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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Thursday April 27, 2017

Dear Sustainable Food Lover and Friend of Star Light,

Its actually three separate words: Star Light Gardens.  Ty came up with the name and the concept of three distinct words.  I'll mash them together, myself when I'm in a hurry.  And if a customer refers to us (with fondness, I hope) as "Starlight"-I won't contradict.  If I remember, the idea was to put an emphasis on three really  important words. First , Star.  That's our sun, the beginning of all life. And then Light. That's what the star gives us. And warmth, too.  Gardens, next.  We actually wanted to be Star Light Farms, but when we went thru the LLC  paperwork, it was found that there already was one of those.  Hence, gardens.  Hopefully  the word gardens will give you a closer connection.  Not everyone has a farm, but lots of people can put in a garden.  And basically, that's what we did-only bigger than most.  I've always loved the name-its music to my ears.

On the farm (or should we say-"on the garden"?) this week, everything is popping.  By the end of last week, we were able to finally start getting beds outside ready.  My first order of business was a long bed of carrots.  After putting down compost, alfalfa (for nitrogen needs) and organic fertilizer, the whole bed was broadforked.  Broadforking is breaking up the subsoil with a large, two-handled tool with large, sturdy fingers on it.  The broadfork will break up the soil in large chunks, about 9 inches deep.  We'll go over that with hoes and cultivators , followed up a nice raking, which carrots love to get started in.  I'll keep a close eye on the bed, because we have one opportunity to flame the surface once to kill weeds (carrots hate weeds) before the carrots emerge.  I'll keep you posted.

Before the end of the day today, we'll have two long rows of beets, and two long rows of large glorious kale planted.  Not to mention, more salad greens and arugula. Which reminds me, if you like or love arugula, we've got an awesome crop this week.  Ask anyone who ordered last week.

A few weeks ago, we planted Roxanne radishes in the hoop house.  They are now ready.  These little guys are crunchy, crunchy, crunchy and not hot.  I could almost call them sweet (but I'd better not).  They also have very tasty greens on top that can be used in salads.

Last week, friends of some of you joined our mailing list on your suggestion.  To those of you who recommended us to your friends-a big thank you.  If you know someone who would love to experience locally grown food, please let them know about us.  Remind them to go on our website and request to be put on the general mailing list.  Website address: starlightgardensct.com

Store News.  Quick reminder (mostly, for new people).  When you know what you'd like, just email me back with your order.  Deadline (its moved, which most of you remembered) would be 10AM tomorrow-Friday.  Your order will be in the shed after 2PM.  Look for your name.  Payment jar is on the table.  If you come after dark-bring your flashlight!

Some plants to consider, first.  There are still about 6 unspoken for Hanging Strawberry Plants.  These make amazing Mother's Day presents.  The fruit is extremely sweet and they'll keep on producing all season.  The can be gotten whenever you want, but I plan to take care of the ones that have already been ordered till the Friday before Mother's Day (May 12th).

Compact Genevese Basil- $5/pot.  There's around 10 or so individual plants that can be divided up. Compact genevese is perfect for patio pots.  It has the same famous taste as Genevese but will not grow very tall.  For those of you who don't have an outdoor spot in a garden, they can do outstanding in a larger pot.

Flat leaf parsley- $5/pot.  Like genevese, flat leaf is the kind of basil that most chef's want to work with.  These work well in both larger pots and the garden.  Parsley can be kept from year to year.

Kale plants- $5/pot.  These will grow tall.  Probably best in a sunny garden spot, but would sustain itself in a very large pot, if you have one.

Dwarf Sunflower- $5/pot.  This is a nice alternative to the Hanging Strawberry.  The word here is "cute".  They can also be planted outside, but are very content to spend their days in a regular sized pot

Sun Gold and Black Cherry Plants- two of the most incredible cherry tomato plants ever grown.  Sun gold is bright orange fruit who's eating experience is similar to chumping on a lump of sugar.  Anyone with a quest for sweet will find themselves totally distracted by sun golds.  You might be upstairs in your house and if you remember how much you like sun golds, you'll find yourself traveling down the stairs and out the door to wherever you planted them before you even have a chance to think about it.  They're that good.  Black cherry is more like the sophisticated friend, who only talks in large sweeping sentences, which you can just barely understand.  There are first flavor, second, third and fourth even when you try black cherry.  If sun gold is like being in elementary school (simple, straightforward and uncomplicated) then black cherry is like graduate school. Complex and rewarding.   $5/plant.  It might be a tad early, but if you have a sunny indoor window, bring it home and get bonded.  They'll be with you for a while.

There'll be many more choices in the next few weeks.

Radishes- $3.50 a bunch

Arugula - for a spicy salad, arugula pesto or an impressive garnish $6/6oz bag

Claytonia- with white edible flowers.  Still succulant, and still near the end of the season.  Very wonderful, still.  We'll see what next week brings.  $4/4oz

Salad Greens- $6/6oz.  With kale, asian greens, lettuce, claytonia and spinach

Super Spinach Sale still lives.  $6 for everything that I fit in one bag.  Probably a lb or more.  Great taste, but not so pretty to look at.  Best for cooking

Red Russian Kale- $6/bag.  A salad, unto itself

New Spinach- unlike the Super Spinach, these are beautiful to look at. $6/6oz. bag

Braising Greens- 3 or 5 wonderful Asian Greens, along with kale.  $4/bunch

Here's a few photos to show you what I mean

These are the glorious braising greens.  The dark reds are spicy and the greener ones are more succulant

Garlic emerging from a thick, dense pile of leaves.  We'll be able to offer you spring garlic within the next few weeks.

New Spinach

Roxanne Radish. And they taste great , fun to eat!

 

 That's it.  Hope your week is wonderful!

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/20/2017 9:55 am

 

Doesn't everyone like to go on vacation?  Upon returning to regular routine a whole wrath of emotions can come up, depending on how you might feel about that life.  For  myself, I love going away and love just as much coming back.  There's always something that has changed. Plants will have grown bigger, or gotten a disease, or gone by or maybe even just looked more beautiful than before.  Once, when we went away to visit our daughter, who was living in California at that time, I remember getting a phone call from our neighbor that our hoop houses were beginning to collapse.  Luckily, we were able to prevent a catastrophe by getting a crew to cut the plastic on the houses and relieve the pressure on the frame.  Upon returning, that was quite a change, too!  But what I'm really talking about is chickweed going on vacation for the warmer months.  Chickweed, for those of you unfamiliar begins to show itself as Fall comes on and Summer starts to wane.  Cooler nights inspire the seeds from last year to germinate. As an aside, I must mention that it is so amazing that there are some seeds that like the cold to germinate and others need warm temperatures.  So, as early September comes around, so does the very tiny leaves of the chickweed.  They are so small that one could be lulled into thinking that they are not a problem for growing Fall crops.  Wrong.  Every idea starts out small.  Before too long, this weed will grow way out of control and smother everything in sight.  Ones only hope is to figure out a way to get your crop to be well ahead of the chickweed, giving it little or no sun.  This is a hard job as chickweed has a strong sense of survival.  Often, my best bet is to encourage the chickweed to germinate and start growing.  I'll water an area pretty intensely for 10 days.  At the end of that time, out comes the trusty flamer.  This would be a pretty good sized torch that throws out a big swath of flame killing the little young (and tender) chickweed youths.  I know. It sounds a little blood thirsty.  Truth be told, this job would satisfy the killer instinct in all of us.  A twelve year old would love this job, but its way too dangerous.  But they would love it, just the same.  Mostly, we're planting spinach now.  The timetable is: prepare soil, then wet it , then wait for the chickweed to thrive and then flame it.  After that , I plant wide rows that will be easy to cultivate.  T-tape gets laid into the rows and that will drip water only where the spinach seeds are and not encourage other areas to promote weed growth.  After about 10 days, the spinach will have emerged in nice rows.  At that point, we'll cultivate and even slightly hill the rows and in so doing-smother the chickweeds.  It works, but not perfectly.

A word about what's available this week.  More than once, I've said the following: cold weather means extra sweet vegetables.  You can count on that.  As usual, let me know by 8AM on Friday what you'd like.  Your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2pm Friday.

Here's the list:

This week,  we’ve got
red kitten spinach $6/bag. Glorious , glorious!
salad $6/bag                                                                                                                             lettuce heads (see photo)                                               

arugula $6/bag
pak choi $4/bunch
hakeuri turnips $4/bunch. I LOVE hakeur! Eat them like a radish raw or roast.
potatoes $5/lb
carrots  $6/lb
ginger $10/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
tumeric $16/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
thyme $4 /bunch
sage $4/bunch
pea tendrils $6/bag
baby kale $6/bag
big kale$4/bunch
maybe more red tomatoes-put it down and we’ll see where it goes $3/lb
tokyo bekana NEW!- that really nice chinese cabbage, crunchy, light green $6/bag
italian and rainbow chard  $4/bunch

Here are some photos that I'd love to share with you:

Look how beautiful and amazing the spinach and greens are that we're growing in the hoop house right now!

This is a cosmic tasting head of lettuce that is available at the store this week.  Crunchy, sweet, too.

Here is the amazing hakeuri!. And freshly out of the ground.  It taste like nothing else, raw.

Here is the Red Kitten Spinach.  It really taste just as good as it looks.

Lastly, here is my picture on my "day off" (should have been working!) last week with our daughter on the top of Mt. Monanack in NH.



Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/10/2016 7:32 pm

I am going to ask you to imagine how beautiful our new greens that we're growing in the hoop house look.  You need to imagine because the photo that I took of it , as wonderful as it is- I couldn't import into the right place so that you could see it.  There are lots of boring reasons about this-won't bore you, too.  In any case, we've planted over the past few weeks, lots of spinach, lettuce heads, turnips and big kale.  All of it is happy beyond belief and some of it is ready for you right now.  Also, what I can't show you is a picture of me on top of Mt Mononack in NH that was taken yesterday.  I snuck  off with our daughter Rye for the day.  Both of us played hoockey.  She from where she teaches and me from the farm.  I wanted you to know that life for a farmer does consist of more than just  work.  So maybe by next time, I'll have figured out how to make the computer work properly.

Everything hoop house has been planted except for a small 96' by 10' section that will be used for experimental winter production, including mache, minutina and late late lettuce.  The first two are very interesting hearty Winter greens that you'll be sure to enjoy, if I can grow them properly. 

Outside, we just started planting garlic.  The promises of another seasons worth is in every clove that goes in the ground.  Today, we only planted 250 cloves because I wanted to do something different in the planting and didn't have the right stuff.  According to one of my favorite growing books, garlic will benefit from soaking in denatured alcohol for a few minutes in order to kill any mites that would be crawling on the cloves.  So that will happen next week.  But I thought it would be worth trying a row without the treatment to observe and compare.  I'll report about that next Summer.  Remind me, if I forget.

Store will be open in week.  Same ideas as last week. Bring exact change or a check (if you must) and send me orders by 8AM tomorrow November 4th.  Everything will be ready at 2pm tomorrow.The list is largely unchanged except I've added tokyo bekana, and extraordinary chinese cabbage.  Here's the list:


this week,  we’ve got
red kitten spinach $6/bag
salad $6/bag
arugula $6/bag
pak choi $4/bunch
hakeuri turnips $4/bunch. I LOVE hakeur! Eat them like a radish raw or roast.
potatoes $5/lb
carrots  $6/lb
ginger $10/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
tumeric $16/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
thyme $4 /bunch
sage $4/bunch
peppers $3/lb
pea tendrils $6/bag
baby kale $6/bag
big kale$4/bunch
green tomatoes $2/lb.

maybe more red tomatoes-put it down and we’ll see where it goes $3/lb
tokyo bekana NEW!- that really nice chinese cabbage, crunchy, light green $6/bag
italian and rainbow chard  $4/bunch

i’d say that everything is top top with the exception of peppers.  they are good, but not spectacular.  i’d have to say that everything else sits in the spectacular category.  not bragging, just reporting.


Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/3/2016 2:20 pm

 

You are about to hear about delayed gratification from a farmer's point of view. Specifically, we're talking about garlic.  It needs to be planted in the late Fall, but you won't be able to get anything out of it until early next Summer.  Sure, there are things that I could plant that would take even longer to enjoy-fruit trees, asparagus, ginseng to name but a few.  But garlic holds a special place in the delayed gratification department because of the time of year that one plants it-Fall.  I don't think that I am alone in saying that there's a certain relief in having to not attend to tomatoes, melons,peppers and eggplants.  They, like a demanding baby, can take up all your time and energy until the only waking thing that I've thought about is how they're doing.  I love it, for sure, but it can get to be too much some time.  So having to plant garlic becomes one of those last big items to do before Winter settles in.  Having said that in writing, I realize there are plenty of other things that are "season sensitive", things that must get done now or forget it.  So rather than think of it as the sole thing that needs to be done at this time of the year-lets think of it as one of a few important things.

Garlic gets planted in a nice bed of compost with an addition of organic compost.  Heads of garlic are separated into individual cloves before hand.  Giving them a short bath in a mild bleach solution can sometimes  eliminate a few disease problems.  Its important to not separate the cloves too much in advance, as they can dry out.  Each clove is settled into the dirt with the pointed side up. The top of the clove is just below the surface. Broad side down.  Do not make this mistake, as the results would be fatal (for the garlic).  Space each clove 6" apart with rows at least 18" apart.  Mulch with grass clippings, straw or leaves .  The mulch will provide a great moisture retention system for the cloves and a great pay off for the grower. Mulch also provides good weed suppression.  Your garlic plants will thank you this attention You should expect to see a small amount of growth before Winter sets in.  In the early Spring make sure that the mulch isn't smothering the plants.  Add blood meal in mid Spring, but not after late Spring, as this could affect its store ability.  Its not too late to plant.  I have some bulbs still but you can also get some from High Mowing Seed or Filigree Farm(filligreefarm.com).

Something a little different this week.  I am going to change the deadline for ordering to 8AM on Friday.  Logistically, late orders ended up a difficulty from a production point of view.  I hope you understand.  Our list remains unchanged from last week.  Next week, however, I am pretty sure that we'll have Red Kitten Spinach on the list.  This is a beautiful, smooth leaf spinach with a great taste.  Let's hope that I'm correct about this.  Below is the same list as last time.  The salad greens and kale are just remarkable at this time of year.

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- a blend of three local farm's tomatoes.  $10?jar

Sun Dried Tomatoes-$4/oz

Tomatoes- think seasonal here.  Green tomatoes for frying, pickling and making picadilli. $2/lb.

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

Pea Tendrils- this is their time of year!  Fresh, crunchy and amazing as a garnish, a substitute for basil in pesto that is of superior taste, add to salads, soups or just make a pea tendril sandwich with swiss cheese $6/bag

Salad Greens- with a great variety of lettuces, mizuna, baby kale $6/bag

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

Baby Kale- it stands alone as a salad or garnish $6/bag

Big Kale-both flat leave Lacinato and several curly varieties.  Fall is kale's moment $4/bunch

Mature Mizuna- it will happily make a great vegetable side dish. Sweet, but refreshing $4/bunch

Large Ruby Streaks-a tender, but spicy mustard.  Light wispy leaves $6/bag

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

Yaya and Cosmic Purple Carrots- Fall is the time when carrots are at their sweetest.  Yaya is orange and cosmic purple is purple (what a good guess!) $6/lb

Ginger- this is a ginger that you won't find from your vegetable supplier.  Pungent and pretty much dizzying in aroma. $8 1/2lb. Your bar drinks won't be the same either.

Turmeric- a rare offering.  We grew lots of it.  For sauce or again in drinks.  Grated with barley or any other bean you can think of.  If you make roasted potatoes, grate some of it after you've oiled and salted it.$10 1/2lb

Pak Choi- for stir fries, or another great side dish $5/bunch  These are young, smaller, tender plants

Italian and Rainbow Chard-still the go to green for great side dish or add to soups $4/bunch

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

Haukeri Turnips- crunchy and a unique wonderful taste.  You can eat this turnips raw,too-in fact they're better raw! $4/bunch

Deadline for accepting orders is 8AM Friday via email.  Your order will be available with your name on it after 2pm on Friday.


 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/26/2016 5:25 am

 

I remember my first experience of eating pesto.  It was a small revelation.  My taste buds sang and the world shifted ever so much and I realized that there was a big world of taste out there that needs to be discovered.  Over the years, our family has probably consumed gallons of the delicious stuff.  When the price of the pine nut went so high that it seemed we'd have to cease enjoying this dish, we discovered peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter.  It works just as well and a fraction of the cost.  One would need to wait till the basil leaves got abundant enough to harvest the correct amount to make a pesto batch.  That would be early to mid June.  This was a long long wait for a true fan of pesto.  But 10 years back, we discovered pea tendrils as a substitute for basil.  The result was perfect in so many ways.  The taste is just as pleasing, if not more so and the pea tendril season so much much longer.  By the time it gets too hot to grow peas, that's when the basil leaves become of harvestable size.  Then later in the Summer, when the basil is all done, it becomes cool enough for the  peas to start growing again.  That strikes me as perfect.  We're in that zone right now.  Lots and lots of pea tendrils and no basil.  Fortune smiles.  Our recipe for pea tendril pesto does not include how much of each ingredient, just experiment around.  The main thing is to have all the "right" stuff.  And who knows, you might come across and even better recipe.  Here it is:

Pea Tendrils (maybe a cup and a half

Garlic-amount depends on your taste.  More garlic, the better your health is

Parmesean Cheese-go up to Lino's and ask for the real stuff from Lino's father, Sal.  He's the only one (or wait, there's also Eric) who knows how to grind it.  Do not get that stuff in the green cardboard container.  Only use that  during desperate times.  The real stuff is expensive, but you won't regret it.

Olive Oil

Peanut Butter-maybe a big tablespoon.  The more p.b. you put in the stickier it becomes.

Put everything in a food processor and whirl it around until everything is blended.  Toss with just cooked pasta (or rice) until everything is well coated. Enjoy.

 

Here's what else we have for you this week(It reads a lot like last week):

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- a blend of three local farm's tomatoes.  $10?jar

Sun Dried Tomatoes-$4/oz

Tomatoes- think seasonal here.  Green tomatoes for frying, pickling and making picadilli. $2/lb.

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

Eggplant- striped Gallion.  Very firm and ready for frying or putting on pizza. $3/lb

Pea Tendrils- this is their time of year!  Fresh, crunchy and amazing as a garnish, a substitute for basil in pesto that is of superior taste, add to salads, soups or just make a pea tendril sandwich with swiss cheese $6/bag

Salad Greens- with a great variety of lettuces, mizuna, baby kale $6/bag

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

Baby Kale- it stands alone as a salad or garnish $10/lb

Big Kale-both flat leave Lacinato and several curly varieties.  Fall is kale's moment $4/bunch

Mature Mizuna- it will happily make a great vegetable side dish. Sweet, but refreshing $4/bunch

Large Ruby Streaks-a tender, but spicy mustard.  Light wispy leaves $6/bag

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

Yaya and Cosmic Purple Carrots- Fall is the time when carrots are at their sweetest.  Yaya is orange and cosmic purple is purple (what a good guess!) $6/lb

Ginger- this is a ginger that you won't find from your vegetable supplier.  Pungent and pretty much dizzying in aroma. $8 1/2lb. Your bar drinks won't be the same either.

Turmeric- a rare offering.  We grew lots of it.  For sauce or again in drinks.  Grated with barley or any other bean you can think of.  If you make roasted potatoes, grate some of it after you've oiled and salted it.$10 1/2lb

Pak Choi- for stir fries, or another great side dish $5/bunch  These are young, smaller, tender plants

Italian and Rainbow Chard-still the go to green for great side dish or add to soups $4/bunch

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radish $3.50/bunch

Haukeri Turnips- crunchy and a unique wonderful taste.  You can eat this turnips raw,too-in fact they're better raw! $4/bunch

Deadline for accepting orders is 10AM Friday via email.  Your order will be available with your name on it after 2pm on Friday.


 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/20/2016 9:15 am

Dar Loyal Friend of Our Farm and of Sustainably Grown Food

We are offering many things for you this week, which I'll tell you about a little further down in this letter.  For now, I'd like to touch on what our Season Extension farm is doing now, so that we can make available to you, freshly harvested food right through the end of 2016, and through the Winter.

There are many crops that are cold hearty and could care less if they freeze at night and thaw out during the day (in a hoop house).  This would include spinach, kale, claytonia, mache, minutina, chard and hakeuri turnips.  Of all of those mentioned spinach and claytonia are far in a way the heartiest.  Each of these crops has a special ability to die from extreme cold.  If you are interested in why, let me refer you to the following website:http://www.doesgodexist.org/MarApr01/WhyDontPlantsFreeze.html

Like getting things ready in the kitchen, timing is everything.  If I wait too long to plant these greens in the Fall, there won't be enough time to enjoy them until Spring. The growing process slows down so much, with the lack of both light and warmth.  Here's an example.  In the Summer, if we planted arugula, we can count on being able to harvest it in 21 days.  If I planted the same seed right now, it would twice as long.  With that in mind, we've had to clear the hoop houses of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.  But don't worry, they are all safely in boxes in our walk in.  We're not running out of them for several weeks.

After getting the soil prepped for our new crops, we do nothing for 10 days to the ground, except to water it.  This encouraged all the weed seeds to germinate.  Once they emerge, we actually fry them quickly with a powerful propane torch, leaving the ground relatively weed free.  Then we plant.

Here's what we can offer you this week.

Tomatoes- think seasonal here.  Green tomatoes for frying, pickling and making picadilli. $2/lb. There're be ripe tomatoes soon, too.  Tomatoes off the vine will slowly ripen.

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

Eggplant- striped Gallion.  Very firm and ready for frying or putting on pizza. $3/lb

Pea Tendrils- this is their time of year!  Fresh, crunchy and amazing as a garnish, a substitute for basil in pesto that is of superior taste, add to salads, soups or just make a pea tendril sandwich with swiss cheese $6/bag

Salad Greens- with a great variety of lettuces, mizuna, baby kale $6/bag

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

Baby Kale- it stands alone as a salad or garnish $6/bag

Big Kale-both flat leave Lacinato and several curly varieties.  Fall is kale's moment $4/bunch

Mature Mizuna- it will happily make a great vegetable side dish. Sweet, but refreshing $4/bunch

Large Ruby Streaks-a tender, but spicy mustard.  Light wispy leaves $6/bag

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

Yaya and Cosmic Purple Carrots- Fall is the time when carrots are at their sweetest.  Yaya is orange and cosmic purple is purple (what a good guess!) $6/lb

Ginger- this is a ginger that you won't find from your vegetable supplier.  Pungent and pretty much dizzying in aroma. $8 1/2lb. Your bar drinks won't be the same either.

Turmeric- a rare offering.  We grew lots of it.  For sauce or again in drinks.  Grated with barley or any other bean you can think of.  If you make roasted potatoes, grate some of it after you've oiled and salted it.$10 1/2lb

Pak Choi- for stir fries, or another great side dish $5/bunch  These are young, smaller, tender plants

Italian and Rainbow Chard-still the go to green for great side dish or add to soups $4/bunch

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radish $3.50/bunch

Touchstone (golden) and Early Wonder Top Beets $3.50/bunch

  Deadline for accepting orders is 10AM Friday (10/13) via email.  Your order will be available with your name on it after 2pm on Friday.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/12/2016 3:13 pm

You remember the song about the "cat came back, the very next day...?  It was a humorious kids song about how many lives a cat has.  Well, that's how it feels about Chuck (as in woodchuck).  Earlier this Summer when there were tomatoes growing at his/her level. She'd(he'd) go along from plant to plant and take a sample bite out of them.  Within one night there'd be countless dollars of damaged tomatoes.  I took evasive action and for a while it looked like the humans had won.  Suddenly, in the past few weeks I'll discover a chuck running out of a house, trying to make me think that I just imagined seeing something.  Maybe we're looking at the children of the deceased woodchucks.  We'll never know.  I'm not even sure what they're looking for.  All the low lying tomatoes have been picked.  Eggplants are too hard for them, it seems and peppers are maybe just too  much trouble.  I don't know-I'm not a chuck.  All that is apparent is that they like being around the farm.

We're running hard against the clock now.  Slowly, a few rows at a time, we're clearing out the hoophouses and getting the soil ready for Fall/Winter crops.  After creating what looks like a jungle in these houses, with tomato plants that reach 14 feet up in the air, it is a shock to come in and see bare ground.  Fall crops at Star Light are mostly kale, claytonia and spinach.  This year, I'm experimenting with chard and beets just for their greens, along with hakeuri turnips.  There is also some young but ambitious kale plants that I hope will provide that large leaf kale that people clamour for.  There will also be some late lettuce.  Any way you look at it, Fall is a great time to enjoy leafy greens. 

Meanwhile, outside we are taking the approach of planting more greens and  hooping them and covering with plastic.  We call these low tunnels.  Either place, inside or out need warmth which we also provide with row cover.  It is a cloth that emits most of the light but also provides a certain amount of warmth. 

A couple of noteworthy things about this week.  For the first time this season, we'll be offering for sale fresh ginger and tumeric.  Locally grown ginger is as different from  Stop And Shop ginger as watching  the Red Soxs on the television as compared to seeing them at Fenway.  No comparison. Tumeric is of high interest these days because of a belief that it inhibits inflamation in the body.   Its use in cooking is widely known and praised.  For soups, rice dishes and Indian cooking, it is a must.  Both the ginger and the tumeric were bought from an organic farm in Hawaii.

Here's what we can offer to you this week: And  let me know what you'd like by 10AM Friday.  Orders will be available in the shed in front of our house at 54 Fowler Ave. after 2pm on Friday

French fingerling potatoes 5/lb

Big kale, a few varieties , includiing lacinato $4/bunch

Baby Red Russian kale $6/bag

Yu Choi- $4/bunch

arugula $6/bag

pea tendrils $6/bag These are awesome greens that taste just like peas, except you don't have to get them out of the pod

Salad greens, with baby kale, mizuna, assorted lettuces $6/bag

Beets and pretty decent topsboth touchstone (the golden glorious one and early wonder top) $4/bunch

Hearty german garlic $2.50/head

Assorted peppers (really pretty and tasty) 5/lb

Eggplant. both the striped and the asian. 5/lb

Italian coastal chard and rainbow chard $4/bunch

Thyme and sage $4/bunch

Tomatoes. just tell me what you’d like and i’ll do my very best to make it happen. production has slowed way down and so far, everyone has gotten everything that they’ve asked for. its just a matter of time before i come up short. better to forewarn you. juliets, sun golds, black cherry (probably in good shape),

Heirlooms. $6.50/lb 

$6 on the pints

Sun dried tomatoes $4/oz

Tumeric  $3/oz

Ginger $13/lb

Have a great week,

Posted by: David Zemelsky
9/29/2016 5:21 am

For some farmers, tilling is a four letter word.  For others, a necessary evil.  And still others-pure joy.  The later is a variety of farmers that enjoys seeing fallow ground turn into a fluffy blanket of smooth weedless soil, ready to grow whatever the farmer wants.  For myself, my belief in tilling falls somewhere inbetween the two.  Soil is happiest when it gets disturbed the least.  Tractors driving on it and rototillers stirring it up like a food processor-none of those things helps the health of what goes on below the surface.  And what goes on below the surface?  Just so much.  Fungal and microbial growth that would defy your imagination.  Other insects burrowing through the  soil, not to mention worms and moles.  Creatures both miniscule and not so much doing their part to make the soil a happy place.  No wonder they can't stand tilling, as it rips up their happy homes, tunnels and chemical balances.  Rototilling basically takes the soil on top and puts it on the bottom. So one is inverting the  soil.  By putting the bottom on the top, one is also taking vast weed seed banks and exposing them to light and eventually germination.  So when a rototiller finishes its work, it may look weedless, but that is very deceptive.  There are now millions of weed seeds that are suddenly able to germinate.  About ten years ago, I wondered if there might be a tractor implement that just stirs up the soil rather than inverting it, therefore not exposing any need weed seeds to the surface and germination.  After a bit of research, I discovered the "power harrow".  This machine looks like a tiller but instead of blades that pull the lower soil up and push the surface soil down, this machine just stirs it around-much like an eggbeater.  It is manufactored in Italy and was sold by some dealer in California.  So, I thought we'd give it a try.  The results are wonderful.  Sub surface weeds are kept where they lie and the ground has a great surface to plant into.  It doesn't go as deep as a rototiller, but we get around that by using the subsoiler before using the power harrow.  The subsoiler literally hooks the soil and rips into the soil to a depth of 2 feet.  Water finds its way into this crack and the soil does not become compacted.  Everyone's happy.  If you'd like to know more about soil health, contact your local NOFA-CT office( CTNOFA.ORG)

Before telling you what's available at the store, I needed to mention that we it has become cool enough to start  pea tendrils again.  Look for them in about 10 more days.  For those of you who haven't tried pea tendrils- they taste exactly like fresh peas, except you don't have to shell them.  Another fall crop that is on its way is spinach.  I've had a few false starts because of the heat (spinach does not like heat), but we're on our way now.

Ok.  On to the store.  Let me know what you'd like by 10AM Friday.  Order  will be in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. by 2pm on  that same Friday.  Your order will have your name by it and the amount owed.

here’s what we’ve got for you:

French Fingerling Potatoes5/lb

big kale $4/bunch

Arugula $6/bag

Salad greens $6/bag

Beets and pretty decent topst $4/bunch

Hearty German garlic $2.50/head

Spring tower! This is an excitiing lettuce that one eats both the leaves and the core (which is delicious beyond all words) $3/head

Assorted sweet peppers (really pretty and tasty) $5/lb

Eggplant. both the striped and the Asian. 5/lb

Thyme and sage $4/bag

Heirloom tomatoes $6.50/lb-still amazing with the height of summer flavor

Juliets- $6.50 still my Desert Island Tomato

Sun Golds and Black Cherry- outstanding cherry tomatoes $6/pint

Sun dried tomatoes $4/oz

Have a great week

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
9/15/2016 6:35 am

 

Last week, I wasn't sure (seasons wise) whether I was coming or going.  Now I know, it is late Summer.  I know this because we just started our first batch of pea tendrils.  These are a sure sign of cooler weather.  Another thing would be spinach coming up.  I've tried growing this in the Summer, and failed miserably.  Its a popular green and people clamor for it.  Our latest attempt looks good. I primed the seeds by soaking them in water for 5-6 hours and then dried them in the dehydrator.  After planting them, they sprouted within 3 days.  Priming really works.

Tomorrow is our Certified Organic Inspection.  The agent comes, looks all around, pokes through our paperwork and asks numerous questions.  Even though we always pass, it is an anxiety producer.  That is why I am writing to you early because by the time he's finished with me tomorrow-I'll be beat.

Store Items:

Salad Greens-finally! $6/bag.  With lettuce, kale, mizuna

Ruby Streaks- a spicy mustard.  Light and fluffy looking and a pretty good heat to it.  Recommended $4/ 4oz bag

Heirloom Tomatoes- they're still here and still as good as mid Summer. $6.50/lb./

Cherry Tomatoes- $6/pint

Juliet- $6.50/lb Our Desert Island Tomato.  Write back and ask me why its called that

Swiss Chard $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips $4/lb

Arugula $6/bag

Beets with lovely greens $4/bunch

Garlic - $2.50/head

Assorted Sweet Peppers $5/lb

Asian Eggplants $5/lb

French Fingerling Potatoes $5/lb

Large Kale-$4/bunch

Baby Kale- $6/6oz. bag

Yu Choi- a very sweet and tender baby pak choi $6/60z. bag

Simply Gorgeous Mini- Heads of Lettuce  $2.50

Orders to me by 10AM Friday.  Pick up at shed after 2pm.

Have a great week.

Posted by: David Zemelsky
9/7/2016 7:12 pm

I am wondering if we're at the beginning of Fall or the end of Summer.  My fellow board member on the Agricultural Commission was a few minutes late for our special meeting earlier this week because she was helping get the Cow Barn ready for the Durham Fair.  If that's not a sign of early Fall, I really don't know what is.  On the other hand, our new crop of katrina cucumbers,the french string beans, the watermelon and the tomatoes are looking great , too.  That's all about Sumer.  But then again, I've got my receipt for being an exhibitor at the Fair for our garlic-now that sounds like Fall.  It can be confusing.  Maybe, we shouldn't mess with labels that much and just let the season be.

Having said all that, I need to report to you about looking forward.  I'll start with a our hoop house full of new carrots.  This was Joel's idea.  Joel, as many of you already know, is in his third season with us.  Joel gets things done around here.  One day, he suggested that we  plant mid Summer carrots for Fall harvest and Winter , too.  So we did that.  Now, there are carrot tops in different stages of development.  The earliest ones will be ready, I hope by the middle of October.  Our Summer carrots were  great (There's still some left, but I see a gap with no carrots), but Fall carrots are the best because when it gets cold, they tend to overload on producing carbohydrates (sugar!) and are profondely sweet.  Then, there's beet greens which I would strongly recommend for soups, and stir fries.  It is becoming that time to think about using your stove top more.One last evidence of Fall coming-we've got spinach coming up.  Really looking forward to a decent crop within the next 40 days.

On to the store:  Boring reminder.  Let me know what you'd like by 10 AM Friday via email.  Your order will be waiting for you at 2pm Friday in the shed to the left of our house at 54 Fowler Ave.Cash preferred, but checks are ok if need be.

Salad Greens $6/bag

Arugula (maybe for the first two orders) $6/bag

Yu Choi- a nice Asian Green, kind of a pak choi, but more tender $4/bag

French Fingerling Potatoes- now these are something to marvel at.  Newly harvested, small, tender and only flacky in texture $5/bag 1lb.

Beet Greens $3/bunch

Beetsw $3/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips $4/bunch

Italian Coastal Chard- $3/bunch.  Serious chard from Italy.  So wonderful in stir fries

Big Kale and Lacinato Kale $3/bunch

Carrots $5/bag

Heart German Garlic $2.50/head

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato -$6/pint

Black Cherry Tomato-$6/pint

Juliet- our Desert Island Tomato $6.50/lb.

Heirloom Tomato-$6.50/lb

Asian Eggplant - something to marvel at.  Even though its Asian, it made a fantastic Eggplant Parmesan $5/lb

Assorted Color Peppers $5/lb

Sun dried Tomatoes- $4/package 1oz.  These are so amazing on pizza, sandwiches or anything else. Really, anything else.  I've tried them with chocolate and that's a homerun, too!

OK. That's it.  Have a great week.  Hope to hear from you soon.

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
9/1/2016 11:22 am