Farmers' Blog

Field Report

What's New?
Posted 4/22/2009 7:06am by Andre Cantelmo.

Andre working on 4000Well we knew it was going to have to happen sometime. Heron Pond farm has had to make a investment in a new tractor. As many of you know Heron Pond Farm is really a continuation of Valley Acres Farm. For the two farms this is the 50th season of turning over soil in South Hampton. In that time much of the primary tillage has been done by the first tractor ever bought new by the Syvinski's a 1974 Kubota M4000. In addition to moldboard plowing, this tractor was used to run the potato harvester, two of the hardest jobs on the farm. For a farm our size a tractor getting this kind of use might last 25 years. Thanks to Walters “laying on of hands” style of tractor maintenance, this machine lasted 10 years past it's prime. The 4000 might have gone longer if it weren't for the dreaded “we don't make that part anymore.”

 

After Andre performed open heart surgery on the 4000 it was found to have a worn gear shaft Greg gets out of 5040in it's main hydraulic pump housing. It's pumping engine oil into it's hydraulic oil. You can't buy the shaft, and we have folks looking for a pump for us. Meantime there is work to be done on the farm. Enter the Kubota M5040 and the wonders of Kubota financing.

 

With care and maintenance this could be the tractor we retire on. MB tractor gave us a good deal and the financing met the farms' needs. So a new era is born on Heron Pond Farm. The M5040 rolled off the truck, was hooked up to the plow, and started turning soil day one. It handles the plow really well and has already proved it's a valuable asset to the farm.

 

Belle and GabeThe 4000 isn't going anywhere. We will find a pump and keep the tractor in the fleet. In all likelihood it will be used to transplant the bulk of the crops from year to year. This is a very important job on the farm but one that won't take that much out of her. She's not quite going out to pasture but will be enjoying her golden years in a stress free environment.

 

So heres to a new beginning. The future of the farm may be in Belle and Gabe's hands, and with all likelihood they will be driving this tractor for much of it.

Posted 3/29/2009 10:42am by Andre Cantelmo.

 

LOCAL FARM AND FRIENDS TO FEED STRUGGLING FAMILIES

Heron Pond Farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Members to Provide Local Food Banks/Families With Fresh Local Veggies.

Tough economic times mean more families struggle to put food on the table. Heron Pond Farm and the members of it's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program are backing up their mission to "build community through local agriculture," with free, weekly, shares of fresh vegetables and produce to families in need.  CSA members have the option to donate money towards the shares.  Heron Pond Farm will match every complete share contributed.  Saint John's Church food bank in Portsmouth, NH and Our Neighbors Table in Amesbury, MA will receive the shares and pass them out to anonymous families in need every week during the growing season.  "Adopted" CSA members are members in full standing, and will pick up their fresh food each week at either the farm or St. Johns location just like any other member. Non-CSA members are welcome to contribute through by filling out a CSA form and checking the Sponsor a Share box only.  Four hundred fifty dollars purchases one family enough fresh local vegetables for 20 weeks but you can donate as much or little as you like.

"One of our members suggested we donate any extra food after a market," says Andre Cantelmo, proprietor of Heron Pond Farm. Teaming up with it's CSA members to contribute formally was the next logical step, Cantelmo says.  "Access to fresh, delicious, local food shouldn't be hindered by economic barriers. " he says. Soup kitchens and food banks, naturally, have to keep non-perishable stores on hand.  The fresh shares offer something different for adopted members - the flavor of fresh cut cukes, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce and other earthly goodies. No can-openers needed.  "Nourishing our local community is job one, literally and figuratively," Cantelmo says, "Making healthy choices should not be about how big your bank account is."

This is nothing short of huge for us.” says Rosemary Werner executive director of Our Neighbors Table. “The number one thing lacking in our food programs are fresh vegetables. Having the ability to acquire them locally is fantastic.” Kids needing access to healthy food is also of primary concern,”for some of these kids this will be their only experience with fresh food.” says Werner. “We gave generously because we were thinking of the kids,” says Gabe Porter, shareholder in Heron Pond Farm, “we feel so fortunate to have access to this great local food, we wanted to share our fortune.” “Common Table is feeding 120 families a week right here in Portsmouth,” says Jim Rollins, St. Johns parish member and shareholder at Heron Pond “this food helps Common Table get families the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy and introduces good fresh vegetables to the kids.”

Heron Pond Farm has been serving the community fresh local vegetables since 1998. The farms mission is to build community through local agriculture. Community supported agriculture shares, Farmers markets, farm stand, and food bank outreach are some of the tools Heron Pond uses to build a healthy community.

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If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Andre Cantelmo, please call 603-591-8720 or e-mail Andre at andre@heronpondfarm.com

 

Posted 2/23/2009 9:05am by Andre Cantelmo.

Join us for our ongoing series of winter farmers' markets. Buy local foods directly from area farmers & food producers and stock up on local foods for the winter.  Check out all the farms coming at Seacoast Eat Local.

Donations for local food pantries will be accepted at the markets, helping to provide healthy, local food for our neighbors in need.

Heron Pond Farm will be bringing Spinach, Chard, Salad Mix, Escarole, possible other greens, and of course our famous Potatoes!  You can also sign up for our CSA there.  Hope to see you!

If you need help getting there check out our map page.

Posted 2/18/2009 8:04pm by Andre Cantelmo.
The Newburyport Farmers Market will host a farm and CSA fair at the Tannery Mill #1 on Sunday February 22nd from 11:00 to 4:00. Please visit thenewburyportfarmersmarket.com for more information and a list of participating farms. Sponsored by the Tannery Mall.
Posted 2/12/2009 7:56am by Andre Cantelmo.
Heron Pond Farm will be at the CSA fair in Portsmouth NH on Saturday Feb 14th from 10:00am to 1:00pm. The fair is located at the Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrot Ave. Come see what we have in store for the 2009 season!
Posted 7/14/2008 7:39am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello CSA Members!


The power has been on and off for the last few days so getting this out has be difficult. But here it is!


Share for July13-July 20


1 Tomato

1 Box of Potatoes

½ Doz Corn

1 Onion or 1 Scallion or 1 Garlic

4 Any Squash

2 Slicer or 4 Pickling Cucs

1 Head of Lettuce

1 Blueberry Pint or pick your own qt

1 Bunch Beets or Chard

1 Green Pepper


At the moment we have a lot of pickling cucs. So anyone wanting to do some pickling please get in touch with me and I will box up some of our many extras! Please call or write ahead. The corn is in and I'm happy to say we are again the first to have it in the area. With all this strange weather lets hope for no gaps! The lettuce is spotty. We have good plantings in and they are not bolting, but we are having a problem with bottom rot. As many of you know we don't spray many of our veggies and lettuce is one of them. So the bottom rot is catching up to us. We will do our best to stay a head of it. Beans are not far off. We have some but not enough to carry us through yet. Beans are the crop giving me the most problems this year. Good news is the field tomatoes are ripening fast so more toms for everyone soon, and more choice of toms! Remember the broccoli that I wanted to give you a mouth ago, well its coming in soon so lets all cross our fingers that it doesn't bolt in the heat.


I have added this request from one of our shareholders. They want to network with other CSA members. It seems like a good idea and may lead to a more productive annual meeting:


Hello seacoast farmers & others,

I am so excited about two things right now: having a share in a local farm for the first time and having recently discovered the joys of WikiSpaces.  I would like to invite you and all the shareholders of your farms to visit the Seacoast CSA space I have created at http://seacoastcsa.wikispaces.com/  This is a place for those who own shares in local farms to share their experiences, recipes, photos and more throughout the growing season.  Please forward this email to your shareholders and other farmers so that we can spread the word and grow some new connections in our community!

 

Wishing you a bountiful season,

Kathy Pearce

Portsmouth localvore

On a related note I looked up the shares for the past mouth offered by other CSA's. I'm blatantly going to toot our horn and say we all have it very good here at Heron Pond Farm!


Yes I'm working on the winter share!


I'm going to have to change the date for farm day due to an upcoming wedding. But I think this will give us more time to work with the farming in Africa group for an event.


Good Eating!


Andre


Posted 6/29/2008 6:52am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello CSA Members!


The weather has taken a turn for the soggy but we needed the rain anyway. Those of you that pick up you share at the farm will note that we are buying in corn. We do this to accommodate our stand costumers. When we have left over corn from time to time we will give it out to the share holders that are around, but we did not grow it. Corn (grown on the farm) will become available to shareholders as soon as we can stop buying in corn for the stand. So if you see corn at market that means it is coming to the share soon.


This is also the time of year that we start giving food to Our Neighbors Table, a community group dedicated to feeding the hungry in our area. If you would like to get involved in this please contact me. We also are going to time our farm day with an event to raise awareness and action to help farming in the Sudan. You will be getting some promotional material on this soon so please don't just hit delete when you see it in your in box.


The CSA pick up for Sunday June 28 to Saturday July 5:


1 head of lettuce

1 tomato

1 box of new potatoes

1 box of snap peas or 1 lb of shelling peas

1bunch of scallions

1 bunch of chard or1 bunch of beets

4 squash (zucchini or summer squash)



Thanks again


Andre


Posted 6/16/2008 6:35am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello CSA Members!


This week we will start to have strawberries is the share. Because strawberries have such a short season and are unpredictable as far as harvest we may have to skip a day on one end or the other. In most cases this does not mean that you miss out on berries. Part of having a seven day pick up means that sometimes things are ripe and ready at one part of the week and not the other. Long and short....if you don't get berries in your share they will be made up to you. I want to stress that this is a precautionary warning, I don't think that anyone will need to wait for berries but I like to give you guys a heads up.


You will also see garlic scapes in your share this week. Those of you that have had these before will know how wonderful the are to cook with. If you are new to using the scape simply chop it up and use it any where you would garlic. They have good garlic flavor with less bite. I have heard them described as creamy when fried in olive oil.


Our tomatoes do not have salmonella . I have herd this question a lot so I thought I would say something. The infected tomatoes have come from far away (so far I here either Chile or Mexico) and last I herd they did not know where in the system they picked up the salmonella. This is part of why it is so cool to buy local. I can tell you who picked your food that day and what field it came from. So enjoy your tomatoes, plural because this week you get two.


This weeks pick up from Sunday June 15th to Saturday June 21st:


1 Head of Lettuce

2 Tomatoes

1 Bok Choi

1 bunch of Chard

1 bunch of Garlic Scapes

2lb of Potatoes

1 box of Strawberries


Next week we may see Snap peas, Beets, and New Potatoes join the mix. We may also start some of the either or choices next week as some folks won't want all one kind of food.


Many of you have asked to volunteer at the farm. We don't normally do this but I have an idea. The garlic harvest is coming up soon. We do it all in one day. Your get to see the magic of the garlic coming up out of the ground! Well you get to see a machine pull the garlic out of the ground. We then clean and rack the garlic for curing. If you would like to help please R.S.V.P. As soon as you can. If we get enough folks I set the date for a Sunday and get the barbecue out.


Hope your enjoying eating the food as much as I love growing it!


Andre


P.S. My futcher step daughter turns 4 in August! We won't be able to have the party on her birthday but I believe the date is Sunday August 17th. Lots of kid thing to do so if you want to bring your little ones down to the farm that day keep it in mind. All (kids or no kids) will be welcome to hang and eat barbecue. Keep the date in mind...more info to come!

Posted 6/7/2008 7:58am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello CSA Members!


So the first week of pick ups are behind us and we have learned a lot. I hope that you all are enjoying your first share of food from the farm. We had two varieties of carrots that we over wintered from last year. Sugar Snax and Balaro. We found that some of the Sugar snax had gotten woody in the middle while the Balaro seemed to still be good eating. Next year we will just put Balaro in the ground for over winter to get a better quality carrot. In other news it seems that our broccoli will be a month latter then we wanted it to be. Our first planting is infected with cabbage root maggot. These flies lay their eggs in the ground and the maggots eat the roots clean off the plants. Treatment calls for a soil drench of Lorzban. I have read the label for Lorzban on-line and have decided that I do not want to put that on my crops or expose myself, family, you...ect to it (nasty stuff). So we are going to let that planting die. So far so good for the next planting, we will keep you posted.


On a better note I thought the Bok-choi came out great! Only a few holes on it and we sprayed nothing on them. Just covered with a light cotton row fabric. We have so many crops that look better then I have seen in years. I am looking forward to watching the year unfold.


Sunday June 8th to Saturday June 14th Share information


2 Heads of Lettuce

1 bunch of chard

1 Greenhouse tomatoes

2lbs of potatoes


The week of June 15th should bring us into strawberry season! And we hope to be able to give everyone an extra tomatoes that week as well. Bok-Choi has taken a week of to give the planting time to size but with any kind of luck it will be back next week. Every one wants to know when first corn is happening. All I can say is we will be the first in the area with it as far as I know. As for a date, dare I hope for the first or second week of July? New potatoes, and peas will be out before the end of the month.


Everyone please enjoy and let me know how you think its going and how we can improve. We keep a notebook of things that we can do better, and we'll all get the chance to talk about it at the end of the year. I know I have my wish list so you've got to have yours!


Thank you


Andre




Posted 6/1/2008 5:46am by Andre Cantelmo.

The first CSA pick up is this week starting Sunday June 1st through Saturday June 7th and includes:


Lettuce


Bock Choi


Carrots


Potatoes


The carrots have been overwintered in the field and the potatoes are from the root cellar. New potatoes should be in by the end of the month. I have been also asked for the Strawberry report and it looks like we will start those the week of the 15th. Greenhouse tomatoes will start next week.  Enjoy your first week of food!