What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Historically, CSA was established to more directly connect farmers and consumers; get money up front to farmers when they really need it, get consumers the freshest and most nutritious produce; and take a little bit of the risk out of farming with a guaranteed market for the farmer. We have been running a CSA since 1992 on our farm. Upon receipt of your reservation and deposit, we will send a confirmation. Is cash flow a problem? Contact us for alternate payment schedules (but realize that we cannot provide food that has not been paid for).
We have always believed in an integrated growing system that includes livestock, vegetable, fruit, and flower crops. Our animals and plants benefit from this relationship and the farm fertility is more independently sustainable. We are very focused on raising the most nutritious and tastiest food possible. Besides following certified organic practices that honor natural processes of recycling of nutrients through decomposition, we also focus strongly on biological practices that prioritize proper soil mineralization and microbial health. Of late we have put the spotlight on soil carbon restoration. We sold our roto-tiller in 2017 and took the plunge into no till – which worked wonders for us in 2016 during the extreme drought. We will continue to test and improve our soil preparation practices as we are still steep on the learning curve, especially for small seeded crops. Additionally we are upgrading our cover cropping practices with more in season use of cover crop cocktails (use of 10 or more species), focused attention to clover in the pathways and undersown in brassica, chard, corn and other larger or transplanted crops. It is all about maximizing photosynthesis and making our soil mycorrhizal fungi friendly. Read Jack’s internationally acclaimed and in 9 languages– “Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology Do the Job?” – http://www.nofamass.org/content/soil-carbon-restoration-can-biology-do-job. A new book on the topic by Michael Phillips, “Mycorrhizal Planet” is worth the read for those who want to know more.
Specifically, the taste of our produce is unbeatable, its “shelf life” is extended, color and texture are stronger and yields have been improving each year for the past several.
We use certified organic seed where possible and favor open pollinated seeds over hybrids because of a higher capability for plants of open pollinated varieties to grow strong rooting systems and thus enhance their genetic potential. We never use treated or GMO seeds.
How do I know this CSA food is Organic?
Many Hands Organic Farm was certified organic by NOFA/Mass, the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, from 1987 to 2000, and by NOFA/Mass Organic Certification from 2001-2003. The NOFA/Mass Certification Program changed its name to Baystate Organic Certifiers in 2004; we are presently certified by them. We are happy to explain our practices and answer your questions about how your food is grown – just send us an email at [email protected] Visit the NOFA/Mass website to become part of a community of folks who support organic agriculture and true sustainability in our fast-paced times.
In the produce department, besides our produce shares (vegetables and fruits) (see our shares page), we sell a wide array of fruits and vegetables to Wholesome Farmers Market and the Insight Meditation Society both in Barre, MA.
How do I join the Many Hands Organic Farm CSA?
If you’d like to learn more about the various options and pick up locations for shares (Athol, Barre, Gardner, Holden, Princeton, Shrewsbury, Sutton, and Worcester), please follow this link. Once you have decided to join, you can fill out the order form.
This year we will accept credit cards, but since this is not a normal part of our operation, we will charge a convenience fee (ranging $2 – $20 depending on the items purchased) if you choose this option.