*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes
Organic Vegetables, Fruit & Wool
Asparagus — We are so excited to have asparagus for you — it is cause for celebration! Snap off any of the hard stem that was underground and enjoy the first of the spring crops. Grill it, roast it, steam it — a simple treatment is always best when it is the first of the season. Enjoy every bite!
Baby Fennel — It would be difficult to find tender baby fennel like this anywhere but in your garden. This fennel is so tender and delicate that you can eat it raw in salads, or cooked in any number of ways. The leaves are flavorful in stuffings, marinades, garnishes and sauces.
Parsley — a primary ingredient in sauces like Gremolata (parsley, lemon zest and garlic), Persillade (parsley and lemon zest) and Chermoula (ginger, chile, olive oil, salt, parsley, cilantro, lemon and garlic). We are most familiar with using parsley to prepare Salsa Verde, the classic green sauce of Italy. These sauces can be used to brighten up many meats or vegetables.
Rutabagas — they store well, so don’t fret if you don’t eat your rutabagas right away. Our recipe archive suggests roasting them, stewing them, mashing them with potatoes, making them into fries, or using them to make soup. I was happily surprised when I recently made a pureed potato/rutabaga soup that was silky smooth in texture, a delightful pastel lemon color and had a fabulous delicate flavor. This is an often underrated vegetable!
My Grandpa Bond was born well over a hundred years ago, on March 20 1902, a Spring baby. I often think of him as one of the people who introduced me to growing vegetables. He became an avid gardener during World War II because he lived in the industrial town of Birmingham England, and the war had disrupted the supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables. To address the shortage, my grandfather threw himself into his vegetable garden — he had access to an allotment (the English term for a plot of land rented out for growing gardens). In fact, my grandfather eventually took over several allotments with his fruit trees and vegetables and never gave them up, even when the bombs stopped falling. When he visited us in California, he and I worked together in a small garden in rocky soil, that while not producing a great harvest of vegetables, resulted in my life-long gratitude and fond memories of precious times together.
There have been many other happy birthdays to enjoy in March — the popping up of flowers, both horticultural and wild all around us, and of course the Spring Equinox which we will observe on Monday March 20th. Neighbors, friends and relatives, so many seem to have been born in March! One very special, ‘round’ birthday, the 60th, should be mentioned, that of our beloved Dru Rivers, one of Full Belly’s founders and owners, who generously shared her March birthday with her daughter Hallie, 31 years ago. This year, our goat Sweet Pea, was even inspired by the birthday energy. Our lunch on March 15th was interrupted with the momentous news that Sweet Pea had just given birth to quadruplets. Within minutes they were trying to get up onto their long legs, sniffing around their mom for milk.
You may see a box at your pick-up site that you can use as a Donation and Trade Box. If there is something in your CSA box that you aren’t going to use, leave it in the Donation and Trade Box. If you would like something that you see in the Box, you are welcome to it! Any produce left at the end of the day will be donated.
If you received multiple email renewal alert messages from us last week, please accept our apologies. We are automating the process of sending out the alerts, and a computer gremlin went haywire and starting sending them multiple times. There are certain situations in which you MIGHT receive 2 alerts, on purpose. This would happen if you got the regular reminder and then went to your account to put your order on auto renew. In that case, the second message that you receive from us would correctly inform you that we were about to charge your credit card for the auto renewal.
Flower season starts on April 1st and continues until the end of September. Flowers are $8.50 each. If you order for the entire season (26 bouquets), they are $8 each or $208. Saturday sites have 27 weeks of flowers for the whole season for $216.
The kids are going to be out of school for spring break soon — don’t forget to let us know if your box schedule is going to change during their vacation!
When you pick up your box, please don’t forget to sign the list — This is helpful because sometimes when there is a leftover box, our hosts use the list to figure out who did not pick up. If you don’t sign for your box, we might think that you didn’t pick up!
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 email@example.com.
Safflower Oil – $13 for 250mL -OR- $25 for 500mL
Bone Broth – (Frozen Beef & Pork combination) – $15 per quart
Carrot Tea Cakes – $10 each
Pie Dough – $5 per dough ball
Pizza Dough – $6 per dough ball
Tomato Sauce & Pizza Dough Combo – $18
Candied Citrus Peel – $8 for a 4 oz. jar
Candied Walnuts – $8/ half pound
Olives – $10 for a pint
Almonds – Roasted $8/ half pound
Almond Butter – $17/ jar – Crunchy or Creamy
Walnuts – $12/ pound
Popcorn – $5/ pound
Bloody Butcher Cornmeal – $5/ 1.5 pounds
Quince Sauce – $10 for a 24-oz. jar (Like apple sauce it can be used on meat.)
Tomato Sauce – $12 for a 24-oz jar
Sun Dried Peaches – $6/ half pound
Sun Dried Tomatoes – $5/ quarter pound
Iraqi Durum Wheat Flour – $4/ 1.5 pounds
Iraqi Durum Wheat Berries – $4/ 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.
Minimum order of $8.
Cabbage: We understand that some of our members have had too much cabbage. Our recipe this week is a great way to use it — and our recipe archives offer many other ideas. Because of the rainy winter, we were unable to get into our fields to plant spring crops for the CSA boxes, but the cabbage did well and it is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6. It is also a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate and copper. Try our recipe called “You are going to love this cabbage salad!”
Carrots: Carrot cake, carrot juice, carrot salad, carrot pickles, honey roasted carrots!
Oranges: This is probably the last week for the wonderful navel oranges. Please store them in your refrigerator.
On an anomaly of a beautiful day this February a group of 33 flower growers braved the flooded roads of Yolo County to come to Full Belly Farm for the 1st annual impromptu Northern California Cut Flower Growers meeting. 30 woman and 3 men talked flowers for 3 hours and then went on a tour of the Full Belly flower fields. My daughter Hannah and I organized this special meeting with a little bit of self-interest we must confess. We wanted to share stories, learn varieties and hear what works for other growers in our region – trying to break from the all-too-common mold of “farmer secrecy.” We were not disappointed! We learned about new greenery species that we should try, how to pinch carnations, a few must try rose varieties specific for cut flowers and a host of flower growing tips. We had farmers with just a few years under their belts and others who have grown flowers for several decades. In return for all of these great tips we shared everything that we have learned over the past 30 years of growing flowers at Full Belly. What a treat it was to listen and learn from others about favorite flower varieties, time of planting and woes of weather. We all departed feeling ready and excited about the spring to come and definitely wanting to do another gathering in the fall!
Full Belly Farm flower fields have been gracing the farm since our beginnings but really started ramping up in size about 15 years ago when we began our flower offerings for our CSA customers and delivering flowers to retail stores. We now have expanded to 12 acres of cut flowers grown during the course of a year with over 50 different species planted. Last year we picked over 40,000 bunches… Our biggest producer by far is the glorious sunflower, which we plant successively every 10 days from February to August, ensuring a constant supply. Last year we even harvested them the day before Thanksgiving! [Read more…]
I just wanted to drop a line and say that we love the produce you send us–all of it. I feel bad when I read that you have people frustrated and wanting substitutions. Last year, my favorite part of the CSA was getting all the new stuff I’d never seen before (red kuri squash? I’d never heard of it before, but it was so delicious that now I look for it everywhere I go). My second favorite part was getting a lot of some things–I’ll never get tired of getting loads of tomatoes, greens, potatoes… you name it! Keep it coming!
Please stop the cabbage! It has been relentless, and I am winding up giving it away because I can’t keep up with it. Apparently the same is true for other members, because every week there are several heads in the share boxes at the end of the day. I love cabbage and make some very good soup with it, but the amount we’ve been getting is just too much.
I just wanted to respond to say that I love the “lack of choice” because it forces me to discover new ways of cooking vegetables (especially cabbage! which I now love) and is a true representation of seasonal offerings. Talking to others at my pick-up location, I know this sentiment is shared by many. Thanks for doing what you do, and for the always thoughtful newsletter.
The green and grey Stop Waste boxes are very important to us here at Full Belly Farm. Please don’t remove them from your pick-up site. If you have any at your home please return them to one of the Full Belly pick-up sites, or call the farm and let us know how to retrieve our box. Thanks!
Full Belly offers a wonderful location for events like birthdays and weddings. We have a full-service kitchen and can make a farm-fresh organic feast for you. We also love to prepare beautiful organic flower arrangements for your special day. If you are thinking about dates in 2017, you should secure a reservation soon. Contact Jenna for information on catering and events. For a quote or consultation about floral arrangements, contact our in-house floral designer Hannah.
Carrots: These aren’t just for munching straight out of the bag, grating into salads, or putting into soup. Try making some carrot cake as well!
Celery Root: This root has the flavor of celery, but a wonderful tender almost silky texture, especially when turned into a soup.
Oranges: Please refrigerate these oranges!
Collards: Our collards are one of the more hardy greens — a little more cooking, perhaps boiling or steaming in a bit of water (not a lot, you don’t want to loose any of those nutrients!) Think about adding them to hearty bean soup!
Rosemary: An excellent herb for your roasted vegetables. Rosemary is a good addition to potatoes.
Lettuce: We’re looking into purchasing a spinner so that we can dry your lettuce and salad mix before putting it into the boxes. Meanwhile, if it seems quite moist in the plastic bag, you might want to shake off a bit of the moisture before refrigeration.
Open Farm Day Saturday March 25
Spring is a magical time of year at the farm. From the bouncing baby lambs to the honey-scented blossoms, every day it seems as though something else is waking up from a long winter nap. This year, after the buckets of rain we received, everything seems a little bit more vibrant. Our pastures are thick with grass, the trees seem to grow before our eyes, and insects are buzzing from bloom to bloom with glee. The farmers at Full Belly all agree: this is the best time to visit the farm! For that reason, we invite you, your family, and friends to our Open Farm Day on March 25. [Read more…]
Despite impending rain, Andrew (kneeling in front) was excited to give a lesson on planting carrot seeds to our visitors.
I’m sorry that people stop getting the box because they have to get stuff they don’t like, or know how to use, or they wish they could substitute other things. Those are among the reasons I like getting the box. Life is actually just like that. If we play our cards right, we can get a lot of good stuff, some stuff we do not like, or don’t need and it’s kind of random in that way. We do not get to pick and choose everything in life. That is, in fact, what makes life interesting, and what makes it life. I don’t want my organic box to be an exercise in customization. The farm is a farm, not a computer program, and I like it that way. Also, I feel burdened sometimes by so many choices. I appreciate that all I have to do with the box is go pick it up at the same time every week, and my mind can take a vacation from choosing.
Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. She will be the inaugural speaker for the Folsom Lake College Speakers Series. The lecture will be moderated by Marcus Crowder of the Sacramento Bee. The lecture is on Sunday, March 12 at 7:00. The lecture takes place at the Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College. Tickets are $12 to $64 – To get tickets, or for more information.
Oranges: Please refrigerate your oranges.
Butternut Squash: We are coming to the end of our winter squash — one of the few crops that we store, it was harvested a few months ago. Butternut is tremendously versatile and packs a lot of nutrition. It is the squash that is used by bakers for pumpkin pie. It makes great soup. It can be roasted. Cook it, then cut it up for adding to a stir fry. If you don’t want to use all of it at once, you can either just cut off what you need and put the rest in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, or cook it all and store it in the refrigerator, cooked.
Rutabagas: Delicious added to mashed potatoes. Rutabagas and potatoes together also made a wonderfully silky textured and delicious soup. Or they can be chopped up and roasted with your butternut squash.
We recently surveyed members who had had stopped getting their CSA box, asking them why they didn’t renew. We were glad to find out that 87% of the 260 people who responded were happy with the box, and 76% said that they would consider renewing their membership.
Some members reported an overload of squash and potatoes in the winter, or too many tomatoes and peppers in the summer. We understand this well, since we sometimes find ourselves wishing that we could make the CSA boxes more diverse at certain times of year. We can imagine that this winter season for example, many members might be feeling like they are getting too much cabbage and squash. Full Belly tries to grow as many different fruits and vegetables as we possibly can, but there are windows each year, when there are only a dozen-plus different things to choose from, so we alternate between them one week after the next. Understanding how weather, farming skill, and luck act together to influence the food that can be grown locally and sustainably is a constantly fascinating journey. We are committed to offering a CSA that is sourced just from Full Belly, and we understand that this can sometimes stretch the tolerance of our patient CSA members. [Read more…]
Sunday, February 26th was a perfect day for the Capay-Valley-wide almond festival. Almonds are the first big orchard crop to bloom every year. The flowers are insect pollinated, but the native pollinators and honey bees do not like cold or wet weather! Hopefully the bees were out in force on Sunday, along with all the visitors admiring the blossoms. Full Belly Farmers plus scores of Capay Valley volunteers sold 430 pizzas made to order, plus all kinds of other sandwiches and drinks, all as a fundraiser for the Rumsey Improvement Association.
Join secular and faith-based leaders advancing food security and sustainability. Tuesday 3/21 from 1:30 to 7:30 in Berkeley. To find out more or to register, contact the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative at 707-634-4672.
Beets: Our recipe archives for beets are full of many good ideas.
Napa Cabbage: From our archives you could try, Napa Cabbage Slaw, or make a sauce with some butter, salt, pepper or chile, sesame oil and a bit of vinegar. Thicken the sauce with a little bit of flour if necessary, and then fry and steam the napa cabbage. This is a really quick and delicious side dish, or topping for pasta.
Oranges: Please store your oranges in the refrigerator, thanks!
Rain in buckets; a raging tumultuous Cache Creek; soggy broccoli that is beginning to crown rot; soaked, matted sheep; croplands that fill, drain and fill again; saturated fields gasping for air; slogging vegetables picked and packed out of long muddy furrows; wiping saturated soil off of every carrot picked; rain this Monday morning with 2-3 inches more predicted this week… We are in the middle of a ‘100 year event’ with repeated atmospheric rivers overhead ending a 7-year drought in California.
Folks have been inquiring about how we are doing here on the farm and for the most part we are doing fine. Cache Creek, our unstable neighbor to the east has been churning with more water trucking by than we’ve seen in recent memory. It is a brown torrent contributing to a deepening inland sea that is swamping the Sacramento River basin. The Yolo Causeway, protecting Sacramento from flooding, is running full with the water and sediment collected from thousands of tributaries that are running brown and swift. The farmland underneath this sea benefits from much of the silt and clay that is passing our farm in Cache Creek. [Read more…]
On Valentine’s day, these Friends of the Earth activists asked the manager of ACE Hardware Garden Center in Berkeley to stop selling plants dosed with Neonicotinoids that harm honey bees. Full Belly donated the tulips that they presented to the manager, who was very supportive.
Collards: Collards are a hearty green that will stand up well to cooking for a little longer. Sauté it and then add liquid so that it can soften up. With the cold, wet weather, many of our greens haven’t been growing much, so the leaves are small, but still tasty.
Bok Choy/Joi Choy: Full Belly grows a number of Asian greens, and uses them somewhat interchangeably. The stems are tender and crisp and part of the charm of some Asian dishes that use these greens is the contrast between the crisper stem and the well cooked, soft outer leaves. Ginger, garlic and sesame oil pair well with these greens
Tokyo Turnips: These delicate young turnips can be eaten raw or very lightly steamed. They are mild and best cooked very simply.
After years of eating out of the Full Belly Farm CSA box, I tend not to follow recipes carefully. I use recipes and cook books all the time, getting inspiration and ideas that way, but with an allium, some herbs, some greens, and some roots at this time of year, a satisfying number of combinations seem to manifest, so around my dinner table, we are at ease making substitutions and carrying out kitchen experiments .
If you got a box every week last year, or on the other hand, if you are a new CSA member, I hope that you are becoming comfortable with this experimental approach. Full Belly offers a tremendous diversity of vegetable and fruit options — You are probably eating a much more diverse sample of vegetables than if you were shopping in a grocery store. For example, you might have thought you didn’t like broccoli, but when you start experimenting with it, you are likely to find recipes that work well for your palate (at least, that is my hope – there were almost 15 broccoli weeks last year.) [Read more…]
Green Cabbage: In The Art of Simple Food (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2007), Alice Waters says “Cook simply… plan uncomplicated meals. Let things taste of what they are.” She suggests cutting a head of cabbage into wedges, removing the core and simmering it in broth until done. Or slicing the cabbage thin and cooking it in a pan with some butter, a little water and salt until tender.
Green Garlic: This is young garlic, harvested before maturity. With time, if left in the ground, the bottom of these plants would grow into the cloves and bulbs of dry garlic. This fresh, or “green” garlic is milder than its adult form. Be careful to wash the leaves, because the soil can get caught in between them.
Celery Root (also called celeriac): Trim the top and bottom and cut away the tough brown skin. The flavor of celery root and potato combine perfectly. Celery root can also be eaten raw when made into a classic Celery Root Remoulade.
One Hundred and Two Almond Festivals!
Here in the Capay Valley we take our traditions seriously. February, first coined as Almond Festival month in 1915 is no exception. It starts as the almond trees begin their month long blooming period, when the valley is dotted with pink and white puffy blossoms on dark trunks along the hillsides and valley floor. Some of the orchards date back to the early 1900’s – planted by farming settlers who often dry-farmed in the hills. Their gnarled twisted trunks are testimony to a struggling history of farming on the rugged hot hills. In more recent years many new plantings have sprouted up on the rich Valley soil, comprising over 2,000 acres.
As we begin another year, we would like to review some guidelines for our CSA. If you are a long time member, or just starting with your first CSA box, we need your help in the following ways…
1. Please bring your own container to carry your produce home. Leave our green plastic ‘Stop Waste’ box at the site. If we deliver your CSA box to your home or work place, please make sure that all of our boxes are returned to the farm.
2. Pick up your box only during the hours listed on our web site and sign-in sheet. These are the hours that the host has set. We do not guarantee the boxes past the designated pick-up times. No credit is issued if you arrive late to claim a box, but find none there.
3. Do not leave a mess! Please nest your empty CSA box with the others.
4. Park in designated parking spots. Do not double park and do not block driveways.
5. Direct your questions to Full Belly, not to the host. Please don’t disturb the host.
6. Please notify us five days in advance if you would like to defer your box.
7. Please sign the sheet when you pick up your box. The list will help you to remember if you are picking up a Grey Box (with special order items) rather than a Green Box. Additionally, if someone forgets to pick up their box, it will be easy for the host to identify that person if all the people who remember to pick up their box have signed the sheet.
8. If you have already set up an account with us, you can use it to manage your schedule, your credit card and your renewals. You can also use your on-line account to auto-renew specific orders. If you have not set up an on-line account yet, and would like to do so, drop us an email and we will send you your account key.
Thank You – We appreciate your help!
Join us for dinner on the farm. This year, we have expanded the number of opportunities you can join us for a delicious seasonal meal – made with Full Belly Farm ingredients! Reservations are now being accepted – call 530-796-2214 to reserve your seats! These dinners will sell out – we recommend calling soon.
2017 Farm Dinner Dates:
February 18 – Farm Dinner and Tour (Now full!)
February 25 – Farm Dinner and Tour – Stay for the Almond Festival on February 26th! (Now full!)
March 18 – Farm Dinner and Tour
April 1 – Farm Dinner and Tour
April 15 – Farm Dinner and Tour (Now full!)
May 12 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
May 13 – Farm Dinner and Tour (Now full!)
June 9 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
June 10 – Farm Dinner and Tour
July 14 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
July 15 – Farm Dinner and Tour
August 11 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
August 12 – Farm Dinner and Tour
September 22 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
September 23 – Farm Dinner and Tour (Now full!)
October 13 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary
October 14 – Farm Dinner and Tour
November 11 – Farm Dinner and Tour
December 2 – Farm Dinner and Tour
The Farm Dinner and Tour experience consists of a farmer-led tour of Full Belly Farm and a delightful and deliciously prepared seasonal menu – featuring the freshest flavors from the farm. The cost is $80 per adult ($70 for CSA members) and $40 for children ages 7-12 ($30 for CSA member’s children). Children 7 and under are free. The Farm Tour and appetizers begin at 5pm (sometimes a bit later, depending on the summertime heat). Alcohol is not included in price of dinner.
The Pizza Dinner evenings are very causal – they are designed to be a fun and relaxed way to spend your Friday evening. We will be baking pizzas up in our wood-fired pizza oven, serving up delicious side salads, and scooping farm fresh ice cream. You can reserve a table space for $25 per person (includes one pizza, two sides, and dessert). No reservations are necessary – and if all of the tables are scooped up, you can always bring a blanket and picnic on our beautiful lawn!
Please note: We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions, though all dinners are prepared in a kitchen that contains wheat, nuts, dairy, and other potential allergens. Please let us know of any dietary notations when making your reservations.