Rasmussen Farm
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Name:               Deborah Chadbourne

                           David Rasmussen

                           Rasmussen Farm

Address:            P.O. Box 201

                           Strong, Maine 04983

Phone:                857-225-1199  (cell)


Website:             westernmainemarket.com



What Makes Rasmussen Farm Unique?

It’s difficult to comprehend how Deborah Chadbourne serves as the Market Manager of the Western Maine Online Farmers’ Market.; drives all over Franklin County making deliveries and pickups of farm products; maintains an active Facebook page and weekly newsletter and cares for a large market garden at Rasmussen Farm.  It’s no small task trying to keep up with her.

If you are not familiar with the online market that was organized by the Western Mountains Alliance and that is managed by Deborah Chabourne, be sure to check it out: www.westernmainemarket.com The diversity of products that are offered; the networking and comprehensive pick-up and delivery system; and the inclusion of so many different farms in a rather isolated area of the state is truly impressive.

Deborah Chadbourne and David Rasmussen have been gardening together since 1992, at Rasmussen Farm which is located on top of Gilkey Hill in Freeman Township. Deborah is a twelfth-generation Mainer who earned a BA in English and philosophy from Wellesley College and a Master of Architecture degree from the Boston Architectural College.  While Deborah incorporates many of the skills she learned from her days of higher learning (writing, views on life, building projects) her focus has turned to growing plants for a market garden.  She executes this new career with boundless energy, creativity, dedication; a great sense of humor; and a very positive outlook on life.

David Rasmussen hailed from a conventional farming background in Iowa.  He earned a BS, BA, MA, and PhD degrees in philosophy from the University of Chicago.  He has enjoyed teaching for over forty years.  He founded Philosophy and Social Criticism, the largest philosophical journal in the world.  His work has resulted in a great deal of international travel.

David purchased the twenty-two acre farm in 1968.  His interest in Maine and Franklin County history is immediately apparent. He fondly described his gratitude to his late neighbor, Carl Weymouth, for being a great source of support over the years. Carl was a subsistent farmer who used horses on his farm, and lived without electricity and a car.  When Carl passed away, David was honored to be asked to deliver the eulogy at his funeral service.

David helps maintain the grounds; assists with clearing the land; and cares for the roses and high bush blueberries.  He good-naturedly joked how he plays a vital role in the farm operation by writing out checks to pay all the expenses! He enjoys his antique 1938 John Deere B tractor and getting outside on the land.  David splits his time between living in Boston and at the farm in Strong. He presently teaches political philosophy at Boston College on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Deborah’s farm motto is “We aim to please.”

She relishes the challenge of growing highly unusual plants.  On her webpage she commented that she will “try to find a way to grow things even no sane person would attempt to grow in Maine.”  Her commitment to grow special crops, an interest in organic practices, and her outgoing fun-loving personality have combined to create quite a loyal customer base.

Some of the unusual products that Rasmussen Farm offers includes ‘fractal” broccoli in a wide variety of colors.  Deborah is innoculating several mushroom varieties including Blewitt, Chicken of the Woods, Enoki, Lions Mane, Maitake, Morels, Oyster, Pioppino, and Shitake.  This past year black chokeberries, cardamon, Chinese wolfberries, cranberries, elderberries, grapes, hops, Ligonberries, mulberries, everberaing raspberries and strawberries were planted on the farm.

Herbs are well represented at Rasmussen Farm.  Among some of the herbs grown are bay laurel, caraway, chervil, coriander seeds, ginger, horseradish, lavender, lemon basil, lemon verbena, lemongrass, lovage, nepitella, pennyroyal, rosemary, saffron, stevia, sweet cicely, tarragon, wasabi, and yarrow.

If you favor a variety of greens, Rasmussen offers amaranth, beet greens, bok choi, borage, burnet, chicory, cress, dandelion, lamb’s quarters, nasturtium leaves, nettles, orach, purslane, radicchio, sorrel, suehilhung, sylvetta, tatsoi, toon, trefoil, turnip greens, and wood sorrel.

In addition to over fifty of the traditionally popular vegetables that are commonly offered at the various markets, Deborah grows artichokes, purple asparagus, broccoli raab, celeriac, fennel bulb, ground cherries, rampions, salsify, scallions, scorzonera, sunchokes, and tomatillos.

Deborah participates in the Sandy River Farmington Farmers’ Market from May through October on Tuesdays from 2-6 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  You can find her at the New Sharon Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from  9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May 22 through Labor Day.

There are two greenhouses at Rasmussen Farm. When Unique Maine Farms visited Rasmussen Farm this past fall, a killing frost had already hit.  Deborah had placed blankets, row covers, a plastic swimming pool, and all types of protective coverings on many of the gardens to prevent frost damage.  Deborah built a large cold-frame type structure with a low-angled roof this past year to extend the growing season.

There are garden plots throughout the Rasmussen Farm property.  Deborah planted over an acre of squash last season.  A new 100‘x120’ garden was added last fall.  She has several wholesale accounts.  When volunteer plants show up in her gardens and when plants winter over, she is thrilled.  She loves learning about all the historic uses of various herbs and plants. She grows many plants from the seeds that she has saved; has a wide selection of cut flowers; and is an ardent supporter of companion planting.

Hamlet and Ophelia, two Muscovy ducks, are a major part of the farm.  Although David insisted that there would never be animals at Rasmussen Farm, Deborah couldn’t resist the two Muscovy ducklings that she spotted one day on her way to the farmers’ market.  They are now cherished pet ducks who have the run of the house and the farm property!

Although Rasmussen Farm is not organically certified, Deborah explained that they avoid using chemicals in the gardens and fields.  They try to keep crops healthy by companion planting and the hand removal of insect pests.

As Market Manager of the year round Western Maine Online Farmers’ Market, Deborah is continuously in communication with the approximately one dozen participating farmers. She sends out weekly emails to a list of over 700 subscribers. The market offers pick-up and delivery of items from a range of local vendors on Fridays and Saturdays.  Orders must be placed online or by email by 6 a.m. on Thursdays. 

Pickup locations include Top of the Hill in New Sharon on Saturdays; No View Farm &  Bakery in Rumford; the Schoolhouse Gallery in Kingfield; the Farmington Grange on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon; Island Farm in Avon; and downtown Farmington on Fridays.

Deliveries to Stratton are charged a $5 fee due at pick-up at Stratton.  A volunteer is met in Rangeley for Friday deliveries after 2 p.m.

Free delivery is offered to downtown Farmington, along Route 4 between Franklin Memorial Hospital and Strong, up the Town Farm Road and Route 27 through New Vineyard to Kingfield, and along Routes 142 and 145 from Kingfield to Strong. Deborah Chadbourne can often be seen on the roads of Franklin County making deliveries in her hybrid Prius.

Deborah also maintains the Western Maine Market Facebook page.  It was fitting to notice on Facebook that she was offering to share some turmeric root this past week.  Rasmussen Farm bought some for seed but had to buy more than they planned to grow so they were offering the excess for sale.  The roots were grown in Hawaii and were certified organic.  Deborah’s Facebook turmeric posting is quite symbolic of the way Rasmussen Farm operates.  They are always trying something unique and always willing to reach out and share their knowledge and efforts and products with others.


Ophelia and Hamlet are cherished Muscovy ducks.

David Rasmussen

Deborah Chadbourne