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Star Lake Gardens rebuilds after Nemo


David and Ty Zemelsky have started to rebuild hoop houses, on their property, that were destroyed in February of last year by Winter Storm Nemo. That weather event dropped record levels of snow across the state. Hoop houses, which are the same in construction as greenhouses but without heat, are part of the Zemelsky’s season extension farming. The uniquely wet, sticky snow of Nemo destroyed four of the hoop houses, crushing them into “a mess of steel, plastic, and wood,” David Zemelsky said.

The two new hoop houses, with added reinforcement rods, are being built using funds from the Emergency Plant Grant. “We did what we could with what we had,” Zemelsky said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture received reports of more than $10 million in losses due to inclement weather last year. “We definitely want to give due credit to the state,” David Zemelsky said.

The Zemelsky farm, Star Lake Gardens, is USDA certified organic. Inside one of the hoop houses, 40 degree cold weather on the outside is turned into warmth. Zemelsky describes the environment as “equivalent to spring in Southern New Jersey.” Kale, and claytonia, also known as “miner’s lettuce” are currently under cultivation.

The Zemelsky farm has started using a unique funding technique gaining popularity throughout the nation. With Community Sponsored Agriculture, Star Lake Gardens sells shares of their farm in exchange for a share of the crop yield, which will vary by the year. This is the third year Star Lake Gardens has used the arrangement.

“It’s been really good for my wife and I. We get a variety of organic vegetables for a very good price,” said Chad Reddick, customer.

“CSA is wonderful for everybody,” Zemelsky said, “it helps the farmer, and the customers get great food.”



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