Today’s CSA Box – Week of February 20, 2017

 

 

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

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!

News From the Farm | February 20, 2017

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 west 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.

We are watching water volumes in the creek approach 20,000 cubic feet per second rush by in a timeless power of water and erosion and the literal movement of mountains to the sea. The dams and lakes above us are storing an additional 250,000 acre feet of water over this time last year—a drop in the bucket to the projected 150,000 cubic feet per second that will be released from Oroville and Shasta dams.

Those who watch climate over time tell us that we have had 80 years of relatively benign climate upon which we have built the assumptions of city landscapes, energy use, dam construction, housing design, farm management, road placement and the very structure of our food system. It is easy to forget that the extremes of California weather require a long memory so that the flood protection design is resilient, reflecting that California has a climate of widely variable wet and dry periods.

Two years ago at this time we had less than 2 inches of rain on the books—this year at the farm, we are heading toward 40 inches, but this is less than experienced in the 1861-62 floods when Los Angeles got more than 60 inches of rainfall, causing Leland Stanford to row a boat to the capital building for his inauguration as governor of California, and row back to the governor’s mansion to enter the building from the second story balcony.

That year, California experienced what some climatologists called an ‘ARkStorm’ a series of Atmospheric Rivers (AR’s) that turned central California into a wide inland sea. These Atmospheric Rivers have also been seen here in 1969 and 1986. In a paper evaluating risks from West Coast Winter storms the USGS wrote:

“The atmospheric mechanisms behind the storms of 1861-62 are unknown; however, the storms were likely the result of an intense atmospheric river, or a series of atmospheric rivers, striking the U.S. West Coast. With the right preconditions, just one intense atmospheric river hitting the Sierra Nevada mountain range east of Sacramento could bring devastation to the Central Valley of California. An independent panel wrote in October 2007 to California’s Department of Water Resources, ‘California’s Central Valley faces significant flood risks. Many experts feel that the Central Valley is the next big disaster waiting to happen. This fast-growing region in the country’s most populous state, the Central Valley encompasses the floodplains of two major rivers—the Sacramento and the San Joaquin—as well as additional rivers and tributaries that drain the Sierra Nevada. Expanding urban centers lie in floodplains where flooding could result in extensive loss of life and billions in damages.’”

It is a sobering moment and mud on carrots dwarfs the potential risks if the rain keeps coming and the storms turn warm and melt Sierra snowpack. We certainly keep an eye on the hills above us, realizing that we are simply subject to a much larger power of nature that humbles us and challenges our short-term assumptions of stability and regularity.

At the farm we are trying to find innovative ways to keep planting in the short breaks in the weather, doing things that we have not done before like transplanting into old tomato beds without working soil; planting some things by hand; and spraying for brown rot in our peaches and almonds whenever we can get into the orchards.

We know that this soggy mess shall pass. By this time of year, normal during the drought has been that we have usually planted much of our spring crop, 15 acres of potatoes, many more flowers, and the vegetables that will be in your March and April boxes. Our crew is usually working long days of picking, weeding and other field work creating paychecks that cover their bills. We watch our cash flow decrease from a lack of things to pick, while there is an estimated 50,000 lbs of fall potatoes in the ground that need to be harvested, waiting for enough dry weather to get out there and harvest. This year’s continued wet is the reason why some of your cabbage has been peeled back, carrots are getting pale, oranges need to be eaten in a week, and some of your broccoli may not have kept as well.

We are unable to look forward, but as I sit here this early Monday morning and hear the squalls of rain hit our roof, I give thanks for the rain (for one should never curse rain in California) and understand that history has lessons that need to be heeded. Folks give our flood control engineers a hard time, but it is difficult to argue that our projects be designed and built for the 100 or 200-year event- because that kind of planning would challenge the very design of so much of what we take for granted.

We may well be in the middle of ARkStorm, hoping that you will ride out this new adventure and be patient with us and know that the contents of your boxes reflect the challenges of too much mud and a farm that is plenty wringing wet.

–Paul Muller

Greenhouse is flooding!

Friends of the Earth

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.

Farm Events

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.

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.

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

Carrot Tea Cakes – $10 each 

Pizza Dough – $6 per dough ball

Tomato Sauce & Pizza Dough Combo – $18

Candied Walnuts – $8/ half pound

Olives – $10 for a pint

Dill Pickles – $8 for a quart

Oranges – $7.50/ 5 pounds  -OR-  $15/ 10 pounds

Almonds – Raw $15/ pound 

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 – $12 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 – $5/ half pound

Sun Dried Tomatoes – $5/ quarter pound

Iraqi Durum Wheat Flour – $4/ 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. 

Minimum order of $8.

Veggie Tips

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.

News From the Farm | February 13, 2017

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.)

Every year, the combination of fruits and vegetables in the CSA box from season to season, is different because of ever-changing weather and farming conditions, but during the cool weather a ‘seasoned’ CSA member can predict that there will be some combination of an allium (fresh garlic, onion, or leek), probably oranges and carrots, either winter squash or potatoes, and usually a root, with the rest being less predictable.  In the summer, tomatoes, melons and other fruit are the staples. 

I know that right now, there are some of our CSA members who think that they’ve been getting cabbage FOREVER (this year, since January, it has been in the boxes every other week, so there have been 3 cabbage weeks…)  During 2016 as a whole, there were almost 13 cabbage weeks, and 2017 is likely to be similar. Greens as a whole — kale, collards, chard, spinach and cabbage often get doubled up during the cool season (fall, winter and spring), which I think is excellent since greens make a good staple in the cool-weather diet when soups, stews, and pasta stir-fry are a good formula for staying healthy.

I was happy to find that we put fruit in the CSA boxes 41 weeks out of the 48 that we make deliveries.  The list of CSA-box fruit included grapes (11 weeks), oranges (11 weeks), peaches (7 weeks), pomegranates (4 weeks), strawberries (3 weeks), apricots (2 weeks), asian pears (1 week).  This doesn’t even include the Melons and a few Watermelons which we view as a category all of their own and sent to our CSA members 10 times last summer.

Another staple in the Full Belly box are members of the Allium family: Garlic (either fresh or dry), Onions (either fresh or dry) and Leeks.  The Alliums were in the CSA boxes 44 out of the 48 weeks that we delivered. Often the first thing we do when we are preparing a meal in our kitchen, is start chopping up a member of the Allium family.

Aside from cabbage, another set of vegetables that might be problematic to the CSA newcomer are some of the roots.  Things like Turnips (11 weeks), Rutabagas (4 weeks) and Watermelon Daikon (2 weeks). All of these can be stored well (after removing any greens) and roasted or stewed. I have also learned to make some of them into raw salads, by wilting them with a little bit of salt. The roots are a way to connect to the land and soil — hearty, nourishing and simple.  

What vegetables are at the bottom of the list?  Fennel (only twice) and Artichokes (only twice).  In between the staples and the scarce, there is a diverse list, including: Potatoes (20 weeks), Carrots (17 weeks), Peppers (16 weeks), Beets (12 weeks), Winter Squash (12 weeks), Eggplant (8 weeks), Green Beans (7 weeks), Cucumbers (6 weeks) and Asparagus (alas, only 4 weeks).

Happy cooking and Blessings on Your Meals!

–Judith Redmond

Veggie Tips

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.

News From the Farm | February 6, 2017

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.

[Read more…]

Keep Our CSA Running Smoothly

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!

2017 Farm Dinner Dates

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

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 7 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

July 8 – 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

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

Details:

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. 

Veggie Tips

Broccoli – This broccoli has weathered a lot of rain and cold, but now it’s ready to eat!  We have lots of recipes for broccoli in our archive, including several soups.

Cilantro – widely employed in savory dishes in almost all parts of the world, especially Asia and Latin America.  Like other herbs, cilantro contains many compounds known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.  Some people dislike cilantro and the scientists say that this is probably due to the smell (which is a surprisingly large factor in taste).  Great in burritos, or to season fish, tofu, eggs, beans or corn.  See our recipe for cilantro pesto, below (Note: Arugula can be used as a substitute for the cilantro in this recipe).

Rutabaga – a great storage crop, common in northern cuisines —  Russia, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Scotland, England and Wales. Roast it with potatoes and carrots, turn it into soup, make a mash with potatoes, or include it in stews and casseroles.

News From the Farm | January 30, 2017

During the rainy season, in those years when there IS rain, there is a constant conversation about soil conditions at Full Belly as the tractor-driving farmers hope for a window, even if only for a day or two, when the soil has dried out enough to plant spring crops. This week, Monday and Tuesday promise to be those days, although the soil is still quite wet if you check a few inches down.  While we may not be able to cultivate out our weeds and lift new beds, we do have lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale and fennel transplants that are well-overdue for planting.  We also have beds that are still covered with plastic mulch.  Our plan is to hand-plant into the plastic mulch.  If we are able to get some light machinery into the fields we may try to deal with the weeds and do some additional planting.  

Several of us went to the annual Ecological Farming Conference last week, for both education and inspiration — a wonderful gathering of practitioners from many fields.  Co-Owner Paul and a dedicated crew of shepherds stayed home to keep an eye on our herd of mama sheep giving birth to lambs earlier than expected.  As of today we already have 50 baby lambs. [Read more…]

Letter to the Editor

I’ve been meaning to email you and let you know that I’ll be taking a hiatus from veggie boxes for right now. I’ve lived in a condo for the many, many years I’ve been a Fully Belly Farm CSA member and it’s been a lifesaver. I was able to get a garden plot in a local community garden this past year (well, actually, I now have two!) and I’m producing enough veggies at this point that I can’t get through all the FBF veg, even when I went down to every other week.

I’m heartbroken to leave since you’ve a staple in my life for a decade, and I love supporting a farm that I’ve visited, met the farmers and believe in the practices. This feels like more of a dear John letter then just a transaction!

I do hope that I’ll have room in my life (and fridge) at some point to start up again, but I’ve been so lucky with heavy harvests from my garden.

I wish you all the best and will dearly miss the recipes & the produce. The artichokes, the cranberry beans! Those amazing strawberries and the best carrots I’ve ever had. The list goes on. I now love rutabaga, celery root, I can eat kale by the bunch in every form imaginable, I love quince and turnips and fennel fronds – I can’t imagine how much I’ve learned from having the CSA box. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Thank you all so much!

Jaime & Ben  

Note: Anyone who is interested can continue to get the Full Belly Beet, CSA member or not.  Just send us your email and we will continue to send it to you — or your friends.

Veggie Tips

Cabbage: A delicate vegetable that can be led in numerous directions… Gently simmered or steamed and then topped with rosemary, blue cheese, and cream.  Shredded raw and massaged with salt and a bit of lemon. Parboiled in salted water for a few minutes, then tossed with olive oil and crushed garlic.  Kitchen wisdom is to avoid overcooking cabbage!

Bok Choy: Very popular in Asian cuisine, think about using this in a simple stir fry with garlic and sesame oil, served over rice. Morsels of meat can also be added.  The contrast between the crisp stems and the tender greens of bok choy is delicious in a stir fry. 

Scarlet Turnips: After describing a wonderful turnip soup made with Gruyere cheese and cream that she used to make at Green’s restaurant in San Francisco, Deborah Madison asks, “What was it that gave turnips such a bad name?” (Vegetable Literacy, Ten Speed Press, 2013).  Just try these scarlet turnips raw and you will be a convert.  You can make ¼-inch slices and enjoy them as a salad with roasted walnuts, feta cheese, salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil.

News From the Farm | January 23, 2017

The sun has broken through this Sunday afternoon after a powerful storm blasted through the valley at about 3:00 this morning. We have had our world soaked and saturated with rainfall that started around the first of the year and has scarcely let up. Cache Creek, the river that we use for summer irrigation and swimming, will peak today at 14,000 cubic feet per second. The high this year has been 25,000 cubic feet per second—a raging brown torrent.  To date compared to last year, Clear Lake and Indian Valley Reservoir have 175,000 acre-feet of increased water storage. This is water that will be saved and released for summer irrigation. 

The farm is high, yet hardly dry, and looking forward to a few days of sunshine. We have a full crew that has been slogging boxes out of the fields. They work rain or shine—mostly in rain this month. Our stalwart crew has been picking carrots or potatoes in flat-out downpours and need some time to wring out. So far this year we have been Wringing in 2017! [Read more…]

Letter to the Editor

Concerning those green plastic boxes – here’s a solution that works for me: This technique has worked for me since before the green plastic boxes.  There’s no need to take Full Belly’s boxes anywhere.

Find a cardboard box about the same size as the Full Belly box. Shouldn’t be too hard, with all the deliveries people get these days. Reinforce it with duct tape if necessary.  Keep it in your car, with the grocery bags. Take it with you to your pickup site.  Do Not Remove the green box from the site. Transfer everything in the green box to your own box.  Put your box in your car, unload it at home, immediately. Return your box to your car for next week. Repeat.

Here’s hoping this idea makes a difference.

Helen  –  Lake Ave, Piedmont site

Veggie Tips

Nantes Carrots:  This variety is so crisp that they could never be harvested by machine (unlike most common supermarket varieties) because they would break.  The frosty weather has made them especially sweet this year, so we are sending them as a weekly treat.

Celery Root:  A variety of celery cultivated for it’s wonderful root, rather than for the shoots, although if you enjoy the celery flavor, don’t overlook the leaves and stems. It will store well — but you should remove the leaves if you aren’t going to eat it in a few days.  The first time I was introduced to celery root I made soup with it and felt as if I had made an incredible culinary discovery.

Mizuna:  I recently ate out at a restaurant and was served a delicious mizuna salad with vinaigrette dressing.  So fresh and delicious!

News From the Farm | January 16, 2017

At this time of year an unusually large number of people join our CSA program for the first time, and that brings our attention around to the fact that getting used to the CSA box is sometimes challenging for new members. Sometimes people ask why they can’t just get one box as a starter, before they decide to commit for a longer term. But we encourage new members to make a commitment of trying at least 4 boxes when they first start, so that they have more of a chance to build a connection with the farm and to try and develop a greater knowledge of cooking ‘out of the box’.

Because there are so many new members right now, this is a good time of year for us to use this newsletter to answer some questions about how the CSA program works.  Here’s an example of one of the questions that we received recently: 

“I have always thought about getting a box but haven’t done it until now. One of the reasons that I would get a weekly box is to be able to get produce that is fresher than what I can get at the store. Can you give me an idea of the length of time between when your vegetables are picked and when they arrive at the drop-off location? I couldn’t find anything about it on on your website.” [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Navel Oranges: You will have navel oranges in your boxes every week for the next few months.  These oranges are from an orchard that we rent and have been managing for a decade.  An orange a day can help to keep the winter flu bugs away!

Honeynut Squash: We are coming to the end of our winter squash, and we hope you enjoy the last few weeks of deliveries.  If you are looking for a quick meal on a work night, this nutritious vegetable is the way to go. Just bake it until soft (not mushy), slice it up and serve it as a side dish, perhaps with a little bit of butter (and maybe honey…)  Honeynut is a lot like Butternut squash and can be used interchangeably.  For example, our recipe archive includes a recipe for Butternut Squash Casserole that also might be good with the spinach in your box this week.

Tokyo Turnips: The greens on our turnips are a little beaten up by the weather, but still delicious.  The roots are mild, crips and versatile.  Try them raw — you may be surprised at how good they are that way.  They can be used raw like a radish, on salads.  They are also good roasted, or added to soup.

News From the Farm | January 9, 2017

A note about our ‘Stop Waste’ boxes

Welcome back to Full Belly veggies!  We hope that you had some wonderful meals during our holiday rest.  We are excited to be your fruit and vegetable farmers for 2017.  We appreciate all of you who are continuing members, as well as all of you who are trying out a Full Belly CSA box for the first time.  We have had a lot of rain and some nice cold weather over the last few weeks, so our fields are muddy, slowing down the process of getting your veggies out of the field, to be washed, and packed.  You may notice that the cold weather brings out the sweetness in our greens and carrots.

One of the chores of our winter break every year, is to collect and count our inventory of ‘Stop Waste’ CSA boxes.  For our members who have been with us for awhile, the hard plastic green boxes that we pack your vegetables in, are old friends.  We call them our Stop Waste boxes, because they are an alternative to the ubiquitous waxed cardboard boxes, usually used to pack produce, that go straight to the landfill after use.  But the hard plastic boxes are expensive — we paid $12.25 for each one when we first purchased them in 2013, so we try to encourage all of our members, including those who get home delivered veggies, to make sure that all of the boxes are returned to the farm. [Read more…]

Mark your calendars for the 102nd annual Capay Valley Almond Blossom Festival

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Special events are planned all day on Sunday February 26th  in each small town in this farming community. Full Belly Farm will have a big presence in the town of Rumsey, with wood fired pizzas being made by many of us farmers. Our farmers market stand will be there, as will our new lambs in the petting zoo. The valley is GORGEOUS at this time of year with almond and peach blossoms, and verdant green hills. Come join us for the longest running Festival in Northern California!

Recent Rains

This photo of the flooded creek was taken Sunday afternoon. The bushes that you see poking out of the water are normally the bank!

Veggie Tips

Kohlrabi:  Peel the outer green skin off.  It is the crisp center that you eat. Our web site has recipes for Kohlrabi Fries, Kohlrabi and Walnut Salad, and Kohlrabi Fritters.

Lettuce: If it looks a little bit wet in your plastic bag and you aren’t expecting to use it in the next few days, it doesn’t hurt to shake out the excess water before putting it in the refrigerator.

Tokyo Turnips: Separate the greens from the roots for better storage of both.  The roots can be cut into rectangles, lightly salted (to wilt) and served with a bit of lime or lemon juice.  They are crunchy and mild enough to eat raw or in salad.

News From the Farm | December 5, 2016

About 32 years ago, we started farming the fields that make up Full Belly Farm. In each of those 32 fall seasons, we have taken time to reflect a bit on the year past and think about ways to tweak our program so that we can do better in raising the quality of the food that we are sending to you – our farm supporters. 

2016 was indeed an eventful year… There may be too many moments lived where summary doesn’t do them justice – but of course we can try.

We celebrated Rye and Becca’s beautiful wedding under the deep shade of our walnut orchard; introduced some young full bellies into this life – Hazel, Clementine and Waylon; sent Ellis off to the University of Wyoming; purchased land adjoining the farm which we had been farming for years; held farm dinners; made pickles and olives and bouquets; hosted guests from around the globe; became an overnight camp for big-eyed third graders and chaperones; saw our truck driver, Pancho receive a new kidney and return to work 6 months later; planted trees, cover crops, sheep, cow and chicken feeds, new asparagus; and managed to get through it all with but a few bumps and bruises. [Read more…]

Stop Waste Boxes

Please remember to return any of our green or grey Stop Waste boxes to your pick-up sites this week that  you may have around your home.  We need to get all of them back to the farm so that we can do an inventory and deep cleaning.

Veggie Tips

Dino Kale: Also called Lacinato or cavolo nero, this kale has been part of Italian cuisine for  centuries.  Put it in your minestrone or ribollita.

Lettuce: If your lettuce arrives very wet, it is a good idea to shake it out before storing it in the refrigerator.

Scarlet Turnips: These turnip greens are more tender than the dino kale (also in your box) and need less time cooking.  Don’t peel the tender skin off the roots – it is part of the appeal of these beautiful turnips.  Take a taste of the raw turnip root – some people enjoy it in salad.  The turnips could be roasted along with the beets and carrots.

News From the Farm | November 28, 2016

In April of 2015, a professor asked me what I planned to do after college. I replied, “I’m going to do farm work.” She paused and then smiled, “So you’re going to give your brain a break for a little while?” 

My professor meant no malice by her comment. Rather, her comment reflects a societal misunderstanding of farming. According to this misunderstanding, farm work is a purely physical occupation. It is not intellectually creative work. Innovation in farming comes from the outside, from geneticists and engineers, not from farmers. Therefore, one can contrast farm work with “brain” work, which occurs in white-collar offices and is reserved, predominantly, for people with a college education. The latter is considered intellectual; the former is not. 

I graduated the following month. The timeworn ritual of college graduation, with speeches, awards, and obscure Latin calligraphy, gives students the impression that they know something. They certainly do—I deeply value my education—but it took me little time at Full Belly to realize precisely how little I know and how misled it is to apply the adjective “intellectual” exclusively to white-collar work.  [Read more…]

Holiday Treats

Our Fall Kitchen angels have been busy, offering additional treats for you to add on to your CSA boxes.  Email  if you want to add to your veggie box. Note that our minimum order is $8.

We have pomegranate syrup, in 250 mL glass bottles ($12) or 500 mL glass bottles ($20).  The pomegranate syrup is only made in small quantities and is available fleetingly each year. Think of it as the local analog to maple syrup.

We also have pizza dough made with Full Belly organic flour, a bit of additional fine pizza flour, and local organic olive oil from Pasture 42 (right down the road from Full Belly). The pizza dough will be frozen when it goes into your box, and then will be allowed to thaw.  When you pick it up, put it in your refrigerator and use it within a few days.  $6 per pizza dough ball.