Farmers' Blog

Field Report

What's New?
Posted 2/25/2010 7:42am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

It's a big week for the start of our 2010 season. Two CSA fairs are taking place and we could use your help. Who better to reflect what its like to be a Heron Pond Farm CSA member then our very own shareholders. If you can find some time to join us at either of the fairs please let us know. Saturdays fair will be at the Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollingsford NH. Sundays fair will be at the Tannery in Newburyport MA. Many people new to CSA will find your help crucial in making a decision as to which program will fit them best. We know that our program is more complicated then the simple “box CSA,” so help explaining how it works for you would be great.

For those of you wishing to dance your booty off and help out farms to boot, there is the second annual “Funk the Farm” event. Funk the Farm will take place at Mission Oak Grill on Friday Feb. 26th 8:00 pm! Come dance the winter chills away!

If you are looking to check on the status of your membership you can do so through our new member status page. By putting in your e-mail address in the status page you can find out if you are registered, your pick up day and location, the type of membership, and your balance.

We have two partnerships to announce. Eastmans Local Catch CSF and Lasting Legacy Farm will both be working with Heron Pond Farm. You can now get your seafood shares at any of our pick up locations. Just register with Eastmans on there website and let them know you are a Heron Pond Farm Member. We will make sure that your food makes it to your pick up location. Lasting Legacy offers meat shares and we will be able to offer them to our Dover, Portsmouth, and of course now at Lasting Legacy Farm in Barington. Register at their site and let them know you are a member of Heron Pond Farm. Folks at the farm stand will still be able to get meat from our partnership with Kelly Brook Farm.

As we gear up for our spring membership drive we would like to remind those with us in the past that it is time to resister for the 2010 program. There are about 20 families from past years that we thought we might hear from by now. Because we believe in the CSA, we want you to have the experience that you are looking for. To that end we would like to hear from you if you will not be joining us again. First so we can grow and change to be a better CSA for more folks. But just as importantly, if we know of a program that is more along the lines of something your looking for, we would like to point you in that direction. Many of our farmer friends run their CSA's different then we do. If we can match you up with one of them we would rather you do that then give up on CSA's. Of course we think that the community has done a great job turning us in to the best program around and we are very excited about the coming year. Our members have given us a lot of great feedback to work with. The 2010 program looks to be the most complete fruit and vegetable share that is out there and you are the reason why.

Here is to a new season!




Posted 2/20/2010 5:51am by Andre Cantelmo.

I know it is the last moment but Heron Pond Farm is headed over to the Rye Winter Market today. We will be bringing all the great winter foods that you have come to expect from us so come on out to the market. The Market is located at the Rye Junior High, 501 Washington Road in Rye NH. (See map bellow). We hope to see you there as we will be bringing all our CSA registration information for the 2010 summer season.



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Posted 2/12/2010 9:04pm by Andre Cantelmo.

Hi folks, getting this out pretty late. We've just had a very late evening of preparing for the pickup this weekend. Andre and I were up well past our farmer bedtimes so I'll make this a short message. Here goes:

3/4 lb spinach

1/3 lb mesclun mix

1 bunch Hakurei turnips

2 lbs carrots

1 rutabaga

1 celeriac

4 lbs potatoes or 2 lbs fingerlings

2 lbs onions

1 package italian herbs (From the Herb Farmacy!)



Posted 2/5/2010 5:07am by Andre Cantelmo.

The Dover Pick Up Now Has a Location! Caroline George has offered her home at 125 Mast Rd for our weekly share pick up on Mondays from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. We are looking forward to our new home in Dover.


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Posted 1/29/2010 7:27pm by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers

Well the hits keep coming as far as I'm concerned. This week the spinach harvest was a little better then expected, so one pound bags for all! We also have some nice mesclun mix and a real treat, Belgian endive. We grow these plants in the summer for there root stock. They were in cold storage till about 20 days ago. Then we set them up in a dark room for growth. Now they are ready for you to enjoy! Check out our favorite food site for recipes.

Important announcement for all Portsmouth pick up folks. Because of the cold we will have a limited pick hours in the barn Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm. The food will then be moved into the house for safe keeping. So if you show up and the food is not there don't fret, just go up to the house.

This weeks share:

Last of the apples split between us all.

1lb Spinach

1/2lb mesclun greens

1 bag of Belgian endive

1lb Beet

1lb Parsnips

2lbs Carrots

1 Rutabaga

4lbs Potatoes or 2 lbs of Fingerling

2lb Onions or ½ pint of Shallots

Enjoy the food, I know I will.


Posted 1/27/2010 6:27am by Andre Cantelmo.

Heron Pond Farm is proud to offer a community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to the people of Dover. For the last two years we have been able to have a location in Portsmouth for CSA members to pick up there food and meet the farmers. Now after the loss of three CSA's that were serving the Dover area, we will be offering the same great service that the folks of Portsmouth have been enjoying to your community. Because over the last five years the members of our CSA have been shaping the food in the share (quantity and variety), and how it is distributed, I think you will enjoy all the aspects of being a member of Heron Pond Farm, and being able to pick up your food in a Dover location.

Our CSA does not work like a lot of others. Your food is not boxed for you, you choose the food from the offerings. We find that folks like to pick “the” tomato they want so why not let them. Food is grouped into category and you pick the prescribed number of things from that group. We find that this gives flexibility for your menu each week. We are also a full discloser CSA. So if you want to know what past shares got each week, its on the web site. We do a financial discloser as well, aiming to get you a 20% return on your investment. Last year folks made 14.7%, the year before 44.9% so the weather does make a difference.

Fruit is included in the share. We have strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, apples, and melons throughout the year, each in it's real season. We are planting some raspberries this year so they should be a few years out.

I'm sure there are a lot more questions that you have and I would love to answer them. Call me any time at 603-591-8720 and I'll do my best to answer them. If you would like to become a member we offer you an on line option to sign up. Otherwise you can make a copy of our registration form and mail it in.

Looking forward to having you as a member.

Andre Cantelmo

Heron Pond Farm                                                          




Posted 1/22/2010 6:25am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

Just a note to says thank you for all the great feedback about last winter share and give you some more information about those letters you should be getting by now in the mail. Not only is it always great to hear from all of you but it's nice to know when you are doing a good job. Jerry Monkman (share holder, photographer extraordinar) came out to watch us harvest the spinach fro the green house. He is working on a photo project about sustainability. The benefit to us is we get to see all his cool shots first! (done much better then the shots you get from us). So here are some photos of the harvest.




Spinach will be in at least the next two shares and may make it to more. The stuff you got last time was the best looking, the others have some spots. Greg and I are looking at better varieties because we are not going to spray spinach with even a certified organic product (give me spots on my spinach...give me back the birds and bee...please). The good news....lots of spinach to come.

The mailing we sent out has most of the information you need to register for the 2010 season. There is no due date on the form but we try to get all renewals done by the 15th of February. It is at that point that we really get going on getting new members so we like to have an idea of how many spots we have left. We also need to meet our expenses so the sooner you register the sooner we can put those funds to work for the 2010 season.

If you need to make a payment plan be sure to contact us sooner then later. We need to save your spot even if you are going on a plan. Once again, Heron Pond Farm does not believe that money should be the bar that block you access to local food. That being said we need money to run the farm but have always been able to work this out on a case by case basis.

Heron Pond Farms sponsor a share program is in the works. Last year we had four families receive free shares from Heron Pond Farm. This was done with your generous donations matched dollar for dollar by Greg and I. Last year we did this on the fly and no one got a tax deduction. This year we will partner with a non-profit so anyone donating can get a deduction. So everyone who is asking why the check box for sponsor a share is gone from the registration form will now know why. With the new system you will have to write your checks out to the non-profit, so you can use their tax id number for the deduction. When we have all these things together we will get back to you.

We need your help to get new members at all our locations, but Dover is the biggest push. It looks like the Dover pick up is coming together (unfortunately they lost three CSA's last year) but we need 30 shares to get it off the ground. Fifty shares would make it a solid CSA location. If you know anyone in the Dover, Rollinsford, Somersworth, South Berwick, Eliot, Durham, Madbury, Lee, or Barrington area looking for a CSA, this might be a good fit for them. Pass along our information to them our send us an e-mail. Lets bring local food back to Dover!

Eat Well!


Posted 1/15/2010 5:52pm by Andre Cantelmo.
We have some real treats from the winter houses this week folks! Baby spinach and turnip greens! There is nothing like winter spinach, sweet and delicious. The turnip greens have a little spice to them, maybe one step from arugula, good for salads or a light saute. They really shouldn't be cooked for more than a minute or two. If you find any tiny turnips with your greens, you will notice that they are quite sweet.
We promised the celeriac for the last pick-up but realized that it needed a good washing before distribution. Unfortunately we don't have quite enough for every member so those who don't get celeriac or prefer something else will have rutabaga or kohlrabi in its place. For those who get celeriac let us know what you think. We hope to have spinach in the share right through March and by mid February we might have swiss chard, beet greens and mesclun mix.

3/4 lb.   baby spinach
1/2 lb.   turnip greens
4          apples
2 lbs.    carrots
1 lb.     beets
4 lbs.   potatoes or 2 lbs. fingerlings
1         celeriac or kohlrabi or rutabaga
1 lb.     turnip
2 lbs.    onions


Posted 12/9/2009 10:46am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Family

As 2009 comes to an end Heron Pond Farm has an eye on making the most of 2010. With CSA demand increasing and the general theme of the farm seem to be “grow more diverse crops” we needed a greater area that we could readily get water to. This will help us grow the type of crops our customers have been looking.

Additionally in order to stretch our seasons in an good way we will need to put up more greenhouses and cold frames. The biggest part of witch is the Haygrove tunnel project that we are looking to get going sooner then later. In order to make this kind of investment in cold frames we need to make sure that we had reliable water.

So Greg and I have put a long, longed for pond in the mid-field. The first step was to pull back all the top soil were the pond was going to go. This leaves only the sub soil and gravel to deal with while digging the hole. Most folks don't know that the water actually is held in the gravel under the soil. It runs like underground rivers till it reaches the surface. The trick with ponds is to find a big enough gravel field close enough to the surface, with a recharge rate grater then you will pull out. If any of you have hiked up to the mid-field then you will know that it is perfect.

As the pond fills up the banks must be stabilized. Some of that top soil that was scraped off will be put back around the pond to plant grass into. This will give the pond more stability, but that is not enough. There will be a overflow culvert installed about two feet below the top and draining downhill.

When this pond reaches it capacity it will be about 95,000 gallons. There are seven acres of land right around the new pond. In the past we would only take a chance with corn and potatoes but now anything we grow can be grown here.

Photos are nice but I think that this video will give you a better scene of the place:

We have been restricted in how many CSA shares we have been able to offer till now. The CSA represents the fastest path for Heron Pond Farm to reach economic sustainability. We are so close we can taste it, along with all our good food. You can help us by turning your friends on to Heron Pond Farm as well as registering yourself. We have a new on line registration method. You are in control of picking your location, day, and can register as many e-mail addresses per account as you like. This will let everyone involved in your share to get all the news about the CSA. Of course you can still download a registration form and send it in.

Hope to here from you all soon.




Posted 12/3/2009 6:22am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers

So this week we start into our deep winter shares. Greens will get harder and harder to come by. The green houses look good, the spinach looks amazing so we will have that green element for some time. I was sad when we had o give out the salad mix last share. That was out of one of the green houses and was meant for latter in the winter but it came on early do to our mild weather. We will be building more shelter for winter growing soon so that we can cover ourselves better. I don't see a problem coming on yet so we will see what late January and February look like.

As Greg and I have said all along this is a 14 pick up winter CSA going to through March. We modeled this off the Wolf Pine CSA that does the every other week thing. Like many other winter CSAs we do not have a pick up every week all winter.  The winter program has always been a 14 week pick up plan.  The greens that we harvest in the deep winter come from the green house and do not grow as fast or as plentifully as other times of year.  When looking for guidelines in building a winter CSA we looked to two models.  Wolf Pine Farm in Maine (with 9 winter pick ups) and Peats Greens in VT (with a pick up every week).  Peats CSA cost almost $800 and requires twice the green house space that we currently have.  Wolf Pine does not grow their deep winter greens and buys in many of the foods that they offer in the winter.  We had to make choices about the kind of product we wanted to put together.  We chose to be mainly an on farm CSA, we do get apples from else where, but we grow our own food other wise. 

That being said we think that you will all get plenty of food to keep you going, and Greg and I have some nice deep winter surprises that will be fun. So the pick up days will be on the weekends for everyone. The days are December 5,6; 19,20; January 2,3; 16,17; 30,31; February 13,14; 27,28; and March 13,14; 27,28. If you can't make a pick up we can hold your food at either location, the farm or up in Portsmouth so contact us to let us know when you are coming.

This weeks Share:


           2 bunches greens
           1 bunch turnips
           1 head pac choi
           1 lb broccoli
           4 lbs carrots
           4 lbs beets
           4 lbs potatoes and 2 lbs fingerlings
           6 apples
           4 leeks
           2 winter squash

If we have time to cut more greens we will. Also if you don't want the beets you can switch with potatoes. I need to check but we also may have some extra carrots to sub with. It will be on the board when you get your share.

Don't forget that the farm is a great place to walk, x-country ski, snow shoe in the winter. All CSA members are welcome on the farm.


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