News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 3/12/2013 10:19am by David Zemelsky.

We are happy to let you know that the enrollment form for the 2013 Summer CSA is now available.  Most of you are already aware that we incurred lots of damage from the blizzard.  5 of our 6 hoop houses were either damaged or destroyed by the huge amount of snow.  For the past few weeks, we've been busy cleaning up the ruined hoop houses and planning for the CSA.  The bulk of that is behind us now.  Plans for new hoop houses are in the works and our CSA remains unscathed!

We are now in our fourteenth year of growing great produce for farmer’s markets and top quality restaurants in Connecticut. This is our second year with the CSA.  After one year of CSA operation, we can very safely say that it has been a totally satisfying experience for us.  The response from our Shareholders has been gratifying and a big reminder of why we love this work.  Having said that, every good farmer wants each year to be even better.  And that is our intention for the coming year, an even better experience for all of you.
The CSA will run for 21 weeks, June 5 through October 26.  Pick-up days will be Wednesday and Thursday from 2pm-7PM. We will also be offering a pickup at Wooster Square Market(New Haven) on Saturdays for an additional cost of $40. There will be a wide variety of delicious, fresh and certified organic vegetables each week for you to bring home.  You can count on Field Greens, Asian Braising Vegetables, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peas, String Beans, Summer Squash, Onions, Garlic, Potatoes, Kale, Carrots, Pak Choi, Sweet Potatoes,  Swiss Chard,Peppers, Daikon, Haukeri Turnips and Carrots-to name but a few. A full crop list of what we are planning and when it should be available can be viewed on our website.  Go to “CSA for 2013” and select ‘CSA Crops’.  Please remember that this is a tentative list and does not guarantee that particular crop will be available.

There are two sizes of shares to choose from.  The Small Share($475) is for 1-2 people.  If both members are serious veggies eaters, you should consider the regular share to make sure that you’ve enough food.  The Regular Share($675) will feed from two to four people. The registration form is available on our website.  Please go to “CSA for 2013” and select ‘Member Sign up Summer 2013’ from the menu.
Value added products and extra portions of our vegetables will be available at the stand this season, in case you need more than what is contained in your share.

If you  have any questions, please write us at : Starlightgardens@comcast.net  . We respond.  As always, thank you for your dedication to great,locally and sustainably grown food.


 

Posted 2/19/2013 10:07am by David Zemelsky.

 Starlight was heavily damaged in the blizzard. We lost 5 of the 6 high tunnels.Thank you to  all the folks who have showered ous with their support, best wishes,  offers of help and hope for the future of Star Light Gardens. We are just beginning to plan what to do next so stay tuned. There are photos here.

Posted 1/30/2013 7:19pm by David Zemelsky.

As of January 28th, the length of the day has gone beyone 10 hours.  What that means to us, is that photosynthesis can be accomplished in earnest now.  That means growth.  This is a wonderful thing, because much of our greens have been cut and sitting somewhat dormant.  Now they will begin to grow.  Soon, we'll be sending out information about the Spring CSA.  Look for it.

The following is a press release from the Northeast Organic Farming Association-an organization that we respect tremendously.  They are having a conference in early March with many interesting workshops.  I am leading one on winter greens productions.  We hope to see you there.

Here is the release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact: Kristiane Huber
January 30, 2013                            kristiane@ctnofa.org

Connecticut’s Largest Sustainable Food and Agriculture Conference on March 2

WILTON—All are welcome to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut’s annual celebration of local food and organic farms, the Winter Conference on Saturday, March 2.  Now in its 31st year, the 2013 Winter Conference will feature more workshops and vendors than ever before and has moved to a new larger venue, Wilton High School.  

The 2013 Winter Conference’s theme is adjusting to climate change on the farm, in the garden, and at home.  With rising temperatures and increasing food prices, now is the time to talk about climate change. To discuss climate resilient farming and land management, the keynote speaker is David W. Wolfe Ph.D., the Faculty Fellow and Chair of the Climate Change Focus Group, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Professor of Plant and Soil Ecology, Department of Horticulture at Cornell University.

The 2013 Winter Conference will feature over 50 workshops for homeowners, farmers, cooks, students, environmentalists and activists.  Beginners can learn the basics of how to start a garden or keep backyard chickens while the experts can attend technical workshops about growing fruit trees and soil biology. Connecticut’s experienced organic farmers will instruct on growing a variety of crops from grain to garlic. Food lovers can explore more adventurous foods (like wild edible plants and mushrooms), healthy foods (with workshops about GMO-free purchasing and intestinal health) and new recipes.  Refer to the complete list of workshops at www.ctnofa.org to check if any of the 2013 workshops can teach you something to improve your health, garden, or ecological footprint!

Visit with any of 60 vendors and exhibitors who will be distributing information and selling delicious local foods, Connecticut crafts and garden tools.  Learn about purchasing shares of food from farms with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Programs at the CSA Fair.  Attendees may also bid on goodies donated by our vendors at the silent auction and help support CT NOFA’s work in 2013.

Young children can stay with a guardian in the Family Play Area where they can relax, read or enjoy music, story time, and children’s workshops.  Everyone will enjoy a lunch provided by seven of Fairfield County’s favorite restaurants including: Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton; The Elm Restaurant in New Canaan; Barcelona in South Norwalk; Terrain Garden Café, Dressing Room and LeFarm in Westport; and Sugar & Olives and Wave Hill Bread in Norwalk.  

The 2013 Winter Conference is on Saturday, March 2 at Wilton High School at 395 Danbury Road in Wilton.  Registration fees range from $30-$60 with an additional $15 fee for lunch.  To register, please visit www.ctnofa.org or call the CT NOFA office at 203-888-5146.  For information on being a vendor, exhibitor or sponsor, please visit the website, e-mail ctnofa@ctnofa.org or call the office.:

Stay warm and safe:

Don't forget to check out Ty's website at : Tyzemelsky.com


Posted 1/15/2013 10:15am by Ty Zemelsky.

Yup, we're ready for the next part of what we will ultimately be an available year round CSA. Both our Summer and Fall CSAs were incredibiy successful. We are delighted to be able to make new friends  and to serve our community with local sustainable organic food.  Folks expect to see produce throughout the summer, but unless one is familar with the concept of extended season growing without supplemental heat in our New England climate, one might be surprized to taste the sweetest fresh spinach in the middle of February.

This winter CSA will be from February 6 to March 27.  In the winter in our high hoop tunnels we grow veggies that are cold hardy and don't mind much if they are exposed to freezing and thawing. These veggies include spinach, kale, claytonia and a few other brassica greens.  Greens! Greens! Greens!

To sign up click here.

The photos above, below and around are of Ty's recent work. Many of you know already that it is  from Ty's work as artist  that the concept of starting a veggie farm was developed. To see more of her work and to learn how to purchase click on  ty zemelsky .You will also find first glimpses of new projects  and upcoming exhibits.

Posted 9/13/2012 6:53am by Ty Zemelsky.

We are rapidly approaching the end of the regular CSA Season.  Without any doubt, this has been a great experience for everyone involved.  Since we are a Season Extension Farm (more about that in a second),  it seemed totally logical to keep the CSA going through the end of the year.  The Fall CSA will start the last week of October and round for the next 8 weeks. 

A season extension farm works with mother nature, choosing hearty types of greens and root crops to grow that don't seem to mind the colder weather.  We protect these crops with row covers (kind of like a blanket for vegetables), hoop houses or low tunnels (a baby hoop house).  We never use supplemental heat or lights to make this happen, just work with mother nature and coax another season out of the year!

Here are some of things that you can expect to find, if you join.

Spinach

Salad Greens

Carrots

Pak Choi

Potatoes(probably)

Asian Greens

Daikon Radish

Hakeuri Turnips

Beets

Swiss Chard

If you are interested in signing up, please go to the Fall CSA sign up tab that you'll find in the pull down menu at the very right top of this home page that is labeled "CSA for 2012"

Posted 6/27/2012 4:18am by David Zemelsky.

Greetings to All of You,

Two years ago, we hosted a Farm Dinner put on by the Max Restaurant Group.  It was considered a huge success by all that attended.  Amazing meals were served outside to about 100 people.  The night was clear, with beautiful stars.  I could go on and one.  The point is that Chef Scott Miller and his crew are returning this August 5th for another dinner.  Details and reservations are available at the Max Group Website.  Here is their address:

www.maxdiningcard.com/store.php?StoreLevel=1&Level1=93

Hope to see you there,

Bon appetit,

Ty and David Zemelsky

Posted 5/17/2012 8:51pm by Ty Zemelsky.

For those of you interested in our 2012 CSA-enrollment is full.  There is a chance that we might be able to fit a few more in a week, so check back.  Our deep regrets to anyone who wished to join.  There will be a Fall/Winter CSA . Details available in mid Summer.  Best to all of you.

Posted 3/27/2012 8:26am by Ty Zemelsky.

March 27, 2012

So a couple of weeks ago we got the final word-- our tractor was truly done- dead- finished.  Bad enough news anytime, but in this warm dry Spring, particularly a pain, since we were ready to prepare and plant much of our fields. The decision about the next tractor is complicated and well-- what are we to do before we get this one worked out? Here is the answer!Ronnie on tractor

This is our friend and neighbor Ron Stannard. For years now, he has from time to time helped us with advice, hands on repair help and tractor in the fields aid, when we've been in a pinch. Ronnie  has been helping us figure out the next tractor decision. And, in the meantime, a few days ago he just showed up on his tractor and tilled our fields. Wow! We are so grateful for his help and support. But best of all, he is a good friend an a terrific guy!  Thanks Ronnie, for everything!

Posted 3/21/2012 11:22am by Ty Zemelsky.

To celebrate  the first day of Spring , we were delighted to host a Ct Nofa workshop for new growers. David taught folks about growing in hoop houses and small tunnels in the off season.  John Bartok, perhaps the foremost greenhouse design expert in  the region, shared some of his knowlege as to designing and building high tunnels and greenhouses. There were more than 50 eager participants-- some seasoned growers, some back yard gardeners and lots of brand new hopeful farmers.

Ct Nofa workshop

Just as things were getting started, a surprise visitor arrived-- Commission of Agriculture Steve Reviczky.  After chatting with him I learned that he has always been connected to farming in one form or another and is very much a voice for the continuing and new growth of farming in the state. He was  surprised to learn how much produce we grow on a relatively small piece of land. And indeed looking around Star Light Gardens, one can imagine seeing small bits of growing all over our state-- gardens ,farms and even growing on bits of free space and /or municipal lands.Ct Ag Commission Steve Reviczky

Later in the day a local teacher brought a couple of middle school students for their own small workshop. They were so enthusiastic and helpful. They jumped right into a bed of greens and started weeding. When they wanted a break they just reached over to the next bed and pulled a couple of brand new sweet baby carrots.  These carrots were planted in mid November and wintered over as tiny plants.

Meanwhile when we are not hosting throngs of people, things are working up to a dull roar  around here. All the high tunnels are bursting with greens partly due to the warm spring after the pracitically nonexistent winter. 

 march 2012

The low tunnels that protected young plants in the field all winter are also yielding lots of food. So we're are off to a great start of the main season. That is a good thing because the announcement of our new CSA has been met with much enthusiasm. There is still room for more members so check it out right here on this site.

It won't be long before the greens  all move out to the fields and the hoophpouses are turned over to the 2012 tomato jungles. To that end,this time of year has become defined with starting and  grafting tomato plants. We will feature graftingi n a blog soon, but  it  is well underway and in a few weeks the first cycle of heirlooms will be planted in the first hoophouse. These tomatoes give us a jump on tomato season and  when they appear at our farmers markets there is practically a stampede for them. Not to mention the chefs fighting over who gets them first.  Just kidding everybody-- in reality everyone is eager, but polite !

Happy Spring !

March 21, 2012

Posted 2/9/2012 10:31am by David Zemelsky.
Dear Star Light Gardens Fans,

This season we are starting our first CSA!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, here is a brief explaination:

Imagine that you are given the opportunity to receive weekly fresh, organically grown produce at  your favorite farm.  And while you are there,have an equally interesting opportunity to meet other people  who believe that locally and sustainably  grown, fresh  food is extremely important for both your mental and physical health.  Am I drawing a clear enough picture?  

CSA members, in a very real sense become an intregal part of the life on the farm.  Shareholders (that's what you really are!) own a real share of the harvest.  You can benefit from the kind of growing season we have by receiving bonus amounts of food during bountiful times.  Of course, a poor season will also affect the amount of food that one receives.

The CSA model  gives you the ability to experiment with the very best food that is available at the time that you receive your share.  Each week shareholders come to Star Light Gardens between 2PM-7PM on either a Wednesday or a Thursday.  Upon arrival, you'll immediately be able to see what your share for the week looks like.  There will be bins of delicious produce spread around our Distribution Shed with signs indicating how many lbs(or pieces) of each item would be your share.  Additionaly,, we'll be blogging on a regular basis : sharing the events that shaped our growing week on the farm. Giving you great recipes will help you to cook amazing dishes.  There really is no good substitute for fresh vegetables that are grown by someone you know and trust.  There aren't any good words to describe how amazing well grown food tastes.  

And that exactly is our main wish:  to grow for you the very best and nutritious food that you can find anywhere on the planet.  
To learn more, please visit starlightgardensct.com  and follow the links to the CSA.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any and all of your questions.

Bon Appetit!
Ty and David Zemelsky
Star Light Gardens
54 Fowler Ave.
Durham, CT 06422
860 463 0166
starlightgardensct.com