TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

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Posted 2/13/2019 3:48pm by David Zemelsky.

 

This week is a watershed moment for me and my kids.  I've debated whether to share this with all of you because one never knows what's appropriate or not coming out of a farm letter.  Ultimately, I've gone with my gut, which has told me-share.  This Valentine's Day is the first anniversary of Ty's passing.  It has been a full, sad, and sometimes sweet year.  I'm comfortable bringing it up here because growing food for all of you is personal and special.  Some of you are friends, some of you I'm friendly with and even some of you-well, we've never met.  But the act of growing food, good nourishing food that other people will benefit from puts all of you in a special class for me.  No doubt, there's an intimacy of sharing the harvest with all of you that draws me to share this with you.

This is not meant as an eulogy for her.  That's already been done.  I'm just going to be marking this anniversary in a way that feels right for me.  I will also share that all my kids and I have learned to lean on each other for support in ways that no one would have guessed a year ago.  We are planning to mark the day all together. Laughing,crying, who knows.  At some point, we might start filling photo albums that I've bought for the occasion, so that each family can take home images of  how we all were many years ago, with Ty  sitting center stage.

There is one important thing about Ty that you might be interested in.  The idea, the very kernel of the idea to start Star Light Gardens was hers and hers alone.  Without her vision, none of this would have happened.  Star Light has become the single most important job I've ever done.  It has demanded creativity that I had no idea existed inside of me.  Physically, the work has helped bring me into toddler senior citizen range, as opposed to a full out senior.  Still, I'm not willing to admit that I'm of senior age, except for when it comes to movie tickets! Because of this and so many other things, I am so grateful to have been able for us to share our lives together all these years.  That's all I have to say right now.  Oh wait.  One more thing.  In my mind now, it is no longer Valentine's Day, but rather Valenty's Day.

In looking at Star Light this week, I'd have to say that for us,Spring is already here.  There's regrowth of spinach out in the houses.  And lettuce patches that were sown in early December, are just now starting to take off.  Transplanted hakeuri turnips and beautiful radishes have established themselves easily, thanks to the paper pot planter.  In the basement, there are rows and rows of grow lights, helping tomato plants start to learn how to reach for the sky.  And lets not forget those most popular miniature sunflowers and herbs.  They're all growing happily and warmly downstairs.  Very soon, our new furnace will be installed in the nursery and we'll be enjoying the new space with "real" sun light.

This is exciting!  These plants were started at the beginning of January. They look so happy.

This is Jen's way of keeping the good spirits working for us.  Not sure where she found this little guy, but it all seems to be working!

We love growing pea tendrils.  They taste exactly like fresh peas!  You barely need any soil to make this work.

This should give you an idea of what goes on in the basement.  You're looking at growlights over a few dozen trays of our starts.

Here's what we can offer you this week.

Northfordy Tomato Sauce - $10/jar.  This is awesome stuff.  Not to be missed

Turmeric - $2/oz .  If you order this heavenly thing, bring extra dollars to account for extra unforeseen weight.  A typical tuber cost from $4-$7.

Potatoes- They are still awesome and yet, they need to get to your home and not stay with me any longer.  Special incentive price: 10lbs/$25.  Or $5/for a one lb. bag.  They will please you, guaranteed!   Split the bag  with your neighbor.  Ask them! If you don't know them, this could be the start of something special in your neighborhood!

Applesauce- made with High Hill Cortland Apples and Star Light herbs and spicy peppers.  Just a tad spicy  $6/jar

Joel and Jen's Outstanding Pickles- crunchy/ a tad spicy and altogether a marvelous pickle experience.  $6/jar

Spinach- $6/a bag.

If you'd like to order something, email me at: Starlightgardens@comcast.net Assume that the weather will be ok and therefore, look for your order in the shed.  The payment jar will be handy.  Please  let me know by 8AM Friday.  You can pick up your order after 2pm in the shed on Friday.

Lastly, thank you for letting me share all of my thoughts with you.  That means a lot to me.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 2/7/2019 5:24pm by David Zemelsky.

 

I want to talk to you the graft.  No, not like what we think might be going on with some government officials.  Graft, as in grafting-as in grafting tomatoes.  This is a big big subject in the world of farming, but I'm going to try to slim it down for you because if I go into too much detail ,(which probably wouldn't be that interesting anyway) you'd probably lose interest.

Simply stated, the purpose of grafting is to make an average plant into a Hulk Hogan of a plant!  For real.  To do this, we "simply" cut the tops off of two plants.  One is the flavor that you're looking for (the scion), which goes on top and the other is the rootstock-which goes on the bottom.   If one can get these two parts to reattach to one another, we are left with a supercharged plant, capable of an enormous increase in production and  more more immune to the diseases that can often befell tomato plants, particularly if one plants tomatoes in the same ground year after year.

I use the word "simply", however the process to get the two to grow into one plant can be very tricky.  For years, we've tried to  do this, with a certain amount of success (i.e. a questionable amount of success).  However, this year is going to be different.  Here's why.  I finally see that we'll be able to make an accurate cut in both the rootstock and the scion with the use of a new tool from Johnny's Selected Seed.  It has a gauge on it, that will insure that both cuts will line up.   We start by planting  rootstock in one tray and the scions in another.  After 19 days or so, the stalk is thick enough to be able to work with it.  One snips off the top of the rootstock using the new tool that will achieve the desired angle.  Then we do the same to the scion.  Now it has the opposite angled cut.    After both parts are cut, we put a clip on the rootstock and slide the scion in so that the two newly cut surfaces will match up. 

After that, we keep the new plant warm and moist. No severe light for a whole day .  After that, we gradually increase the light for a few days.  If all goes well, they will be fully healed and ready to grow after another 10 days. This is an awesome process.  So wish us good luck!

This week here's what we have to offer

Northford Tomato Sauce- $10/jar.  Grown with love and care and full of a taste experience that you'll never find even if you search high and low in the gourmet section of Stop n Shop

Turmeric- $2/oz.  All week, I've been brewing tea with turmeric and am convinced that there are few things on this planet that are half as good as turmeric for everything that might ail you.  If you order turmeric, bring a few extra dollars.  The weight is not exact.  A typical piece weight around $4.  But it could be more

Fingerling Potatoes-  a special again.  I'd love to move them out of here! 10lbs for $25.  Get together with your neighbor, if it feels like too much.  If you order 20/lbs, the price goes down to $45. 

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spinach - $6/bag

Pak Choi- $3/bunch

Star Light Pickles- with a hint of hot pepper.  Crunchy and alive! $6/one quart jar

Spicy Mustard- $6/bag

The order should be emailed no later than 8AM tomorrow, Friday.  The weather won't be too cold, so look for your order in the shed.  Bring a light if you come after dark.

CSA is open and ready for you.  As I've said before, CSA is the best way to get real and local food at the very best price.  Sign up on the website: starlightghardensct.com

Enjoy the ups and downs of this weather.  It is unpredictable.  As the former Governor of California recently said: "Welcome to the new Abnormal!"

Stay healthy and eat smart,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 1/15/2019 10:05am by David Zemelsky.

CSA, for those of you who draw a blank when you see those letters, stands for Community Sustained Agriculture.  Community-that's you!.  Agriculture-that's us.  And when you buy a share of a CSA,that's the Sustained part, well that's you.  Ok.  There are two opportunities that happen around this concept.  Well, three, actually.  First, the member saves a lot of cash by putting their money up front.  Around 20% actually.  Second, members acquire real food that has been produced within a short distance of their home.  The third opportunity is for the farmer.  They get an infusion of cash just at the moment when there seems like they can't imagine being able to find one more penny.  Maybe there's something a bit strange about putting this out so blatantly but heck, a farm is just as much a business  as Grippo's.  We're all friends here, so there's no point in pretending otherwise.  So, those three very important things happen when you join a CSA.

How does CSA work, you might ask.  Each CSA is different and for that matter, our CSA's way of doing business has evolved over the years.  It use to be that people would show up on the appointed day and they'd get a specific quantity of produce.  If you missed a week for vacation, then you'd either  lose for that week, or get a friend to enjoy it.  Now, we offer you the option of skipping a week or so to accommodate for a vacation.  Additionally, there's plenty of room for you to specify each week exactly what you want.  In that way, even though we might have a lot of a certain vegetable that you don't care for,  it would be easy for you to get more of what you want.  And that's what we want for you, too.

The day before pick up day, we'll send you notes about what's available and also keep you up to speed on our successes and not so success on the farm.  Your job is to email us back your specific produce wishes.  Then, its our job to make sure that you get those things.  There might be times when we run out of something unexpectedly- one never knows.

Pick up day will probably be Thursday, at the Durham Farmer's Market.  This is a bit different then past years, but we see it as an opportunity for you to get other people's  wares at the market.  When visiting our booth, it will be exactly like shopping, except that you've already paid for it.  I like it. 

It would also be true that as a member of the CSA, you'll have an opportunity to really get into our heirloom tomato world in a big way.  Heirlooms are so unlike anything else out there.  Its like comparing Meryl Streep to  Collin McEnroe.  Collin is good and satisfying for what he does, but he's not like experiencing Meryl Streep as an artist.  On the one hand, you've got a very smart, witty individual who seems to have an unlimited knowledge about everything.  While on the other hand, you've got this amazing artist who can reach right into your very soul and touch places in your emotional life that you had no idea existed.  Get the idea?  Meryl's the heirloom tomato here and Collins something that you'd find at Stop N' Shop.  No offense, Collin.

Payment plans can be made.  We look for a $200 deposit to show your commitment.  If you need to put your payment on a credit card, we'll do that.(We'll have to do the transaction over the phone.  Not a problem.) A small fee will incur for this.  Sign up right on our website.  It more than easy.  Also, if you're a former CSA member,  it gets even easier to sign up. Go to our website at: Starlightgardensct.com.  At the top of the page, choose the tab marked " CSA Spring/Summer 2019".  Click on that and then go to the sign up section.

If this is a new experience for you and you're not sure it will work for you, we can put you in touch with current CSA members that can relay their experiences with our CSA.

As a CSA member, we'll be offering you a 10% discount on our herb and vegetable plants throughout the  season.

Lastly, this is great food.  Everyone now knows, eat basic foods, stay way from processed food  Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore's Dilemma , puts it succinctly "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. "  Pretty basic, right?

We wish you a healthy New Year,

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 11/28/2018 7:13am by David Zemelsky.

Dear Friends

2018 has certainly been an assertive year in the way of weather.  The final chapter of this year is proving to be no different with the cold coming on strong and fast.  Weather like this has one questioning and second guessing, wondering what else we could have done. All and all I can't complain we have faired well and still have much to offer.

Two highlights for me are the Mars celariac and the Japanese red long radish.  The Radish has a beautiful and intrigueing look, it's taste is very delicate and not spicy.  The celariac has been a hit on the farm now for over a month.  From the first soup we used it in to last night's, it is a essential ingredient for your cld weather fighting soups and stews.

On the farm the cold weather doesn't stop the work from getting done(although sometimes I wish it did).  A busy year means an accumulation of misplaced items, things to be repaired and junk we need to just get rid of.  The next couple weeks we are due for a serious cleanup.  We are also in the process of reclaiming one of the old hoophouses from the embrace of mother nature.  It will be alot of work but the benefits of season extension and some protection from extreme weather are immense.

Driving by you may notice the shop open a bit more.  We are shooting for Thursday, Friday and some weekends.  Weather permiting we will have it stocked with potatoes, carrots, a variety of greens and some homemade Starlight Gardens specialities.  Going into the next season we are lookng to make a stocked shop a regular thing so feel free to stop by and check things out.  We are located at 54 Folwler Ave.

Here is this weeks offerings  please email us your request by Thursday morning 8am for pick up after 2pm.

Large and glorious Kale, $10/lb

 

Collards-a large leaf variety. $10/lb

 

Arugula - spicy and always welcomed $13/lb

 

Celeriac  $3/root.

Mustard Greens -$10/lb

Pea Tendrils- -$13/lb

Salad Greens- Kale, various green and red lettuces, mizuna $10/lb

Fingerling Potatoes- red, white or purple.  Happy little critters  $5/lb

Yaya Carrots- our carrots are great year round, but the Fall is when they are the sweetest  $5/lb

Ginger- the most important thing to remember about our ginger is that its fragrance and flavor bear no resemblance to anything that you'd get from Stop n Shop or any other source.  $1/oz

Turmeric-again, a more amazing experience than you'd get anywhere else $2/oz.

Sun-dried Juliet Tomatoes-again, you could buy dehydrated tomatoes anywhere, but Juliet is the best.  They aren't cheap, but you don't need much to make an impression. $5/oz

Young Onions 3.50/bunch

Sage - fresh sage for soups and salads $4/bunch

Pak Choi $4/bunch

Braising Mix with or without mustard $10/lb

Haukeri and Scarlet Queen Turnips  $4/bunch

Radishes-traditional red, jJapanese red long and black $3/bunch Radishes are a welcome crunch.  This is something that we herald i.n the Spring, but tend to forget about at this time of year.  They are awesome

Enjoy and we hope to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 10/17/2018 6:59am by David Zemelsky.

I guess there is just no avoiding the inevitable cold that comes with this time of year.  Looking at the low temps to come with tonight and tomorrow a few thoughts come to mind.  Do we have enough plastic and row cover to protect everything we need to.  What must we get out of the ground now that can't quite survive a freeze.  Lastly what type of soup am I going to make to warm me up.

All very real and legitimate questions some carrying more weight than others.  We're switching gears here at the farm to winter protection.  I spent yesterday morning sorting out our various pieces of former greenhouse plastic.  Today in addition to some CSA harvesting I'll be creating mini green houses all over the farm protecting what I can.  Row cover (essentially a blanket for the crops)  is in increasingly short supply but we're making do with what we got.  This has been a tough and challenging season and something tells me it's not done throwing surprises our way.

 

Don't let the weather get you down and stand strong against the challenges of the cold fortifying your body with nutritious local veggies.

 

Here's what we have this week.
Carrots $5/lb orange or purple young and sweet
Salad Greens $6/bag
Beets $4/lb

Potatoes (French Fingerling, Red bliss or Purple.  Let me know if you have a preference) $5/lb

Arugula $6/bag Limited supply this week

Pea Tendrils $6/bag
Big Kale $4/bunch
Collards $3/bunch
Summer Squash $3/lb
Sun dried tomatoes $5/for an ounce
Eggplant and Peppers - put them down knowing that maybe we’re going to run out.  Depends on the run on them.  $5/lb
Hot pepper mix 4$/pint
Pak Choi $4/bunch
Radish regular round or black 3.50$/bunch
Braising Greens $6/bag
Leeks- $4/bunch.
Ginger- $9/plant. You can use the whole plant, too.
Turmeric- $28/lb believe me this sounds more expensive than it is, you can request a piece around a certain dollar amount and we'll have one within a few dollars of your request.
Fennel- $3.50/head
 
Please email your orders by 8 am Thursday for pickup after 2pm in the shed out front. 
 
And don't forget there is still time to signup for our Fall CSA, prorated prices are available for late starts
 
 
Thanks and stay warm
 
Joel
 
 
Posted 9/19/2018 12:09pm by David Zemelsky.
David is out of town this week so please reply to me here at smithbissett@yahoo.com
 
I awoke from my dream last night in a panicked sweat.  Running out to the fields it was dark and unfamiliar.  I couldn't find my way and I just kept calling out to my lost friends, "TOMATOES TOMATOES!"  But alas they were gone.
 
Joel Here
 
Yes that is a bit of an exaggeration in the sense of the surreal dream but it makes a good story and the ending is sadly true.  The tomato waterfall has run all but dry for another season.  The high tunnels being converted to fall greens and the mighty 12 foot tall plants occupying space on the compost pile.
 
This can be a tough time of year for a farmer, pulling out plants you started before February.  With each yank a small sigh, yet I'm reminded of the cyclical nature of life.  With the coming season great things, a little more free time and the tomatoes will surely be back next year.
 
Don't forget we’re planning on having a Fall CSA.  This is an awesome time to get sweet greens, amazing carrots.  Potentially life changing potatoes.  Ginger that will defy even your wildest dreams.  More details will follow.
 
Here's what we have this week.
Carrots $5/lb  special 2lbs for 8$
Salad Greens $6/bag
Beets $4/llb

Potatoes (French Fingerling or Purple.  Let me know if you have a preference) $5/lb

Arugula $6/bag Limited supply this week

Pea Tendrils $6/bag
Big Kale $4/bunch
Collards $3/bunch
Juliet Tomatoes 6$lb
Summer Squash $3/lb
Sun dried tomatoes $5/for an ounce
Swiss Chard $3/bunch
Eggplant and Peppers - put them down knowing that maybe we’re going to run out.  Depends on the run on them.  $5/lb
Hot pepper mix 4$/pint
Pak Choi $4/bunch
Yoi Choy Pak's delicious cousin 4$/bunch
Braising Greens $6/bag
Leeks- $4/bunch.
Ginger- $9/plant. You can use the whole plant, too.
 

Please send your preferences back to me by 8AM Thursday and remember David is out of town this week so please reply to me here at smithbissett@yahoo.com
 
 
Enjoy the last week of summer
Joel
Posted 8/1/2018 10:32am by David Zemelsky.

Dear those of true heart and bellies

Joel Here

Never in my life have I felt this to be more true than here and now in the heat of the summer and the peak of harvest.  I want to harvest everything at just the right moment to keep things like our squash and cucumbers as productive as possible.  I'd love to get every last cherry tomato before they split but the reality is one must turn towards priorities, as heart breaking as leaving a tomato behind can be.

There's beds to be prepped, seed to be sown, transplants to well transplant and all the while trying to keep up against the power of nature. While summer may mean ideal conditions for vacation to most, it also means ideal conditions for many garden pests, weeds and not so ideal conditions for sprouting many a seed. But let's not bore you with the less enjoyable parts of my day.

The fight for good food continues in earnest here at the farm.  And yes we've fallen right off the tomato cliff and it's a long way down.

This weeks offerings

Tomatoes $7/lb

Cherry Tomatoes $6/pint

Tomatillos $4/pint

Kale $4/bunch

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Collards $3/bunch

Carrots $5/lb

Red Onions $3/lb

Spring onions $4/bunch

Garlic $3.50 each

Summer squash mostly yellow $3/lb

Beets $4/bunch

Aroma Basil $3.50/bunch

Cilantro $3.50/ bunch

Thai and Spicy bush basil $4/bunch

Slicing Cukes $6/lb

Pickling Cukes $0.50/each

Mustard Greens $6/bag limited amount first come first serve

Let us know your orders by 8AM tomorrow for pick up after 2 P.M. out front in the shed.

Thanks Again

Joel

 

Posted 7/4/2018 9:24am by David Zemelsky.

Dear lovers of summer's bounty

Joel Here

Fireflies light up the woods edge at dusk, the smell of charcoal grills fill the air, children run free with the innocent notion that summer will last forever and the sounds of distance fireworks can be heard almost everywhere.  My friends it must be July.

Personally I love summer, especially July and at times can be a glutton for punishment working out in the heat.  However on this July fourth I'm taking a rare day off( well let's be honest it's more like a half day, after all things must be done), to enjoy this beautiful time off year.

Speaking of beauty the high tunnels are looking full and beautiful.  Actually even a bit intimating from a harvesting and maintenance standpoint but that is just another part of summer.  The point of this being that tomatoes and peppers are not far off.  Very soon David will have the privilege of offering you summer's true bounty even if the woodchucks and their refined pallets are competing for them.  Besides experience as a grower, I'm gaining a bit of skill as a woodchuck trapper(In the have a heart live trap of course)

Let's get down to the real point of this mailing this week's offerings

Radishes  $3.50/ bunch Red round, Black and Watermelon

Beets 4$/ bunch Early wonder top, Touchstone or Chioggia

Carrots $5/bunch

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Big Kale- $3.50

Salad Greens- $6

Glorious, glorious heads of lettuce $3.50/head

Arugula $6/bag

Bunching Onions $2.50/bunch

Spring Onions $4/bunch

Pak Choi $3/bunch

Braising Greens, with spicy greens and tender young brassicas $6/bag

Bunches of Basil ,Cilantro, Sage or Thyme . Please say which one $3/bunch

Garlic $3.50/head

Collards $3/bunch

Summer Squash $3/lb

Cukes $6/lb

That's the offerings for this week.  Remember to email me directly at smithbissett@yahoo.com.  All orders should be in by 8 am Thursday for 2pm pickup out front in the shed and of course email with any questions.

 

Thanks and enjoy

Joel

 

 

 

 

Posted 7/2/2018 8:35pm by David Zemelsky.

Dear CSAers,

What can you say about July? Seems like we wait all year for this beauty of a month but when it arrives as it has one must wonder what were we thinking.  Even myself a true child of summer found the heat a bit oppressive and on that note I'll keep this short and sweet.

The 4th falls on a Wednesday this year so we'll be doing that pickup on Tuesday the 3rd still after 3pm. Saturday pickup remains unchanged.

We'll be offering you Carrots, Beets, Kale, Basil and Salad totaling 22.  This leaves a balance of 8 for the small shares and 18 for the big.

Radishes  $3.50 Traditional red round, Black or watermelon radish

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Glorious, glorious heads of lettuce $3.50/head

Arugula $6/bag

Spring onions $4/bunch

Bunching Onions $2.50/bunch

Pak Choi $3/bunch

Bunches of Cilantro, Sage or Thyme . Please say which one $3/bunch

Garlic $3.50/head

Collards $3/bunch

Summer Squash $3/lb

Cukes $6/lb

And remember David is away this week so please email me directly smithbissett@yahoo.com

 

Thanks and Happy fourth

Joel

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 6/13/2018 12:24pm by David Zemelsky.

Dear Friends,

Joel Here

David is returning tomorrow however, he is having phone issues so please email me directly with your orders as emails to David may get overlooked.

smithbissett@yahoo.com

 

When the days are getting long and hot and fireflies and mosquitoes swarm at night you know summer is near.  Around the farm we have our own ways of knowing the beautiful days are coming.

Some are bad, like flea beetles, aphids and leaf miners.  While some are good like cucumber plants outgrowing there intended area, garlic plants forming scapes and potato plants beginning to grow taller everyday.  While some things are just down right overwhelming such as the amount of weeding which must be done and a tomato jungle just screaming to be pruned and attached to strings so it can grow straight and tall.

Meanwhile I sit and wonder how I can balance all these things and many more while still finding the time to get a swim or two in each week.  But don't let me distract you with my problems instead choose from the list below and reap the benefits of our work after all that's why we do it.

Salad Greens $6/bag

Arugula $6/bag

Large Kale(if you want lacinato, just mention it when you order ) $4/bunch

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Radishes $3.50

Hakeuri Turnips $4/bunch

Garlic Scapes $2.50/ 1/4pound

Braising Greens $6/bag

Pea Tendrils $6/bag

Pak choi $3/bunch

Green Onions $3/bunch

Collards $3/bunch

Glorious heads of lettuce $3/head

Still plenty of tomato plants and herbs and especially those miniature sunflowers $5/plant.  Our plant sale is going into it's final stages and we are now offering a buy one get two special.  If what plants you want aren't available we will choose a replacement and please suggest one.

Please send me your request by 8am tomorrow.  Your order will be in the shed at 54 Fowler Ave.(to the LEFT of the house) after 2pm tomorrow.  Payment goes  in the payment jar.  If you come after dark, bring a light.

Thank you so much for thinking of us and remember this week send your order to me smithbissett@yahoo.com

Joel