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Posted 6/28/2020 6:08pm by David Zemelsky.

Actively, I am hoping to figure out a way for Star Light to be an alternative to food apartheid. Sure, a tall order, but someone famous (can't remember who right now) said that it all doesn't have to be accomplished in one lifetime.  Wish that were really true cause it seems that waiting 400 years for racial justice is a long one.  Share your ideas.  I'd love to hear from you.

I will offer a thought on a very deep, complex subject linked to racial justice-reparations.  The first time that I heard about  this, my initial reaction was skeptical and not convinced.  Now, after reading a long and brilliant article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine by the  recent Pulitzer Prize Winner and also author of 1619,Nikole Hannahh-Jones, I realize that morally this has to be taken up seriously with the powers that be and a clear course that includes a ton of money and a total turn around in how people of color have been held back in a way that sickens by heart.  I hope that you'll read it yourself and not just dismiss (as I did initially) the possibility of it happening.  Here is the link:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/24/magazine/reparations-slavery.html

The next bit of info is in capitol letters so you won't miss it! BECAUSE OF THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY, THERE WILL ONLY BE PICK UPS AT THE FARM ON WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY.  NO CITYSEED MARKET AND THAT ALSO MEANS THAT MUSHROOMS AND OTHER SPECIALITY ITEMS AREN'T AVAILABLE THIS WEEK. NEXT WEEK, BACK TO NORMAL.

Thank you,one and all, those of you have sent words of encouragement about things that I find myself compelled to write about here.  Your letters mean a lot to me.  Others of you that have unsubscribed, I hope that you'll find a way to understand  not just I'm saying, but writers with a greater reach and skill than myself, are attempting to say.  When something is not right, it seems wrong to be quiet.  Audre Lourde said once,"Your silence will not protect you".

Online Store(opens 8AM Monday):PayPalCredit card:http://starlightgardensct.com/store/available-products-for-card-and-paypal-customers

CSA/Snap: http://starlightgardensct.com/store/csa-snap-customers

Have a great week.  I hope that the significance of Independence Day has a different, and deeper look for all of you this year.

 

Posted 6/21/2020 9:31pm by David Zemelsky.

 

Hope its been a safe week for everyone. Is there anyone out there that thinks that social distancing is an ineffective idea?

Here's a few things. First off, we're at the end of the tomato selling season and have a super sale for those of you who haven't yet planted toms and want to.  $6 for 3 plants (we choose, and you won't be sorry!). The week after next (June 28-July4th) we'll have our store on Wednesday and Friday only.  Those of you who are used to getting their order on Saturday, should choose either Wednesday or Friday.  Since the Cityseed Market is closed, there won't be any special mushrooms, honey or chevre that week.

I want you to know that it is a privilege to be able to write this letter every week.  I've received many wonderful letters of support.  Its not like I believe that I've got more to say than most; far from it, it just happens that I've got a platform.  Makes me realize that such a platform is perhaps missing in many of our lives and if it did exist, there'd be more written expression getting out there.  Tell you what, if you write something about what you're thinking, I'd be honored to read it.  Send it.

One thing that seems more true than ever these days- we are all connected to each other in so many ways.  And what has come to light for me over the past month is how we are all connected to the systematic racism in our country.  Every big industry that you can think of has come out with a position against racism.  CVS,REI,WNPR,, CBS, all of them have taken strong stands (on paper) on the subject.  Let's look at a very brief summary of African American farming and I'll try to illustrate what I'm talking about.

At the turn of the last century roughly 15% of farmland was farmed by African Americans.  Today, that number is  but a whisper of that.  Chased or bullied off the land by white supremacists, many Southern Black farmers headed to northern urban areas and gave up on farming.  In urban centers, Black and Brown people alike encountered food aparthied, which simply put is the inability of a whole race of people being able to access good, whole and nutritious food because of either price or access (no supermarkets in their neighborhoods.)  This lack of real food for so many black or brown people has resulted in dire health issues.  It feels like a crime without there really being a law that has been broken.  

I'm talking about two things. One, the extinguishing of farming practices  by black families and the subsequent lack of decent and available real food for those black/brown families who have over the generations left the rural farming life for urban settings and in so doing found themselves without any good sources of fresh vegetables and fruit.

I believe that our country will be a stronger place if there are venues for people of color to again do what they knew so well in the past-to farm. This is an idea that is going to take hold (I hope) in a very big way in the coming years.  Please check out Soul Fire Farm website soulfirefarm.org  and you'll begin to understand this very important movement.  The co-founder of the farm, Leah Penniman was recently interviewed on NPR's Living On Earth.  You can find the interview here: https://loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=20-P13-00025&segmentID=5  It is highly recommended.  And I believe that it will give you much to think about.  Would love to hear your reactions.

Lastly, as noted in earlier newsletters, there's been a rash of unsubscribers since my subjects have become more global.  In a way, this is an honor because it tells me that I'm really talking to some vulnerable spots in some people.  I hope that people stay subscribed and invite them to think about the subjects that we're talking about in this letter.

OK. Great food this week.  They're be sun golds in larger supply for early birds.(still not the huge amount that we need for everyone to get their fill, but you can tell-its coming.  Heirlooms are still a few weeks off.  Ah patience.  Meanwhile, the kale, salad, lettuce heads, bok choi (to name but a few) are awesome. And we have a delivery service.  If you're not sure we'd get to your area, just email us back and we'll let you know.  New Haven,Cheshire,Wallingford, Middletown, Durham are good-to name a few.  I hope you enjoy our food.

And a shout out to our Governor for freeing up funds(2.5m) to help the undocumented in this hard, trying times.  It is a great start.  Thank you.

Have a great week

 

Posted 6/15/2020 7:55pm by David Zemelsky.

Truthfully, I'm at a loss about what to say to any of you this week.  My life has been caught up in two things.  One is the farm and other is the international protest about George Floyd.  And sadly, he is not the only Black man to have died at the hands of the police in recent days.  I've no intention on taking on the whole question of the long and systematic racism in our country.  But I will share with you this: no person who lives in our town could feel the fear and trepidation that people of color must feel whenever they are out driving or even walking around their neighborhood.  These are just my personal feelings and barely scratching the surface of  how I feel.  What I did notice last week is that immediately after posting my letter, six people unsubscribed.  That's never happened before.  Usually, one or two people every other week or so.  I'm guessing that someone didn't like what is being said.  So be it.  I recognize that a farm newsletter is probably the last place you'd expect to find political thoughts.  But, as has been mentioned in earlier letters, farms and the whole food chain are vulnerable to incidents of racism just like the rest of society.  If we're going to enjoy great locally grown food, we need to recognize how growers and meat producers alike are striving to eliminate any forms of racism in their businesses.

As for the farm. OMG.  Such an explosion of growth.  Some of it, we'll be waiting for in coming months.  Leeks, potatoes, ginger, turmeric eggplant, and peppers to name but a few. It won't be long before the cherry tomatoes will be in enough supply to sell.  Tonight while doing some last minute tomato trellising , I was able to keep finding handfuls of ripe sun golds.  Ever had one?  They're like eating a sugar cube.  You'll see.

Online Store, as always will be open at 8AM Monday.  Shopping early is a good way to maybe get what you want.  And checking back later in the week for items that you saw were sold out makes sense, too.  We carefully inventory what we have so that we don't over sell.  Sometimes, we've underestimated and put that something back in the store to sell.  Its ok to put in two orders.  We'll figure it out. 

Its going to help our ability to serve you better if we change the deadline for ordering on Friday and Saturday.  Here goes.  In red letters and Caps.  NEW DEADLINE FOR ORDERING FOR BOTH FRIDAY AND SATURDAY IS 9PM THURSDAY.

Please, be safe in your outside interactions. And, as always thank you for supporting our farm and local growers.


 

 

Posted 6/8/2020 7:14pm by David Zemelsky.

 

These are times when it seems to me that bringing our awareness of how power is trying to run our world.  As avid consumers of real food, please consider how systematic racism has driven the agricultural business into making whole segments of our population into expedient commodities.  At this point, if a worker (often of Latino or Black descent) does not feel safe going back to work in the fields or a meat packing plant, they'll loose the job and then not be able to collect unemployment benefits.  What would I do, if face with this delemma? Not sure, but it is unconscionable choice that no one  should have to make.  Thru this all, I am blown away by how involved the younger people have embraced the need to rid our world of racism, once and for all, with an energy that simply is awesome.  The vigil in memory of George Floyd was essentially created and executed by young people.  I know that perhaps hearing things like this in your weekly newsletter about salad, carrots seems out of place.  But it isn't.  Our food system, both the larger ones and smaller ones (like ours) needs to always be done in a way that is respectful of the needs of all people, regards of race, color and sexual preference.

I'm going to have to figure out a reasonable way to wait for the tomatoes to come in.  Well, actually we've seen a few pints of sungolds, so it can't be too long.  Thought you'd like to see what the plants look like as of this AM.  We've been foliar spraying them with a seaweed, fish emulsion which will absolutely put a boast in their already amazing taste.  I believe there are a few pints offered this week.  By the way, if you see that a product is sold out, you can check back in a few days because they may become available again.  All plants have been reduced to $3 each.  So if you've not yet bought tomatoes, herbs and others, this would be a good time.

Have a great week.  Remember, when you buy thru the store, you need an email confirmation.  If you don't get one try again.  Without the confirmation, it isn't yet a sale.

Namaste everyone,

 

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

 

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

 

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

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. https://www.madisonctfarmersmarket.com/

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!

Namaste,

 

 

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

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:  http://starlightgardensct.com/store/csa-snap-customers

For Creditcard/PayPal Customers:  (No cash. Credit cards work on paypal, even if you don't have a paypal account):  http://starlightgardensct.com/store/available-products-for-card-and-paypal-customers

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!).  https://www.johnnyseeds.com/videos/video-v146.html  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 5/5/2020 6:03am by David Zemelsky.

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:https://cityseed.org/cityseed-to-host-outside-pre-order-only-market/

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:  http://starlightgardensct.com/store/csa-snap-customers

Everyone else should use PayPal.  We need to get away from cash and checks at the shed.  You'll use this link:http://starlightgardensct.com/store/available-products-for-card-and-paypal-customers

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.

David

 

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

 

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