News From the Farm

Calling all Gardening Enthusiasts!

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to visit the Capay Valley on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, for the 12th annual Mother’s Day Farm and Garden Tour. Our valley is the proud home to an amazing array of gardeners and farmers, from a 2-acre homesteading garden to a 10-acre floral production field, we definitely have something to delight everyone. Eight gardens will be on display sprinkled through the Valley towns of Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey. Along with the gardens there are other points of interest including live music at the Taber Ranch wine-tasting room and the Seka Mills Olive Mill which is surrounded by roses and lavender. All attendees will be provided a self guided tour map so that you can make your own schedule and stop for a picnic lunch at one of the gardens. Box lunches will be available at our local Grange Hall and can be purchased in advance on the website.

At Full Belly Farm we will have a farmer’s market stand at our kitchen center which is surrounded by fruit trees and gardens. The stand will include beautiful flower bouquets and also a self guided walking tour of our bountiful flower fields. At 1:00 pm Hannah Muller, our in-house event florist will be leading a bouquet making demonstration and a you-pick flower bouquet making class.  Other workshops and demonstrations will be available at some of the other gardens as well, including a Flower Crown Making workshop at Good Humus Farm. Come try your hand making a crown while learning from Annie Main who has over 40 years of gardening expertise to share.

The cost of the tour is $10 (children under 14 are free) and all of the proceeds will be going to benefit community enhancement projects here in our valley. Please feel free to call 530-796-3464 for more information, and visit our website to purchase your ticket!

— Dru Rivers

News From the Farm

Lambs on their way to do their part for Open Farm Day!

A recent article in the N.Y. Times described the spread of a deadly, drug-resistant fungus, infecting people around the world.  The fungus has developed resistance to common drugs that used to be effective in treating it and thus most patients do not recover from infections. Many researchers believe that the drug resistant fungi causing these infections in humans, developed as a result of the heavy use of fungicides to control plant disease on crops. Many of the fungicides used in agriculture are closely related to the antibiotics used to treat fungal infections in humans.  Repeated exposure encourages the fungal populations to develop resistance. This is similar to the concern that antibiotic resistant bacteria have developed as a result of the excessive use of antibiotics in animal feed.  Unfortunately, in confined animal production systems, antibiotics are commonly administered to healthy livestock in low does for disease prevention. [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Prom Corsage? (Thank you Margaret Dollbaum, for this photo!) 

The weather prediction is that early April will bring more late rain and coolish weather to our already soaked and saturated soils.  These late spring rains have made it impossible to prepare our fields for planting, let alone get crops started for spring. In some years, our Mediterranean climate provides windows during the winter and early spring that allow us to prepare ground, plant seeds and keep a lineup of a few crops coming, but in other years, like this one, there are no openings, and we can’t work our fields because they are wet.  So we are slowly harvesting our way through each and every field of crops planted before the rain started, with one eye on the weather reports and the other on the calendar. [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Open Farm Day is Saturday April 6th ––

We would be so happy if our CSA members were able to come and visit us on April 6th for a day to walk around the farm, visit our newborn lambs, picnic on the grass and taste the delicious pizza that we bake in our wood-fired pizza oven. The farm is open for visitors from 10:30 to 3:30.  Please leave your dogs (except for service dogs of course) at home.  The farm owners are looking forward to meeting you! [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Thinking about peaches  ––  

Oh Spring! You have descended upon us this past week, gracing field, hillside, and human spirit with the seduction of warmth and days that stretch out like a cat after a long slumber. This year you have been away longer than normal – the cold and rain of January, February and early March now all but forgotten with your bursting on the scene. The trees have been patiently awaiting your beckoning call.  Our peaches and plums are finally blooming nearly a month late. Apricots and pears are swelling… [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Shhhh… don’t let anyone know but I love my job. I love our farm, I love all the people I work with, I love going to the farmers markets, I feel blessed to be able to help each day to make this farm productive and beautiful. I feel good about what I do everyday. I believe in my life and work each morning when I awake and even more so when I fall asleep. Strange, I know, but true. [Read more…]

News From the Farm

At a time like this, when the weather is in the news, Californians may have a hard time holding their own in a weather conversation with the rest of the country.  I was talking to a friend who lives in Okoboji Iowa and they have been shoveling snow for the entire month of February.  I think she said that they have 2 feet of snow on the ground at the moment.  They would love it if they had temperatures in the 40s and 50s like we do here… [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Almond Festival wood-fired pizza at the Rumsey Hall last Sunday – 


I’ve been an intern at Full Belly for over one Full Belly year. Today I’m going to take this opportunity to share with you a sneak peek into what it means to be an intern at this very unique place, as I reflect on my experience and what I’ve learned.

First I’ll begin with some numbers. In my time here as an intern I’ve seen, met, lived with and/or been a part of: [Read more…]

News From the Farm

More like Winter

It’s wet.  In the last week, we have seen nearly five inches of rainfall here in the Capay Valley.  That is almost one quarter of our annual recorded rain! On Thursday morning, Cache Creek crested at 11,000 cubic feet per second ripping through the floodplain.  I watched full-sized trees carried effortlessly down the river. Then, less than five hours later, the river retreated to 3,000 cf/s in an amazing display of our watershed in action. Friday left us snow-capped peaks to dazzle over. As the weather played cat and mouse, I watched in awe. Rainbows, warm sunny moments and cold torrential rain were blended seamlessly throughout the day.  As the sun returns this week, I watch the water slowly recede into the ground and I cannot help but sigh with relief. I know that on cold wet days like these, trees tap their roots down a little further. Buds on the trees take one more day to swell before they flower and fruit. Birds wait and rest one more day before spring brings the nest. The carrots shiver and sugar their flesh as they await the farmer’s hands.  And the farmer waits blissfully as the storm passes, eager to sow the new season’s crops. [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Stop Plastic Bags!

One advantage of being a CSA member that you may not have thought about is the very significant amount of waste that is removed from the landfill by a CSA program compared to the grocery store alternative.  We have done a little bit of analysis, comparing the packaging for the first 4 CSA boxes of the year to the packaging that we would have used if we had sold the same produce to stores, restaurants and wholesalers instead. If we had sold to stores, we would have packed the produce into 1,095 waxed cardboard boxes, 319 non-waxed cardboard boxes and 61 plastic 25-lb bags! The plastic bags and waxed cardboard boxes generally end up in the landfill so the CSA results in a pretty significant reduction in the waste stream.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Three  beds of tulips have all started to bloom at once, the first flowers available for 2019. They will be available at our farmers markets: Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon; San Rafael on Thursday morning and Palo Alto on Saturday morning. 

What You Ate Last Year  – On our Full Belly web site in our description of our Community Supported Agriculture program, we promise that if you join, you will “eat the freshest, most nutritious fruits and vegetables available.”  There are lots of ways to parse that promise, but this week we’re going to take a look at our program using a pretty straightforward metric:  What did we deliver to you in your boxes last year? [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Soaking potatoes before washing them  ––  

I had the opportunity last week to join some interesting conversations about nutrition and health — and their intersection with organic agriculture.  We reported in this newsletter previously that researchers are increasingly finding that people eating more organic food have a reduced risk of cancer.  Of course, other healthy behaviors, in addition to eating organic food, are obviously also very important to staying healthy — things like getting exercise and not smoking tobacco.  But it turns out that healthy behavior (over which individuals have some control) may only be a factor of about 30% in terms of influencing your health outcomes.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm

Saturday Walk Around – 

We have had a week of heavy rainfall, so our fields are very wet.  None of the farm work can be done by tractor when the fields are so wet and a lot of mud gets tracked into trucks, our office, and the packing shed. The crews tread heavily in boots that pick up the sticky mud in the fields.  Their rain gear is coated with mud and everything is a little bit slower, adding to the costliness of keeping the doors open and the crew working during rainy weather.  The crew only came in for 4-hours on most days last week since we were mostly only picking for farmers markets and CSA boxes.  And besides, it was cold and messy work, not a nice walk in the rain to jump in the puddles!  Full Belly has a commitment to providing year-round work for our crew, as well as a commitment to showing up at markets and CSA pick-up sites year-round without fail.  But when the weather is cold and wet, it can take a toll. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 14, 2019

60,000 lettuce and cabbage getting started for the first New Year planting.

There are several opportunities in 2019 for you to visit us at Full Belly Farm.  Here are some of them.

Open Farm Day will be on April 6th.

Come and meet your farmers and visit the farm! Our lambs will be 1-1/2 to 2 months old and you will get the opportunity to meet them as well.  We will give a farm tour and you are welcome to stay for a picnic.  We will set up a farm stand, and will be selling our homemade brick oven-baked pizzas.  There is no charge for Open Farm Day tours. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 7, 2019

This photo from the 2009 archives is captioned, “First CSA Box”! Yes, we used to print a paper copy of the newsletter and put it into every box. This was before we had the Stop Waste Green Box, and were using waxed cardboard boxes that couldn’t be recycled.

This week we will be harvesting and packing fruits and vegetables for the first CSA boxes of 2019. If all goes well, there will be 47 additional CSA-box-weeks in 2019 and we are ever-hopeful that each week will deliver a surprise, a well-loved favorite and the inspiration for nourishing meals. At least, that’s our aspiration! We are also likely to send you stories from the fields that touch on the weather, the soils and the people that are growing your fruits and vegetables — the stories behind the fruits and vegetables in your box. The meals we all create and consume are strongly linked to our health and well being, as are the connections back and forth between farmer and CSA member. [Read more…]

Full Belly Floral

Full Belly Floral hopes that local and seasonal flowers could help brighten the days of those individuals who are celebrating a special occasion. If you are interested in learning more about the flowers grown on Full Belly Farm, contact Hannah Muller, or call 530-769-2214 to schedule a free consultation.

News From the Farm | December 3, 2018

This is your last box of 2018!

Full Belly’s CSA project was started in 1992 and since then has been one of the mechanisms for connecting us with a community beyond the farm.  The fruits, flowers and vegetables in the CSA boxes deliver healthy and fresh nutrition to families within a hundred mile radius.  But sometimes I think of the boxes as something much more than that  — a subtle kind of inoculation perhaps…  At first, a member may think that it is just some healthy organic food that they signed up for.  Before long, if they stick with the relationship, they may find that there is a whole lot more to unpack from the green plastic boxes. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 26, 2018

Fall is in full swing here at the farm. The first rain came last week and washed away months of dust and smoke that had settled on the plants. The leaves on the walnut trees seemed to change from bright green to a dark yellow overnight and the farmers began to walk a little slower and breathe a little deeper. It happens every year- and yet it feels just as refreshing this year as the last. The fresh flowers are frosted and the petals now have a beautiful browned edge that seems to signal the end of the season.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 19, 2018

I am a volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic. We provide free holistic health services and produce donated by Full Belly Farm to low-income women living with a diagnosis of cancer. Over the past years, I have written several columns from my perspective as a volunteer and long-time Full Belly Farm member, thanking the Full Belly Farm community and encouraging members to contribute to the Good Food Community Fund that supports the donations. 

This year I asked CMC clients, staff, and volunteers for their comments about the program. Here’s some of what they had to say:  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 12, 2018

The monumental tragedy of the Paradise fire is hard to comprehend.  A community swept away with a wall of flames driven by powerful winds offered little time to escape. The reality of fire consuming an entire town in a morning and the personal terror and loss is a sobering reminder of our interdependence and proximity to profound potential for change driven by a flame, or a gust, or a chance mistake. A brief spark can alter the trajectory of lives or extinguish the same in an unimaginable fury.  We turn our hearts to those who are suffering loss. [Read more…]