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It A Long Way To A Tomato

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