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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Friday May 24, 2019

It is suddenly lunch time when I wrote this note, much to  my surprise.  I kept finding reasons not to come inside, but when I finally did, was amazed how late it was. As we all know, this is Flow made popular in that very dense book on the subject by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  But wonderful as it is to lose track of time, that's not where I'm going here.  You'll see.

I've been pruning tomatoes all morning till early afternoon.  I've probably mentioned many times-pruning is one of life's joys.  It has a sense of humor to it, some tension, some drama and often a lot of sadness.  Over the years, I've gained confidence in how to prune.  Like many of the knowledge bases on the farm, there isn't a handbook on most of the subjects that need to be tackled.  I've learned by doing.  There is one piece of advice that a wise farmer did give me that has remained close to my heart- "the answer that you're looking for is right in front of you, all you need to do is be open to see it". 

But as far as pruning a tomato goes, haven't found that book yet.  I could easily write the book, but two things would immediately emerge.  One, no publisher would want to  print it.  Its too off the beaten track.  The second thing is that if I gave you a roadmap on what to do, then you'd be denied the pleasure that many tomato pruners (including myself) get when they find their "tomato way".

To make the subject even more complicated.  There are many growers who firmly belief that the plants shouldn't be pruned at all.  They feel that one would be interrupting the natural flow of its growth.  And we all know what happens in the world when we mess with Mother Nature.  Again, I refer you to both Bill McGibbons and the recently released United Nations report on the state of the environment.  For myself, the advantages of pruning are obvious.  Tomato plants are fragile things, subject to countless life threatening diseases.  There are of course new breeds that won't get sick as easily.  But there main problem is that the fruit on these plants taste like over cooked shoe leather.  Sorry.  That's just how it is. 

A well pruned tomato plant has a minimum amount of both leaves and main shoots on it.  In that way, there'll be plenty of air circulating around the plant helping it be more resistant to mildew and countless other maladies.  Now, unlike tomato pruning, who's book has yet to be made,there are plenty of books on tomato diseases.  But by giving the plant the swish of cleansing air, and a minimum of both leaves  and suckers, you can expect to be rewarded with bigger, healthier and more beautiful tomatoes.  One doesn't get more tomatoes by pruning, however.  I prune studiously because I believe it makes the plant more healthy, bigger and more beautiful. The fruit taste better if the plant is healthy.  It fits my value system.  Which is a good thing because there's an intense amount of work that goes into a well pruned tomato.

First, you'll need someone to work their way down the rows with a huge spool of binder's twine.  The heirlooms get two strands, but the cherry tomatoes get 4.  We try really hard to limited the heirloom tomatoes to two main branches.  Its a challenge-a real challenge.  The cherry tomatoes are so vigorous in their foliage production that you'd have to stand next to the plant and  prune it all day.  (I'm joking, but not much).

As I go from plant to plant, I'm having an internal dialogue about each plant that I work on.  At the base of each plant, there can be suckers.  I take them off, as I want the entire bottom of the plant to be free of vegetation.  Let the air run under it.  Your plant will thank you.  Occasionally, a sucker will get missed.  When I finally get back to the plant, the missed sucker turns out to be as thick as your pinky.  I still take them off.  Let the energy go into other parts of the plant.  It will all work out. 

At the beginning, I mentioned that pruning can be humorous, sad, full of tension and drama.  The humor comes from finishing to prune a plant that was hopelessly neglected for too long.  Initially, it looks like an impossible task but when I'm done, it makes me chuckle to see how its been brought back to life.  The drama comes when I begin to wrestle with a vine in an attempt to wrap it around the string that is attached to the internal structure of the hoop house.  Drama can easily turn into sadness when the wrestling ends with a big branch snapping off from too much pressure.  Ah, at this point I need to put my philosophical hat on.  I've learned over the years that it isn't worth getting too upset when a branch gets ruined.  I say that, but in fact when it happens, it is usually accompanied by a cry of alarm from me.  I take pruning personally.  Maybe its like inviting your neighbors over and they will look out of the corner of their eyes in the corners of your house and see if there's really any dust bunnies lurking around.   It needs to look good in order for the tomatoes to taste good.  That's my experience.

As for the subject line above all I can say is that answers aren't always what I'm looking for.  Sometimes, its just process.  So maybe the subject line should read "Answers Are Overrated".  I don't know.  I don't have that answer.

We are now attending 4 Farmer's Markets.  Thursday on the green in Durham from 3-6:30pm.  Plenty of parking just below the green. Friday at the Madison Green from 3-6pm, Saturday at Wooster Square in New Haven from 9-1pm and for one more week at CounterWeight Micro Brewery in Hamden from 11-5pm

CSA begins a week from this Thursday, but if anyone wants to start early (and end earlier) that's fine with us.  We've got lots to choose from.  For those of you still thinking of CSA-there's still room. By joining, you'll be  essentially getting about a 20% coupon for all the food that you get this summer.  The system is flexible and ready to work with your needs.  Just pick out what you want.  If you miss a week or so for vacation time, you can make it up at the end.  Or you could start a week early.  Its all going to work out.

We're looking at the same lovely choice of products this week.  So I took the liberty of copying over last weeks text including the information about tomatoes.  Some of you have been asking when is the right time to plant.  The simple answer is NOW!.

Below is the Radiccio.  This is the Italian Bitter.  People who love bitters want this.  $3/head

Raddicio.  Its color and texture will please raddicio lovers.

 

Lettuce heads-sure there's a lot of fancy names, but what it boils down to is an amazing head of lettuce.  Between the texture and the taste, its hard to say which is the best.  I will say that you shouldn't wait long to pick them up,  they need to be treated with a certain amount of care and refrigerated ASAP $2.75/head

Spring Garlic- I don't know about you, but the garlic you'd get from S and S-its really disappointing.  Now, we can offer you our Spring Garlic.  It hasn't bulbed yet.  What you get is a stalk that is 100% useful.  The roots can be used in soups and everything else right up to the very tip can be cut up and used for a sensational garlic taste.  Does not go thru the garlic press yet. $2/stalk.

Arugula, Salad Greens or Braising Greens- all $6/bag

Spinach- $6/bag.  They'll be a bit fuller than a normal sized $6 bag

Radishes and Hakeuri Turnips-both $4/bunch.  These have been the 2019 surprise of the year, so far.  The crop is crunchy, snappy, beautiful and everyone wants them.  The turnips can be eaten just like radishes-raw. Both of them have excellent greens that can be put in salad or lightly toasted with olive oil.

Green Onions- $3/bunch.  What's there not to like here?

Swiss Chard and Kale- $3/bunch

Cilantro-$3/bunch

Pak(Bok) Choi and Tokyo Bekana- both $4/bunch.  These Asian Greens really make the difference in a great vegetable dish

For those of  you growing some of your own stuff,now would be the time to get those tomato, herb and flower starts.

Herbs are on sale this week, too.  If you buy one plant, we'll give you another of the same kind to you for FREE!.

All Herb Plants are $5/  There are 4 different kinds of Basil, for starters. Genevese,Tulsi (Holy), Thai and Spicy Bush.  They are all way different from each other and each of them are amazing in their own rights. You can't go wrong.

Also, oregano, summer and winter savory,rosemary,sage,.thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro,lemon balm, hysop.

Dwarf Sunflowers have really become more and more popular over the years.  They grow to 2-3 feet and are happy most of the Summer.  Small pots $5 and big pots $10.  They'll do fine in the pot or can be transplanted to your flower garden.

 
Below is Teddy Bear Sunflower

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/21/2019 6:40 am

Dear Breathers Who All Breathe the Same Air,

My sister told me that I should read this book that she's reading by Bill McKibbin called "Falter".  In it, according to her, McKibbin outlines the concept that if we don't do something immediately about the way our environment is going, that a whole list of unspeakably terrible things will happen to our planet.  Mr. McKibbin is not alone is this view.  The United Nations very recently published a very thorough and extensively researched report on the state of the  earth.  One of, and probably one of the most terrifying  things that they reported was that millions of species are heading inevitably towards extinction.  The UN report does state that we can turns things around, however it must be an extensive and immediate response.  The report didn't raise much of a concern from those that believe that climate change is not real.

I believe that climate change is real. This kind of news concerns me more than I can describe.  Already, people of less means than myself are suffering as a result of the activities of modern society.  I wish there was some way for me to understand those on the planet who claim that climate change is not a fact.  None of these people (or at least 99%), are people of science.  What I worry about is that most of them are the people of power who believe that the very most important thing that a politician can do is to keep production of things up no matter its environmental impact.  If the cessation of certain activitiess would mean less money in the pockets of the owners of these activities than the politicians are going to certainly vote in support of their continuance. 

This little note of mine-I hope that it finds you in agreement with its statements.  If not, then I hope that you'll look deeper into the subject.  Perhaps buy Mr. McKibbin's book and approach the subject with an open mind and find yourself agreeing with 99% of every single scientist.  And lastly, I'm hoping that for those of you who don't agree that climate change is a real thing, that you won't feel alienated by my opinion on the subject.  I feel strongly on the matter and hesitated mixing this in with our usual conversations, but only for a moment.  These are trying times on so many levels-we need to not hide from our convictions.

CSA starts two weeks from this Thursday in Durham (5/30), followed by Friday (5/31) in Madison and Wooster on Saturday (6/1).  There is still an opportunity to join now.  By doing so, you'll be getting the most flexible and delicious CSA anywhere (a very bold claim, indeed.  But I mean it).  Additionally, you'll be saving money because your CSA dollar goes so much further than a regular dollar.  Roughly speaking, there's a 20% savings. And another factor is our committment to work with you and your own personal comings and goings this Summer.  If you miss a week or two for any reason (I like to know where you go because I'm nosy, but its not required!), we'll make sure that you either get more the next week or add an extra week at the end.  If you don't want much a certain week, you can get more the following week.  You'll find us the most reasonable people on the lot.  Sign up on line.  If you're hesitating because its a lot of money all at once, get a hold of me and we'll work out something else in the payment schedule.  Just don't not join because of lack of money, we're both creative.  And getting the right food is priceless.

Most everything from last week is available this week. 

New this week is Raddicio and Red Head Lettuce. Both $2.75/head. So many people love the bitter aspect of raddicio.  This one is mild to moderate bitter.  I'd recommend trying. The red lettuce is so crunchy and sweet.   Here's pictures of them below.

Raddicio.  Its color and texture will please raddicio lovers.

Red head lettuce

Here are our pea blossoms.  Its hard to believe anything could be this pretty!

 

Make sure to read all the way to the end.  Lots of tomato/herb/flower plants for sale.

Lets focus first on pea tendrils.  Sometimes known as pea shoots, these wonderful greens are so useful in many ways.  My favorite thing is to make pesto using the pea tendrils instead of basil, which many of you, I'm sure are very familiar with.  Its every bit as delicious as basil pesto.  Look also towards Asian Culinary dishes.  Did I tell you how amazing pea tendrils taste?  Do you like raw peas?  Most people are crazy about them.  The whole plant taste exactly like raw peas.  You just don't have to shuck them.  Salads? Sure,  just add to your salad green bag or perhaps some of the amazing lettuce heads that we're going to offer this week. Its $6 a bag, but I'm hoping that the idea of putting a bit extra in each bag will convince you to give pea tendrils a try.

Above are the pea tendrils.  They taste just as good as they look.  I recommend them

Lettuce heads-sure there's a lot of fancy names, but what it boils down to is an amazing head of lettuce.  Between the texture and the taste, its hard to say which is the best.  I will say that you shouldn't wait long to pick them up,  they need to be treated with a certain amount of care and refrigerated ASAP $2.75/head

Spring Garlic- I don't know about you, but the garlic you'd get from S and S-its really disappointing.  Now, we can offer you our Spring Garlic.  It hasn't bulbed yet.  What you get is a stalk that is 100% useful.  The roots can be used in soups and everything else right up to the very tip can be cut up and used for a sensational garlic taste.  Does not go thru the garlic press yet. $2/stalk.

Arugula, Salad Greens or Braising Greens- all $6/bag

Spinach- $6/bag.  They'll be a bit fuller than a normal sized $6 bag

Radishes and Hakeuri Turnips-both $4/bunch.  These have been the 2019 surprise of the year, so far.  The crop is crunchy, snappy, beautiful and everyone wants them.  The turnips can be eaten just like radishes-raw. Both of them have excellent greens that can be put in salad or lightly toasted with olive oil.

Green Onions- $3/bunch.  What's there not to like here?

Swiss Chard and Kale- $3/bunch

Cilantro-$3/bunch

Pak(Bok) Choi and Tokyo Bekana- both $4/bunch.  These Asian Greens really make the difference in a great vegetable dish

For those of  you growing some of your own stuff,now would be the time to get those tomato, herb and flower starts.

All Herb Plants are $5/  There are 4 different kinds of Basil, for starters. Genevese,Tulsi (Holy), Thai and Spicy Bush.  They are all way different from each other and each of them are amazing in their own rights. You can't go wrong.

Also, oregano, summer and winter savory,rosemary,sage,.thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro,lemon balm, hysop.

Dwarf Sunflowers have really become more and more popular over the years.  They grow to 2-3 feet and are happy most of the Summer.  Small pots $5 and big pots $10.  They'll do fine in the pot or can be transplanted to your flower garden.

 
Below is Teddy Bear Sunflower
Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/13/2019 3:20 pm

 

How much do you think about dirt?  I'm not referring to the parts of your house that refuse to get clean.  Or the muddy tracks that someone near and dear to you might bring into the house the moment that you finish cleaning the floor.  I mean the  material that holds the trees in place, the mountains way up in the sky and the matter that is being washed away in the Mississippi Delta at the rate of a football field a minute (Seriously.  That's a whole other topic).  Its also the stuff that we put our seeds, transplants,bulbs and rhizomes in.  I'd like to share with you what dirt means to me.

For a moment imagine that you've got a scoop of dirt in one hand.  Now, envision a whole community of living things actively existing in that hand.  Some are microscopic, others you can see.  None of them know each others name, but they are all doing their own specific job to make the soil a place for other living things (like your tomatoes that we're going to give you in a few months!) to be able to grow and thrive.  Some of the microscopic ones are figuring out complicated chemical formulas in order to supply our plants with important nutrients  such nitrogen or magnesium.  Think of them as food creators.  I know this is a simplification but the reality is that none of us know how or why these simple simple creatures figured out a way to make the whole system function.  And that, in a nutshell is how I feel about dirt: Dumbstruck and in total awe.

Before telling you what's available this week, you need to hear about the new shed.  It's name is Lulu.  I didn't mean to name it, but it was inevitable.  I've 7 grandkids.  Each of the five hoop houses are named after a grandchild.  Another one came around 4 years ago, so that kid got to have a newly acquired shed named after her.  About 15 months ago,came the last (I think, but don't hold me to it) one.  No building at the time of her birth.  But two weeks ago, we decided to put a shed roof off the back of the refrigeration unit.  This will be used for washing greens and roots.  So the last grandchild got something named after them, after all.

The boards on the bottom will be coming off.  And the sink has yet to move in.  Its going to be so awesome to wash and sort things out there.

Make sure to read all the way to the end.  Lots of tomato/herb/flower plants for sale

On to the food.  Lets focus first on Pea Tendrils.  Sometimes known as pea shoots, these wonderful greens are so useful in many ways.  My favorite thing is to make pesto using the pea tendrils instead of basil, which many of you, I'm sure are very familiar with.  Its every bit as delicious as basil pesto.  Look also towards Asian Culinary dishes.  Did I tell you how amazing pea tendrils taste?  Do you like raw peas?  Most people are crazy about them.  The whole plant taste exactly like raw peas.  You just don't have to shuck them.  Salads? Sure,  just add to your salad green bag or perhaps some of the amazing lettuce heads that we're going to offer this week. Its $6 a bag, but I'm hoping that the idea of putting a bit extra in each bag will convince you to give pea tendrils a try.

Above are the pea tendrils.  They taste just as good as they look.  I recommend them

Lettuce heads-sure there's a lot of fancy names, but what it boils down to is an amazing head of lettuce.  Between the texture and the taste, its hard to say which is the best.  I will say that you shouldn't wait long to pick them up,  they need to be treated with a certain amount of care and refrigerated ASAP $2.75/head

Arugula, Salad Greens or Braising Greens- all $6/bag

Spinach- $6/bag.  They'll be a bit fuller than a normal sized $6 bag

Radishes and Hakeuri Turnips-both $4/bunch.  These have been the 2019 surprise of the year, so far.  The crop is crunchy, snappy, beautiful and everyone wants them.  The turnips can be eaten just like radishes-raw. Both of them have excellent greens that can be put in salad or lightly toasted with olive oil.

Green Onions- $3/bunch.  What's there not to like here?

Swiss Chard and Kale- $3/bunch

Cilantro-$3/bunch

Pak(Bok) Choi and Tokyo Bekana- both $4/bunch.  These Asian Greens really make the difference in a great vegetable dish

For those of  you growing some of your own stuff,now would be the time to get those tomato, herb and flower starts.

All Herb Plants are $5/  There are 4 different kinds of Basil, for starters. Genevese,Tulsi (Holy), Thai and Spicy Bush.  They are all way different from each other and each of them are amazing in their own rights. You can't go wrong.

Also, oregano, summer and winter savory,rosemary,sage,.thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro,lemon balm, hysop.

You can also get a jump on spring by buying our Baby Pea Plants.  Just stick them in the ground and in weeks you'll beahead of yourself.  $2/plant

Dwarf Sunflowers have really become more and more popular over the years.  They grow to 2-3 feet and are happy most of the Summer.  Small pots $5 and big pots $10.  They'll do fine in the pot or can be transplanted to your flower garden.

 
Below is Teddy Bear Sunflower
Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/6/2019 11:53 am

First off, I'd never be able to cover this conversation in a whole book.  But sometimes, I think its good to challenge oneself to try and say something short and succinctly and boil it down to its essence.  It taste better in the brain, if you know what I mean.  Star Light got its start, not from a long yearning to farm, but rather  for Ty and myself to find a way for both of us to get our needs met as a couple.  The notion that we could make our living in our backyard was extremely appealing.  Sometimes solutions are right under ones nose and in this case, that was literally the case.  Now, 20 years later, I'd have to say that ended up as an awesome decision.  But I digress from the question-why farm? I farm because the act of growing things reminds me that we are all mortal. We have a definite ending, as well as a beginning.  That honest food is as pure as love and just as nourishing. (Or close, anyway!) That watching vegetables  grow is a wonder unto itself, that I (for one) will never get tired of.  That customers such as yourselves are incredibly appreciative of the hard work that goes into putting those vegetables in front of you to buy.  That knowing that the food that we grow taste better than anything that you'd find at the big boxes.  So, that's my elevator pitch answer.  Oh yeah, one more thing, getting my hands dirty in soil is good for the soul.

Starting this Friday, we'll be at the Madison Farmer's Market from 3-6.  Great selection of farms and convenient parking.  Come down, so we can meet you!

CSA reminder:  This is your best way to get our food at the very best price.  Three drop off locations. Durham, Madison Farmers Market (Friday 3-6), and Wooster Square in New Haven. (Saturday 9-1pm)  If not sure if the CSA is right for you, please call me at 860 463 0166 and I'll do my best to explain with the experience might be like for you.

This week, we've got everything that we offered last week PLUS pea tendrils.  Pea tendrils are used extensively in Asian Cooking, as an amazing garnish and for pea tendril pesto.  Heartily recommended . $13/lb

Mother's Day Hanging Strawberry Baskets.  As mentioned earlier, these are magic plants.  If the person you wish to buy them for is somewhat annoyed (or even worse) with you-giving them one of these plants will guaranteed to put your relationship immediately back on the right track.  On the other hand, if things are fine and you're just trying to be nice to someone, these will more than suffice.  $25 each

Herb Plants: so many to chose from. Parsley, cilantro, thyme, summer savory, genevese basil, holy basil , spicy bush basil,thai basil,chives, rosemary. $5

Tomato Plants! Sun Golds, Juliets, Striped German, Green Moldovan, many large yellow and red heirlooms.  I make a practice of only selling tomatoes that I personally love.  That's my best recommendation.  $5/each

Pepper Plants: only Bells. Orange, Yellow and Red $5/each

We have an infinite amount of radishes, French Breakfast Radish, Rover ( a nice perfectly round red one) and a Japanese offering called Scarlet Long.  None of them are too spicy.  And they're all crisp and snappy. $4/bunch

Salad Greens- with 4 different kind of wonderful lettuces, both red and green, red russian kale, asian greens, tokyo bekana $6/bag

Arugula- really nice stuff $6/bag

Braising Greens- Big Sale!  We're chock full!  With either spicy or non spicy. Mizuna, kale, chinese cabbage, mustard  $6 for a double bag

Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Tokyo Bekana,swiss chard $4/bunch

Spinach-On sale, too.  Double bag $6

Cilantro Bunches- $3

I hope you see something that you like.  Please, just email your orders.

Have a great week.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/29/2019 3:29 pm

 For as long as I've been doing these letters, it has been my custom to oh and ah over the coming of Spring.  Not going to change that this year.  And why should I.  Spring reminds us that being alive can be all about new beginnings, old and trusted ways of doing things(like growing!) and a general sense of huge gratitude to Nature for not losing its way, inspite  of all the interference from humans (I'm not going to dig too deep in that one right now.  Hopefully, everyone reading this letter believes that climate change is real.  If you don't believe it climate change, I'll try to respectfully respect your position.  It might be hard, though!).   Specifically, this excitement about Spring change is born out of how amazing the formally frozen tomatoes are doing.  Nature has its own system for healing.  And we're seeing their magic at work.  I would estimate that only 2 -5 actually plants will not recover at all from what happened.

Here's a good example of how nicely the tomatoes have recovered! I love tomatoes!

Here's what we have to offer you this week. Mother's Day Hanging Strawberry Baskets.  As mentioned earlier, these are magic plants.  If the person you wish to buy them for is somewhat annoyed (or even worse) with you-giving them one of these plants will guaranteed to put your relationship immediately back on the right track.  On the other hand, if things are fine and you're just trying to be nice to someone, these will more than suffice.  $25 each

Herb Plants: so many to chose from. Parsley, cilantro, thyme, summer savory, genevese basil, holy basil , spicy bush basil,thai basil,chives, rosemary. $5

Tomato Plants! Sun Golds, Juliets, Striped German, Green Moldovan, many large yellow and red heirlooms.  I make a practice of only selling tomatoes that I personally love.  That's my best recommendation.  $5/each

Pepper Plants: only Bells. Orange, Yellow and Red $5/each

We have an infinite amount of radishes, French Breakfast Radish, Rover ( a nice perfectly round red one) and a Japanese offering called Scarlet Long.  None of them are too spicy.  And they're all crisp and snappy. $4/bunch

Salad Greens- with 4 different kind of wonderful lettuces, both red and green, red russian kale, asian greens, tokyo bekana $6/bag

Arugula- really nice stuff $6/bag

Braising Greens- Big Sale!  We're chock full!  With either spicy or non spicy. Mizuna, kale, chinese cabbage, mustard  $6/bag, but twice the weight!

Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Tokyo Bekana  $4/bunch

Spinach-On sale, too.  $6/ for a double bag

Cilantro Bunches- $4/bunch

To be boring-orders to me by 8AM Friday.  Orders will have your name on it, in the shed after 2pm on Friday.

I hope you see something that you like.  Please, just email your orders and we'll arrange delivery for you.

Have a great week.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/22/2019 3:03 pm

 

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