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Gifts that Keep Giving

Mid July is really a special time of year on small farms everywhere but especially here at Star Light Gardens. Not only is it when we begin to harvest our Love Garlic(more on this to come) but it is also J and Js Birthdays on the 16th and 21st respectively. Typically the plan is for at least one beach getaway to celebrate however, with things firing on all cylinders the logistics of such an outing are still being worked out. In the mean time we will have to settle for a few afternoon trips to Miller’s pond for a swim. Last week already felt like it was J and J’s bday week with just the type of gifts they needed this time of year. First off was squaring away our refrigeration issues. Since the compressor on our walk-in cooler died over a month ago we have been struggling with shuttling things back and forth to Middlefield and holding things in our stone cooler(named for it’s cinder block construction)where the temp hovers at 45 and using wet sheets and ice to hold humidity and a cooler temperature. Renaissance man and friend Jimmy took time on his day off last week to cut a bigger hole in the stone cooler and a new hole in our walk-in with the broken compressor. Utilizing a device called the coolbot which tricks air conditioners into running extra cool we are able to forgo the expenses and electric bill of a new compressor while still having the cooler down around 34 35, just where we like. Next up was the return of our John Deere tractor, just in time as Joel’s now 40 year old back was certainly feeling the cumulative effect of it’s absence. Big shout out’s to Jimmy, Danny of Danny’s Unlimited and our trailer wielding friend Ronny for getting us back where we need to be.

On the subject of being places one place we were not this week was the Chester Farmer’s market due to inclement weather cancellation. It’s always tough losing a market and we reluctantly accepted a much needed day off in it’s place. In other market news this week the Durham Farmer’s market will be returning to the town green because of scheduled paving of Pickett lane, where the community center is located. We apologize for the continued confusion with this market. Another comment about the markets is concerning product availability. Due to the difficulty with predicting harvest amounts especially early in a crops season, more variety will often make it to the farmer’s markets. The last thing we want to do is oversell through the online store and disappoint any of you, so if you haven’t been to any of the 4 markets SLG attends we recommend checking them out. Have questions about any of the markets? Just reach out. That being said rest assured things like tomatoes will be available soon.

While at the markets or online you can reach for one of the newer items we’ve been selling in the heat of the summer Callaloo aka Jamaican Spinach. This Caribbean Amaranth was introduced to us through one of our favorite market customers as a replacement for spinach in the hottest months and has become a hit with both the farmers and the good food people. Amaranth also known locally as pigweed is also a common “weed” here in the northeast and as a result has a insect friend waiting to chomp on it, the pig weed flea beetle. In organic growing there are OMRI approved products which can be used in production and can be at times a necessary tool. However as targeted as these products can be there is often beneficial insect friends who will also be affected. On the Callaloo we’ve chosen not to spray but rather inform our customers as well as aggressively harvest to encourage new growth. While harvesting the Callaloo this past week Joel came upon soldier bug after soldier bug gladly feeding on the larvae of those beetles, confirming our decision not to spray.

Want to try out this new veg but need some inspiration besides the tale of two bugs? Check out this weeks edition of Recipes & Nutrition Inspiration by Empower; Callaloo & Mushrooms with Ghanaian Pepper Sauce. This recipe combines some great market scores from Seacoast Mushrooms and Oh Shito! There’s nothing like looking at your plate and knowing where your food comes from!

Have a Great Week!

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