A Belated Valentine’s Day message

“Love is not really a mystery. It is a process like anything else. A process that requires trust, effort, focus and commitment by two willing partners” ― Elizabeth Bourgeret

On Valentine’s Day this past week, Jack and I made something of a pact, to see how deeply we could continue to fall in love, with all the attending commitment to supporting a loving relationship. Of course, there will always be the challenge of him ragging on me for putting too much wood in the stove, and me suggesting he get a bit more exercise. But there will also be a stronger commitment to listening better and more thoroughly to what the other is saying, finding ways to learn more information and wisdom, conspire to bring more value to the world as a team and separately, and to make our home and farm a haven for those who want to participate at some level with our vision of a life well-lived.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It is Jack this week. I don’t think one can beat having someone consistently there in your life with whom you can share the victories, defeats, challenges, bliss, observations, enjoyments, and most importantly, the mundane.


Elenore turned 24 this week

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Clare on pruning blueberries

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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 February 17, we have raised $5,978.92. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 7.46%. – up 1.74% from last week.

Flower Share
Returning in 2024: we raise some stunning annual flowers. We will make you a 20-25 flower bouquet at least 10 of the 22 weeks of the summer share – delivered in your share bag in a plastic bag in a bit of water. It may include calendula, cosmos, zinnia, statice, snapdragon, aster and more. $120 – order here. Thanks to Sarah B who asked for it and then ordered it this week!

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Order your Summer CSA share here

Many Hands Make a Farm

Jack and I had a great time at the Hardwick Town Hall last Saturday discussing the book, our lives and organic/regenerative farming practice, geopolitical issues and more. We will be at the Royalston town hall on Sunday, February 25 at 2pm.

I received this wonderful email from my 93 year old aunt this week.

“Dear Julie and Jack,
Thanks for your call the other night. It was fun talking to you. I’m enjoying reading your book. The decision you made to move to the country was quite a gigantic thing to do. The smarts and the guts are evident in every page. I’m very impressed. Your hard work and abilities made me think of my current book I’m working on.

It is the last book in my series and a part of it is about your great grandmother and grandfather on your mother’s side, Benjamin Broadbent and Agnes Broadbent. Ben settled Star Valley, Wyoming in the late 1800s. Their parents came from England and Ireland, made their way west and settled in Idaho.

The material is factual having been put together by my cousin about twenty years ago and sent to me. I carried the folder around through all of our moves and finally am using the material in my last book.

Ben and Agnes did what you two are doing. They turned a tract of land into a ranch that produced food for their six children, themselves, and neighbors and friendly Indians. And, of course, built all the buildings needed, too.
Your life and theirs, although years apart are similar.

Love, Aunt Ella”

You can buy our book here

Educational Resources this week

These two resources come from daughter Ellen –

Bile Flow: Top 15 Herbs to Support Liver & Gallbladder
This article also is very educational about the role of bile and the gallbladder in our health
Fear No More! 10 Tips for COVID Immunity
Also, good to know some ways to build Covid Immunity

These two upcoming summits are free and there is always a lot of information to be learned. I always learn some good things and might end up getting a book from a person who particularly speaks to me.
Vitality Summit – https://vitalitysummit.theurbanmonk.com/

Gut Rescue Summit – https://gutrescue.byhealthmeans.com/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=FIRSTNAME+%2C+you+re+registered+for+The+Gut+Rescue+Summit&utm_campaign=GUHE24 this one starts in March, and of course, is free

Ari Whitten with Dr. Jason Hawrelak – The Gut – Mitochondria Link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScyCU9Nxviw&list=UULFnQo6oCvS6YuvaablyMT_sw – the importance of butyrate, transit time for digestion, dangers with antibiotics, the significant danger of carnivore diets for but microbe diversity. The gut biome is a topic that has new information coming down the pike all the time. A worthy listen.

John KempfRegenerative Agriculture Podcast 105
Moving from organic to regenerative agriculture with Raisin grower Steve Cardoza
Fascinating information about raisin production in California; also a good look at water infiltration vs. percolation.

Federal Court Overturns EPA Approval of Pesticide Dicamba

News of Note from Jack Kittredge

A federal court determined on February 6 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unlawfully approved the herbicide Dicamba for use on emerged soybeans and cotton crops designed to withstand the herbicide. 40 million U.S. Dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton acres are estimated to be directly impacted” by the court order.

In announcing its decision, the U.S. District Court of Arizona acknowledged Dicamba as an effective herbicide, but said “its toxicity is not limited to weeds; it kills broadleaf plants, generally, including desirable plants, bushes, and trees. Dicamba easily moves off-field due to wind drift during spraying and is volatile, meaning it evaporates into a gas during spraying if there is a temperature inversion or even hot weather can cause it to vaporize after spraying.”

‘A Sweeping Victory’
Four organizations led the charge in court, challenging the EPA on its decision to register – and maintain the registration of – dicamba. They include: the Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, Pesticide Action Network, and the National Family Farm Coalition. The Center for Biological Diversity deemed the court decision “a sweeping victory for family farmers and dozens of endangered plants and animals.”
EPA has issued an Existing Stocks Order to allow for limited sale and distribution of dicamba OTT products that were already in the possession of growers or in the channels of trade and outside the control of pesticide companies as of February 6, 2024.


Introducing Integrity Grown with Jahn Kempf https://regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com/episodes/episode-104-introduce-integrity-grown-with-john-kempf/

Another certification, to add to the long list of certifications that farmers can select to engage with. We have been certified organic since 1987, first with NOFA/Mass back when the local organizations were certifying; and now with the feds which is now a multi-million-dollar enterprise and some of us early folks would suggest is not a pure as it once was. We are also certified by the Real Organic Project, which tries to stand out from USDA organic in that they don’t certify hydroponic production, which USDA organic certifies.

This new certification is an attempt by John and AEA to focus on soil health improvement, farming practices, and integrity of supply chain relationships. I will check it out. What I find certification most useful for is helping remind me to keep good records and be a more successful farmer.

Volunteering at MHOF

Be in touch, we love volunteers – M, T, F – 8-noon with lunch. Breakfast at 7:0 if you come early.  Danny was interviewed this week. Like Paula, Leslie, and Matt, he has moved from working shareholder to staff member.

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Friday Elizabeth and Opal joined our working shareholder team.


Opal getting a ride on the tractor with Clare

Students coming from everywhere

When Marissa commented at her review this winter that she wanted to see more kids here, and I handed her our various contacts from many years of visitors, I had no idea how many students would be showing up. Already in March we are expecting some students from Hamilton College for 4 days, and for two Fridays in April, Jude Fernando’s Clark class will be here to help. Here we are on zoom talking about the global agricultural system with Jude.

Community Fridges

First, I want to thank Joan H and Matt for their donations to the 2024 Community Fridges MHOF investment. For the fourth year we are hoping to do some co-fundraising with the Worcester Woo Fridge https://www.woofridge.org/ which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we may try to up it to 16 this year.
So far we have $1,788.46 in hand and we hope to raise $8540 or $9760, depending on where we land. We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,270. You can write a check to MHSC and send it to us at 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005 or donate online here. We are quite enthused about this match this year.

2024 Workshop Series

Here are the first two workshops – happening in March. You can find the others on the website here – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

Natural and Low-cost Homestead Design
Saturday, March 23, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 sliding scale
Presenters: Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

Ayurveda, Yoga, and Seasonal Cooking
Saturday, March 30, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Jennifer Peck

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Soft Boiled Egg with Veggies and Sweet Potato Homefries

As Spring arrives, let’s adjust our diet and lifestyle. Opt for foods and herbs that cleanse blood, decongest liver and gallbladder. Swap heavy white potatoes for lighter, diabetic-friendly sweet potatoes. They’re easier to digest, stabilize blood sugar, and offer nutrients like beta carotene, potassium, Vitamin A&C, and fiber. Thanks for the winter potatoes, Dan!

Get recipe here.

Farm Doin’s

We had only two workdays this week because I cancelled Tuesday due to the dire forecast that provided us with about 1 inch of snow. Danny and Matt cleaned the shed while Jim and Stu made a new shelf in the barn. The Stetson kids made some more kindling while the rest of us finished picking up all the fruit tree prunings on Monday. And then we repaired to the stone wall by the road and made much progress on cutting out bittersweet and grapes.

Friday, we pruned all of the blueberries and moved some wood. Clare finished certification while Marissa and Jack and I finalized Jude Fernando’s Clark visits.

We hired Candido provisionally to start next week,

brought home our new truck

and I continued work on my seed starting, mulching, cover cropping, successioning, tarping magnum opus. When I have it completed, I will offer it up again for those who would like to see it. Thursday I met with Bella from AEA and got a better handle on which sprays to use under tarps and when to pull the trigger on tree foliar seaweed sprays should the weather go south after it gets too warm. Spring is stirring out there and won’t be long . . .

Matt, Danny and Jack discussing plans for extending our shock and water systems into the pond field.


Quick Links

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Products available right now at the farm
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Links Workshops

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