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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Monday August 19, 2019

Dear People of High Interest,

I might get into trouble about this one.  Not that I have anything negative to say about chefs, but you just don't know if one accidentally  says the wrong thing.  Dont want to do that! Restaurants are about half our business.  Its been steadily like that for many years.  There are restaurant that have been with us almost since day one (1999) and new ones that we've just added as of Saturday.  If there's one thing that's true about the restaurant industry, its that things are always changing-including chef's jobs.  I didn't get it at first.  In the first few years, when it was easy to observe that the chef's keep moving from place to place.  My assumption was that chefs were a restless cohort that needed a change every year or two.  This turns out not to be what I believe today.  In most cases, when a chef leaves, its usually because upper management is "going in a different direction".  In most of the cases where I've heard something like this, the chef never gets a chance to adopt to what Management wants.

 

This is a difficult situation at best and often can lead to a long resume for a short period of time.  If one doesn't know this about the restaurant business, it would be easy to look at a potential chef as a wanderer.  But in reality, any chef with a long resume/short period of time, might just be the victim of management trying to go in a direction that the chef can't predict.

It is easy to say that chefs are a certain breed of individuals-high strung and Type A, but that really doesn't cover adequately what goes on.  Chefs really do come in all kinds of sizes and temperments-no different than the rest of us.  They just happen to have an unusually stressful job.  There's so much riding on each and every plate that gets sent out.  Even if they aren't the ones that cook it, their name is on it.  A good chef is not unlike the principal at your kids school (if you have kids).  They set the tone for the work environment and create the place for great cooking to take place.  And of course, they have to depend on everyone at the front of the house to finish the job correctly.  Its not unlike a well choreographed ballet.  Something beautiful to behold when it comes off right.

I've been lucky to make strong connections with several of our chefs over the past twenty years.  When this does happen, I'm treated to an inside view of what goes on in their heads.  It is a particularly special time when a chef will share with me a favorite dish or a new dish that they hope will be a favorite dish.  The shear enthusiasm for what they do or hope to do is so apparent.  Such passion helps the world be a better more creative place.

My chef friends have shared a lot with me over the years.  I've been to family funerals, visited chefs at hospitals, given baby shower presents to them.  I've even found myself utilizing my previous skills as a Family Therapist (my past profession 20 years ago) in hopes of helping a chef in need. Chefs are a hard working, driven sometimes to perfection, type of indvidual.  Knowing chefs has always been one my favorite parts of doing this work.  Oh man, I am lucky.

One last thought though.  Why, do you think there are so few woman chefs?  Is it more of that men have been given an advantage by the rules of how our society works?  I'd like to know your thoughts.  Why are there so few woman chefs?

An announcement before telling you whats available this week.  Star Light, as usual, will be attending the wonderful Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market this Sunday. Its 8/25 from 10-4.  I'd love to see as many of you as possible there.  It'd be fun to meet those of you whom I've only met electronically, for one.  The event is a sure fire day of wonderful things to eat and see.  There's music,unusual crafts, all the friends that you haven't seen in over a year.  Free and free parking.  More details at their website: http://www.wadsworthmansion.com/

In case you didn't know: Its all about tomatoes right now at Star Light.  If you haven't tried an heirloom, please consider now.  We're at the top of the season.  It is impossible to give you over the internet the utterly amazing experience of eating an heirloom tomato. However, I'll say this: if you don't jump up in the air with total delight after trying one of our heirlooms, I'll give you something else for no charge.  Its that much of a sure thing.  And yes, I know they're expensive.  You can't buy one like this in February. If you buy a lb at the $7/lb price, we'll throw in some extra tomatoes to soften the blow.  Give it a try.  You'll know its the right decision as soon as you try one.

There's also the Sun Gold, Sukura and Artisan Tomatoes.  Each of them deserve a place at your table. $6.50 /pint.  Same iron clad guarantee.  You got to jump or I'll give you something else.

And the Juliet.  Can't say enough about how sweet and head rolling you're going to feel when you try Juliet.  They're the only tomato you'll ever need for both salads and cooking.  An extremely rare situation.  In most situations, a tomato is either good for cooking or eating raw.  Juliet does them both. And they're perfect for drying.  You can buy dried ones from us $5/for a small bag.

We also have a sauce tomato-Grendaro.  Perfect for just the right sauce. $10/quart

NEW this week.  Leeks for soup, stirfries $4/bunch.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/lb.

Carrots:    Truly a gift. $5/bunch

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Pak Choi - $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Thanks again for all your support.

David

PS I thought I was done, but realize there's one more thing.  A big salute to Jen and Joel, who work harder than anyone anywhere.  They've help bring Star Light to a new level of production.  Ty and I might have started something, but now, I'm so lucky to have these guys bringing us to new heights.  That, really is how it should be.  The seed has been planted and watch it grow!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/18/2019 9:33 pm

A long time ago, my sister and I played The Tomato Game while we were driving  in Vt towards the Massachusetts border.  This was truly a long time ago, because I was too young to drive.   In each of our laps was a truly magnificent and large (very large) tomato.  The Tomato Game's rules are very simple.  First, don't eat your own tomato until reaching the state border.  Second, try to get the other person to eat their tomato by describing how unimaginably wonderful that tomato is going to taste.   Each of us had their own secret stategy about  how to accomplish this.  I only remember that I kept throwing out the lure for her of being able to sink her teeth into a taste that would go on  and on. Her strategy was way more down to earth.  She tried to make me think that waiting to eat was just pointless and I should go ahead right this very second and chomp into it.  In looking back on this, i can't help but wonder -if it was pointless to wait, why didn't she do just that?  So, I don't remember at all who might have won.  We reached the border, which was the agreed upon place to bite into the tomato.  I certainly  remember the taste of postponed enjoyment! This experience alone probably influenced my love of tomatoes.  It was such a sweet sweet moment to be able to finally bite into its wonderful everything.  I carry the special explosion of taste with me to this day.

What I didn't know then was that  their are so many more flavors and textures of tomatoes to  try.  What I was eating was just a plain old red field tomato.  I now know that the world of tomatoes is big, beautiful and very deep.  Different taste, different colors, different sizes, different textures. Yes , on and on.  I've yet to meet a tomato that I don't like and many that my feelings go way beyond that.  Way beyond. 

And now, after over six months of work, we've arrived at the Tomato Waterfall-the moment of total abundance.  We have so many many ready to eat tomatoes with all those colors (ok, many colors), all those different sizes (ok, many, not all) , all manner of different textures ( well, many-not all ).  And most importantly, this can not be replicated in January.  Its now (and for the next few weeks.) that you can sit down at your table with a Tomato Eating Project.  I know, because its happening for me daily.  And this could be you, too! And we're going to help you make it happen.  Order a lb of tomatoes are the regular price ($7)and we'll make sure that your order weighs twice as much as a lb.  Right. Its kind of a special.

Before I tell you the other things available this week, I want to go over a few simple things.  First, its hot now and food spoils  if left out.   So, your orders in the shed need to be picked up as close to 2pm on Thursday as possible.  If they're left overnight-its not clear how wonderful they'll be in the AM.  If your work schedule  prevents you from getting here early enough, then consider what you order.  Kale and other greens wouldn't be happy left out overnight.  Tomatoes, eggplant, onions etc wouldn't mind that much.  Order for the week by email by 8AM on Thursday.  Pick up at the shed in front of the house at 54 Fowler after 2pm.  Alternatively, you can pick up food at one of the three Farm Markets we attend.  Durham, on the town green  from 3-6:30 Thursday,Madison, on its town green Friday from 3-6 or Wooster Square in New Haven on Saturday from 9AM to 1pm.

Here's our offering: Full disclosure.  This is last weeks list minus one or two items.

Here's the list:

Sun Golds- bright orange and a blazing burst of sweetness. $6.50/pinnt

Sokura- a Japanese variety that are small, round , red and delicious. $6.50/pint

Artisans- different shapes, different colors, different flavors.  Artisans tend to really "wow" people. $6.50/pint

Juliet- my all time favorite and so versatile.  Great for munching out of the container or for cooking.  An unusual combo.  That's why, if I was going to a desert island-they'd be my only choice. $7/lb

Heirlooms- As I've stated before-our tomatoes are guaranteed to make you jump up and down with delight. (even if you have a broken ankle)  $7/lb but we'll throw in more for every lb. ordered.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/bunch

Carrots:    Truly a gift. $5/bunch

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Parsley, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Thanks again for all your support.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/13/2019 9:12 am

Greetings To All Of You That I Appreciate Greatly,

In theory only, I wouldn't want to harm a flea.  My immediate way of thinking about other living creatures is consistent with the Tibetan Monks who will move the location of a temple being built if there's an ant colony in the way.  That's in theory only.  If a deer fly, black fly, mosquito etc lands on me, I'm going for total destruction.  I'm not very good at it, but there's dedication there.  Its instinctual.  They land, I try to execute them.  Its who I am.  But when there's time to think, there can also be mercy on my part.  The bug that's poking around in the bathroom sink- I could turn on the water and let it go down the drain or try the scope method and let it go.  Its a noble attempt at my own brand of Zen.  And then there's hornworms.

Hornworms can go a long way to showing how you really are in the world.  All this Zen stuff truly goes out the window.  And wouldn't you?  Consider the tomato that the hornworm loves to consume .  These plants have been nurtured by us for months.  Some of them since the beginning of January.  Some of you might remember the big setback in April when the furnace failed causing the vegetation to die on many of them.  They probably lost a good month in a half of progress that night.  My point-they've been profoundly nurtured and given a lot of love.  Scouting, pruning, trellising all those things.  Then along comes the tomato hornworm.  From where, I don't know.  Maybe they live in the soil and emerge that way.  In any case, at this time of year they'll appear.

So this next paragraph is graphic and a tad gross.  Skip it, if you want. I'd totally understand.  Ok.  The first thing that we'll notice when the hornworm appears is a disgusting dark green/brown/black/purple residue on some of the lower leaves.  Then, by looking up at the top most plant stalk, we'll see what's really going on.  Its a feast.  The top parts of the tomato plant are the most tender, hence the most choice for them.  They'll go thru rows of tomato tops in a matter of hours if left unchecked.  As far as a bug goes-they have a beautiful body.  Big, round, plump, striped with that prominent  horn sticking off its butt. 

Hornworms are green like the tomato plant, so easily hidden from all but the discerning eye.  If you could locate them by eye, it would be as easy as going from plant to plant and plucking them and settling them in a liquid bath of beer.  Let them go out in style, I say.  See! look at that last sentence! That's what I'm getting at.  The gentle, no harm method goes totally out the window.  My inner violent side comes to the front. It gets worse.  Read on.

Wayne Young,who alas is no longer with us, told me that the best way to find hornworms is to go up and down the aisle with a sprayer on your back filled with  water.  When they are unexpectedly sprayed, they jump and blow their cover.  On a smaller scale, you could just get a spray bottle for your backyard toms.  That's when i move in with the beer bath.  Another method is to spray all the plants with Dipel DF, an approved Organic spray.  This spray lands on the leaves and the hornworm will die after ingesting the Dipel.

The last way I want to discuss is for the farmer to do noting and let nature take over.  The hornworm can be attacked by parasites that will eventually overcome the worm and kill it.  If you come across a hornworm on your tomato plants that has white micro telescopes on it-do nothing.  Nature is doing its own thing here.  When the parasites are down, the hornworms looks exactly like the balloons at your child's birthday party two weeks after the event. Very deflated and very dead.

Full disclosure.  I'll walk amongst the dead hornworms and feel victorious.  Not proud of that feeling but will have to admit that its important for me to realize that there are dark sides  to who I am. AND, I'm still going to try and save that funny bug thats stuck in my bathroom sink.

We've got everything that we  offered last week, just more of everything!  If you're ordering for delivery at the shed, remember that your order will be ready after 2pm on Thursday.  In this hot weather, its important to get there as soon as its practical.  Let me know your order by 8AM  on Thursday.

I will add this: Our tomatoes happen to be the best.  You won't anywhere find a better tomato.  And each of them makes for an exciting eating project, whether its the Artisan smaller size, with its dreamy, and creamy flavors or heirlooms, sometimes big but always more than interesting in flavor.

Here's the list:

Sun Golds- bright orange and a blazing burst of sweetness. $6.50/pinnt

Sokura- a Japanese variety that are small, round , red and delicious. $6.50/pint

Artisans- different shapes, different colors, different flavors.  Artisans tend to really "wow" people. $6.50/pint

Juliet- my all time favorite and so versatile.  Great for munching out of the container or for cooking.  An unusual combo.  That's why, if I was going to a desert island-they'd be my only choice. $7/lb

Heirlooms- Always amazing in taste and texture. I can, with total confidence offer the following guarantee about heirlooms:  If after taking a bite, you don't jump up in down with delight (regardless of the temperature outside), I'll be happy to substitute anything else for you. $7/lb.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/bunch

Haukeri and Scarlet Long Turnips- if you haven't tried haukeri, consider it now. More like a delicious radishes in texture that can be eaten raw. $4/bunch

Carrots:    Truly a gift. $5/bunch

String Beans- $4/lb

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Parsley, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Nasturiums- a nice bag for $5

Thanks again for all your support.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/5/2019 11:10 am

No, not at all going to Carolina.  But I'll just borrow the beginning six words and add "Fall Planting".  This is, with all the heat around, the very moment to really focus on everything that we'll want to sell to you in October, November, and beyond.  I use to think that if we planted carrots by August First, that we'd be alright.  Now, things feel different.  It could be a variety of things that factor in here, but most likely its climate change.

Farmers are doing a lot of thinking these days about climate change.  And its more than just when to plant something.  Every time you disturb and turn over the soil, carbon is being released into the atmosphere.  Farmers who raise meat animals in the midwest are trying to figure out better feed choices that don't need to be replanted every year.  Its a constant juggling act.

Tragically, for some people, climate change already means disaster.  I'm sure that many of you have heard of a few low lying islands in the Pacific that needed to be abandoned because of rising ocean levels.  And even more tragically is the fact that in most cases, the people who are affected most by climate change are poor people of color.  Let's all of us be mindful of what direction we're going in.

Summer is bringing us the bounty that we are grateful for.  We've got a great list of available food.  If you'd like to pick something up at one of our markets, that would be great.  There's Durham Market on Thursday 3-6:30, Madison Market on Friday from 3-6PM, and Wooster Square on Saturday from 9AM-1PM.  In addition to that, if you'd like to just picking something up from our shed on Thursday, we could do that.  Please get your order in my 8AM on Thursday.

So many cherry tomatoes!

Sun Golds- bright orange and a blazing burst of sweetness. $6.50/pinnt

Sokura- a Japanese variety that are small, round , red and delicious. $6.50/pint

Artisans- different shapes, different colors, different flavors.  Artisans tend to really "wow" people. $6.50/pint

Juliet- my all time favorite and so versatile.  Great for munching out of the container or for cooking.  An unusual combo.  That's why, if I was going to a desert island-they'd be my only choice. $7/lb

Heirlooms- Always amazing in taste and texture. I can, with total confidence offer the following guarantee about heirlooms:  If after taking a bite, you don't jump up in down with delight (regardless of the temperature outside), I'll be happy to substitute anything else for you. $7/lb.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/bunch

Haukeri and Scarlet Long Turnips- if you haven't tried haukeri, consider it now. More like a delicious radishes in texture that can be eaten raw. $4/bunch

Carrots- both purple and orange.  Truly a gift. $5/bunch

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Parsley, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Nasturiums- a nice bag for $5

Thanks again for all your support.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/29/2019 10:37 am

As much as I love summer it can certainly feel overwhelming at times.  Ideally everyday you will be very efficient getting everything checked off your list.  Life on the other hand moves irregardless of our carefully crafted plans.  Things pop up, go wrong or you simply make a mistake.  Plans to trellis all the peppers fall to the wayside as you deal with the encroaching weeds or a hungry pest showing up.  Some are familiar like the wood chucks(we're up to 6 trapped and released) and hornworms( I'll spare you the details).  While some are new like the blister beetles and cabbage aphids.  One thing is for sure optimism and flexibility are key and triage is a fact of farm life.

Some things that just can't be skipped are daily harvests of squash, cukes and sun golds.  Late night pickle processing sessions with dinner and planning and sowing seeds for the fall( I know a crazy thing to be thinking about in July). What can we say, you probably have to be a little bit off to be a farmer anyways but we love it.

The good news is we are offering a deal this week on squash and cucumbers.  Get 5 or more pounds of squash for 1 dollar off per pound and slicing cucumbers are buy 3 get 1.  As always send us your order by 8 am tomorrow for pick up out front in the shed after 2pm.

Heirlooms and Juliets- $7/lb

Sun Golds- $6.50/pint

Sukura ( a larger red cherry, PACKED with flavor $6.50

Artisan-kind of a middle ground between cherry and heirlooms.  Multi colored and just plain awesome.  $6.50/pint

Salad Greens and Arugula -$6/bag.  Two bags for $10

Soyu or slicing Cucumbers- $2.75 each

Haukeri and Scarlet Turnips- $4/bunch

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Parsley, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Big Kale- $4/bunch

Swiss Chard-$3.50

Collards- $3/bunch

Beets- You've got to experience roasted beets! And try Jen's idea- roast them with coconut oil. $4/bunch

Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Nasturiums- a nice bag for $5

Thanks again for all your support

Joel

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/24/2019 9:35 am

For those of you who just want to know about the food we have to offer, please just skip ahead.  I do tend to talk.

I'm writing about Dan (not his real name.  I promised him that there'd be some anomomity for him. ) Anyway, this Sunday was Talent Show Day at my house.  It was tried a few years ago with great success and somehow it took a while for it to happen again.  I invited everyone on my street to come over mid afternoon and bring an act.  No act too small or too anything.  The idea was to have participation by as many people as possible.  Let's share our talents with everyone else.  The list was eclectic to say the least.  Here's a short sampling: Bad Dad Jokes, Dance Instruction, Reading a favorite kids story, a recitation of the planets (in order from closest to the sun to least close), instrumental pieces, Knock knock jokes.  Get the idea?  And each act was thoroughly and warmly received by an appreciative audience.  As people arrived, I asked each person what they'd do.  When I asked Dan, he wasn't sure-he'd get back to me.  So we agreed that I'd put him down for "Ad Lib" for the moment.  Later, after several of the acts had already happened, I asked Dan if he was ready.  "Not yet".  More time went by and more acts, so I asked again.  At that point, he said that he needed to go home and print lyrics.  So we had an intermission.  More time went by and I began to feel that I'd pushed too hard and that he wasn't going to return, which would have been terrible.  Now, I was feeling double bad.   Finally, I asked his wife Agnes (again, not her real name) if he'd check and tell him that he absolutely did not need to do anything.  She went back to their house to do that.  Finally, he returned saying that it had taken so long because he couldn't get the printer to print what he wanted but that he was ready.  He told the friendly crowd that he wanted to sing "Country Roads", by John Denver for all of us because that area of the country (West Virginia) had some real special meaning for him that was tied up with both place and family. He said it was the kind of song that helped put him in a special place of mind. Would there be any volunteers to help him sing this, he asked the crowd. Of course, I had to say yes,seeing as though the responsibility  for putting him in this position now rested on my shoulders (or so I thought).  So a small ensemble set out singing with Dan.  And we did alright once we found a mutually acceptable key after two verses.  Ever try to sing this song?  It's harder than I thought.  It goes WAY high for two notes.  Took my breath away.  But we got through it and Dan was fine with it all.

So why tell you story? And what does it have to do with Star Light? Or good eating?  Well, to my mind, everything.  It's about following one's gut.  Even though I might have pushed Dan further than he wanted to be pushed, something inside of me knew that he wanted to get up there and do something.  My job wasn't really to push anyone, just find out what people wanted to do and make a list.  But I went further and so did Dan and we were both the better for it.  Dan, especially. In working the farm, these kinds of values will reward one tenfold. Going that extra step-its going to pay off 95 times out of a 100.  And following what your gut says- that's got to be 98 times out of a 100.  And I'll try not to digress here into how there's been conclusive  studies that show that  we do actually think with our guts.  Save that one for another day.

OK. Now to the food.  And there's lots. And lots

Tomato supplies are increasing.  What I'd say is: order exactly what you want and we'll do our best.  Each week, there's more.  It will eventually get to the place where the supply will seem like a waterfall that won't be stopped

Heirlooms and Juliets- $7/lb

Sun Golds- $6.50/pint

Sukura ( a larger red cherry, PACKED with flavor $6.50

Artisan-kind of a middle ground between cherry and heirlooms.  Multi colored and just plain awesome.  $6.50/pint

Salad Greens and Arugula -$6/bag.  Two bags for $10

Soyu Cucumbers- curly, and sweet, unique, too  $2.75 each

Radishes and Haukeri Turnips- $4/bunch

Scallions-$3/bunch

Bunching Onions -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/bag (about a lb and a quarter)

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Dill, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Big Kale- $4/bunch

Swiss Chard-$3.50

Collards- $3/bunch

Beets- You've got to experience roasted beets! And try Jen's idea- roast them with coconut oil. $4/bunch

Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquest-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Dill heads - $1/each

Nasturiums- a nice bag for $5

That's what we have.  I feel so aware about how lucky we are. Good soil, plenty of water, able minds and bodies.  Its not like that every where you turn. So, I'm grateful.  Very.

Have a great week

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/9/2019 9:02 am

Dear People I Love To Write To Each Week,

I do.  I really love to write to all of you each week.  Some of you, I've never met.  It is also true that there are weeks when there's not much to say.  This is one of those weeks.  Mostly because it has been a challenge to keep up on the tomatoes.  Yesterday, it took everything that I had to get thru  clipping and  helping the plants to stand up straight. It was not cool in the hoop houses either.

Anyway, we've noticed that the deer are busy along the edges of the farm doing damage.  Sunflowers, lettuce and a few other things.  Not a pretty sight.  And yet, this all feels new-deer damage to such a degree.  Makes me wonder why.  The only thing that immediately comes to mind-a shortage of their regular food.  And what's that all about?  For me, the answer is simple-climate change has created less of the food that deer are usually use to.  Just a theory.  Any thoughts of your own.

This, also , is the time of year when I get to munch on the new sungolds, but there still isn't enough to  open it up to orders.  Soon, my friends, soon.

In the meantime, we'll have an abundance of other things.  Largely, the same as last week.  I will not be near a phone over the next week, so please, send your orders ONLY to Joel at: smithbissett@yahoo.com   If you send your order to me this week, you'll maybe find the order would get missed.  Orders to him by Thursday 8AM.  Pick up at the shed after 2PM.

Here's the list:

Peas/ snow and snap.  Let me know which one. $6/pint

Salad Greens $6/bag

Braising Greens-spicy or not $6/bag

Collards,Big Kale and/or Swiss Chard- $4/bunch

Beets- $4/bunch

Radicchio- $3/head

Beautiful Lettuce Heads- $3

Radishes- $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch

Pea Tendrils- Special This week. $5/bag

Nasturium Flowers- edible flowers, and peppery, too. $6 for a nice little bag

Garlic Scapes-this is the flower on the garlic.  Next fresh  thing from the garlic plant.  Use exactly like clove garlic except it won't go thru a press. $4/bag

Pak Choi- $4/bunch

Spinah $6/bag

Dill, Oregano and Parsley  $3/bunch

I hope you have a great week, full of all the right foods!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/25/2019 9:31 am

 

Before I say anything, I want you to know that if you order something to be delivered to the shed, its going to be THURSDAY for the foreseeable future. Thursday

About 30 minutes ago, I had the opportunity to show a curious visitor our farm and most notably our "tomato jungle".  It got that name from one of the grandchildren when they noticed how lost they got in the plot of tomatoes once they reached a certain height.  They haven't gotten there yet, but I still look at them as the tomato jungle.  Maybe it would be more accurate to say that they're now tomato jungle junior or maybe toddler tomato jungle.  I want them tall, so why not starting calling them what you want them to be.  Its like, if you called a child of yours tiny, I'm sure they'd oblige and end up short.  Not that there's a thing wrong with being short, mind you.  The point is that there's an element of a self predicting  prophecy if the child in question gets the hint that the parent want the "tiny".  So, if I call my tomatoes a "tomato jungle", that is my way of letting them know- I want you big. Telling someone (or something) what you need from them helps them know your expectations.

Here, you're looking at "Toddler Tomato Jungle".  Really, no jungle at all, but want to give them the right idea.  No strings have been added to hold the plants up yet.  But soon!

Adolescent Tomato Jungle!

Official Tomato Jungle!

Sounds like you could apply this to your everyday relationships, right? I would agree.  But before going down this way of thinking much deeper, I would say, ok I've made my point, now get on to where I really wanted to go with all this.  And that would be beginnings.  Every beginning, by definition means that there's going to be an ending.

There's lots of beginnings to consider.  To name a few, relationships, a plate of scallops with lemon from Lenny and Joe's, a book, a movie.  There's surely more.  But in terms of Star Light, I'm thinking specifically about the beginnings of plants-specifically tomatoes.  Tomatoes are the best example of an amazing beginning.  For us, this dates back to the first week of January.  Numerous trays of tomatoes where seeded and covered with heat domes and placed on a heat mat.  Within days, the first cotyledons   emerge from the soil.  From there , its only a question of bigger.  At a certain point, (maybe 9 weeks, the plant is big enough to get attached to a string and pruned in such a way to encourage upward growth.  Pruning, as you know has been discussed several times here already, so we won't go into that. Because, the plant is encouraged to grow vertically, we're looking at a 12-15 foot item.  Yikes, for sure!. We're way past beginnings at this point.  And this is where endings come in.  There is a point in a plants lifecycle when its just pumping out more and more fruit.  This is the waterfall of tomatoes.  A glorious and also sometimes intimadating  stage.  What to do with all those toms!  The next week, it's obvious.  The waterfall is over.  The plant has done what it could and starts to shut down.

What's mind boggling for me about all this is that is exactly what its like for us, too.  And knowing that is a total enrichment of my life.  True, I am not going to slow down now (but probably have, if I was honest. ) And won't give up easy, either.  Lets not forget Dylan Thomas here:"Rage, rage against the dying of the light".  This isn't me being heavy or morbid, just reporting.  Our beginnings mean there's an ending and how we get there-that makes all the difference. (Yes, a little Robert Frost in there too)

OK.  But none of this means that we're at the end of our produce.  No, not by a long shot.  In fact, by way of information- Star Light always has good fresh food for sale in every month of the year.  This is the time of year when it becomes a cascade of lovely food, day after day and week after week. In this sense, as we go from one great crop to another, we're creating new beginnings and endings every week.  I love that.

So then, for this week we're looking at the following items.  They can be purchased directly from us at our farm stand by sending us an email with your wishes.  We're moving the distribution day to Thursday for logistic reasons.  That would mean that your order needs to be received by 8AM on THURSDAY.  With a pick up any time after 2pm on THURSDAY.  You can also go to the Durham Farmer's Market, also on Thursday from 3-6:30pm, Madison Farmer's Market on the Madison Green on Fridays from 3-6 and Wooster Square Market in New Haven from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays

This is the list:

Peas/ snow and snap.  Let me know which one. $6/pint

Salad Greens $6/bag

Braising Greens-spicy or not $6/bag

Collards,Big Kale and/or Swiss Chard- $4/bunch

Beets- $4/bunch

Radicchio- $3/head

Radishes- $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch

Pea Tendrils- Special This week. $5/bag

Nasturium Flowers- edible flowers, and peppery, too. $6 for a nice little bag

Garlic Scapes-this is the flower on the garlic.  Next fresh  thing from the garlic plant.  Use exactly like clove garlic except it won't go thru a press. $4/bag

Pak Choi- $4/bunch

Spinah $6/bag

Dill, Cilantro, Oregano and Parsley  $3/bunch

I hope you have a great week, full of all the right foods!

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/18/2019 11:37 am

Dear Some of You Whom I Know And Some Of You That I Wish I Knew,

Its always good here. Even when hard things happen, I feel that it can be handled.  Even that time when the hoop houses were crushed by the huge snow storm, it didn't feel that the world had ended.  For me, there was an unspoken trust that this farm would pull itself through.  And I was right.  The good Governor offered some assistance to help defray the cost of rebuilding. Additionally, there was a boost of help from Whitehouse Construction who offered their services at cost, which saved thousands.  And lets not forget the countless friends, who's emotional support was so essential.  And underneath it all is always the thought that this place is meant to thrive.  And it has.  The feeling of gratitude that everything that we do here works is one of the best things about my life.

Its not luck that we're talking about.  It more like hard work and dedication can pay off.  And here's the pay offs, as far as I'm concerned.  Its the young child who is exposed to fresh,nutritious food and really loves it.  Or the chef who recognizes that they are being given the best material in the world to cook with.  Or possibly that person who taste an heirloom tomato for the first time in 30 years and is suddenly weepy as they remembered that this taste is exactly what they've experienced when their father/mother grew them in the backyard so long ago.  A taste that they thought was gone forever.  I could go on, but  then I'd be guilty of nostalgia.  But for me this is all about gratitude-an opportunity to serve and enrich.

Along with gratitude follows "plenty".  The soil is ready, poised even, to give to us.  And in a big way, too. Our job is to feed soil its proper diet and follow the simple rules of sustainable living and farming.  From this union of seeds, water, fecund earth and sun comes Plenty(capitol letter is deliberate).  A cascade even, if the right details are attended to. Plenty of great food gives me gratitude. And so the circle is complete.

 

 

CSA people: If you see something on this list below that you know for sure that you want, let me know and I'll make sure that when you show up at the Farmer's Market, it won't have sold out already.

Segway to Farmer's Markets. Durham on  the green,Thursdays 3-6:30pm/Madison on the Madison Green on Fridays 3-6pm, and Wooster Square in New Haven on Saturdays 9am to 1pm.  Note: No Madison Market this week-High School Graduation has bumped us out.  We'll resume next Friday.

For those ordering for the shed, remember to get your order in by 8am on Friday.  Order will be ready after 2pm on Friday.

Oh and a word about carrots.  Those carrots that we've been offering for the past few weeks were the ones  that we nurtured from last late Fall.  The idea is to plant them late, but not too late in the Fall.  They'll grow a little bit before Winter sets in.  In late January, when the stronger light returns they're ready to continue growing.  Alas, we've depleted the stock.  But new carrots are on their way, probably by mid-July.  Hope you can do alright in the interim.

Here's what we have:


Peas/ snow and snap.  Let me know which one. $6/pint

Salad Greens $6/bag

Braising Greens-spicy or not $6/bag

Collards,Big Kale and/or Swiss Chard- $4/bunch

Radicchio- $3/head

Radishes- $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch

Pea Tendrils- Special This week. $5/bag

Garlic Scapes-this is the flower on the garlic.  Next fresh  thing from the garlic plant.  Use exactly like clove garlic except it won't go thru a press. $4/bag

Pak Choi- $4/bunch

Cucumbers $2/each.  These are cukes to bow down to.  Taste, crunch, looks. Yup. They got them all.

Spinah $6/bag

Dill, Cilantro and Parsley  $3/bunch

I hope you have a great week, full of all the right foods!

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/12/2019 7:51 am

That's just it.  I'm not tough. And don't really know how act that way.  For me, acting tough is trying to convince the meter readers  not to give me a ticket on my car.  It never works, anyways.   But farming is tough and one needs to be able to adapt to new situations at the drop of a hat, be it weather changes, animal or pest infestations or a big change in an order.  It feels a little bit like one is facing your opponent in tennis and you'll need to anticipate whether you need to pivot left or right at the last second.  It all keeps me guessing.

You really have to be tough to grow tomatoes.  We've already climbed that hill earlier when the furnace failed to go on one cold night and it froze all  (or nearly all) of the tomatoes. Oy.  What a disheartening sight that was.  I remember there was a lesson to be learned here, but I didn't want to face it.  Lucky for Star Light though, in that almost all of the "frozen" plants made a recovery.  Unfortunately, I've had experience with "frozen" tomato plants and knew that there was a good chance that they'd spring back.  It took a solid two weeks, though before I saw any green come forth from the rather dead looking plants.  Now, a full month and a half since this happened, I can hardly tell about their step back.

Most tomato plants at this time of the year are so incredibly vegetative.  They have an inner brain.  They really do. The message is: put on leaves, put on trust(these are the blossoms), put on height and put out more roots.  The last item is the reason that one should plant your tomatoes deep, burying most of the main stalk.  The stalk will create a root system that will keep the plant in good stead if there's a lack of rain.  Metaphorically, any time one can create good root system-do it.

Then comes the consequences of so much rapid growth.  It feels like if I take my eyes off a plants for 45 seconds, that in the interim, it will grow new stems where I never saw them before.  This is particularly daunting when I think of all the meticulous moments spent inspecting and cutting out suckers, so that the plant was forced to grow upwards rather than outwards. 

Tomato Plants are like foreign sports cars.  They're fussy and vulnerable.  That is one of the main reasons that we have only grown them in a hoop house.  In that way, we don't have to worry about rain creating a fungal disease that they'll never recover from or worry about them getting too much water on their roots.  They only get water that we give them.  Not from on high.  So, for the past three days, I've put a major push on to stay ahead of the tomato growth.  Its tough. Like all plants, their goal in life is to reproduce seeds so that there'll be more of them for the future. 

This leads me to a very small workshop for you on tomato pruning.  Ok. The idea is to keep the bottoms clear of leaf growth and new stems.  That should be removed.  Next we need to keep the plant to two main stems (four, if its a cherry plant).  We work on this by getting to the plant right at the beginning of its growth spurt.  The job is completed well when the pruning eliminates all unnecessary suckers and branches.  Soon after that, we'll attach strings to the two (or four, if its a cherry tom) leader stems.  They get attached by a clever "clothespin" of sorts that clamps onto the string.  The plant is then wrapped around the string or we'll use a clever and somewhat complicated tool called a "tey m up" that will put a heavy ribbon around the plant and the string in one movement and in its second, staple and cut the ribbon, so that one can move onto a new section.   So far this year, the most time that I've spent on any one plant is about 8 minutes.  That's mostly because I'm trying hard to stay up on them.  (In fact, what I should be doing right this minute is not writing, but pruning.  However, its important to me to share this information with you.)  There have definitely been seasons when any one plant has been neglected for so long that it takes 20 minutes or longer to go through one plant.  Very time consuming, yes?  There are always big pruning decisions that I have to go through.  Should I take this major stem out-its so big already.  Is there too many leaves?  Does the plant itself look healthy?  On and on.

Truth is that its a rewarding job.  One can see results immediately.  I should make something very clear, though.  One does not have to prune tomato plants.  You could let everything evolve with no interference.  Studies have shown that pruning does not increase the weight of produce that comes from a plant.  What does happen is that the plant is healthier and produces bigger and sweeter tomatoes.  And that is what we're after. And that is what we hope to bring to you this season-the best tomatoes anywhere. 

Many of  you don't know this yet, but several years ago, a young child who loved our tomatoes gave me a new nickname-"The Tomato Scientist".  I'm keeping it!

 

This week we'll have for all of you numerous lovely items.  If you're ordering for the shed, please get me your orders by 8AM on Friday.  Your order will be ready after 2pm on Friday.  Or, like the Durham CSA people, you can come over to the green in Durham on Thursday from 3-6:30pm and just shop.

I should also note, that we'll be at the Madison Farmer's Market on Fridays from 3-6pm.  Located on the green just west of town.  A beautiful sight.  And of course, Wooster Square in New Haven from 9AM to 1PM.  If you've never been to a Farmer's Market, it is the most singularly wonderful experiences ever.  You'll find freshly harvested food and extremely happy people. 

Garlic Scapes!- first of the season.  Use exactly like garlic.  Fresh, new Spring Taste. $5/bag

The scape is curved over and  green, almost in the center of the picture.  One pulls it gently out from the plant.  Cut it up and use in salad or for cooking!

Salad Greens, Pea Tendrils $6/bag

Big Kale, Collards,and Swiss Chard $4/bunch

Radishes- $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch

Pak (Bok) Choi and Chinese Cabbage- $4/bunch

Scallions- $3/bunch

Radicchio- $3/head

Lovely Lettuce Heads- $3/head

Nasturium Flowers- a dozen for $4.  Pretty and edible, too!

Carrots- first of the year! Sweet and exciting $6/bunch

Spinach $6/bag

That's it.  I hope that you are enjoying this magnificence weather.  I can't help but note that we shouldn't be lulled into thinking all is well with the environment just because we have a great day.  Still, it is beautiful!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/4/2019 9:15 am