Apple Pond Farm is about two hours from New York City, situated in Sullivan County and surrounded by the Catskill Mountains. The land that Apple Pond Farm sits on was first farmed in 1865; Sonja Hedlund and Dick Riseling have operated the farm since 1973.
For more than 25 years, the 80 acres were farmed with draft horses, Belgians and North American spotted draft horses. Horses raked hay, spread manure, cultivated cornfields and produced more than 100 foals.
Chickens, goats, and sheep are raised for eggs, meat and wool. A chemical-free, ecologically-friendly cold frame and unheated hoophouse supplies food throughout the year. The farm is grateful to the many apprentices from both the USA and abroad who have helped work the land, care for the garden and animals, repair the buildings and welcome many visitors.
In 2003 Sonja and Dick decided to broaden their focus to renewable energy. First a 10-kilowatt Burgey 120 foot wind turbine was erected; soon after a solar hot water system was installed, with 60 photovoltaic solar panels following soon afterwards. Now the farm produces about 95% of its own electricity per year.
Apple Pond Farm and Renewable Energy Education Center
Box 371, 80 Hahn Road
Callicoon Center, New York 12724
Our purpose is to connect our guests to the natural world and experience a bit of farm life. Visits vary with the season, the interests and ages of the visitors and the length of time here.
FARMING WITH KIDS
This is a hands-on program for children. It includes some of these activities: milking a goat, grooming horses, work in the garden, and gathering eggs. This program is Friday and Saturday mornings in summer and early fall at 10 a.m. for about an hour. An adult must accompany children. Children $5.00. Adults $6.00. Family of four $20.00.
More information about Solar Sundays are forthcoming in 2015.
EDUCATIONAL FARM FOR SCHOOLS AND GROUPS OF ALL AGES
Each private tour is geared to personal interests and the season in which you visit.
Private tours include the following and more:
- All about goats: feeding and health care, milking
- All about sheep: caring for lambs, processing wool/dying wool
- Organic gardening: identify what's growing, learning about compost, building and using cold frames and hoophouses
- The wonders of chickens: caring for egg layers and meat birds, observe our 'chicken tractor,' the life of a rooster
- Producing our own electricity and hot water: the wind turbine and solar panels.
A LOTTA RICOTTA
Making cheese: Learn about milk and caring for dairy goats. Make whole milk ricotta and learn how to serve it. Sample cheese from local cheese makers. $35.00 per person. Reservations required.
ALL ABOUT WOOL
Learn about raw wool, carded wool and rovings. Learn to spin on a Luet wheel. Introduction to dying with Kool-Aid. $35.00. Reservations required. See schedule section for dates or schedule a private workshop.
Three months or longer. Farm apprentices learn by doing: making hay, gardening, caring for sheep, goats and horses, milking goats, fencing, cutting firewood. Renewable energy apprentices learn about our renewable energy systems and straw bale construction; work with community groups to promote renewable energy and sustainability, do online search, attend and participate in local meetings and renewable energy events. Housing and meals are provided as well as a stipend.
Celebrate a birthday or other special events at the farm. We will design your event to meet the interests of your guests, children and adults. See the animals, take a hike, learn to make felt or spin wool, plant vegetables, bake a pie or bread, or make some cheese.