Memorial Day

I think I have noted before that I have been marching in the Barre, and often Hardwick Memorial Day parades for the past 40+ years. Though the 4th of July is bigger where I come from in Illinois, Memorial Day is the big one here in Central Mass, with parades and services in almost every community.

I don’t come from a family of soldiers – my dad was needed at home to be a large animal vet during World War 2. My older brother got an educational deferment during Vietnam and my younger brother got a high lottery number. Luckily, I was a female and poorly sighted when I would have been in danger of being drafted, so all that is a bit theoretical in my case. Would I have gone to Canada or jail, had I been drafted, like so many of my friends did?

Each year as I am marching and playing or standing at attention while names of fallen soldiers are read, I ponder war, ponder the death of so many young people who never got a full chance to develop their potential, or whose lives have been marred by PTSD, or physical trauma. I muse on what a world it might be where we don’t shoot or bomb each other, but work out our differences through peaceful negotiation and mutual respect. I am reminded that although I have never had to lift a gun against another, I certainly have acted in anger against others, and thus done violence to them. In this period of remembrance of the sacrifice, of often very young people, I recognize that the best thing I can do for peace is to act peacefully in every one of my human interactions.

Expressing Gratitude this Week

I am grateful this week that I was lucky enough to end up as a farmer, surrounded by life, good health, sunshine and rain, heat and cold, provided the opportunity to work in concert with nature to create and participate in flourishment.

Letters from folks

Good morning Julie!

Yes, I am Elenore’s mom! I have done a lot of volunteering with Laura at Long Life Farm and you, your farm and family are a legend! I also caught the passion for regenerative agriculture in the early days of your son, Dan’s, Bionutrient Food Association. I am an admirer of all you do and love receiving your newsletter. When Elenore joined your team I was so proud to see her featured in the newsletter! She really enjoyed MHOF and I know if she lived closer she would still be there. It was a great learning opportunity for her. She is also a gift from my own green heart as a seed I planted early on for her (and my son) to be children of the soil, the forest and the water. I spent many years serving as a community based mental health counselor for folks that needed support and resources, and especially good food to feed their families. I also volunteered at a local community meals program cooking, for up to 100 people at a time, nutritious meals that didn’t come out of cans from the food pantry. So, donating to the Community Fridges is really meaningful to me as a way to support what I believe is essential; and I also grew up in Worcester. I want more folks to enjoy farm fresh, whole foods as often as possible.

Thank you for all you do!

Wow Julie, I learned so much in this newsletter under sustainability and farmers tips. I have bought the little leaf lettuce and really wondered (although I didn’t do my homework)
I have a cut worm story from my little backyard garden (8’ x 8’ loved this space) where I lived when my children were young. During my very first experience planting tomatoes (amongst other plants), much to my horror, when I woke up the following day to tend and admire the garden All my plants were leveled!!! I had a neighbor who grew flowers in a greenhouse and started seedlings. I visited and talked about what happened and he gave me this little home remedy that would only work on a small personal garden  I placed toothpicks like a fence around each plant…(sounds funny now) It Worked and I did it for years. You are probably laughing very hard…. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with all of us and taking the time to educate our younger generations to help direct their paths. Smiles and hope, Donnamarie

Thank you, Donnamarie, Not laughing at all, just happy that cutworms don’t bother us here. I certainly have heard of ringing plants with cut out tunafish cans, etc. Thanks for your support. Julie

Good morning Julie.
As usual I enjoy reading your Monday letter.
I totally agree to point out to our youth to think again all the words “green, sustainability, wholesome, organic, natural, …”.
It’s so easy to fall for labels but not the practice.
Love you.
Myai Emery-Le


Join Our CSA

Large – $775 – $875; SNAP – $725
Medium – $575-$675; SNAP – $525
Small – $450 – $550; SNAP – $425
Fall – $170; SNAP – $160
Flowers – $120

Back to our bean thermometer, we are now at $58,515.84 or 72.97% of our goal for the CSA

There is just one more week until the summer CSA starts, and we would love to receive your subscription. We are looking for about 25 more shares.

For you new folks, we are looking forward to a good strong start with lettuce, green onions, oregano, kale, chard, radishes, spinach, Chinese cabbage. We are closely watching our strawberries – very exciting, but maybe not until week two. Get your K2 (see below), give your digestive system a thorough cleansing, and feel amazing after eating this incredible food.

If you are already signed up, and have a friend who you can push over the top this week, we would be very grateful. It is going to be a beautiful and bountiful CSA this year.

Order your Summer CSA share here

Marissa applying our weekly foliar on the onions

Education this week

This is a really good one with Ari Whitten this week. This dentist, Judson Wall is phenomenal, in my humble opinion. Learn about Weston A. Price, vitamin K2, fluoridation, root canals, and more. After this you will be careful where you go for dentistry. Fantastic! The Link Between Oral Health and Chronic Illness –
Check out for more from Dr. Wall

Volunteering at MHOF

From the Minuteman Technical HS folks –
Hello Julie and Co—
We also had a great time. The chatter on the bus ride home (before they all fell asleep) was “That was the most wholesome field trip ever” and “Honestly, I’d do that once a month if we could” and “That was the best food I’ve ever had.” It’s important to note that we take these kids ALL OVER the place to the point where being out in the world together is pretty normal, so for them to have enjoyed a trip so much really says something!  I also really appreciated Jack’s talk in it’s importance, brevity, clarity, and personal nature. It will stick with these kids for a while, I’m sure.It would be great to pay you another visit in the Fall or Spring, so I hope you’ll keep us in mind! Have a great season! Emily

If you manage students or a community group that would like to spend some time on our farm working with us and sharing a meal at lunchtime (we charge $10/head for a sumptuous spread), be in touch. Volunteer groups make all the difference to us for these large jobs that take many hands to complete.

Thanks to the Quabbin kids on Tuesday, we were able to weed and mulch our rhubarb and asparagus, along with a couple beds of kale.

Jack doing a classroom presentation on sustainable building design


Jennifer turned 53 this week!

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Onions and lettuce

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Don’t forget the Party on June 29

Each year we come up with a new excuse to have a pot luck party on our front lawn. This year we are feting Jack who reached the 80 mark and Clare, who leaves us soon to start a new life in VT. Please come anytime after 2 pm with a dish to share, on Saturday, June 29. Shawnee is providing the fireworks show at dusk.

Community Fridges

We made it! We went over the top last week with the help of Allison, Rebecca, Rachel and Michele. Thank you folks!

But the real hero this year is Matt, who gathered a $3900 match from a number of people to bring our share total to 16 summer and 16 fall shares.

Thank you Matt!

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2024 Workshop Series

Here are listed two of our next workshops. You can find the others on the website here –

Keeping the soil covered: tarps, cover crops, mulch

  • Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • 9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
  • Price – free to the public; supported by a USDA TOPP grant and co-hosted by NOFA/Mass
  • Presenters –Julie Rawson, Matthew Kornn
  • Spanish Translation will be available

We aim for the highest possible fertility, a no till scenario, increased soil organic matter, and high nutrient density, disease and insect resistance, and as few weeds as possible. At this workshop we will discuss our 10 years of no till, a bit about our problems with this modality as they have evolved over the years, and the solutions that we have implemented. Always a work in progress, this fascinating journey is always full of new insights and observations.

Specifically, we will show how we use cover crops pre, post and during the season, tarps throughout the farming year, and myriad sources of mulch. We will explain the use of our bale chopper, mulch some broccoli with chopped straw or hay and leaves, take down some cover crops and use a pre-plant soil drench for planting of tomatoes in the next 2-3 days. We will remove tarps from some of our sweet potato beds and prepare the beds for planting similar to the tomato beds. Finally, we will undersow inoculated (with biocoat gold) crimson clover in our mulched collard beds and apply a transplant drench to the beds.
The Transition to Organic Partnership Program helps farmers aspiring to become certified to work with a mentor in this process. Information about TOPP will be presented by Laura Davis, Certification Assistance Coordinator for NOFA/Mass

Carpentry – June 7 deadline to register; we need at least 2 more registrants to assure that we run it. Register today!

Homestead Carpentry

  • Saturday, June 15, 2024
  • 9am-12 with pot luck lunch
  • Price: $50-$100 – sliding scale
  • Presenter: John Wilson, with some help from Jack Kittredge and Danny LeBlanc

There’s a time in every homesteader’s life when some carpentry is needed to build or repair something made of wood.  This workshop will provide a solid grounding in getting started. Very basic questions will be explored in a setting that requires no knowledge of woodworking.

Topics will include: how to select the right lumber for your task, how to measure it and cut it to size, the options for fastening it together, and making a good assembly.  Each topic will cover the tools needed, with a demonstration of technique, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.  Emphasis will be on hand tools where feasible.

While in his 20s, John Wilson was a carpenter for 10 years.  He worked on framing apartments, finish work in condos, a cabinet shop, and built two houses.  He’s kept active in carpentry remodeling work in the intervening years, and was part of the MHOF garage and chicken coop renovations the past two years.  He has always had an appreciation for tools and techniques.

Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Ayurvedic Gatorade

With the recent heatwave, I’ve been thinking a lot about hydration. Working all day on the farm under the hot sun, I realized that plain water isn’t enough for me. So, I’ve started making and drinking a quart of Ayurvedic Gatorade each day. This drink provides me with essential nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, salt, and 46 trace minerals, all of which are crucial for proper cell function and keeping me hydrated.

It’s quick and simple to make each morning.  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 lemon and lime, juiced
  • 2 T raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of Pink Himalayan salt
  • Water & Ice

In a quart jar, combine the salt and sugar. Pour in 1 inch of boiling water to dissolve them. Add 6-10 ice cubes to cool the mixture, then add the lemon and lime juice. Fill the jar to the top with cool water, shake well, and drink throughout the day.

Farm Doins

Monday was a power day again. Jim cut a swath of the pond field for hay. Marissa and Nick foliar fed the entire farm and Luke took care of the mowing. The rest of us weeded and mulched 7 beds of onions and then we hoed the lettuce beds in the garden.

Danny, Stu and Mat took apart the last of our old chicken houses and left us with 14 functioning chicken tractors. In the afternoon we also planted and mulched some sage and thyme.

Tuesday was a productive day with the Quabbin kids as noted above. Matt and Frank from Quabbin spent the morning setting up the pig yard in the woods. Wednesday we planted and mulched sunflowers and some broccoli and then turned to weeding the Chinese cabbage and our first lettuce planting, finishing up the morning hoeing some of the leeks which had sprung some weeds. Clare taught Luke how to rake the hay, and after starting more seedlings we planted 4 trellises of pole beans, and then raced out and weeded 2 beds of radishes.

Friday, we started the day moving the young layers out onto the front lawn,

we prepped and planted beds for summer savory and marjoram, 4 beds of lettuce, 2 of parsnips, 3 of beets, and 2 beds of green beans.

We picked up the hay from Monday and quickly weeded and mulched a bed of collards before day’s end.

Matt spent the day finalizing the set up for pigs who will arrive on Thursday next week, and continues to finalize the shock and water system.
All in all, we worked through a very hot week  (form the third week in May) with lots of progress on planting, weeding, mulching, prep for future animals (the meat birds arrive next week and will jump into the brooder houses).

Mushrooms were a constant side venture all week with a beautiful flush of shiitakes. They are going into all of our meals and also into the food dryer for later storage for winter use. Great shiitake year after nothing much last year.

Plenty of planting for this upcoming week!


Peek a boo

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