Today’s CSA Box – Week of August 14, 2017

 

 

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

Black-Eye Peas: These can be used with some of the tomatoes to make soups like ribollita, or they can be slow-cooked in a crock pot with some bacon or pork.  You treat these more like beans than peas… There are many kinds of Southern beans, always called peas in the US South.  Fresh like this they only take about 30 minutes to cook.

Asian Pears: Snack on them with some cheese!  Asian pears should store well in your refrigerator.

Summer Vegetable Ragout: You can make a summer vegetable ragout with the onion, black-eye peas, your peppers, the summer squash, some of the basil and the tomatoes.  A little cream at the end is a nice touch.

News From the Farm | August 14, 2017

It is easy to become intimidated by the challenges defined in news cycles and their focus on overwhelming problems like climate change, hunger and poverty, sowing the seeds of hopelessness. Many of these issues are framed in a way that makes us feel overpowered by their magnitude. Those in the political and business worlds often use the theatre of power to keep us in a state of incredulity, disarming the ability to act.  Global warming, for example, dwarfs any potential contribution that an individual might make and intimidates many by its magnitude.

We are in need of pathways forward that allow us to see clearly our power to instigate positive change and ethical renewal. Those contributions must be simple, satisfying, accessible, replicable actions that might inspire others to become part of large-scale action. The actions must be creative and resonate for all with a positive message. They must combine hope with action, building a new design to empower and join in rethinking parts of the design that fail to enhance health and beauty. These acts must be leavened with love and empathy. 

I have been thinking about the unique relationship that we have tried to build with our patrons – those of you who have chosen to eat the food we grow and support our farm. Many of you are CSA members, about 1,000 families who receive a share of our harvest. Others may support us at farmers markets, farm dinners, or by buying our produce at your neighborhood store. We have long held to the principle that we need to be authentic, transparent, and honest in order to gain your trust in our intentions – what we hope are ‘right intentions’ that reflect values that are timeless: honoring the history of rural peoples, and building and supporting diversity in all of its forms here on the farm. 

Building a farm is never a finished project. For us at Full Belly, the design and present experience of this farm are ongoing with some principles that inform this evolving design. We are seeking to make a farm where complexity becomes simplicity and where we optimize the harvest and storage of energy in its myriad forms (solar, biological, plant, animal, and human). We loosely seek to make the whole healthy by understanding and working on the health of the parts that make up a farm. The larger focus is on health, while the day-to-day brings new challenges to improve upon all of those aspects that contribute to the complex integrated whole.

Some things are pretty clear. We must power our economic health with good yields allowing our income to exceed our expenses. We must be able to differentiate our product in the marketplace and have a strategy for doing so. We must put the many forces of energy to use on the farm, harvesting the biological potential of this land by optimizing the solar gain that we can achieve through plants and photosynthesis. We have embraced biological diversity as a core component of farm health and resiliency.

Diversity itself can take many forms as we think about design.  It seems that the more that is added to a complex system, the greater the potential for new insight and for new interrelationships to become clear. We can grow more beneficial insects for example by growing more flowering plants, leaving weedy edges, or planting hedgerows for habitat and food. Those insects attract more birds that come to feed, and add a dimension of life to farm edges. The edges harbor more spiders and generalist predators who snatch flying insects from the air. Bats show up and make their home here as a stopping-point in their cycle of migration, doing their own harvest of insects – working while we sleep. More pollinating insects also arrive, some who work when it is cold, expanding the range of workers out here visiting flowers and transferring pollen.

We can act to benefit a part – in this case insects – and watch as a myriad of new interrelationships come to add their own piece to the symphony. If we were to spray all of the field’s edges with a herbicide, as many farms do to keep things looking clean, the opportunity to see who comes and fills out the farm would never present itself. 

So plant trees and flowers in your neighborhood to collect carbon and add a small part to reducing greenhouse gasses. They will make the shade to cool the asphalt and attract the birds and insects to live there. Bike and walk more – it is good for your health and the planet. Grow more layers of life by adding seeds and plants every year. Focus on health, tend the earth, and watch the results. We are all the designers of a healthier world and in being so we can wrestle back parts that help to make all of us whole in the wonderfully beautiful and complex web of life that is waiting to show up and add their part to a more complex pattern.

Thank you for being part of our Community. We appreciate your commitment.

— Paul Muller

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are gorgeous Celosia. 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!

Hoes Down Harvest Festival

 

Our 30th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival is on October 7th this year (less than 8 weeks away!)  We invite all of our CSA members to come!  This Festival takes place at Full Belly Farm and features music, performance, hands-on activities, workshops, a circus, tours of the farm, and much more.  

The Hoes Down is an on-farm fundraiser for community organizations — all of the net proceeds are donated to organizations doing important work.  Hundreds of volunteers contribute 4-hour shifts that make the Festival a success.  Volunteer sign-ups have been brisk.  We only have a few Saturday afternoon and evening shifts still available — dishwashing, food service and help with recycling.  Please contact us through our volunteer portal if you would like to sign up for a shift. 

Add More Full Belly to Your CSA Box

There are new treats available for you to add on to your CSA box.  Email us and let us know how many and when!

Red Tomato Sauce and Jubilee Tomato Sauce (24-ounce bottle). This sauce made with Full Belly organic tomatoes harvested at the height of the summer when they are full of incredible hot summer flavor. The Jubilee Sauce is made from our beautiful orange Jubilee Heirloom Tomatoes.  The Red Sauce is made from Romas. Other ingredients are organic salt, rosemary and oregano.  The bottles are shelf stable until opened — Refrigerate after opening. $12.00 for one bottle, $120 for a case of 12 ($10/bottle).

Apricot Jam made entirely from Full Belly organic apricots,  9-ounce bottle, $8.00

Peach Jam made entirely from Full Belly organic peaches  9-ounce bottle, $8.00

Orange Syrup (250-ml) made from organic Full Belly navel oranges and organic cane sugar. $10

Fermented Dill Pickles (1 quart), made with Full Belly Farm organic cucumbers with water, salt, organic garlic, organic spices, organic grape leaves and organic tarragon.  If you like dill pickles, you will be really glad to have found these — they are some of the best. $8.00.

Bread and Butter Pickles –  $8 for a 18 oz. jar. Made with Full Belly Farm cucumbers, onions, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt garlic, jalapeño and spices.  All ingredients are organic.

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.

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

One of our members had the great idea of making Ratatouille with the summer vegetables in her CSA box. (She calls it “Easy Produce Box Ratatouille.”)  Her recipe includes onions, garlic, eggplant, summer squash, bell peppers, basil and tomatoes.  If you would like a copy of the recipe, let us know.

News From the Farm | August 7, 2017

On July 8th, our friends Danny and Drew at Peach Jamboree Farm lost their entire homestead and all of their personal possessions to the destructive and fiery-hot Wall Fire in Oroville California. Danny and Drew were assured that the fire wouldn’t make it to their farm, when suddenly the winds shifted and they had 30 minutes to gather animals and get out of harms way. The wildfire tragically took their house and belongings, their workshop, packing shed, cooler, several other structures and most of their tools and equipment.  The buildings were left as tons of rubble on their land that they now need to clean up.  The fire melted irrigation lines, damaged the electrical system, destroyed the plumbing and torched the native oaks. The buildings were all treasures, built by Carl, a master craftsman and their loss is especially sad to those of us who know the farm well.

Peach Jamboree Farm was known to us previously as Woodleaf Farm, established by our good friend Carl Rosato in 1980.  We know Carl as one of California’s very best organic peach growers and we are among his many students.  In 2015, Carl sold Woodleaf Farm to Danny and Drew so that he could move on to new projects. Carl has continued to mentor Danny and Drew and when he heard the bad news, arrived at the farm to help locate and cap underground irrigation lines that had melted and were creating geysers in the destroyed buildings. [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are amazing Cockscomb. 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!

The Joy of Cooking

Last week we included a “Frosted Melon” recipe from the 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking.  This week we want to pass on some words of wisdom that we really enjoy from the same volume.  These words come from a section called “The Foods We Eat”: 

“We enjoy the cynical story of the old-fashioned doctor who insisted first on going straight to the kitchen of the afflicted household. Not until he had effusively thanked the cook for giving him a new patient did he dash upstairs to see how he could relieve the cook’s victim.  The fact is that everyone who runs a kitchen can, in the choice and preparation of food, decisively influence family health and happiness.”

News From the Farm | July 31, 2017

At this time of year fruit, flowers and vegetables are brought in from our fields in wave upon wave, 6 days of the week, all day long. Bin trailers unload melons and sunflowers, four bins at a time. Harvest tractors, stacked high with boxes of eggplant are unloaded onto pallets destined for the ice water in the packing shed where they will be sorted, culled, boxed and stored in the cooler. Pick-up trucks pull in to unload cherry tomatoes stack by stack.  The crews come in from picking, their clothes soaked through with sweat. At the end of the day, weary and ready to put their feet up, the crew leaders write down a long list of numbers so that we know how much they will pick and we should try to sell for the next day.  

This week, it’s the melons that are peaking: Hercules, Galia, Goddess, Charantais, Piel de Sapo, Sharlynn, Canary, Honeydew, Honeyloup, Snow Leopard, Haogan, San Juan… That last one, the San Juan, is a large melon with a luscious smooth texture and orange flesh.  The other day, when I went to pick out my morning melon, Rye handed me a heirloom variety of Crenshaw, another large melon with orange flesh.  I generally make my morning melons into smoothies, but this one had such a wonderful texture and delicious flavor that I just had to eat it straight. I wondered to myself how many other people in the whole wide world had experienced the pleasure of such a fabulous melon as that one.  The ancient varieties of melon were large compared to the ones that we sell today.  But now, people don’t want to buy really large melons, even though their flavors are sublime.  Last year we did some trials of melons from Afghanistan (home to the wild ancestors of todays melons) and all of them were large.  Those in the know will tell you that the finest melons of all in modern times still come from Afghanistan and Iran. [Read more…]

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!

Looks Delicious!

Sarah from one of our Sacramento CSA sites shared this photo with us. She said it’s Full belly pie crust, eggplant and basil!!

Letters

I have been a contented Fully Belly Farm CSA subscriber for many years.  I also have a blog which often features produce from the Full Belly CSA veggie box, and I like to link to Full Belly through my recipes.  My blog is called recipemuse.wordpress.com, and I’ll include a link to my latest entry, “Carrot Salad with Lavender and Thyme.”  It uses the fabulously beautiful carrots from my box last week.    

Just wanted to let you see how I’m using the bounty of my veggie boxes.  Thank you!

Yours, Penny  –  Cornell Ave, Albany site

Veggie Tips

Painted Serpent Cucumber: Cucumbers and melons are closely related — They are from the same taxonomic family.  The cucumber in your box is taxonomically more of an immature melon than a cucumber, but in flavor and use it is like a wonderfully mild juicy cucumber, with thin skin that doesn’t require peeling.  

Eggplant:  This weekend we had grilled eggplant as a side dish (lightly oiled and salted before going on the grill) on Saturday.  On Sunday night we chopped up the extras, mixed them with basil and tomatoes and put them over some Full Belly Campanelle Whole Egg Pasta.  

Potatoes: Because we have potatoes many months during the year, we have a lot of potato recipes in our recipe archives. 

News From the Farm | July 24, 2017

When I was younger I left my pet beta fish on a windowsill and came home to find it a blackened crisp in steaming water. That very day my older sister made me sign a contract, finger print and signature included, in which I agreed, “I will never own a pet or a living thing ever again.”   

Then fast forward 11 years, forget about the fish pet story for just a moment. I became 21 and I read a book that captivated me. The book delved into the enchanting nature of baking bread. It seemed truly magical. From a gooey mixture of flour, water, salt, and air you would encounter something completely transformational. The fair skinned dough rises in the oven, gradually growing into a beautifully browned nourishing loaf of bread. It was a sort of magic I couldn’t resist being involved in, and so began my process of baking the ultimate sourdough bread. However, the catch about Sourdough is that the baking doesn’t happen until two weeks in. First you begin by starting a starter, and I had no idea what a starter was. I was blind but willing as I followed Chad Robertson (author of Tartine Bread) and Martha Stewart in their recipes for a heavenly loaf of Country Bread.  [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are a Marigold & Celosia mix. 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 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. [Read more…]

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.

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!