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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Tuesday August 22, 2017

Dear People Who Don't Take Things At Face Value,

The Wapsipinicon River is a slow meandering river in northern Iowa-a tributary of the Mississippi.  It goes through a rural farming region, full of rolling hills and surprising beauty. Well, I guess it has surprising beauty, I've only got one picture to judge from.  It looks great.  An Indian name, no doubt and probably the keeper of lots of the shameful Indian history that is part of our past.  The almost hidden beauty of this place reflects how I feel about the tomato with the same name-Wapsipinicon.  Its fun to say and also fun to hear people try to guess how to pronounce it.  The second part is easiest. PIN  I (like in igloo)  CON.  First part is more WHOP (like giving someone a whack) and then SA (as in satire).  You kind of combine then, in a rhymn. WHOPSA and then PIN A CON. If I was a wapsipinicon tomato, I'd be angry at the very bland,boring and undistinquished color that is displayed.  And also, its almost peachy skin.  Many people don't even recognize it initially as a tomato.  But it is, and what a flavor!  That's what I like most, the surprise.  You pick one up.  They aren't firm and fleshy feeling like a typical tomato.  There's also the boring color and peachy/fuzzy skin.  But upon tasting it, you realize that this is a unique and exciting tasting experience.  I'm not even going to try to describe it, words won't do it justice.

Which reminds me, our other heirlooms are, in their own way just as amazing. I've been waiting since putting the first seeds in (January 28th) to get this amazing food experience.  Even though this kind of diet can sometimes be digestively challenging sometime, I've made sure to create plates of  thick sliced tomatoes, raw and salted with coarse kosher salt several times a day. Its the best time of year.

Here are two easy and wonderful tomato prep ideas for you.First is a quick, uncomplicated sauce to put over salt potatoes, fish, chicken or even fresh corn on the cob.  Take numerous sungold cherry tomatoes and cut them in two.  Put in a shallow pan and put some olive oil and salt over them.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Keep your eye on them.  You want them just barely charred. Barely.  Take out and add to white balsamic vinegar.  Stir,mash or even put in a food processor(probably an overkill).  Done.

Second. Preheat oven to 350. Get a decent supply of tomato seconds (We'll be selling them this week) and cut up in chunks.  Take the hard part out where the fruit was attached to the plant. Put parchment paper in a wide shallow pan. Spread the chunks out in the pan.  Put some small (not too small) chunks of garlic over the top.  For me, the more the better.  But whatever you have. Put a decent amount of olive oil all over.  And then some kosher salt to taste.  Put in your oven and check in every 20 minutes or so.  Towards the end, the tomato chunks will begin to look a little charred.  You're going for the liquid to get to a thicker irresistable  state.  Might take a while.  You don't have to hover over it, but don't forget it either.  When done, you've got two choices.  You can enjoy it immediately over pasta that is lightly coated with parmesean.  Or you can let it cool.  Then transfer to a large ziplock bag.  Get all the air out of it. Place on a flat cookie sheet and put in freezer.  Once frozen, take the cookie sheet out.  Now, you've "put something by" for the Winter.   This recipe is courtesy of our youngest (36), Rye. Damn good recipe, too.

We're looking at carmelized tomatoes with garlic,after following the above recipe.  Any liquid is soft, chewy and almost like caramel. (Who doesn't love caramel?)

Thanks to all of you who've tried our store.  Its a different way of buying food, I know.  But it seems to work well.  You get what you want and we only harvest what's needed. Tell your friends.  We count on word of mouth-yours.If you see something from the list below, please email me back before 8AM Friday (August 18th).  Your order will be ready for pick up at our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. Durham after 2pm.  Self service. Bring exact change.  Put payment in the handy jar.

There's a few special prices this week.

Wapsipinicon- 2lbs for $7.  Basically half price.  I'm really hoping that all of you will develop a taste for them.

Actually, in this picture, the color doesn't look to dull.  But they are dull colored-take my word for it.  And still, the taste is the best.

Juliet-our wonderful tomato for all your needs.  Uncooked or cooked, this is your go to tomato.  2lbs for $7

A 5 lb  bag of seconds-$15.  You'll be getting a mix of wonderful heirlooms. There'll be some kind of split or something, nothing really serious.  However, I wouldn't forget picking them up either!

Heirlooms- 2lbs for $7

Sungolds- the cherry tomato that is profondly sweet and satisfying. $6/pint

Black Cherry- our more than sophisticated cherry tomato $6/pint

Pink Tye-dyed Berkeley- a new variety.  Very nice texture, and flavor with a sweet that works for me.  $6/pint

Sun-dried Juliets-NEW!.  They actually are dried in a dehydrator, but its fun to say "sun-dried".  This is a taste treat. Makes for a good surprise present for someone, too. $5/oz.

Big Kale- a BIG bunch. $4/bunch. Specify if you'd like lacinato (the Italian type)

French Fingerling Potatoes - $5/lb.  They'll be freshly dug and wonderful

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Arugula $6/bag.  A successful crop

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Garlic- just out of the ground $2.50/bulb

Cucumbers -$1.50 each

Beets- $4/bunch

Green Onions- $2.50/bunch

Beet Greens- $3/bunch.  These are from our newest patch of beets.  Lightly cooked beets are a good thing.

Spring Tower- a truly unique lettuce grown specifically for its core.  The greens are delicious, too.  Usually, the core is bitter, but this core is sweet, crunchy and exciting. $3/head

Lettuce Heads- again, crunch and sweet.  Lovely leaves. $2.50/head

Carrots- $5/bunch

Daikon Radish- fun to pickle or grate over salad. $2.50/root.

And again, our list from Farmer Peter

Marvel of Venice Italian heirloom snap beans, fabulous when sautéed with onion and tomato or my sauce $5lb,

Gladiolas $1each,

Rhubarb $5 lb,

Shallots $5 half Pt,

Blueberries $4 half Pt

Herb Bunches: thyme, mint, oregano $2/bunch

Famous Northfordy Tomato Sauce $10/jar

Have a great week.

David

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/17/2017 9:40 am

 

We're there.  Its been a six month voyage from starting seed to getting an avalanche of tomatoes.  At this point, it would be difficult to estimate the volume of sungolds that I've consumed.  But let's put it this way, it would probably be measured in gallons, rather than pints.  Its been said by me many times over the year"I haven't met a sungold that wouldn't distract me to stop what I'm doing and eat it".  They're just that good.There were several extra pounds last week.  I saw that as an opportunity to dry them in the dehydrator.  They are so awesome, too.  Later, in the year, they'll be offered for sale.  Now its time to eat fresh.

Can you get a feeling about how tall these plants are? Easily 12'.  And when you think of just starting with one little seed over six months ago-kind of takes ones breath away

We're up to 15 on the woodchuck count.  Doesn't that sound like a lot of woodchucks for such a small area?  To date, none of the ones that were caught have come back.

Here's info about the store for this week.  To be redundant to those who already know and to let those who've never ordered before-here's what you can do.  Its easy.  Write back to me(starlightgardens@comcast.net) before 8AM on Friday August 4th with what you'd like from our list.  After 2pm that day, come to the shed and you'll find your order marked with your name and the amount owed.  Cash preferred and bring exact.  Checks if you need to.

Sun Golds- there's nothing else left to say.  They're here and they'll make you swoon from how good they are. $6/pt

Black Cherry- a more sophisticated taste, kind of like a musty, rich fragrance . A real winner. $6/pint

Juliet Tomatoes -$7/lb My number one choice for when they cart me away to a dessert island and allow me one tomato variety to take with me.  Great raw or cooked.

Heirlooms- they have just started to come in.  So far, a terrific and exciting crop. The amount might be limited, so hope for the best $7/lb

Beets- still the most exciting vegetable in the world.  Try them roasted with olive oil and kosher salt $4/bunch

Collards- $3/bunch. So well liked by so many people

Big Kale- $4/bunch.  These are serious serious bunches.  They'll hold you for a while.  If you'd like lacinato, plese specify

Cucumbers- $1.50

Green onions $3/bunch

Radishes $3/bunch.  These are nice and crunchy and a bit spicy

Garlic- new garlic? Can not fathom a good way to describe how wonderful garlic can be $2.50/head

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Yaya- the only carrot you'll ever need $5/bunch

And from my farmer friend Peter, we're offering the following:

Marvel of Venice snapbeans $5 lb

Shallots $4 half Pt

Bunches of thyme, oregano, mint $2

Northfordy Famous Tomato Sauce $10/jar

We'll be back with salad and arugula shortly.  The hot weather made this somewhat difficult.

Have a great week.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
8/3/2017 5:50 am

 

The subject line is probably most for me.  With the tomato harvest just beginning, there isn't much time left in the day to do the important things. So I'm leaving a reminder to myself-don't forget to floss.  Sounds simple to say, harder to remember.   When things get busy, don't loose sight of the fact that its "all the small stuff."

We are, as indicated above on the very edge of seeing real heirloom tomatoes.  Sungolds and juliets are now in abundance. And for that reason, we'll be going to the Durham Farmer's Market this afternoon to deal with any extra tomatoes that we have.  Please drop in between 3-6pm.  I'd love to see all of you and not just keep meeting electronically.  Come on down.  We've got a white tent with green agricultural messages on top.  See you there.

For tomorrow's store, here's the list.  There'll also be an additional list from my friend Peter.  You should check it out, as he has some pretty interesting things that we don't deal with.

Collards-$3/bunch

Big Kale- a big kale and a big bunch.  I am really big.  Please specify , if you'd like lacinato (which we can do).  $4/bunch

Radishes- the roxanne radish is all that you'd ever want in a radish.$3.50

Garlic-fresh out of the ground and so what garlic is about. $2.50/head

Bunching Green Onions- they almost blush, they're so tasty $2.50/bunch

Swiss Chard- $3/bunch

Yaya Carrots- $5/bunch  Sweet crunchy and healthy

Sun Golds- I believe that I've said it all about these beauties $6/pint

Black Cherry Tomatoes- a very sophisticated taste.  Savory, musty and complex.  Someone who writes about good wines would have fun describing the taste of Black Cherry $6/pint

Juliet- These are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The ones that I would choose if I had to be banishes to a desert island and just take one kind.  Both tasty uncooked or cooked, they will add a certain "je ne sais que" to anything.  Maybe even dessert made with chocolate.  $6.50/lb

Cucumbers- nothing like a native cuke $1.50/each

Salad and Arugula are taking a vacation this week.

Here's Peter's list:

Raspberries,$4half pint

Rhubarb, $5/lb

Shallots $5 half Pt

Calla Lilly bouquets $10

Bunches thyme,oregano, sage,applemint,peppermint, lemon balm,catnip $2  Plants of thornless blackberries, ever bearing raspberries, calla lilies $8

Paw-paw $15,

Sage, double mint, oregano plants $10,

Eggs,$3 half dozen

Amazing Tomato Sauce $10

Candied ginger at $9 bag

If anything above looks interesting for you, please email me back by 8AM tomorrow, Friday July 28th.  Your order will be waiting for you after 2pm in our shed besides our house at 54 Fowler Ave./Durham.

Next week, we hope to be able to offer heirlooms. Can't wait.

Have a great week.

David

 

 

 

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/27/2017 10:49 am

 

For the past few weeks, I've been in this state where it seemed unbelievable that it was actually Summer.  Wasn't it just Winter a few weeks ago.  Then, corn became available, so that should have been some kind of hint. Can't get local corn in February.  But finally, over the past few days, the heat has convinced me-it really is Summer.

Part of what happens to a farmer is that they may be living in one season, but they're already thinking towards the next.  A good example of this would be our Fall carrots.  We're planting them now.  A lot of this has fallen on Joel's shoulders.  He's been bed prepping in our lowest hoop house right through this hot weather.  With some skill and a lot of luck, we'll be able to offer you carrots right through the end of the year.

Summer just means an amazing opportunity to make outstanding food to eat.  If you have great ingredients-everything else will follow.  I'll easily illustrate this for you with the photo below.  It tells the whole story.

I didn't even try to make this gorgeous-it did it all on its own.  The big tomato near the middle-its our first ripe large tomato.  Very very soon, we'll be offering them to you.

Ok. Store List.  Order by 8AM Friday (July 22).  Your order will be waiting for you with your name on it, in the shed next to our house at 54 Fowler Ave.  after 2pm.  If you come after dark, make sure to bring a light.  Payment in the jar. Cash preferred(exact change, although you might get lucky and find the right change in the jar.  Checks, if you have to. I'll understand)

Fresh 2017 Garlic- This is so the real deal.  It will straighten up anyone's taste buds. Ironclad promise. $2.50/bulb

Green Onions- with glorious tops.  You can see them in the  photo dripping over the tomatoes. $2.50/bunch

Sun Gold Tomatoes- THE cherry tomato of all tomatoes.  These are far and away the most popular (and deserving of it). Orange and sweet. $6.50/pint.  Note: supply might be limited still, so brace yourself for a possible no show.

Juliet- the red ones in the picture that are shaped like a rugby ball.  Outstanding to snack on or to cook with. Usually cooking tomatoes aren't that much fun to eat raw-not so with Juliet.  These are my Desert Island Tomatoes-the ones that if I had to pick one variety to take to a desert island, it'd be these. $7/lb

Large Kale, curly or lacinato (please specify if you have a preference). $4/bunch. It will be a very very large bunch-promise! For those of you sitting on the fence-get the kale.  You won't look back.  Refer to Carey Savona's Kale Recipe from a few weeks back.  Plus, anything that Mark Bittman puts online is so easy and tasty.

Collards- $3bunch.  Along with kale, this is a vegetable worth diving into.  Again, I refer to Mark Bittman for very easy and delicious recipes. Just put in the google box "collards, Mark Bittman".  That'll work

Salad Greens-Lettuce,Kale and Asian Mustards $6/bag

Arugula $6/bag

Pea Tendrils-$6/bag. We're running out of season for the peas.  With this hot weather, we going to wait to plant another crop when it gets cooler.

Beets- whether pickles or roasted, they are truly one of life's treasures. $4/bunch

Radishes- $3.50/bunch

New Potatoes -little, cute, memorable (in a great way) $5/lb

Swiss Chard- $3/bunch

Northfordy Tomato Sauce-just a few more jars left.  $10/jar

Posted by: David Zemelsky
7/20/2017 5:17 am

I want you to know that there are no illusions on my part-I realize that no one is waiting with baited breath to hear what is being said about what happened this week on our farm.  People who write want to be heard, but not ever one is going to listen.  Many people on our mailing list might delete this mailing without even reading it and just haven't gotten around to unsubscribe.  On the other hand, it is wonderful to hear from some of you that you look forward to, and enjoy reading what gets written.  So, I take this seriously.  When I woke up this morning, the thought was " no idea what to write about. Just wait". And so I did.

A bit later, I had just finished planting lettuce seed.  A little digression here.  Lettuce has a hard time getting germinated in hot weather, so I took the following remedy.  Start with refrigerated seed and plant them out early early in the morning.  Immediately water them, to keep them cool and the surrounding soil and cover the whole thing with shade cloth.  Shade cloth is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of material that provides cooling shade for the lettuce candidates.  Before putting the shade cloth down is when the unexpected happened.  I wanted to make sure that the seeder had actually dropped seed on the ground, so I got on my hands and knees and put my eyes real close to everything.  Yup, seed everywhere.  But wait! What's this.  A lone ant was carrying one seed off to somewhere.  All 8 of his /her legs were going madly as it charged through a pebble field that must have looked insurmountable to the likes of it.  Charging between clods of earth and debris, its energy defied my imagination.  How could there be such drive in such a small thing.  If an ant crawls up my leg and starts biting, I'll wack it without a seconds thought.  And yet here, I was looking at a hero, something that I'd want to protect.  Another thing: the world of  the surface of the soil-its as much of a world as anything that we've got going. Just saying.

Brief news on other fronts: We're up to a 10 count for woodchucks. 

All are hopefully happily situated elsewhere.  All with a red paint blotch on them, so that we can tell if they'd dare to come back.  Tomatoes are right on schedule for the end of the month.  For a while, it looked like we'd have them early this year, but that's not going to happen.

Store: Time to stock up on real food.  Read below and write back with your orders.Deadline is 8AM Friday June 30th.  Your order will be ready after 2pm in the shed to the left of our house at 54 Fowler Ave.  Payment in the jar.  Cash preferred, but checks accepted (gladly).  Don't count on change, but you never can tell. 

A few specials for you this week. Kale , for starters.  I think that more of you should be trying the Kale.  As a side dish with garlic or as a salad-it will astound you.  Kale has true believers following it.  The special is that if you buy a bunch, we'll give you another one for free.  Please specify if you'd like curly or lacinato.  Here's a hint for recipes.  Put in the google box,"Mark Bittman,Kale" and you'll find lots of recipes.  I find his work very approachable, simple and satisfying.  Also, there's Carey Savona's lacinato kale recipe from a few weeks ago.  $4/bunch

Collards-also on special.  A Southern favorite.  $4/ for two bunches

Pea Tendrils-for pea tendril pesto, asian dishes or additions to sandwiches. $6/bag .  Bag is usually 6oz. but this week it will be 9oz.

New Potatoes- a real treat.  Fingerlings.  Baby sized and fresh out of the ground. $5/one lb bag

Swiss Chard- $4 bunch.  Again, check out Mark Bittman for inspiration.  There's a nice one that I found right away for garlicky chard with pine nuts and olives.  Sounds good, right?

Arugula -$6 /bag  Fresh, tangy and wonderful

Salad Greens-$6/bag.  Baby lettuce and a few baby kales and other things

Spinach $6/bag

Garlic Scapes- fresh garlic cloves are still a few weeks out.  In the meantime, try the scapes.  Wonderful , same taste

Katrina Cukes- truly the best cuke in the whole world. Expensive, but worth it. You'll see. $2.50 each

French Breakfast Radishes- spicy and refreshing $3/bunch

Beets- have you NEVER tried beets.  How about roasted beets. Coat with olive oil and coarse salt and bake briefly till tender (about 12 minutes) at 425 degrees.  Or pickled beets? Boil for 20 minutes and immerse in a brine of red wine vinegar, sugar and cloves.  $4/bunch

Braising Greens- with Mahoh Santos, Kale, Red Kingdom and a few other asian greens.  Fantastic for waking up a meal that needs sprucing up. $6/bag

Baby Red Russian Kale- its in the salad greens, but this leaf by itself is wonderful $6

We still have sweet pepper plants and tomato plants for $5/each.  In the next two weeks, we'll have more of the baby sunflowers.

As like last week, I've got a list from my friend Peter.  We didn't grow any of this, we're just offering them up make a bigger choice for you and help Peter

Red Raspberries $4/half pint

Scallions $3/bunch

Rhubarb $5/lb

Eggs $3/half dozen

Live Plants-$2 for 6 pak. Thyme, oregano, sage, mint (apple or pepper)

Northfordy Famous Tomato Sauce $10/jar

Have a great week.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/29/2017 10:15 am

Dear Person Who Knows The Value of Good Food,

We're winning the woodchuck war.  However, they're still out there.  This week, I mowed down some profoundly high grass along the edges of the planting beds.  When the dust had settled (literally) , what was discovered was a very large hole. Later that same day, I moved the Hav-a-Heart trap over to be closer to the hole.  When I was around 30 feet away, I looked up and saw a woodchuck frozen in time, just staring at me.  He/she was so quiet that I actually was under the impression that it would be possible to walk right up to him.  As I get closer, though the critter ducked (woodchucked?)into this hole.  The trap is now sitting outside his door, waiting for him.  I'll report, when he gets caught.

This is now the time of the year when certain beds of greens are done and need to be ripped out.  Making this decision has always been a hard one for me. I'll usually thank the bed for all that they've put out.  Another way of looking at it: out with the old and in with the new. But being more on the senior side, I usually chose to not think that way.  More productive: this is the way of the land.

Another activity that has taken a GREAT amount of my time this week is tomato pruning.  The tomatoes will put on a huge amount of foliage at this time of the year.  And quickly, too.  I feel that if I blink , they'll grow another 6 inches.  Needless to say, if one ignores this fact, more quickly than not, a tomato jungle could quickly emerge.  Luckily for us, I've been able to get at them timely enough to just barely squeek  out a win.  We need our tomato plants to grow vertically-not spread out on the ground.  There are several ways that this happens.  The main thing is that we put strings from the top of the hoop house down. From there, we use special tying tools and baby clamps to anchor them to the strings.

Here's something different this week.  My friend and neighbor from Northford, Peter is more or less made his farming operation smaller and smaller.  He has a few interesting things that we don't have that as an experiment will be offering to you this week, too.  Peter is an excellent farmer that has been growing organically (he's not certified, but trust me, he's still the real deal) for decades.  So, I'll start with his list.

Eggs- $3/half dozen

Rhubarb $5/lb

Scallions $3/bunch

Plants: Calla lilly, thornless blackberry and raspberry $8/plant

If you'd like any of the above, just include in your email with the rest of your order. Also, I know everyone is wondering about tomatoes.  Me , too.  It will be soon. 2 weeks, I would venture to say.

Here's what we're offering.

Collards $3/bunch

Big Kale $4/bunch.  Seriously amazing, as I've been saying for weeks. If you'd like lacinato, we got it.  Please specify.

And it taste even more amazing!  See recipes from the past week or two

Garlic Scapes- $4/bunch.  This is the best and most satisfying way to use garlic.  The scape is actually the flower of the garlic plant.  Once removed, the plant then begins to form a serious bulb under the ground.  The scape can be chopped up, fried or put raw in salads.  One of early summer's first pieces of joy.

The curly curly thing-that's a garlic scape. The plant benefits from removing it to help put all the energy of the plant into making the bulb.  That will be later July.

French Breakfast Radish- $4/bunch

Salad Greens- $6 bag with 4 different lettuces, kale, baby choi and mizuna

Arugula- $6/bag

Beets with tops -$4 bunch.  I love beets and these are turning into a great crop.

Swiss Chard- $3/bunch

Chinese Cabbage $3/head

New Potatoes- $5/bag (1lb.)  These are going to go fast, so first orders have a better chance of getting completed.

This is about as good as a potato is ever going to get-seriously. In about 20 minutes, these are going to turn into our salt potatoes for lunch. With butter? It will never get any better!

Compact Genevese Basil Plants- $5. Still, the best choice for a pot

Thyme Plants- $5

Chives- also $5

Fresh picked thyme or sage (please specify) $3/bunch

Exciting Braising Greens, with chinese cabbage, spicy mustard, kale $6/bag

As always, email me back what you'd like.  Order will be in shed after 2pm(or thereabouts).  If you arrive and I'm not there, its because I'm just running a tad late.  I need your orders by 8AM tomorrow, Friday.  Again, earlier than before because it helps with our efficiency.

In closing, thank you one and all for your support of Star Light.  Dealing and talking with all of you is one of the big bright spots of doing this work.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/22/2017 11:02 am

 

After lamenting last week about CHUCK'S  competence in ruining our cucumbers, I received several inquiries about what happened to CHUCK after being caught.  First off, I'm glad that there are so many of you out there concerned about the welfare of this industrious critter.  To answer the question, we trapped them in a Hav-a-heart trap.  Once captured, I would put them in the back of the truck and drive them to their new "home"-far far away from anywhere.  But before releasing them, I spray painted a patch of red on their back so that I could tell if they were coming back to our farm.  So far, all of them seem to have stayed away.  Full disclosure here.  If a chuck shows up again that has paint on its back, more desperate measures will be taken.  Use your imagination.  With the decrease in chucks, we've finally started to get some cucumbers.  These cukes are unlike others that you often find.  Full of concentrated cucumber flavor goodness and snappy texture-they're almost as good as a ripe tomato. (But darn close).

But there's more to report to you besides mammals. Much to my surprise, we're really moving along at getting things planted.  Of particular note is the ginger and turmeric.  We've been priming them since mid-March in the dark on heat mats.  The rhyzimos  are buried in coir(shredded coconut husks) and kept moist.  Eventually, they begin to sprout.  Now, they're planted in the hoop house and we should see them coming to marketable size by early September.  Its a long haul-almost half a year.  Locally grown ginger bears no resemblance to Stop N Shop ginger.  Its got the most profound aroma and taste.  You'll see.

The Store.  A word about the store.  This has become a favorite part of the work around here.  For one thing, I get to "talk" to a lot of you over the email. Also, everyone gets what they want and I get to not have any worry about wasting food.  Here's what we can offer you this week.

Pepper Plants-peppers, as you might already know, are wonderful.  These are either red, yellow or orange when mature.  All sweet bell peppers. I've got lots, so there'll be  a special  Buy one and get another for free.  $5/pot

Tomatoes-  It is absolutely not too late to plant tomatoes.  We've got Pink Berkely, Black Cherry, Sun Gold, Striped German $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil-still the best herb going for pesto and just to make a splash on a main dish.   $5/pot

Chive Plants- great for keeping in a pot.  They last and last from year to year$5/pot

Small Lettuce seedlings- $3/pot

Thyme- this magic herb add so much to any dish.  They'll last year after year in the same place $5/pot

Cucumbers- see photo above. They're a bit pricey, but you wont' regret it $2.50/each

D'avignon Radihes $3.50/each

Braising Greens- with so many amazing flavors (both hot and spicy). As I've mentioned before, these are well worth a try to give your dinners a change up.

Arugula- spicy and glorious $6/bag

Salad Greens-with lettuce, red choi, mizamerica $6/bag

Spinach $6/bag

Chinese Cabbage- $3/head

Garlic Scapes- NEW this week.  Use where you would regular garlic.  First of the season taste of real garlic.  $4/bag

Lacinato or Curly Kale (please specify)- I felt that many of you really gave my kale salad idea a fair shot.  Kale will be with us for a long time $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- for practically anything you can think of. $3/bunch

Fresh Thyme and Sage $3/bunch

Beets-NEW this week!  $3/50/bunch

Now is the time of year when we're waiting for the tomato waterfall. That's when we have so many tomatoes that it feels like they're cascading down upon us.  We're not there yet, but inches up on it.  Today, I ate 4 sungolds.  That's a start.  My longest prediction is 4 more weeks.  We can do it!

Email me back what you'd like by 8AM Friday.  Yes, we're getting earlier on the deadline.  It is just so much easier to fill your orders, if I know sooner.  Your order will be waiting for you, with your name on it, in the shed to the left of our house at 54 Fowler Avenue after 2pm on Friday.   Please remember to pick up your order!  You'd be surprised.

That's it.  Have a great week.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/15/2017 9:58 am

I won't spend a lot of time on this because its too frustrating.  Chuck, or woodchuck, has mowed through the cucumber plants.  On the upside though, in the past two days, two of them have been caught.  For those of you hoping that the famous Katrina and Corinto cucumbers where coming soon-don't give up hope.  Chuck just chewed the first two feet-the plant is still climbing up the string and out of reach.

Get the idea? Big

Other "friends" from the nature have also made it interesting this week.  We've all now seen gypsy moth caterpillars hanging from trees or trying to cross the road.  So far, they don't seem to be eating our vegetables.  However, to be sure, we've started spraying some of the more exposed plants with Dipel DF.  This is a certified organic approved spray that I would recommend to you.  It can be purchased from Johnny's Selected Seeds (http://johnnyseeds.com).  Will help you with bushes etc around the house. As for your trees-I don't know.

All of these obstacles to making our farm work bring to mind that we are always working in relation to the natural forces at work in the world.  I would also argue that many many of the activities that we do are changing what we encounter. 

We have produced the most amazing crop of large kale this year.  I feel like it is part of my job to let you know one of the more amazing things that you can do with it.  This will be a repeat for some of you.  We're talking Kale Salad.  I'm just going to give you the outline.  Be creative and make up your own variations.

Take large kale leaves and slice out the large vein going down the middle.  Chop up the tender leaves into bite sized pieces.  Place in a bowl.  Make a combination of real fresh lemon juice and honey and pour that over the leaves. The lemon will slightly break down the cellular walls of the kale, making them tender. Toss till everything is evenly coated.  In a large pan or wok, dry roast a cup of nuts at highest heat.  Keep the nuts moving, till they look golden. Remove from heat and chop into smaller pieces.  After 20 minutes, the kale should be ready for other ingredients. You can add the nuts when they're cooled up.  Raisins, sweet peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, apples, shredded carrots etc.  They're all fair game.  If you have fresh herbs, put them in to.  Salt (coarse) and pepper works, too.  The last, and most critical thing lef to do is to coat everything with parmesan.  Only top of the line parmesan, otherwise the effect is ruined.  Don't mean to be a snob, just telling a truth here.  So don't use that stuff in the green cardboard container, please.  Fresh parsley added at the end, if you have it.

Above, you're looking at Green Curly Kale

Store Info.  Let me know what you'd like by 9AM tomorrow (June 9th).  Order will be waiting for you after 2pm same day (Friday, June9th).  Payment goes in the jar.  Checks ok, if you don't have exact change, but prefer cash.

Still have tomato varieties and peppers,thyme, sunflowers, parsley.  Look at descriptors from past weeks. 

Salad Greens- several different green and red lettuce, kale and mizamerica(a type of mizuna), red choi $6/bag

Arugula-this is a particularly wonderful batch.  Arugula salad has a reputation for being one of life's sweet rewards $6/bag

Big Kale- see amazing recipe above $4/bunch

Lacinato Kale- Carey Savona's recipe was placed here a few weeks ago.  It should also be on the website. $4/bunch

Braising Greens- wake up the dull and repititve in your cooking with these greens.  Flash cook them and place any protein(like chicken) you want on top of them.

French Breakfast Radish-crunchy and a bit spicy.  Another one of life's secret pleasures $3.50/bunch

Collards-cook with bacon (or not) .  This is another change up vegetable to break routines.  $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- the herald of Spring.  Rainbow variety. $3/bunch

Fresh Sage or Thyme (make sure to say which one) $3/bunch

Beet Greens-will liven up either salad or brasing greens $3/bunch

Spinach-newly grown, not the winter crop.  $6/bag

Chinese Cabbage-crunchy, sweet and really fun to eat either in a salad or cooked. $3/bunch

That's it. Let's hope for a Chuck-less week.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/8/2017 8:39 am

 

The picture above gives you a feeling about how amazing it is to see a farm early in the morning.  Hope you like it.  Taken at 6:15AM today.

Things are pulling me out of bed.  Things, such as "miles to go before I sleep" type things.  Growing tomato plants would be a good example.  At this time of year, they're putting on plant growth at an almost unthinkable pace.  Many of them have been in the ground in the hoop house since the end of March. We grow tomatoes only in the hoop house because we can better control their climate.  For one thing, they never get rained on.  Tomatoes hate to get their "jackets" wet.  It will cause diseases. They get water on a regular basis from drip tape.  Too much water from above can also cause disease to the roots. At this time the plants are about five feet tall.  My job is to keep them growing vertically and keep the aisles clear.  A well behaved tomato plant is one that  is not too vegetative. Vegetative? That would mean a good balance between blossom production and leaf growth.  Basically, a tomato plant wants to grow in all directions at once.  And fast.  The main trunk of the plant has suckers that start in the crotch of each branch.  My job is to remove all but the top sucker and keep the plant clinging to the binder's twine that I've offered it to climb up.  In this way, a plant can easily grow to 15 or more feet tall.  In practice, there are more plants than I can keep track of realistically.  Therefore, suckers get away from me unnoticed from time to time and turn into a big fat branch.  Now, not everyone prunes like this.  Studies show that you don't get more fruit if you do this.  What you do get is a healthier plant and bigger and better fruit.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  Tomato plants love to have air circulating around them.  If the whole plant is dense with branches, then the air has a more difficult time circulating around.  The sides of the hoop house are kept rolled up all the time now and the doors at either end are propped open.  When will they be ready?  I'm estimating that we'll be offering  tomatoes before the month of June is up.  Let's see how accurate that turns out.

Here's Joel working on the tomato plants.  This picture should give you an idea about the height of these plants right now.

A word about woodchucks.  Joel caught one two days ago in the Hav-a-heart Trap.  Woodchucks are funny because they will walk into the trao when there isn't even any food to lure them in.  Come to think of it, skunks and squirrels are the same way.  Springing a skunk from a trap is a whole other story that we won't get into right now.  I'll leave it to your imagination. The woodchuck was small and had been having way too good a time in the cucumbers.  Once one catches a chuck, then comes the deliema-how to deal with it.  If you have been reading my letters from last year, you'll know that some extreme measures were taken then.  But int he end, I took Chuck and drove her/him to a remote (not near another garden) location and let it go.  At first stunned to be so lucky, it just stood there.  I encouraged it with a nudge from the cage and it ambled off.  I hope it leads a full and unemcumbered (wrong spelling) somewhere far away from anyone's garden.

Store News:  There's a way for you to order online that I hope to get set up soon.  It turns out that those things that "pull me out of bed" also keep me from doing a few basic other things, such as setting up the online store.  So I am being hopeful that we can do this.  It will help me keep everyone's order straight and prevent a lot of errors. (I just use graph paper now, which has its limits.

Tomatoes:  It is still high season to plant.  Heck, we haven't planted all the tomatoes yet either.  I am going to repeat the descriptors from last week below.

Riesentraube-a wonderful cherry tomato, originally from Germany.  I've never grown these guys, but their reputation for pleasing people is impressive.  Here's a link so you can see what they look like.http://www.seedsavers.org/riesentraube-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green.  These greens will add a whole new dimension to late minute cooking solutions.

Kale- $4 bunch.  This is now the beginning of the kale season.  If you haven't had a kale in a while, try now.  Carey Savona, the Executive Chef at Heirloom in New Haven has offered me a kale recipe.  I'll repeat it after listing all the other offerings

Green,curly kale above

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Wonderful Lettuce Heads-$3/head. Sweet, crunchy

Above, lettuce head

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto and put it on left over pizza earlier this week.  Remarkable.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radishes-  young, crunchy, slightly hot and glorious to eat.  A French custom is to put them on buttered toast and enjoy.

Swiss Chard- for cooking any wonderful spring dish $4/bunch

OK.  Here's Carey's recipe. Very simple. Wash and saute kale with garlic, shallots, olive oil,chilies, black pepper and good Sicilian anchovies and crushed walnuts.  Let it simmer a bit and then add a touch of red wine vinegar and alittle hoey.  This is great as a side or atop grilled toasts or even cold on toast.  It's a super food times 3.  NOTE: according to Carey, the anchovies must be Sicilian!  Carey loves lacinato kale.  So, if you want lacinato as opposed to curly green kale, please let me know when you order.

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (June 2nd) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great weekend.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/1/2017 7:29 am

 

I heard  Mark Bittman, the very famous cookbook writer, the other day on the radio.  His words made such an impression on me because it helped me realize that in  some small way all of us who are interested in real food are helping the world be a better place by buying locally.  Over the centuries, according to Mark, we are eating a smaller and smaller percentage of real food as a civilization.  Just look in any supermarket, down any aisle, and you'll notice that most of what they're offering for "food" , is more of a chemical concoction that is very often depleted of nutrition and loaded with sugar.  Sugar, according to Mark isn't just "empty calories", but rather toxic calories.  Real food has sustained people for centuries without causing disease.  Your choice of trying to get real food from local sources, I believe will help keep you healthy. I'd better stop there cause the subject is vast and deep and if I get into any more, then I'll spend my day writing this rather than grow the food that we want to provide for you!

One of the things that we're growing this year is beets. Beets are a little slow to get going, need a nice supply of food to produce a nice root and are one of the most awesome vegetables to eat roasted.  We're going to have a few choices, including Touchstone-a golden beet that literally has the color that will pull you in.  Last Thursday, I spent a long time going down a bed of tiny beet greens, getting rid of weeds-one of the many good jobs around here.  After getting down the rows (there were three), I turned around a looked back at the result.  The newly weeded rows stood out like proud little children in the Madeliene books, except of course that we're talking three straight lines instead of two.  It was the last maintenance work that I did that week, as Friday turned into a total prep day for the Saturday market.  It wasn't really till Tuesday that I took the next close look at this bed.  I was amazed how they had grown in just 4 days.  But now that I think about it, that was 10% of the length of time to maturity, which is a lot. These beet greens need to be thinned now.  So one of the items we'll be offering to you this week is beet greens.  Here is a picture of a promising row of beets.

Here is a progress report on the tomatoes.The picture above will show you how much they've grown!  We've already had about a dozen ripe sun golds.  Excellent start.  I hope that you can see all the yellow blossoms.  Promises of fruit, ahead.

And that brings me to the store:

First off, the large kale is here!  We started these guys way back in the Winter, in the basement under grow lights.  They've been working hard to be ready for Memorial Day.  Large leafed Kale Salad-an all time winner is now possible.  Just get those big leaves cut up, take the veins out and "massage" the cut up leaves with lemon juice for 25 minutes.  Toss with dry roasted nuts and any other vegetable that you like and coat everything with real (not that stuff in a green cardboard container!) parmesean. $4/bunch

Tomatoes, eggplants and Peppers:NOW IS YOUR TIME!  It won't be too late to plant after Memorial Day. I'm only mentioning that traditionally, people like to put these things in the ground now.  I'm going to put below the descriptions of the tomatoes that we have for sale.  The peppers are only great colors: red, orange or yellow.  Won't be able to say which one you get, but either way you'd be getting a winning color.  Here's the tomato selection:

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green

Kale- $4 bunch.

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto yesterday and it was outstanding.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (May 26th) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/25/2017 9:36 am