Farmers' Blog

Field Report

What's New?
Posted 9/12/2009 5:55pm by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers!

Bills for the winter shares went out yesterday. There has been a lot of demand for the winter program from outside the summer CSA so we need to know who is on board as soon as possible. Last year we made the mistake of letting folks from outside the summer program in from the start. The result was the winter program sold out in three days and many of the summer folks did not get in. We did not want that to happen again so anyone that asked to be included, that had not already paid, was sent a bill for the winter CSA. This means there are 30 slots left. Anyone that did not e-mail me or sign up at the farm stand (or if you did not get a bill that you thought you should have) should shoot me an e-mail right away if you want in as I plan to open the program up this week.

The possibility of a Portsmouth pick up is still out there. Marcy Monkman has hooked us up with someone that may be able to host. We need other folks that might be willing to do the pick up at the farm and a few small chores to bring the hole thing together. Erin Heffron, has offered to help with some of that but a few more help make a Portsmouth pick up really happen. Every one would need to chip in to get the host a share but it could be less then you would spend in gas. Of course all the extra stand stuff won't be there but it will still be a nice way to get a winter share.

What extra winter stuff do you say? How about a fresh fish share to be picked up at the stand with your winter veggies? Eastman's Local Catch is having their winter CSF pick up at our farm stand. Contact Eastman's and tell them of your interest to get involved. Be sure to tell them your a Heron Pond Farmer!

How about local beef, chicken, pork, and eggs? This winter you won't have to order your meat ahead of time. We will have a stock of Kellie Brook Farm meat in our freezer for you to choose from. Of course you can still special order stuff if you like. As for eggs, due to high demand we have hit our friends up for more eggs. I think we will be able to keep up with you guys now.

Along with all the great veggies we offer these extras should make your local eating all that easier. We will have local honey and maple syrup too. Our next step? We will be growing grains and dry beans next year to fill out the share and help with our crop rotations. Thanks for helping us find our way towards sustainable farming.

Eat Well!


Posted 9/7/2009 11:50am by Andre Cantelmo.

      Comments by Papa Cantelmo


     Great weather, family, friends, good food, and a romantic wedding, what could be better?  I'm still going over each event in my mind re-living Anna and Andre's wedding.  There is so much to take in.  All went well.  It was very romantic.  What made it such a success was the gathering of so many people who wanted to share this happy day.  Anna and Andre have quite a support group of family and friends.  As things go, lots of talk centered around food.  What a shock huh?  I've entered seven recipes that were on the buffet table.  Here's the list.  Polynesian Meatballs, Wedding Soup, Italian Potato and Green Bean Salad, and four Sauces for the Pasta; Artichoke Sauce, Clam Sauce, Gypsy Sauce, and Basic Tomato Sauce. Be sure to navigate over to the recipe section so you will have the needed info to make some great meals.  Sadly I do not have recipies for all that great dessert treats.  There were a few desserts too I might add, offerings from the guests, that filled the family kitchen to overflow.  Could anyone have tasted everything?  Lets not forget the star of the show, a roasted pig cooked to perfection.  I hope all of you have a happy and healthy fall season, and of course enjoy some good home cooked food of love.


Posted 9/3/2009 6:52am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers

After that flood of e-mails I thought I would just send everyone a note clearing up a few thing. First, I'm so glad so many of you have been happy with your shares. Your feedback helps us build a better program.

About canning/freezing tomatoes. You don't have to buy them, they come with your share. We put together 10 or 20 pound box (depending on the harvest) and make them available to the share holders. All share holders have a right to the harvest so before we start letting folks take seconds, thirds, and fourths, everyone should get a chance at some canners. We also sell canners so if you really need them all at once they are 75 cents a pound. How often and how many canning tomatoes you get depends on harvest and how many others would like them too.

Pickling cukes are on a catch as catch can basis. So if we have extra cases then they will be made available.

This year has been hard on our corn so there is no telling if there will be freezer corn available. We will keep you posted.

Winter CSA Tid Bits!

If someone can host a winter CSA pick up at their home in Portsmouth a lot of folks would be happy. We just can't keep the food warm enough for that long in our truck pulse it is just Greg and I running the whole show in the winter. Maybe because of the extra work the rest of the Portsmouth folks would chip in to buy the hosts share for them? I'm not going to lie there is some work involved, but it is also a lot of fun!

We can not offer ½ winter shares. It is simply to hard to split some of the things we offer. To keep the coast down the profit margin on the winter share is small. However, there are so many of you that we can pair you up. This is how other CSA's do it. We can have a half share board and get folks paired up that way. Let me know what you think.


Posted 9/1/2009 5:38am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Fans!

What's in a winter share? We get that question all the time. Our big influences as to what to include in a winter share are Pete's Greens in VT and Wolf Pine Farm ME. We have also gone on what folks around here have told us. We try to stress more of a green element then we have see in other shares but you will see a fair amount of the storage crops in our winter program as well.

The fourteen pick ups will include some of the following: apples, broccoli, carrots, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, kohlrabi, pie pumpkins,winter squash, beets, cabbage, celery root, potatoes, rutabagas, radishes, turnips, lettuce, salad greens, spinach, pac choi, Chines cabbage, Belgian endive, swiss chard, Asian greens, maple syrup, honey, and preserves will all be included in the winter share.

We will also have the tomato house gamble. Last year the entire winter program was a gamble. Folks put up $100 a piece and we put together what we could for a winter program. It went so well that we have greatly expanded shares that would be a value all there own, but we have an addition. This year we have two of our greenhouse set up winter tomatoes. We have never had a back of the calender hot house before so it will be a learning curve for us. The real gamble is the weather. There will be one tank of oil purchased for each green house. The thermostat will be set to keep the plants just above cold damage, when the oil runs out the plants will die. Until then we all get to enjoy some vine ripe fruit. I may even keep one of them going a bit longer with the wood fired furness.

Most winter shares form partnerships with other farms to enhance what they can offer. We are trying to form partnerships for dried herbs, dry beans, and wheat all to be included in the share. We already have formed partnerships with folks for eggs and meat that can be ordered ahead or purchased at time of pick up. We are hoping to have a lot more eggs this year as they were very popular in the past.

All farm shares will be picked up at the farm as we don't yet have a way to do a winter Portsmouth pick up option. The share price is $400. To hold your spot in the winter CSA a $200 deposit is required. As always, and folks we have worked with in the bast can back this up, we will work with anyone that wants to be included but may need to work out payment options.

If you have signed up by e-mail or sign up sheet you do have a reserved spot. We still need your deposit to hold your spot. There are 100 winter openings, about half have been asked for from our summer folks, so we are opening it up to others right away. We hope everyone that wants to gets in.

Looking forward to farming the backside of the calender with you!


Posted 8/16/2009 12:08pm by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers

This week we start in with some peaches. Some will be white and some will be yellow depending on the picking. They are just coming in and we will be able to offer more when they really start. Tomatoes are starting to come in so will be back in the share this week (the latest ever!). You may want to get your pickling jars ready as the full share can take up to 10lbs of pickles! Also new this week is basil. It is hard to keep fresh so we have it as pick your own. Portsmouth share holders will have basil brought up to them as its just not worth the dive to pick a little basil.

Crop updates! Beets and carrots should be back again soon and stick around for a while. Greens and lettuce have mostly been eaten now by deer. I know some of you are vegetarian but I'm thinking CSA venison roast for all the deer we have fed this year. We are putting up a fence around the greens hoping to keep them out long enough for the greens to grow.

The winter crops are looking great! Those of you that helped us get started with a winter CSA last year will be very happy with the amount of winter food we will have this year (yes Tim I planted more carrots then you can imagine 10,350 feet!). We have doubled our winter greenhouse space from last year and increased our outdoor greens by 500%. As we have said before all summer CSA will have the first shot at the winter program. We will start a winter sign up sheet at the stand and at the Portsmouth pick up. You can also e-mail me and I will put you on the list. No money is due at this time we are just looking to see how many share we can open to the public.

With all that here is this weeks share:


Full Share

2 Peaches

6 Corn

2lbs Zucchini or Summer Squash

2 Cucumbers

up to 10lb Pickles

1 Onion

2 Shallots or 1 Garlic

1 Eggplant

1 Pepper

1lb Beans

2lbs Potatoes or 1lb Fingerling's or 1 Cabbage

1 Tomato

Qt of pick your own Basil

½ Share:

1 Peach

3 Corn

1lb Zucchini or Summer Squash

1 Cucumber

up to 5lb Pickles

1 Onion

2 Shallots or 1 Garlic

1 Eggplant or 1 Pepper

1/2lb Beans

1lb Potatoes or 1 pint Fingerling's

1 Tomato

Pt of pick your own Basil

Of course for those of you that need to catch up on your blueberry picking there is still time. Please come down soon to get some fruit and see the farm!


Posted 6/27/2009 8:46pm by Andre Cantelmo.

This weeks' share will include:   2 heads of lettuce

                                             1 bunch of scallions

                                             1 box new potatoes

                                             2 zucchini

                                             1 box sugarsnap peas ( or 1lb. shelling peas as available)

                                             1 bunch of swiss chard OR 1 bunch of beets

                                             1 tomato


        See you at the farm!




Posted 5/28/2009 8:08am by Andre Cantelmo.

Hello Heron Pond Farmers

Most of the hiccups are out of our new system. Thanks for getting back to us with your phone calls to put some fixes in. If you know anyone not getting these updates that wants to get them let them know that they can self register at our web site. Be sure to check both the general mailing list and the CSA boxes. That way all the updates will get to them.

First pick up will start the week of May 31. Your pick up day was confirmed with you phone contact. If you are looking for the farm stand check out our map on the web site. Remember when you are looking at the map that Google maps has us much further down the road then we are. We are just over the Mass border in NH on Main ave. For those of you doing a Portsmouth pick up look for the shopping basket on the map. If you click on it there will be information about the your pick up. Including time and place.

Some of you have outstanding balance. Don't send anything in at this point. We will touch base with you at the first pick up. Many Portsmouth pick up folks were caught unaware of the pick up fee. In order to cover coasts of delivery to Portsmouth there is a $36.00 charge. Heron Pond Farm makes no money off this charge. It simply covers 1/2 of the cost of 20 weeks delivering to Portsmouth which includes fuel, insurance, and a person to cover the drop off. Greg and I have decided to pay the other half of the cost. So it comes to $1.80 a week to have your veggies brought up from the farm. I am sorry that this fee is not in our registration form. We have corrected the error and have tried to let everyone know that signed up for the share. I will be at the first few Portsmouth drop offs to talk about it.

As always the shares start out slow and pick up quickly by the end of June. By mid July you should be very happy with you selections. If you are new to this please give it time, in the end you will love it. If you have been with us a while post a comment on how you felt about your share last year.

Some up dates on how this all works. Those of you with us in the winter will be happy to hear that you will be able to get fresh local meat from Kelly brook farm at the farm stand. For those of you new to this you just order what you want for the next week and when you come for your share it will be there. New price list will be available at the farm stand. For now we can only offer this to our farm stand members. We will be working with the city of Portsmouth to get them to let us bring in the meat for our pick ups there but for now they say no. You can still get Kelly brook products from Tim at the Portsmouth market on Saturdays.

Our CSA runs in compliment with our retail sales, wholesale operation, and our commitment to giving food back to the community. Some times items will be available to CSA members only. Sometimes there will be things at the stand that are not included in your share. There will still be other times that you will hear of large amounts of food going to the community. We keep good records of what our share holders get and they have never been cheated out of anything do to our other commitments. If you would like to purchase something not in your share please feel free to do so and take your 10% discount.

Now about the food, which is why we are all here. The spring has been strange. I don't like to start the year with out lettuce so we have been waiting on that. We almost had to start early because the greens were bolting in the heat. This has made me nervous about the first pick up but I am always nervous about the first pick up. The lettuce is in and although we have lost a lot of green to bolting we have been planting them every week so they will catch up. Any day of the week might bring different harvest opportunities so one days offerings may vary from the next. Every one will be getting lettuce and greens. Which lettuce and greens will be fun to see. You will be able to choose your lettuce from the harvest that day and also choose your greens. It is unclear to me if you will be getting one or two bunches of greens this first time out but they will be from the good eats early section of the site. Part of the fun is to try something new so if you haven't had it before don't be afraid of it try it. There will be new options all the time.

I want to close by saying that the expansion of the CSA has really worked out for the farm. We have more crops in the ground then ever at this time. Everything looks so good we are looking forward to a great season full of great foods.



Posted 5/12/2009 5:07am by Andre Cantelmo.


Early in the season there seems to be a lack of local food. This year Heron Pond Farm has worked hard to Make many greens available even before the Peas are in. There is a nice variety to the mix of veggies we have come up with. Some are mild but some have that extra bite the folks crave. The greens list changes from week to week but here are some of the offerings that you will see from Heron Pond Farm this spring and summer. Some are available today at are farm stand. Or come see us at any of the farmers markets we attend.  A great Asian Greens Guide can help you prepare some of these.

hon sai tai

Hon Tsai Tai
(Brassica rapa)

Purple flower stems and buds.
A Chinese specialty. The young plants soon branch and produce quantities of long, pencil-thin, red-purple, budded flower stems. Pleasing, mild mustard taste for use raw in salads or lightly cooked in stir-fries or soups. For multiple harvesting of tender stems and leaves.  Use in stir fries or as a great side dish.

Yukina Savoy

(Brassica juncea)

Similar to Tatsoi but larger.
Plant habit is more upright and vigorous for improved baby leaf yields. At full size the thick, savoyed leaves are held upright on pale green petioles. Space 12-18" apart and cut at the base for beautiful, full-sized bunches 10-12" tall. Delicious steamed or stir-fried.
Tatsoi and Warm Scallop Salad with Spicy Pecan Praline


Green Lance (F1)
(Brassica oleracea)

Glossy leaves and crisp, thick stems.
This uniform, budding-type Chinese kale (also called kai-lan, gai lohn, and pak kah nah) is great in stir-fries or cooked like broccoli. Harvest the stalks when 8" tall and 2-3 flower buds are open. After the main stem is cut, the plant will send up many branches for subsequent harvests.

Summer Jean (F1)
(Brassica rapa)

Tender, budded stems.
Dark green leaves with small, edible buds. Similar to Hon Tsai Tai, but with thicker stems. Stems regrow for ’cut and come again’ harvest. Best suited to summer and fall planting; spring plantings may bolt

Spring Raab
(Brassica rapa (ruvo group))

A must in Italian households. The smell of this cooking will bring me in from any field I'm in. Heron Pond Farm only grows this for spring production but we may be cooking something up for fall winter.


(Cichorium intybus)

New last year! Highest yielding and most uniform Italian dandelion.
Clio is similar but superior to Catalogna Special. It is more upright and more uniform, and thus delivers a higher marketable yield. Clio is clearly the best Catalogna type we have ever seen

Red Rib
(Cichorium intybus)

Bright red stem and midvein, dark green leaf.
Eye-catching, dandelion-type chicory, definitely on the wild side.

Dandelion Salad with Lardons and Goat Cheese Phyllo Blossoms.Sauteed Dandelion Greens



Bright Lights
(Beta vulgaris, cicla group)

Multicolor chard - 1998 All-America Selections winner.

Stems of many colors including gold, pink, orange, purple, red, and white ... with bright and pastel variations. Lightly savoyed, green or bronze leaves. The taste is milder than ordinary chard, with each color a bit different. Grow from transplant - individual colors may then be separated out - or direct seed. Suitable for production year round, but somewhat less frost hardy than normal for chard. The late New Zealand amateur breeder John Eaton developed Bright Lights, and Johnny’s selects and maintains the different color stocks and produces the seeds. Sauteed Swiss Chard with Onions. Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard. Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

Joi Choi (F1)
(Brassica rapa (Chinensis group))

Pac Choi, Bok Choy, & Pak Choi are all different spellings for the same vegetable. Whichever name you use, it's the ultimate green vegetable for stir-fries.

Our Freinds over at Pete's Greens Have some great recipes!

Asian Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Bok Choy















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.



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.


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


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