New Beginnings

Did you know there are only 8 more days until the first day of spring? If you are like me, you will remember this winter of 23-24 as a non-event, or almost so. Though we have to watch the weather closely for the next month or two as potential dips into a deep freeze, like happened last spring, can seriously impact our perennials. Meanwhile, I noticed the emergence of the daylilies on the south side of our hoophouse this week and marveled at the miracle of the beginnings that happen each year. We have new kittens in our bed too, and Thursday will go pick up a new English shepherd pup, our wager on the deer problem. How lucky are we to live on this beautiful earth!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Sometimes it is the little things like Candido rushing in and giving me a big hug, calling me grandma and saying he is so grateful that we hired him, or the silly texts that Clare and I share over the weekend sometime regarding things like jackfruit, banana trees and cultural mores. And there was my guest visit to Marissa and Drew’s place last week to reconnoiter over how best to tarp their little farm (Drew has taken over the job of secretary of the Barre Farmers Market – a job that I had for about 20 years starting back in 1985).


Starting seeds after soaking them and drying them
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Here is the seed soak starting recipe

Seed soak

  • 10 parts water
  • 1 part seacrop
  • 1 part rejuvenate
  • 3 parts seastim
  • 1 part micropak
  • a wee dash of mycogenesis or biocoat gold (at least 1 gram per pound of seed) – add this only at soaking time

And soak seeds in that for, yeah, about 4 hours. If it’s a seed that desires a much longer soaking time, I would start with plain water, or with just the seacrop added, and then finish with the more robust seed soak.  – Nathan Harmann

Num, Num!

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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 March 9, we have raised $8,922.55. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 11.13%. – up 2.68% from last week.

Yippee – our first big surge this year. Spring must be in the offing.

Order your Summer CSA Share here

Pay with SNAP – join now
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What you will get in your share in July – and a few beautiful chickens to gaze upon

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Please note that we are having problem with our paypal link at the moment. Jennifer is scurrying to get it fixed. Meanwhile, you can order your share with the paper form here – or you can email me here to alert you when the link is fixed – Sorry for that.

Not too Early to buy our meat chickens

Hear more in this video

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Sadly, our chicken page is down at the minute, but you can access an order form here –

Many Hands Make a Farm

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

Mel Hopper Koppelman with Ari Whitten – this is a part 2 with Mel, a brilliant neuro-scientist who has had her own journey of discovery. I am impressed by her humility, intelligence, tenacity and compassion. This is a must listen for anyone who wants to further understand how we operate as human beings –

Your 2 Brains and the link to ADHD, Autism, Anxiety and Autoimmunity
And here they go deeper into polyvagal theory and heart rate variability  –

Dr. Eliaz again with research on meditation and brain health –
I have not been a regular meditator. Yet the research is overwhelming that mediation increases all of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I think I will start with 5 minutes per day, and see how it goes!

Volunteering at MHOF

Beth and Bob were over this past weekend from Noonday Farm in Winchendon and we were discussing how volunteers can make all the difference in farming viability. At their farm they donate all of their produce to the Gardner Community Action Council, and because they operate on their own volunteer labor (with paying side jobs to afford it), We are looking forward to 10 students from Hamilton College from this Sunday – Wednesday and have a wonderful line up of fun work to accomplish. If you are wanting to try out volunteering here, be in touch. We take very good care of our volunteers!

Community Fridges

For the fourth year we are hoping to do some co-fundraising with the Worcester Woo Fridge which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760. We now have in hand $2,198.46

We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. With this week’s donations our new goal for donations comes to $2,681.54

You can write a check to MHSC and send it to us at 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005 or donate on line 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 –

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

What I would like to share about the value of this workshop has to do with the great comfort we have experienced over the past 42 years from the beautiful heat from the sun, and the warming experience of wood heat. And we have received numerous benefits from cutting, splitting and hauling that wood – it really keeps the body fit. Come check this out.

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

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Navigating the new normal- power equipment and implements on the farm and homestead.
Saturday, May 11, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Dave Petrovick with support from Jonathan Anderson

Are you confused on how to enter into the realm of tractors, implements and power equipment? There are many time and labor saving pieces of equipment available lately and with rampant sticker shock everywhere, how do you choose what to buy?

For those who have equipment already, how do I maintain it? Can I repair it?  Should I repair it, or bite the bullet and upgrade?

Interested in starting a new enterprise on the farm? What will I need? We will discuss these and other subjects. I am a diesel mechanic, certified welder and farmer with 40 years of experience with agricultural and construction equipment. You’ll have access to insights and experience that will help you confidently delve into the world of power equipment, implements and tractors.

Dave stopped by and I grabbed a video

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Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Chicken Bone Broth

I use nothing but MHOF meat chickens, old layers and feet to make my bone broth.  Now is the time to put your order in for any or all of these so you don’t lose out on making your own amazing bone broth all year round.  I’ve put my order in for this year.  Don’t wait too long as they sell out quick.

You can download your order form here:

Bone both is highly nutritious and different then just broth.  The key to bone broth is Apple Cider Vinegar and time.  The longer you soak and cook, the more nutrients leech into the liquid.  The recipe here is a basic recipe.  I am always switching up the herbs and spices that I use to make it with.  For the winter I was using a lot of nettle and astragulus, now I am shifting to using cumin, coriander and fennel, which are great herbs for the spring.

View Recipe here

Farm Doin’s

We had another large crowd on Monday – 17 this past week. The guys got the braces up for another long set of shelves on the back of the barn woodshed for our farm lumber. Some of us cut more wood and worked on our stone walls, we started our parsley, savory, thyme and sage, and weeded hoophouses, prior to planting out some more kale and chard seedlings in the houses that will help flesh out our early shares in June. To add to the enjoyment of the day, the town guys arrived to take down the dead ash tree that is on the roadside right across from our driveway. The actually did not complete the job yet, but will be back to finish it.

Mat and his pick axe taking out the cement spillage from the chicken house project.

Matt and Candido working on the riding mower

Cutting the tree

We harvested a good bit of this chickweed for salad and gave the rest to the chickens

Chickweed feast

Planting in hoophouse

Good thing it is warm on Mondays so that we can eat outside

Tuesday we wrestled with the bale chopper and got some hay chopped, but are finding it too moisture-filled in order to do that job successfully. After Friday we decided to put the bale chopper aside until the dryer straw appears.

Jackson came to help on Tuesday

Hooking up the bale chopper

Friday we planted several thousand onion seeds and now the front of the greenhouse is full!

Onion seeds drying out on paper towels

Friday planting


Quick Links

Buy meat
CSA pick up information
Contact Julie
Products available right now at the farm
Become a working shareholder
Donate to the MHSC
Links Workshops

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