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Plants Are A Lot Smarter Than People

Posted 11/5/2019 12:36pm by David Zemelsky.

After giving you a very small taste of how amazing soil is and all the  incredible things that go on down there, I thought it would make sense to talk about how some plants have figured out how to tolerate Winter. It seemed more important to talk about this than late carrots this week.( as promised last week.)

A little background first.  Twenty years ago when Ty and I started Star Light, we took a trip up to visit Eliot Coleman in Maine. Way up.  Eliot, for those who don't know is a rock star in the world of farming.  Kind of a Brittany Spears equivalent. (Or maybe JLO, depends on your taste!).  Anyway, Eliot is a very curious and inventive farmer who  realized that it was possible to have fresh food locally grown all Winter long.  Not all vegetables, of course, but a wide variety of greens, radishes, kale, chard, claytonia ( a lot more about this amazing Winter green in later weeks) and spinach.  Eliot put up hoop houses (a greenhouse without the heat) and constructed them in such a way that he could move them from one place to another.  Basically, he put them on runners, like a sled.  When the time was right, he'd get two tractors and pull the houses over an area that was planted for Winter harvesting. 

Hoophouses are marvelous ways to make a micro climate.  Covered with plastic and then covering the plants with rowcover (kind of a blanket for greens)  this system would make the world that the vegetables lived in 7-10 degrees warmer than being outside.  Also, the plants would be sheltered from the wind and the rain.

Eliot chose his vegetables wisely.  There are some vegetables that just won't tolerate  cold at all.  Tomatoes, peppers, basil, green beans to name but a few.  The ones that he did  grow for Winter harvesting had an inner wisdom about the cold.  Kale, claytonia, spinach, the ones that I call Winter Warriors, are the best suited for this lifestyle.

I find this plant skill truly amazing.  How does it work?  I'll give you a simple explaination and also refer you to a website that can explain it best.  Essentially, when it gets cold, the water in a plant's cellular structure can change density.  By doing that, the freezing point also changes to a lower temperature.  AND, its a bit more complicated than that, so I"m going to refer you to a website that will do a better job.  Here it is:https://www.newsobserver.com/news/technology/article46478820.html

Available food this week? So much! And so wonderful.  As in other weeks,send us your order by 8AM on Thursday and your order will be waiting for you in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham after 2pm.  Bring a light if you come after dark!  Payment goes in the Payment Jar.

We are offering you a money saving idea again for the rest of the season.  Its a modern approach to CSA.  For $50, we'll supply you with $60 worth of food. That's a twenty percent savings.  Just send us a check at Star Light/54 Fowler Ave./Durham, CT 06422 and order food like you have already been doing.  The difference is that you've prepaid! And Saved!  Thank you for considering this.

We're concentrating on a few things that would be great to cook, namely braising greens.  Last week we introduced two braising green collections.  One has mustards, bok choi, a carrot, kale, and a few Asian greens.  All you do is lightly rinse the greens and braise in a pan briefly.  $10/bag.  The second one is a soup mix, with turnip,carrot,celeriac, radish, onion, potato, kale. Again $10.

Another incredible vegetable to consider this week is our lettuce heads, both green and red.  Here's a picture.  They taste even better than they look.

I just took this picture out in the field.  Pretty effective with the rain glistening all over it, right?!

You're looking at both a red and green butter leaf, but there's also red oak leaf and red and green romaine.  Please specify, if there's a preference for type and color.  $3/head

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

Arugula-  $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots-  $5/bunch

Radishes- ditto.  French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

Big Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards- $4/bunch

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head  If you want to plant your own garlic, this is a perfect choice.

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb

Tomatoes-still way way better than anything from the supermarket $4/lb

Onions- $3/lb

Have a great week,