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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Sunday August 28, 2016

 

Full disclosure  The list of what's available has been copies and pasted from last week's list.  Hope that your week has been productive.  One thing that is paramount on our minds at Star Light right now is Fall.  In fact, its been front and center for several weeks.  It is always a challenge to stay mindful and in the present,and at the same time without planning for the next season-we'd be dead in the water.  A few examples of this: Let's start with beets. We've actually enjoyed beets all Summer long.  Now, all our beets from then are harvested and in the walkin.  Knowing that growth slows down dramatically at the end of Summer, I had to plant beets in mid July in order to have a crop for the Fall.  Another example of planning for the Fall would be Pak Choi.  I just planted Pak Choi for mid to late Fall.  More to follow.

Come out to the Wadsworth Mansion Open Market!  We'll be there like we usually are.  Way way down at the end, farthest way from the mansion itself.  Its is a great event with lots to eat, nice music, and friends whom you haven't seen in a long time.  They're always there.  I'd love the opportunity to see some of you again.  Usually, we're just exchanging emails!  Stop in.  This Sunday from 10AM to 4PM.Here's  the link:

http://www.wadsworthmansion.com/public-events/open-air-market/

 

Below is a repeat from last week.  The description of some of the heirlooms is helpful.

We'll start with Kellog Breakfast.  Here's a picture one of the two that I relished last night. 

It has a full , rich flavor (I'll use that phrase a lot here. Just watch) and its wet.  Orange/yellow happens to be one of my favorite colors, so its fun to consume a vegetable that has a pleasing look. Its sweetness is derived from a bit of mischeavous  savory overtones.  I know that sounds confusing, but the multitudes of flavors tends to feel like a cascade of  taste.

Next, would be the Juliet.  Long loved by everyone in my family and now by a host of chefs who want this small beauty.  Looking like a paste tomato, but having every single strength to be a winner as a raw taste winner.  Needless to say, it has very little juice in it and becomes a great choice for cooking.  Lots of flesh that remains firm even after cooking it. Here's its picture.

Wapsipinicon is next.  Named after a river in Iowa, this variety was introduced to me by a grower in Canada who just happened to mention it in passing after telling me about the Juliet. (Thank you, for both).  It has a very dull, almost institutional color.  I'd never pick this color for a room in our house ever.  Its skin is fuzzy and therefore belongs to a variety of tomatoes known as "peach-variety".  Despite its dull color, I find the Wapsipinicon to be a taste treat that you'll not forget.  Watery, like the Kellog, and almost like that wine that you might have tried once at a restaurant and haven't ever been able to find out again what exactly that was.  It's just that good.

Marbonne- a new variety from Johnny's Selected Seeds.  Technically, not an heirloom, but still looks and acts like one.  Big red fruit and an honest, rich flavor.  You can make thick, real slices with this one.

Green Moldovan- yes, green and ripe.  It doesn't make sense at first, but you'll get use to it.  The texture of, but not the taste of, an avocado.  Watery , juicy and very exciting .  You'll feel like you're swimming, once you bit into this one.

So this week, at the store, you can order by flavor.  $6/ a serving.  Probably for the Kellog, and the Marbonne-one tomato will be a serving.  Even though this is expensive, you will not be disappointed.  I promise.  You can't get this kind of food experience in January.  The other choices will be about a lb. 

Other things available at the store this week:

Heirlooms Tomatoes $6.50/lb.  If you'd like a mixture, then ask for this.
Sun Golds $6/pint
Black Cherry $6/pint
Peppers of many colors $5/lb
Green Onions $3/bunch
Fingerling Potatoes-fresh dug, infact they’re still in the ground as we speak $5/lb
Coastal Italian Chard-deep rich green color. Great side dish $4/bunch
Hearty German Garlic $2.50/head
Yaya (orange) and Cosmic Purple Carrots- with or without the tops $6/lb
Asian Eggplants-long, thin and purple $5/lb
Hakeuri Turnips $4/bunch Special! Buy two bunches for $5

Radishes $3/bunch  SPECIAL! Buy two bunches for $4

Beets- $4/bag                                                                                                              

Northfordy Tomato Sauce-still the best you can get anywhere. $10/jar 32oz. 

NEW this week! Sun-dried Tomatoes.  It would be impossible to describe how amazing our sundried tomatoes are.  Made from the Juliet tomato, can be used on sandwiches, or pasta dishes to name but a few.  $4/oz                                   

Boring as it sounds, here's the reminder: Let me know by 10AM Friday (tomorrow) Cash preferred but checks ok. Order ready after 2pm in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham.  Your order will be marked with your name.  Payment goes in the payment jar.

Thank you, one and all for being our friends.  It goes a long way.


Have a great week
David Zemelsky

 


 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/25/2016 8:34 am

 

The last two weeks contain everything in the subject line above. First:waterfalls.  For the past few weeks, we've had some tomatoes that have delighted a few people.  I kept looking at all those green tomatoes and felt pretty sure that they'd never ripen.  Then one harvest day about 18 days ago, as we were picking crates of tomatoes, I kept looking at the increasing number of crates that were amassing.  It occurred to me-we're in the zone.  And we were.  After finishing, there were crates and crates of amazing looking tomatoes.  This is the waterfall that we've been waiting for since starting these plants from seed last January.  On Monday, even though it was theoritically a day off for me, I decided that it would be best to harvest tomatoes for an hour or two, rather than leave their fate up to the woodchuck.  In almost no time, I had 7 crates.  The next day, we added 7 more.  In other words, if you'd like heirloom tomatoes in an quanity -we've got it.  Striped German, Paul Robeson, Marbonne, Kellog Breakfast , Wapsipinicon to name but a few.  Wapsipinicon deserves an extra mention here.  Named after an Indian Tribe in the mid-West, this peachy feeling little tomato has the dullest yellow color.  You'd never pick this color to paint your house, outside or in.  However, it has a clear ringing taste and one that you've never tried before.  Recommended.  Since the waterfall, I've indulged in all manner of tomato consumption, starting with a breakfast feast of sliced tomatoes with kosher coarse salt.  Again, recommended.

The Wilt part of the story has to do with bacterial wilt-a sure killer of cucumber and squash plants but not watermelon.  Once started , it can't be reversed.  It is transmitted by the cucumber beetle.  The best thing to do is to keep these varmints ways from your plants.  Spraying with pyganic (pyretheium) or Surround(a kind of clay, approved for organic practices) helps.  Apparently, the clay confuses and agitates the beetle and puts them into a state of nonfunctioning.  Inspite of my best efforts, our katrina plants all went south(died) within a week of each other.  We've got more plants growing, so those of you who are big fans of katrina-help is on the way.

And Wonderment?  Yes, about everything, the good things and the not so good things.  If one is not in wonderment about nature, then you're just not paying attention.

Store Info:

Get orders in by 10AM Friday and pick up after 2pm Friday.  Cash preferred, but checks ok.  Bring exact change, as you can't count on someone having already left the right amount of money for you to make change.  Mostly everything is picked that day.  Its a great system all around.

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- still the best $10 jar

Yaya and Cosmic Purple Carrots- $5bunch. 

Assorted Colors of Peppers- $5/bag

Eggplant- Asian, thing ones, with a wonderful purple color $5/bag

Arugula - spicy and aromatic $6/bag

Hakeuri Turnips- $4/bunch.  Such a pleasing texture and taste.  No need to cook

Wapsipinicon (see above)- a cult tomato $6.50/bag (!lb)

Juliets-The Desert Island Tomato.  Versatile: great for cooking(very little water) or eating raw (oh my god quality) $6.50/bag

Sun Golds- sweet and more sweet cherry tomato.  The kind of food experience that you've dreamt of all your life $6/pint

Black Cherry- savory and aromatic.  Multiple taste.  Like a good wine $6/ping

Garlic-$2.50 head.  Our best crop

Italian Coastal Chard- lush green and very flavorful for either salad or cooking $3/bunch

Big Kale- $3/bunch

Beets- $3bunch

Heirloom Tomatoes-  this is your time to experience what a tomato could taste like $6.50/bag

Green Onions- $3/bunch

Questions or Comments?  Bring em on.  I love to respond!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/10/2016 12:42 pm

 

Someone must have already made that joke already (The Beet Goes On).  The idea just popped up at me as I began to write.  And that's what happens while farming, too.  An idea will seem to appear out of no where.  At the beginning of Star Light, we use to dry our salad greens by putting them in a large net and swing them around as hard and fast as we could.  That got old so very fast.  It also would have caused permanent damage to who knows what in my shoulder ligaments and muscles.  After a few weeks of a very sore process, I suddenly realized that we could get better and easier results by putting the net inside a washing machine and setting it to "lock and spin".  Instant success.  Now, here's the point: every time I told one of my farming friends they'd say "Done that".  It was just one of those ideas that sooner (not me) or later (me), one would come to this idea.  So if someone has already figured out already about the phrase "The Beet Goes On", already-my apologies.

Here's what's happening about beets.  First off, we have beets available right now.  We're talking about future fall beets.  If one wants a crop of beets for the fall-plant early to mid Summer because its later than you think(but not too late, yet).  And plant a lot.  Some for you and some for the mice.  You'll see what I'm talking about.  We plant our beets with a planting machine that will lay down a row of beets, slightly bury it and then gently cover it over.  The Earthway Seeder, as its called, has various plates that you can use depending on the size of your seed.  It turns out that they don't know what they're talking about when they're refurring to beet seeds.  After planting and watering, the tiny little plants came up way to close.  This will never work, as they are competing for the same space and no one will turn into a decent sized beet.  Therefore, I've taken up the task of thinning.  This is not a thankless task.  I'll take a small section and pull out carefully the extra seedlings.  After doing this for several feet, I've collected dozens of potential beets.  I'll take my pile and move to another section.  I'll poke a hole with an old screwdriver every inch and slip the seedling into the hole.  After each new hole is filled with a seedling, then I'll nudge the soil against the new plant.  It doesn't always work.  Sometimes when the seedling is pulled out of the ground the roots don't come with it.  Also, if you try this task in the middle of the day, the seedling will probably die from the harshness of the sun.  Best time is the end of the day, and the second best time is the early morning.  I'll let you know how it comes out.

Woodchuck update: Better.  Some of our residents are gone (Thanks to our nameless techniques) while others still reside.  They seem less interested in tomatoes though.  The damage to the crop seems significantly less.  I got several request for a good method to get rid of these guys.  Check out the internet, too.

Next pest update: Horned worms.  I think we've conquered them.  After writing about them last week, we sprayed with Bt (called Dipel DF.  Its an approved organic spray).  Available from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

On to the store: 

Hakeuri Turnips:  These babies are in their full glory now.  Great tops for cooking or salad and amazing flavor to the roots.  Crispy and snappy.  Roasted or raw.  $4/bunch

Bloody Butcher-a favorite heirloom tomato that we're putting on special this week. Small and very very sweet fruit.  Bright red color.  They're a bit like candy-just pop one in your mouth. $6 for 2lbs

Juliet-my Desert Island Tomato. A grower in Canada once told me about these gems.  Small, red, sweet fruit.  It would be my choice, if I had to take just one plant to a desert island because of its versitility.  Great raw and fantastic to cook with as there's hardly any liquid.  They can be dried with great success too.  $6.50/lb

Heirlooms- I can't even begin to wrap my head around what to say about heirloom tomatoes.  They're here.  They are transformative.  If you've never tried an heirloom tomato, its as different as watching the Metropolitan Opera on your phone versus being at the Met.  Its that simple.  Since late January, we've been working towards this abundance of tomatoes and now its here.  Buy a lot.  You'll spend a fair amount, but you won't regret it-that's a promise.  $6.50/lb.  Also, my idea of a pound is really generous.

Sungolds- if you want sungolds, put it down, but not sure if they won't already be sold out by the time Friday comes around. $6/pint

Black Cherry- a bit larger than Sungold.  Very savory and special.  The flavor parade will amazing you.  Eating Black Cherry is like experiencing a good wine. There's  its first flavor, middle and a wonderful aftertaste $6/pint

Beets- $3/bunch

Swiss Chard $3/bunch. This an Italian variety called Coastal.  Light green, succulant and worth visiting

Large Kale-$4/bunch

Katrina Cucumbers-  they still remain the worlds best cucumber.  I'll stand by them.  $5/5 cucumbers.  We might see an end to them soon,(two weeks?) but other varieties are coming.  A second planting will hopefully see them come back in September

Garlic- now its all cured and ready for you.  This is our best crop of garlic ever.  I'm going to enter some in the Durham Fair.  $2.50/head

Thyme Plants-  still a good time to put in the ground.  Perenials. $4/pot

Northfordy Tomato Sauce-better than everything you'll get at the store $10/bottle

Green Onions-  so perfect for everything $3/bunch

Regular drill.  Let me know by 10am on Friday.  Orders available in shed after 2pm on Friday.  Don't miss out on the tomatoes!

Have a great week.

David

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/3/2016 5:10 pm

 

Thank you for coming to me in my time of need!  I got so many great suggestions about how to deal with pesky woodchucks.  I've had, since writing last, a certain amount of success.  If you really want to know my methods-write back.  I don't want to change that image that I'm probagating-"the mild mannered farmer". 

I wouldn't mind if they took a few tomatoes and ate them whole.  However, that is not their way.  They'll try one huge heirloom tomato, sample it and then move on to another.  Hardly ever will they finish one whole tomato.  Conservatively, they've probably done at least $300 worth of damage.  Worst this year than ever. 

Meanwhile, we've got another pest which is fortunately easily controlled.  This would be horned worm catepillars.    They blend in to the tomato plant and literally devour the top, tender tops of the plant.  There is an approved spray that will kill them, but occasionally they get attacked by a parasite that devours them from the inside out.

I took this picture early AM on Thursday (July 28th), while spraying with Bt, a natural deterent for horned worms.  What's really cool about this photo are the little white "cocoons" on the back of the horned worm.  These parasites are killing it.  Very cool.

Ok. Please do not get the idea that farming is just a grim fight from one pest and disease to another.  Well, maybe it is in someway.  But inbetween all this, I thoroughly enjoy watching day by day the growth and health of our plants.  And the end result is glorious glorious food.

Let's get to the store for this week.

My first product is hakeuri turnips.  These are the most wonderful of root crops.  White, crunchy and delicious.  They are perfect to eat raw or roasted.  Plus, and this is a big plus-the greens on the hakeuri are fantastic for stir fries.  Please consider this often overlooked root. $4/bunch

Yaya and Cosmic Purple Carrots (please specify) -crunchy, too and full of flavor. $5/bunch

Heirloom Tomatoes - oh, living the dream. $6.50/lb  We've been growing these guys since late January and now finally, they are here.

Heirlooms towards the back.  Juliets in bottom of picture.  Sungolds on the right.

Juliet Tomatoes- perfect for cooking and salads and drying, too.  My Desert Island Tomato, named because of the versitiltiy.  $6.50/lb

Sun Golds - $6/pint sweet and the best

Pepper- $5/lb

Big Kale- $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- $3/bunch

Northfordy Tomato Sauce-still as delicious as ever.$10

Katriina Cukes-still the very best cucumber in the world (in my opinion, anyway) $5/for 5 cucumbers

Garlic- big wonderful heads and strong, flavorful taste $2.50/head

Let me know by 10AM on Friday.  Pick up in shed  on 54 Fowler Ave. after 2pm. 

Have a great week.

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/28/2016 9:41 am

 

Some people think that I'm pretty mild mannered.  That is sometimes an accurate estimate of how I am in the world.  But not always. Not always.  Let's take the subject of woodchucks.  No, let's take up the subject of woodchucks and tomatoes.  In the back of both hoop houses there's a woodchuck entrance that is vast, like a cavern.  I've rolled cinder blocks in front of it, but they just dig around it.  They, apparently are very good diggers. Very good.  But they are actually best at ruining tomatoes.  I feel like I'm dealing with an opportunist.  Since way back in January, we've been growing, caring and grafting tomato plants.  In late March, we put them in the house and set the thermostat for 60 to keep them safe, warm and happy.  Then comes pruning and stringing the up.  And after that, re-stringing the ones that fell down and lets not forget the constant pruning, so that we grow plants that are going to produce glorious tomatoes.  Then comes the green fruit.  WE watch them every day. Green.  More green.  If feels like it goes on for a decade.  Then one day, one tomato fruit has begun to turn.  After a few days, I can see-its going to be a ripe tomato.  Then one morning, I come out to scout the tomatoes and this fruit has a bite out of it. One bite. Ruined.  Totally ruined.  I contemplate for a second to cut off the offensive bite, but can't get past the image that a furry woodchuck was on the opposite side of this tomato at one point.  I loose my appetite.  Nothing to do, but throw the tomato away.  I want to destroy them.  Truly.  My "gentle" ways seem to go by the wayside.  The Hav-A-Heart trap caught one the first day, but since then, they've stayed away.  Doesn't stop me from checking the trap first thing in the AM for a new chuck.  Farmers are eternal optimist.  This narrative doesn't have any conclusion yet.  But , inspite of the woodchuck's efforts, we now do have tomatoes to sell you.

See the bite?  This WAS a beautiful Green Moldovan, one

of my favorites.

Above is JULIET.  Small, fruit, but bigger than the sungold.  Sweet flavor and the best texture. Pretty good supply.

Every one of these heirlooms is an eating adventure.  We'll see about supply for this week.  Next week, should be better

 

Here's our store offering:

Sungolds- $6/pint.  In pretty good supply.  Should be able to accomodate all your needs.

Juliets- $6.50/lb these are small, sweet saladette style tomatoes.  Perfect for everything. Cooking, salad, and drying.  I call Juliet our "Desert Island" Tomato because it would be the one that I'd take to a desert island, if I had to choose.

Heirlooms-$6.50/lb.  Not sure about the supply this week.  Put it down on your list and we'll see what's available

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Katrina Cucumbers- now these little babies have been my hit of the summer, so far.  We've got a great supply, so there's going to be a special for you this week.  Instead of 3 for $5.  It's been 5 for $5.  If you, in anyway like cucumbers, these are twice as good as any other variety ever. Guaranteed

Hakeuri Turnips-  $4/bunch.  We're having a great summer with these delicious turnips.  If you haven't tried them, they can be eaten raw on roasted.  White, plump little roots with a unique flavor

Big Kale- one of the best greens available ever.  Again, we're having great success with big kale this season.  $4/bunch

Beets- $4/bunch.  For roasting or pickling, beets are heaven bent.

Green Onions- crispy and full of life $4/bunch

Radishes- French Breakfast $3/bunch

Yaya Carrots- get wonderful vitality with these orange beauties.  $5/bunch

Swiss Chard-  you really should try this wonderful green as a side vegetable $3/bunch

Peppers-  Flavorburst. Sweet, crisp, bright yellow/green color.  Hardly any seeds. $5/lb

Garlic- this is our best crop ever!  Probably because they were well mulched and well fed $2.50/head

Genevese Basil- $4/bunch

Thyme and Sage- fresh wonderful herbs $4/bunch

As always: let me know by 10AM tomorrow.  Order ready for you by 2pm on Friday (tomorrow)

Have a great week and think of the end of woodchuck.


 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/21/2016 10:40 am

 

Beer taste the best after being outside trying to get plants to grow.  That's an easy one to answer, although I didn't form it as a question.  Its been a great week at Star Light.  The tomatoes are starting to come in.  There's just enough ripening sun golds that I couldn't eat them all without regretting it. (Not that likely).  Still, what we wait for is the "waterfall" of tomatoes-so many that its almost impossible to know what to do with them.

I have spent several hours every day this week, including last Sunday trying to get the tomato plants to grow up, rather than sideways.  Grafted tomatoes are usually left with only two main branches to grow fruit.  Everything else is cut out.  What is truly amazing is how fast the plant will grow at this time of the year.  If I leave a plant entirely alone for a week,  there are so many suckers that need to be trimmed off by the following week.  Trained plants don't produce more fruit, just better fruit.  I can see this already with the many many green and very large fruit that is forming at the bottom of the plant.  The cherry tomatoes and the Juliet, I only prune at the very beginning to get a few well established main branches going.  After that, I'll let them produce as many branches as they want.  To accomplish the task of tying the plants to a string, we use something called "Ty M Up".  This very creatively constructed tool is part stapler and part biter of tape.  With the first squeeze, the tool captures a piece of the tape, which one can then wrap around both the tomato stem and the string.  With the next squeeze of the trigger, the tape is neatly stapled and cut off.  When it works, its wonderful.  Other times-not so much.  Maybe the blade for cutting the tape isn't sharp enough or maybe the staples get caught.  Or maybe the tape inside the tool has started getting too hot in a hoop house (it can happen) and  it won't come unraveled as smoothly as it should.  I work with the machine and coax it through its quirks till I can't stand it any more and then eventually loose patience all together and buy a new one.  When the new one arrives, it seems like a modern miracle.  Its all shiny and doesn't have all the tomato oil all over it.  When the new one arrives, I'll let you know.

 

The picture on the left was taken yesterday.  The one on the right this afternoon.  Hopefully you can see the jungle that one has to make sense out of.  The picture on the right shows pretty clear aisles that a person could walk down and harvest wonderful tomatoes.  These plants are 12 feet tall.

This is our "Ty M Up" tool. On the left is a spool of tape. On the right is the fancy stapler, that catches the tape and in the next squeeze staples it around the tomato plant.

 

On another front, I'd like to mention both peppers and eggplants.  In the beginning, both are stubborn plants to get started.  To germinate them, you need a warm (90 degrees) environment in the soil.  They'll grow very slowly for weeks untill you put them in the ground.  Now, after being in the hoop house, both of them are beginning to get close to producing.  Particularly the peppers.  Like peppers?  You'll love these.  Only orange, red and yellow.  Use to do purple, but not as nice.

Here's what's available for this week.

Salad Greens- with 5-6 types of lettuce, mizuna, rosie (a wonderful green from Africa) $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Beets- $4/bunch

Swiss Chard $4/bunch

Big Kale- we're having the best kale year ever.  If you haven't tried big kale salad, please consider.  You'll need a fresh lemon to toss the kale in before you eat it.  Kale-how could anyone get along with out it.

Cosmic Purple and Yaya (orange)Carrots-  these guys are ready to go.  $5/bunch

 

Cosmic Purple Carrot       Yaya Carrot

Garlic heads- $2.50/head.  They'll last in the fridge for a few weeks.  Fragrant, aromatic and delicous

Red Iceberg Lettuce -$3/head

Katrina Cucumbers- 3 for $5.  These are, and you have to believe me, the worlds best cucumber in the world-period.  I eat way to many of these every day and it puts me in the best mood ever.

Zucchini Romanesco- an italian variety $3/lb

Chicory Romanesco-another italian beauty $6/bag

Genevese Basil- $4/bunch

Sage- $4/bunch

Sun Golds- I'll take orders, but can't promise.  First orders get preference.  $6/pint

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- just selling these for a friend, as a favor.  Delicious.  $8/jar

As usual, send me back your orders by 10AM Friday and we'll have your order waiting for you in the shed by 2pm that day.

Lastly, a bit of shameless advertising.  Our oldest kid (he's way too old to be a kid now) has a landscape business.  He founded and ran Torrison Stone and Garden untill he sold it over five years ago.  He's the real deal.  If you or you know anyone else needs walls, walkways, patios (etc etc.) please consider Aaron.  His company s is 'The Stonescape  Company by Aaron Torrison.  Website is: Thestonescapecompany.com  Phone is 860 388 7774

Have a great week

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/13/2016 8:17 pm

 

If you're looking for a great place to take yourself and everyone else you know-consider the Strawberry Festival at Wooster Square Farmer's Market this Saturday, June 25th from 9-1pm.  There's so much to look at and eat besides strawberries.  This is the height of the season, so a great time to indulge.  We're the longest running vendor at the market.  It is, by far the best market in all of CT.  You'll find some of the best farmers and other food vendors.  Our friend Meg has a food truck called Farm Belly.  She makes the very best sandwiches around.  They promise lots of interesting things for children of all ages.  The market is located at: Russo Park, corner of Chapel Street and DePalma Court.  Please look us up if you come.  We're up near Chapel Street, across from Sono Bakery (also highly recommended)

This morning I have this image of our farm: its a well oiled machine ready to do work.  We've been tuning it up for months and now its starting to perform.  Once everything is in place, the best thing is that cooking meals becomes a wonderful event.  With great ingredients, anyone can make a meal that is from another planet.  The only trouble with the image that I just created for you: it isn't always a "well-oiled machine".  I wish.  But on the other hand, sometimes it comes out right.

This is now the season of the pest.  Two weeks ago, you learned about all the cucumber beetles and their plot to destroy squash and cucumbers.  We continue to win that war as long as we "scout" the plants every day for more beetles.  The pyganic spray works, but only for a few days, so its important to keep looking.  A lot of times, I can capture  them crawling all over the leaves. They're slow.  The other bad thing about these beetles is that they'll spread a canker disease that will wreck havoc with the internal workings of the plants. The other pest to consider right now is the potato bug.  You'll hate them.  They, if you'd let them, devour potato plants.  Soft, squishy-like a small container of jam that you'd never want to eat- you'll find them munching.  Easy to catch and easy to kill. (You can't be squemish in this job!)

With all this vigilance, we've finally arrived at the place where we have a serious amount of squash.  Here's what it looks like:

These seeds came from Seeds of Italy-a wonderful company.  The variety is Zuchinni Striao d'Italia.  All they need is to be fried lightly in olive oil with some good grainy salt.  Or they could be roasted with the same wonderful results.  We're loaded with them, so hope you'll enjoy.

Another great bright spot this week is arugula.  I've been fighting with flea beetles since the beginning of May.  Of all the plants that we grow, this is the one that the flea beetle seems to love the most.   A lot of weeks, we'll have arugula, but it will be ravaged by the beetle.  This last batch I was extra careful about everything and this has seemed to pay off.

I'm guess that tomatoes are on your mind, so here's a report on them.  Soon. They want to start producing, but nothing has turned green yet.  My guess is 3-4 weeks.  I probably spend 2-3 hours every day pruning and stalking them up.  Its one of my best jobs.

Here's what we can offer you this week at the store.  Reminder: email me back by 10am Friday and your order will be waiting with your name on it in our shed after 2pm. 

Arugula $6/bag

Salad Greens $6/bag

Squash $6bag (2lbs)

Pea Blossoms $4/bag (20 blossoms)

Radishes $3 bunch

Big Kale for smoothies, salads, sautee $4/bunch.  If you want lacinato, please specify

Broccolli Raab $3/bunch

Garlic Scapes $4 bag (half pound).  Garlic scapes are delicous

Baby Beets $4 bunch (beets are small, but the greens are also an attraction)

Fresh Sage and Thyme $4/bunch

Swiss Chard $4 bunch

Spring Tower-the lettuce with the delicous core $3.50/head

Baby Mizuna -$6/bag

Tatzoi-wonderful both in salads and sautee $6/bag

Have a great week.

David

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/23/2016 6:48 am

 

What I mean by "We're Getting Richer", is that if variety is richness, our wealth is growing.  Not by leaps and bounds, but a distinct change is happening.  There are numerous pictures of things around the farm that I want to share with you.  They should give you an idea of what's going on. Just a quick word about cucumbers (which aren't in this week's pictures) and summer squash (which is).  Cucumbers are healthy and striving towards a large waterfall of available crop.  But not this week.  Last week's picture showed a half eaten cucumber.  Yesterday, I ate 3 or so and probably that many today.  What that saids to me is that soon there'll be more than enough.  I can accurately report to you that this katrina cucumber is the "endgame" of cucumbers.  Although, having said that, there are several other varieties that we're going to try, including the Mexican Pickling Cucumber which is a guaranteed hit at the Ocean House in Rhode Island.  Summer Squash, is a more immediate story. It will be available this week for you.

Below is an assortment of photos.  Most of what you'll see is available to buy at the store this week.  We are in between crops on the carrots, but wanted you to see how lovely they are.  As always, let me know what  you'd like by 10am Friday(tomorrow).  Pick up after 2pm at our shed (54 fowler ave.) Checks ok, but cash preferrerred

Cosmic Purple Carrot (not available)    Mizuna (not available)               Roubles Radish $3.50bunch

Blanched Peas $6bag                     Pea Blossoms   $6 for 24                 Italian Squash $3/lb

Large Kale $4bunch                       Spring Tower(with the most            Hakeuri Turnip

                                                    delicious core) $4                          $4bunch                                                  

Spring Raab $3bunch                    Garlic Scapes 4bag            Tatzoi $$6bag

Salad Greens $6/bag

A word about garlic scapes and summer squash.  Garlic scapes are the beginning of the flowering of garlic plants.  Typically, they are pulled so that the energy of the plant is forced down into the bulb.  Scapes are as wonderful as garlic heads, just earlier.  You can use in salads, sauteed.  Just wonderful.  Summer Squash: they are virtually body lifiting (your body will lift off the ground from excitiment).  All you need to do with these wonders is slowly cook in olive oil with your garlic scapes.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/16/2016 6:43 am

Dear Friend of Star Light,

See below for what's for sale and how easy it is to order.

I knew that the first thing that I had to do this morning was prune tomato plants.  It is one of those things, that if you blink,its too late.  They will have already grown too big to deal with.  That is an unfortunate position to be in.  When one waits too long, all the suckers are grown around each other and the plants themselves have interwoven their stems, so it becomes impossible to  sort everything out.  Luckily today, I was just a half beat away from impossible.  I went through all the plants in one hoop house getting rid of all the suckers.  Also, it is important to remove a lot of the bottom leaves.  It improves circulation and helps prevent tomato plant diseases.  It is one of the very satisfying jobs at the farm, except if you wait too long.  While pruning, I noticed that some of the tomatoes are ripening.  This bodes well for seeing a great crop.  I am including pictures below, but must warn you that one or two ripe tomatoes does not mean that we're ready to sell ripe fruit.  I wish it did.  But the pictures should give you an inkling of what's ahead.

You're looking at a sungold-the worlds sweetest.  Notice all the tomato branches on the ground-those are a result of this morning's pruning.  In case, you were wondering, I picked this tomato right after taking the picture

You're looking at Juliet, my Desert Island Tomato.  I call it that because if I ever had to choose one tomato to take to a desert island, it would be Juliet.  Juliet is wonderful eat either raw or cooked.  This is an unusual trait because most cooking tomatoes don't taste that good uncooked.  Not so, Juliet.  You'll see.

About 3 weeks ago, I used the "hook"  with the tractor and made about 10 deep scratches in the ground : 100 feet long and 6 feet apart.  It was like a chasm in the earth.  After that I put both compost and fertilizer/alfalfa into the crack.  When that was accomplished, Joel came along and put one french fingerling potato  every foot into that mixture and then covered it.  Finally, last week, the new plants began to emerge.  I will update their photos periodicallly.  You'll be amazed how quickly they'll grow.    There are sure to  be pest to follow and I'll keep you updated on what we do about them, too.

You're looking at potato plants.  In the next few weeks, we'll be hilling them and mulching between the rows.  At the right, where the green looks much more dense, those are your pea tendrils.  We grow them in blocks.  Right now, still very delicious and growing nicely.

On to the store:  For those of you new to our process, here it goes.  Read what we have below and write back to me (starlightgardens@comcast.net) what and how much of something you'd like.  Deadline to process your order is 10AM tomorrow (Friday) We'll process your order and it will be waiting for you in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. after 2pm on Friday with your name on it.  Cash preferred, but checks  are ok if you're in a bind.  There's a payment jar on the table.

Pea Tendrils-they're still coming on strong.  Once the hot weather is firmly established, the peas will have to wait till late Summer. $6/bag

Salad Greens- several kinds of lettuce, kale, mizuna $6/bag

Lettuce Heads- these are small, exquisite, and crunchy.  $2/head

Pak choi- Shanghai variety.  A tiny bit holey from flea beetles. $3/bunch

Arugula- again, slighly holey but tasty. $6/bag

Green Onions and Leeks- $3bunch

Large Kale $6/bag

Baby Beet and Carrot Greens- $4/3oz bag  Very special and labor intensive to harvest.

Still have several tomato plants.  Black Cherry, Striped German, Juliet, Amy's Gem.  Plus German Winter Thyme, and Compact Genevese $5/pot

Hope to hear from you soon.  Call with question

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/2/2016 10:25 am

I guess you could say that this was the week of growing and eating.  Some plants really grew and some got really eaten.  For myself, I like the former story best.  Of particular note, were the tomatoes.  Now, on many plants, we have green tomatoes.  A very good sign indeed.  At Star Light, we will always do whatever it takes to come up with the very best tasting tomato.  To that end, we are pruning and salting. Salting?  We actually spray the plant with fish/seaweed to help enhance the flavor.  And it really works.  Pruning, is the act of training the plant to have just two main stems.  This involves cutting out the suckers.  Suckers grow in the crotch of the main stem and a leaf.  Suckers will have blossoms and eventually will produce fruit.  So what we're doing is concentrating all the life force that the plant has into less but more delicious and bigger fruit.  Poundwise, a plant won't be producting more fruit one way or the other, just better and better tasting fruit if you prune.

This plant has two very distinct main branches.  If I can keep up on it, it will remain like that.  Each branch has a piece of twine that it can climb upl  If you look real closely at the place directly below where the two main branches begin, you'll see a pale white clip.  We fix the twine to that and twirl the stem around it, offering great support.  Note the yellow blossoms.  Always a wonderful thing.

Eating? Well, it wasn't me.  Some bug (sow bug), end up eating many of our Katrina Cucumber plants.  Katrina, for me is the ultimate cucumber.  Taste, texture-its got it all.  So I am not that happy to share with the sow bug.  To date, I don't have a good cure for them either.

Some of you might know that I am referred to at the Farmer's Market as The Carrot Scientist.  Not a very well deserved name-there are many who know lots more than me about carrots.  Its just a name.  Never the less, I am enthusiastic about carrots.  Here is a picture of how big our Spring carrots already are.

OK.  Not that big.  But not that small either.  In less than a month-we'll be seeing the first of the carrots.  I've already sampled them.  Delicious-truly!  Incidently, planted on one of the first days of March.  Carrots take a long time. 

This week at the Store.  Write me by 10am(yes, that's a change) Friday and your order will be ready with your name on it in the shed in front of our house at 54 Fowler Ave.  Payment in the jar. Checks ok, but cash preferred.

Here's our rundown on store items:

I've got tomato sauce , still.  There's about two jars left of the $10 size(32oz.).  After that, we've got a 24oz. jar for $8.  We haven't bought any  Classico or Paul Newman for way over a year and that makes me a happy guy.

Arugula- very snappy and  full of serious vigor $6/bag

Salad Greens- with several kinds of lettuce, mizuna, tokyo bekana, red russian kale $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- still the most amazing thing to buy at this time of year.  We have pea tendril pesto at least once a week now. $6/bag

Spring Garlic- still tender.  I am guessing that this is the last week that we'll sell this(I know,I said that last week,too).  The next delicious item from our garlic will be the scapes.  More on them later.  $7/half pound

Risentraube and Amy's Gem-all great cherry tomatoes. $5/plant

Striped German - kind of the best tasting tomato around (except for all the other ones).  A ripple of red through a bold yellow/red flesh.  A heirloom favorite $5/plant

Juliet-a small tomato, but not a cherry.  The very best for both cooking and eating. Oh, and did I say drying?$5/plant

Cherokee Purple- great producer of tomatoes, great taste and amazing color $5/plant

Wapsipinicon- the totally curious tomato.  Curious because its color is so drab, BUT the taste!  And very productive too. $5/plant

Herbs: Compact Genevese Basil, Italian Flat-leaf Parsley and German Winter Thyme -all $5/pot

Pepper Plants and Eggplant Plants- $5/pot

Please tell your friends about our store.  We'd appreciate the good word.  Its been really fun filling your orders this season.

Have a great week,

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/26/2016 10:28 am