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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.

Some History 

The 81 acres of 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 it and began restoring the land and 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 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 bred 142 draft horse and warm blood foals which were trained and sold in the regional market.


In 2003, a tractor and several renewable energy systems became the new sources of farm energy. They made certain that energy efficiency and renewable energy offset the use of mechanized power and provided close to 100% of the energy used at the farm. As the farm expanded into a Renewable Energy and Education Center, 12.5 kw of solar electric, 64 solar thermal tubes, a 120’ tower and 10kw wind turbine, air source heat pumps, a straw bale building, used vegetable oil truck and furnace, LED lighting and other energy savings measures which provided nearly 100% of the energy needs of the farm were added. They also grew fruit, vegetables, made hay, and raised chickens, turkeys, sheep and goats for meat, eggs, and wool.

In 2020, with the help of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, the land of Apple Pond Farm was put into an agricultural conservation easement, ensuring that it be used for agricultural purposes in perpetuity. The easement allows for two additional housing units in designated areas.



Thank You

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 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.  We are extremely grateful for all of the volunteers, apprentices and community members who have contributed to the story of Apple Pond Farm and those who have assisted in rebuilding after the tornado. We look forward to hearing from potential new owners interested in exploring collaborations with Apple Pond Farm.


Apple Pond Farm

Meet The Owners:

Sonja Hedlund and Dick Riseling

Sonja Hedlund Apple Pond Farm
Sonja handles goat and sheep production, cheese making, food processing and conducts tours and workshops. She is also a volunteer at the local public radio station. 
Dick Riseling Apple Pond Farm
Dick works with the sheep and goats, organic crop production and sales, training of apprentices, farming and renewable energy workshops and tours, and expanding the integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency in farm buildings and operations.
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