Join us Saturday to discuss Risky Decisions

January 25, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Though we did spend some time this week buying more black bags, filling them with sand by banging the tractor bucket against the frozen pile to shake it free first, and battening down the hatches of the tarps that had so elegantly blown off of their respective fields, we hope that we now have that project in hand. But no promises! We are now focusing a lot of our attention on our old tried and true soil prep technique of putting down cardboard and then covering it leaves and hay. If all goes well, when we pull this mulch back, or even better, find we can plant through it, we expect to see masses of earthworms. We also cleaned out 3 hoop house beds to ready them for planting turnips, radishes, spinach and beets on Monday. And we will start some things inside too. Keep an eye out for a composite video on seed starting that Maya will be putting together soon – and positing it on our new YouTube Channel. Stu had a birthday, and Anthony is on his way to Colorado for a nice winter vacation. Maya and Ari have been working feverishly behind the scenes, and Clare and I are holding down the fort on our continued winter schedule. We welcomed Ram on Friday as a potential new working shareholder.

Stu on his birthday posing with Ram (left), more black bags to hold down tarps (right)

First On Farm Workshop for 2021 – January 30 – 10:30 am
The Five Risky Decisions that Defined our Lives
Jack has been carrying all the effort on putting this retrospective workshop together for us. We are excited that we already have 12 registrants (3 in person). This is the first of our free monthly series of wide ranging and educational workshops that we will be holding at our farm. This first workshop will help you get to know Jack and Julie and our journey over the past 40 years. We feel we have a rather unique lifestyle that has allowed us to live our lives and raise our 4 children relatively unfettered by socially accepted norms.

These workshops are free, and you can come in person (and stay for a pot luck lunch at noon) or join us via zoom.

Register here – bit.ly/MHSCWorkshop1

Download this poster and get it around to friends – https://mhof.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Many-Hands-sustainability-Center-3.pdf

 

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
We are now up to 25 shareholders for 2021. And this past Friday Clare and I started the fun process of laying out the crop plan for the year. This is by far our most fun project each year. So far we know where the corn, beans, peas, onions and leeks are going to be planted.  We truly appreciate those of you who early sign on the dotted line.
https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Reading Inspiration this week
Friend Christy gave me a copy of Mindset by Carol Dweck as a retirement gift. I just finished. This book really had a strong impact on me. Of course I have a growth mindset, I posited. Then I started to really investigate my many fixed mindset perspectives in certain aspects of my life. A great book to help one consider the roadblocks and blind spots that keep us from being as forward moving as we might like.

Ag Tip this week – wonderful cover crops
My friend Mike Lombard from Ideal Compost in Peterborough, NH turned me on to Green Cover Seeds – https://greencoverseed.com/  a few years back. They have an incredible selection of cover crops from all families. And over the years they have moved from a conventional farming system to a much more regenerative one (check out their bags). We purchased 4 50 lb. bags of cover crop mixes to use on our farm in 2021 (1 mix from the NOFA bulk order). We are excited to use these mixes in a thoroughly integrated way on our farm. Most of these mixes have up to 13 species, which wildly builds biodiversity above and below ground.
Cool Season Soil Builder Mix – Spring and Summer Intersow Cover Crops
Perennial Pollinator Mix – under fruit trees
Cool Season Pollinator Mix – vegetative pathways
NOFA Cover Crop Mix – Fall Intersow in Crops

Products available now

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Eggs – $8/dozen
  • Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Frozen applesauce – $6/quart
  • Canned (jarred) tomatoes) – $6/1 quart

Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net

NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
The real last call. Don’t tarry. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Although it is looking a bit like a warehouse in the garage right now, we have great plans to cover large areas of our fields with cardboard and hay over the next month. Thanks for the cardboard coming from all quarters. We are getting it out there.

Julie

Weekly Staff Spotlight:

Here is the first of our series of weekly farm staff and community member profiles. No better place to start than with co-owner Julie Rawson.

After growing up on a conventional farm in Illinois, Julie Rawson spent the first several years of her adulthood doing community organizing in Chicago and Boston where she met her husband Jack Kittredge. Once she and Jack started a family, they moved out to Barre to start Many Hands Organic Farm in 1982. It was important to both Julie and Jack to raise their family in the country and with homegrown food. Julie always says that her most formative moments as a kid were when she “was down at the crick with my sister Sue and brother Tom just playing in the mud.”

Over the past several decades, Julie has continued to be a pioneer in organic farming practices, especially in soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Julie remarked that “It’s not enough just to be organic, we have to really up our game to have organic and high quality food”. Besides raising high quality, organic produce and meat, Julie is committed to living up to the name, Many Hands, through her dedication to working with community members, young adults, and folks looking to connect with the land and food system. “It is very important to me, to be able to share what we have with as many people as possible, so that they can also gain from it,” says Julie. And of course there’s the added bonus of getting to play in the dirt all day long.

Check out the latest photos from the farm on our Instagram!

Had We Known in 2015 What We Know Now…

January 18, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

This week has had a definite “silage tarp” focus. Over Thursday and Friday we successfully covered about 34,000 square feet with silage tarps, in some cases first putting down a preparatory spray of molasses, microbial stimulants and fish, and in others, putting down cardboard before the tarps. Of our 3-4 acres we targeted areas that are presently sod (we are expanding again in 2021 (first heavily dosed with basalt rock dust), or have had a lot of grass grow back in already cultivated areas. The plan is that leaving those tarps on for the next 3 or so months will slowly and gently prepare the soil for planting obviating the need to use any “steel” to prepare the soil. Although we are still doing some cardboard and hay on irascible vegetable areas, Clare and I hearkened back to 2015 when it took us three solid months of work to cover ½ acre with said cardboard and hay. The learning curve on how to do the most effective and efficient and fertile no till system is still a steep one.

First On Farm Workshop for 2021 – January 30 – 10:30 am
The Five Risky Decisions that Defined our Lives
This is the first of our free monthly series of wide ranging and educational workshops that we will be holding at our farm. This first workshop will help you get to know Jack and Julie and our journey over the past 40 years. We feel we have a rather unique lifestyle that has allowed us to live our lives and raise our 4 children relatively unfettered by socially accepted norms.
These workshops are free, and you can come in person (and stay for a pot luck lunch at noon) or join us via zoom.

Register here – bit.ly/MHSCWorkshop1

Download this poster and get it around to friends – https://mhof.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Many-Hands-sustainability-Center-3.pdf

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
The shares keep rolling in and so far (along with swift egg sales)  we have been able to keep up with payroll, annual farm insurance, monthly payroll taxes, seed purchases, etc. We truly appreciate those of you who early sign on the dotted line.
https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

A dream come true
We had been selling produce and eggs to the Living Earth in Worcester since 1985 until they closed their doors at the end of 2019. One of the people who I so appreciated for the past 15 years of our relationship at Living Earth was Rob White, the produce manager. I walked into the Wholesome Farmers Market in Barre last spring and felt a huge difference in the air in this small former IGA. 2 weeks later Rob called to let me know that he had been hired to become the produce manager. For anyone who has been shopping there for many years, or for perhaps just a few months, you will be surprised at how much produce there is and how attractively it is presented. And how bustling and friendly and vibrant the whole store has become. Rob, with a straight face said. “That’s because of me. Whenever someone comes within 10 feet of me in the store I say hi and thank them for coming and ask what their produce needs are.” Rob met with Clare and Jack and me this past week and we put together a long list of produce that we will sell to them, at organic prices, come spring and summer. Pretty soon this store is going to rival or exceed most stores in Central Mass for quality and quantity of organic and local produce. It is so good to be back working with Rob.

Health Tip this week
I am back hyping Graeme Sait again, ag consultant from Australia. His most recent podcast – Grame Sait – 5 Profit building tips  . . .  – https://anchor.fm/nutrition-farming/episodes/Five-Profit-Building-Tips—Boost-Your-Productivity-and-Sustainability-eolrr7
He has a very thorough list of recommendations for protecting against Covid, building your immune system generally and working with Covid should you be unlucky enough to get it. An important listen with recommendations for vitamin, D, A, C, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and more.

Ag Tip this week
Don’t miss the Bionutrient Food Association’s Soil and Nutrition Conference, starting February 4th and running every Thursday at 3 through September. Son Dan is the ED of this organization that puts on a top notch conference which focuses on soil health and human health (do you see a family theme developing here? 🙂) You can sign up here – https://soilandnutrition.org/. Some of my favorite teachers and mentors are always featured at this conference.

We have also started a YouTube channel for the farm! You can expect longer videos than our social media accounts. We hope that this can serve as a resource for other farmers and homesteaders. Click the image below to watch out first video, Making Lard on our Wood Cook Stove.


Products available now

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Eggs – $8/dozen
  • Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Frozen applesauce – $6/quart
  • Canned (jarred) tomatoes) – $6/1 quart

Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net

Pray for Ann Please
Ann Harris, one of our most memorable and remarkable working shareholders, is in the hospital with kidney issues. She is challenging her doctors to help her find natural solutions to her ailments and keeping the doctors and nurses variably in stitches and on their toes. She can use a little boost from all of us to get better and get out and get back to her work of supporting her very large community of friends and family in their evolution as healthy human beings. Thanks for whatever energy you can offer.

NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
Just two more weeks to order your supplies. Don’t tarry. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
We blew through all of our cardboard supply last week and this week will be focusing on covering some areas that the tarps couldn’t quite reach. We so appreciate your offerings.

Julie

Our friend Bryan O’Hara says this upcoming week is the coldest of the winter

January 11, 2020

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

It has been a fun week. We were able to finish up making the lard for the year and also used up all of our cabbages that were laying around to make sauerkraut. During the winter particularly, lacto-fermented foods are super beneficial for our health. Watch this video of Stu operating the cabbage board.

Click the image above to watch Stu operating the cabbage board on Instagram!

We finally finished weeding one of our hoop houses and almost all of another. 3 more houses to go. Soon we will be starting a few things in our attached greenhouse for transplanting into the hoop houses by mid-February. We only mulched 3 fruit trees this week as our tractor went down temporarily. Clare got our first rash of seeds ordered, and Jack and I finished the budget for 2021. Pigs (12), layers (110), meat chickens (300) and turkeys (150) were all ordered and slaughter dates set. We have finished up our Microsoft word trifold and have those available for you to take a few if you would like. Or I can email the file to you for printing out. Cathleen ordered a few hundred mushroom plugs for oyster and shiitake mushrooms to enlarge our mushroom holdings in 2021. She and our son Chuk are quite adroit at mushroom production and will be sharing equipment and expertise to help us move to the next level with mushrooms.

Tractor temporarily down

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
We have 16 shareholders signed up already! Thanks to those who are taking care of this early. Only 160 to go. We have decided to up our numbers again in 2021. Clare is expending a lot of energy making plans for the first more difficult month of the CSA where we have to straddle hoop house production and out door production when it is still reliably cold through April and May. The summer CSA starts a week early this year, by the way – May 24.

It is not too late to sign up for fall also. This will be a 5 week CSA this year and the cost will be $150 – One size fits all.
https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Products available now – We had a swift business with you all this week. Not only is it helpful for the farm bottom line, it is such a pleasure to see everyone!

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Eggs – $8/dozen
  • Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Frozen applesauce – $6/quart
  • Canned (jarred) tomatoes) – $6/1 quart – newly added to this list

Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Thanks for the overwhelming response on requests for cardboard. Folks have been bringing it from all over the state.

We are especially looking for brown cardboard right now, hopefully with no staples or tape on it, though we can remove that if you can’t. We don’t want the shiny cardboard that has been plasticized, as it is harder for the microbes to break that down. 8 fruit trees mulched and 92 to go. And we are also doing a massive mulching job on our grapes and blueberries – both necessitating cardboard and chips. Why cardboard? It smothers unwanted grass and also seems to be a most favorite food of earthworms – which provide some of the best livestock manure around (along with soil aeration).

Quote for the week
“If you haven’t discarded a firmly held belief in the past 12 months, check your pulse” – South Africa
This quote was brought to my attention by Christine Jones whose website is Amazing Carbon. https://www.amazingcarbon.com/

My favorite ag You Tube this week –
She is a leader in the regenerative ag world who hammers on the idea of green plants growing as many days of the year as possible in as many places as possible. This week I enjoyed learning from her Biological Pathways to Carbon Rich Soil keynote at the 2020 Soil Health Conference.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4uVKIGBk2s . I keep going back to her talks as she is ever adding more cutting edge information with more understanding of how microbiology works in the soil.

Favorite Health YouTube for the week 

Zach Bush MD: Humanity, Consciousness & COVID19 | Full Video #Podcast 345
Zach Bush is an interesting and very charismatic speaker with a long list of medical degrees who is worth a listen on this challenging topic of Covid 19. Let’s keep the conversation going as we all puzzle through next steps with the virus.

Upcoming Events where Jack and Julie will be presenting
https://mhof.net/events-workshops/
Ari has nicely built out our Many Hands Sustainability Center website after it lay dormant for a while. On this page you can keep up with opportunities where Jack and or Julie will be speaking

  • Real Organic Project Virtual Symposium – Julie is on January 10 and 17
  • Connecticut + Rhode Island NOFA Workshop: Building Soil Carbon for our Gardens/Farms, Health, and World – March 6 or 13

Many Hands Sustainability Center offerings coming in 2021
Too distracted in recent years by our close to full-time jobs with the Northeast Organic Farming Association, we have given our MHSC educational offerings a bit of short shrift. But we are all retired now, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of fun on farm workshops. We are aiming to hold one per month throughout the year, or thereabouts, on a number of topics. We will have on site and zoom attendance available. There will be no charge, but donations are always welcome to the MHSC, which allow us to hire a person to work on the farm from an unprivileged background. Donate here – https://mhof.net/make-your-end-of-year-contribution-to-mhsc/

Our first workshop this year will be held on Saturday, January 30 from 11-2 with a pot luck lunch at noon. Come with or without a mask, whichever is most comfortable for you. Or sign up to attend as a zoom participant. Details for how to register will be forthcoming next week.

Here is a list of possible future topics for 2021. We are in the process of setting these up. More to come. Please write to us this week with your thoughts on which of these workshops (or others) you would like to attend.

  • Design aspects of the MHOF site of interest – root cellar, attached greenhouse, passive solar house heat, wood cook stove with hot water system attached.
  • Orchard fruit management – including pruning
  • Small fruit management highlighting grape pruning, and pruning for other small fruits
  • Seed starting and management  – in the greenhouse, and the field
  • Practical carbon sequestration for maximum photosynthesis – perhaps in different seasons of the year
  • Pastured chicken, turkey and pork production
  • Food preservation, perhaps at different times of the year
  • Managing a successful CSA
  • Stocks, lard, soap – producing animal products
  • Tinctures, salves, teas and dried herbs
  • Mushrooms
  • Cooking from scratch and with what is at hand

NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
Every spring folks gather to organize and pick up the bulk order at our farm – March 9 this year. You can get in on this bulk buying of fertility products, cover crops, tubers, onion sets and farm/garden supplies from now through the end of January. And don’t forget to come help us unload trucks, eat, talk about all of our amazing agricultural plans for 2021 and generally chew the fat. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/

Julie

The Early Morning Beauty Continues

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Happy New Year! I received this from daughter Ellen – the best explosion of “flowerworks” that I have ever seen.  https://www.facebook.com/ellen.kittredge/videos/10225226741439664

Sign up for the 2021 CSA options
Thanks to the two shareholders who signed up last week. We made budget for 2020! Hooray. We will be adding about 10,000 square feet of growing space this year so we can raise more amazing produce. A lot of last week was spent spreading the remainder of our basalt rock dust on these two areas, along with some Kansas grey salt which comes from underground mines from ancient sea beds estimated to be around 240 million years old. As I understand it, Kansas was covered by an ocean a mile deep at that time. Next week we will be spraying the areas with a mix of minerals and molasses and biology and then covering them with black silage tarps to do some “cooking” for a few months. We will remove the tarps around May 1 or so and hopefully have a very receptive planting area.
https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Farm Economics
We came in with a $131,000 break even budget vs. actuals for 2020. Our budget as of January 1, 2020 was $91,000, but then along came Covid and we realized that we could raise a lot more food, and there were a lot of folks out there wanting it. We will be expanding our budget to $170,000 for 2021 with increased production planned for meat birds, turkeys, pigs and produce. We will expand the CSA to around 175 members (70 in 2019 and 150 in 2020).

Chicken Spotlight
For CSA members we offer egg shares for the 27 weeks of the season. But once it is over we have a lot of eggs for sale. Keeping sales happening between December 1 and June 1 can be tricky. Luckily we have picked up a couple of accounts here and there, and many of you have started making weekly, bi-weekly or monthly trips to the farm for eggs. We can still take some more regular customers for pick up at the farm. They are $8/dozen and you can arrange pickup by calling – 978-355-2853 or emailing to Julie@mhof.net. These chickens are completely free range this time of year (once I let them out of the house in the am). This past week they dined on their certified organic grain from Green Mountain feeds, oyster shell, cracklings from lard production, some rotten beets, and left over feet from turkey stock production, along with whatever they find in the fields still growing. They have a wonderfully diverse diet, even in winter.

Products available now

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Eggs – $8/dozen
  • Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Frozen applesauce – $6/quart

Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net

Accomplishments on the farm this week
Mostly we broke our backs spreading rock dust that had gotten wet and gummy, but were also happy to get 1 ½ grape trellises weeded, blackberries removed, cardboarded and wood chipped. Anthony spends afternoons bringing in wood and Clare is ordering seeds right now. I spend most afternoons on finances and customer management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock dust spreading (left) and mulched grape trellis (right)

NOFA Tri-state Bulk order
Every spring folks gather to organize and pick up the bulk order at our farm – March 9 this year. You can get in on this bulk buying of fertility products, cover crops, tubers, onion sets and farm/garden supplies from now through the end of January. And don’t forget to come help us unload trucks, eat, talk about all of our amazing agricultural plans for 2021 and generally chew the fat. Here is a link to order. https://www.nofamass.org/bulk-order-program/

Keep that Cardboard Coming!
Thanks for the overwhelming response to requests for cardboard. Folks have been bringing it from all over the state, and a special shout out to Higgins Energy Alternatives, and the Harvest Coop, who make their dumpsters available to us.

We are especially looking for brown cardboard right now, hopefully with no staples or tape on it, though we can remove that if you can’t. We don’t want the shiny cardboard that has been plasticized, as it is harder for the microbes to break that down. 5 fruit trees mulched and 95 to go. And we are also doing a massive mulching job on our grapes and blueberries – both necessitating cardboard and chips. Why cardboard? It smothers unwanted grass and also seems to be a most favorite food of earthworms – which provide some of the best livestock manure around (along with soil aeration).

Jack collecting cardboard

Quote for the week
“Nature is more collaborative than she is competitive” – Ray Archuleta

My favorite ag podcast this week – Ray Archuleta with John Kempf – Collaboration, Sprit and Change
https://soundcloud.com/regenerativeagriculturepodcast/collaboration-spirit-and

Also from Archuleta, this thoughtful post about context – https://soilhealthacademy.org/blog/soil-health-principles-with-context/

Favorite Health YouTube for the week – Ben Warren
Gut Health – Ben Warren top 10 tips for a healthy gut – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRdEEC4i_3w

Some Resources on Covid-19
These links have been provided to me by our daughter Ellen who is a nutrition coach in her professional life. Interesting reads and listens –

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971220307323 – Covid-19 hyperinflammation and post-Covid-19 illness may be rooted in mast cell activation syndrome

https://m.ufhealth.org/news/2020/existing-antihistamine-drugs-show-effectiveness-against-covid-19-virus-cell-testing
Existing antihistamine drugs show effectiveness against COVID-19 virus in cell testing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sICD0Kn6pR4&feature=youtu.be
Dr. Tina Peers, lays out the specific nutrients she’d recommend that help to stabilize mast cells and calm down the overly reactive immune system for symptom relief.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQlBmy-T2W8 video on the biology of long covid
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3w7skYHcSg biology of long covid part two

Upcoming Events where Jack and Julie will be presenting
https://mhof.net/events-workshops/
Ari has nicely built out our Many Hands Sustainability Center website after it lay dormant for a while. On this page you can keep up with opportunities where Jack and or Julie will be speaking

  • NOFA Winter Conference 2021: Root Cellaring And More – Preserving Food For The Entire Year – January 9
  • Real Organic Project Virtual Symposium – Julie is on January 10 and 17
  • Connecticut + Rhode Island NOFA Workshop: Building Soil Carbon for our Gardens/Farms, Health, and World – March 6 or 13

Julie

The New Year has begun

Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Especially if you start the year on December 21, like I do, the promise of good things to come is well under way. December was a good time to take stock of successes, failures, observations, and questions that remain unanswered (in life itself and on the farm). And now that the sun is rising, there is a different energy, that of renewal, palpable in every (sunlight) increasing day.

Sign up for the 2021 CSA

We are grateful to the 9 families that have already signed up for the 2021 MHOF Summer CSA. I think if one more person were to take care of getting yourself signed up with a deposit or a full payment, we would be able to break even financially in 2020. If you are planning to subscribe and can do it before December 31, we would much appreciate it!

https://mhof.net/community-supported-agriculture/

Products available now

  • Ground pork in 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Pork chops in close to 1 lb. packages – $10/lb.
  • Lard – $20/quart
  • Pork stock – $7.50/quart
  • Eggs – $8/dozen
  • Comfrey salve – $8/2 oz.
  • Hemp salve – $10/2 oz.
  • Garlic powder – $10/2 oz.
  • Lavender soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Peppermint soap – $6/5 oz. bar
  • Dandelion tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Yellow dock tincture – $6/2 oz. bottle
  • Frozen applesauce – $6/quart

Make arrangements to pick up at the farm or we can ship some things to you. Call at 978-355-3853 or email Julie@mhof.net

Accomplishments on the farm in the last two weeks

We had our first ever staff retreat preceded by 1 hour check ins with all of our staff. We are expecting a very strong year in 2021 with Clare returning for year 14, and Cathleen, Ari, Maya and Anthony for their second years. Lindsy might come back in the summer. New plans include an upgrade of our mushroom and our bee operations with Cathleen taking the reins, Maya spearheading more medicinal herb growing and an increased product line, and twice monthly donations to the Barre Food Bank, Clare and I were delighted to meet with Heron Breen of Fedco Seeds last week to get some advice on more seed saving and breeding. This year we will add to our existing protocols of saving winter squash, garlic, potatoes, peas, peppers and tomatoes at least pole beans and cucumbers. Seed sovereignty is an important topic and it allows growers the opportunity to start off with stronger and more vibrant seeds than are usually available from seed companies. We also will re-institute weekly farm walks and staff meetings to further our joint education on how to better farm and work more efficiently. All exciting stuff.

We also, around lots of snow, we able to complete the mulching of the 5 strawberry beds. And some real progress in weeding one of our two spinach hoop houses was accomplished. We  started mulching our 100 or so fruit trees and have 5 under our belts with lots of cardboard and then a tractor bucketful of composted wood chips. The spreading of the basalt rock dust is done – we probably got about 10 tons spread, and will leave the rest of the pile for use next year.

What we can use here

We are especially looking for clean brown cardboard right now, to put under our trees before mulching them with wood chips. We can use massive quantities right now

What I learned this week – Immune Enhancement in Covid Times

With the whole world (literally) concerned about Covid, whether to vaccinate or not, how to personally navigate the various restrictions – from government, society and self,  I realize that I would like to engage you with what I feel can be my best contribution. Both Jack and I have felt since February that building our immune systems is something that we can all do in this crisis. I came upon a very good podcast from Australian agricultural consultant Graeme Sait’s Nutrition Farming Podcast series. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/special-edition-immune-enhancement/id1500903366 Take a listen to “Special Edition-Immune Enhancement” for some good explanation of the science and also some very practical tips on supplements, behaviors and practices that you might want to consider.

I hope you all passed a marvelous Christmas, Solstice, Hanukah, Kwanza, and all of the other traditions that abound this time of year. Best wishes for a bountiful New Year.

 

Julie