*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes
Organic Vegetables, Fruit & Wool
Beets: Don’t throw out the leaves — they can be used in salads or fried in olive oil, garlic and other herbs with a bit of cream on top when you serve them. Roast the roots wrapped in foil to bring out their sweetness. Dill and yogurt pair well with beet roots.
Bok Choy: There are many variants of bok choy — and we grow several of them at Full Belly. Serve stir-fried bok choy with rice, meat or tofu. A bit of sesame oil, if you have it, is a great addition. You can also use it in soup, or over noodles.
Collards: After tearing or chopping up the leaves, you can boil the collards in a bit of water for about 10 minutes, then sauté with salt, pepper, herbs, garlic and lemon. A great addition to an omelette!
Spring Onions: These onions have been picked before they bulb and dry — they are the same plants that you will have later in the season as a dried root. They are a bit sweeter and milder than the dried onions.
The flowers this week are a mix of calendulas, bells of Ireland and agrostemma. Note: Please do not take flowers unless you have ordered them as an add-on to your CSA box. The flowers at your pick-up site are only for people who have flowers listed for them on the sign-in sheet. Thank you!
We would like to extend a warm welcome to gardening enthusiasts to our unique valley on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14th for the 10th 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. 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. Annie Main from the Good Humus garden has a 30-year old botanical wonder of a garden that includes plants from her great grandmother interspersed with flowers and herbs that she uses in wedding arrangements and market bouquets. Her knowledge of plants and plant care is dizzying and she will be in the garden herself to answer any gardening questions.
For those looking to purchase plants, the Chamisa Ridge Nursery will be open all day. Their focus is on unique species and exceptional forms not readily available in the nursery trade. Their endeavor is to offer a list of plants, both beautiful and visually sympathetic with the spirit of the west, which can be used to create non-irrigated landscapes.
At Full Belly Farm we have pulled out all the stops for the day! Judith and Thomas’ Straw bale garden will be a fantastic showcase of Euphorbia’s, Yuccas, and native grasses, all surrounding their gorgeous self-built straw bale home. Judith’s touch in the garden has created a visual and olfactory masterpiece that meanders down steps near the Cache Creek riparian area of the farm. The flower fields at Full Belly will also be in full bloom boasting larkspur, peonies, godetias and calendulas all planted for production cut flowers. We even have some sunflowers starting to bloom.
The garden tour costs $10 per person, children under 14 are free. You may bring your own picnic and spread out under a tree at one of the gardens, or get a local lunch box, available for $10 each. All proceeds from the tour benefit community enhancement projects here in the valley. This year we will be donating to the renovation of the Will Baker Native Plant Garden. Please visit www.thecapayvalleygardentour.com to purchase tickets on line or call 530-796-3464 for more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safflower Oil – $13 for 250mL -OR- $25 for 500mL
Bone Broth – (Frozen Beef & Pork combination) – $15 per quart
Pie Dough – $5 per dough ball
Pizza Dough – $6 per dough ball
Tomato Sauce & Pizza Dough Combo – $18
Candied Citrus Peel – $8 for a 4 oz. jar
Almonds – Roasted $8/ half pound
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.
Artichokes: These artichokes don’t have a choke – the fuzzy center of some varieties. The stem is tender, the inner leaves and heart are delicious. You will want to remove some of the outer leaves to get to the tender inner ones. There may be a few aphids that need to be washed off with a blast of water. These artichokes can be trimmed and roasted with some salt, pepper and olive oil.
Carrots: I have been chopping the carrots into bite-sized pieces and dressing with oil and vinegar to make a very satisfying salad without lettuce. Other ideas: carrot cake, carrot juice, honey roasted carrots…
Baby Fennel: Trim the fronds and base, then drop the bulbs into boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Then fry the fennel in olive oil with your garlic, anchovies and pepper flakes.
Oranges: These organic Valencia oranges are from a neighbor’s orchard. A farmer and fruit breeder in southern California created the Valencia orange, which is much later to mature than the Navel oranges we have been putting in your boxes in previous weeks.
Arugula or Mizuna: Some of you will get mizuna and some will get arugula — These are both tender greens that can be used raw or gently cooked.
If you are scheduled for a CSA bouquet this week your flowers will be Agrostemma. Please be sure your name is on the list for flowers before taking a bouquet. Let us know if you would like to order flowers for your upcoming boxes!
Today I was part of a discussion about “healthy soil,” which in agriculture might be approximated to refer to soil that does a good job of growing crops. But with climate change upon us, soil health is increasingly discussed in the context of soil that keeps carbon underground rather than in the atmosphere, and there are discussions taking place all over the planet about which farming practices encourage reduction of greenhouse gases in agriculture. Agriculture is reportedly responsible for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Soil and its health might not be something that comes up in our everyday conversations, but I remember when I read The Grapes of Wrath, and then later, several other books that described the American dust bowl and desperate attempts by farmers to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure and other catastrophes. The Dust Bowl came after a period of drought coupled with an insufficient understanding of the ecology of the Great Plains. As farmers converted grassland to cropland, the deep network of grassy roots was destroyed and the unanchored soil turned to huge clouds of dust that choked people, buried farm equipment and blackened the sky, even reaching as far as the east coast. Tens of thousands of families abandoned their farms, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service). [Read more…]
Radishes – if you remove the leaves, the radishes will store longer. Some of us think of radishes simply as part of a salad, but they can be added to sandwiches, sliced and herbed as a side appetizer (maybe with hard boiled eggs?) or quick-pickled.
Oranges — These organic Valencia oranges are from a neighbor’s orchard. A farmer and fruit breeder in southern California created the Valencia orange, which is much later to mature than the Navel oranges we have been putting in your boxes in previous weeks.
Red Mizuna – An unusual form of the Asian green, this is mild but with enough flavor that it adds a lot to your salads. You can also steam or lightly stir fry it.
Tokyo Turnips – the small amount of leaves on these bunches are easy to overlook — but even with a little bit of insect damage, they are tasty! You can use these a lot like the radishes — they are very mild, delicious raw, or great if you are making roasted vegetables.
Rutabagas – a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, rutabaga can be cooked with potatoes or carrots, then add butter or cream, just as if you were making mashed potatoes. A wonderful soup results if you first sauté the leek from your box, then add some stock and the chopped up carrots and rutabaga. Once they are completely soft, puree it all and you will be forever looking for rutabagas when it is time to make a creamy soup — the rutabaga makes the soup silky and creamy.
Your flowers this week are beautiful Anemones. Please be sure your name is on the list for flowers before taking a bouquet. Let us know if you would like to order flowers for your upcoming boxes!
We spent this past week hustling to take advantage of a dry-enough period before the series of late week storms dropped nearly 2 inches of rain. On Thursday the work of planting tomatoes, melons, peppers, corn, beans and other summer crops stopped as the generous clouds opened up and drenched the farm. The blessing of rain soaked our asparagus beds and loosened the soil above the spears and helped them to break through. Carrots, lettuce, beets, potatoes and all of the spring crops revel in the liveliness of rainwater. Trees are shooting out with an energy and lushness that is a remarkable contrast with the past couple of years. The farm feels exuberant —humming with a vibration of life that explodes when Springtime arrives with it’s moisture, warmth and myriad of life forms that shake off a long winter and go to work….
We have been thinking about the cycles of life and death this past week. Andrew’s (one of the 4 original Full Belly owners) father, Martin Brait passed away on April 1. Marty was a great friend to the farm and was a delightful, creative, enthusiastic human being who visited us from his home in Philadelphia with his wife Marsha over the years. Who would think that clothier couple-haberdashers by trade- would hatch a farmer son? Marty, embraced the life that Andrew chose many years ago and was a part of a parental rooting club that each of the 4 original partners shared. The success of Full Belly is very definitely linked to our ancestors – parents – that had a common trait: the willingness to embrace and encourage creativity, responsibility, and social commitment to tending a healthy planet. [Read more…]
Artichokes: These artichokes don’t have a choke – the fuzzy central part in some varieties. The stem is tender, the inner leaves and heart are succulent. Nearly 100% of the U.S. artichoke crop is grown in California and about 80% of that is grown in Monterey County. Only a teeny, tiny fraction of artichokes grown in the US, are grown in the Capay Valley! Treasure them as very rare. At Full Belly’s farmers markets, the chefs are paying $4 and $5/pound for them – and because we are putting them in the CSA boxes this week, the chefs and their patrons will miss out!
Spring Onions: If we had left these to continue growing in the ground they would develop underground bulbs and we would dry them into storage onions. Fresh like this they are a bit milder and sweeter. Onions are from a large Genus called Allium, that contains hundreds of edible plants. Many of our meals start by cleaning, chopping and frying up a member of the Allium genus.
Stir Fry Mix: a pleasing mix of all the young greens on the farm, this can be steamed and dressed with a bit of salt, oil and vinegar, or lemon. Very simple, very satisfying.
Flowers begin this week and your bouquets are beautiful ranunculus. Please be sure your name is on the list for flowers before taking a bouquet. Let us know if you would like to order flowers for your upcoming boxes!
Every spring there is a Full Belly scramble to get spring and summer crops planted and growing in our fields. Frosty weather, wet weather and windy weather can all interrupt our human-oriented timeline. During the last month we have been waiting hopefully, through one rainstorm after another, until our fields were dry enough for us to get to work. Our greenhouses are full of young plants waiting to go out into the fields: spring lettuce, onions, and flowers, and the first of summer basil, melons, peppers and tomatoes. If we don’t get the plants out of the greenhouse as soon as possible, they will get leggy and hungry in their little plugs of soil. Besides the fact that the plants want to be outside, we feel the pressure of our CSA members, thinking about their next big veggie-feast!
Unlike farms that go through the winter with bare ground, Full Belly fields grow cover crops all winter long. With this winter’s wonderful rainy winter, the biomass in our fields right now is really impressive, representing captured solar energy and nutrients that need to get turned into the soil to be digested. We have several approaches to getting these fields ready for planting – sometimes our herd of sheep grazes the cover crop and it is returned to the soil in supercharged form, other times we use tractor power, chopping up the cover crop and then incorporating it. [Read more…]
Asparagus: Our asparagus is going to be fleeting this Spring — enjoy it while we have it!
Beets: See one of our favorite recipes for beets. A beet is the same species as chard, just bred to have a larger root!
Savoy Cabbage: Full Belly grows a lot of Green Cabbage, but smaller quantities of Napa, Red and Savoy. Savoy is a very pretty cabbage, with its deeply wrinkled leaves. You can cook it the same way you use other winter greens — sliced into soups or as the base for a stir fry — this cabbage can be braised, roasted or boiled. The leaves can also be used to make cabbage rolls
Lettuce: If your lettuce seems too wet, drain the bag a bit before putting the lettuce in the refrigerator.
Our annual Open Farm day was on Saturday March 25th. In the past, these days have been primarily for CSA members to visit the farm and get to know their farmers and the place where their food is grown. In contrast, last year, and this year, we have hosted an almost overwhelmingly large number of visitors, mostly drawn to the farm through social media. Many of the visitors in these last couple of years had never been to Full Belly or any other farm in the past and were not CSA members. There were lots of young kids and toddlers, and a wonderfully diverse crowd, from babies to great-grandmas, and a babel of languages and ethnicities.
The day brought fabulously beautiful spring weather between rainstorms. Just the day before we had almost an inch of rain. Figuring out parking options was tricky, but Pancho and Paul spent the entire morning grading and leveling roads, trying hard to eliminate puddles and rope off safe parking so that no one would get stuck in the mud (and no one did!) One visitor got out of his car asking why we didn’t have a “real” parking lot (!), but everyone else was game and even excited to take the short walk to our big grassy lawn and kitchen where our all-from-the-farm pizza crew was hard at work putting together wood-oven fired pizzas and salad for lunch. [Read more…]
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.
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’s Back! By popular request, the printable version of the Beet is now available again. See link at the top of this email. One of our members cuts out the list of veggies and posts it on her refrigerator, checking items off as she uses them.
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.
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.
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.