Weekly newsletters

“If we have been harmed by a death from a thousand cuts, we can heal from a thousand virtuous acts working together” Dr. Yogi Hendlin

The latest podcast of Ari Whitten’s covers corporate capture of science, ideological bias, glyphosate, golf courses, war chemicals, and myriad other topics that stimulated my thinking process in new ways. I learned for the first time (or perhaps remembered again) that the reason glyphosate causes gluten sensitivity, is because not our genes, but the genes of our microbiome use the shikimate pathway for digestion, and glyphosate disrupts that pathway. As noted in the quote above, Dr. Hendlin preaches a message of hope with communities working together. https://theenergyblueprint.com/yogi-hendlin/?inf_contact_key=f495036b257305b515a3a89958443395121216c3a82d754a88f6751e8a28a7b5

Special Gratitude this week

The week is a kaleidoscope of memories of the farm staff working to tame the agricultural beast. My special gratitude this week goes to the Tuesday crew who worked non-stop through the pouring rain for over an hour. But we got the soybeans weeded – Jason, Paula, Em, Luke and Clare.

What is in your CSA Share this week?

Last week’s share

Best guess

  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • sugar snaps
  • shell peas
  • summer squash
  • cucumbers for some
  • Basil
  • Tulsi
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Maybe some other things . . .

We are still taking new shareholders – here is where you can sign up  — https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/

I am aware that some of you flower share folks are beginning to wonder if we are going to pull off your 10 weeks of flowers. They are weeded and seaweeded, and the glorious ornamental sunflowers are soon to pop. Bear with us. We will either provide your flowers or issue a refund of some sort at the end if we don’t meet commitments.

Volunteering at MHOF

Come join us! We can absorb your help like a new sponge absorbs water.
Carlos and Star were back on Friday. What a blast we had!

Shantel, a long-term Saturday volunteer, is spending 4 days of her 2 week vacation working for us!

Turkeys

My favorite birds of all arrived on the farm Thursday. Jack made his annual pilgrimage to Bob’s Turkey farm in Lancaster. They are doing well – delightful birds. It is not too early to order your Thanksgiving turkey.
https://mhof.net/turkey/

Harriet loves the turkeys

Items that you can buy for your own food preservation

Starting now we will have some crops in enough abundance that you can buy them in quantity for preserving for your use in the next year. We now have kale at $3/lb. It is of exceptional quality, and is one of those superfoods.

Watch our kale preservation video on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1VUTjpnwM8&t=37s

Jennifer’s recipe for the week

Kohlrabi & Cucumber Sorghum Salad

Our digestive fires go down in the summer, all the more reason to eat in season as Mother Nature provides what we need in the moment.  Sorghum is an ancient Indian grain that is gluten-free, is packed with protein, fiber and iron.  It is easy to digest.  It is light yet filling.  It has the sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes which are all cooling.  Paired with kohlrabi, cucumbers and lime, which are cooling as well, this makes a perfect summer salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sorghum, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 medium Cucumber, bite size pieces
  • 1 cup chopped Snap peas
  • 1 cup Kohlrabi, thinly sliced or zoodled (summer squash is an alternative)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Green Onions
  • 2 fresh Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup fresh herbs chopped:  parsley, basil and tulsi
  • Dried herbs:
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Optional:
    • Avocado slices
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Balsamic glaze

To make:

  • Combine all ingredients and stir well.
  • May be eaten right away or chilled.

Farm Doins

I ended this week feeling a bit more anxious than I began it. The incessant rain and then heat keeps us scurrying from one crop to another, even in our well mulched areas, like the spring onions, trying to beat the weeds. These onions have been completely taken over by bindweed (perennial morning glory) and I have decided to pull them all and put them in the barn to dry, mow and tarp the beds and hope we can kill some of the bindweed.

Thursday was a memorable day in that we weeded and did some seaweeding of the basil, tulsi, eggplant, melons, peppers and young Brussels sprouts. Tuesday we weeded soybeans, and finished weeding and mulching the sweet potatoes. Speaking of bindweed – definitely public enemy number 1, followed by grass in a close second, we almost daily spend 5 minutes in the newly names Clare Caldwell hoop house pulling bind weed so that it won’t take over the tomatoes therein.

During CSA we weeded and seaweeded dill, cilantro,

cucumbers, some of the basil and tulsi, seaweeded the pole beans – now looking great and ready for a later but strong season of beans.

Of course we mowed, Luke foliared 3 mornings at 6:30, the entire farm, Jim cut some hay and mowed around fruit trees (though we never got a chance to rake the hay), and we did a final shake shake of the peach trees to get them thinned. Sadly, one of our peach trees split in half on Thursday, regardless of the thin. Saturday’s crew weeded and seaweeded all of the blueberries and ¾ of the grapes in the annex (where the pigs live), and Jack and I picked berries after hours each evening.

Jason successfully finished his first week of employment this week and will be working full-time starting today.

The seaweed is taking time to spread, though we made it through some number of tons this week. I am hoping it is an investment in the farm’s future resilience. I am pretty sure that the extended pea season is directly correlated to seaweed.

With nothing to fix this week, Danny ran the seaweed crew on Monday (we broke a chicken  house the next day, however).

Slugs and snails continue to plague us and the potato beetles have done some damage on the eggplants and potatoes.

Another late in the day activity is food preservation. This week we preserved lots of left over kohlrabi, more peas and sugar snaps, and some squash puree for our upcoming soups.

I haven’t yet decided what to do with the leeks and parsley that are very weedy, but want to prioritize the first planting of cabbage and the early Brussels sprouts for weeding this week – fingers crossed with some more very hot weather coming up this week.

And we need to plant some lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.

Skippy, Dingo and Harriet kept watch each night and no new deer damage was noted.

I almost didn’t write this week – the pressure of the season feeling a little too oppressive, but we are already halfway through July and things should start to slow in another 2-3 weeks. . . . .  This is the time of year when I vow never to be so busy next year!

Julie

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-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

Jacked up on Seaweed

I woke up Saturday morning at 3 am raring to go. I am pretty sure that it has to do with the seaweed (Shantel’s teacher always called it “sea vegetables”) that Jack and I, Dingo, Skippy, Harriet, Eloise, Sadie and Beba have been ingesting since Thursday. Here is a great article about the immensely long list of benefits that come from eating seaweed – 7 Surprising Health Benefits of eating Seaweed – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-seaweed Of course too much can be a concern (mostly of excess iodine), but then, consume it in small amounts. We have prepared some of our incredible bounty into chopped seaweed to mix into soups and stir fries and our homemade dog and cat food, and also pureed some for use in smoothies and such.

It is still thawing out at the bottom of our driveway, so if you would like to do some experimenting, either for your own eating, or for use in your garden as a mulch, give me a holler. $5/ box of 30 lbs.

Many asked me if we would feed the seaweed to the chickens, and I said, “nah”, but then faced with these toppling towers of boxes, I realized that would be a really wise thing to do. It seems the chickens think so too.

Special Gratitude this week

First, I want to spotlight Nick. A paying shareholder 2 years ago, I next heard from him this spring when he asked if he could work as a working shareholder. What a delightful person who is an extremely hard worker, one of the strongest people who has worked here, and one of the biggest hearted people too. This past week, after noticing that we had some strange noises coming from under our farm truck, he investigated it on his own, got the part, and fixed it for us this past Monday.

Is that a rainbow I see over Nick’s head?

Second, back to seaweed, son Dan is the one who hooked us up with our 32,000 lbs. of the stuff in the first place, and showed up on Wednesday to unload it all with a rented fork lift, and came back on the 4th to move it all around the farm so we could have easy access to it for spreading. Thank you, Dan, for this huge investment of your time and expertise to help us with this seaweed blessing.

Dan and Julie conferring on where to drop the pallets

What is in your CSA Share this week?

July 1 share

Lettuce not back yet – between deer and weeds, this particular lettuce crop may or may not be in your share next week, but not this one

  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Swiss chard
  • Broccoli for some – Monday larges got this and W and F mediums
  • There will be both sugar snap and shell peas in your share this week – peas are now taking about an hour and a half to pick!
  • Summer squash is coming on – still variable who received it depending on day last week
  • Green onions
  • Kohlrabi
  • Basil – new item
  • Tulsi – new item – now this is an amazing herb, also known as holy basil. It is a super food and can be used in salad and more notably as a tea. Read about it here – https://draxe.com/nutrition/holy-basil-benefits/ I hope you grow to enjoy it as much as I do.
  • Beets
  • Radishes

 


We are still taking new shareholders – here is where you can sign up  — https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/


Hi Julie!!

I wanted to share how much Joy every weeks goody bag is!!
Last year was my 1st introduction to kohlrabi and I Love it!
I just spiralized it (or I call it ‘zoodles’) and added to my salad.
Here’s a pic although you can’t see much deep purple.
It’s soooo good. Thank you for your dedication!!

Smiles this day,
Donnamarie

Volunteering at MHOF

New working shareholders this week – Elias and Giovanna, and John added to our Saturday morning crew. On Saturday morning we were able to spread seaweed on our grape arbor, one of our chard sections, the peppermint, hoop house tomatoes, corn, a bed of cabbage and a bed of lettuce.
Come join us!

Items that you can buy for your own food preservation

Starting now we will have some crops in enough abundance that you can buy them in quantity for preserving for your use in the next year. We now have kale at $3/lb. It is of exceptional quality, and is one of those superfoods.

Watch our kale preservation video on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1VUTjpnwM8&t=37s

Mexico GMO corn update

Readers of this newsletter may recall reading about a lawsuit filed by Monsanto against Mexico for banning GMO corn grown with herbicide glyphosate for tortillas. The US and Canada joined the suit saying Mexico had no right to ban the corn without scientific proof of its danger to the health of Mexican consumers.

You will be happy to note that Monsanto has dropped the suit. We wonder if part of the reason is the many suits against Monsanto for causing cancer in which juries, apparently persuaded by the science presented in the trial, have penalized Monsanto with million dollar awards to plaintiffs.

You can learn more at https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/bf-legal-battle-monsanto-drops-lawsuit-mexico-gm-corn-ban/?utm_source=luminate&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=defender&utm_id=20240701h

Jennifer’s recipe for the week

Collard Wraps

Instead of bread to make a wrap, I made a steak wrap using collard greens.  How to make:

  1. Boil a pot of water.
  2. De-stem the collards and then threw them in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer greens to cold water and allow them to drain.
  4. Use greens as any wrap; steak, chicken, or vegetable with a dressing of your choice.

Other serving suggestions:  cooked for a couple minutes on each side on the grill for a hot wrap.

Farm Doins

We are still running behind on our weeding at this point in time. Some year I hope to get all of our crops mulched in a timely fashion, but we often struggle this time of year. Crops that are in very good shape with respect to weeds and management include the potatoes, tomatoes, early broccoli and 2nd crops of cabbage and broccoli. Also in good shape are the kale, collards, the kohlrabi (coming to an end after this week), most of the sweet potatoes, half of the squash and cukes, corn, early onions, beets, garlic, Swiss chard, peas, pole beans, flowers, 3rd crop of lettuce, arugula (now the first crop finished), the strawberries (also over for the season.

Not weeded yet, but in good shape are the basil, tulsi, melons, peppers, soybeans, and late Brussels sprouts.

We are struggling with 2nd crops of carrots (both first and second crops will have been mowed and tarped over by week’s end, the second beet crop, parsnips, bush beans, the summer onions, most of the leeks, parsley and the 2nd crop of lettuce. This week we will weed what we can, and probably mow and tarp some of the above.

Meanwhile we need to plant the 4th lettuce crop, the fall cabbage and cauliflower, a second chard crop, the little bit of celery that we could get to germinate, and then late seedings of carrots, beets, parsnips, more radishes and turnips.

Wish us luck this week as we juggle the weeding, haymaking, mulching, spreading of seaweed, picking, management of pigs, layers and meat birds, spraying (hurray, our sprayer is back on line!, weekly mowing, and now food preservation.

Thankfully, all of our carpentry projects are all caught up and Stu, our best weeder, and Danny, will be hanging out with the veg staff.

We are picking blueberries now (sorry, this is not a CSA crop), and soon the peaches and apples and pears will be coming down the line. Great stuff that takes a huge amount of time to manage.

Do I sound like I am complaining? Not really, just enjoying this opportunity to put all the jumble of thoughts that are in my waking head down on paper!

Julie gleeful over making “knee high by the 4th of July, and then some

Preserving peas for next year’s meals

Phew, we got all of the flowers weeded on Tuesday

We turned our leftover Chinese cabbage into pet food this week

Nice farm panorama

After building up to a pig move all week, moving the feeding of the pigs into their house so that we could lock them in at the correct moment, Matt and Luke made it happen on Friday. All was smooth and the pigs are in wooded heaven in their new pad.

Sugar snaps always impress me!

Julie

Em loves riding on the back of the truck

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-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

 

 

A Week of Celebration

July 1, 2024

A Week of Celebration
See below 😊

What is in your CSA Share this week?

Last week some items that were promised didn’t happen, and some extra things happened that we didn’t expect. This list is our best guess, but things are happening fast right now and we can’t always predict what will be in your bag.

Last week’s share

  • Lettuce – there will be some, but we are experiencing a lot of deer and weed pressure and I am not sure when we might run out
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Arugula – this is the last pick for awhile
  • Onions
  • Collards
  • Peas of some sort – you will get one or the other. The way you tell, if you can’t see it (sugar snaps are like a crescent moon, and the shell peas are usually more straight, is to take a bite out of it; if you can’t masticate it, you have shell peas
    • Sugar snaps – eat the whole thing,
    • Shells – pop them out of the shell
  • Broccoli for some
  • Squash for some
  • Mint – peppermint of spearmint
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Kohlrabi – enjoy that beautiful purple color, and then grate the ball into a salad, or slice it and enjoy raw, or you can cook it, in a soup – see Jennifer’s recipe below

We are still taking shareholders. The price goes down every week and the prices and terms are on this page – https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/

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Julie interview

We are so excited that your podcast episode is now live! 

First, here’s the link to the episode and shownotes:
https://www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com/Julie-Rawson

Bre Taylor
Growing Farmers Team
Website: www.growingfarmers.com
Podcast: www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com

Predation report

We lost a lot of lettuce this past week to deer and a baby layer to some carnivorous predator. Skippy, Dingo and Harriet are doing their best, as are we strategically posting them in our fields. Wish us luck, and bow hunters, please be in touch.

The deer prefer the centers of the lettuces

Seaweed update

It is coming on Wednesday at 12:30. You will hear a lot about it next week for sure.

Volunteering at MHOF

Yes! Monday – Friday – 6:30 – 3 or some portion of that.

Thanks to Ryan, back from two years ago, and son Paul, and his boys Geoff and Matt, with Paul coming for a second day.

Shawnee, Geoff and Paul at the party

Farm, Family and Friends Party on June 29

Yes, it was very fun! Thanks to all who came to celebrate our farm community, Jack’s 80th, Clare’s departure (sometime) and Matt’s award. Jack and I really can’t express enough how blessed we feel.

Dan cleaning house before the party

Sarah worked for us in 2015

Julie Extolling Jack’s virtues

Matt Korn Underground Utility System

Clare kudos

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The unveiling of the hoop house

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Clare did enjoy her hoop house

MHOF farm heavies – Paula, Stu, Jennifer, Danny and Owen

Some of our Dorchester friends at the after party

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Kohlrabi Kale Quinoa Salad

If you were at the party, you may have had the chance to try this already.  Enjoy

View Recipe Here!

Farm Doins

Besides trying to farm this week, we hosted Ellen and later her husband Dan, son Paul and his family came for a week to a B and B in Athol, Cathleen had a birthday,

and Shawnee had a birthday.

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Mat had a birthday too!

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This week we finished the old pig house renovation, emptied the entire haystack at the bottom of the driveway, mulching the corn, the first broccoli crop,

6 squash beds (also with some leaves, finished mulching the tomatoes and potatoes, the yellow house, four new cabbage and broccoli beds,

and over half of the sweet potatoes. Progress continued on the summer onions. We planted another bed of lettuce

Mat, bless his soul, weed whacked a lot of really messy areas, and for the moment the place looks a little less rag tag than normal.

We will miss Mat who is back at school again this week

We got our new replacement sprayer and were able to do some backlogged foliar feeding.

Some folks showed up from South Dakota to take soil samples on Sunday

Summer is barreling forward and we are hanging on by our fingernails, which are rather short and sometimes bruised in this time period.

My biggest challenge at the moment is to figure out which fires to extinguish and in what order!

Julie

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-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

“Feeling Overwhelmed? Just chunk it” – Logan’s mom

Logan and I were working on my “10 minutes per day in the annex fruit” plan on Saturday (I have to go up there to do the pigs twice per day anyway, so pulling bindweed off of a couple of blueberry bushes each visit adds up quickly), and she commented that her mom’s advice above had saved her many times in her life. And for the overworked farmer at Solstice, this advice can be so useful. I gave my friend Anna some similar advice this week that included making a list with less things on it rather than more so that one can get that all important dopamine hit each day, rather than feeling a failure and downcast. All farmers understand that at the Solstice we are racing the sun, and we always know who is going to win that race, so chunking off little pieces of the huge list and accomplishing them – mixing some quick wins with some more difficult larger projects can be just what the doctor ordered. Good luck to all you farmers out there. Remember that we are all in the same boat!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

It is to our teenagers this week. Mat is back. A student at Stetson, Mat works with us during school slowdowns at Stetson. We have had one week of his essential help so far and are looking for to one more this upcoming week. It turns out that he runs the weed whacker like a master and is relieving all of our perennials from things like bindweed, burdock and bishop’s weed, grass, etc.

Matt surrounded by Chinese cabbage

Em came as a volunteer on Wednesday and Friday. Just out of Quabbin Regional High School for the summer, she is willing to volunteer 3 full days per week. But we have decided to hire her because she is so good.

Em counts rubber bands with Becca

Having a 17 and a 16 year old is such a pleasure on our multi-generational farm.

What is in your CSA Share this week?

  • Lettuce
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Onions
  • Cilantro – our only new item this week
  • Beet greens
  • Collards

Last week’s CSA large share

We are still taking shareholders. The price goes down every week and the prices and terms are on this page – https://mhof.net/csa-order-form/
We have a lot of food – productivity is by far the best it has ever been. And if we can dodge the deer, we will be in good shape.

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Julie interview

I enjoyed the interview with Olivia from Breaking New Roots back in May. Here is the video should you like to watch it.

The deer are back

We had seen some minor beet trimming and a small number of lettuces chomped out in the middle, and some strawberry plants without leaves, but damage had not been too severe. Friday morning we came upon about 100 lettuces with no centers. We got out the big guns Friday night, and bought a new chain set up on Saturday to post all three dogs at strategic points on the farm. The game is on!

Romaine with missing center

Harriet and Skippy accepting a cookie each for a hard night’s work

Order your meat birds now!

We have some of the most nutritious and tasty meat birds available. This is a once a year opportunity for you to put them in your freezer. Read more here and place your pre-order.  https://mhof.net/organic-meat/chicken-and-eggs/

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Seaweed update

Still looking for someone to unload our 13 tons of seaweed who can do it with a forklift. Meanwhile Jack has been doing a lot of research on the value of seaweed in the garden and in human health. My mouth is watering with all of the possibilities. Once we have a date and price for the delivery, we will be offering 30 lb. boxes of the seaweed for the price of shipping. Stay tuned.

Education this week

Ask Me Anything with John Kempf – https://advancingecoag.com/webinar/ask-me-anything-with-john-kempf/
I learned some interesting stuff –

  • Our blood is composed with iron and a slug’s body fluids are more copper based.  That is a short layperson’s reason why having adequate iron in your nutritional system can deter slugs. We use Rebound Iron to pretty good effect
  • The presence of bindweed can mean too much potassium or not enough manganese in your system
  • Spotted Wing Drosophilia in raspberries can be corrected with mineral sufficiency

He is always a font of information – and so down home. The interview was this past Thursday when it was in the upper 90’s, there was no internet in his office and he was sitting out on the gravel driveway with his cell phone with 2 bars running the interview!

Volunteering at MHOF

It was a wonderful week for volunteers. Maria Leo was back after begging her employer, TJ Max, to give her Fridays off. This is Maria’s 5th season with us, and boy is she an expert weeder, and such a good old friend by now.
And Em came after her mom asked me to take her once she got out of school.

We are looking for volunteers who specialize in fast weeding and mulching right now. Each day the weeds can pick up a few inches in height, and we are focusing on getting things weeded and mulched as quick as we can. We are now taking volunteers M-F 7-3. Enquire

Emmy joined grandma Marcia this week

Specific Opportunities this week

We are looking for a specific volunteer/working shareholder. We have an increased need for help with Saturday chores. Now we have old layers, young layers, meat birds and pigs to do chores for. When those chores are done, we will either prep drench and foliar materials for the next week, or do some weeding and most particularly perennial management. Come for breakfast at 7:00 and we will be out of the house by 7:20, do the chores and go onto another manageable task. Stick around until 9:30 am and in exchange, I will provide you with a large produce share. One needn’t sign up for every Saturday, but 2 Saturdays per month would be appreciated. Be in touch – julie@mhof.net, or 978-257-1192.

We are also looking for a very specific volunteer or paid position to help with foliar feeding. This job needs to be accomplished between 5:00 and 7:00 am. You must be good with 2 cycle machines, be strong of back – about 40-45 lbs. of weight on your back. This can probably be accomplished in 2 mornings once you get the hang of it, but might take three mornings at first. We can pay $17/hour plus a large produce share. All of our sprays are certified organic and non-toxic, and it is a brilliant opportunity to learn about our intricate fertility program. Enquire.

Farm, Family and Friends Party on June 29

Beginning of Summer Gala Party and Pot luck at Many. Please RSVP
Many Hands Organic Farm
Saturday, June 29 from 2:00 pm until the end
We will hang out, eat lots of good food, go on farm tours, jump on the trampoline and catch up. Please come and enjoy the coming summer with us, Jack’s 80th, and Clare’s departure.

Clare so happy that we got the kohlrabi weeded this week.

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

With the high temperatures and UV index last week, we talked a lot about protecting the skin and the harmful rays of the sun. I’ve been making a combination of coconut and carrot seed oils as a natural alternative to sunscreen.  Here is some info on the oils:

Protection from the Sun

  • Coconut Oil: While coconut oil alone offers minimal sun protection, it can be combined with other oils or used alongside sunscreen for added hydration and protection. Its SPF of around 4-5 makes it a supplementary aid rather than a primary sunblock.
  • Carrot Seed Oil: Carrot seed oil provides significant natural sun protection with an SPF of about 35-40. It is effective when used in formulations with other sun-protective ingredients or as a natural booster to conventional sunscreens. Its high antioxidant content also helps protect the skin from UV-induced damage.

Using both oils together can enhance the overall protective benefits for the skin, combining hydration, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties with sun protection.

It is a simple recipe to make yourself,  mix 1 part carrot seed oil, 3 parts coconut oil.  Carrot seed oil is very concentrated and should not be ingested.  It is also a bit expensive.


I do make and sell this to my clients and use it in Ahbyanga, warm oil treatments.  If interested in ordering directly from me, an 8 oz. bottle is $18 or 16 oz. for $32.  You can Venmo with the memo “oil” at @jenzenliving.  I will happily bring to the farm and put in your CSA share bag.

I didn’t spend a lot of time cooking this week as it was so hot!  We ate lots of salads and homemade strawberry ice creams.

If you happed to have any strawberries and mint left, a simple recipe for homemade ice cream:

Whip 1/2 cup whipping cream until firm and forms peaks.  Using frozen strawberries and mint, pulse in a blend to cut into small pieces.  Fold strawberries into whipped cream and serve.

I also did some preserving this week with some extra Chinese cabbage from the farm.  I made 3 jars of sauerkraut and froze 2 bags for later use in soups and stir fries.

Recipe for sauerkraut:  Use 1 tablespoon of pink Himalayan salt per pound of cabbage.  Massage in with cabbage to release its juices, about 5 minutes.  Pack into mason jars with lid on but not screwed tight.  Put jars in a deep tray or pan to catch the overflowing juices.  Let sit at room temperature for 1-3 weeks depending on your taste. Refrigerate is best when ready.

Freezing cabbage:  Clean and cut into bite site pieces.  Put in a pot of boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes to blanch.  Throw into an ice bath, drain and freeze.

I also made garlic scape salt by simply chopping garlic scapes into small pieces, mixing with equal amounts of scapes and salt.  Put it in the dehydrator until scapes are dried.

Farm Doins

We made forward motion repairing our pig house this week.

In the planting department we started lettuce, chard, broccoli, cauliflower in the greenhouse and filled in holes in chard and kale beds and replanted pole beans where we are seeing someone eating the tops off of young beans (maybe slugs). We put in a second bed of Brussels sprouts too.

The meat birds went out on pasture. The pigs stayed in their yard!

We weeded and almost completely mulched the corn, weeded and mulched some broccoli, almost finished the potato weeding and mulching and same for the field tomatoes. We weeded two beds of kohlrabi and ¾ of a leek bed. Limited progress on our summer onions, but the older beets are now all weeded and mulched. 4 of our 9 sweet potato beds are weeded.

We thinned some peaches but still have 5 trees to finish up.

Both sprayers are still down. We bought a new Solo, put it together and found it didn’t work and had a broken piece that it arrived with. Back in the box and one more week with no foliar spraying. Sigh.
It was super hot all week and everyone worked right through it. What an amazing bunch of farmers.

So happy with our potatoes this year

Julie

Catching a ride back to the wash table

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-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/

 

When the Pigs Get Out!

First, I try to get them in by myself. Then I ask Jack to come help, and then I call in the big guns and ask Dan to make the ½ hour trip over to help me get them back in. At this writing, he hasn’t come yet, but I am quite confident that the 3 rogues will reunite with the 5 good dobees before the day (Saturday) is out.
Which brings me to my point today. Farming should be done with friends and family (as of course life should also). We all know at least in our gut, that we cannot do this life alone, but it is beautifully obvious every day on our farm that so many folks with so many talents are essential to make this place run.
Let me list some responsibilities and some of the folks who accomplished those in the past week alone.

  • Foliar spraying of the vegetables and fruits – the back pack sprayer is heavy when full – probably 40-50 lbs. I count on Luke, Marissa, Clare, and Nick for this, not to mention Dave and Matt, who keep them running.
  • Tractor driving, and this week I counted on Clare, Luke, Matt, Dave (our repair guy), Danny, Jim and Marissa for this. This week we will be training up Declan too. I just can’t see well enough to manage that big machine.
  • Carpentry and repairs – Danny and Stu are our head team members, along with Matt. And Jack is there as an advisor. This week he and I took apart a failed ground fault wall plug that caused us to lose our electricity to our heat lamps for the young meat birds.
  • Hoeing, weeding, tarping and detarping, planting, mulching, picking – all things that I do a lot of, but to raise the quantity of food we raise we need lots of hands. This week we counted on Nick, Bryan, Luke, Clare, Marissa, Alex, Paula, Leslie, Becca, Matt, Declan, Marcia, Stu, and Jennifer.
  • Back-end work – marketing, data management, taxes, insurance, customer management – and thanks here go to Jennifer, Leslie, and Jack
  • Wood management and odd jobs – Gary, Yohairo and the kids from Stetson do so much to help support us with our wood supply, and often help putting on and taking off tarps and sand bags, and sometimes mulching.
  • Peanut butter balls, tinctures, food preservation, help with cooking – to keep all of these folks well-nourished, there is a lot of “back end management” on the food scene. Thanks to past support folks – Clare, Jennifer, Paula, Leslie, Jack, Marcia, Stu, Matt, Becca – and to the others who will be coming along.
  • Thanks again to Dan and his friends Megan and Shawna who were instrumental in getting those pigs out of the truck and into their house.

Shawna enjoying removing the pig from the truck

Dan accepts pig handoff while Megan manages the door to the house

At this writing I am still biting my fingernails over the pig outage. These little “emergencies” come up from time to time, and often I have to call for extra help. I have learned over and over again to be comfortable asking for help, and for offering it and responding to requests for it that come my way. Isn’t it wonderful to be part of the human family!

Note that these pigs are outside the fence rather than inside it

Expressing Gratitude this Week 

It is to Brendan and Katia Holmes, Katia’s mom Lin, and Allister, Johnny and William, their sons, who Jack and I visited in Albion, ME Wednesday and Thursday to pick up our 8 certified organic piglets. They raise the best piglets and we are happy to travel the 4 hours to get there. Brendan and Katia used to live in Hardwick and used to keep their cows and pigs all over Hardwick (17 different farms) before they were able to buy a farm in Albion.

They represent the next wave (after ours) of farmers who have kept the back to the land movement viable, and are now beacons for the younger farmers who in their 20’s and 30’s are in need of good examples and mentors. It was such a pleasure to see their success, their family-centered business, and their hard-working approach to life that makes Jack and me proud to live in the same tradition. Good friends and good farmers. We left their farm Thursday morning with big smiles on our faces.

Brendan hauling pig to truck

Jack, Katia and Brendan catching up

What is in your CSA Share this week?

The share on week 1

Often, we are nervous about the first weeks of the CSA, but the weather has been almost perfect this year with heat, rain, cool, etc. We got off to a good start last week and plan to have the following items this week

  • Chard – modest amounts as we transition from hoophouse to field
  • Chives – all one size
  • Lettuce – larges get three, 2 for mediums and one for smalls
  • Chinese cabbage – large medium small
  • Kale – finishing the hoophouse supply on Monday and moving to the field for Wednesday and Friday
  • Arugula– new crop this week – enjoy it in salads – one of those super foods
  • Beet greens – we are thinning the beds and you get the results, fresh and tasty greens to use lightly cooked better than raw. Use the whole thing
  • Green onions – They are getting bigger – still use the entire plant
  • Oregano – just this week before it takes a break to grow back
  • Radishes – there are only a few left – you will get a portion
  • Strawberries – these will be available maybe on Wednesday and Friday, not for Monday
  • Spinach – we picked it all last week to avoid bolting. There will be small portions for everyone.

Need some help? Give me a call. 978-257-1192

We can use rubber bands, recycled cardboard egg cartons, recycled grocery style plastic bags, pint, ½ pint, or quart plastic or cardboard containers (please no off sizes), and grocery size paper bags. You can return these items in your share bag. Don’t forget to take you share bag back to your pick-up site this week.

Education this week

A great podcast with Ari Whitten on the 5 best things you can do to help your brain be more healthy – https://theenergyblueprint.com/how-to-optimize-your-brain-health/?inf_contact_key=5e4c28e5d2ac8827300c121ae76576d9dcd43eaff8ca03dc1d15424b3c75c21d

Volunteering at MHOF

This week Declan started volunteering with us, and did it in style with 3 full days of committed work. By the end of the week he had picked up some major skills and next week will be learning how to drive and manage the tractor. Thank you, Declan.

Specific Opportunities this week

We are looking for a specific volunteer/working shareholder. We have an increased need for help with Saturday chores. Now we have old layers, young layers, meat birds and pigs to do chores for. When those chores are done, we will either prep drench and foliar materials for the next week, or do some weeding and most particularly perennial management. Come for breakfast at 7:00 and we will be out of the house by 7:20, do the chores and go onto another manageable task. Stick around until 9:30 am and in exchange, I will provide you with a large produce share. One needn’t sign up for every Saturday, but 2 Saturdays per month would be appreciated. Be in touch – julie@mhof.net, or 978-257-1192.

We are also looking for a very specific volunteer or paid position to help with foliar feeding. This job needs to be accomplished between 5:00 and 7:00 am. You must be good with 2 cycle machines, be strong of back – about 40-45 lbs. of weight on your back. This can probably be accomplished in 2 mornings once you get the hang of it, but might take three mornings at first. We can pay $17/hour plus a large produce share. All of our sprays are certified organic and non-toxic, and it is a brilliant opportunity to learn about our intricate fertility program. Enquire.

Videos

Washing our spinach
Harriet keeping up with the truck as we head to the pond field

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Don’t forget the Party on June 29

Here is the other half of the invite that went out via email.

Beginning of Summer Gala Party and Pot luck at Many. Please RSVP

Many Hands Organic Farm
Saturday, June 29 from 2:00 pm until the end

Jack Kittredge and Clare Caldwell are two very essential remarkable members of the Many Hands community. We are celebrating them for a few reasons
Clare arrived at MHOF 16 years ago in a cloud of dust (yes, she was speeding), and has been

  • A major partner in all things farm
  • Surrogate mother to a long line of former prisoners and troubled youth who raised her own three children in large part at MHOF
  • A constantly positive spirited member of the farm team who always sees the best in any situation
  • Incredible masseuse to overworked farm members
  • The best driver of tractors, trucks, you name it – and highly physically competent and strong
  • Problem solver extraordinaire – how to get it done faster and more efficiently
  • One of the best friends and colleagues a person could ever have
  • Clare is moving on to another chapter in her life and this is a loving send off

Please RSVP, and don’t forget a potluck contribution. Come anytime after 2:00 as fits your schedule.

2024 Workshop Series

Here listed is our last workshop for the spring. Register here. – https://mhof.net/events-workshops/

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

My favorite week of the year was last week, when the CSA began.  I become very excited to prepare and cook with the most amazing produce.  This is when I start to get creative with food.  Instead of a specific recipe this week, I’d like to leave you with ideas on how to use your vegetables in a variety of ways.

My first meal I cooked with the share was roasted radishes with Chinese cabbage and green onions, served alongside baked tilapia covered in oregano, quinoa, and all sprinkled with green onions.  Raw radishes have a bitter and pungent taste whereas cooking them, they take on a little sweetness and are very juicy when biting into them.  I roast them in coconut oil, salt and pepper at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Add the green onions and cabbage about 7 minutes before the radishes are done.

I also grilled the radishes and green onions served with steamed chard, basmati rice, and a NY sirloin strip with tons of oregano, salt and pepper.

We ate lots of salads as our meals with various toppings. We had soft boiled eggs over greens and made a green onion, spinach and chard frittata with cheddar cheese on top.

Please feel free to share your recipes with me to be entered into the newsletter.  You can email directly to me at jennifer@jenzenliving.com.

Enjoy!

Farm Doins

On Monday, construction-wise, Danny, Stu and Jim got the 2nd pig house up to in front of the barn and did diagnostics on how to proceed with needed repairs.

Making plans for the pig house

Dragging up the pig house

Jim cut some more hay – the home orchard and the back of the south and the north, and Matt raked that and we got last week’s hay picked up in the west field over Wednesday and Friday. Luke and Nick mowed everything, and the rest of made short work of the CSA. Jennifer has taken on front room management of the CSA for all three days, which has proceeded without flaw. We enjoy our new walk in cooler with lots of space and good lighting. The CSA went without a hitch on Wednesday and Friday too.

Washing onions for the CSA

Marcia, by far one of our most photogenic staff members – happy the CSA is packed away.

While we were visiting Katia, Brendan and Lin on Thursday we were discussing how farmers talk about their accomplishment. Chores don’t figure in accomplishments, we agreed. For them that is milking the cows, returning them to pasture and managing the other myriad chores. For us it is taking care of the three kinds of birds we have and the “vegetable” chore of picking and packing the CSA. And of course, keeping the machinery and buildings in repair. Bragging rights are only good for weeding, mulching, planting, getting in hay, etc. How fun it is to kibbitz with other farmers in this intense time of year.

Tuesday we were able to turn our yellow hoophouse over from winter/spring lettuce, chard and kale to tomatoes.

and then made progress on potato hilling and mulching, planted tulsi and basil, tied most of the peas,

thinned some more peaches, and weeded and mulched two more beds of collards.

Wednesday saw us finishing the pea tying (we had to extricate a bunch of nasty bindweed), weeding and mulching sunflowers and some of the broccoli. We started on hay pick up for the week which we finished on Friday.

Jack and I left for Albion, ME to pick up the pigs on Wednesday afternoon and spent the night with Lin, returning home on Thursday afternoon with the pigs that Dan, Shawna and Megan helped unload. Thanks to Marissa who did chores on Thursday morning.

Friday Luke cleaned up the fence around the pigs so the shock would be strong enough, and at day’s end I let them out of their house, which they had completed defoliated (pig snouts are amazing.

Friday we finally completed a planting series in the pond field that has been on our list for a while – more lettuce, finished planting the flowers, more radishes, dill and turnips.

We also finished weeding and mulching the 4th bed of collards.

Foliar feeding has been a challenge as our two sprayers are breaking down under the pressure, despite Dave’s best efforts to keep them fixed.

Saturday, I worried all day until Dan and Megan helped me get the pigs corralled at the end of the day. I found them Sunday morning, all snuggled in the woods sleeping peacefully.

I haven’t succumbed to the solstice speed up yet this year, with only 11 days to go until peak. I will be able to rest easier when our summer onions, carrots and leeks are weeded and nicely mulched, however.

Julie

Success – thank you Dan and Megan.

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-
https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/many-hands-make-a-farm/