For some farmers, tilling is a four letter word. For others, a necessary evil. And still others-pure joy. The later is a variety of farmers that enjoys seeing fallow ground turn into a fluffy blanket of smooth weedless soil, ready to grow whatever the farmer wants. For myself, my belief in tilling falls somewhere inbetween the two. Soil is happiest when it gets disturbed the least. Tractors driving on it and rototillers stirring it up like a food processor-none of those things helps the health of what goes on below the surface. And what goes on below the surface? Just so much. Fungal and microbial growth that would defy your imagination. Other insects burrowing through the soil, not to mention worms and moles. Creatures both miniscule and not so much doing their part to make the soil a happy place. No wonder they can't stand tilling, as it rips up their happy homes, tunnels and chemical balances. Rototilling basically takes the soil on top and puts it on the bottom. So one is inverting the soil. By putting the bottom on the top, one is also taking vast weed seed banks and exposing them to light and eventually germination. So when a rototiller finishes its work, it may look weedless, but that is very deceptive. There are now millions of weed seeds that are suddenly able to germinate. About ten years ago, I wondered if there might be a tractor implement that just stirs up the soil rather than inverting it, therefore not exposing any need weed seeds to the surface and germination. After a bit of research, I discovered the "power harrow". This machine looks like a tiller but instead of blades that pull the lower soil up and push the surface soil down, this machine just stirs it around-much like an eggbeater. It is manufactored in Italy and was sold by some dealer in California. So, I thought we'd give it a try. The results are wonderful. Sub surface weeds are kept where they lie and the ground has a great surface to plant into. It doesn't go as deep as a rototiller, but we get around that by using the subsoiler before using the power harrow. The subsoiler literally hooks the soil and rips into the soil to a depth of 2 feet. Water finds its way into this crack and the soil does not become compacted. Everyone's happy. If you'd like to know more about soil health, contact your local NOFA-CT office( CTNOFA.ORG)
Before telling you what's available at the store, I needed to mention that we it has become cool enough to start pea tendrils again. Look for them in about 10 more days. For those of you who haven't tried pea tendrils- they taste exactly like fresh peas, except you don't have to shell them. Another fall crop that is on its way is spinach. I've had a few false starts because of the heat (spinach does not like heat), but we're on our way now.
Ok. On to the store. Let me know what you'd like by 10AM Friday. Order will be in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. by 2pm on that same Friday. Your order will have your name by it and the amount owed.
here’s what we’ve got for you:
French Fingerling Potatoes5/lb
big kale $4/bunch
Salad greens $6/bag
Beets and pretty decent topst $4/bunch
Hearty German garlic $2.50/head
Spring tower! This is an excitiing lettuce that one eats both the leaves and the core (which is delicious beyond all words) $3/head
Assorted sweet peppers (really pretty and tasty) $5/lb
Eggplant. both the striped and the Asian. 5/lb
Thyme and sage $4/bag
Heirloom tomatoes $6.50/lb-still amazing with the height of summer flavor
Juliets- $6.50 still my Desert Island Tomato
Sun Golds and Black Cherry- outstanding cherry tomatoes $6/pint
Sun dried tomatoes $4/oz
Have a great week
Posted by: David Zemelsky
Last week, I wasn't sure (seasons wise) whether I was coming or going. Now I know, it is late Summer. I know this because we just started our first batch of pea tendrils. These are a sure sign of cooler weather. Another thing would be spinach coming up. I've tried growing this in the Summer, and failed miserably. Its a popular green and people clamor for it. Our latest attempt looks good. I primed the seeds by soaking them in water for 5-6 hours and then dried them in the dehydrator. After planting them, they sprouted within 3 days. Priming really works.
Tomorrow is our Certified Organic Inspection. The agent comes, looks all around, pokes through our paperwork and asks numerous questions. Even though we always pass, it is an anxiety producer. That is why I am writing to you early because by the time he's finished with me tomorrow-I'll be beat.
Salad Greens-finally! $6/bag. With lettuce, kale, mizuna
Ruby Streaks- a spicy mustard. Light and fluffy looking and a pretty good heat to it. Recommended $4/ 4oz bag
Heirloom Tomatoes- they're still here and still as good as mid Summer. $6.50/lb./
Cherry Tomatoes- $6/pint
Juliet- $6.50/lb Our Desert Island Tomato. Write back and ask me why its called that
Swiss Chard $4/bunch
Hakeuri Turnips $4/lb
Beets with lovely greens $4/bunch
Garlic - $2.50/head
Assorted Sweet Peppers $5/lb
Asian Eggplants $5/lb
French Fingerling Potatoes $5/lb
Baby Kale- $6/6oz. bag
Yu Choi- a very sweet and tender baby pak choi $6/60z. bag
Simply Gorgeous Mini- Heads of Lettuce $2.50
Orders to me by 10AM Friday. Pick up at shed after 2pm.
Have a great week.Posted by: David Zemelsky
I am wondering if we're at the beginning of Fall or the end of Summer. My fellow board member on the Agricultural Commission was a few minutes late for our special meeting earlier this week because she was helping get the Cow Barn ready for the Durham Fair. If that's not a sign of early Fall, I really don't know what is. On the other hand, our new crop of katrina cucumbers,the french string beans, the watermelon and the tomatoes are looking great , too. That's all about Sumer. But then again, I've got my receipt for being an exhibitor at the Fair for our garlic-now that sounds like Fall. It can be confusing. Maybe, we shouldn't mess with labels that much and just let the season be.
Having said all that, I need to report to you about looking forward. I'll start with a our hoop house full of new carrots. This was Joel's idea. Joel, as many of you already know, is in his third season with us. Joel gets things done around here. One day, he suggested that we plant mid Summer carrots for Fall harvest and Winter , too. So we did that. Now, there are carrot tops in different stages of development. The earliest ones will be ready, I hope by the middle of October. Our Summer carrots were great (There's still some left, but I see a gap with no carrots), but Fall carrots are the best because when it gets cold, they tend to overload on producing carbohydrates (sugar!) and are profondely sweet. Then, there's beet greens which I would strongly recommend for soups, and stir fries. It is becoming that time to think about using your stove top more.One last evidence of Fall coming-we've got spinach coming up. Really looking forward to a decent crop within the next 40 days.
On to the store: Boring reminder. Let me know what you'd like by 10 AM Friday via email. Your order will be waiting for you at 2pm Friday in the shed to the left of our house at 54 Fowler Ave.Cash preferred, but checks are ok if need be.
Salad Greens $6/bag
Arugula (maybe for the first two orders) $6/bag
Yu Choi- a nice Asian Green, kind of a pak choi, but more tender $4/bag
French Fingerling Potatoes- now these are something to marvel at. Newly harvested, small, tender and only flacky in texture $5/bag 1lb.
Beet Greens $3/bunch
Hakeuri Turnips $4/bunch
Italian Coastal Chard- $3/bunch. Serious chard from Italy. So wonderful in stir fries
Big Kale and Lacinato Kale $3/bunch
Heart German Garlic $2.50/head
Sun Gold Cherry Tomato -$6/pint
Black Cherry Tomato-$6/pint
Juliet- our Desert Island Tomato $6.50/lb.
Asian Eggplant - something to marvel at. Even though its Asian, it made a fantastic Eggplant Parmesan $5/lb
Assorted Color Peppers $5/lb
Sun dried Tomatoes- $4/package 1oz. These are so amazing on pizza, sandwiches or anything else. Really, anything else. I've tried them with chocolate and that's a homerun, too!
OK. That's it. Have a great week. Hope to hear from you soon.
Posted by: David Zemelsky
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:
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
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
Posted by: David Zemelsky
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.
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
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
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
Swiss Chard $3/bunch. This an Italian variety called Coastal. Light green, succulant and worth visiting
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.
Posted by: David Zemelsky
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
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
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
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
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
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
DavidPosted by: David Zemelsky
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.
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.
Posted by: David Zemelsky