About the Farm
Apple Pond Farm and Renewable Energy Education Center is about two hours from New York City, situated in the Catskill Mountains of Sullivan County.
The Farm Today
When you visit us, you will be greeted by our enthusiastic border collie, Molly! We are an 80-acre organic farm that grows fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, chickens, turkeys, sheep and goats for wool, meat and eggs. The on-site Renewable Energy Education Center consists of a 120’ tower and 10kw wind turbine, 12.5 kw of solar electric, 64 solar thermal tubes, air source heat pumps, a straw bale building, used vegetable oil truck and furnace, LED lighting and other energy savings measures, which provide nearly 100% of our energy needs.
Besides growing and raising food, our farm's purpose has always provided educational programs. Our farm tours educate the general public about the great ecological challenges of our time, provide opportunities to deepen appreciation of our kinship with the animals and to be inspired by the beauty and productivity of the land. Through our apprenticeship program, we train new farmers who will enjoy profitable enterprise by providing fresh, organic nutrition dense food to their communities.
An overnight visit to Apple Pond Farm offers farm vacations in our modern, fully furnished 1 bedroom, 1 full bath loft apartment with lots of opportunities for engagement in farm activities. Day trips offer farm and renewable energy tours, workshops and classes such as a horse to carriage driving lesson, cheese making, wool spinning, gardening and many other activities for all ages.
The land of Apple Pond Farm was first farmed in 1865. After 100 years of dairy farming, the land and buildings were deserted, and a period of major deterioration took place. In 1973, Sonja Hedlund and Dick Riseling purchased 80 acres and began restoring the land and the buildings to good health. For 35 years, the main power for the farm was provided by draft horses which raked hay, spread manure, brought logs down from the woods for firewood, cultivated crops, provided a livery service for 5 hotels, gave hay rides for the many farm tours that took place every week and produced 142 draft horse and warm blood foals which were trained and sold into the regional market. In 2003, a tractor and renewable energy systems became new sources of farm energy. We make certain that our energy efficiency and renewable energy systems offset the use of mechanized power and provide close to 100% of our energy.
Throughout the years, more than 300 farming and renewable energy apprentices from 13 countries and all regions of the USA have spent 3 months to a year or longer with us. Many now operate profitable farms, serve as examples in their communities of sustainable economic farming or serve in positions of significant responsibility in the sustainable offices of universities, city government, commercial renewable energy companies and not-for-profit organizations.
Meet The Owners:
Sonja Hedlund and Dick Riseling