Apple Pond Farm and Renewable Energy Education Center is located about two hours from New York City in the Catskills. Nothing compares to a stay at a working farm to refresh your spirit and clear your mind. The best part of staying here is a chance to be part of farm life - feed sheep and goats, try your hand at milking a goat, plant something in the garden, care for chickens and gather eggs for breakfast.
The farm has a WiFi connection, lots of toys, games, books, and DVDs.
Super kid friendly, and feel free to bring your dog!
We welcome you to join us as we do our daily chores, but it's definitely not mandatory: give grain and hay to animals, milk goats, clean the barn, work in the garden and vegetable hoop house, and cut and stack wood. We will show you how to pick from our garden and gather eggs, and tell you about our wind turbine, solar panels and solar hot water system.
There are add on cheese making/wool spinning and wool dyeing classes scheduled throughout the summer months. We're happy to offer these classes by appointment as well. Additional fees apply.
Number of Persons Property Will Accommodate
Our guest house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, large living room, sunny dining room, and a porch facing the barn and pastures.
Kitchen Supplies Available (if any)
There is a full kitchen. You are welcome to bring your own food. Generally fresh vegetables, eggs, etc are available on the farm, and there's a robust farmers' market nearby. Of course, we're happy to discuss your individual needs and offer suggestions.
What to Bring
Bring clothes you don't mind getting dirty and a sense of (soft) adventure. Apple Pond Farm is a working farm, and we are sure you will want to "jump" right in. This is an authentic, low key area. However, there are several excellent restaurants nearby. While not "fancy," you might want to consider an outfit for dining out.
We're dog friendly too. So, please bring Fido, if you are so inclined.
Nightly Rate or Fee (if any)
$300/night, up to Six Guests. 2 night minimum.
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.
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.
Locally or Family-Owned Business Notes
Sonja Hedlund began her work life as an English teacher in Hiroshima, Japan; she loves to speak Japanese! The former director of the New York State Healthy Heart Program, she is now a full-time farmer. She takes pride in caring for her chickens, goats, sheep, horses and a single miniature donkey (Arlo). She is an accomplished spinner, a beginning weaver and makes delicious cheeses. For ten years, she wrote stories on farm life for the 'The Towne Crier'. She continues to write on agriculture for local, state and regional publications. As a volunteer on the local public radio station she produces a weekly folk music show, "Ballads and Banjos", and contributes to the 'Farm and Country' show. A founder of the Sullivan County Farm Network, she works with others to expand farming in the county.
Dick Riseling’s background and academic training are in international relations, fiscal policy and social justice. Concerned about global warming and the oil crisis, he installed the first on-farm wind turbine in Sullivan County. Since then, solar hot water and solar electric systems have been added to the farm. In 2005, Dick constructed a round straw bale house and converted an old diesel farm truck to run on used vegetable oil. He is a community activist on several issues: sustainable development, renewable energy, casino free development, and social justice. He offer workshops on renewable energy and private consultation on ways to install renewable energy systems in homes and businesses.
He is a skilled horse trainer and enjoys driving our teams of draft horses. At WJFF, the county's public commericial freed radio station, he hosts a weekly show called WJFF Connections which features interviews and commentary on local, national and internationl issues. Dick also authors "Greening Sullivan," a weekly newspaper column.
Pet Friendly Notes