Wednesday June 3, 2020


Your generosity in regards to the strawberry raffle was awesome!  Thank you for opening up your hearts and wallets to help create a success.  All and all, we were able to send to ULA (Unidad Latino en  Accion) over $700.  This outpouring of support for individuals and families of Latino descent, who are the essential workers make it possible for all of us to have food, healthcare and  many other things.  The world of gratitude thanks you.

Real food raised me out of a funk this week.  I'm still puzzling over how amazing this was.  It started Saturday after finishing my day of work.  For one thing, it had been hot and I felt fried.  Earlier, all but four of the commercially bought grafted tomatoes were now in the ground.  The deal with grafted tomatoes is that if you plant them too deep, you'll lose the benefit of them being grafted at all.  A tomato plant is capable of putting out roots anywhere along its stem.  If the plant is placed in a hole in the soil below the graft, then the root system might have roots that come from the part of the live plant that you just want to grow up, not down.  The main point is that one needs to pay attention to plant them at the right depth.  It takes concentration and a lot of energy.  So by the time I was done, I felt wiped.  And a bit sad.  Why? I couldn't really tell you.  But when ever sad comes along, I usually go with the feeling and don't fight it.  Instead, I went for a great bike ride and created some energy from the exercise.  Upon returning, grabbed two bowls and went to the farm to see what I could create for dinner.  In very short order , I had several beets, some carrots, garlic scapes (more on them later), a red onion and snow peas.  Upon getting to the kitchen, a big pot of brown rice was put on the stove.  The vegetables (except the snow peas), got put in a bowl and tossed with olive oil and salt.  After that onto a cookie sheet and into a 425 degree oven for 11 minutes.  The snow peas got tossed in the wok and were also ready within 2 minutes.  The experience of consuming this meal just made me whole again.  Don't know where the sad went and didn't see any reason to ask further.  This little story really tells me that real food can work for you in ways that might surprise you.  Just saying...

Ok.  Store opening at 8AM.  Lots of good things.  Some in decent amounts, too.  Yes, some things are going to sell out, just like last week. If something is sold out when you first look, try coming back to the store later in the week because there might be more then. Consider garlic scapes, your second piece of the garlic treasure march in front of us.  Young tender and so full of flavor!  Chop them up and sauté or just put in your salad dressing.  Only happiness there.  Only.

We're still offering delivery for $10 by Susie's Smart Shop.  We're just passing the price along from Susie.  Not charging you a surcharge on her services.  She'll do  Middletown and down to the shore near New Haven.  East Haddam, too.  If you're interested, and not sure if she'll do your town, give me a call.

Also, consider pea tendrils.  There's still several weeks left  to their season.  One can make just as good if not better a pesto using pea tendrils.  And while we're drooling over peas, there'll be snow peas (see story above) this week.  The supply is ok, but pretty sure they'll sell out quickly. 

I recommend reading  over housekeeping from last week to make sure that you are ordering effectively.  I will say, no confirmation email after you ordered means that the order didn't go thru.  Maybe try again.  Call, if you get frustrated or confused.  I'll answer.

Everyone please stay smart and safe.  This pandemic is still with us.  I know we're all tired but all this relaxing of protocals  might prove to be a misstep.  I hope not.  My gold standard is Dr. Fauci.  If he saids that its ok, then I'm good with it.

Until next time, have a great week

The Farmers At Star Light

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/1/2020 5:32 am


BC? AC?  Simply Before Covid and After Covid.  Now, as the Governor said,"Everything is upside down.  If you love your grandparents you WON'T give them hugs."  I can't figure it all out.  But there are two things that are very clear to me.

First off, to me the Supply Chain that they talk about every day is vulnerable.  Is it going to collapse?  I certainly don't know.  And I hope not.  It does point out to me the absolute value in strengthening are local food chain.  All of you who are buying real local food are helping to build this system for now and hopefully for the future.  Is there hope that our local area could create a food supply that could reduce our dependence on Industrial Meat,Vegetables, Dairy etc? Again, I don't really know but hope that its true.  This movement to create more locally grown food has been on the forefront of  the minds of owners of most small sustainably growing farms like Star Light since Day One.  So yes, please keep buying from us and other favorite farmers of yours and at the same time be aware that you a part of a bigger whole that could change the way that we bring food into our homes.

Second, is something that has already been written about here.  Undocumented Immigrants, here and in all other states are unable to benefit from the stimulus packages created by Congress that U.S. citizens currently have.  And yet, in this world of Essential Workers, this segment of the population has been a huge percentage of this segment of the work force.  This would definitely  include meat packing plants, garbage collecting and many other essential jobs.  And, as widely reported by both the Washington Post and The New York Times,  the undocumented  are vastly more likely to have contracted Covid-19.  The disturbing truth is that  these people are being looked at as disposable by big business.  To me, this is just a simply case of doing the right and just thing. 

With that in mind, I am proposing one more raffle (there'll be more) to help benefit this population of people, living among us, but not treated with the same respect as everyone else.  This time the prize will be the first container of strawberries.  Yes, strawberries!  I can absolutely guarantee you that these berries are so sweet that you'll  do exactly what happens when you try one of our tomatoes.  You'll jump up in the air with delight. Guaranteed.  I know this because if the truth be told, I've sampled these berries already.  You'll find in the online store a place to buy raffle tickets.  For every dollar donated, I will match and donate the same amount.

Both of these items are directly related to how you, Star Light Garden-ers (ha, just made that up!), get or don't get the food that you want on the table each night.  And further, hopefully you agree that there are better ways to both treat the people who bring that food to your table and better ways for that food to be grown for you. Let's now, with this virus turning everything upside down, try to figure out how we can produce food closer to where we live .

Ok. A few housekeeping things.  Remember that when you order, you should expect to get an email confirmation of that fact.  If you don't get it, try again.  Without that email, no one knows if you ordered or not.  Pay attention to deadlines for ordering.  Clearly, written all over the store, but if you get confused, no worries, give us a call.  All pre- ordering is either SNAP/ CSA or PayPal.  Even if you aren't a paypal member, it will still take your money thru your credit card.  It all seems to be working pretty darn good.

Head lettuce back this week.  And pretty.  There's now a big surge of tomato plants in the ground, with more to follow this week.  Same for eggplant and leeks.  We're simply growing great food.  Our job is mostly hard work.  Nature does a lot of the rest.  If I sound proud of us, its because I really am.

Have a great week, as always








Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/24/2020 8:56 pm

The season went around the corner this week.  I can almost tell you the exact moment, too.  In the early morning I took a run.  Long pants, hat, gloves, extra shirt.  It wasn't crazy cold, but it wasn't warm either.  Then later, while working in Hoophouse D (otherwise known as Shiloh, after grandkid number 5), the sun suddenly  came out, the humidity filled the air and it was time to sweat.  Probably around 2:30, maybe Wednesday.   This helped me remember why we start early when it gets warm-hoophouses can really hold and generate heat if the sun is doing overtime work.  Since then, a lot of things happened.  The grass erupted out of the ground and grew several inches in a very short time.  The tomato plants got bigger and more complicated and radishes that were very slowly getting ripe-got ripe.  This all happened while we were all looking in the other direction.  This means that the Summer Marathon of longer days and lots of weeds and lots of food and lots of work will begin.  Once the tomato crop comes in, it almost feels like they're running the show rather than us.  Almost.  Cause ultimately, we've got the handle on all this.

Good moment to give a tomato progress report.  Currently, we've got Sven (Hoophouse named after grandkid number 3) almost totally planted with tomato plants.  Joel, being resourceful, has planted a lot of wonderful things in between the rows.  We're talking radishes, lettuce, beets, and basil.  All of which will be long gone by the time the plants start ripening.  Because of this warm weather, I've been going over each plant and making sure that they're all doing what they need to do.  A video would be very effective here, but perhaps a few words will give you an idea.  If left on its own, a tomato plant will produce a basic bush that can be almost impossible to harvest from.  So we train them to go up a string (binder's twine, to be more precise).  The string is attached to the framework of the hoophouse.  Each plant will have four main branches for the first four vertical feet of growth.  In order to convince the plant that that is what's best for it, I have to prune the suckers and wind the four main branches around the four strings.  And here's the thing; with the warm weather, these plants are putting on vertical growth and suckers.  At a certain height, we'll stop suckering them , but for now, its a constant maintenance in order to keep them in line. 

I love tomato work.  Its about the most favorite on farm job that I know.  Mostly because it feels close to what I imagine mediation to be.  My mind has trained itself to understand what the plant should look like and how to make that happen.  This was never anything to be learned from a book-its a discovery process.   That's probably what attracts me the most to this task- the creativity and discovery that goes along with it.  There are rules that I've created over the years.  These are rules to both follow and know when to let off some slack.  For example, its important to have as few branches near the bottom of the plant.  Free moving air makes for a happy plant, which means removing several of the first lower leaves.  It seems severe, but for sure its what the plant needs.  Its late Sunday night and I'm already looking forward to being able to prune  tomorrow.  Lucky.

The farm is good. The people farming- we all seem happy.  And the vegetables are the happiest.  At least, I think so(on both counts).

Other news.  We're attending two more markets this week.  Durham (Thursday 3-6:30)and Madison (Friday 3-6).  Madison will be running like Cityseed. You'll need to pre order.  There's a choice in the online store for Madison.  Come visit us in Madison if its more convenient.  BUT, its only a pre order situation.  Here's the website for Madison.

Delivery is still an option for several areas. West to Cheshire and the shore and New Haven.  If you're wondering about delivery and not sure if we've got you covered, just write and we'll tell you. 

Remember that ordering deadlines are real.  8AM Wednesday for Wednesday pick up at the shed. 8AM Friday for BOTH Friday and Saturday at the shed.  Big news at the shed-we've put in a nice little frigerator so that the items that will spoil in warmer weather can stay cool and fresh at 40 degrees now.  So, when you come to the shed to look for what's available without a pre order, look in the newly installed frigerator.

Next week, we're going to start a raffle to benefit people who are in this country undocumented, so that we can assist them whereby the government has turned their back on this population, many of whom are working essential jobs.  The prize will be the first pint of sun gold tomatoes.  I know whos going to eat the first sun gold (me), but the first pint will go to some lucky winner.

Quick word-boxes that your order comes in.  Best scenario would be to take your order and flattened the box and leave along with the other ones that are there.  Short of that, if you must take the box home, bring back next week or earlier!

Stay well. Stay safe. And be smart!




Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/18/2020 6:56 am

I've got four important things that I need to share with you this week.

One.  The delivery service got off to a positive start last week.  For those of you that should stay sheltered or just think that it would fit better into your life to have a delivery, this is a great option.  Only $10.  Wednesday only.

Two. Ordering and paying attention to deadlines to both pick up and place your order are very important for you to get what you want.  Look back at last weeks letter or  see my blog on our homepage from last week.  I'd prefer not to keep repeating the info every week.  We believe that our system is pretty simple AND you have to follow the guidelines.  I will mention one very important procedure however.  You should get an email back acknowledging your order after the order has been placed.  If you didn't get this, we won't be seeing your order.  Try again.  You might have missed something. Call, if you still can't get it.

Here's the two link that will get you directly into the store (AFTER 8AM, TOMORROW!)

For CSA/Snap Customers:

For Creditcard/PayPal Customers:  (No cash. Credit cards work on paypal, even if you don't have a paypal account):

Third.  And this is going to sound like bragging.  We're making available to you some wonderful vegetables earlier than ever this season.  Factors are: Joel and Jen being devoted to keeping churning out seedlings that we can plant out at first in the hoophouses and lately outside.  We're using paperpot technology.   Transplanting use to be so so so time consuming.  But the paperpot transplanter has changed all that.  Here's a link to show you how easy it is. When I first saw how quickly things went, there's a good chance that I had a farming drool. (Don't ask me what that is!).  When I realized that I could transplant exponentially faster than by hand with the transplanter, I knew that this was something to get.  You may not get as excited as me, but I hope that you catch my enthusiasm.  Our Mother's Day Carrot Roll Out is another good example.  Again, not bragging here-just reporting.  It would be my humble opinion that there were no other farms in CT that were offering freshly grown and harvested carrots last week.  And they were good, too. Very.  Hoophouses have transformed how we grow throughout New England.  Twenty one years ago, we were the only CT farm to do season extensions.  Now,  its pretty standard practice on most farms.  Ok.  It does sound like bragging.  But the truth is,  its pretty cool that we were on the front of all this!

Fourth.  Star Light is a relatively small farm producing a huge amount of food, right now.  More than we've every done before.  Your enthusiasm for real food has made this possible.  I hope that you'll understand if an item becomes unavailable from time to time.  If you go to order and see that its sold out, there is a chance that in a few hours or days, that item will be back in the store.  We carefully monitor our inventory to make sure that we don't oversell.  For all of us, that is the worst nightmare, to promise  someone something and not be able to come thru.

Fifth( I know, I said four, but that turned not to be true). I think that most of us have become aware more than ever how the current system works against people of color and mostly women.  In the essential job of working at grocery stores this is particularly true.  Most of the employees at the grocery stores could actually make more money collecting unemployment at this point.  They should be getting hazard pay, in my opinion.  And sadly, if any of these woman get sick, and are undocumented (a likely scenario), they aren't eligible for medical care or unemployment insurance.

For this reason, I'm hoping that we can raise money again to help support these essential workers.  Our next raffle will be for the first pint of cherry tomatoes.  My current estimate is that should be around the middle of June.  Of course, I could be off.  We'll see.

OK.  Online Store will open around 8AM tomorrow May 11th.  Early shopping recommended.

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/10/2020 8:53 pm

Dear All Of You That Sustain Star Light,

Its going to sound like bragging, but I prefer to say that its just reporting.  Here it is: Star Light is really doing well.  When I see the beauty of the radishes, the hugeness of our crisp red and red /green lettuce heads and delectable spinach it just makes me feel great and grateful.  Grateful first of all for Joel and Jen, who are working so hard to make the food just that good.  They are dedicated.  If there's an award for being great farmers, they should get the prize.

And again, the next thing that I'll say will also sound like bragging.  Its just reporting, though.  We're just putting food out there for you so early.  Some of it is a result of crops that we held through the winter, like spinach, big kale and swiss chard, but others are from aggressively planting things early and utilizing hoop house technology.  A good example of that is lettuce heads, pak choi,turnips, radishes and chinese cabbage.  More often than not, with these cultivars, we'll start them in trays in a warmer climate (like in the basement under grow lights) and then transplant after 3 or so weeks.  The carrots that we'll be offering (limit of one bunch per customer for starters) are so incredibly early.  We simply start them in the late fall and keep them protected (in a hoophouse or outside in a low tunnel), always keeping the weeds to an absolute minimum.  Oh, and not to forget the loads of compost, organic fertilizer and  broadforking (our method for loosening the soil without upsetting the tilth).

Before a word on ordering, we're introducing our delivery service this week, which is run by Susie's Smart Shop.  The charge is $10/delivery.  We're just passing on her price and not adding anything to this.  There's a delivery option in the online shop which you will need to select at the time of purchase.  Oherwise, we won't know if you want delivery.  Two important things. At this point, Hartford and points West from New Haven, we'll not be able to go to at this point.  There maybe some other limitations for her which we won't know until we see where you live.  This is a worthwhile experiment and hopefully, it will help many of you.  If you live in these areas, see if there's other people in your area who might be interested.  Delivery is WEDNESDAY(mid to late afternoon) only, at this point.  Make sure that you give us your address and a good phone number in the comment section.  Delivery will be made to an outside entrance.  No inside deliveries.

Let's quickly go over ordering in the world of Covid-19.  I'll keep it simple.  Ordering begins at 8AM on Monday morning.  If you're going to Cityseed in New Haven, you'll absolutely need to get a timeslot first before making an order with us. Here's the link:

OK.  Others of you and the Cityseed crowd, now its time to go to our online  store.  If you're a CSA/SNAP person use the following link:

Everyone else should use PayPal.  We need to get away from cash and checks at the shed.  You'll use this link:

The exception to checks is if you're renewing your CSA membership.  We would like to only take checks for your renewal.  They can also be mailed.

Go thru the store and pick what you want.  There's always a chance that something you want is sold out, but it could become available later that day, or the next day. Our goal is to make sure that CSA has a good shot at everything that's available. Go to checkout. There, you'll be able to adjust the amount of any one item that you'd like. PayPal people will then be asked to enter the required info and then finish the sale.  Important note here:  If you did the transaction successfully, the system will generate an invoice to your in box.  If you don't see it, try again or give me a call. 860 463 0166.  It should work, though.  Remember, you need that invoice for it to be an official order.  If you don't have an invoice , then we won't be able to see your order.

Important times to remember: Deadline for ordering is: 8AM Wednesday for Wednesday pick up and 8AM Friday for BOTH Friday and Saturday. Pick up times at the shed are after2pm on both Wednesday and Friday.  Its 3pm for Saturday in order for those that have ordered mushrooms to get them.(We pick them up from Seacoast Mushroom at the Cityseed Market that day.

Nails (in the subject line)? Nails, because our friend John (also a former employee of Star Light) is building an addition on our addition off the back of the addition (our new walk in cooler).  He doesn't know it yet, but we've got two more additions for him to complete.  Don't tell him.

In the shop this week, I hope you'll appreciate the long list of crops, starter plants, herbs and tomatoes.  Its a long impressive list.  Again, its going to sound like bragging but for a small farm, we're putting out a lot.  I hope you agree.

I hope you have a great and safe week.



Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/5/2020 6:03 am


It is my fondest hope that good, fresh food might be one of the things that is helping you thru this virus mess.  I know for sure that its helped me.  I had a salad tonight composed of a few heads of Star Light lettuce (I eat a lot of lettuce), a few things from some other place (Mexican Avocados) and Spring Garlic. More on Spring Garlic shortly.  My dressing is usually the same thing, oil, balsamic vinegar (preferably from Lino's.  Its very good. And no, he didn't pay me to say this.), whole milk yogurt and real maple syrup.  It was a big bowl.  But I managed to eat it slowly and thoughtfully.  This, in itself can be a challenge to people like me who, when hungry basically want to inhale the food in front of them.  All the textures, both crunchy and soft kind of meld together in a wonderful "je ne sais pas" of gloriousness.(Is that even a word?).  Eating slow-it can work.  But I've got to work at it.

Its A Long Road To A Tomato is actually the name of a book written by a farmer.  Its a good title, because from a small seed to a finished tomato does take a long time. And we go to a lot of extremes to make sure that we're growing the best tasting and looking ones.  We start the first round of tomatoes in the very beginning of January.  It is these tomatoes that are now filling up Greenhouse Sven (named after 3rd oldest grandchild).  Some of them have been in the ground for 3 weeks.  We burn oil to keep them warm.  Not exactly my first choice, but I'm sure all of us know hard environmental choices that we end up making.  How about the plastic bags that are now a part of how we deliver food to you safely?  Oy. We string these plants with a small compostable clip from the top of the greenhouse.  And then its constant watering (not too much), pruning and spraying.  We often will spray the leaves with liquid seaweed which greatly enhances the flavor.  The leaves will absorb the seaweed and deliver its goodness to the fruit.  So that's a way off yet.  I will say that I did see a real Juliet tomato growing today.  Last year we started selling tomatoes by mid June.  But that was a slow start.  July should be looking good.

My thought is-where there's one (tomato), there's more to follow!

Which brings me to a word of praise for Jen,our tomato grafter.  Tomato grafting is a procedure that is loaded with pitfalls and disappointments. And also triumphs,too.  Patience is essential, as is a perfect environment for the plants to heal from virtually taking the top off of one plant and sticking it on another.  There's a lot of nuances here.  The big takeaway is that a lot can go wrong on the way to success.  Jen has persevered thru it all and we've emerged with some successfully grafted plants. Hat's off to Jen.

We're offering Spring Garlic this week.  I'd say this is as vigorous a crop as we've ever grown.  Spring Garlic has no bulb yet.  However, you can cut up the whole plant and use just like garlic bulbs.  It won't go thru a garlic press.

Big News!

One lucky person (or family) will be getting the first bunch of carrots of the season.  This is going to be a raffle, with the proceeds going to benefit Unidad Latina En Accion.This organization is dedicated to helping undocumented immigrants who are denied any of the safety net monies and medical care that other citizens might expect.  I'm hoping that many of you will think this an important and worthy cause and buy several tickets.  Look in the online shop.  Important note.  CSA/Snap people will have to enter the online shop again after they've made their CSA order and use the paypal/credit card choice.  You won't be able to buy a raffle on the CSA/SNAP side of the online shop.  I  also will say that new carrots, right out the ground, will defy your ability to describe the experience.

I would recommend ordering early.  We plan to open the online store around 8AM.  Many items can sell out quickly.  We try to make sure that CSA people do not run out, and mostly, we've done  good in that area.

There are still CSA spots available.  For those who are not familiar with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), we offer you the ability to get exactly what you want from Star Light.  You send us anywhere from $100 to $300 (or more) and we'll load up your account with that much money.  The $100 level will give you an extra $5 worth of food.  The $300 will give you $30 extra.  There's no time limit for the season.  And you don't have to order every week.  If interested, mail us a check  at Star Light/54 Fowler Ave./Durham , CT 06422

Lastly, there's lots to consider at the store, besides wonderful and unusual herbs, you'll find many vegetable starts.  Peas, for example are really popular this year.  AND, we're going to roll out a few tomato choices.  Its not too early to get your own plants and get them use to being at your house, rather than ours.  Our tomato starts come with an ironclad guarantee that they've been loved every step of the way.  Everyone knows that that's the only way to get started right in life!

Have a great week.  Please keep safe










Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/27/2020 6:48 am


   Dear All Of You That I Hope Are Safe/Healthy and Staying Smart,

    I'm going to ask my First Selectman to wait till Dr. Faucci says its ok to  "     " open things up".  It is beyond my imagination that there are people who think its best to begin to get the economy cranked up before its safe to do so.  What are they thinking?  This is not to say that I don't totally get how devastating it is for all of us who've lost that paycheck.  But for real, minimizing   social contact and testing and tracing seems to be the way to go.

And along with that (I just can't help myself here), is the hard cold fact that no one can dispute:  the vulnerable populations , those with sub quality housing, sub quality nutrition, subquality schools and sub wages-those are the ones most vulnerable to getting this terrible virus in the first place. And for that matter the ones most vulnerable to just about any social pitfall you can think of. Help where you can.

And that brings me to the "Silver Lining" question.  Sure, keeping positive is ultra important, but I would imagine that hearing about silver linings for someone who just lost a loved one and wasn't even allowed to be physically close to them at their end would in itself feel cruel. 

Moving on.

Star Light is shining in my eyes now.  Not bragging, just reporting.  It is such a great feeling to know that we can provide real,and healthy food to all of you during these times. And now, so many of you are people that I know!  And a special nod to all my personal friends that are now Star Light supporters. Thank you.   We've certainly taxed our system, but managed to get our hundreds of orders to all of you.  The distribution system  seems to work well.  The Cityseed Market and orders from our shed are going out without a hitch.  Because of the time involved in getting your orders ready and in boxes, we're going to add a $.50 charge to most items.  If you want to comment to us about that please do.  Didn't want to this, but must.

The store will open tomorrow at around 8AM.  Rather than go over the protocol yet again, please refer to last weeks letter or last weeks blog on the home page.  It will be one week down from this week's.  I will emphasize two things.  Deadline for ordering for Wednesday is 8AM on Wednesday.  Deadline for ordering for BOTH Friday and Saturday is 8AM FRIDAY.  Pre ordering is the best way to hopefully get exactly what you want in either case.  And ordering early in the week will help you, too. The possibility of selling out of certain items  before the end of the week is very likely.  Second thing when ordering-its simple. Very.  If you're paying with credit card/pay pal go to this part of the store at:  If you're a CSA person or SNAP person go to the part of the store using the following address:

I need you to know all the amazing things that are happening on the farm.  The first house of tomatoes is doing great.  It is now half planted.  Lots of blossoms and plenty of encouraging growth.  The idea of actually having a real tomato to enjoy right now is too wonderful to think about.  I'd be interested to knowing some of your ideas about how to give you tomatoes when you won't be able to touch/smell or select your own.  You're going to have to rely on our wisdom about what you'd like.  The good part about this is that I've yet to grow a tomato that I wasn't one hundred percent crazy about.  Oh, wait there was one, but we won't go into that one.  And we don't grow it anymore.

At least one member of the team has been sneaking one or two (or three or four) baby carrots every few days.  Whenever I have a free moment, I'll go down there and gaze at them.  Here's what they looked like this AM.

Pretty damn glorious, right?

Hope to see many of you this week.  Please live safe and smart.  Store will be opening for orders tomorrow 4/20 around 8AM.  We wish you all a healthy week.


Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/19/2020 8:22 pm

Every time you eat, you're eating the earth in some way.  If its meat, then you're experiencing the result of an animal eating something that came directly from the earth. Either grain or vegetables.  When you eat vegetables, they are the product of what the earth has to offer vegetable plants.  We're talking about the nutrients and goodness that we all crave.  Same for milk, which is the product of everything that the cow has acquired from the earth.  How about salt? Clearly from the earth.  There is only one way to look at this- we are the earth.

Now, I want to first mention a possible delivery service.

A delivery service!  We can do this easily.  Just need to know if there's interest on your part.  We have used delivery services to get our vegetables to restaurants for the past 12 years.  (I use to do it myself for 4 hours twice a week after a full day of work.  But I've outgrown that lifestyle!).  Now, delivery has taken on a new meaning.  The driver will bring your food right to your front door (but not into the house).  If its raining, perhaps one could provide a cover, although each product is in a plastic bag already.  As the weather gets warmer, the ability of things to stay fresh will dramatically change.  The other factor is that we'll need to go to a PayPal system in order to make this work.  In other words, your order will be prepaid before you receive it.  The cost for delivery is $10.

For now, what I'd like to ask of you is to respond and let us know if this delivery service is of interest to you.  Just a quick yes  will do. And tell us where you live. There seems to be a real demand for delivery of food these days, so I'll wait and see what you all think.

Whether you are ordering from Cityseed or pre ordering at the shed, we're going  to a Paypal system(with a $.50 processing fee). (You can still pay by check at the shed).  Cityseed customers have already transitioned to this system and now we'll need it for the shed orders, too.  In this way,  it becomes easy for everyone to have an equal opportunity to get what they want.  In case you didn't know, there is an unprecidented  demand for great, locally grown food-like never in my lifetime.  And it makes sense, right? People are more learly of going into an actual store.  I know.  My family has told me-no stores. 

Both Cityseed and Pre orders at the shed will shop in the exact same way. Except for one minor detail for Cityseed people, which I'll tell you about at the end of this paragraph. You'll go on the website and select at the top a tab marked Pre Order Here. Click that button.  You'll have two simple choices. Either PrePay or CSA/SNAP.     You know who you are.  Look at the choices and select the items that you want.  Eventually, you'll end up at the check out where you'll have to say if you're a Cityseed pick up person or one of the three days from the shop.  You can also note how many of any one item you wish. People prepaying will be directed to Paypal.  CSA and Snap are done.Just get yourself to the right pick up place!  Its simple really.  Think of it this way, pick the place you want to go.  If you were at the airport wanting to go to Dallas, you wouldn't be looking to buy a ticket for Tallahassee , right?


OK. The Cityseed routine has one different step.  And its important.  You'll need to go on the Cityseed website ( and get the time slot that you will pick up.  Just a heads up, every slot got taken last week.  Its kind of like getting tickets for Hamilton.  You've got to be on your toes.  Last week, Cityseed orders came in like a waterfall.  Not trying to scare you, just telling you the fact.  People want their food.  YOU'LL NEED TO DO THIS FIRST BEFORE ORDERING FROM STAR LIGHT OR ANY OTHER VENDOR AT THE MARKET. PERIOD.  In reality, of this stuff is a big nothing.  You'll get use to it and eventually, I hope we'll be able to go back to the park and  (and this is a big "and) none of us well ever forget what this was like.  None of us at Star Light are particularly in love with how this has to go, but we all know-this is the way it has to be for now.  

OK. Back to the shed.  We do special orders on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Ordering deadline for Wednesday is 8AM on Wednesday.  Your order,with your name on it will be in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham after 2pm,Wednesday. Friday's pre order works the same.  Order by 8AM on Friday.  Pick up after 2PM Friday.  Saturday is different in two ways.  First off, deadline is also 8AM FRIDAY.  The order will be ready after 3PM on Saturday.  This is so we can get mushrooms from Seacoast Mushroom to a lot of you.  They are popular-and for good reason.  Chris, who owns Seacoast lost a big part of his business when restaurants closed.  We're offering them to you and passing the exact money received totally to him.  Vendor solidarity!

Still questions?-just email us at  We're good at answering questions. 

Have a good week and a safe week.

Us At Star Light





Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/12/2020 7:37 pm


For real, there are so many directions my letter could go.  For example, I could share with you a fantasy I had to rename Star LIght "The Anti-Pandemic Farm".  But then, that wouldn't be good.  Who wants to be "Anti" something.  And then there's the whole question about the President's "performance" thru all this.  And again, who wants to hear my rants about him- you're reading this  newsletter because of food.  And then there's thoughts about how amazing people have acted thru these hard times and how stressful situations can bring out unexpectedly positive results.  All interesting but who really cares what some farmer from Middlesex County thinks about all this out.  So I'm going to let go of any of those subjects this week.  AND, that doesn't mean that I might not be at it next week.

You all have shown an explosion of interest in Star Light.  For that I'm eternally grateful.  Especially when one looks at the fate of so many small businesses at this time.  And with that in mind, there are two request.  First, if you're ordering for pick up at the farm, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO OUR DEADLINE FOR ORDERING AND WHEN ORDER WILL BE READY!(Details below in bold letters and italics.)  Whew! I hope the capitol letters get your attention.  Second, please note that the huge volume of ordering has resulted in some sell outs for products.  I hope that you understand that this is all part of "the hard/strange/stressful times" that we all find ourselves in right now.  Thank you for your understanding about all this. 

Hoop Houses are deliciously full of all kinds of amazing food.  Salad, pak choi, braising greens, mustard greens, radish, turnips, pea tendrils, lettuce heads (more on then later), arugula, salad greens,spinach and kale .  And the same can be said for outside, too.  Its a transition time.  Gradually, the hoop houses will be totally devoted to peppers, eggplants and our tomatoes.  As an area in the house becomes depleted, we'll pull out the plants, broad fork and compost it and dress with some organic fertilizer.  Broad forking, if you don't know  utilizes a two handled  gigantic fork that loosens the soil.  In so doing, it aerates the soil allowing nutrients and microbes to easily move about in there and create their wonder.  After all this happens, we're able to plant our tomato plants.  Each hole also receives a handful of compost and fertilizer just for good measure.  This system always always works.  Our tomato plants remain happy year after year.

Our push to come up with the first carrot anywhere remains strong.  I am keeping any and all weeds out of there.  Joel has recently sprayed the tops with a seaweed/fish mix to give them a needed boost in supplement intake (Plants are exactly like us-and will benefit from a good nutritional shot of food.)  My first estimate about when carrots would be ready was Mother's Day.  That does seem possible.  But, it could be earlier.  A few necessary thinings have already happened, and my pubic statement about the taste is  "awesome,and then some".  If anyone knows anything better than a good carrot, please let me know. (Maybe  happy babies are a close second)

This next paragraph is for people picking up at the shed in Durham.  If you're a Cityseed customer, just skip this.

Pick up Days  at shed at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

For Wednesday Pick up: Ordering Deadline is 8AM on Wednesday.  Pick will be after 2pm.  If you're ordering for Wednesday,please note that on your email.

For Friday Pick Up: Ordering Deadline is 8AM on Friday. Pick up is after 2PM.  If you're ordering for Friday, please note on your email:

For Saturday Pick up: Ordering Deadline is 8AM on FRIDAY (note that please). Pick up is after 3PM on Saturday. Its later on Saturday in order to distribute mushrooms.  Please note that if you're ordering for Saturday to say that on your email.

CitySeed Customers.  Many of you already know the drill.  And it seems to work quite well.  Go to the Cityseed.Org website and get a time slot.  Then back to our website where you'll find our store. Select the tab at the top that saids " Cityseed Market Preorder".  Click that.  Two choices appear. If you're a CSA or Snap customer , you'll choose that.  Everyone else will click "Available products for Card/Paypal Customers".  After that, just follow your nose to the check out.  It is there that you can adjust the number of each product that you might want.  Paypal is easy to use even if you're not a member.  Your credit card will work. Paypal wants your address.  I know that part is kind of  a small pain, but that's the easiest way in the long run.  We really appreciate the way all of you have adopted to this way of doing business.  I hope that you're satisfied, too.

Ordering deadline for Cityseed is 10AM on Friday. 

My experience last week was that some products sold out early.  Not saying this to try to sell more stuff, just sharing my experience from last week.

I rate our CSA as the easiest and best value out there.  You put your money down first, and then when you're ready to order, just order exactly what you want.  There's a discount for you, too.  If you order at the $100 level, its worth $105.  If you order at the $300 level, its worth $330.  We'll issue you a card (looks like a credit card), but the way things will have to work now is that you tell us what you want  and we'll handle the bookeeping from our end.  If you're a Durham area CSA member and just show up at the shop, email us what you got and we'll deduct from your balance.  If you special order, we'll also handle deducting from your balance.  Easy, easy!

And anyone can show up at the shed and get what's available there.  Usually wonderful spinach, jam, salad greens and claytonia.  Also, we're offering a free bag of spinach to ANYONE who has been negatively impacted by the pendemic. Anyone.  There's a bunch of spinach bags on the left hand side as you enter the shed.  The shed is open everyday during daylight hours.  Payment is self service in the glass jar.  Handwashing station right there.  This system works well.


Finally, the food.  (I just wish all these details of helping you get food didn't exist.  I hope that sharing that feeling makes a difference. for you.)

This week:

Seacoast Mushrooms: simply the best in the state.  We're offering them as a service to both you and Seacoast.  As you might know, most of Seacoast"s business has been from restaurants.  We're hoping that we can help add to his sales.  $4/box of shitake mushroom.  $8/chef's choice, a beautiful mixture.  Only only only for Saturday pick up at the shed.  Please note.  These are well worth it. A good mushroom rivals a good carrot (almost).  Anyway, carrots aren't available now.

Potted Herbs! $5/pot Its a long wonderful list.  Dill, mint, parsley, sage, basil, cilantro, mountain mint, oregano , marjoram, thyme.

Tomato Plants: $5/plant.  Its not to early to own one but probably too early to put them into the ground.   Paul Robeson, Striped German, and Kellog Breakfast.  All heirloom, interminate variety.  Just google each of these to see what they look like.  They are all giants in the world of our heirlooms.  Giants.

Glorious Salad Greens-$6/bag.  We're getting accolades for the taste and appearance of our mixed greens.  Hope you'll like them, too

Claytonia- $6/bag  The beautiful, delicate and delicious white flower is now a part of the look.  This signifies the waning but not the end of the claytonia season.  Still delicious, still beautiful.  Its end will be bittersweet.  Bittersweet because it means that we're that much closer to other later season products becoming available.

Spinach- $6/bag

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch


Braising Green- $6/bag

Mustard Greens- $4/bunch

Pea Tendrils-$6, limited amounts

Tokyo Bekana- very beautiful light green color with a sweet and crunchy experience.  $4/bunch

Pak Choi- $4/bunch

Mizuna- a light, really tasty Asia green.  Delicate, too $6/bag

Scallions- $3/bunch

Joel and Jen's World Famous Pickles- hey the stock is running down, so it might be gone shortly(not might be-it will!) $8 jar

Famous J and J Apple/Pepper Jam- $7large

Lastly, we're trying to make all this simple.  If its not, let us know because we want to not add any stress to anyone's life.  Please stay safe and smart. 


Joel, Jen and David at Anti Pendemic Farm (Just kidding!)


Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/6/2020 12:04 pm

Dear Gentle Walkers On Our Planet,

A Warning. This letter could go far afield.  If you just want to know how to order and receive our food, skip down a few paragraphs.  OK.  You've been forewarned.

The last two weeks have reminded me that people can astonish me with their goodness.  As for the poor, wretched behavior that we see sometimes-I don't need any reminding about that.  All ready know that one.  And I'd bet a ton of spinach that you've experienced the very same, whether its a stranger that you pass on the road or your neighbors.  There's an uncanny thirst for real care.  And I also know that there's a lot of heroes out there, trying to make a difference in this upside down world.  Really upside down.

I find myself, along with Jen and Joel sitting on an opportunity to  help make a difference.  As I said both last week and the week before.  No one is blinking here.  We're planting food as if there's no tomorrow.  Yesterday, we planted the first 3 rows of tomatoes in the one house that has heat.  Along side of that, Joel keeps putting out rows of lettuce, beautiful beautiful little plants that will be soon (maybe not soon enough) lettuce heads.  Like I said,no blinking here.

Carrot Report: Happy,happy, happy


Newly planted tomatoes.  Seeded January 11th.  They are happy!

I rate our CSA as the easiest and best value out there.  You put your money down first, and then when you're ready to order, just order exactly what you want.  There's a discount for you, too.  If you order at the $100 level, its worth $105.  If you order at the $300 level, its worth $330.  We'll issue you a card (looks like a credit card), but the way things will have to work now is that you tell us what you want  and we'll handle the bookeeping from our end.  If you're a Durham area CSA member and just show up at the shop, email us what you got and we'll deduct from your balance.  If you special order, we'll also handle deducting from your balance.  Easy, easy!

A few weeks ago, Thomas Friedman wrote in the NYT that there's BC and AC. Before Corona and After Corona.  I agree.  Nothing is already the same.  So with that in mind, I'm going to start telling you all the different and specific ways to get our food.  None of its complicated, but without following the guidelines, its going to be hard to do so.  I'll start with the easiest ways and move down to the more complicated (which really isn't that complicated, so don't get nervous!).

Easiest way to get Star Light food is to come visit our self service Farm Shed at 54 Fowler Ave, Durham.  First off, there's a handwashing station there.  Good to know.  We''re keeping this open 7 days a week during daylight hours, although, if you came after dark and had a light, you'd do alright.  There's Joel and Jen's World Famous Pickles and Apple/Pepper Jam and Hot Pickled Peppers.  All revered throughout the  world.  Also salad greens, spinach and claytonia.  There also might be a few surprises.  Payment jar on the table.  Checks ok,too.  Should also mention that we have a constant supply of free spinach for ANYONE who has been negatively affected by this pandemic.  We'd love to be able to help you in this way, if need be.

Next would be special orders of all of the above and a few other things that we don't put out because of its limited shelf life.  That would include radishes, turnips,and a few others.  They'll be listed in the part of the letter that mentions what's available.  Special orders are on Wednesday (with a 8AM Wednesday deadline to order) and Friday/Saturday (with an 8AM Friday deadline for BOTH days.  In other words, for Saturday pick up, the deadline is 8AM Friday, also.  That's because we're off to Farmer's Markets on Saturday, so the special order needs to be put out first thing Saturday).  After reading what's available, just email us what you'd like.  We should send you an email back to acknowledge receiving your order.  Pick up on any of these days is after 2PM.  In your note to us, please be specific about which day you are wanting to pick up.

Another way to get our food is to attend the two Farmer's Markets that we are currently going to.  Durham Farmer's Market will be on Saturday's on the town green from 10AM to 1PM.  Out in the fresh air, people will be keeping a safe distance from each other.  Our stand will be offering our produce in plastic bags.  And all produce is harvested by following Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)- the gold standard for hygiene procedure.

Cityseed Market is also on Saturdays from 10AM to 1PM.  This is a  pre paid/preorder market.  Its been going like this for two weeks and has gotten universal acceptance.  On the website you'll be directed to a place to get a time slot for your pick up.  That's the very first thing to do.  They will not let you onto the site without this.  Very important!  Then go to our website at  At the top right hand corner is a labeled choice that saids  "cityseed market pickup".  Click on that, which will reveal "Available products". Select that.  This will bring you to our easy to operate store, showing everything that we're offering for this week. There'll be a picture  and/or a box for each item that we're selling. Just click on what you like (add to cart).  When you get to check out, you can adjust the amounts.  When you've selected every item that you want click on "save and checkout".  On the next page selected CitySeed as the pick up. Then click "choose and continue".  This will bring you to Check Out.  Fill in your name, email and phone. Again, very important. There's a small box at the bottom. Please put your pick up time in that box.

We've arranged to be part of Paypal.  Even if you aren't a paypal member yourself, they will take your credit card for processing.  The situation is like this.  As of right this very second, we still setting up Paypal. If we can not get Paypall set up in time for this week, we'll call you to get your credit card info over the phone.  But, hopefully in the next day or three, paypal will be up and running.  After that click the "complete checkout" box and you're done.  Its really simple (I could do it!).

It sounds like a lot but its going to be fine.  Granted, it isn't as easy as grabbing your bags and going to market, but its the new reality and we all have to live with it.  I'm just grateful, so very grateful that we have a way to get you your food.  If you'd like me not to put your name on our General Mailing list, let me know that, please.  Please stay safe and act smart.  We all depend on each other for our health now, more than ever.


Lastly, we will need to increase our Cityseed prices by $.50/order, to help with the increase in doing business this way. (extra bagging, extra credit card expense through paypal).  Its nominal, so hopefully everyone will readily understand our need to do this.  Thank you

Finally, here's what's available:

Lets start with Mushrooms:  Our friend and fellow vendor Chris operates the best mushroom business-Seacoast Mushrooms!  A lot of his business has been restaurant orders, so he's looking for other ways to market his mushrooms.  We've offered to sell his mushrooms thru our store.  We're just passing his price along to you.   We do not increase his price.  We're just hoping that some extra business will be of help to him.  As a special order, we can offer these on either Friday or Saturday.  Please let us know which day you're ordering for.  Deadline for this order is 4pm on Wednesday.  Two choices.  $4/ for a 4oz. container of shitakes.  $8 is a mixture that he calls Chef's Choice.  Not available for Cityseed customers, as he will be there himself.

Arugula -finally!  Its going to go fast, I know that already.  Its in limited supply, so first come first served. $6/bag

Glorious Salad Greens-$6bag

Claytonia- hey people,claytonia will be out of season in a few short weeks.  If you've never tried it, do it now!  $6/bag

Spinach- our very best.  Also, glorious. (heck! everything is glorious!) $6/bag

Braising Greens- spicy, succulant and lots of fun $6/bag

Mustard Greens-also spicy.   Also , fun  $4/bunch

Tokyo Bekana- very beautiful light green color with a sweet and crunchy experience.  $4/bunch

Pak Choi- $4/bunch

Mizuna- a light, really tasty Asia green.  Delicate, too $6/bag

Swiss Chard- very limited amount $4/bunch

Large Kale-limited amount $4/bunch

Scallions- $3/bunch

Radishes and Turnips $4

Joel and Jen's World Famous Pickles- hey the stock is running down, so it might be gone shortly(not might be-it will!) $8 jar

Famous J and J Apple/Pepper Jam- $7large

More Famous J and J Hot Pickled Peppers- $7/jar

Thank you, one and all for taking the time to find out what's going on at Star Light.  Please remember that hard times can help remind you about how strong you really are inside.  I hope that everyone stays healthy.


Us At Star Light


Posted by: David Zemelsky
3/31/2020 12:21 pm