Today’s CSA Box – Week of July 17, 2017

 

 

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

Basil and Summer Squash:  Here’s a nice soup made with basil and summer squash.

Sweet Corn: It is such a seasonal treat to have corn still on the cob and sweet from the field.  If there is a worm or damage in the tip, just cut that part off. If you want to remove the kernels from the cob, here are some tips.

News From the Farm | July 17, 2017

This past spring I had the honor of taking a UC Berkeley design thinking class called Eat.Think.Design! To a degree I’d never imagined, it was intimate, hands-on, edgily interdisciplinary, upended established ways of thinking, an intentional community, out to better the world through food.  I got my first choice project team – Fair Labor Produce: working through empathy, interviews, research, prototyping, and play to increase transparency around labor conditions for farm workers in the Salinas region.  Judith was a great resource.

A few weeks before the big Innovation Feast, where we presented our projects to a diverse audience, came the best class of all. Homework: Bring a food to share with the class that is meaningful to you, and come tell what it means.  This most basic of human experience – sharing who we are, through food.  A crockpot, a toaster oven, chaat made of fish parts, mangos five ways, stories about falling in love, stories about finding out who we are, stories about food aboard a submarine, stories about a home far away.  The community that we had become grew twice as deep that night.

My story went something like this…  “Roughly 25 years ago I read an article in the paper about an innovative food distribution system: Community Supported Agriculture, and right away signed up on the wait list for Full Belly Farm.  This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  Part of Full Belly’s mission is to connect farmers and consumers, and it is really because of their education that I was aware of labor conditions in agriculture, leading directly to my interest in team Fair Labor Produce.  

Through the years I’ve had a long and rich connection with the farm. I volunteered managing their wait list, worked on farm days, attended festivals and classes, ate box after box.  This Full Belly relationship has seen me from one boyfriend, in and out of a marriage to someone else, the birth and growing of my kids who attended camp there, and remains a vital part of my eating and cooking through years of weeks.  For you tonight I have brought the very best carrots in the world.  If you haven’t had a real carrot lately, you must try one. They will rock your world!”

My offering to the table of shared memories was a tray of freshly peeled and cut carrots, with one muddy carrot for garnish, a Full Belly twist-tie loose around the greens.  My kids chided me “You WOULD be the one person who brought vegetables!” and it is true, I was the only one.  But they were so sweet, so crunchy, so juicy, they vanished quickly and all I had left was the whole carrot garnish, and a warm belly of memories from all the stories I had tasted.

—Charis Baz Takaro, CSA member

Letters

This morning’s melon was absolutely the best. I just finished up with a little cottage cheese and toast, and I am writing to you to keep myself from eating the other half of the melon. It is flavors and quality like this that keep me coming back to Full Belly — both my CSA subscription and your farmers market booth on Tuesdays. Can’t wait for my tomatoes for lunch.

Thank you again for all the wonderful veggie boxes for the rabbits over the cooler months. We are fortunate right now in that we have very few rabbits in our care, either eight or nine rather than the 30+ we had over the winter. So this is the best time for us not to be getting a box. We have a little garden in one of our yards at the shelter, and we are growing enough chard, kale and herbs to supplement what the city provides. Plus, there is a lot of wild fennel growing near the shelter now, so we can harvest that. But we would be delighted to get boxes when the weather gets cool again, if you can provide us that. 

Enjoy your summer and thank you so much for being out there!

Wags,

Pat Luchak

P.S. The “box” that Pat is talking about is a box of greens that Full Belly provides for the rabbits during the cooler weather.  The rabbits are under the care of Oakland Animal Services, which invites people to become involved in their program — adopting, volunteering or donating.

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Globe Amaranth. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

Tomato Harvest

Paul invented and manufactured this cart for our tomato crews so that they don’t have to carry boxes out of the field 4 at a time — instead they can stack 15 on the cart at once and wheel the tomatoes out of the field.

Does Anyone Need More Tomatoes?

If you would like to get a box of tomatoes, or add a basket of cherry tomatoes to your veggies, let us know.

San Marzano Romas – $40 for 22-pounds

Romas – $40 for 22-pounds

Mixed Heirlooms – $40 for a flat (approximately 10-pounds)

Cherry Tomatoes – $20 for 4 baskets (you can get 1 per week or specify any schedule that you prefer)

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.

Sauerkraut – $9 for 16 oz.

Lard –  $9 for 16 oz.

Safflower Oil –  $13 for 250mL  -OR-  $25 for 500mL 

Bone Broth – (Frozen Beef & Pork combination) – $15 per quart

Pie Dough – $5 per dough ball

Pizza Dough – $6 per dough ball

Candied Citrus Peel – $8 for a 4 oz. jar

Walnuts – $12/ pound 

Bloody Butcher Cornmeal – $5/ 1.5 pounds

Sun Dried Peaches – $6/ half pound

Sun Dried Tomatoes – $5/ quarter pound

Wheat Flour – $4/ 1.5 pounds

Wheat Berries – $4/ 2 pounds

Cotton Bags (11.5 x 12.5 inches) – $8 for 5 bags 

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

Minimum order of $8.

Veggie Tips

Corn: This is a bicolor corn (with white and yellow kernels).  We try to choose corn varieties with a balance between corn and sweet flavors, which means that we don’t usually choose the ‘super sweet’ varieties (too sugary). We have found that our climate and location can make it difficult to grow sweet corn.  One of the things that can happen is that we can have a heat wave, and two weeks later we see corn ears that have ‘blanks’ — places where the silk has dried up before it can get pollinated.  There may be a few corn ears like that in your box— but we are putting in extra to compensate!

Eggplant: We grow several varieties of eggplant — Japanese, Chinese, Rosa Bianca, Globe and Listada to name a few. All of them are great grilled — slice them, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle some salt on the slices.  Or stir fry the eggplant seasoned with a bit of sesame oil, garlic, red chile peppers, garlic and green onions!

Tomatoes: You will be getting many different colors, shapes and varieties of tomato in your boxes quite regularly for the next few months.  Don’t store these to deep in your refrigerator — they don’t like it too cold!  In fact, they are generally fine left out on the counter.

News From the Farm | July 10, 2017

Do the farmers in our country reflect the astonishing cultural diversity of our country? What do you think? Well, every Census cycle gives us a deep look into who is farming our food domestically, and more than 86% of those farm operators are men. More than 92% of the country’s 2.1 million farmers are non-Hispanic whites. In addition, in 2012, the average farmer was 58.3 years old, up from 57.1 years in 2007. The trends point to an undeniable truth about who is growing our food – an aging white male-dominated demographic. This leads me to ask, as a young white twenty year old woman, who is our next generation of farmers?

I hope that our next generation of farmers and rural landowners reflect the diversity of this country and our US census is starting to show trends reflecting the reality of my dreams for the future. The total number of farmers in the United States fell by 95,000 since the 2007 Census of Agriculture, but at the same time, the total number of minority farmers grew – nearly 97,000 of them checked a race box other than “white” on their census forms. That’s a 6.9% increase from 2007. The population of Asian farmers grew by 21.9%, the fastest rate of any minority group, up from 11,214 in 2007 to 13,699 in 2012. More than one-third of Asian farmers are located here in California. In addition, California ranks third in the nation for Hispanic farmers. [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are beautiful Marigolds. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

Veggie Tips

Basil: If you like pesto and have a bit of freezer space, you can make some pesto and freeze it for later use.  Basil doesn’t like to be stored with wet leaves.  Better in a cool place, like a flower bouquet in a vase of water.

Sweet Corn: This is a bicolor corn (with white and yellow kernels).  We try to choose corn varieties with a balance between corn and sweet flavors, which means that we don’t usually choose the ‘super sweet’ varieties (too sugary). We have found that our climate and location can make it difficult to grow sweet corn.  One of the things that can happen is that we can have a heat wave, and two weeks later we see corn ears that have ‘blanks’ — places where the silk has dried up before it can get pollinated.  There may be a few corn ears like that in your box— but we are putting in extra to compensate!

Summer Squash: How about some Summer Squash-Basil soup?  The basil, onions and squash can come straight from your box. 

News From the Farm | July 3, 2017

There are some fertile stories that ripened this past week: The 114-degree heat that blistered the farm; Whole Food’s meeting the Amazon piranha; California’s listing of Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer) as a carcinogen; the many tweets and twitterings around health care…. all captivating stories. However I am more compelled to write about a passing that like many other moments in time requires us to stop and reflect on our own humanity.

This past Saturday a good Farmer, responsible steward and friend of Full Belly passed away after a prolonged battle with Multiple Myeloma. Nigel Walker, founder of Eatwell Farm, a 105-acre farm in Dixon, was a forward thinker and creative force in the organic farming community. Since its inception in 1993, Eatwell Farm has been a model farm in its beauty and complexity, integrating rotations of lavender, clover, vegetables, livestock and fruit with a vibrant CSA and farmers market community. 

Nigel was respected as an innovator. He forged his own path in energy use by powering his farm with used vegetable oil and energy efficient design. He was an innovator in crop rotation by utilizing legumes, chickens, permanent edges and vegetable crops to create a healthy farm eco-system that wasn’t supported with the addition of imported nutrients.  He nurtured community with a farm open to his customers as a place to visit, pick lavender or strawberries, camp, or make tomato sauce. At farmers market, Eatwell was known for quality heirloom tomatoes, wonderful eggs and a philosophy of responsible stewardship. One couldn’t buy his vegetables without getting a good dose of philosophy and farming reality. [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Mini Zinnies. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

Veggie Tips

Fresh Cranberry Beans: 3/4-pound of cranberry beans in your box should shell out to about a cup of beans ready to cook.

Sweet Corn: Delicious Full Belly sweet corn was a cornerstone offering at our early Farmers Markets many summers ago. Sweet corn is difficult to grow organically in the Capay Valley because there is tremendous worm pressure here.  Early in the season, the worms are less of a problem.  We think the corn tastes better without the pesticides and we’re happy to cut off the tips in our own kitchens if we see any evidence of a worm.

Galia or Hercules Melon: If your melons are firm at the stem end, they can be left out on the counter — Otherwise, if they are fragrant and starting to soften at the stem end, they are better stored in the refrigerator. If your melon has a green flesh (especially around the edges) it is a Galia. If it has an orange flesh, it is a Hercules. The Galia was developed in Israel by a melon breeder who named it after his daughter.

Bell Pepper: This variety of bell pepper is called a Flamingo.  Your flamingo peppers can be eaten raw, or stuffed and baked.

News From the Farm | June 26, 2017

Proximity and Kinship

There is a game that I like to think that I made up but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a commonplace practice of cartographers. If I named it, I would call it something like Proximity. To play, you take a blank piece of paper and you draw a star in the middle of it to represent yourself. Then you think of every place in the world that you feel you are connected to and you draw a dot on the paper to represent those places in relation to your own star. If you wanted to add complexity to your map, you could code the dots in different shapes or colors to signify the type of connection. In drafting your map, you have to estimate distances and create your own scale, using your own brilliantly subjective mind. I like to riffle through my memory and think of places I have been in the context of people that have nurtured me and whom I love. The point of this abstract game is that, in the end, you have a unique, and ever-changing constellation of your own lived experience in proximity to place, people, experience and time. Like roots, you can conjure a map of the places that ground you and the places that have fostered your personal growth as a human being.

For me, Full Belly Farm is it’s own Milky Way of dots. Within this one location there are literally hundreds of individuals, places and experiences that I gravitate towards; with whom I have made beautiful and intense memories; from whom I have learned some of my most profound lessons; individuals who have cared for me in my darkest hours; people with whom I have laughed, cried and grown up, places that have wordlessly shown me the sublimity of existence and the inevitability of death. [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are amazing Marigolds. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

Flora Fresh New Pick-up Site in north Sacramento

Our friends at Flora Fresh are offering Full Belly CSA boxes to anyone who would like to pick up at their location: 1127 Fee Dr, northwest of Sacramento.  This site is not available through our on-line web site.  If this is a convenient place for you to pick up your boxes, contact Flora Fresh directly.

Veggie Tips

Loose Beets:  These beets will store well in the refrigerator.  We have lots of great beet recipes in our recipe archive.

Carrots: Some of the carrots will be orange, others will be purple.  According to several authorities, purple carrots contain more alpha and beta carotene than the orange ones, as well as a greater quantity of antioxidants.  When you store your carrots in the refrigerator, take the tops off first.

Royal Blenheim Apricots: This apricot has a green shoulder and ripens from the inside, so it will be riper than it looks, and has a full apricot flavor even when it is still a little firm. This is an ancient and rare fruit, first officially identified at the Luxembourg Gardens in 1815.  If your apricots are firm when you get them, leave them on the counter.  Otherwise, refrigerate.

New Potatoes: These are fresh out of the ground. They will store well in the refrigerator.  No need to peel them, the skin is very tender, as is the flesh. Try cooking them with the carrots in broth as the base for a puréed vegetable soup.

Summer Squash:  Here’s a fun and simple summer squash recipe, but you will need to have a bit of peppermint on hand (preferably fresh). Also, see our recipe of the week.

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Sunflowers. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

These sunflowers below are just about ready to open and show their beautiful yellow color.

News From the Farm | June 19, 2017

Over the coming months, federal legislators will be working on a budget for fiscal year 2018 as well as a rework of the Farm Bill (which establishes food and agriculture programs for several years).  Both of these efforts could have big impacts on the health of rural communities, the ability of poor families to afford food, and the level of agricultural research investments around the country.

The budget request from the administration proposes deep cuts ($230 billion, or 21%) to rural community and food assistance programs. Some of the proposed cuts of particular concern would gut the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and require severe funding reductions for programs that provide loans to family farmers and ranchers.  Several programs were zeroed out in the President’s proposal: value-added producer grants, appropriate technology transfer for rural areas, and rural cooperative development grants, among others. Conservation and stewardship programs that have built partnerships between the federal government, farmers, ranchers and community food advocates were also slated for elimination. The proposed budget would reduce funding for the Agricultural Research Service by $360 million (26%), possibly requiring the shuttering of 17 research centers. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Kohlrabi: The bulb, once you peel off the skin, is good both raw (crisp mild and pleasing) and cooked (like a broccoli stem).  The greens can be steamed or fried.  Use raw kohlrabi grated into a slaw, or sliced up and tossed into a salad.  We know people who shred it with egg and a bit of flour to make it into fritters (or potato-kohlrabi fritters!)

Purple Carrots: According to several authorities, purple carrots contain more alpha and beta carotene than the orange ones, as well as a greater quantity of antioxidants.  If you are going to store these, take the tops off first.

Stone Fruit: The fruit in your box is plums or apricots, or a mix.  Note that we pick our fruit ripe. If it gets home without being eaten, you should assess how to store it.  If it feels firm, sit it on its shoulders (not touching), in a cool place on the counter.  It will continue to ripen slowly.  If it is starting to soften, put it in the refrigerator.

Parsley: Make some salsa verde!  Or see our recipe of the week.

New Potatoes: These are fresh out of the ground. They will store well in the refrigerator.  No need to peel them, the skin is very tender, as is the flesh.

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Aloha Rose. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

News From the Farm | June 12, 2017

We have a wonderful crew of interns, keeping the farm energy young and inquiring. Every year our interns retrace the learning steps from times past. Here they are on their way to our June 9th pizza night.  Next chance for you to come to pizza night is Friday July 14th.  Wood fired pizza, salads and homemade farm fresh ice cream — all in a picnic setting at Full Belly!

[Read more…]

Soil Health Assessment Field Day

Full Belly is hosting presentations on Soil Health Assessment.  The workshop will be a tailgate-style, on-farm workshop discussing innovative assessment and management strategies for soil health.  The workshop is sponsored by the USDA’s Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and is free to the public. Thursday June 22, 9:30 to 11:30.  You can register here.

Veggie Tips

This box is a mix of summer and spring.  You are getting summer basil and early peaches in the same box as carrots, collards and beets, which we think of as cool-weather crops.

Basil – One way to store basil is to treat it like a fresh bouquet of flowers. Put it in a glass of water, and keep it in a cool place.  It’s picky in its temperature requirements — not too cold, not too warm…  Ideal temperature is about 50 degrees. The leaves will turn brown if you get them wet or too cold during storage.

Collards – Southern style collard greens involve a long cooking period, with bacon and onion added to your sauté.  Great to cook with beans.

New Potatoes – These are fresh out of the ground! They will store well in the refrigerator.  No need to peel them, the skin is very tender, as is the flesh.

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Scabiosa. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box.  The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet.  Thank you!

News From the Farm | June 5, 2017

There are times that we look at each other in despair, saying, “there’s just too much going on around here” —!  With everyone going in a lot of different directions life can be pretty overwhelming. Carefully planned days can easily derail into a race chasing down one unexpected loose end after another. Happily, every once in awhile we do get a hint that our efforts may be circling around an internal logic, not actually about to spiral out of control.

One of the biggest themes of the week continued to be to complete the spring transplanting.  Last Monday we transplanted our third planting of tomatoes, this time 60,000 seedlings, all in one day, into a 6-acre field. The field has been growing hay for decades, so the soil is well prepared to grow some delicious fruit.  Later in the week it was flowers, celeriac and direct seeding of dent corn, melons, beans, squash and cucumbers.  

Above the crew is transplanting tomatoes  [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Green Cabbage: Our website has a wonderful archive of recipes for green cabbage.

Kohlrabi: The bulb, once you peel off the skin, is good both raw (crisp mild and pleasing) and cooked (like a broccoli stem).  The greens can be steamed or fried.  Use raw kohlrabi grated into a slaw, or sliced up and tossed into a salad.  We know people who shred it with egg and a bit of flour to make it into fritters (or potato-kohlrabi fritters!)

Fennel: We recently got the following letter from one of our members…  “I am a fennel-lover, but have picked up enough leftovers from others at our spot to know that other members are less enthused. We enjoy the taste, and I use fennel anywhere I might use celery – salads, soups, stews, stir fries… But last week I happened on a delicious use for the whole plant.  I chopped an entire bunch of fennel, several onions, and cooked them in olive oil with garlic until softened and slightly golden. Then added chopped tomatoes (mine were canned) and simmered on the lowest possible heat for several hours. I tossed in some thyme and this week would add basil. After several hours, I let it cool a bit, and then used my immersion blender to blend it into sauce. I made 6 quarts and used up all the fennel in the last couple weeks times two (as I always pick up at least one extra.) It’s thick (all that fennel) and tasty. Also vegan, which will be useful whenever vegan friends are coming to dinner.”

Garlic:  Our 2017 crop!  It is still a bit young and moist, not fully dry.  It will be fine on your counter top if you aren’t going to need it right away.

New Potatoes: These are freshly dug “new” potatoes, so be sure to store them in the refrigerator, preferably in a paper bag. They don’t do well with light and should be kept in the dark until you use them. If the skins are scuffed up, don’t worry.  That’s because the potatoes haven’t fully cured — the skins are very thin and tender. 

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are Snapdragons. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box. The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet. Thank you!