News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
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

Posted 2/7/2012 4:06pm by Ty Zemelsky.

 

February 7, 2012

We are so excited to announce that this year we will have a CSA. For those of you not familiar with the term or the idea, a CSA means Community Supported Agriculture. Essentally you buy a "share "in this years production of our farm and we will provide you  with a weekly extravaganza of fresh, harvested that day, certified organic vegetables. For 22 weeks From May 30- October 24 you come by once a week and pick up your share for the week. 

The season will start with greens of many varieties from small head lettuces to arugula and then as it gets hotter will expand to offer all kinds of things, including our famous watermelons and our even more famous heirloom tomatoes.

All the information you need is at  CSA for 2012 .

Posted 11/17/2011 5:45am by Ty Zemelsky.

It is amazing to walk through our six hoop houses at this time of year.  We’ve been growing greens for 12 years now and I still can’t get use to the fact that we can eat fresh locally grown food every month of the year.  Spinach, kale and claytonia are our first choices for deep winter.  They seem to care less how cold it gets.  Mizuna, lettuce, tatzoi, tokyo bekana (to name a few)  are somewhat impervious to cold weather.  We make sure that we have a lot of these choices for early fall, just making sure to have an abundance of the three Winter Warriors (spinach, kale and claytonia) for the dead of winter.  This kind of growing offers huge benefits to farmers and a lot of surprises, too.  There have been many a cold January day that I will walk in our hoophouses amongst frozen greens in the early morning and think that our crop is doomed with no hope of bouncing back to life.  By 9 or 10 AM, it has warmed up enough so that the frozen plants have turned back into viable, energetic live plants.  Plants that can do this have the ability to concentrate the water in the plant cell, changing the density and therefore changing the freezing point.  The other amazing benefit of winter growing is that the winter greens are very , very sweet.  That is because the carbohydrates are increased when the plant feels that its life is being threatened.  Extra carbs in plants means extra sweet.

The cycle of growing on a farm doesn’t ever come to an end.  Currently, we are planting carrots, lettuce, chard and beets for an early harvest in late April and early May.  The object is to get the plants started in the fall, let them winter over and allow them to take off once the extra daylight returns in late January, early February.  All of these crops are being grown outside in low tunnels.  A low tunnel is a series of hoops put over a plant bed with an appropriate piece of plastic put over the hoops and weighed down with sand bags to keep the plastic from blowing away.  The most advanced of these crops(chard and beets) was planted on October 21.  They’ve already germinated and created  the first baby leaves.  Lettuce, which normally will turn to  mush below 25 degrees, does very well if the plants stay at a small size until mid winter.  We’ve planted a special mix recommended by Johnny’s Selected Seeds of Maine called 5 Star Greenhouse Mix.  The lettuces in this mix  stay healthy and are very beautiful when mature.

Anyone interested in getting salad or spinach for the holidays are welcome to call us up and we’ll get it ready for you.  Tuesday, November 22 is the last day of work for that week.  We can be reached at 860 463 0166.

We are also posting pictures of some of the greens that are mentioned above.  Hope that you enjoy them.

Posted 5/6/2011 7:42am by Ty Zemelsky.

In the midst of the greens, reds and purples around here, Ty has been working as a professional visual artist for over 25 years. Or it could also be said that in the midst of a long art career,  Starlight Gardens was started and continues to flourish. We are always in a state of never getting everything in the way that we want to do it. So one of our goals for this year is to more publically connectthe two parts of our work together. Check out her website.  ty zemelsky