Today’s CSA Box – Week of April 20, 2015

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

News From the Farm | April 20, 2015

We have had a number of inquiries about the water situation and it seems time for a Beet article on water and California’s ongoing drought. There have also been questions about whether one can eat almonds without guilt, when many are pointing fingers at new plantings of permanent crops like almonds as a clear example of what seems to be wrong with the investments being made in farming and the water needed to support that farming.

There is little that is easy or clear when it comes to the debate about water in California. The issue is complex, affects all of us and requires that we begin to plan for both times of abundance and cycles of scarcity. Indeed it will be our response to the common issue of scarcity that will require wisdom, restraint and clear thinking as to how the over-promised resource gets divided and allocated among divergent interests. It is not easy to look at water without entering into the complexities of weather patterns, climate changes, year to year fluctuations, indigenous water resources, cropping patterns and historical use. 

This drought brings focus to patterns of resource use and our expectations about extraction and appropriation. Water is moved, piped, channelized and delivered. Historically in California, it has been an incredibly abundant resource. Yet it does not fall evenly on the lands of the state. Some areas are incredibly blessed with water resources, while others rely entirely on the systems that store and deliver water, matching the patterns of land and water use with soil and climate, and forming the fabric of farming in the state.

Things found in abundance tend to be undervalued.  Water is a common resource, though it is sometimes treated as a private property.  Land values are determined by the availability of water and the value of land changes markedly without water. There has been huge public investment in California’s system to store, move and distribute water to both urban and agricultural regions. That investment has made food cheap and abundant. Water projects drove the bargain that turned desert into productive fields.  Those fields without water will again turn to desert. 

It takes water to grow food. Though much of the world’s agricultural production is watered with rain, the diversity of amazing foods that are enjoyed from California farms are fed with water that has been either harvested from wells or moved there through investments made over time.  California’s rainfall is neither dependable enough nor even enough in its distribution to drive a dependable, diverse agriculture. Full Belly Farm depends upon a combination of surface water, well water and rainfall.  Our underground water appears to replenish itself rather quickly depending upon rainfall events. This year’s wet December helped to fill side streams and small seasonal creeks in our area, these directly recharge aquifers and influence well water levels. The contrast between this year and last is remarkable. The timing of rain established grasses in the hillsides that helped with infiltration of the rain into the soil and percolation deep into underground reservoirs. The 20-inches of rain that came from three rain events has improved our farm’s water picture for this year as compared to last.

Our goal is to be efficient with each drop of water, but also to operate with a year-round water use strategy. We see the wintertime focus on rain fed crops that cover our ground and provide for water infiltration and soil carbon buildup that will better hold water in the soil. We are doing far more mulching than in the past – of trees, vines, and row crops – helping to slow the loss of water through evaporation out of the soil. We are using far more plastic mulch over the vegetable beds to retain the water that we do apply, and we are using drip and micro sprinklers to increase water use efficiency by 50% or more. We are strategizing to reduce tillage because we know that tillage results in a loss of soil moisture and releases CO2. We are figuring out how to change our patterns of production.

In terms of the question about almonds, we have 30 acres, an older orchard that we are turning into a more productive block. Our almonds fit into our plan to have crop to market regionally year round. When compared to other proteins it may be a reasonable use of water, especially when rainfall is factored into our total water budget for the orchard.

Yes, Almonds, walnuts and pistachios use plenty of water and farmers are planting them up because of the worldwide demand for the healthy proteins in nuts. Farmers make decisions based on their best guess of profitability in the short and long run. Unfortunately, agriculture that is making a profit attracts a lot of investor capital and non-farm entities that bid up farmland prices sink deep wells and exacerbate water scarcity by seeing permanent crops as an investment.  Pension funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, and investor groups are all involved in the gold rush to nuts and they have the capital to put many new acres of historically un-irrigated land into production, with wells that tap into deep levels of water. This may be a fast race to the bottom and completely unsustainable.  In my opinion, many of their farming practices focus solely on the crop yield and very little on integrating regenerative practices. 

All farmers are trying to adjust to a new water reality. For some, this drought has been an absolute tragedy. Others are drilling and praying. Farmers do need help to adapt. Part of adapting is to recognize that the way we treat our soil is tied to the outcomes around water. It is a challenging opportunity to move toward more sustainable resource use and all of us are involved in meeting that challenge. 

–Paul Muller

Farm Tour – June 13

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Join us for an Open Farm Day on Saturday, June 13. Family and friends are welcome – there is no charge. A formal tour will begin at 11am, but you are welcome to come any time and splash in the creek, bring your own picnic, and spend the day here at the farm! A farmstand will be set up with produce, t-shirts, and more. Please bring a water bottle, hat, and lots of sunscreen. Questions? Please email hallie@fullbellyfarm.com.

Apple Juice & Pomegranate Juice

Our frozen apple juice & pomegranate juice are back.  This juice was pressed from our organic apple & pomegranate crops.  They are not pasteurized.  It will be delivered to your pick-up site frozen. (Sorry, no home deliveries or delivery to the Virginia St, Berkeley site.)  We will make deliveries during the week of May 4th.  Please place your orders before May 1st.

Apple Juice:  $7 for a half gallon or $4 for a quart

Pomegranate Juice:  $6 per pint or $10 per quart

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.

Sun Dried Peaches – $5/1/2 pound bag.

Almonds – $12/1 pound bag

Walnuts – $10/1 pound bag.

Almond Butter – Creamy or Crunchy – $14/1 pound jar.

Iraqi Durum Wheat Flour – $3/1.5 pounds.

Iraqi Durum Wheat Berries – $3/2 pounds.

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

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

Lamb and Chicken Available

For those interested in our certified organically raised lamb we have a limited amount available for delivery to a CSA site near you. Sorry no home deliveries. Our lambs are all born and raised here at the farm and are fed 100% on pasture, organic vegetables and hay. The lambs are harvested at Superior Farms in Dixon, CA. (Please note this is not a CCOF certified facility and the finished product is not CCOF certified.) They are sold by the half lamb (20 lbs) for $185, or whole lamb (40 lbs) for $350. (Sorry, temporarily sold out. Please contact us if you want to be put on the waiting list.)

We also have soup chickens for sale. These are 2-year old egg-laying birds frozen and packed with heads and feet, that are great for making broth, soup or stew. The cost is $11, delivered frozen to select CSA sites. Sorry no home deliveries. Please contact Becky – becky@fullbellyfarm.com – if you are interested.

Keep It Running Smoothly

Our CSA sites need your help to stay tidy. Please help keep these volunteer pick-up locations clean by following a few simple guidelines. 

1. 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.

2. Do not leave a mess! Please stack your empty CSA box as show on the bulletin board.

3. Park in designated parking spots. Do not double park and do not block driveways.

4. Direct your questions to Full Belly, not to the host. Please don’t disturb the host.

5. Please notify us five days in advance if you would like to defer your box.

6. Please check the sign-in sheet for the items we have harvested for you. Please do not take an item that is not listed for your name. Thank You!

News From the Farm | April 13, 2015

We would like to extend a warm welcome to gardening enthusiasts to our unique valley on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 10th for the 8th annual Capay Valley Mother’s Day Garden Tour.  Our valley is home to an amazing array of gardeners and farmers – from a 2 -acre homesteading garden to a 20- acre floral production field, we definitely have something to delight everyone. Nine gardens will be on display sprinkled throughout the valley towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey. Along with the gardens there are other points of interest including the new Seka Hills Olive Mill and wine tasting rooms and the Capay Valley Vineyards tasting room –both of which have special delights for mothers on their special day. Our local restaurant, the Guinda Commons, will be featuring jazz music all day and the Yolo Grange Hall is providing a “local lunch box” for those wanting to purchase a locally sourced meal. The tour is self-guided so that you can take your time and linger at those gardens that really draw you in.  

The gardeners themselves make the day an especially exceptional event. For instance, the owner and head “gardener” at the Capay Oaks garden is a world-renowned landscape architect with projects scattered from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Redding, California! Ron Lutsko designed the famous Sundial Garden in Redding with an emphasis on environmental sustainability including acres of drought tolerant natives. His woodland-oak landscaped garden here in the Capay Valley is a stunning example of this as well and includes hundreds of special species that Ron has collected throughout the state. [Read more…]

CSA Member Kimber Simpkins’ New Book, “Full,” Shares the Healing Magic of Full Belly

“A waft of country air drifted up to me as I pulled apart the cardboard flaps. Carrots, kale, spinach, potatoes, fresh green garlic, oranges, and a little bag of the freshest walnuts imaginable. Before even opening my front door, I unfastened the bag of walnuts and popped a few in my mouth. They tasted like walnut candy: tender, delicately crunchy, and almost sweet. Eating one, I imagined the walnut orchard, its vast, soft green lanes, the huge grafted trees spreading their arms in a wide embrace of the sky.” 

— Excerpt from Full: How I Learned to Satisfy My Insatiable Hunger and Feed My Soul

As a fellow CSA member, you may have had similar experiences when you open up your weekly box and find all the treats inside. The vegetables delivered to us are more than just food for our bellies, but food for the soul.  Take this comment I once saw left on a pick-up site bulletin board: “The asparagus is so good it made me cry.” Aside from how amazingly delicious it is, there’s something profound and healing about knowing where our food comes from, and knowing that the people who grow it care about every single aspect, from the microbes in the soil to the health of those who pick it – and even the effects on the local economy and the world.  In my new book Full, I share my story about how my time at Full Belly helped me heal my difficult relationship with my body and resolve an eating disorder I thought I would never overcome. 

My book on sale now online (my website, http://www.kimberyoga.com links to Indiebound and other online retailers) and bookstores everywhere.  Sign up online for my email newsletter if you’d like to find out more! 

–Kimber Simpkins

News From the Farm | April 6, 2015

April 1st Shenanigans

A few days ago I went to say “hi” to our pigs.  There’s a whole family in the pasture next to my house – Mom, Dad, Grandma and 11 piglets. Someone had turned a sprinkler on to keep the pasture green.  Some of the water was falling on a slope, and the slope was getting muddy as it absorbed the water.  Mama came walking up the slope towards me, perhaps to get a scratch on her snout? No, not a scratch on her snout – instead she lay down in the mud and wallowed around, spreading the mud all over herself. Next she positioned herself just right, across the top of the slope and went slip-sliding down the hill.  This was no accident.  As soon as she could get back on her feet, she walked up the hill and did it again!  After 5 or 6 repeats she was done, and just lay in the mud, enjoying her fun and foolishness on April Fools Day.

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News From the Farm | March 30, 2015

One of the things that we have been committed to experimenting with in the last few years is reduced tillage on our farm – in other words, fewer tractor passes through our fields and less turnover of the soil. Among other things, we normally use tractors to cultivate out weeds, turn under our cover crops and make beds ready for planting after we have disked a field. There are two ways that we are thinking about reducing the use of tractors and soil turnover.  One is using black poly mulch on our beds and the other is using our cover crops as mulch. The former has proven itself to have been an interim success, while the latter is our ultimate hope and long-term strategy.  

The use of poly mulch on the surface of our beds started about three or four years ago, despite our immense dislike of plastic.  We trialed it in our early tomato plantings, and what we quickly realized was that the plastic cover significantly reduced our energy and water use.  Petroleum comes in many different forms, plastic is one, but diesel fuel is another.  Even after the first time we used the plastic, it was clear to us that we were seeing several big benefits with regard to energy, water and soil/plant health. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 23, 2015

When I arrived at Full Belly back in the heat of July, the farm was well into its tomato season. As a wide-eyed city dweller with zero previous farm experience, coming on as an intern at the height of tomato season was a whirlwind introduction to how hard every person here works to create the beautiful produce that we see in our CSA boxes every week. My very first hours of work on the farm were spent harvesting Sun Gold cherry tomatoes. Several hours after that I was folding tomato boxes for packing and distribution. A few weeks later I was learning the names of forty plus varieties of heirloom and cherry tomatoes so I could help identify them for customers at the Marin farmer’s market. By the end of the summer, we were squeezing buckets worth of tomato seeds to be saved for the very plants that we now see in our fields! 

Over the last few months, it has been incredible to watch those seeds become over 45,000 plants in our greenhouses.  And in the past week, we have steadily been transplanting ALL of those tomatoes in preparation for another summer season! Time flies when you’re having fun farming! One of the most delightful moments that we as interns have in our yearlong internship is witnessing the full circle of farm life, like these new tomato plants. Can’t wait for caprese salad again! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 16, 2015

Full Belly Farm is blessed to have some wonderful folks working here every day, and this week we want to introduce one of them to our CSA members, Inigo Encarnación, who has been working here since 2011. 

Inigo was born in the state of Guerrero, in southern Mexico, in a small village called Huehuetonoc.  That’s an Amuzgo Indian word signifying the tambor, a musical instrument. Inigo has three older sisters, two of whom are now teachers in Mexico. His father grew corn, beans and squash for the family, and had several cows.  Inigo helped out in the fields and enjoyed milking the cows with his father, who he called Jefe. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 9, 2015

Flowers

I remember quite clearly writing my annual “flower article” last year and starting off with a confident statement about how consistent the flowers were despite mother nature’s follies of no rain, warm climate and sudden whacky freezes. Well, this year I might have to rescind that statement  – but just a little. Yes, this year nature’s idiosyncrasies might have fooled us all, including the flowers, with her warm, balmy days all throughout January (the driest and warmest in recorded valley history) then brief flooding in February and then back to a sunny and warm March. How could we not be just a tiny bit confounded to know what the time of year is?

The bulk of our spring flowers were planted months ago, way back in October, which my feeble memory has a hard time remembering. Yes, back when the leaves were turning a golden fall yellow, we were digging thousands of holes for tulips, ranunculus, and iris.  We were transplanting thousands of little snapdragons, godetias, sweet Williams, delphiniums and Canterbury bells. The tractors were loaded up with special seeders and we planted rows and rows of sweet peas, larkspur, nigella, calendula, flax and sweet smelling stock. [Read more…]

ATTENTION ALL SOUTH BAY & DAVIS CSA MEMBERS

 South Bay CSA Members

The Full Belly Winter Market stand at Flea St Café, Menlo Park is moving to the Chocolate Garage (Gilman St, Palo Alto) starting Jan. 10, 2015.

CSA boxes will be available for pick up at BOTH sites. Pick up hours are:

            Flea St Café – 10am to 1pm on Saturdays

            Chocolate Garage – 9am to 1pm on Saturdays with Market hours 9am to Noon

Davis CSA Members

There are TWO new pick up sites in Davis starting January 2015.

            East 8th Street, Davis – 3 to 7pm on Wednesdays

            Mace Ranch, Davis – 1 to 7pm on Wednesdays

For more details to go Join Our CSA, email us at csa@fullbellyfarm.com, or call 800-791-2110.

News from the Farm | March 2, 2015

 Lambing Time

The trick is to be extremely quiet. Don’t slam the truck door, don’t make a squeak as you squeeze through the gate and don’t, whatever you do, turn on your flashlight yet! The night check is all about listening first – your ears alone will tell you right away what your check has in store for you. There might be a ewe cooing to her freshly born lamb over here, while another ewe is maahh-ing desperately over there – has she lost sight of her lambs in the orchard, is there a predator nearby, or is she about to go into labor? Sometimes one ewe will give birth to three lambs and another ewe is absolutely sure those three lambs belong to her, and at 3 o’clock in the morning, it’s up to you to figure out which ewe they actually belong to. Sometimes there are two ewes that have obviously given birth, four lambs around their legs, and you witness all four lambs nursing from both ewes. Sometimes there are a few fresh lambs in one corner and no ewes taking ownership of them. Sometimes there is deafening silence, which means you can head right back to bed. (That one doesn’t happen very often!) I’m talking about lambing season, folks, and for the animal team here at the farm, this season’s almost over.

Farming animals is quite different from farming vegetables. For example, a farmer can plant a seed, water it, weed around it a few times, and then let Mother Nature take the reigns for a while until it comes time to harvest. His carrots won’t die if he takes a day off. On the other hand, a farmer who keeps animals has many mouths to feed other than his own, every single day. And it doesn’t stop at food – they need clean cool water, fresh straw for nest boxes, clean coops. The cow has to get milked at dawn and dusk, the eggs need to be collected in the morning and afternoon, and everyone needs to be moved to new pasture every couple of days. It’s a rather demanding trade, this animal husbandry.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 23, 2015

What we put in the CSA boxes last year

Veggies in Your 2014 Boxes

(Not including Fruit or Alliums)

Number of weeks out of 48 

Bunched Greens

41

Carrots

24

Potatoes

22

Lettuce and Salad Mix

19

Beets

16

Eggplant

15

Tomatoes – mostly heirlooms

14

Peppers (Flamingo, Jimmy Nardello)

14

Winter Squash (mixed varieties)

13

Broccoli

13

Cabbage (Green, Napa or Red)

11

Herbs (chives, dill, parsley, rosemary)

9

Basil

8

Spinach

7

Cucumbers

7

Turnips

6

Summer Squash

5

Asparagus

5

Red Daikon

4

Green beans

4

Fennel

4

Cherry Tomatoes

4

Kohlrabi

3

Celery Root

3

Rutabagas

2

Radishes

1

Black Eye Peas

1

Artichokes

1

Every year we like to look back at what went in the CSA boxes during the previous year.  This year I compiled the table that we are including here so that you can think back about how you used the vegetables that we put in the boxes over the 48 weeks that we made deliveries in 2014. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 16, 2015

With weather in the 70s and blossoms on the trees, it’s spring fever for certain. And with thoughts of spring come thoughts of planting, and seeds. Indeed, such were the thoughts of an enthusiastic group of farmers and gardeners from the Capay Valley and beyond, who gathered at the Western Yolo Grange Hall in Guinda at the end of January for the 2nd Annual Seed, Plant and Scion Swap. It was a chance to bandy and barter all manner of plant matter, from seeds to starts to fruit tree cuttings. Seed and plant exchanges like this one have sprung up across the country in recent years, and represent a hearty interest in community resiliency and local self-sufficiency.  Regionally saved seeds can be selected for, and therefore more adapted to, the specific climate and environmental challenges of a locale, and for farmers or gardeners, saving their own seeds expresses independence, knowledge and access. The exchange and preservation of seeds can be organized relatively informally, as a once a year community seed swap (like here in the Capay Valley) or it can take on the more formalized form of a seed library. Across the United States, there are now over 300 seed libraries, all providing low-cost or “free access to seeds, protect[ing] the diversity of our food sources, and educat[ing] community members about growing food and saving seed.” (seedlibrary.net)

Inspirational, right? Perhaps you already use your local seed library or seed swap, or perhaps you now want to start one. But did you know that there’s an important campaign under way to ensure that these models of local and regional seed sharing don’t become unfairly targeted by state department of agriculture laws that were written with commercial seed transactions in mind? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 9, 2015

As if breaking a spell cast on the land, rain came and the farm breathed a sigh of welcome.  The driest January on record for the region is now past and the sobering reality of three consecutive years of warm temperatures and little to no rain and low Sierra snowpack should be reason for the farm community to consider the practices they employ and develop comprehensive strategies for the long term. 

The impacts of the last few years touch many parts of our farm. Our fruit trees are short on the chilling hours that they require for healthy bloom and fruit set. Things are blooming early – by more than 2 weeks – which may mean more susceptibility to frost later in the spring. Winter rains are needed to replenish our wells. When the small side creeks that border the farm flow even for a few short days, we can measure a rise in well water levels as the ground acts as a reservoir for the beneficial winter rains. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 2, 2015

“In the next 20 years, 400 million acres of farmland will change hands.” Severine von Tscharner Fleming was speaking to a gathering of young and not so young farmers and farm allies in Capay Valley at the Guinda Grange Hall. She came equipped with facts, stories, models and strategies to share – all with a purpose to ensure land access to a rising generation of agriculturalists.

In the Capay Valley, we are fortunate to have a growing community of young and beginning farmers and ranchers. The challenges they face to build a successful career are numerous, but perhaps the biggest is reliable access to land. Nationwide, the price of farmland has risen dramatically in recent years, more than tripling in value from 2003 to 2013. What’s happening to farmland in the U.S. is part of a larger phenomenon also occurring in developing countries. [Read more…]

Harvest of the Month

We recently enjoyed a visit from Bill Jensen who works at Northside Elementary School in Cool California (a bit east of Auburn). He came to pick up vegetables for the Harvest of the Month program, a statewide effort to increase access to fruits and vegetables in schools throughout California.  Bill explained that the school’s garden doesn’t come into production until March and he needed some broccoli to serve.  The students will develop presentations for the classroom and prepare a recipe to take home.

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In Bill’s photo, kindergarten students are harvesting their first crop of carrots.

News from the Farm | January 26, 2015

It feels as though there is so much to write about at this moment in time: the blooming almond trees, the 75° weather, winter/spring cooking, and our new farm babies.  We got news yesterday that our neighbors at Pasture 42 welcomed a beautiful little girl into the world.  Delphine Louise joins Arlo Alois Muller (4 months) and Teodoro Rodriguez Ochoa (3 months) in the one and under crowd here in Guinda, CA.  Since our newest little farm boys have not gotten an official Beet welcome, here they are with their ringleader, Rowan.  We are elated to introduce them to you. 

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[Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 19, 2015

There are few seasons on the farm that we meet with such jittery anticipation as lambing season.  For the next few weeks there will be a flurry of “getting ready” tasks as we approach the February date when the first lambs are born. Fences must be set up for the hugely pregnant moms, greenhouses constructed for housing the tiny new lambs and their mothers, supplies purchased for any lambing emergencies. There are 85 ewes this year that will be giving birth in a one month time period to over 120 babies which can get really chaotic if you are not prepared! We have been raising this many sheep and lambs for over 20 years but still feel taken by surprise each year as they begin.

One of the hardest things is “psyching” ourselves up for the sleepless nights ahead. Despite the fact that 90% of the lambs will be born without any fanfare there are potential issues that can arise and we must be there any time, day or night, to help out. We do lamb checks every two to three hours during the night and as frequently throughout the day. Rainy nights and the full moon will definitely bring on a barrage of lambs – a well documented fact known by shepherds throughout the ages – so we have extra recruits on those nights. [Read more…]

Grazing on Grasslands 101

Soul Food Farm in Vacaville, is offering a one-day event in which Alan Savory and Nicolette Hahn-Niman will share their message of hope for the environment.  Savory and Hahn-Niman will speak about how cattle grazing plays a key role in revitalizing the world’s damaged grasslands. There is a charge for the event: students are $35; general admission is $75 and VIP is $130. Tickets and additional information are available at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1117550

News from the Farm | January 12, 2015

Full Belly Break

I have family in Japan, living in Chiba City, about 45 minutes from Tokyo (using the efficient trains). During the Full Belly break, my husband and I had the wonderful experience of spending 2-weeks traveling with family, visiting Kyoto on the main island, and also several places on the smaller islands of Naoshima, Shikoku and Kyushu.

When we travel, we like to try new foods and avoid “westernized” restaurants. In Japan, this can result in experiencing startlingly new and foreign textures and flavors. Slimy, crunchy and chewy textures abound. Meals are usually presented as lots of small plates, rather than one main dish with sides. It was not at all uncommon to have a meal presented to our group at an Inn, or at a home we were visiting, for us to have no idea what some of the dishes were. Perhaps some form of soy? Or fish? Or maybe egg? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 5, 2015

Happy New Year to all of our Full Belly Farm CSA members. We are happy to be back in action and ready to deliver your delicious boxes for 2015!

Here are a few notes from the field, observed over our break. 

At this time of year we usually have young plants growing in our greenhouses, prepared for transplanting to the field at a stage in their lives when they are less vulnerable to weed and weather pressures than if we grow them in the field from seed. This year, we have probably the largest set of transplants in the greenhouse (lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, greens etc) that we’ve ever had before. But December presented a challenging greenhouse window. Our climate is usually sunny even when it rains, but this year there were more than two weeks of very cloudy, cool, humid weather in December. This created the perfect conditions for rot and mildew diseases in the greenhouse that we have not typically had to deal with. With additional ventilation and care in watering, we were able to pull through and will be transplanting into the field in the next week or two. [Read more…]

LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD

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Full Belly Farm has been awarded the 2014 California Leopold Conservation Award. We hope to use this opportunity as a way to deepen the conversation about land stewardship and conservation in agriculture.  

News from the Farm | December 1, 2014

Happy Holidays to all of our members.  Thank you for your support in 2014.  After our break, we will be delivering boxes again starting the week of January 6th.  Here are photos of some of the delicious Thanksgiving dishes that we shared here at the farm.  We hope the photos will help to inspire your holiday cooking!

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Hard to choose from so many delights! About 50 people joined us for dinner. [Read more…]

Symphony of the Soil

Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is a wonderful film, and an artistic exploration of soil. Filmed on four continents, it examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Farmers (including Full Belly farmers) and ranchers are included in the film.  Organic farms like Full Belly place a lot of emphasis on caring for their soil as a path to healthier food.  We were very impressed with the film and can recommend it to our members.

Friday, December 5th, is World Soil Day, starting the United Nations International Year of the Soils. Our friends at Lily Films, producers of Symphony of the Soil, will be presenting the film at the U.N. in New York, and streaming the film free from their web site at: http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com

News from the Farm | November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Beet

Often people give a gasp when they inquire about the number of guests who will be at our farm home for Thanksgiving dinner and we reply casually: somewhere between fifty and sixty. The numbers have grown slowly over the years because our family, friends and farm have too and this year will be no exception. Fifty eight confirmed guests and then some more that we have surely not counted! The dinner is exemplary of everything that makes up the best parts of this little farm here in the Capay Valley: community, camaraderie and of course the blessings of the incredible food. Our community includes members of the immediate farm family — Andrew and Anna and their two towering teenage sons who could most likely eat an entire turkey themselves! Judith’s family always graces the dinner with her beautiful mother, Noné Redmond, one of the our farm’s longest and sweetest supporters and Judith’s siblings, nieces and nephews who live nearby. Our apprentices who hail from New York, Japan and parts of California will be here with a few sisters flying in to see where their big sister works on a crazy organic farm. Some of the farm crew will be with us including Inigo, the resident carpenter, Jan, our relentless and passionate farm manager and her partner Jordan. Our own family, which is now twelve including the two newest members who will be making their first appearances and may not eat much except from their loving moms.  

And the community circle grows wider still to our neighboring farms. Friends from Riverdog Farm who we have worked so closely with all summer will be at the table, and Spreadwing Farm family and interns will be here as well. Fran, the chief organic buyer from the wholesaler Nor-Cal produce, who was married here this fall and has become our fast friend will come for the first time, along with childhood schoolmates and nieces and nephews who now live in the valley with their children. The list goes on and becomes an amazing amalgamation of all of the best we could ever hope for to join us in this special day of giving thanks. [Read more…]