Planting Schedules

Over the past two weeks we have been busying ourselves with the task of putting together our farm maps and planting schedule. For some reason this is my very most favorite thing to do each year. Clare and I have spent hours, with some help from the rest of the staff too, figuring out how to get the most photosynthesis and the most harvest from our fields. Beginning with kale and chard that we will start on Monday for use in the hoophouses, to the final planting of rye in late October, as a final cover crop, the planting goes on most of the year. If you would like a copy of our planting schedule, and even of our maps, to see how we manage successions, just let me know and I will ship them off with you. We feel we have a pretty state of the art succession plan and are more than happy to share it.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Thanks for the amazing response to our request for help with our deer problem. 10 folks contacted us with helpful advice. Many fencing options, use of row cover strategically, mountain lion musk, loud radios, deer hunters, border collies and a variety of fencing options were suggested. We are plowing through all the ideas and will let you all know what combination of suggestions we employ. We are so grateful for the help!


Jack turned 80 last week! We are having a big 80th this summer on June 29, which will also double as Clare’s farewell party. You are all invited, of course. Be sure to put it on your calendar.

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Pork for 2024

Things have changed somewhat in the pork department, so I am copying in the whole website page for you to reference.

Many Hands Organic Farm Pork
Many Hands Organic Farm is proud to be one of the very few certified organic pork producers in Massachusetts. Our pigs live in the woods or on the edges of the fields from June – November, with their pasture being rotated monthly early on and as often as weekly as they near harvest. They eat Green Mountain certified organic hog pellets, forage for a substantial part of their living, and also enjoy garden refuse, particularly enjoying corn cobs and later cider leavings. We buy our Tamworth piglets from Misty Brook Farm in Albion, ME. We are raising 12 pigs this year. They will be slaughtered at Adams Farm, a USDA and organically certified processing facility in Athol, MA.  The pork will be ready for customers in late November. This fresh frozen pork will cost $15/lb.

Cuts, such as bacon and ham, are processed at Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT. There they use a natural cure of water, brown sugar, sea salt, maple syrup and celery powder to age and flavor the pork before smoking it. Ham and bacon will be available in late December at $21/lb.
Only Whole or Half Pigs are available for pre-order in 2024
Download an order form to reserve your whole or half pig.
In 2023 the average of our four pigs was a dressed weight of 251 lbs. We brought back –

  • 104 lbs. of red meat
  • 54 lbs. smoked meat – 22 lbs. bacon and 32 lbs. hams
  • 25 lbs. fat – leaf lard and fat back
  • 40 lbs. of miscellaneous hocks, bones, tails and organs

When you order a whole or half pig you will be asked in October how you want it cut. There will be a cut sheet for the red meat, and options to smoke only the bacon, one or both of the hams, or get it all fresh. Additionally, you can opt to buy the fat and miscellany, or leave it for us. In the end, you will pay $15/lb. for everything but the smoked meat that you select, and $21/lb. for the smoked meat. Feel free to call and chat if you have questions. (978) 257-1192 – Julie

Pork Cuts – Available for order and pick up in late November and late December.
Pork cuts are not available for pre-order in 2024.  Cuts will be available to order in November 2024. We will let you know when we have pork cuts available for sale.

  • Ground pork and breakfast sausage come in approximately 1 lb. packages. Our breakfast sausage is made with sea salt, certified organic spices, and has no added sugar. $15lb.
  • Pork chops and country style ribs come in approximately 1- 1 ½ lb. packages, 2 chops or country style ribs/package. $15/lb.
  • Roasts and spare ribs will weigh about 3-4 lbs. each. $15/lb.
  • Bacon is $21/lb., smoked at Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT. It will be available mid to late December. Although the pork is certified organic, the bacon processing has not been organically certified.
  • Ham Quarters are $21/lb. and usually 4-5 lbs. Smoked at Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT. It will be available mid to late December. Although the pork is certified organic the processing has not been organically certified.

Join Next Year’s CSA

We have set prices for 2024 and are ready to receive your subscriptions for our summer CSA – running 22 weeks from June 3 – November 1. The fall CSA runs from November 4 – November 25.

Summer CSA:

  • Large – $775 – $875; SNAP – $725
  • Medium – $575-$675; SNAP – $525
  • Small – $450 – $550; SNAP – $425

On January 28, we have raised $3,785.1 Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 4.72%.

Expenses are high this time of year with fertility purchases, insurance, workers comp, new livestock, seeds, organic certification, etc., etc.

We welcome your early subscriptions. Please contact me for posters or electronic or hard copy farm brochures to share with your friends and family and work, church, etc. We much appreciate it.

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Order your Summer CSA share here

Holly’s Tooth Powder

Here’s a tooth powder recipe that is quite similar to one that I buy from the Dirty Mouth folks – When my supply runs out, I am going to give it a try.

  • 1/4 c bentonite clay
  • 2T baking soda
  • 1T good salt
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 2t cloves (optional)
  • 3T calcium (optional) you can make your own calcium by boiling eggshells for 10 min, drying, and grinding in coffee grinder or blender.

Podcasts this week

It is a good time of year to get back to listening to agricultural podcasts. I listened to 3 of the Regenerative Ag podcasts.
100 – an interview with John Kempf by a grower where we learn about his beginnings and the growth of Advancing EcoAgriculture; I liked the part at the end where John talked about the Golden Rule and how important he feels it is to treat others just as we want to be treated, including careful and thoughtful timely feedback
99 –
Reshaping how agriculture sees nutrition uptake with Dr. Jame White – the guru of plant rhizophagy – really breaking stuff!
102 – The Learning experience of Regenerative ag with Dr. Allen Williams – I think this one is a must listen. Williams is a very clear teacher who goes into very practical detail about how to build highly functional soil with high diversity, pollinators, noisy birds, deeply aggregated soils, mycorrhizal fungi and rhizophagy. Take notes on this one!

Volunteering at MHOF

Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch. Breakfast at 7:0 if you come early.  Bryan is back after a 3-year hiatus. Hurray!

Bryan is back after a 3-year hiatus. Hurray!

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2024 Workshop Series coming soon

They are not yet all organized, but we have an exciting list of workshops this year

  • The house that Jack built
  • Machinery with David Petrovick
  • Homestead carpentry with John Wilson and Danny LeBlanc
  • Seed starting and planting with Clare Caldwell and Julie
  • Keeping the soil covered with Julie and other staff
  • Food preservation with Julie and other staff

I think they are going to be really top notch!

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Beets & Chard with Turmeric Eggs

I’ve been in to using fresh turmeric in all my dishes lately, and with good reason.  This is the time of year our bodies begin to recognize the qualities of spring, heavy, sluggish, dense, cloudy and muddy.  What we see going on around us in nature, is what is also happening in the body.  The Earth is beginning to thaw while the snow is heavy and wet.

Did you know that March is the month with the highest number of heart attacks?  This is in large part due to many people don’t shift their diet for the season.  They continue to eat sweet foods such as meat, dairy, and wheat.  Sweet foods are nourishing, grounding, heavy, dense and often difficult to digest, which we need in the colder months. Our digestive fires are stronger in the winter so we are able to digest these foods more easily.  As we shift towards spring, our digestive fire gets a little wonky.  Have you noticed more indigestion, heart burn or other digestive disorder recently?  Or maybe pain in the in the lower right ribcage area?   This is a sign from your body to easing off of these foods a little and incorporate some lightness.

February is the month to begin to lighten up our diets to burn the excess we have taken in over the autumn/winter.  Some of the best foods to incorporate into the diet in February are turmeric, greens (cooked), and beets.  Turmeric (fresh is best) and beets are known for their ability to cleanse and clear the blood of impurities.   Best greens for February is spinach, chard, dandelion greens, scallions, asparagus, and arugula.  Herbs and spices are also super helpful as we transition into spring.  Including tulsi, lemongrass, milk thistle, cumin, fennel, black pepper, fenugreek, mustard seed… most spices!

Ingredients (quantities depending on your liking):

  • Soft boiled Eggs, put eggs in water at boil and cook for 7 minutes for the perfect soft boiled egg.
  • Beets, diced
  • Chard, chopped
  • Turmeric, fresh is best.  I buy mine at Market Basket in the produce section.
  • Cardamom
  • Pippali (long pepper)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Ghee
  • Avocado, optional

Bake at 375 degrees in a cast iron pan until vegetables are tender.  I include the turmeric in cooking as well as fresh raw turmeric.

Farm Doin’s

We had a short week this week as we cancelled Monday, though the Stetson folks stopped by to help me do some shoveling.

Tuesday was mostly taken up with moving 5 cords of wood into our newly repaired barn woodshed.

And Friday the guys finished the 2 black plastic sand bag sledges.

and the gals made a significant dent in the fruit tree pruning. We are 1 or 2 days from being done.

And we completed our maps and planting schedule – our best yet, and Leslie plugged away at our organic certification application. Elenore also finished organizing our AEA spray program for the year.


Quick Links

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