Starlight Gardens Market Pop-Up
Please join us every Sunday from April 7th until May 26th for a splendid pop-up featuring Starlight Gardens out of Durham CT! Stay tuned each week to learn about the featured plant/vegetable...
Cash and all major credit cards accepted
A history of the farm:
Starlight Gardens was the conception of Ty Zemelsky an artist, musician and teacher. Started in 2009 with her husband David, Starlight Gardens is a USDA certified organic mixed vegetable operation. It has been over twenty years since a neighbor and old organic farmer Hyman Scrilowitz convinced TY and David that they just had to go visit this guy in Maine who practiced the idea of season extension with the use of high tunnel, unheated greenhouses. That, of course, was Elliot Coleman. When they visited him, they knew so little that they couldn't even think of questions to ask; The visit was inspiring but brief.
While more or less hanging on to their day jobs for a bit, they started to build a greenhouse or two--- in November and December 1998. The cold mud and snow didn't stop them. The first crop of salad greens-- mizuna, tatsoi, spinach and kale was planted at the beginning of February and made our first buck on April 9,1999.
By then we had built four high tunnels-- each 30 x 98. David started calling and visiting mostly fancy restaurants on the CT shore and north up to Hartford. We started working with quite a few wonderful places and continue to have the privilege of getting to know and work with many talented and extremely hard-working chefs.
Then all of a sudden there came the wave of excitement about eating organic- and especially fresh and locally grown food. And farmer markets became the new thing. We look back now laughing at the way we went kicking and screaming when begged by Jennifer McTiernan to join the then brand-new City Seed Farmers Market at Wooster Square, New Haven. Now it is celebrating its 16th year and has become an important part of our business and a place where not only is our produce received with enthusiasm but where we have made many friendships with our customers over the past 16 years.
Now, in addition to our wonderful restaurant customers, we also go to numerous farmers markets each season. At the markets we have become known especially for the wide variety of salad greens that we grow. Some are by now quite well known, like mizuna and tatsoi. Others are still "new " to our area, such as the deliciously hot and spicy golden frill mustard green. We like to let shoppers mix and match to put their own salad mixes together.
Salad greens were the original base of the farm, but a few years in, we got interested in growing heirloom tomatoes. In the summer, the greens are grown outside and initially we looked for a way to make the empty high tunnels useful in summer. Well, that we certainly did. Now four houses are planted every summer season- with over 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. David has been dubbed the Tomato King and the Tomato Scientist by our farmers market customers. Apparently, a few folks even do good imitations of him talking about particular varieties of heirlooms.