Farmers' Blog

Field Report

What's New?
Posted 3/11/2011 11:52am by Andre Cantelmo.
Still waiting for the snow to melt but we are seeing some earth! We now have three greenhouses open with a fourth to open any day. Onions, shallot, leeks, beets, chard, lettuce, choi, celeriac, several cut flowers and minor crops are now germinating. The kohlrabi in this week's share is the last from the cellar as are the parsnips. We hope that the snow will clear before the last pickup so that we can dig the overwintered bed of parsnips. The deer have taken care of any hope we had for spring kale emerging from the melting snow. As many as 16 deer had a very large salad over the last week. Even our presence in the field couldn't stifle their hunger. I guess everyone has to eat. If only they ate weeds!

Greg

This week's share:
1 bag of mesclun mix
1 bag of yukina savoy
1 bag of spinach
4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
1 lb kohlrabi
8 onions
Posted 3/10/2011 7:27pm by Andre Cantelmo.
Come and see us at the Exeter Farmer's Market this Saturday from 10-2 at Exeter High School. We'll have lots of root veggies and several kinds of greens. In addition to veggies, you'll also find local meats, eggs, crafts, prepared foods and much more.

We also still have openings for our 2011 summer CSA. Don't miss out on a great season of vegetables, fruits and herbs!
Posted 2/25/2011 6:09pm by Andre Cantelmo.
   The greenhouse season is now fully underway on the farm. Onions, beets, herbs and some cut flowers have been sown. From now on we'll be seeding hundreds of trays a week in preparation for getting onto the fields. Just today Andre picked up our grafted tomato plants for the early greenhouse. We are also finalizing seed orders and plans for the spring. As unpleasant as it might be outside right now, we could be preparing land for planting a month from now!
   We had hoped to have spinach in the share again this week, but it seems to be a little short on magnesium or nitrogen. We are going to correct the situation over the next week so that it will be available for the next share.
   Eat well!    Greg

This weeks share:

4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
1 lb kohlrabi (approx. hard to get exact)
1 lb rutabaga
8 onions
2 shallots
1 bag yukina savoy
1 bag mesclun mix
Posted 2/21/2011 11:42am by Andre Cantelmo.
Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

It has been awhile since our CSA annual meeting and Greg, myself, and the gang have gone over your suggestions as to the direction of our farm and CSA. Let me first say that I cannot believe the turn out at either of the meetings. It is obvious that we have outgrown the room at South Hampton Town Hall and will need the big room next year. The first ever meeting for our remote pick ups was much bigger than expected with a lot of new folks. This is reflected in our registration numbers which are nearly double what they were this time last year. Thanks to all of you that have registered early. We are getting past the planing stage and into ordering seed and planting in the greenhouse with your help. With the seed orders about to go in, here are some of the changes we all have to look forward to for the 2011 season.

Keeping the share price the same was a high priority for a lot of our shareholders. We have been one of the lowest cost if not the lowest cost CSA for many years. As we build our community through local agriculture we believe that money should not bar our community from eating high quality local food. For our part we have increased the efficiency of the farm to deliver the same food at lower cost. We have also worked with shareholders that need different payment plans to keep buying local food. This year we will also be increasing our effort to provide local food to families in need through our “sponsor a share” program that you will be hearing about soon. In order to keep the share price the same we change some of the offerings to make knew ones possible as well as some of our systems.

You will see more bulk food at your CSA pick ups. Instead of bunching and bagging your greens or beets, Heron Pond Farm will wash and bin these items. At your pick up you will bag them yourself (we will soon have a supply of reusable bags). This will help cut handling cost so we can offer more food.

Wax beans will be gone this year. In their place we will grow Edamame (枝豆?) (EnglishEdamame pronunciation: /ˌɛdəˈmɑːmeɪ/) is a preparation of immature soybeans in the pod commonly found in Japan, China, Hawaii, and Korea. The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt, and served whole. We have dropped radicchio, celery (which never grows well), collards,chicory, escarole, and shell peas. We are also taking a year off from the sweet potatoes to try to learn more about how to grow a great crop of them and to keep the pests away from eating them all.

We will be adding foods to the production line up as well. Some of these you will see right away. Some are perennial crops that will take a year or so to get going and find a spot for. More snow peas, stir fry greens, carrots, beets, late kale, summer lettuce, melons (get the melons right this year!), garlic (will take more then one year to increase supply), early spinach, spaghetti squash, even more Brussels sprouts for winter share, celeriac, early cucumbers, fennel, okra, early potatoes, stone fruit, horse radish, and Jerusalem artichoke. There will also be a better system in place to bring the fresh picked herbs and hot peppers to the off farm pick ups.

The addition of the Haygrove tunnel will mean a better supply of early field tomatoes. We are of course always tweaking the tomato picture. With our super early green houses and field tunnels we have the earliest tomatoes around, and normally put one in the share end of May or the first week of June. We may move that to late June with more quantity. This will put the farm in a more sustainable place both in use of fuel and early income from the markets. We also believe that over all you will get a more usable supply of tomatoes instead of just one a week in the beginning.

Staying connected to the farm is a big deal for all of us. This year we will begin mapping and guiding the farm so all may enjoy a self guided stroll through the woods and fields. At least one farm event, the first annual Heron Pond Farm tomato fest, will bring us all together on the farm this year. You will be invited to help with annual farm chores like garlic harvest. Greg and I will split the duty of putting out the weekly share list and one of us will try to put up more weekly info about what's happing at Heron Pond. We will also be working with local chefs to bring you recipes and new ideas of what to do with your share.

There was much more that was talked about at the meetings. I love the meat and bread add ons that we have this year and it was great to hear from New Roots Farm as well as Life is Sweet bakery. All that came out brought an energy that made both Greg and I ready for another great year. Everyone here at Heron Pond Farm is looking forward to providing you with a unforgettable local food experience.

Thank you all for making us your farmers!

Andre

 

Posted 2/14/2011 5:49pm by Andre Cantelmo.
This week's share:

4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs beets
1 lb carrots
1 lb rutabagas
1 lb turnips
2 shallots
6 onions
1 bag mesclun mix
1 bag baby spinach

Lets all think warm thoughts with hope for lots of sun and no snow. Sorry for the brief message, more coming soon from Andre.

     Greg
Posted 2/10/2011 8:41am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

We are coming up to the time when the spots reserved for our past CSA members will open up to the public. Until February 15th, all returning CSA members are guaranteed to have a spot in the 2011 summer program. After that, spots are open to all and when we reach 400 members we will close registration. This by no means means that after February 15th you won't get in to the CSA. It means that we are no longer holding a spot just for you.

We started holding spots two years ago to make sure that all returning members were guaranteed to get in. At some point we need to make sure that others have the opportunity to join as well. All of us at Heron Pond Farm hope that you will take the time to register now so we can continue our plans to grow you great food this summer.

Money should not be a bar to your ability to eat locally. Every one at Heron Pond Farm is more interested in building community through local agriculture then getting rich. We have worked with many folks to spread out payments, making participation in the CSA possible. Registration is more important then payment at this point because seeding and planing have begun. So if you need to make a special arrangement for payment just drop us a line and we will set something up.

The bread share is selling well. I must admit that I am responsible for the misprint that went out on some of the pamphlets. The coast of the bread per loaf is the same for summer and winter. However there are six more pickups in the summer. So the bread share coasts are as follows: $120, one loaf premium bread; $240 two loaves; $190 loaf plus baguette; $70 baguette only. Sorry about the mix up.

There are only a few meat shares left. If you would like a meat share you should register soon. We will be shutting down the meat registration at thirdy five shares. Because of New Roots Farm dedication to quality, grass feeding, and humane treatment, it will take a year or so to ramp up to the demand that we all have for their meat.

We got great feedback from you all at our annual meetings. I will have all our new plans written up soon and get those out to you all. Thanks again to all those who participated.

Andre

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Posted 1/28/2011 7:24pm by Andre Cantelmo.
Since our last communication I imagine that we've all been doing much the same thing: moving snow from one place to another. Personally, I would love for it to stop until December but that seems unlikely. Fortunately for all of us the snow doesn't affect the harvest or storage of our winter treats. This will be the last of the lettuce until later in the spring. Starting tommorrow we'll be preparing the former home of the lettuce for some seedings of salad greens that should be ready later in March. The vitagreen and Yukina Savoy are both delicious salad greens. You can also cook them, but I would suggest only a quick wilt.
Sometime in the next week we will begin seeding onions and shallots for the coming season. The first greenhouse tomatoe plants will be in place by March 1st. There may be 3 feet of snow on the ground with temps below zero at times but the light has changed. The birds have definitely noticed, just this morning I heard several different male cardinals testing out their spring voices. When all seems cold and dormant, life is stirring!

                                                        Greg 

This weeks' share:

4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
1 lb rutabaga
1 lb kohlrabi
6 onions
2 shallots
2 heads lettuce
3/4 lb vitagreen/yukina savoy
Posted 1/13/2011 7:47pm by Andre Cantelmo.
   What a storm! We'll be busy clearing the farm for several days, especially since our primary tractor is in the shop for transmission work (thankfully under warranty!). As of Christmas we had no wood in our shed to fuel our woodstove in the earliest heated greenhouse. With the New Year's thaw we threw ourselves into the cutting, splitting and moving of wood and on the day before the storm, finally filled the shed. If we hadn't taken advantage of a gift like a nearly complete January thaw to correct an autumn mistake, shame on us!
   Although we spend many hours harvesting greens and washing root veggies this time of year, we must also begin repairing tractors and preparing greenhouses for spring. In just a few weeks we will sow onions, leeks and herbs for the coming season. As I write this, tomato plants destined for our early greenhouses are growing under the care of a fellow farmer in Rhode Island. By the end of February we should have three greenhouses heated and growing towards the coming season. With any luck, we will have seeds in the ground by the end of March.

Your Share,

4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
1 lb rutabagas
6 onions
2 shallots
3/4 lb swiss chard
3 heads lettuce


Enjoy, Greg












Posted 1/7/2011 7:26am by Andre Cantelmo.

Sorry about the late notice but we will need to change the date of our meeting for the Dover/Portsmouth area. The location we wanted to hold it in was not available so we have moved it to next week. Still hope to see you all there! Here is the info again:

The solstice is behind us, and the seed catalogs are all waiting for our attention, so it's time to start looking ahead to the new growing season. Before we do that we need to look at what we are doing right and what can be improved at the farm, so this is your call to come to our annual meeting!

Both the Summer and the Winter CSA's will be discussed at the meeting (see agenda below). Most importantly WE WILL EAT! Yes, this is a pot luck. Yes, it happens the week after your share pick up, so you will have food on hand to cook up. The meeting will be in two locations this year, so our shareholders from Dover and Portsmouth will not have far to travel. If you can not make one meeting please come to the other. Your input is needed so that we can bring you the best CSA experience that we can.

For our shareholders in the Portsmouth and Dover area we will have a meeting at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Dover. On Saturday January 15th at 6:00 pm we will have the potluck followed by the meeting. This is our first time having two meetings. If you can't make one please see if you can make the other.



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Posted 1/2/2011 11:10pm by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

The solstice is behind us, and the seed catalogs are all waiting for our attention, so it's time to start looking ahead to the new growing season. Before we do that we need to look at what we are doing right and what can be improved at the farm, so this is your call to come to our annual meeting!

Both the Summer and the Winter CSA's will be discussed at the meeting (see agenda below). Most importantly WE WILL EAT! Yes, this is a pot luck. Yes, it happens the week after your share pick up, so you will have food on hand to cook up. The meeting will be in two locations this year, so our shareholders from Dover and Portsmouth will not have far to travel. If you can not make one meeting please come to the other. Your input is needed so that we can bring you the best CSA experience that we can.

The South Hampton Meeting will take place at the South Hampton Town Hall right down the road from the farm stand on Friday January 7th at 6:00 pm for the potluck, 6:30 pm for the meeting. We would like to get though our agenda in about an hour. For our shareholders in the Portsmouth and Dover area we will have a meeting at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Dover. On Saturday January 8th at 6:00 pm we will have the potluck followed by the meeting.This is our first time having two meetings. If you can't make one please see if you can make the other.

The most important next step for Heron Pond Farm is to increase the number of folks enjoying local food. We know that once people take part in Heron Pond Farm's CSA they don't go back to store-bought produce, they stick with local if they can. We want to help New Hampshire get to 10% of it's food coming from local sources. An ambitious goal to be sure, but you can help. Bring one new person to the CSA meeting. You already know that the CSA is a great way to make a commitment to eating local and you all know at least one person or family that is close to eating local; they just need a push. What will it take to get the someone you know to take that next step toward helping us achieve food soveranty? Bring the body, the stomach will follow!

Lastly we need to talk about registration for the Summer 2011 CSA. As the CSA at Heron Pond Farm has grown more folks depend on us as their source for local food. Likewise we depend on your registration dollars to pay for seed, supplies, and the labor necessary to deliver the quality food you have come to enjoy. We need you to register early this year, not only to pay bills, but to know how many spots we will have open for all the folks that have been contacting us all year. Heron Pond Farm likes to let all our returning members get the spots before we open to the public. So, please, get your registration form in today or register online!

We'll see you soon!

Andre

Agenda

 

How this season went and plans for 2011: Promises we've kept and where we are going.

Food quantity and frequency in share: This is when we pick the food to grow!

More on farm activities: Tomato festival, Strawberry planting, Garlic harvest, Canning workshop?

Getting pick ups to go smoother

Shareholder input: What else do we need to do?