Farmers' Blog

Field Report

What's New?
Posted 3/9/2017 6:59am by Andre Cantelmo.

 
What a difference a few weeks make in New England (same line from last note)! It is going to be cold this weekend, really cold. As this years tomato crop begins it's life in the green house, last years frozen crop will be filling our bellies with a taste of summer. Normally we hold back the frozen item fro when the greens run out. That has just not happened. This year, we all get two helpings for greens along with our frozen item! 

Other happenings on the farm this week:

Alex is back from his vacation, and Jon is off to catch his breath before the heat really turns up on the farm. He will be back in time for market Saturday.

Greenhouses are filling up, first spring planted lettuce is ready to go in the ground. Tomatoes are growing. Onions and celeriac are done with seeding. 

Root harvester was picked up last week. Anna and I made a date of it. I spent a few days with Ben Hartman author of "The Lean Farmer." Neat guy. Going to try to incorporate some of these ideas in our farming this year. These ideas come from lean manufacturing. If you have any interest in becoming more efficient in anything you do, it is worth a read.

On March 6th we welcomed our new crew manager onto the farm. Terry is a big hit already. I will try to do a profile next week.

Many more things in the works. Stop by and check out the summer feel in the greenhouse if you are around.

Help Us Fill The Summer CSA!

Our Summer CSA is just over halfway full! Thanks to everyone who signed up during our early bird special, it was a huge help to the farm just when we needed it!

More than ever we need to hit our 400 membership goal. We are up for a $75,000 irrigation grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). In order to get the grant, we will have to come up with a $12,000 matching fund. The only way Heron Pond Farm can reach this goal is with your help to fill our CSA. Irrigation has become more important with the recent year’s drought. Out crop specialists are telling us to expect more of the same this year. This equipment will help the farm meet the plants water needs and continue to provide the high quality diverse crops you have come to love from Heron Pond Farm.

 This will be our 10th season offering the CSA, it has helped shape who we are and how we farm. Many of you have been with us for most of these 10 years and have seen us grow. We know we are a better farm because of your support and feedback.
 
Now we want to get the word out to new folks who have never tried a CSA and we need your help. We know that word of mouth is the best way to build our membership. If you have enjoyed your farm share with us please consider doing just one of the things on the list below.
 
  1. Respond to this email with a short sentence or two about why you belong to our CSA and what you love about it. We’ll use your quotes on our website and literature as we work to get the word out.
  2. Tell two friends, co-workers, family members or strangers about your CSA.
  3.  Next time you’re picking up your share grab some extra brochures and leave them at your church, work or with someone you think might be interested.
  4. Follow us on instagram and facebook and share our posts with friends.
 
We know many of you do some of this already and we want to thank you! We feel the effects, the farm is better than ever despite the drought last summer and we owe so much of that to our amazing members. 

 
 
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 

How to Cook With Frozen Tomatoes
by Denise Schoonhoven

When the bounty of fresh-picked tomatoes overflows in late summer, a quick solution is to put all the extras in the freezer. This home preservation method simply requires rinsing, cutting out the cores and setting the tomatoes on a pan to freeze individually. Stored in freezer-safe bags, the low-calorie, vitamin-rich vegetables are ready at a moment's notice to include in a nutritious meal. While freezing preserves that just-picked fresh flavor, the skins get tough and the texture becomes so soft that the tomatoes are best in preparations where taste takes precedence over form.

Sauce

Step 1

Hold a frozen tomato under warm running water for 20 to 30 seconds to thaw the skin. Peel the tomato by pulling the loosened skin off and discarding it. Repeat the process for four to six large tomatoes or eight to 10 medium-sized tomatoes.

Step 2

Set the peeled tomatoes in a bowl to thaw until they are soft enough to crush. Smash the tomatoes with a fork or squeeze by hand to break the tomatoes down into small chunks.

Step 3

Cook 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil, one medium chopped onion, and three to four minced garlic cloves -- depending on your taste preferences -- over medium heat in a large pot, stirring until the vegetables are a light golden brown. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan along with 2 to 3 tbsp. fresh chopped herbs such as basil, thyme, marjoram and oregano. Season the mixture lightly with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste.

Step 4

Stir continuously until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for an hour, without a lid, for a chunky sauce to serve over pasta. For a smoother sauce, simmer an additional 30 to 45 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Step 5

Allow the mixture to cool, then puree it in a blender.

Soups and Stews

Step 1

Thaw the outer surface of frozen tomatoes by placing them briefly under warm running water. Remove the skins by peeling them away.

Step 2

Chop frozen tomatoes before they thaw completely to keep the juice from dripping on your work surfaces. Cut the frozen tomatoes into large chunks for meat and bean stews that have long cooking times. Make smaller pieces of tomato for faster-cooking vegetable soups.

Step 3

Add chopped frozen tomatoes to light, broth-based soups about 10 to 15 minutes before serving to maintain the fresh-tomato flavor. Stir tomato chunks into hearty soups and stews made in the slow cooker at the beginning of the cooking process so that the flavor blends with other ingredients and seasonings.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking pot
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Onion, medium, chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Basil leaves, fresh, chopped
  • Thyme leaves, fresh
  • Marjoram leaves, fresh, chopped
  • Oregano leaves, fresh, chopped
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Blender
This Weeks Share

Salinova and Frozen Tomatoes are Featured this Week 
CSA Share 3/9/2017-3/15/2017


                       Full             Partial 
Salinova            2                2
Frozen
Tomatoes         1                 1
Onions             6                  3
Root 1#            6#               3#
Roots 2#          2                  1
 

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Posted 2/23/2017 6:39am by Andre Cantelmo.

 

Dirty Boy Making Trays for Onions

What a difference a few weeks make in New England! These temps have got us all thinking about the spring chores that need doing. I always have fun with onions. We continue to pull onions that were seeded this time last year out of storage, clean them up and enjoy them. While eating a dish made with those onions I watch this years onions grow. This is just one of the things that bring the farm full circle.

Other happenings on the farm this week:

Alex takes his vacation before the heat really turns up on the farm. When he gets back it will be time to tune equipment and get ready to roll.

First tomatoes should be potted up, their final stage before planting into the first tomatoes greenhouses.

We will be looking at a root harvester to make that crop more profitable for us. Also going to a conference on farm efficiency to help keep labor under control.

On March 6th we will welcome our new crew manager onto the farm. Erin will spend the spring getting him up to speed so we can continue to have the fine crew operations that she created.

Many more things in the works. Stop by and check out the summer feel in the greenhouse if you are around.
New from Bell & Goose this week: Similar to Boursin, Herb Rounds from Bell & Goose Cheese Co. Will be available at the farm stand this weekend in three flavors.
 
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 

Butternut Hummus

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and deseeded ½ cup honey 2½ cups extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon ground coriander 2 tablespoons cracked Szechuan peppercorns, divided 6 ounces scallions Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 14 ounces smoked and toasted cashews (Chef Scelfo makes these in-house at the restaurant; smoked almonds will work perfectly as a substitute.) 1 tablespoon Urfa pepper (a dark, smoky Turkish pepper available at specialty shops and online) 1 cup lemon juice 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut butternut squash into large pieces and toss with honey, ½ cup olive oil, coriander, and 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns. Roast until soft and slightly caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, sear scallions in a hot skillet in 1 tablespoon olive oil, until lightly charred; season with salt and pepper, let cool, then slice thinly. In a high-powered blender (like a VitaMix), puree cashews or almonds with 1½ cups olive oil, the Urfa pepper, and the remaining Szechuan peppercorns until smooth. Set aside. In a food processor, puree the roasted squash, cashew or almond mixture, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and scallion until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
This Weeks Share

Lettuce and Spinach are the Featured Greens this Week 
CSA Share 2/23/2017-3/1/2017


                       Full             Partial 
Lettuce             1                  1
Spinach        1 Bag              1 Bag
Butternut          2                1
Onions             6                  3
Root 1#            6#               3#
Roots 2#          2                  1
 

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Posted 1/26/2017 8:59am by Andre Cantelmo.

The Hits Just Keep Coming!

The numbers are in and this is the best winter season we have ever had for greens. The good news is that there is no sign of them letting up. We should be good shape through the end of the winter season. 

Last Week For Early Bird Discount! --January 31st is the last day to pay your share off in full to take advantage of the early bird discount. There is still plenty of time to get in on it. 

Early Bird Discount--Pay in full by 1/31 and get the 2017 share at the 2016 price!

We have been holding down our price for years. At some point there comes a time when we need to raise our prices in order to keep the same quality share. Everyone at Heron Pond Farm wanted to do it in a way that would be the least painful to our shareholders and have the added benefit of getting the farm the money when it needed it the most. So we brought back the Early Bird Discount. We are hopping to get 100 shares all signed up and paid for by the end of January. Register today, then send in a check with a copy of your conformation email.
 
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 


Anna's Cheese Is Available Now!
Get it at our stand or a market near you.



Handmade, small batch, farmhouse cheese made right here on Heron Pond Farm!


Become a founding member of the  Bell & Goose Cheese CSA Taste the very first batches coming out of our cave and see how the recipes develop over our first season. $200 will get you a wedge a week for 20 weeks along side your Heron Pond veggies.

Ripening in our cheese cave now: Camembert—Made with cow’s milk, this cheese is creamy indulgence with a blooming white rind. Tomme—Earthy natural rind and semi-soft interior, aged 3 months, made with cow’s milk. Hard (Aged) Cheese—Look for this towards the end of the season. All good things in time! 

This Weeks Share

Winter Harvest
CSA Share 1/26-2/1
 

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Posted 12/29/2016 10:24am by Andre Cantelmo.
We are happy to announce that we will be offering a winter flower csa share!

Just in time to keep spirits up as we head into the cold grey days of winter.

Pick up a fragrant bouquet of freesia, anemones, ranunculus and stock

grown at Blue Bell Greenhouses in Lee NH alongside your veggies.

All bouquets are made up of at least 10 stems

requests for straight bunches of anemones or freesia can be accommodated.

To sign up simply bring a check to your next pick up,

we’ll have a registration card to fill out at the time of payment.

Checks can be made out to Blue Bell Greenhouses for $52.

Pick-Up Dates:

Dover: Jan. 16th & 30th, Feb.13th & 27th

Portsmouth: Jan. 18th, Feb. 1st & 15th, Mar. 1st 

Farm Stand: Jan. 26th, Feb. 9th & 23rd, Mar.9th       

This week our featured green will be Salinova grow by us at Blue Bell green houses. Regarded as the newest innovation in salad mix production, Salanova offers versatility, efficiency, and high value. Harvested as fully mature heads, the flavor and texture have more time to develop than traditional baby-leaf lettuces. From the unique structure of the core a multitude of uniformly sized leaves develops that is harvestable with one simple cut. Salanova is more than 40% higher yielding, has better flavor and texture, and double the shelf life of traditional baby-leaf lettuce.
As manly flower growers, Yuda and Amy Daskal don't use all their green house space in the winter. They are good enough to let us use these high beds to grow truly great greens.
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 

What do I do with a pumpkin besides pie?

We looked around and found this great information by Carl Hanson from Allrecipes. 19 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes. Our favorite is the smoothie!


That vibrant orange color tells us something about pumpkin’s health properties. Yes, it’s an excellent source of beta carotene, the powerful antioxidant. Our bodies translate beta carotene into Vitamin A, which is thought to protect us from certain cancers and other diseases, too. Vitamin A is also key for keeping your eyesight keen.

Pumpkins are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. The seeds, meanwhile, are packed with fiber and protein; they are also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, manganese, iron, and monounsaturated fat.

In the kitchen, treat pumpkin as you would any winter squash. Try it in healthy soups, stews, chili — even pancakes.

You really will not want to miss out on some of these options.

                           

This Weeks Share

Winter Harvest
CSA Share 12/29/16-01/04/17
 

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Posted 12/15/2016 9:06am by Andre Cantelmo.

Get Those Sprouts Up Before the Freeze!

Snug as a bug in a rug...or under a rug.

This week the artic cold will move in strong. We have spent most of the week making sure all your food will be safe from the cold (main reason that your newsletter is late). Now you don't have to fret negative 25 degree wind chill. Your food is safe with us.
Growing enough used to be the hard part. Now, it seems building areas to keep all the food is the challenge. We learn more every year. Two years ago we did not hard this bin stacker. Now, we could not live with out it.
We got the chance to hang out with a famous farmer this past week. Eliot Colmen has done so much for New England growers and wrote the first handbook we used to get started with winter growing. We spent some time going over the new tools at the "slow tools" conference at Stone Barns. It was lot's of fun and we picked up a few tricks that Heron Pond Farm will certainly use going forward.
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 

 

Parsnip Patties Recipe


INGREDIENTS:

3 cups shredded peeled parsnips (about 1 pound)                                               
1 egg, lightly beaten     
1/2 cup all-purpose flour      
1/2 teaspoon salt                     
1/2 cup honey, warmed                                                                                                                                                               

Directions

In a bowl, combine parsnips, egg, flour and salt. Drop batter by 1/2 cupful's onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Fry over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until vegetables are tender. Serve with honey. Yield: 6 servings.                                                
This Weeks Share

Winter Harvest
CSA Share 12/15/16

Roots in group one will be stuff like potatoes, beets, turnips, radishes. Roots in group 2 are rutabaga, gilfeather, and kohlrabi. 
                       Full                        Partial 
Brussels           1#                          1#
Onions             6                            3
Chard or
Kale                   1                            1
Carrots             2#                         1#
Butternut         2                            1
Bunch Tatsoi   1                            1
Roots 1:            4#                          2#
Roots 2:            2                             1

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Posted 11/21/2016 7:43am by Andre Cantelmo.

Happy Thanksgiving folks!  

We have been busting a lot of food out of the fields to get ready for the cold that is on its way. I have not had the kind of time to write those nice long newsletters that most of you are used too. Nevertheless, we keep moving forward and are happy for our first real break of the season.  

The last crop to get out of the ground is the carrots. We have maybe 30,000 pounds to collect yet. This means great carrots for your share all winter but also for the local food system. If you have seen this years winter crop then you already know how nice they are.  

This weeks share is a big one. We know many of you have a big meal to get ready for this week. Remember, that this is two weeks worth of food. There is no CSA pick up next week. This marks the turn where we go two weeks between shares till spring.  

Have a great holiday  

Andre  

                                   Full                      Part

Leeks                             2                          2

Celeriac                          2                          1

Greens                           1                          1

Carrots                           2                          1

Apples                            3                          3

Squash/                          2                          1 

Pie Pumpkins

Sweet Potato                   2                          1

Brussels Sprouts              1                          1

Kale                               1/2#                     1/2#

Broccoli/Romenesco/         1#                       1# 

Cauliflower Choice          

Roots                               3#                        1#

Posted 11/13/2016 9:01am by Andre Cantelmo.

Some winter food may be hard to get used too.

We have gotton feedback that Kohlrabi

may be backing up in your pantry.

There are no Kohlrabi or cabbage in your share this week,

and here are someideas of what to do with what you have.

Our fellow foodies over at Boston Organics have a nice blog about Kohlrabi.

Hope you all find this useful.

We love this veggie here at the farm and we think many of you will love it too.

Kohlrabi is one of the most unique veggies that we deliver. You might look at these little guys and think they're a mix between a cabbage, a turnip, and an alien, but hopefully that won't stop you from enjoying all that they have to offer.

A descendant of wild cabbage, kohlrabi tastes like a milder, sweeter version of fresh broccoli stems. You can cook it in a variety of ways, and many enjoy eating it raw. Before preparing the kohlrabi, just peel the skin and cut it up!

Here is a list of 5 exceptional things you can do with this funky little veggie.

BAKE IT

The easy and efficient way to prepare kohlrabi. Once out of the oven you can flavor it with seasonings, a sauce, or just eat it plain. This recipe for Baked Kohlrabi Fries dusted with Chili Powder takes a unique twist on french fries and adds a spicy kick.
PICKLE IT
The great way to preserve vegetables, allowing you to savor their flavor at a later date. Pickling brines can be used to create sweet, sour and tangy flavors. Check out this recipe for Quick Kohlrabi Pickles from Hungry Tigress!
STEW IT
Kohlrabi is a flavorful and hearty ingredient for soup. Feel free to use as the base or a component for your next heart-warming bowl. We like this simple recipe for Kohlrabi Soup from Gastronomer's Guide.
BRAISE IT
Like cabbage, kohlrabi can really benefit from a good braising. Its mild taste allows it to pick up flavors from the cooking liquid and stay tender until it is consumed. This simple recipe for Butter Braised Kohlrabi features the vegetable's natural flavor and requires very minimal ingredients.
DON'T COOK IT AT ALL
Kohlrabi is often eaten baked, roasted or sautéed but can also be enjoyed raw. Many people find it makes a great fresh salad or cole slaw. Check out this recipe for a spicy Asian-inspired Kohlrabi Salad from Sassy Radish.
 
 
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 
 

Bell & Goose Cheese Co. Begins

It’s been a long road to open the cheese kitchen on Heron Pond Farm but we have done it! The first batches of Camembert and Tomme will be made this Wednesday! Just in time to be ready for Holiday entertaining. You’ll be able to find our cheese at our farm stand and the Seacoast Eat Local Farmers Market at the Wentworth Greenhouses Dec. 17th, Jan 7th, Jan 28th, Feb 25th, and March 25th. Bell and Goose is on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to see more. 
This Weeks Share

Picking up Roots, Lots of Roots 
CSA Share 11/14/16

Because of the holiday, the farm stand will have a different share then Dover or Potsmouth. Both Dover and Portsmouth have one more share before the holiday. So in addition to the below, the farm stand CSA will receive 2 leeks, 1 bag of salinova, and 2 celeriac for the full share 1 for the partial.
                       Full                        Partial 
Broccoli or      2#                          2#
Brussels
Lettuce             1                            1
Apples              3                            3
Kale                  1                             1
Onions             3                             3
Sweet Potatoes 2#                          1#
Carrots             2#                          1#
Group 1:          2                            1
Pie Pumpkins
Winter Squash
Group 2:          3#                          1#
Roots

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Posted 11/7/2016 5:36am by Andre Cantelmo.

The share for the week of 11/7/16

Full Half
4 Apples 4 Apples
1 Lettuce 1 Lettuce
2 Leeks  2 Leeks
1 Chard 1 Chard
1 Brussels Sprout Stalk 1 Brussels Sprout Stalk
2 Winter Squash 1 Winter Squash
1 Cabbage 1 Cabbage

4 lbs Choice of Roots

Potatoes, Beets, Turnips, Watermelon Radish, Rutabaga

1 lb Choice of Roots

Potatoes, Beets, Turnips, Watermelon Radish, Rutabaga

 

Winter Squash, Leek and Farro Gratin With Feta and Mint 

Teriyaki Cabbage Steaks 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Posted 10/30/2016 7:36pm by Andre Cantelmo.

 

  Thursday morning saw a low temperature of 29 degrees on the farm and a definite late fall feel to the air. That afternoon we completed our potato harvest as the rain fell and the light was fading. Many more storage harvests on our agenda along with greenhouse plantings and seeding of cover crops. With all of the fall rain, ponds and streams are thankfully beginning to fill up again.

  Several new items on the share this week. Leeks probably need no introduction. At home we often use them interchangeably with onions. Kohlrabi should be peeled and can be eaten raw shredded or cut into sticks. You will find kohlrabi to have a little sweetness and a good crisp texture. We have also sauteed with other veggies and while I haven't personally attempted kohlrabi chips in the oven, several shareholders swear by the method.

  Enjoy the fall bounty.    Greg

 

This week's share:

                                      Full Share                        Partial Share

Broccoli                              1 lb                                   1 lb

Lettuce                                1                                       1

Lettuce Mix                         1 bag                                1 bag

Apples                                4                                       4

Leeks                                 2                                       2

Kohlrabi                              1                                      1

Roots ( potatoes, carrots, turnips and watermelon radish)

                                         5 lbs                                  2 lbs

Winter squash and Cabbage (all of one item or some of each)

                                        Take 3                               Take 2

Posted 10/24/2016 5:44am by Andre Cantelmo.

We are looking forward to this years Winter CSA.

On Sunday, Jon and I planted over 4600 plants in the green house above.

We hope to do much more planting this week.

Put this together with the houses already planted and

it looks to be a veggie packed winter.

The beginning of the Winter Share means

it is time to take care of all outstanding balances.

Unless you have made a payment plan with us please check your balance here,

then bring a check with you to the first pick up.

We would like to get these squared away with in the next few weeks.

Thanks for joining us this winter!
 
See you this week!
Locally yours,
Andre 

 

How Do You Stay Out of the Weeds?

We use steam to help us control winter weeds in the greenhouses. There are an entire group of weeds that haunt the winter grower. These weeds will out do any of your winter crops and take over. We run a tube down a bed and cover the tube with a tarp. The tarp is help down by chains and steam is injected into the tube. The soil is brought to 180 degrees and held there for 20 minuets. Then presto! weed-free winter without pesticides.
First Winter Share

Last of the Beans? 

Seems Like every year we get to start the Winter Share with the last gasp of summer flavor. This year is no different. Beans will be around at least this week. Depending on how they hold up in the cooler they may last a bit longer. Lets all hope for the best,
CSA Share 10/24/16
                        Full                        Partial 
Lettuce             2                            2
Beans               2#                          1#
Apples              4                            4
Carmen            3                            3
Bell Peppers    3                             3
Kale                  1                             1
Onions             1#                         1/2#
Potatoes           2                            1
Group 1:          2                            1
Cabbage
Winter Squash
Group 2:          3#                          1#
Carrots
Beets
Potatoes

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