Today’s CSA Box – Week of May 23, 2016

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Notes

Basil: When you get to taste the first of the year, no matter whether it is a tomato, a melon, or a bunch of basil, you may want to savor the moment — having waited patiently and eaten no out-of-season substitutes! Here’s your first-of-year fresh green basil, ready to season a sauce or add to a stir-fry.

Beets: Look for recipes on our web site. We love this observation from Deborah Madison’s beautiful cookbook, Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, 2013): “Beets are also full of sugars — think of sugar beets, from which sugar is made — and these two qualities, the earthy and the sweet, oppose one another and confuse the mouth.  At least I’m convinced this is so.  I’ve long believed that acid in the form of citrus juices or good vinegars make a bridge between these elements and unites them in a way that makes beets much more likable.” 

Cabbage: Use it to roll up some vegetables and rice, or make a wilted cabbage salad by slicing it up, salting it, massaging in the salt, squeezing out the water, and dressing it up with some lemon and parmesan cheese.

Potatoes: These are new potatoes which means that the skin is thin and doesn’t need to be peeled, plus you should refrigerate them to preserve their creamy texture.  These potatoes are great roasted, made into fries or potato salad or boiled.  For healthy comfort food, try Potatoes au Gratin.

News From the Farm | May 23, 2016

Summer season has begun and we want our CSA members to visit us! We want you to experience the farm and get to know the challenges and joys of each season. We want to be YOUR family’s farmer, providing as much of your diet for you as possible – vegetables, fruits, nuts and FLOWERS! Yes, even flowers…

On Sunday June 12, you and your family have another opportunity to visit Full Belly Farm, this time for a Field to Vase experience featuring a tour of the farm and our flower fields. Wander through the sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, asters and cosmos – this is your chance to explore our flower operation from seed to stem. Full Belly Florist, Hannah Rose Muller, will guide participants through a farm fresh floral design workshop, complete with harvesting and arranging YOUR own bouquet! 

Field to Vase

We invite you to bring a picnic lunch, splash in Cache Creek, and spend the day at Full Belly. The workshop is from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Adults are $50, children, eight and under are free and, CSA members are $40. For more details, or to sign up, call 530-796-2214 and ask for Judith or Hallie. You can also email Hannah with any questions.

beautiful godetias

Beautiful godetias (above) and zinnia (below) in the field 

IMG_3832

Flower Notes

Sunflowers are the chosen bouquet of the week!

Signing In!

Please use the sign-in sheets when you pick up your box.  Some of our site hosts are very helpful and proactive and at the end of the day, if there is a box left over, they use the sign-in sheet to let us know who might not have picked up their box.  If some people have taken a box but not signed the sheet, it can be difficult to figure this out.

Special Order Add-ons to Your Box

It is so easy to increase the amount of Full Belly in your life! CSA members can special order almost anything from our farm to be delivered to your pick-up site. Sorry, no Virginia Street special orders. If you would like to order the following items, please contact us at 800-791-2110 or csa@fullbellyfarm.com.

NEW Peach Jam – $9 for a delicious 12-oz jar!

Strawberry Jam – $9 for a 12-oz jar

Almond Butter – $17/ jar – ask about bulk orders

Almonds – Raw $15/ pound  -OR-  Roasted $8/ half pound  -OR-  Tamari $8/ half pound

Iraqi Durum Wheat Flour – $3/ 1.5 pounds.

Iraqi Durum Wheat Berries – $3/ 2 pounds.

Cotton Bags (11.5 x 12.5 inches) – $8 for 5 bags (includes sales tax).

Please place your order at least five days prior to your intended delivery date.

Veggie Notes

Strawberries: We pick our strawberries ripe! Please eat them soon after they arrive, or put them in your refrigerator. If some of them get soft, add them to a smoothie, or smush them onto your toast for instant strawberry jam!

Collards: One of the heavier greens, so when you get ready to cook them, think of southern recipes and add bacon, garlic and onion.  Maybe cook them in chicken broth, or with some smoked meat.  These greens are best when cooked for longer than the light chards and kales.

Potatoes: Roasted in the oven, then flavored with a bit of cheese, salt and olive oil, these are guaranteed to satisfy. They are uncured new potatoes, creamy and tender. Note that unlike mature potatoes, these need to be refrigerated. You will not need to peel them because the skins are thin, which explains why they sometimes get scuffed

Tokyo Turnips: Eat both the greens and the roots. This turnip is very mild — so much so that you can eat it raw, or chopped up with a little vinaigrette splashed on top. Also great roasted or lightly steamed.

News From the Farm | May 16, 2016

We recently had a visit from researchers from Washington State University on a project to understand the effect that farm landscapes have on bird diversity. While we love all the birds that live around Full Belly Farm, we often have to work hard to protect our fruit from them. So we have a bit of a dual relationship with the birds and we are always interested in learning more about them.

We have excerpted below from notes provided by the researchers after a few hours of studying the Full Belly birds:

“The bird surveys were very interesting. We detected 47 unique species after sampling 15 points throughout the farm and stratifying the points by habitat type (orchard, livestock, vegetables, creek, etc.) This is the highest number of unique species on the farms we’ve sampled so far. Your farm had far more landscape heterogeneity than other farms. Landscape heterogeneity is known to be important in attracting some species of birds. You’ve also got great habitat for the birds throughout, with thick vegetation located at different heights (ground level for ground foragers, shrubs for edge associated species, thick groups of tall trees for forest species, the creek for marsh birds).  [Read more…]

Flower Notes

If you got flowers with your CSA box this week, you are getting a bouquet Snapdragons.

Summer Garden BBQ with Bradley Ogden and Full Belly Farm

Chef Bradley Ogden and Full Belly Farm are teaming up to offer a very special cooking class on Saturday July 16, from 1pm to 5pm. The class will include a short farm tour, a cooking class in the Full Belly kitchen, and an early dinner. Additionally, everyone will go home with a folder of Bradley Ogden recipes. The class will feature fresh vegetables and meat directly from Full Belly Farm. Chef Bradley Ogden is the culinary genius behind many award-winning restaurants including locally, The Lark Creek Inn, Lark Creek Steak, and One Market.  His numerous awards include ‘Best Chef of California’ by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. The class is $150 ($140 for current CSA members) paid in advance. Call the office to reserve a spot and make payment  – 530-796-2214.

Letter to the Editor

The day after I saw the pix of the ladybugs on the weekly missive I found a ladybug on the parsley we’d just gotten in Rockridge. I was sad because I didn’t see it until the bunch had been in the fridge overnight. I gently nudged the little guy into my hand and then outside onto a plant in the sun. Once on the leaf in the sun he warmed up and then scooted away. I hope it was just like a chilly night to him during his time in the fridge…  BTW, LOVING the strawberries. They are truly like candy!

Cheers,

Ellen  –  Ostrander Rd, Oakland site

Veggie Tips

Cabbage: We have LOTS of cabbage recipes on our web site. There are recipes for easily prepared soups, salads, and slaws.  How about this one: “You are Going to Love This Cabbage Salad!” 

Carrots: These will store well in your refrigerator — storage is enhanced if you remove the tops first.

Mizuna: A mild green that can simply be used as a salad instead of lettuce. It is also great as a garnish to some of the other veggies in your box. See our recipe: Mizuna with Potatoes and Shallot Vinaigrette 

Bok Choi: In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add garlic, ginger and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. After washing the leaves, add bok choi and stir to cover with oil, then cook for approximately 2 minutes.

Potatoes: Roasted in the oven, then flavored with a bit of cheese, salt and olive oil, these are guaranteed to satisfy. They are uncured new potatoes, creamy and tender.  Note that unlike mature potatoes, these need to be refrigerated.  You will not need to peel them because the skins are thin, which explains why they sometimes get scuffed up.

News From the Farm | May 9, 2016

On May 5th we planted some special melon seeds.  We were experimenting with varieties that we haven’t grown here before, hoping to find out how they will do under our conditions.  

Thirteen of the varieties came from Uzbekistan, collected by a friend who studies them.  Uzbekistan is something of a melon mecca. Melons are believed to have been grown there for 2000 years by farmers who are very proud of their tradition growing melons of unique taste and quality. Some of these varieties are already grown in California to a very limited degree, but mostly they are unknown here. Many of the Uzbek melons are large by U.S. standards, but extremely sweet and aromatic.

We also planted some melons that are new varieties from Vitalis Organic Seeds.  Vitalis is doing trials of their new varieties only on a few farms — in Bakersfield, Woodland and at Full Belly.  They had 12 varieties to try – new types of Galia, Charentais and Canary. [Read more…]

Flower Notes

If you got flowers with your box this week, the flowers are Godetias.  Watch them open!

Letters to the Editor

Several weeks ago, we (Jan & I) were discussing what to gift to our friends who were getting married.  We thought of the many traditional things we have gifted weddings in the past, and wanted to gift something truly unique and lasting.

We decided to gift our friends a 3 month Full Belly CSA.  Out thought process went to how this can become a lifetime gift.  Hopefully our friends will continue to include CSA in their lives, raise their children on fresh, organic CSA food, while supporting the sustainable, organic food movement. 

We discovered CSA over 25 years ago, raised our children on fresh, sustainable and organic food, a gift they still cherish, as they now shop @ farmers markets and continue the tradition. I highly recommend to all CSA members and Beet readers to consider gifting for Weddings CSA membership.

Thank you Full Belly Farm for being an important part of our day-to-day lives, forever and a day.

peace,
–Thom and Jan Donnelly

News From the Farm | May 2, 2016

We were caught between a high and a low-pressure system that created powerful winds this weekend. The 30 mph winds cracked limbs and sucked the green from hillsides, grasses and young plants. The crew worked half a day on Saturday and headed home, appreciative of a reprieve from the relentless energy of the wind.

Dru and I had headed off early that Saturday morning to market in Palo Alto. The farm has been present there every Saturday for more than 30 years. At 3:30 am we were driving down highway 16, dodging downed limbs and being buffeted by the wind. Dru was on tenterhooks, worried about what the wind would do to her flowers in the week preceding Mothers Day — it seemed best to leave the farm and not feel the pulses of damage, than to hang around and watch it happen. [Read more…]

Flower Notes

If you signed up to get a flower bouquet this week, you are getting a mix of Godetias and Iris.

Veggie Tips

Beets: Most of the recipes in the archive on our web site are about roasted beets.  But even easier is to steam them: Trim the beets, chop them into bite-size pieces and steam them until tender.  While still warm dress them with a vinaigrette which they will absorb as they cool. Or, for another idea, check our Pasta with Roasted Beet Sauce, a particular favorite: http://fullbellyfarm.com/recipes/pasta-roasted-beet-sauce/

Strawberries: We pick our strawberries ripe. Please eat them soon after they arrive, or put them in your refrigerator. If some of them get soft, we suggest that you make a smoothie: Blend together strawberries, milk and yogurt, optional dash of sugar and some ice.

Green Garlic: This garlic is more mature than the early spring green garlic.  You will notice that as the bulbs start forming, the garlic flavor becomes stronger.  There may even be a skin around the bulb that you need to remove – but still much less peeling than with mature garlic.

Dino Kale: That deep green color means that it is full of health-giving nutrition. You can steam it, add a few flavorings (lemon, sesame oil, salt and pepper) and add it to some rice for a quick and easy meal.

Lettuces: One of the more perishable items in your box. If you aren’t going to use it right away you might want to pat it dry with a paper towel before storing it in the plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Potatoes: These are uncured new potatoes, creamy and tender.  Note that unlike mature potatoes, these should be refrigerated. You will not need to peel them because the skins are thin, which explains why they sometimes get scuffed up.

Tokyo Turnips: Both the greens and the roots are edible. All you need to do with the turnips is slice them thin and sprinkle them with a light vinaigrette. They also work well as a roasted vegetable.

News From the Farm | April 25, 2016

Here are answers to last week’s quiz:

1. How many trees are there in the 3 1/2-acre orchard of peaches, pears and quince that we planted at Full Belly this winter?  Answer: We planted 720 trees in our new 3-acre orchard. In a few years, some of the fruit from this orchard will be in your CSA boxes!

2. Which of these plants is NOT currently growing at Full Belly (bamboo, hops, spearmint and rhubarb)?  The answer is rhubarb – we would love to grow it, but it really isn’t well suited to our soil conditions and climate. Photo below shows hops climbing the trellis. 

IMG_0524 [Read more…]

Notes on Your Bouquets

If you signed up to get a flower bouquet this week, the flowers are a mix of Calendula, Bells of Ireland and Snapdragons.

Veggie Tips

Karinata Kale: This is a unique variety offered only by a couple of Capay Valley farms.  It is an open-pollinated cross between red Russian kale and red mustard.  If you are not familiar with it, you might want to first taste it raw just to get a sense of the mild mustardy flavor.  It was developed by a local plant breeder who thought it might make a good cover crop.  One day when we visited his plot we started eating his experiment and got excited about its culinary value! You can substitute Karinata kale in any recipe that calls for collards, chard, spinach or mustard.

Parlsey: If you don’t sprinkle it onto one of your sandwiches or stir-fries, try making salsa verde (capers, parsley, olive oil, shallot or fresh onion, Dijon mustard, garlic and a bit of vinegar).

Strawberries: We grow a variety called Chandler because it has a great flavor and sweetness unlike other varieties that have traded taste for yield, disease resistance and ease of shipping.  We pick our strawberries ripe!  Please eat them soon after they arrive, or put them in your refrigerator. If some of them get soft, add them to a smoothie!

Salad Mix: One of the more perishable items in your box.  If you aren’t going to use it right away you might want to pat it dry with a paper towel and store it in a plastic container with a lid.

Letters from Members

Dear Full Belly Farm,

I’m curious.  I’ve never seen these before. (See photo below.) What are they?  They were on my cilantro leaves.

Thanks, Jennifer

20160420_184054

——-

Dear Jennifer,

Oops!  So sorry, those are each a pupae of a precious little lady bug.  If we had found those on our cilantro, we would probably put them outside somewhere to hatch into beautiful lady bugs.  But I am sorry that you found it on your leaf — I hope that it didn’t bother you.

CSA Coordinator

——-

Dear CSA,

Oh it didn’t bother me at all but fearing it was some sort of scale I washed it down the sink. Now I feel bad. Hey maybe the newsletter could from time to time share this sort of info? Just a thought

Jennifer

News From the Farm | April 18, 2016

Take the Full Belly Farm Quiz!!

Answers will be provided in next week’s newsletter. If you are able to submit your answers to the quiz before Monday April 25th at 10:00, and you get the answers all correct, we will raffle your name out of a hat and the winner will get 2 free Full Belly CSA boxes!  Send your answers to: csa@fullbellyfarm.com.

1. How many trees are there in the 3 1/2-acre orchard that we planted at Full Belly this winter?  The tree varieties are quince, pears and peaches.

A. 250

B. 720

C. 1100

2. Which of these plants is NOT currently growing at Full Belly?

A. Bamboo

B. Hops

C. Spearmint

D. Rhubarb [Read more…]

Notes on Your Bouquets

If you are getting a bouquet this week, it contains green wheat, bachelor buttons and snapdragons. 

Veggie Tips

Broccoli: Use the stem as well — all you need to do is peel it a bit.  The broccoli will store well in your refrigerator.

Cilantro: Chop it up and add it to your omelet or sprinkle it on top of your breakfast egg. Like many herbs, it carries many notable compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health-promoting properties. Freshly chopped, it can be added to salad or pasta dishes.  The cilantro will store well in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Fresh Onions: Each of these stems represents an onion plant before it has bulbed.  They are often a bit milder than dry onions, but definitely a great substitute in almost all cases.  Chop the onions up and use them at the beginning of any sauté. These will store well in your refrigerator.

Lettuce/Salad mix: Please use this earlier rather than later in the week!

Strawberries: We grow a variety called Chandler because it has a great flavor and sweetness unlike other varieties that have traded taste for yield, disease resistance and ease of shipping.  We pick our strawberries RIPE!  Please eat them soon after they arrive, or put them in your refrigerator. If some of them get soft, add them to a smoothie, or smush them onto your toast for instant strawberry jam!!!

News From the Farm | April 11, 2016

Mother’s Day Sunday always presents a plethora of options for families wanting to spoil that amazing Mom for her special day. Well, we have a secret up here in the Capay Valley – the most perfect experience you could ever give her:  the Capay Valley Mother’s Day Garden Tour. Here are the top five reasons why this tour is exactly what that special mother (or garden lover) deserves for Mother’s Day.

#1. It is in a spectacular setting! There is nothing more beautiful than this agricultural valley in the middle of May. The Capay Valley is home to 5 small towns and winds through them all over 20 miles. The hills are still green, the gardens are alive and blooming, the temperature is typically ideal (in the mid 80’s) and best of all, the first of the fruit season will be starting with peaches, mulberries and strawberries! [Read more…]

Notes on Your Bouquets

For those of you who added on a flower bouquet, the flowers that you are getting are Snapdragons and Flax.

Veggie Tips

Artichokes: These are a delicious “chokeless” variety.  Steam them for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size. We are cutting the longer stems because we really like the flavor of the stem and hope you do too! 

Arugula: This arugula is mild enough that you can eat it as a salad right out of the bag.  Use the arugula earlier in the week.

Broccoli likes to stay cold — and if it stays cold it will store well. The stem is delicious.

Chard: You will find many recipes for chard on our web site recipe page under greens.  Please try using the stems, even though their treatment may be a little bit different than the greens.  The stems can be roasted with a bit of cheese and bread crumbs.

Green Garlic: Mild flavored, this will store well.  Wash carefully where the green leaves meet the stem.  This is the garlic plant before it bulbs.  A spring delicacy.

Salad Mix: One of the more perishable items in your box.  If you aren’t going to use it right away you might want to pat it dry with a paper towel and store it in a plastic container with a lid.

Tokyo Turnips: These greens are the BEST!  The turnip roots are very tender.  They can be very lightly steamed or roasted, or even eaten raw in a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

News From the Farm | April 4, 2016

Last summer it seemed like we were short-handed a lot of days.  There were crops we just never got to picking, fields that we had to abandon for lack of care, and weeds that marched along as if to take over the farm.  That isn’t to say that a whole lot of wonderful fruits and vegetables didn’t get picked and eaten— it just seemed like the farm was running ragged at the edges a lot of the time. A lot of days it seemed as if a triage process was taking place, with a jostle of many tasks requiring attention, and a good number of people demanding priority for the activities that they thought were the most important, overlaid on a reality in which only the most urgent activities got anywhere near done.   

Actually, there’s a time like that every year, when everyone on the farm is moving fast, focussed on an immediate task and timeline. There are around 5 months of the year when we plan for ‘all hands on deck’… These are the months when the harvest dominates every day.  Each member of our crew plays a critical part in the choreography of harvesting, packing, truck loading and dozens of other activities, each of which is critical to the success of the whole endeavor.  We are a business in which no detail is small, the effort of each person has consequence, and we are all striving for a balance and equilibrium when Mother Nature and farm reality will synch up in harmony. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Beets: Our beets roots are tiny and tender.  Don’t hesitate to use the greens as well — they taste a lot like chard.  Remove the greens from the roots and the roots will store for several weeks in the refrigerator or a cool dry place.They are delicious roasted with a bit of olive oil. 

Carrots: (see recipe) Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator after taking off the greens.  Several of our members report that they store the carrots by placing them in a container with a lid and covering them completely with water.

Fresh Onions: The same plant that later bulbs and turns into the dry storage onion, but milder at this stage than the dry onion. Perfect for stir fry.

Salad Mix: Use this first – probably the most perishable thing in this week’s box. We apologize if our salad mix is sometimes a bit moist.  If you aren’t going to use if right away, you might pat it dry and store it in a plastic container with a lid, lined with paper towels. You can also lay it out on a paper towel, then place it back in the plastic bag with a dry paper towel as a liner.