly displays her tatsoi

Our chicken house crew made huge progress this week, getting the roof boards on and face boards and soffits.

Unable to tolerate Stu’s lip, Jonathan bops him on the head

Though we had almost finished our red raspberry project last week, we put the finishing touches on it Friday, rewiring where necessary

Bowing to practicality, we have decided to take out some of our short small fruit trellises and consolidate our small fruit. We are half done with this job of taking down trellises and in some cases moving fruit canes into new locations.

With 1/3 of the Clark students on Wednesday we were able to plant about 1000 square feet with garlic seed, cover it and mulch it.

Prepping for garlic planting on Monday – sadly we missed the boat on Clark photos

Another batch of Clark students helped us weed, hoe, debindweed and heavily mulch with wood chips 6 100 foot trellises that normally go back to grass (which is really hard to extract in the spring). Hopefully the woodchips will attract in lots of earthworms for easy planting next spring.

The third Clark group helped us dig up some soil from the garden and plant three big planter boxes with lettuce for us to enjoy this winter.

All the students – broken into 2 batches got to spend some time with Jack learning about the American food system and intelligent building design. It was a very productive 2 hours!

Friday, in a proactive moment we covered our fall spinach, the rest of the Asian greens and a new planting of radishes. Frost will come.

We were able to freeze some broccoli, more squash, and dry more tulsi for winter tea.

The pigs are now on a bi-weekly move and they are presently residing in the back of the pond field orchard having a great time. Thanks to our Tuesday crew which is getting rather adept at this job.

Pigs in their new home

We spent a lot of time this week counting and sorting squashes and onions and moving them from the barn to the basement ahead of the frost which is likely imminent. Big sigh of relief as we consider how to manage produce for our 80 fall shares. This is a dicey time of year and the stakes are high. We know that at least the onions, garlic, squash and potatoes are all safe and accounted for.


Chickens fertilizing the garden and south field while the turkeys play hopscotch in the pond field as we look for areas that aren’t in standing water!

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Link to buy J and J’s book – Many Hands Make a Farm-