About Us

David, Jen and Joel on National CSA Day 2019

Star Light Gardens, located on 3 acres in the heart of historic Durham, was founded in 1999 by Ty and David Zemelsky. At the beginning SLG grew mainly salad greens for local restaurants. David and Ty’s love for tomatoes is where things took a turn. Now, we grow a diverse array of vegetables and flowers from Arugula to Zinnias, with a focus on heirloom tomatoes and baby greens for salad.  Joel Smith began his first season at Star Light in 2013 and became manager in 2018. Together with his wife Jenny Hill Star Light Gardens shifted gears to focus more on selling directly to CT good food people at farmers’ markets. In 2021 SLG took a big leap and expanded to an additional 5 acres in neighboring Middlefield. After years of working together David passed the torch to Jen and Joel and in 2023 they became the new owners of Star Light Gardens.

Our goal is to have delicious, nutritious, organic produce available for all those who seek it 12 months of the year. We accomplish this with the concept of season extension. Using our unheated Gothic style hoop houses we are able to offer winter favorites, like spinach, while also getting a head start on crops like our beloved Mothers’ day carrots and scrumptious Sungold tomatoes.  

From the beginning Star Light Gardens has been proud to be USDA certified organic. Creating healthy soil is not only better for the environment, it makes our job easier. Healthy soil fosters a well-balanced ecosystem and amazing crops. We take pride in doing things, like weeding and harvesting, the harder, slower way. We prefer being closer to the soil to lower our impact on it, and we believe our love for this land comes through in our produce.