ct grown logo

TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Friday December 13, 2019

Our 2020 seed catalogues are here.  We've already started making plans for what tomatoes we'll keep and which we won't.  The pictures of promised vegetables seem to be calling to me not unlike the Sirens who tried to get Ullysses' attention to the point where his crew had to lash him to the boat to keep his temptations at bay.  Summer and  all its amazing foods seems a world away. 

But this is what keeps us in New England, too.  The changes, the contrast, the waiting.  Oh yes, the waiting.  There's beauty in diversity of decisions, but limitations have a very real beauty, too.  And in this way, we watch an end turn into a beginning.

Here's the first exciting beginning I can tell you about.  Its the carrots that Joel planted in mid November.  Barely, barely, they've begun to poke out of the soil.  As young tender things, they'll be ready to survive the Winter, small as they are.  By the end of next month, there'll be enough light for these seedlings to continue growing.  Let's hope for Mother's Day as our first harvest.  Can't wait!

The next exciting thing is that we'll be starting next years tomato crop at the beginning of January.  That ends up being a really long relationship when you think of it.  Start in January and take them out by September-that's nine months.  One can get to know a plant pretty well after that length of time.

Sometime within the next two weeks, we will probably plant a special blend of lettuce that will do something somewhat similar to the carrots-except much faster.  We should see a blush of hearty lettuces by mid to late April.

The next benchmark will probably be second Winter plantings by the end of January.  Mostly kale and other greens.  As always, plants that are exposed to cold , perceive that they are in danger of dying.  Their defense is to produce extra sugars to change the freezing point of the plant.  These sugars add a sweetness that can not be beat in our greens.  We anticipate and relish when this happens.  By the way, the plants do not die.

Below is our list for this week.  With colder weather, our window of opportunity to harvest has narrowed significantly.  Therefore, we're requesting that you let us know your wishes by 8AM on Wednesday.  Send us an email with your order.  The order will be ready after 2pm on Thursday.  Order will be in the shed to the left of the house at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham .  Bring a light if you come after dark.  If its really cold and you can't make it, we can bring your order inside and we'll carry on from there.

Now, lets talk about whats available for you this week.

Salad,Arugula and Spinach-all $6/bag

Big Kale- $4/bunch

Hakeuri Turnips and Radishes- $4/bunch

Bok Chi- $4/bunch

Star Light Gardens Sun-dried Tomatoes-$5/package

Jen and Joel's Fabulous Pickles- $8/jar

Jen and Joel's Equally Fabulous Apple/Hot Pepper Jam $7/large jar $4/small

Celeriac- $3/lb.

Ten items.  Not at all shabby.  By the way, if you've never ever tried Hakeuri Turnips,  I just want you to know how unique and wonderful their flavor and texture are.  Well worth it.

Have a great week and don't forget to eat real food.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
12/9/2019 2:53 pm

This is a short few sentences about wishing for what I don't have.  Earlier, while talking with my sister who lives in Brattleboro, I discovered that the town got wacked with tons of snow.  Everything came to a stop, apparently and the grandchildren (who live in back of her) were going nuts.  Jealousy.  It really isn't that far to Brattleboro.  But whatever it is, it seems always just enough north to assure some good snow.  Which I really like.  Now, not all of you might share this love and I respect that.  So as I sit down to write you about what we do have, it makes me mindful of what I'm missing.  AND, in saying that it brings to mind how grateful I am to have what I have.

OK.  Plenty to choose from this week.  True, I'm putting on our best face about what there is, but truly, its just wonderful that you can get freshly harvested greens that are grown within a few miles of where you live.  With the cold weather, we'll need a bigger lead time to harvest our vegetables.  So let us know by 8AM on Wednesday (not Thursday).  Your order will be waiting after 2pm on Thursday in the shed.  Money in the Payment Jar.  Bring a light if you come after dark.

Salad, Arugula and Spinach- $6/bag

Kale and Swiss Chard-$4/bunch

Radishes - $4/bunch

Lettuce Heads- $3/head

Haukeri Turnips- $4/bunch

Celeriac-  otherwise known as Celery Root.  Great for soups and salads $3/a bunch

New This Week! Sun-Dried Tomatoes/  a very excellent stocking stuffer $5/bag

Jen and Joel's Pickles $8/jar.  You will like these.  Also hot peppers

Apple Hot Pepper Jam $7/big jar $4/small jar.  Again, Jen and Joel Brand

Have a great week and make sure you know where your snow shovel is.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
12/2/2019 2:20 pm

The pluses of Thanksgiving are enormous for me.  They mostly center around my gratitude for good health, family and shelter.  I think the pilgrims were probably thinking the same thing  AND, I will have to share that there's a dark side of this holiday for me.  It was the beginning of a terrible relationship with the Native born Indians that was marked by broken promises, violence upon a whole race and the taking up of Native land.  We're still feeling the repercussions of all of this today.  It needs to be noted along with the wonderful gatherings that will be attended in the days ahead.

We'll be offering food this week with a pick up on Wednesday after 2PM.  Same deal, only a day earlier.  Get your orders to us by NOON on Tuesday.

Here's the list:

Salad Greens , Braisiing Greens, Spinach and Arugula- $6/bag

Big Kale and Swiss Chard-$4/bunch

Radishes and Turnips- $4/bunch

Lettuce Heads- $3/head

Garlic- $3.50/head

Carrots- $5/bunch

Turmeric- $3/piece

Bok Choi- $4/bunch

All of us wish you a wonderful Holiday.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/25/2019 4:11 am

First off: We'll be at a special Pop Up Market in Madison, this Friday on the Green 2-5pm.  Come look us up.

This is the learning time of the year. This is the time when we look at what we have to offer you and either say "Oh wow, that's a lot of (name a product) that we still have"  or "Oh, wow, I wish we had planted more (name another product)".  It happens like this every year.  We plan and plan and wonder and wonder and eventually plant the amount of each crop that we think will be the right amount.   The "right amount" is strongly based on past years consumption, but there's always an element of what's just right.  We keep learning.  At this stage of the game (year twenty for Star Light), I'm convinced that eventually  we just hold our breath after a careful study of what's the right amount and do what we think is best.  Things usually come out just fine.

So with that in mind, I'm going to list the products that are being taken off the list this week and try to share a few wonderful new ways for you to go and enjoy what we do have even more. The removed items are beets,onions, potatoes, pea tendrils and sweet peppers.  I know.  I'm going to miss a few of these things, too.  And, we are still loaded with tons of other amazing things.  I'm going to list what we have to offer.  When you see some things that you want,  email to us your order before 8AM on Thursday.  Your order will be waiting for you after 2pm on Thursday in our shed next to the house at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham.  If you come after dark, bring a light.  Payment goes in the jar.

Here's this week's list:

Arugula- sharp and alive with flavor $6/bag

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spinach- how sweet it becomes in the cold! $6/bag

Radishes- this is the best crop of radishes we've ever grown.  And there's a lot of them.  Rover (round and crunchy and RED) or French Breakfast Radish (RED and white, also crunchy.  A tad less spicy than Rover.  But just a tad). Japanese Red Long Radish(again RED and a bit more spicy than Rover) $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- $4/bunch.  Always, always welcomed

Siberian and Curly Kale- These guys are happy in the cold. Try and you'll see $3.50/bunch

Carrots- Please, try our carrots.  You'll get why $5/bunch

Ginger- $5/piece

Turmeric- $5/piece

Hakeuri Turnips-these white globes will bring you more peace than the teddy bear that you grew up with.  Can be roasted, but awesome to just eat raw in salads.  $4/bunch

Bok Choi-  They grew big this year.  And crunchy. Very.  A quick stir in oil with garlic and salt will be extremely pleasing.  $3.50/head

Glorious , glorious lettuce heads-  gaze at my photos from a few weeks ago.  Crunchy, very crunchy loud leaves.  $3/head

Garlic- for consumption or planting (Its not too late!) $3.50/head

Hot Peppers- $4/small basket

Parsnips- $3/lb

Cooking Opportunities?  Lets start with soup.  I've been making soup 3 times a week.  Each time, they've been a home run.  Here's my basic soup idea.  If you're going with beans, pre cook them or open a can.  Get the largest pot you've got and put in it many cut off vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions ( I know, we're out of potatoes and onions).  Sautee in olive oil, butter, or Earth Balance (butter substitute)  No need for salt if you're using vegetable broth.  Its full of salt.  Add the broth. Add a can of unsweetened coconut milk and your beans.  Barley, can also be a great addition.  Cook slowly for an hour.  Make a lot.  You'll be happy to have more the next day.  Parsley and/or pumpkin seeds are a welcome addition on top.

Next opportunity is Creamed Spinach.  Special thanks goes out to Alan and Cindy for this recipe.  Its a little more involved but still a simple recipe. 

Ingredients:

2tbsp oil                                 2eggs                                                                                    1/4 cup whole wheat flower      3-4 cups fresh spinach (from Star Light!)                                1cup milk hot                            1.5 cups REAL parmesan/peccorino                                           1 tsp salt                                 1 cup yogurt                                                                             2 tsp. nutmeg (fresh, if possible

Heat oil. Stir in flour and cook over very low heat 1-2 minutes.

Stir in hot milk, salt and nutmeg.  Cook until the sauce thicknes, stirring often.

Add 1/4 cup of this mixture to the beaten egg.  Then pour all that back into the sauce pan. Stir briskly to avoid curdling.

After sauce has cooked for a minute, add spinach.

Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for five minutes, until the spinach just wilts.  Remove from heat.

Stir in the parmesan and yogurt and you're ready to serve.  We had the spinach (Alan and Cindy) over dark caraway rye toast, and it was delicious.

I hope you like these suggestions.  The reality is that we wish we had those missing ingredients.  However, sometimes absence can create surprising results that can often come out better.

Have a great week. 

David


Sent from my iPhone

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/18/2019 12:26 pm

Two weeks ago, I said that I was going to tell you about growing carrots the following week.  Well, the weather turned very cold last week, so it seemed more relevant to write about how plants survive the extreme cold.  I should have been talking about carrots because that's what I previously said I was going to talk about.  Arlo once said to a receptive audience, "We can't always be doing what we're suppose to be doing."  So, with that in mind, here's our story about carrots.

First off, you should all know that I love carrots passionately.  A good crunchy sweet carrot is one of those things that helps me realize how awesome vegetables can really be.  It just reminds me how connected we all are to the life source that keeps the planet turning round and round.  I do not take this passion lightly.  My other name is "The Carrot Scientist", a part of who I am that is dedicated to making sure that real delicious, and nutritious carrots are available to you in as many months as possible.  One way to have carrots at odd times is to root cellar them.  Currently, we don't have a root cellar.  But what we do have is hoop houses both low and high.  And within them lies the magic.

Our goal is to have new carrots available by Mother's Day (Just in case you want to give some to that important Mother figure in your life for Mother's Day!).  To do that we actually plant the carrots now.  Yes, now.  The date that we pick is very specific.  If you plant them too early, they'll go to seed and only produce hard, fibrous roots that are inedible.  And if you plant them too late, the seedlings will be too fragile to withstand the harshness of Winter.  A formula has emerged that seems to work.  We find out when the days become longer than 10 hours and count back 12 weeks.  That is our date. 

Prep work is pretty intense.  An identified bed is broad forked and fortified with both compost and organic fertilizer weeks before our date.  Weeds are encouraged to grow so that they can be destroyed before planting.  Carrots do not like weeks at all.

This season, Joel is trying pelleted seed in our four point seeder.  Pelleted seed has an organically approved shell around the seed so that once wet, it will stay wet and make for better germination. As the seed grows, the shell melts away. That's the theory, anyway.  The four point seeder is a beautifully engineered little gem that has a hopper for the seeds and a brush holding the seeds from falling out all at once.  The brush sweeps the seed, one at a time into a machined scooped out hole that rotates in such a way as to drop the seed down a short chute.  One pulls the seeder so that the result is several parallel lines of seeds spaced out from each other the correct amount.  After seeding, the ground is gently rolled to make sure that the seed is in contact with the earth.  Then water, to soak both the ground and the pelleted seed.  After that, we'll build a small tunnel over the bed to keep it warm and encourage good germination.   We expect to see emerging carrot seedlings within 6 weeks. 

After that, our job is to keep the weeds down and make sure that the bed doesn't dry out.  The tiny seedlings stay at a very small size all Winter until we reach the a 10 hour length of day, which is somewhere near the end of January.  At that point, growth begins in earnest.  Maturity is around mid May.  Its quite a heroic journey.  I love this.  And I love the carrots that are a result of our hard efforts.

We've had a favorable response to our CSA a la Star Light.  You're part is to send us $100 and we'll give you credit at the store and/or the Farmer's Market for $120.  That is a 20% savings, which we think is pretty cool.

This week, like last week, we've an exciting array of fresh greens for both salad and side dishes.   If you see something that you like, email us back by Thursday 8AM and your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2PM on Thursday.  If you come after dark, bring a flashlight or use your smart phone.

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

Arugula-  $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots-  $5/bunch

Radishes-French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

We're concentrating on a few things that would be great to cook, namely braising greens.  Last week we introduced two braising green collections.  One has mustards, bok choi, a carrot, kale, and a few Asian greens.  All you do is lightly rinse the greens and braise in a pan briefly.  $10/bag.  The second one is a soup mix, with turnip,carrot,celeriac, radish, onion, potato, kale. Again $10.

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

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Parsnips- $4/bunch

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head  If you want to plant your own garlic, this is a perfect choice.

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/11/2019 9:47 am

After giving you a very small taste of how amazing soil is and all the  incredible things that go on down there, I thought it would make sense to talk about how some plants have figured out how to tolerate Winter. It seemed more important to talk about this than late carrots this week.( as promised last week.)

A little background first.  Twenty years ago when Ty and I started Star Light, we took a trip up to visit Eliot Coleman in Maine. Way up.  Eliot, for those who don't know is a rock star in the world of farming.  Kind of a Brittany Spears equivalent. (Or maybe JLO, depends on your taste!).  Anyway, Eliot is a very curious and inventive farmer who  realized that it was possible to have fresh food locally grown all Winter long.  Not all vegetables, of course, but a wide variety of greens, radishes, kale, chard, claytonia ( a lot more about this amazing Winter green in later weeks) and spinach.  Eliot put up hoop houses (a greenhouse without the heat) and constructed them in such a way that he could move them from one place to another.  Basically, he put them on runners, like a sled.  When the time was right, he'd get two tractors and pull the houses over an area that was planted for Winter harvesting. 

Hoophouses are marvelous ways to make a micro climate.  Covered with plastic and then covering the plants with rowcover (kind of a blanket for greens)  this system would make the world that the vegetables lived in 7-10 degrees warmer than being outside.  Also, the plants would be sheltered from the wind and the rain.

Eliot chose his vegetables wisely.  There are some vegetables that just won't tolerate  cold at all.  Tomatoes, peppers, basil, green beans to name but a few.  The ones that he did  grow for Winter harvesting had an inner wisdom about the cold.  Kale, claytonia, spinach, the ones that I call Winter Warriors, are the best suited for this lifestyle.

I find this plant skill truly amazing.  How does it work?  I'll give you a simple explaination and also refer you to a website that can explain it best.  Essentially, when it gets cold, the water in a plant's cellular structure can change density.  By doing that, the freezing point also changes to a lower temperature.  AND, its a bit more complicated than that, so I"m going to refer you to a website that will do a better job.  Here it is:https://www.newsobserver.com/news/technology/article46478820.html

Available food this week? So much! And so wonderful.  As in other weeks,send us your order by 8AM on Thursday and your order will be waiting for you in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham after 2pm.  Bring a light if you come after dark!  Payment goes in the Payment Jar.

We are offering you a money saving idea again for the rest of the season.  Its a modern approach to CSA.  For $50, we'll supply you with $60 worth of food. That's a twenty percent savings.  Just send us a check at Star Light/54 Fowler Ave./Durham, CT 06422 and order food like you have already been doing.  The difference is that you've prepaid! And Saved!  Thank you for considering this.

We're concentrating on a few things that would be great to cook, namely braising greens.  Last week we introduced two braising green collections.  One has mustards, bok choi, a carrot, kale, and a few Asian greens.  All you do is lightly rinse the greens and braise in a pan briefly.  $10/bag.  The second one is a soup mix, with turnip,carrot,celeriac, radish, onion, potato, kale. Again $10.

Another incredible vegetable to consider this week is our lettuce heads, both green and red.  Here's a picture.  They taste even better than they look.

I just took this picture out in the field.  Pretty effective with the rain glistening all over it, right?!

You're looking at both a red and green butter leaf, but there's also red oak leaf and red and green romaine.  Please specify, if there's a preference for type and color.  $3/head

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

Arugula-  $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots-  $5/bunch

Radishes- ditto.  French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

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

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head  If you want to plant your own garlic, this is a perfect choice.

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

Tomatoes-still way way better than anything from the supermarket $4/lb

Onions- $3/lb

Have a great week,


 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/5/2019 12:36 pm

There's a loud, robust conversation going on right below our feet.  Not in the usual sense of the word of "loud", because you won't be able to hear loud noises if you put your ears to the dir10/lb.10/lb.  Loud, in the sense that once you realize what's going on,  you'll feel like you hear what's going on.  Soil is an amazing  thing to contemplate.  It is literally alive and teaming with life.  Some of it you can see in the form of worms, other burrowing insects, small rodents etc.  But in sheer numbers, the microbial life in one cubic foot of soil would range in the millions or millions of millions.  Each of one of them has a specific and important job to do in keeping the health of the soil alive.  This is Nature at its most important and sacred levels, trying to keep the planet healthy.  These millions of microscopic living creatures  want to be able to make the environment that they live in the best possible place for living plants and trees to survive in.  If people could cooperate with each other at 1/100 the level that  these invisible creatures operate at,  I would venture to say that all of societies major problems would be solved.  Let me name but a few of the important jobs that all these under the ground creatures accomplish.  First off, the worms and other burrowing creatures create pathways for water and other nutrients to be distributed throughout the soil.  Other microbes affix themselves to plant roots providing them with an easy access to micronutrients and nitrogen to put  to good use in their own photosynthesis  factories operating topside.  Further, there are very sophisticated microbes that can help transmit information to fellow plants in the event of an attack by some unwelcomed pest.  The information gets transmitted electrically.  Go figure.  On a bigger scale, trees can correspond to each other if a unwanted predator and be able to create an actual scent that makes the tree undesireable to intruders.  What I"m describing is just the beginning of the story.  I encourage you to surf the web or go to the library to further this knowledge.  I, for one, am just at the beginning of it all.  Maybe for starter, try "The Secret Life of Trees".  It'll get you thinking-I promise.

Still harvesting everything from outside plantings.  A hard killing frost must be right around the corner.  Its officially late, as of this writing.  We've put up the small hoops, and there's plenty of row cover to protect the plants from frost for another 3-5 degrees.  But sooner or later, they'll get wacked with a serious freeze.  We'll talk in a week or two about how some plants manage to overcome cold.

Before mentioning the available produce for this week, I want to run the following idea up your flagpole.  We'll be offering a modified CSA plan for the rest of the year to anyone interested.  This will be CSA a la Star Light, strictly speaking.  You can buy for $50, $60 worth of our produce.  That's a 20% savings.  Nothing to sign up for, just send us a check.  You could also do $100 and get $120 worth of produce.  Once we have your check, we'll be able to take your order every week, tract your purchases and let you know what your balance is.  Order whatever you want.  If you want to order it all in potatoes or ginger that's fine,too.  Whatever you see on our list.  Mail your checks to Star Light at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham, CT 06422.  This is the best way to get local, organic produce at the best price.

Here's our list.  The Durham and Madison Markets are now closed for the season.  Except that there'll be a POP UP Market in Madison on November 22 2-5pm.  Our shed is a great place to come pick up our very fresh food.  Just look over the list and let us know by 8AM on this Thursday.  Your order will be waiting in the shed after 2pm on Thursday.  Bring a light if you're coming after dark.  Payment goes in the payment jar.

NEW this week!-Sweet Potatoes.  They're what we all need to live by! $5/lb

Braising Green- a really big bag for $6.  Probably twice the usual weight.  We're going to just get the biggest handful possible and call it a day.

NEW! Braising Green Kits.  Complete with everything needed for a stir fry.  Braising Greens, onion, carrot, pak choi and maybe a surprise or two.  $10

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

Arugula-  $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots-  $5/bunch

Radishes- ditto.  French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

Leeks-big on both size and flavor $4/bunch

Jen's Flower Bouquet- $8

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

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head

Green Tower Lettuce Heads- $3.50/each. NEW! Crunchy, and very full of flavor

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

Tomatoes-still way way better than anything from the supermarket $4/lb

Onions- $3/lb

Next week, my intention is to talk about late late planting of carrots.  They are the best!

Have a great week,

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/29/2019 9:53 am

I'm going to assume that all of you know that good food means a great opportunity for good health.  And also, you already know that many conventional ways of growing/producing food can be harmful to that very same health. 

A good example of this was brought to my attention by a simple but concise report in the latest issue of "The Cultivator" on the difference between organic and conventional milk.  The report, done by Emory University showed that in a blind test of 69 conventional and organic milk samples that the conventional milk contained pestcides, antibiotics and synthetic growth hormone residues.  The organic samples showed none.  The implications of these facts are ominous, to say the least.  For one thing, the overuse of antibiotics in livestock is directly linked to antibiotic resistance.   This threatens the effectiveness of antibiotic  treatment in everyday medical applications for both humans and animals.

"The Cultivator", by the way is magazine of a wonderful organic watchdog organization called The Cornucopia Institute.   Over the years, they've exposed weak and questionable practices in the organic food movement, often documenting how the USDA has bent over backwards to help huge companies get their organic label.  Big business has corrupted the organic movement and made the label in many cases dubious, to say the least.  The best thing is to buy local and "know your farmer".    If you can do that, that will go a long way for you and your health.  It is truly unfortunate that it has come to this.  The organic industry has many wonderful, dedicated and committed people within its ranks, however it is wise to stay skeptical of nationally marked brands of organic products.

On to farm business, though.  I would have to say that as it stands right now, we are sitting on the most eclectic variety of wonderful produce ever.  Diversity has always been the key to so many positive things.  At our farm market stand this  Saturday at Wooster Square New Haven, we had 25-30 different things to chose from.  Some items are always popular , while others are in need of a nudge from me to help show you new things.  I'm going to talk about one of them.

Braising Greens.  We now have beautiful, big robust, tasty, nutritious greens for you to cook and use as a wonderful side vegetable on your dinner plate  (or even a lunch plate).  A lot of people are reluctant to try them.  And I get that.  Its new, different and maybe a bit strange.  I will say, with total conviction that braising greens will satisfy - and in a big way.  So, to encourage you, we're going to offer the $6 bag of greens to be overstuffed.  Try some, and let me know what you think.

Other news: Impending killing frost has got to be just around the corner.  We've had about 3 light ones that have hardly said "boo".  But today is October 21st, so it won't be long.  Promise.

To that end, we're busy putting up small hoops for our outside low tunnels.  These will be covered with plastic, making for a good, temporary home for the greens that will spend the winter "outside".  These low tunnels are actually a micro climate that  gives the plants another 5-8 more degrees of warmth.  There'll be a few experiments, too.  For example, we've some swiss chard that is well established already.  In the next week or two, we'll completely cut it down to almost a stump and let that winter over.  In the late Winter, we'll be looking for new and tasty growth.

Our winter date for planting carrots will be coming up in a few weeks.  I'm going to hold off  talking about this late planting until next week or maybe the week after.  This activity is one of my favorite things to do and to share with you.

For those of you who are new to our ordering system, let me say the following.  Read the list below and decide what you'd like.  Email us back before 8AM on this Thursday with your exact order.  Come to our shed next to the house at 54 Fowler Ave after 2PM on Thursday.  Your order, with the price stuck on it somewhere , will be waiting for you.  If you are coming after dark, bring a light.  There's a payment jar on the table.  We think that this is an awesome way for people to get great food without having to shop the supermarkets.  Hope you'll feel the same.

Note: The list below is a copy of last weeks list, just in case you noticed some of the same photos.  There's something soothing about repetition sometimes.

Braising Green- a really big bag for $6.  Probably twice the usual weight.  We're going to just get the biggest handful possible and call it a day.

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

Arugula- not to be boring, but this is arugula's moment to really shine $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots- boring to say cause I'm being so repetitive, but carrots are most sweet and crunchy right now $5/bunch

Radishes- ditto.  French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Pak or Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

Leeks-big on both size and flavor $4/bunch

Jen's Flower Bouquet- $8

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

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head

Green Tower Lettuce Heads- $3.50/each. NEW! Crunchy, and very full of flavor

Lemon Grass- $3/bunch

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

Tomatoes-still way way better than anything from the supermarket $7/lb

Onions- $3/lb

Have a great week,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/21/2019 8:30 am

Before I get started, I feel that its important to share with you that NOW is the very best time to enjoy greens from Star Light.  Our greens are outstanding all year long, but they are most outstanding in the Fall.  The mustards, the spinach, the salads, the kale and chard etc- all our designed to knock your socks off just as effectively as the tomatoes can in the Summer.

A few weeks ago, the Durham Library sponsored a potluck supper as part of a bigger move to promote the "one book one durham" concept.  The potluck was intended to underline the theme of the book called "This Is Where You Belong" by Melody Warnick. This book is all about making your immediate surroundings, including local businesses so much more important and satisfying then they currently are in your life.  Yes, its about buying local and yet so much more.  Its about the wisdom of putting your dollars into a local choice and helping to keep those dollars within the community.  Its also about how your life quality changes for the better when you are more connected to all the other immediate people close at hand. 

I'll give you a quick example of that.  My daughter in law in Northampton, MA is at home with the two small kids.  She needed to bring the car to get the oil changed at the service station, which is located at the end of her block.  On the phone to the mechanic she said that she'd bring the car down but wasn't sure, with two little kids how to accomplish that.  "No problem! Just leave the keys in the car, and I'll walk down and pick it up".  Such a simple, perfect solution.  She wouldn't have gotten this kind of service from Jiffy Lube!

Its just a small beautiful fact that when you interact with those immediately around you, they know who you are and are more interested in trying to make things work better for you. 

There are also problems with thinking along this model.  True, the local hardware store  owner may know your kids and your kids kids, but that doesn't change the fact that a hammer will probably cost more there than at a box store.  For people on a very tight budget,(which is most of us!), that would be the factor that weights the heaviest often.  Its a deliema that we all face.  In the long run, keeping our dollars local helps preserve the immediate experience of your environment not being flooded with corporate entities.

Buying organic locally grown food works the same way.  Its more expensive than Stop N Shop on the one hand.  But it is fresher, more tasty (a fact, not just an opinion!), less of a carbon footprint and the growing practices are environmentally friendly.  Plus, by supporting your local farmer, you're helping to keep the dollars earned right here in our community, as opposed to surrendering your dollars to a big corporate box store.

It is not too late to participate in this "One Book One Durham" event at the Durham Library.  There's a book discussion this coming Monday (10/21) 7:30pm or Saturday (10/26) at 11am.  I hope to go, and hope to see you there.

We'll be at three Farmer's Markets this week.  Durham on Thursdays from 3-6, Madison on Friday from 3-6 and Wooster Square on Saturday from 9-1pm.

If you're ordering from us for the first time, our system is easy.  Just email what you want from the list below.  Deadline for ordering is 8AM on Thursday.  We'll process your order and have it waiting for you in our shed after 2pm on Thursday.  If you come after work and its dark, just use your light on your phone!  Or bring a light.

As I mentioned above.  Greens are at the top of their game at this time of the year.

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

Arugula- not to be boring, but this is arugula's moment to really shine $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Braising Greens- a lot of hearty zesty mustards, mizuna for an awesome side vegetable dish $6/bag.  Seriously.  You should try these!

Carrots- boring to say cause I'm being so repetitive, but carrots are most sweet and crunchy right now $5/bunch

Radishes- ditto.  French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Pak or Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

Leeks-big on both size and flavor $4/bunch

Jen's Flower Bouquet- $8

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

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head

Green Tower Lettuce Heads- $3.50/each. NEW! Crunchy, and very full of flavor

Lemon Grass- $3/bunch

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

Tomatoes-still way way better than anything from the supermarket $7/lb

Onions- $3/lb

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/15/2019 10:27 am

Dear Friends,

I hope that you won't think it presumptuous of me to share with you about my trip to the Shetland Islands.  If so, just skip ahead to  the food part of the letter.  I'll understand.

The first thing that you need to know is-why Shetland.  And I got asked that a lot.  Not just by friends of mine around here, but by fellow travelers and even the citizens of Shetland.  Why would you want to go visit a very small isolated place in the middle of basically nowhere.  A place where the sun shines sometimes and the wind blows all the time.  The answer to Why Shetland is not easy to answer.  I'll start by saying that it looks so damn inviting on the map!

Two years ago, just before Ty got sick, we made a decision to go travel.  This, in itself was a rare decision on our part.  We'd barely gone anywhere in all our years together.  Her vote was for Italy and specifically the mosaics of Ravenna.  My vote was for Shetland.  She, at least, had a professional reason for her choice.  Mine was just a gut feeling.  We "compromised" on going to Italy.  "We'll go to Shetland on our next trip". 

When the diagnosis of cancer came, we very quickly realized that the trip (we'd now bought tickets) should be cancelled in favor of treatment.  Whether that was a good decision or not remains a mystery to me.  I do know that the treatment looks to me like it hastened her death.  But we'll never know  So now, two years later, I decided to do the Shetland trip.

Shetland is really small.  One can get from one end to another in less than  2 hours.  My trip was well planned, but only because I enlisted the services of Sarah from Sponzo Travel (Yes, this is a plug!).  With her help, I was able to get a well formulated trip going.  One can take a ferry to Shetland. Its 12 hours.  It made most sense to just get there, so I flew into Sumburgh Airport on the very southern tip of Shetland.  From there, I picked up my tiny Kia and began my first mantra.  "Look to the right.  Drive on the left."  This worked. Oh.  One more thing about arriving in Shetland.  In order to leave the airport, I had to cross over the landing strip of the airport.  There was a person at either end to direct traffic in the event that your departure coincided with a plane arrival.

My next six days were spent sleeping in Lerwick, the largest and only city on Shetland.  Beautiful, quaint and easy to get around.  I used Lerwick in a most effective way.  Thanks to a great walk book that I picked up online,  I'd  pick a destination that looked great and drive there and then walk.   This was absolutely wonderful and rewarding.   Two important things to say about walking. 

First is that the trip convinced me-I am a walker.  Who knew?  I've known for some time that I"m a runner and a biker, but didn't realize that walking is totally me.  I would refer you to Thich Nhat Han's very wonderful book called "How To Walk ".  The main premise is that every step is an opportunity to arrive where you are.  In other words, being able to immerse yourself in the Now will help you to become fully present.  How many times in our day to day life, to we get totally distracted by details, both large and small who's presence in ones brain can be annoying and nonproductive.  To me, this is a lifetime pursuit.  One that I'm very willing to engage in.

The second thing is that Shetland is positively beautiful.  Not in some of the ways you might think of, but in its own unique way.  No trees and a constant wind.  A wind so strong that for the first time in my life, I began to understand how disruptive wind could be, especially if it knocked you off your feet.  That never happened to me, but it got close.

I got a new respect for birds and seals.  They were mostly everywhere.  There was one walk that I took around a large penisula where a group of six seals followed me avidely  for most of the first half.  They were so curious about what I might do next.

On day six, I visited the only vegetable farm on the island (according to them).  It was called Transition Turrifield.  It was a small place, with a lot going on.  They grew most of the same things we did with a lot of success.  Which is amazing because there's a lot going against farming in Shetland.  For one thing, the soil is oozing with wet.  Their outdoor plot had a big moat around it that would help with soil drainage.  They had numerous Hoop Houses (called Polytunnels there).  The actual hoops were the discarded hollow tubes from salmon farms that were used to deliver food to the salmon.  Very resourceful.  Early on they made a call to people around to bring them discarded tires.  They would mound them up and use them as a wind break.  Again , very resourceful.  But, as Penny (one of the owners) said, the damage to their crops from wind was of big concern. 

Climate change has affected them, too.  The days were often less sunny now affecting crops as well as the quality of the light.  Penny expressed concern for their future.  But even so, she showed me the sight of several more polytunnels that will go up in the next few years.  Their mission is to both educate the community about the value of growing, and hope that other people will start their own gardens. Additionally, they must make their farm a viable business.  It was an amazing project that looks like its working.

My next stop after Lerwick had to be cancelled-a big disappointment.  Off the mainland of Shetland by 20 miles is the very small and very mountainous  island of Foula.  Because the wind was so fierce at this time, the ferry was cancelled.  Instead, I went to Yell (yup, no spelling error here!).  I spent two nights there and continued enjoying and relishing the walking.  It was here that I began to appreciate the Norse tradition of Shetland.  I saw on my travels in Yell, many excavated Norwegian sights from 1000's of years ago.  Shetland use to belong Norway, but the king of Norway in the mid 1400's  used Norway as a security deposit for his daughters dowry.  Somehow, the Norwegians never got it back after this.

My last stop on Shetland was Unst, which is the most Northern piece of land in the UK.  It was here that I went to Hermaness, a bird sanctuary.  Its beauty is unmatched in my book.  It is home at certain times of the year to hundreds of thousands of birds, including the Puffin.  Unfortunately, the puffin had already moved on before I arrived.

I'll stop my description there and leave you with a few thoughts.  First, it was wonderful to travel on my own.  At the time, I was nervous that it would be lonely.  Not at all the case.  The situation helped me to be adventurous and decisive.  This trip will probably be a trip of a lifetime for me.  I feel lucky and in awe of how amazing the world really is.  And complicated.  For all its pristine qualities , the local newspaper was full of a controversy between those who wanted to reduce the carbon footprint by utilizing wind power and those who were equally concerned that a wind project would destroy the peat environment that one finds there.  It occurred to me that WOW, even in a remote place like this, there are no simple answers.

I hope that you enjoy the photos.

 

Moving on to our food.  There's lots, as you have learned to expect.  If you'd like, come to the Durham Farmer's Market this Thursday (and for the next two Thursdays after this)  on the green from 3-6pm.  If you'd like to order from us and pick up at the shed,  please write us back before 8 AM on Thursday.  Your order will be waiting for you in our shed at 54 Fowler after 2pm on Thursday.  If you come after dark, bring a light.  Self pay in the payment jar.

Orders in by 8a.m. Thursday for 2p.m. pick up out front.

If you're ordering or picking up for the first time at the farm please reach out to us with any questions or if you'd like to check the place out.

Remember please email  directly at our new address starlightgardensdurhamct@gmail.com

Simply replying to this email will do the trick

Cherry Tomatoes are now officially a Summer Memory.  I hope you enjoyed them.  Regular tomatoes?  We hope to have some, so order up and we'll see what we can do.  $7/lb.
 
New! This is our first week for shed orders!  Ginger and Turmeric.  Both are of excellent quality and flavor.  They are totally a different and better experience from buying either one at Stop N Shop.  And its smell is also amazing.  For the ginger, the stems are also of use for teas.  Turmeric's value  as an anti-inflammatory are well known and documented.  A good sized piece is $5 for either one.
 
Peppers of multi colors and the same for eggplants-both $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Arugula-$6/bag

Pea Tendrils-$6/bag

Braising Greens-$6/bag

Red Russian Kale-$6/bag

Spinach-$6/bag

Swiss Chard,Kale and Collards $4/bunch

Bok Choy -$3.50/head

Potatoes- newly dug and as full of flavor as anything anywhere $5/lb

Garlic -$3.50/head

Hot Peppers- $4/basket

Radishes- $4/bunch

Green Lobo Radish- $4/bunch

Hakurie Turnips $4/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Leeks-$4/bunch

Scallions-3$/bunch

Lemon Grass, Thai Basil, Holy Basil, Parsley and Cilantro $2/smallbunch

Award Winning Flower Bouquets $8/each

Last word would be a public appreciation for Jen and Joel's work while I was gone.  I almost think that the place runs better when I'm gone!  In any case, thank you both.  A spectacular job was done!.

Have a great week

Date Sent Subject # Sent Dr- aft Send View Delete
Create a New Mailing List Email
10/6/2019 9:21pm Shetland

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
10/7/2019 7:36 am