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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Thursday April 18, 2019

 

In the subject line, I really wanted to use the word "exploding".  It just seems in these times of international violence that we should tread lightly on using such a word.  What I'm trying to get across though is obvious.  Almost minute to minute, the season is changing. New greens coming out of the ground and amazing buds on all the trees.  Just drive along any road and take in the suttle red haze on the very common red maples.  All of this to me an an ominous way, "the system (nature) still works".  And still, its hard to understand why after all the abuse that humankind has bestowed on the planet.  It would be great if the next sentence was a perfect solution for helping to save the planet.  I don't own such a sentence.  And yet, that doesn't stop me from cutting down on plastic, biking rather than driving and paying attention to what will help.  What will (can) we all do.  As Helen Keller once said: "Alone we can do so little: Together we can do so much!"

There's so much this week.  Not just in terms of vegetables in the ground, but now, starting plants from the nursery.  Here goes:

In the nursery there's herbs, vegetables and Hanging Strawberry Plants.  The strawberry plants will produce the most delicious and aromatic strawberries you could ever imagine.  And they keep producing all season, too.  As a Mother's Day gift there 's no match.  This is simply your homerun solution about what to get.  If the person you're thinking of and you have some kind of a roadblock-this plant will fix it instantly.  I personally guarantee it!  And for those of you who are not experiencing any kind of roadblocks,  this plant will keep the road clear forever! Right.  Not just for Mother's Day, but the next 365 days.  Granted, this is quite a claim, but I've seen it over and over.  Done deal.  $25

Herbs: All $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- genevese is the basil that is most requested by chefs.  This particular variety is well suited for a pot on the back door or deck.  Doesn't need to be in the ground.  Will keep going for a long time, as you prune it.

Cilantro and Parsley-very happy alone or apart

Rosemary, Summer Savory,Thyme,Sage

Its a tad early to  put your tomatoes in.  However, its not too early to think about it!  We have a huge selection for you.  All Certified Organic.  There's some of my regulars like Sun Gold, Juliet and Paul Robeson.  But many others, too.  I'm going to create a small brochure on the website so you can see what we're talking about.  My past experience tells me that we grow a really great tomato plant based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback that I always get.  So before you buy those Big Girls and Boys at Agway,  think of us first.

In the world of flowers, we have miniature sunflowers (Firecracker,Teddy Bear and Sunny Smile) and Hanging Nasturium Plants.

In the world of greens, lets start with the braising greens.

Tokyo Bekana-a fresh chinese cabbage with unusually crunchy, and delicous leaves  $6/bag

A mix of mizuna,spicy mustards, chard, tatzoi  $6/bag

Red Russian Kale- $6/bag

Salad Greens- with claytonia (almost its last week), minutina,lettuce, mizuna,kale, red choi.  This is truly an epic mix $6/bag

Arugula- top of our game this week.  $6/bag

Radishes and Hakeuri Turnips  $4/bunch.  Crunchy (times 10!)

Claytonia-possibly last week for this Winter Warrior.  The plant now has a very small and edible white flower.  This is also the signal that the life cycle is spinning to a close $6/bag

Spinach- tasty tasty as ever.  But over run with so much.  two $6/bag for the price of one!

As usual, send me your orders by 8AM Friday.  Your order will be waiting for you in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave after 2PM.  Bring exact change or a check

Have a great week.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/17/2019 9:18 am

Dear People Whom I Love To Write To Every Week

Some of you are in a position to have to "judge" the people around you in how they're doing their job.   It may not be the best part of the work, but it is necessary.  Certainly, I've had to do that over the past twenty years.  All and all, the people who have come to work at Star Light have been at the very least "really good".  And sometimes they've been better than that by a long shot.  Once, there was a dud of an employee-or maybe twice.  I forget.  Some have gone on to start their own farms, which is also kind of cool.  Everyone of them was hired by me, which means that my track record for judging how someone will work out is pretty ok.  Where I'm heading with this is to share my wonderful experience working with Jen and Joel. 

First thing you need to know.  They work hard.  Real hard. And with passion and enthusiasm, too.

Second thing.  They've recently shared with me that they're engaged!  That's pretty cool, too.  Don't worry.  I checked with them first before making a public announcement about it.  They met because they're both in the farming community, which is a small small world.

Best of all. Besides working hard, they're learning so much about farming and asking all the right questions.  In farming, the answer is always right in front of you, you just need to know how to read it.  And they do.

And then best of all beyond the "best of all" that I just mentioned.  They think of this as their farm.  When you talk to either one of them, you get a real sense of ownership.  All of this translates to even better and more exciting varieties of Star Light food.  Some of you already get it.

This week are choices have expended again.

Potatoes- $3/lb except if you order 10 or more lbs, then the price changes to $2/lb

Hanging  Strawberry Baskets for Mother's Day.  You'll be glad if you buy one.  They are so definitely the right thing to buy for Mother's Day.  The other day, I bumped into one of my neighbors who bought a basket from us several years ago.  They told me that their strawberry plants are still alive and produces amazing berries. Something to consider-$25

Salad Green- now more than ever, beautiful Garrisoon, Red Leaf and Outredieous lettuce in our mix.  Also Red Russian Kale, Claytonia, Tatzoi, Mizuna. $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag We're now 2 weeks into this year's crop.  Such a pleasure. Beautiful leaves and a snappy taste.

Radishes- I'll cook dinner for you for a week, if you don't find these radishes the best ever.  $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips-same offer! $4/bunch

Spinach- half price sale again.  Full spinach taste for salads, soups and stir fries.  $5.50/lb

Braising Greens- with hot spicy mustard, kale, tokyo bekana $6/bag

Pak Choi- I love pak choi.  $4/bunch

Claytonia- our Winter favorite is going to be done in another 1-2 weeks.  Still tender, beautiful and delicious. $6/bag

Garrison Lettuce Heads.- we're going to try something new.  They aren't really heads.  More like several small heads banded together with a rubber band.  It'll be fun. $3/"head"

Tokyo Bekana- light and crisp and having a flavor that has always come out on top.  $4/bunch

In looking ahead.  We've got tons of herbs, tomato plants, flower starts.  All magnificent and certified organic.  Keep watching for what's available in the next week or two.  In the meantime, you can get out in your gardens and get the soil ready for these new members of your family.

CSA is waiting for you.  Totally flexible terms.  You'll only get what you want and at a discount.  If you're away for a week because of a holiday, we'll tack a week on at the end.  Its a "can't lose" scenario.  Sign up on the website at:starlightgardensct.com

Orders do by 8AM Friday.  Pick up at the shed after 2pm.  Bring exact change. Self service. And thank you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.  Have a great week.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/8/2019 1:47 pm

 

I'd say that 5 or 6 days ago it suddenly dawned on me-Spring is really starting to unfold.  Let's see, the daff's in the front yard. The snowdrops in the side yard.  The peepers putting on a serious racket somewhere in someone else's backyard.  Edible flowers forming on the claytonia.  The most interesting to me though is how the lawns look around houses.  There's a change towards green.  So suddle that its almost easy to miss it.  Kind of like a coloring with pastels.  I hate to use frosted because then the description feels like a Kincaid painting i.e. glitch but hey that's kind of how it is.  And then almost hour to hour you can see the change.  I like that.

With the coming of Spring came the first planting of tomatoes.  Farmers are particularly keen on being the first to offer tomatoes for sale.  I'll admit it.  So it shouldn't come as a surprise that we put our first round of  tomatoes in the greenhouse last Friday, March 22.   There's a sturdy oil burning furnace in there and we can keep them safe and warm.  HOWEVER, what  I didn't count on (and should have), was that the furnace would develop a problem.  I won't bore you with what the problem was.  But somewhere in the middle of the night, it stopped working.  These greenhouses only hold the heat for so long and very rapidly the temperature starts going South, if there's no additional input of hot air.  By morning, most of the planets had suffered freeze damage.  Now, I'd be the first tell you-the world will not end over a bunch of frozen tomato plants. HOWEVER, when one sees the damage at first, that's what it feels like.

Many thoughts went through my head. Some of them, I'd rather let you use your imagination about.  But was did secondarily occur to me was that I could have taken a preventative step and bought one of those awesome systems where by one installs sensors in the greenhouse and your phone will tell you if something goes awry.  $4-500, maybe.  Sure, that's a lot of money, but so is the loss of the plants.  And that's what I mean about going through the same lesson too many times.  This has happened to me before.  Furnace breaks and plants die.  Not a good situation.

The good news is that not every plant died.  And the ones that died-most of them didn't.  They're going to be set back, but plants are like resilient children.  They've both got inner strength and know how to bounce back.  These "dead" plants wll put up new shoots and by July this whole episode will seem like the kind of bad dream you have after eating too much pizza.

A beautiful stand of Arugula (right) and Red Russian Kale (left).  All the greens are new for this season. 

Lots for sale this week:

Braising greens: $6/bag with hot spicy mustard, milder Asian greens, kale and spinach.  For reasons that I can't explain, braising greens are more popular than ever.

Salad Greens- $6/bag. lettuce, asian greens, claytonia, minutina

Spinach- on sale this week for $6/one bag $8/two bags $11/three bags

Strawberry Plants in Hanging Baskets (ready for Mother's Day).  These are the seascape variety.  Truly tasty beyond all measure.  These are homerun presents those people on your Mother's Day list.  Pre order by sending us a check for $25 to reserve yours.

Arugula- $6/bag  Nice, first cut of the season stuff

Potatoes-  again, we're selling an amasing french fingerling for a great price. 5-10 lbs $2.50/lb  Over 10 lbs- $2/lb

Mizuna-$6/bag  More nice stuff.  Tender and very multi-layered  flavor

Pak Choi (Bok Choi)- $4/bunch.  Small tender heads.  Shanghai variety.  But the name doesn't really matter.  All pak choi is worthy of its name.

Please let me know, if there's anything of interest for you on this list and we'll get your order going.  As always, we appreciate your business so much.

Have a great week.

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/2/2019 7:32 am

I'm going to rave about all the growth, delicious food, and potential to enrich your diet that you could imagine.  Its a good positive picture and for that I'm extremely grateful.  But before we get into that, I need to talk a bit about Farm Sustainability. Spoiler alert-most of the issues that I might cover are really difficult and solutions are even more so.

I was at the Transfer Station on Monday. That would be The Dump for those of us who remember that that was how it worked.  Now, we make large mountains of trash elsewhere, rather than store it in our backyard. This time of year is a heavy usage of this facility by Star Light.  All the trash and riff raff that got missed before Winter came on are still here and need to be dealt with.  This is not a clean job by any means.  There's always plastic sheets that have outlived there usefulness, that have been lying around all Winter, gather water and dirt (i.e.dirty, wet, muddy  water).  Picking this stuff up always means getting soaked with this liquid nightmare.  Anyway, the truck gets filled up at one point, so its off to the dump (I mean Transfer Station).  For those of you who haven't been there, it looks like a big gigantic open mouth ready to digest anything and everything that comes its way.  Yes, its a bit on the intimidating side.  So the picture looks like this: here I am, the organic farmer, friend of the earth, living the sustainable life.  And what am I doing-throwing away truckloads of plastic.  This does not feel good.  I'm standing there, pulling all this plastic out of the truck, thinking about all this.  And at the same time, being mindful of the catastrophe going on in Africa after the typhoon hit.  None of it made any sense.  Well, unfortunately, the typhoon in Africa does make sense.  The number and severity of high catagory typhoons has gone up astronomically in the past 15 years, as the sea water temperature rises. So, I don't have any major conclusions to offer up here.  I do know that collectively, something different is going to happen for the world, or else we'll all be in a terrible situation.  By the way, poor people with little or no resources are already vulnerable in a way that most of us can not begin to understand.  I'm still saving plastic bags when I can.  Also, you may already have noticed-your orders are now coming in paperbags.

Lets talk about what Star Light has to offer you in the way of fresh, alive tasting vegetables.

First, lets touch on the very best Mother's Day present ever-hanging strawberry plants.  As I've said before, this gift is guaranteed restorative, if you're in need of getting back in the good graces of someone who is line for a Mother's Day present.  And if that's not the situation for you and your relationship with the potential Mother's Day gift recipient is fine-then think of this gift as a validation of how good a job they are doing (being a parent never ever stops, trust me)!  To reserve one, please send a check for $25, there's a limited supply.

Miniature Sunflower-  some are already blooming.  Others will follow. $5 Here's a link to see what they look likehttps://www.johnnyseeds.com/flowers/sunflowers/dwarf-sunflowers/sunny-smile-f1-sunflower-seed-1815.html

Cilantro Plants- $4

Arugula-first crop of the season from this years seed. $6/bag

Salad Greens-$6/bag

Potatoes-still some left.  Still awesome. Still on sale. $5/1lb bag. $6/2/b bag

Spinach- serious serious amounts of spinach on sale.  $6/bag. Double bag $9. Triple bag $11.  This spinach is better than better.  Its really awesome and sweet.

Claytonia- $6/bag

Braising Greens- with several really interesting Asian and other greens in it $6/bag bag

Bok(Pak) Choi- $4/bunch

Radishes $4/bunch. First of the season! Yay, Spring is really here.

Hakeuri Turnips-  a crunchy treat.  $4/bunch

As always, you'll need to email your orders by 8AM on Friday.  Pick up at the shed after 2pm.  Your order will be marked with your name and the amount.  Thank you, as always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
3/28/2019 12:17 pm

There are two people that I want you to meet (on paper).  Their names are Heidi and Evan.  Along with their 12 year son, Huckle, they live in a very small straw bale house in East Ryegate,VT.  This house, which includes the most amazing post and beam frame, sits on the edge of a big forest that they  harvested for both the frame and every single board.  Heidi and Evan work harder than most people- a lot harder.  And if you look closely at the details of their house, you'll get a sense of who they really are.  I'm going to spend a few paragraphs talking about what happened in their lives and by the end, hope that you see the connection to pretty much everything in the world, and especially farming. 

Ty and I met Evan first while our daughter Rye was enrolled in an outdoor leadership program  that Evan was on the faculty of.  Later, 10 summers ago, we spent a weekend visiting Rye while she was working with them on the straw bale addition to their house.  That's when we met Heidi and Huckle.  It was a great weekend, with a lot of great food, amazing company, good work and some homemade music , too.  I should mention at this point, that their house is off the grid, meaning they don't have electricity brought in by the VT power company.  This posed no problem to us that weekend, as we had lived many years in VT without imported electricity.

Anyway, life went on in its usual manner for both of us.  Rye stayed in loose contact with them, and we heard about their progress thru her.  One day, Evan wrote Rye and informed her that the barn that they'd been working on for the past 5 years had burned down and tragically, someone was sleeping there at the time and had died in the blaze.  This barn was very close to their home and would have also caught fire if it wasn't for the amazing efforts of the volunteer fire department.  All members of the family were safe however, and so was the house.  Needless to say, they were all traumatized by this horrific event.

What happened after this is yet another example of the resilience that lies within all of us.  A friend of the family convinced them to immediately rebuild.  A GOFUNDME site to help with the building cost also materialized seemingly out of nowhere. Contributions came pouring in. Neighbors , friends, strangers from near and far (that would be me) brought in food and other essentials.  New barn plans were drawn up.  A demolition and clean up of the barn pursued.  Newly harvested lumber was cut and a sawyer started making boards and studs for the future barn.

Since construction began, neither Heidi or Evan have taken more than one partial day off.  Now, they are also busy getting their farm ready for a Spring launch.  Trays of starts are all over their house. Their hoop houses are poised for a huge spurt of growth once they have time to water everything.  I should also mention at this point, its not an animal barn, its more like a nursery for their starts, a shop and other farm activities.

My, wanting to be part of something bigger than myself mode, kicked in at one point, so I've been their twice to help.  My carpentry skills are intermediate at best, but still every board cut, every nail hammered in-that brings them closer to a finished barn.  The two weekends that I spent there were rewarding and exhausting.  Its the two of them and how they faced this huge obstacle that hit me the most.  Although, they look young to me, they aren't youngsters.  Their health springs directly from a healthy lifestyle-one that encompasses hard physical labor, active outdoor recreation and great food from their farm.  But that's not all.  And this next point is my main reason for writing about them in the first place.  They face life with enthusiasm, with problem solving skills close at hand and most importantly with a great sense of collaboration.  Collaboration between the two of them and all the many people who have come to their side to help solve this problem.  I respect this skill.  And even more to the point, recommend that all of us look around at our own lifestyles and try to notice-are we working with the flow or against it?  When we meet with people in our day to day life, are we prepared for confrontation or collaboration?  Heidi and Evan- I send you my gratitude for allowing me to participate on this journey of yours.  And I send you my very best wishes.

If you wish to follow their journey further, go to their facebook page https://m.facebook.com/smallaxefarm/

Star Light this week:  As always, put your orders into us by 8AM Friday.  Your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2PM on Friday.  Payment goes in the payment jar.  No change, so bring exact amount.  If its warm, it might (no, not might-it will) be muddy.  Remember, if you come after dark, bring some kind of a light.  Another thing, if you order-please do remember that you ordered.   I know that getting food from us involves a tad more than going to Stop N Shop, but it is also true that its worth the extra effort because the quality of the produce is so good.

Here's what we'll be offering.  By the way, radishes are coming in 2 weeks or less!

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- $10/jar.  Sweetly memorable sauce

Joel and Jen's Pickles- crisp,spicy(a little) and extremely pleasing $6/jar

Potatoes-French Fingerlings $5/lb OR $6/for 2lbs.  Such a deal.  10/lbs for $25.  Share with your neighbors

Spinach-  $6/for 6oz. bag OR $10 for 2bags

Salad Greens- now with red lettuce in addition or claytonia, kale,$6/bag

Braising Greens- $6/bag

Claytonia- $6/bag

CSA memberships are still available for you.  This, as I've said many times before is your best venue for organically grown local food at the best price. Go to  starlightgardensct.com for more details.

Have a great week full of positive collaborations and experiences with everyone you meet!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
3/14/2019 10:33 am

Last week's note mentioned all the big Star Light events that we were anticipating last week.  One of them, getting a new furnace hooked up for the nursery really got gummed up.  Two things, specifically, helped slow things down.  The first is that the propane company was not happy with how I hung the furnace from the rafters.  My approach was to screw two metal post into the frame and hang the furnace from threaded rods, like they showed me in the manual.  Easy solution, though.  I asked Sparky, owner of Foreman Welding to weld those post to the hoop house frame.  Done.  But the other situation has to do with the tanks, themselves.  For new installations, the propane pipes need to be charged and observed by the Building Inspector.  By looking at a measuring device attached to the system, they can tell right away if the propane is safe in the pipe or if its leaking somewhere.  Sound easy, too.  However, the recent storms have scared the Inspector off.  I've been expecting them for days.  Now, I"ve been reassured that he'll be coming first thing tomorrow morning.

All of this is a good thing.  Room.  Where do we find it.  I've already turned my living room into  a makeshift nursery.  Currently, there are 300 strawberry plants in threes, potted up in 100 pots.  No sofa, no end tables, just strawberries.  More on the strawberries later.

This should not sound grim, hopefully.  It is just how things go.  There will never be an end to situations that need problem solving at Star Light.  Never.  They say that looking for solutions is good to prevent loss of memory, and dementia.  If that is really true, than I"m all set.  And so is Jen and so is Joel for that matter.  However, they're a lot younger than me, so that concern is farther off on the horizon for them.  Lucky

CSA is adding members every week.  But there's still room for you.  This is the best way to make sure that you'll have the vegetables that you like at the best price.  The farm benefits from this model, because we'll be able to get an infusion of cash from your deposits now.  Otherwise, this time of year is a harder time to create cash flow.  I mention this because, like in everything that I share with you, I want you to better understand what it takes to put food from a small sustainable farm on your plate.  To sign up, go to our website at: starlightgardensct.com Click on "CSA2019" and follow the prompts. 

What's immediately ahead to look forward to? Radishes, turnips, head lettuce to name but a few.  Can't wait.  Thank you to all of you who ordered last week and remembered to only write to Joel.  You all batted 100%.  I didn't receive one order.  They all went to Joel.

 

I used to call this my living room.  With the nursery still waitng for the propane people to finish their job, its turned into the obvious place to start Mother's Day Hanging Strawberry Plants  (MDHSP).  As soon as the roots hit the soil, they began to grow.

What isn't there great to say about Bok Choi/Pak Choi?  In stirfries, in salads.  Its as if you invited a guest home and to show their gratitude, they made themselves into the most satisfying meal in the world.  That's a guest!

Mizuna: an answered prayer.  At this young stage, wonderful wilted in a stirfry or as part of a salad or even as the salad.

 

 

Here's the list of what you can get this week.

Northfordy Farm Amazing Tomato Sauce- a very fine product.  $10/jar

Potatoes- still at reduced price, while they last.  1lb/ $5. (not a deal!) 2lbs/for $6.  10lbs or more (best deal) $25/bag

Turmeric- varies in price from $4-$7.  Its frozen and stays very well that way.  Shave off what you need and put it back in the freezer

Spinach- $6/bag

Claytonia $6/bag

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spicy and Beautiful Mustard Greens $3/bunch

Big Kale- first of the season $4/bunch

Pre -ordering on Mother's Day Hanging Strawberries.  Here's what's important to know about this possibility.  They're a guaranteed home run with who ever you give them to.  If its someone you want to get in the better graces with-home run.  If its someone whom you already are in great graces with already-even bigger home run.  If it is someone that you're not in either bad or good graces with before giving them the plant- home run.  Won't fail.  They are exciting gifts to get and they'll keep producing strawberries for a long time.  And taste?  An abundance of cosmic taste!  Part of a list of things that we do well at Star Light that will make you jump directly up in the air upon tasting.

Deadline for ordering will be Friday 8AM.  Your order will be waiitng for you in our shed after 2pm on Friday.  Look for your name and the amount.  Bring a few extra dollars if you ordered turmeric to account for price variation.  If you come after dark, bring a light.  Payment goes in payment jar.  Bring exact. Checks are ok.

As usual, I am grateful for all of your support and appreciation for what we try to do for you.  Good local food is an important way to stay as healthy as you can.  This is food that feels alive.

Have a great week!

Posted by: David Zemelsky
3/6/2019 5:05 pm

Four really important projects are taking place this week.  I'll take them in any old order!

Firstly, there's photosynthesis.  Its really happening!  This of course means that some of those things that have been missing lately are going to appear on the "Available" list in the near future.  Radishes, lettuce, hakeuri turnips, beet greens, swiss chard.  In a month? Maybe less?  We'll see.

Second,  we're improving the road into the farm.  For years, it has been a touch and go experience when larger vehicles try there luck here.  There's been more than one 14 wheeler who's had to call a tow truck.  It can get a bit embarrassing, too. I'm going to give a plug to my son, who's doing the work. He is ready to listen to any of your dreams of what to do with walkways, driveways, stonewalls and interior stonework, too.  He's been doing it for 20 plus years and is good at it.  I wouldn't recommend him if he wasn't good!

Thirdly, is our undercover walk-in.  About 10 years ago, we bought a walk in cooler that sits opposite our processing shed.  Works great.  And its tight, so it holds cold or hot very well That's why we identified it as a good place for an undercover hospital.  Not for people, but for our grafting tomato operation.  Jen has spent the better part of the day, clearing out the potatoes , which have been stored there since last fall (And that's why, we keep having sales on potatoes.  They need to leave.  See pricing below).  There's shelves and heaters and humidifiers and a hygrometer/thermometer in there.  We're going to be using this space for our soon to be grafted tomatoes to recover.  Its not really a hospital for people, but for tomatoes, after we cut the heads off of one and clip them to the base of the rootstock.  If this all sounds confusing, please look back to previous letter that talks about grafting.  Don't want to bore you twice.  More news of how we're doing will come to you as soon as we make news.

Lastly, I've been installing our new furnace (Its called a "Hot Dawg"!) over the past few days.  Almost done.  After that, it depends on our propane people to set the tanks and fire up this machine.  Our last furnace was way too little, although, I didn't realize it until I went to size a new one.  We're looking for a minimum temperature of 60, which is actually a big deal when you consider there is only plastic to keep the heat in.  No insulation.  And then, with the new road, we'll be able to get refills on the tank more easily because  the propane truck can get to the tanks.  It all dovetails together.  Almost sounds like we know what we're doing!

 

Here's Jen in the new Undercover Walk-in Hospital.  Temperature is 75 degrees. Humidity is 80%.  Ideal on both counts.  Humidity supplied by blue humidifier in back of Jen on the floor.   Shelving is ready for newly grafted tomatoes to recover from the procedure.

For you Sungold believers.  This is a very good height for this time of  year.

Happy Tomato Plants waiting for opening day (the launch of the newly refurbished nursery).  They're be plenty to purchase come the beginning of May.

 

This week, you have to email your orders directly to Joel at : smithbissett@yahoo.com  That's the only way its going to work this week, because I'll be out of town Wednesday-Friday.  If you email me, there's only a remote chance that I'll see your request.  So let me be boring: If you're ordering something,  write only to Joel at smithbissett@yahoo.com   Easy, right?

Ok.  Here's what we have

Potatoes:  These are prices you can't sneeze at.  Also, the quality.  All fingerlings, red and purple.  1lb bag $5 (not a great price) BUT for $6, we'll sell you 2lbs.  If you want 10lbs, its $25 (or $2.50/lb)  I will remind you that if you think that 10lbs is too much, go knock on your neighbor's door (even if you don't know them!) and see if they'll share.  Could be the start of a new friendship! You never know

Spinach- strong supply now.  $6/bag

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Braising Greens- perfect for stir fries.  Just a tad spicy, too. $6/bag

Peter's Amazing Northfordy Tomato Sauce-  you might want to check this one out. $10/jar

Star Light Pickles - referred to by customers at Cityseed as "The Perfect Pickle".  I couldn't pay for such a recommendation. $6/jar

Turmeric- $2/oz.  Pieces range in price from $4-$7.  Bring extra bills  with you.

Lastly, we're hoping that CSA might have your name on it.  It is virtually the best way to get great food for the best price.  You'll save 20% off of our regular prices.  Visit the website for more details.  Convenient pick up at Durham Farmer's Market, Madison Farmer's Market or Wooster Square.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read what things I'm thinking about in terms of farming

I hope you have a great week, with great food.

Posted by: David Zemelsky
2/26/2019 1:17 pm

 

The report from Star Light this week is : Spinach.  And a fair amount, too.  What I've noticed is that a lot of farms don't like to grow spinach because it needs extra attention.  It needs to not be overwhelmed with weeds for one.  And also, if the nutrients in the soil are not at the proper levels-then the spinach doesn't taste as good as it should.  On the other hand, with cold weather, we're already doing well , because cold produces extra carbohydrates in the fiber of the crop.  And carbs mean sugar.  However, if one's soil is too high in nitrogen, spinach can taste a bit bitter.  Like everything in your life-too much of a good thing- isn't (good). Our strategy is to add compost, organic fertilizer and a small amount of alfalfa meal.  This is something that must be added in the early to mid Fall.  When its cold, chemistry slows right now in the soil.  For that matter,  growing slows down, too. 

So assuming that we have the amendments right and the weeds under control, then we are in a good position to be able to supply all of you with great spinach.  Modestly, I have to admit-people love our spinach.  There is one customer, who'll remain nameless, who is probably my must enthusiastic  spinach customer.  I don't think he'd mind me disclosing his 30 minute driving to secure his weekly supply of spinach.  He has a few special recipes that help him enjoy our spinach.  There is one in particular that I'd like to share with you. Thanks and credit goes to Allan and Cindy for this recipe.  Here it is:

Creamed Spinach

2-3 portions

2 tbs oil                                                                                                 1/4 cup whole wheat flour                                                                           1 cup milk, hot                                                                                            1 tsp salt                                                                                                    1/2 to 1 tbs nutmeg.  Preferably freshly grated                                              1 egg beaten                                                                                              3-4 cups spinach                                                                                         3 tbs freshly grated parmesancheese                                                            1/4 cup plain yogurt

Directions

-Heat the oil in a 2 quart skillet Add the flour and heat for 1-2 minutes.

-Add in the milk, nutmeg and salt.  Slow cook , till everything thickens. 

-In a measuring cup, add 1/4 of this mixture to the beaten egg. Then take that egg mixture and add back to the larger sauce pan, stirring to avoid things to curdle

-After a minute, add all the spinach to the sauce pan

-Cover tightly and cook for a few minutes, just until the spinach wilts

-Stir in the parmesan and yogurt.  You're ready to enjoy!

 

Growings on the farm are going well, but maybe a little slowly for my taste.  Not that there's a choice here.  With the amount of warmth and light we're getting, things are pretty normal.

In the next week or so, we're going to see improvements to the road to the farm, including a culvert at the bottom of the driveway.  This upgrade will help some of the larger trucks that need to get into the farm.  This would include the heating oil truck, UPS truck and the propane truck.  We're also going to dig a trench in front the hoophouse that is way down the hill.  When it rains really hard, water tends to go right through this house, taken live plants and soil.

We still have room for you in our Spring/Summer CSA.  As mentioned before, being a member of the CSA would help make the cost of buying locally grown food much more affordable.  There's also a lot of flexability on our part to get you the foods that you want most.  If you miss a week for Summer vacation, we'll make sure you can make up the week later.  If you're not sure about the benifits and pluses of CSA-contact us and  we'll walk you through it.  Getting your food will be easy.  Sign up on our website.

This week:

Lets talk potatoes first.  They are lovely french fingerlings, both red and purple, with an exquisite flakey texture.  Its been an amazingly productive crop but now we'd rather get the space back for our grafting operation. So we're running a special for you.  !lb bag is $5.  For $6, we'll make it two lbs.  If you want 10lbs, that'll be $25.

Spinach $6/lb

Pickles-crunchy and just a little hot are $6/jar

Salad Greens - $6/bag

Claytonia- $6/bag an unusual and wonderful green that's only available in the colder months thru late April.

Braising Greens- $4/bunch.  With spicy mustard greens, too.

Turmeric- $2/lb.  If you order turmeric, bring along a few extra bucks.  The exact price of turmericcan vary from $4-$7.

We're also pre ordering Hanging Strawberry Plants for Mother's Day and beyond.  These are very awesome and popular.  The berry type is seascape.  They will produce for a long period of time.  Since they usually sell out, ordering and paying for your plant now insures that  yours will be there when you want it.  $25 in a plastic hanging pot

Your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2pm on Friday.  If you come after dark, bring a light.  Put your payment in the jar.  Make sure to let me know what you want by 8AM on Friday.

Thank you for being part of what we do at Star Light

Have a great week.

David

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
2/21/2019 6:09 pm

 

This week is a watershed moment for me and my kids.  I've debated whether to share this with all of you because one never knows what's appropriate or not coming out of a farm letter.  Ultimately, I've gone with my gut, which has told me-share.  This Valentine's Day is the first anniversary of Ty's passing.  It has been a full, sad, and sometimes sweet year.  I'm comfortable bringing it up here because growing food for all of you is personal and special.  Some of you are friends, some of you I'm friendly with and even some of you-well, we've never met.  But the act of growing food, good nourishing food that other people will benefit from puts all of you in a special class for me.  No doubt, there's an intimacy of sharing the harvest with all of you that draws me to share this with you.

This is not meant as an eulogy for her.  That's already been done.  I'm just going to be marking this anniversary in a way that feels right for me.  I will also share that all my kids and I have learned to lean on each other for support in ways that no one would have guessed a year ago.  We are planning to mark the day all together. Laughing,crying, who knows.  At some point, we might start filling photo albums that I've bought for the occasion, so that each family can take home images of  how we all were many years ago, with Ty  sitting center stage.

There is one important thing about Ty that you might be interested in.  The idea, the very kernel of the idea to start Star Light Gardens was hers and hers alone.  Without her vision, none of this would have happened.  Star Light has become the single most important job I've ever done.  It has demanded creativity that I had no idea existed inside of me.  Physically, the work has helped bring me into toddler senior citizen range, as opposed to a full out senior.  Still, I'm not willing to admit that I'm of senior age, except for when it comes to movie tickets! Because of this and so many other things, I am so grateful to have been able for us to share our lives together all these years.  That's all I have to say right now.  Oh wait.  One more thing.  In my mind now, it is no longer Valentine's Day, but rather Valenty's Day.

In looking at Star Light this week, I'd have to say that for us,Spring is already here.  There's regrowth of spinach out in the houses.  And lettuce patches that were sown in early December, are just now starting to take off.  Transplanted hakeuri turnips and beautiful radishes have established themselves easily, thanks to the paper pot planter.  In the basement, there are rows and rows of grow lights, helping tomato plants start to learn how to reach for the sky.  And lets not forget those most popular miniature sunflowers and herbs.  They're all growing happily and warmly downstairs.  Very soon, our new furnace will be installed in the nursery and we'll be enjoying the new space with "real" sun light.

This is exciting!  These plants were started at the beginning of January. They look so happy.

This is Jen's way of keeping the good spirits working for us.  Not sure where she found this little guy, but it all seems to be working!

We love growing pea tendrils.  They taste exactly like fresh peas!  You barely need any soil to make this work.

This should give you an idea of what goes on in the basement.  You're looking at growlights over a few dozen trays of our starts.

Here's what we can offer you this week.

Northfordy Tomato Sauce - $10/jar.  This is awesome stuff.  Not to be missed

Turmeric - $2/oz .  If you order this heavenly thing, bring extra dollars to account for extra unforeseen weight.  A typical tuber cost from $4-$7.

Potatoes- They are still awesome and yet, they need to get to your home and not stay with me any longer.  Special incentive price: 10lbs/$25.  Or $5/for a one lb. bag.  They will please you, guaranteed!   Split the bag  with your neighbor.  Ask them! If you don't know them, this could be the start of something special in your neighborhood!

Applesauce- made with High Hill Cortland Apples and Star Light herbs and spicy peppers.  Just a tad spicy  $6/jar

Joel and Jen's Outstanding Pickles- crunchy/ a tad spicy and altogether a marvelous pickle experience.  $6/jar

Spinach- $6/a bag.

If you'd like to order something, email me at: Starlightgardens@comcast.net Assume that the weather will be ok and therefore, look for your order in the shed.  The payment jar will be handy.  Please  let me know by 8AM Friday.  You can pick up your order after 2pm in the shed on Friday.

Lastly, thank you for letting me share all of my thoughts with you.  That means a lot to me.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
2/13/2019 3:48 pm

 

I want to talk to you the graft.  No, not like what we think might be going on with some government officials.  Graft, as in grafting-as in grafting tomatoes.  This is a big big subject in the world of farming, but I'm going to try to slim it down for you because if I go into too much detail ,(which probably wouldn't be that interesting anyway) you'd probably lose interest.

Simply stated, the purpose of grafting is to make an average plant into a Hulk Hogan of a plant!  For real.  To do this, we "simply" cut the tops off of two plants.  One is the flavor that you're looking for (the scion), which goes on top and the other is the rootstock-which goes on the bottom.   If one can get these two parts to reattach to one another, we are left with a supercharged plant, capable of an enormous increase in production and  more more immune to the diseases that can often befell tomato plants, particularly if one plants tomatoes in the same ground year after year.

I use the word "simply", however the process to get the two to grow into one plant can be very tricky.  For years, we've tried to  do this, with a certain amount of success (i.e. a questionable amount of success).  However, this year is going to be different.  Here's why.  I finally see that we'll be able to make an accurate cut in both the rootstock and the scion with the use of a new tool from Johnny's Selected Seed.  It has a gauge on it, that will insure that both cuts will line up.   We start by planting  rootstock in one tray and the scions in another.  After 19 days or so, the stalk is thick enough to be able to work with it.  One snips off the top of the rootstock using the new tool that will achieve the desired angle.  Then we do the same to the scion.  Now it has the opposite angled cut.    After both parts are cut, we put a clip on the rootstock and slide the scion in so that the two newly cut surfaces will match up. 

After that, we keep the new plant warm and moist. No severe light for a whole day .  After that, we gradually increase the light for a few days.  If all goes well, they will be fully healed and ready to grow after another 10 days. This is an awesome process.  So wish us good luck!

This week here's what we have to offer

Northford Tomato Sauce- $10/jar.  Grown with love and care and full of a taste experience that you'll never find even if you search high and low in the gourmet section of Stop n Shop

Turmeric- $2/oz.  All week, I've been brewing tea with turmeric and am convinced that there are few things on this planet that are half as good as turmeric for everything that might ail you.  If you order turmeric, bring a few extra dollars.  The weight is not exact.  A typical piece weight around $4.  But it could be more

Fingerling Potatoes-  a special again.  I'd love to move them out of here! 10lbs for $25.  Get together with your neighbor, if it feels like too much.  If you order 20/lbs, the price goes down to $45. 

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spinach - $6/bag

Pak Choi- $3/bunch

Star Light Pickles- with a hint of hot pepper.  Crunchy and alive! $6/one quart jar

Spicy Mustard- $6/bag

The order should be emailed no later than 8AM tomorrow, Friday.  The weather won't be too cold, so look for your order in the shed.  Bring a light if you come after dark.

CSA is open and ready for you.  As I've said before, CSA is the best way to get real and local food at the very best price.  Sign up on the website: starlightghardensct.com

Enjoy the ups and downs of this weather.  It is unpredictable.  As the former Governor of California recently said: "Welcome to the new Abnormal!"

Stay healthy and eat smart,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
2/7/2019 5:24 pm