Julie Rawson

Julie Rawson

Founder and Manager, Many Hands Organic Farm CSA, Barre, Massachusetts
Executive Director, Northeast Farming Association (NOFA)

After success with some small scale testing with Ashfield Stone last year, we applied Suma Minerals this year (2007).

I have had over the top harvests of sugar snap peas. Last week we harvested over 200 pounds of peas from about 420 row feet of plants that rose to 8 or 9 feet in height. The leaves on things like chard, beets, flat leaf parsley are stronger and more turgid than I have known them to be. There are many fewer old and ratty looking beet leaves than in the past. The cut flowers have more brightness to their hues than in the past. The petunias in the flower boxes are magnificent. Three days in a row when I woke up this week I woke up with a new sense of physical power that I have never felt before. I figure it is from eating the vegetables that we are growing here. Good stuff!

Click to enlarge images

Our Experience


Vibrant Color

No Sloughing off of Leaves

Infestations Way Down

Turgidity and Waxiness

Abundant Harvest

Leaf and Plant

Soil Texture

Update from Many Hands Organic Farm CSA Newsletter, October 8-12, 2007: “This year fertility is the name of the game. I was proud to take the call on Friday from Rob at Living Earth when he raved about our produce being the best that comes through their store longest lasting, best tasting, best looking. I need to publicly thank son Dan for turning me on to volcanic mineral dust (we used a metric ton of it this year). It has jumped our production quality several fold this year…Things will only get better!”

Update from Julie Rawson, November 6, 2007:

  • The pea crop was outstanding and the level of production-I’d say we got twice as many peas as last year from the same amount of space.
  • The beets and carrots seemed to be outstanding throughout the whole season with extremely sweet flavor. The beets’ flavor surpassed anything that I can remember.
  • The summer squash kept producing until the end of October and was of high quality (or course there were several successions).
  • The brassicas went without blemish for the first several months and when we did get cabbage looper the damage was extremely minimal. We are still harvesting high quality cabbage, collards, and kale on November 6.
  • This was by far the best black raspberry year I have seen in 20 years.
  • The fall red raspberries were of extremely high quality also.
  • Peaches were prolific and of very high quality.
  • Onions and leeks were of some of the best quality I have seen.
  • Winter squash plants were very healthy and the harvest was abundant.

Rob White, the produce manager of Living Earth, raved at least once a week about the quality of the bunched greens, beets, carrots, and summer squash. He told me that there was no other produce that he was able to purchase that came anywhere near the quality of ours. He also said that ours lasted in his walk-in in a way that no other produce lasted. He was particularly amazed by the quality of the late summer squashes.

I have also noticed a real change in the soil quality all over the farm. The texture is superb. We have had to use a shovel for carrots for the last month and a half because the carrots were as long a foot.

We used a total of approximately 2,700 lbs of Summa Minerals this year on 2+ acres of intense vegetables and with about 3 lbs around our 100 fruit trees.

Melons in Orange House

Real nice up close shot…

Black Raspberries in the Annex

Healthy Brassicas in the West Field

Melon Carpeting
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