ct grown logo

TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Sunday May 28, 2017

 

I heard  Mark Bittman, the very famous cookbook writer, the other day on the radio.  His words made such an impression on me because it helped me realize that in  some small way all of us who are interested in real food are helping the world be a better place by buying locally.  Over the centuries, according to Mark, we are eating a smaller and smaller percentage of real food as a civilization.  Just look in any supermarket, down any aisle, and you'll notice that most of what they're offering for "food" , is more of a chemical concoction that is very often depleted of nutrition and loaded with sugar.  Sugar, according to Mark isn't just "empty calories", but rather toxic calories.  Real food has sustained people for centuries without causing disease.  Your choice of trying to get real food from local sources, I believe will help keep you healthy. I'd better stop there cause the subject is vast and deep and if I get into any more, then I'll spend my day writing this rather than grow the food that we want to provide for you!

One of the things that we're growing this year is beets. Beets are a little slow to get going, need a nice supply of food to produce a nice root and are one of the most awesome vegetables to eat roasted.  We're going to have a few choices, including Touchstone-a golden beet that literally has the color that will pull you in.  Last Thursday, I spent a long time going down a bed of tiny beet greens, getting rid of weeds-one of the many good jobs around here.  After getting down the rows (there were three), I turned around a looked back at the result.  The newly weeded rows stood out like proud little children in the Madeliene books, except of course that we're talking three straight lines instead of two.  It was the last maintenance work that I did that week, as Friday turned into a total prep day for the Saturday market.  It wasn't really till Tuesday that I took the next close look at this bed.  I was amazed how they had grown in just 4 days.  But now that I think about it, that was 10% of the length of time to maturity, which is a lot. These beet greens need to be thinned now.  So one of the items we'll be offering to you this week is beet greens.  Here is a picture of a promising row of beets.

Here is a progress report on the tomatoes.The picture above will show you how much they've grown!  We've already had about a dozen ripe sun golds.  Excellent start.  I hope that you can see all the yellow blossoms.  Promises of fruit, ahead.

And that brings me to the store:

First off, the large kale is here!  We started these guys way back in the Winter, in the basement under grow lights.  They've been working hard to be ready for Memorial Day.  Large leafed Kale Salad-an all time winner is now possible.  Just get those big leaves cut up, take the veins out and "massage" the cut up leaves with lemon juice for 25 minutes.  Toss with dry roasted nuts and any other vegetable that you like and coat everything with real (not that stuff in a green cardboard container!) parmesean. $4/bunch

Tomatoes, eggplants and Peppers:NOW IS YOUR TIME!  It won't be too late to plant after Memorial Day. I'm only mentioning that traditionally, people like to put these things in the ground now.  I'm going to put below the descriptions of the tomatoes that we have for sale.  The peppers are only great colors: red, orange or yellow.  Won't be able to say which one you get, but either way you'd be getting a winning color.  Here's the tomato selection:

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green

Kale- $4 bunch.

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto yesterday and it was outstanding.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (May 26th) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/25/2017 9:36 am

 

Think of what follows as an explanation, not an excuse. Here's what I'm talking about- variety of things that are available right now.  As mentioned in earlier letters, we're clearing the houses of spinach and other greens to make way for tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers.  Already, several weeks ago, we cleared out patches of spinach to get in a quick crop of salad and arugula-which has worked very well.  Around the beginning of April, the soil outside became dry enough to do bed preparation and then seeding.  I choose to plant some of the non lettuce varieties first because they are faster to maturity by over a week.  Now, over a month later, many of the outside crops are dismally slow and too little to harvest.  I was hoping to be able to harvest outside crops by now.  However, the huge fluctuations in temperature (two weeks ago, we had a frost!) and a lot of rain (something we clearly needed, but still got in the way of plant growth) has made for very small plants outside.  In other words-we don't have as much ready to harvest as I'd like. Not by a long shot.  But like all things with growing-there's patience.  In this case, lots of it is required.

We are not just sitting waiting.  Three hoop houses are almost completely cleaned out of winter greens.  Two of them are planted 50% with tomatoes.  Additionally, there are now two rows of katrina/corinto cucumbers planted.  For those of you who were around last year-these cucumbers are epic, superstars in the world of vegetables.  If any of our readers would be willing, please write back some kind of testimonial and we'll print in next time.  Still waiting to get planted are peppers, eggplants, potatoes, onions, ginger and turmeric.  This is a long list and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.  However, we just take one crop at a time.  Fortunately for us, we've got Joel. He's a steady hand, focusing on the task at hand, but always thinking towards the future.

On to the store:

New things this week:

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot SPECIAL : Buy one and I'll give you another one for FREE.

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Breed to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

There's a few new tomato plants to add to the list.

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

I'm going to reprint the other tomatoe choices here

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

 Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Braising Greens- $6/bag

Kale- $4 bunch

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each

Spinach- $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Mizuna- a light Asian green for braising $4/bag

Please send me your request by 9AM. Yes, 9AM Friday, May 19th Yes, even earlier.  I have been finding that it gives all of you a better chance of getting what you want, if I know sooner.  Order will be in shed after 2pm.  I've been a tad late on the 2pm thing, but if you show up, you can be sure that I'll be close behind!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/18/2017 10:47 am

 

The weeds are growing really fast.  You probably already know that, if you have lawns to mow.  Our greens-not so much.  This proves a bit frustrating as we are moving more and more outside and taking out all the spinach, claytonia and other greens that we've enjoyed all winter.

A word about taking out and replanting.  When we first started Star Light in 1999, I remember the sheer magic of seeing the first seeds emerge from the dirt, then grow up and become food that we would cut and then recut until it was time for them to go.  Cutting down an area was difficult.  I felt like I was betraying a friend.  That feeling didn't really go away.  Perhaps, its not much different from a hunter for game giving thanks to the downed prey for giving up so much so that someone else could survive.  Maybe I'm going overboard just a bit, but I think that you get the idea.  A plant works and works for us for weeks on end and ultimately it just turns back into food for other plants.

So, that's the state of things as I write today.  We're getting more and more of the hoop houses ready for tomatoes, eggplants,cucumbers and peppers and at the same time planting outside.  With a bit of luck, there'll be more spinach before the spring is over.  Last night, I observed that the new crop is beginning to emerge.

On to the store for this week.

First off, those of you who have ordered strawberry plants, tomorrow is the day.  The plants look great.  Several of them already have beautiful berries on them.  If you aren't sure if you ordered one or ordered one and haven't paid- please write immediately.  They'll be outside the shed by themselves.  If you are paying when you pick up, please write your name on the cash(like put everything in an envelope), so we can keep the bookkeeping accurate.

It is totally time for getting those tomatoes.  I'm taking green moldovan off the list, but adding mortgage lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Here is a review of last week of what we have to offer:

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Potted Plants:

Dwarf Sunflower:  They are happy either in the ground or a small pot. We call them Teddy Bear.  You'll see why when you look at the picture in the link. They are small and a big surprise in how cute they are.  So cute.  Here's a link to see what they look like.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/flowers/sunflowers/dwarf-sunflowers/teddy-bear-sunflower-seed-1437.html?cgid=dwarf-sunflowers#start=1

German Winter Thyme and Sage-both wonderful to cook with

Compact Genevese Basil-this is the basil variety that chefs want, only in a smaller size.  Perfect to grow in a patio pot

Flat-leaf Parsley-again, what chef's want to cook with.  Either put in the ground or a patio pot

Also this week:

Radishes- roxanne variety.  Not too spicy and really crunch. $3.50/bunch

Hakerui Turnips- unique flavor.  No need to cook this beauties.  White, round and exciting.  The best greens, also.  $4/bunch

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- $4/bag.  Pea tendrils taste exactly like fresh peas, except that you're eating something leafy.  Makes a great pesto, too

Kale - $4/bunch

Spinach- last week for a while.  Full flavor and delicious. $6 for a big bag (but not as big as last week)

Spring Garlic- new from last week.  This is the beginning of the garlic season.  These plants look like green onions or leeks.  You can use every piece of it.  It won't crush in a press-just chop it up and use that way.  $2.50/stalk

Braising Greens- don't settle for soggy frozen veggies.  This is the real thing with spicy mustard and asian greens.  It is easy to wilt these greens and simply place your favorite protein right on top of it. $6/bag

Thanks for being there.  Remember, tell a friend about us.  It really helps

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/11/2017 9:50 am

The other day I was trying to uncover a few of the spring garlics that were so thickly covered with leaves that they haven't been able to emerge yet. Garlic is stubborn and doesn't just die in a situation like this.  They'll grow sideways until they figure out a way to get to the light.   They're a pale pale green when you find them.  The absence of sunlight and no photosynthesis does this.  While rooting around in the leaves, I came across a profound amount of acorns-all germinated.   This is as a result of the landscaper who brought us the leaves in the first place. A grabbed a small pot and planted one of them in it for our youngest grandchild-Frida.  I thought it would be fun for her almost 2 and a half your old brain to watch a tree grow.

Later, that same day they were talking about the  profound increase in ticks this year.  Not so hard for me to figure out.  I'll pick off two or three in one day.  Apparently, the best explanation for this is the increase in the white-footed mouse population.  Tick larvae thrive in their fur.  Didn't know that. And what has made the white-footed  mouse population increase so dramatically.  The answer turns out to be- an abundance of acorns!  This is what makes everything so interelated,doesn't it.  And that's why I don't trust Scott Pruitt, the new Secretary of  the EPA because all he can think about is how regulations get in the way of jobs.  That kind of thinking is not good for the health of our planet.

We're steadily changing over the hoop houses as places to grow tomatoes,peppers, cucumbers and eggplants.  At the same time, our fields are filling up with kale, collards, spinach, greens and carrot seedlings

It is officially time to start buying tomatoe plants.

Here's what we have for your consideration:

Green Moldovan: a soft, wonderful green tomato.  Texture of an avocado, but a taste more like a fruit salad. Heirloom. Look here for imagehttp://www.thisgardenisillegal.com/2008/08/green-moldovan-tomato-hannas-tomato-tastings-2008.html

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

There's probably more, but I'll stop there.

If you ordered a strawberry plant, I'll be sending them out next Friday.  If , for some reason, you want them this Friday, just let me know.  They're happy where they are, but I'm sure they'll also be happy when you get them.

Next are the potted plants:

Dwarf Sunflower:  They are happy either in the ground or a small pot.  They are small and a big surprise in how cute they are.

German Winter Thyme and Sage-both wonderful to cook with

Compact Genevese Basil-this is the basil variety that chefs want, only in a smaller size.  Perfect to grow in a patio pot

Flat-leaf Parsley-again, what chef's want to cook with.  Either put in the ground or a patio pot

All Plants: $5/pot

On to produce:

Arugula- $6/bag

Braising Greens-those of you who tried it last week-how'd it go.  I find braisiing greens the answer to dull cooking options.  Just enough heat(spicy) to keep people coming back for more, but not a hot pepper , over the top thing.  $6/bag

Spinach- it just keeps getting better (untill the end, which is so close)  $6/for a huge bag

New Spinach- equally impressive $6/ for 6oz. bag.  This is what you want to buy, if you're interested in raw spinach

Spring Garlic- Use the whole plant from bottom to top.  A real early spring treat.  $3/stalk

Salad Greens-$6/bag

Email me back what you'd like before 10AM Friday (May 5th).  Come get your order after 2pm in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave.  Money jar for payment.  Cash preferred, but checks are ok if you're in a bind. TELL FRIENDS ABOUT US!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/4/2017 8:39 am

Dear Sustainable Food Lover and Friend of Star Light,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radishes- $3.50 a bunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Spinach

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

 

 That's it.  Hope your week is wonderful!

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

 

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

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

Here's the list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

Sun Dried Tomatoes-$4/oz

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

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

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

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

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

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

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

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

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

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

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

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


 

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

 

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

Pea Tendrils (maybe a cup and a half

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

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

Olive Oil

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

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

 

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

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

Sun Dried Tomatoes-$4/oz

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

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

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

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

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

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

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

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

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

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

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radish $3.50/bunch

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

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


 

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

Dar Loyal Friend of Our Farm and of Sustainably Grown Food

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

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

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

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

Here's what we can offer you this week.

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

Peppers-  all green and crisp.  $3/lb

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

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

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

Arugula-needs no introduction $6/bag

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

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

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

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

French Fingerling Potatoes- $5/lb

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh sage and Thyme $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radish $3.50/bunch

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

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

 

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