Written by Michael Hayes: Patch editor
Photos by Jen Schulten
Original Story on Patch
David Zemelsky of Starlight Gardens picks carrots. The farm will offer a 21-week summer CSA starting in June. (Photo: Jennifer Schulten) The seedlings have returned to Starlight Gardens in Durham. And so has hope.
The certified organic farm owned by David and Ty Zemelsky suffered a devastating loss this winter when February's historic snow storm damaged or destroyed five of the farm's six hoop houses and forced the couple to halt their winter CSA and prevented them from offering one this spring.
But Starlight's Community Supported Agriculture shares will return in June, a result of the couple's perseverance to rebuild what had taken them over a decade to establish.
"We're just moving on," said David.
By Friday, workers had nearly completed what will become the farm's primary hoop house, a 96-foot long structure that David is optimistic will withstand future blizzards.
For now much of what is being grown at the farm is sheltered from spring's colder temperatures by low tunnels that have replaced the much larger and more permanent hoop houses. "They're more of a 35 year old farming [technique]," David explained.
While most farms have yet to break soil, Starlight boasts rows of carrots, arugula and radishes, with potatoes and garlic soon to follow.
As if the collapse of the farm's hoop houses — each of which was named after one of the couple's grandchildren — hadn't taken enough of an emotional toll, the farmers suffered another setback when a friend's greenhouse used to grow Starlight's highly sought-after tomatoes burned to the ground this week.
"We're definitely known for our tomatoes but we're going to be hard pressed to make a big impression this year," said David.
Still, with the return of spring, the couple is looking forward to getting back to growing and sharing the farm's bounty.
"The CSA is going to have a lot of stuff, a little bit of everything," said Ty.
Starlight Gardens' 21-week summer CSA will begin the first week of June. Regular share or small share options are available. Click here to join.