*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes
Mizuna: This is an Asian green, very mild and can be eaten raw or cooked.You can add it to your salad or put it in a miso soup. Or you can steam it very lightly and toss it with your pasta and fresh parmesan.
Golden Nugget Winter Squash: You can store your squash on the counter in a cool dry place. It should be good for several weeks if you don’t use it right away.
Salad Mix: If your salad mix looks wet when it arrives, it wouldn’t hurt to shake out some of the excess water — we try to do that at the farm, but sometimes we don’t get it all out. The salad mix is one of the things that you should think about eating earlier rather than later in the week. We don’t treat it with chlorine like they do the bagged mixes in the stores.
Tokyo Turnips: Separate the green tops from the bottoms. These mild turnips are delicious cut up in rectangles, lightly salted (to wilt them like a quick pickle) and then served with a little bit of lime or lemon juice. The turnips, once separated from their greens will store well. The greens are delicious — don’t forget them in your refrigerator!
Our news this week is very specific to those of you who are members of our CSA: Full Belly has launched an on-line portal that will allow you to manage your CSA member account yourself. This program has been a long time coming and we’re very excited that it is ready!
Once you have activated your account you will be able to look at your upcoming schedule for CSA boxes and special orders, check your account information, view your payment history, and submit an updated credit card.
We still love to hear from you and you are always welcome to email or phone us, but now that you have access to your account we hope that the process of renewing your box and updating your credit card will be easier. Some of you have already received an email from us with an activation code. If you haven’t received that email yet, rest assured that you will get one within the next 10 days. If you want to set up an account and can’t wait, by all means let us know and we will send you your special activation code right away. The code allows you to link with all of your current information.
With this new system, you will have the option of putting your order on auto renewal. If you indicate that you do want an order put on auto renewal, we will always send you an email before we charge your credit card, giving you the opportunity to opt out — and only if we don’t hear from you, will we go ahead and renew your order.
We owe a great deal of gratitude and appreciation to Maxwell Klein who did the back-end development of a truly cadillac system that we are proud of. We are also blessed to be working with Elisa Rohner Design. Elisa built our public web site as well as the screens that you will see when you sign into your account.
Let us know if you have any questions about setting up your on-line account!
Our CSA program provides delivery to your home or work place in Sacramento and the East Bay. We recently added Davis as one of the available home delivery locations. The cost is an additional $7/ 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 email@example.com.
Almonds – Raw $15/ pound (2016 Crop!)
Walnuts – $12/ pound (2016 Crop!)
Popcorn – $5/ pound (It’s Back!)
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
New Girl Tomato Jam – $8 for a 12-oz jar
Peach Jam – $8 for a 12-oz jar
Sun Dried Peaches – $5/ half pound
Sun Dried Tomatoes – $5/ quarter pound
Almond Butter – $17/ jar – Crunchy – ask about bulk orders
Almonds – Roasted $8/ half pound -OR- Tamari $8/ half 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.
Beets: Beet greens are very similar to chard. The roots will store longer than the greens, especially if you cut the greens off before you store them.
Pomegranates: There is a video on our web site showing you one easy way to seed a pomegranate. You can keep the seeds in the refrigerator in a covered container, or leave them out as a snack.
Leeks: We usually provide a vegetable from the allium family year-round. We have heard that a few of you have had enough of the garlic, and our onions are a little bit small, so we’re moving on. A good way to clean the leeks is to cut them in half lengthwise and rinse out any soil that was trapped in the layers. We have a nice list of recipes that use leeks on our web site and the Leeks Vinaigrette features them as the main attraction.
Seasonality is a characteristic of agriculture. Some seasons are busy, others less so. Busy times mean more employees — and less busy times – well, seasonality in farming is why it has always been hard for farm workers to find year-round steady work. Most people still think of farm workers as migrants, moving from one part of the country to the next, following the harvest as crops mature. For migrant farm workers from time immemorial, there have always been periods of time when work is scarce. This is unlike almost any other profession. Sure, teachers have traditionally had time off in the summer. Landscaping and construction are also kind-of seasonal. But I think not to the extent that is built into the very nature of farming. Harvest time is fraught with urgency — the crop must be in the barn and out of the rain, or at the processing plant and out of the field, in a short window of time, or it will be lost. All the effort of keeping the crop safe, growing it from a seed to a grain, or from a bud to a fruit, can be for naught, if the harvest fails for one reason or another.
That popular conception, of farm workers as migrants, isn’t in fact, accurate any more. The number of farm workers who migrate within the US has fallen by 60% since the 1990’s, just as migration back and forth from Mexico has fallen. Now, as documented by agricultural economists, only a small percentage of farm workers migrate within the U.S. and this is true for both undocumented and documented workers, and in all areas of the country, in all demographic groups. There are several reasons for these changes at the macro level, and one is that the agricultural workforce is now older, and more experienced in farm work. Workers are more likely to be married and living with their families, with kids in school, and a car in the garage. As farm working immigrants put roots down in their new communities, they are less willing to migrate. Another important part of the changing picture has to do with immigration policy. While there are still workers moving in and out of the country from Mexico and Central America, that flow has diminished. In our Capay Valley, we have seen all of these factors at work. [Read more…]
This is a wonderful moment in the march of the vegetables through the seasons — we have summer and fall vegetables at the same time in your Box…
Watermelon Radish (also known as Red Daikon): It is probably not quite time to make roasted vegetables (red daikon is very good roasted), so you may want to try our Miso Soup with Kale and Daikon, a simple, quick recipe. Daikon radishes are ubiquitous in Asian cuisine and a worthy vegetable to get to know.
Bok Choy: Another Asian green, also easy for you to use. Bok Choy is often served with rice. The stalks are meant to be a little bit crisp after you cut up the leaves and stir fry them. Salt, garlic and a little sesame oil (if you have it) will make this a delicious vegetable dish. Add some tofu and you have a complete meal.
Buttercup Squash: We grow many different varieties of winter squash. There are smaller varieties like Sweet Dumpling and Delicata that have lighter colored flesh and thinner skin (you can eat the skin on all of the winter squash, but especially these two). We also grow the well-known varieties like Butternut and Acorn, available in most stores. For several years we have grown a smaller version of butternut, called honeynut — you are likely to see that in your boxes soon. Green Kabocha and Red Kabocha have deeper colored, earthier flesh. Your squash this week is Buttercup — more like the Kabocha than the Delicata. It is a hearty squash that can be eaten straight out of the oven after roasting, or made into a soup.
Parsley: Chimichurri sauce, green sauce (with avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, lime, olive oil, nuts), or as a flavoring for the greens, or veggie bowls that you make during the week. Parsley is a superfood — very nutritious.
This week we are sharing some correspondence that we received:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Recently, my 8th grade history teacher had my class and me give up one of our favorite foods for five days. The purpose of the experiment was to show us what it might have been like for Europeans to go without some luxuries when they searched for new lands. [Read more…]
Green Beans are very high in many disease-fighting micronutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients. They can be cooked very easily — For example, you can blanch them in well salted water, drain them and then fry them in a bit of oil, lemon and butter.
Grapes: We feel that this has been an exceptionally good year for our grapes. We hope that you are enjoying them as well. We have repeated them in the boxes for several weeks in a row and received no negative feedback…
Mizuna: This is a light green that can be eaten raw as in this recipe. Mizuna is also a great addition to miso soup.
Last weekend’s, Hoes Down Harvest Festival was a wonderful celebration of the abundant vegetable, fruit, flower and nut harvest from the farms of California. After a few very busy weeks of preparation, we are now focussing back on production. Many thanks to all of you who participated. Here are a few photos to give you a flavor of the activities.
Garden Ballerinas [Read more…]
Basil: This basil has a few flowers, but don’t throw them out! Basil flowers can be sprinkled on salad or pasta. They are totally edible and taste similar to the leaves — perhaps a bit milder. Don’t store your basil in a wet bag. It needs to be cool and dry. You can even put it in a jar like a bouquet, on the counter (in a cool place).
Acorn Squash: The first of our hard squash harvest is in your box this week. Later, you will get butternut, red kabocha and other varieties. At the beginning of the squash season we often simply bake the squash, slice it up when it comes out of the oven, and serve it. Once at the farmers market a gentleman said to me, “I just need food in the CSA box that I can cook quickly and serve for dinner to my kids.” I think there were some obscure things in the box that week and he wasn’t sure that they qualified. Well, acorn squash probably does qualify.
Tokyo Turnips: Mild and tender with just a little spice. These are good raw or lightly cooked. They don’t need to be peeled. When they are raw, you can have them with a dip, or dice them into a salad.. Don’t miss out on the delicious greens — they also cook quickly. Try this soup.
Several score Hoes Down volunteers arrived at Full Belly Farm on Sunday 9/25, helping us prepare for October 1st. Festival weather is predicted to be mild, but our volunteers cheerfully worked through high heat to build the hay fort, spread wood chips, clean the volunteer kitchen, make scarecrows, put up tents, clean supplies and all kinds of other jobs. The Hoes Down Festival is special for many reasons, but the outpouring of volunteer energy makes it wonderful and unique. Come celebrate sustainable agriculture, say goodbye to summer crops and welcome in the fall! [Read more…]
This will be the last week of flowers if you are getting CSA flowers. It will be a beautiful mixed bouquet.
Corn: Here’s a way to remove the kernels from the cob: Boil the corn IN ITS HUSK for 8 minutes. Then remove the husk and wipe down the corn with a kitchen rag to remove the silks. Then cut off the kernels. Note that you may need to tip the corn (cut off the tip) because of the corn ear worm — which is easy before you take of the husk. Just feel to see how far down the ear the damage is.
Chard: The chard is a sign that the days are getting shorter — but not yet a whole lot cooler. You will be able to taste the difference when the weather cools down and brings out a little additional sweetness. Here are a some simple recipes for chard from the Full Belly archive: Sautéed Chard with Lemon and Hot Pepper, Frittata with Swiss Chard, Pasta with Chard and Feta Cheese, Wilted Chard Salad with Walnuts and Asian Pears
My husband and I went to a wedding reception last night to celebrate the marriage of Edgar Jacobo and Martha Carrillo. Edgar is the eldest son of Bonifacio and Maria Joaquina who are both team leaders at our farm. Bonifacio has worked at Full Belly since 1988 and Joaquina has been here since 1993. Bonifacio is the youngest of 10 siblings, born and raised in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Like most of his brothers, Bonifacio started working on farms in Mexico when he was 12 years old, usually 7 days a week, saving money so that he could take the bus to school.
Most of Bonifacio’s siblings have also worked at Full Belly from time-to-time, and several of them are working now. His elder brother Celso is running our cherry tomato crew. His brother Sergio drives trucks to the city. Their wives also work at the farm. Their father, Señor Bonifacio worked here, and still comes back every summer, despite our reluctance to see him working, given his many years of service — it’s time for him to enjoy some rest with his extended family! And it is a large extended family, with many aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws, so many that we need to draw a family tree to tease it all out. Probably more than 1/3 of our crew is somehow related to the Jacobo family. [Read more…]
The flower bouquet this week (for those of you who have added it on to your CSA box) is a beautiful mixed bouquet.
Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Hoes Down
Summer for most farms in this area is the busiest time. Produce is growing rapidly and the summer bounty is thick. Everyone is rushing around to complete his or her work from sunup to sundown. I love everything that the summer brings from tomatoes and melons to finally getting to swim in Cache Creek. However the fall is my favorite time of year. There is delicious acorn squash and chard, but also everything slows down for just a moment. The Hoes Down is our last big hurrah to say goodbye to summer and hello to the fall. Here are ten reasons why you should join us in ushering in the new season:
Contra Dancing One of the most popular events each year at the Hoes Down is the amazing Contra Dance. People of all ages from the old to the young join hands on the dance floor to be lead through the dances. We have been so lucky to have Driving with Fergus and caller Erik Hoffman to lead our dance every year. Even more exciting we have moved Contra Dancing to the LocaLore stage this year to allow more space for each of you. [Read more…]
The flower bouquet this week (for those of you who have added it on to your CSA box) is a beautiful mix of Amaranth, Broom Corn and Zinnia.
Grapes: We grow many different varieties of table grape and our feeling is that this has been a really good year for flavor. Grapes are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants (especially in the seeds and skin). Research suggests that grapes play a role in eye health and it is known that the potassium they contain protects people from high blood pressure.
Acorn Squash: We wanted to give you something different, and there has been a hint of fall in the air (9/22 is the official 1st day of Fall), so we hope that you will enjoy a taste of the hard squash harvest. You can easily bake the Acorn Squash until it is completely soft, slice it up, and have it as an easy, nutritious side dish.
Peppers: These flamingo peppers are good for stuffing – bake them with some rice, browned beef, tomatoes and a bit of cheese on top.
It is hard for organic growers to practice sustainable agriculture without advocating better pay for farm workers. The overtime bill (AB1066) currently on the Governor’s desk would mean a pay increase for our workers. Instead of the current practice of paying overtime after 10 hours, we would pay overtime after 8 hours in the day or 40 hours in the week.
During the busy season, we work 6 days a week and 10-hours a day because things ripen 7 days a week and all day long. Adding the increased overtime pay to the increase in minimum wage to $15/hour starting in 2017, plus health insurance and its rising bite on our budget, plus labor scarcity – and we see that our model of labor-intensive organic farming is perhaps not sustainable. The added expense of these changes will increase our current labor budget by over 35% annually. Different farmers may react differently. Some will cut hours for their crews, and some will create different 6-hour shifts to fill the days work – which could actually harm fieldworkers, who rely on the long hours of summer when the bulk of their annual income is earned. [Read more…]
The flower bouquet this week (for those of you who have added it on) is a mixed bouquet.
Some of our members are writing to us that they are yearning for lettuce and green garlic, and noticing that there have been a lot of repeats in the boxes from week to week. Bunched greens and lettuce will be back in the Fall — for now, it’s still summer in the Capay Valley! Everything in your box is grown at Full Belly Farm, so only what is in season on our farm. Before we know it, the eggplants, tomatoes and melons will be gone, so now is the time to try all the summer recipes that you want to.
Eggplant: There are lots of recipe ideas for eggplant on our website. Have you made Baba Ganoush yet this summer?
Onions: A fresh crop — you have been getting garlic for several weeks in a row, but now we have onions! Onions are a good start to any soup or stir-fry.
Peppers: Your box contains sweet peppers and also a spicy jalapeño pepper. If you only use part of the jalapeño, you can wrap it up and store it in the refrigerator for later.
Tomatoes: Did you know that tomatoes are best stored in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator? The tomatoes in your box were ripened on the vine and should be eaten within the week. They become mealy if they are in a cold refrigerator for too long. Here’s how you could make some tomato juice: Wash and trim them, then cut into quarters or eighths. Simmer for 30 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into containers, leaving headspace (the liquid will expand as it freezes). Seal and freeze.
Why should people buy from local farms, and who cares if there even are any local farms? These are questions for the dog days of summer, good questions for Californians and for CSA members.
Knowing where your food comes from, having a farm to visit with your family, knowing how your food is grown, getting your fruits and veggies picked at their peak — these are a few good reasons that come to mind, for buying local. Many people also think that buying from a farmer that you know is good for the local economy. To find out more, a group at the University of California, in Davis recently completed a research project and determined that for every dollar of sales, Sacramento region direct marketing farmers are generating twice as much economic activity within the region as compared to producers who are not involved in direct marketing.
The researchers were comparing farms that sell direct to the public, with farms that do not sell direct to the public. Direct marketing includes activities like CSA and farmers markets. While the direct marketers had fewer overall sales, they purchased 89% of their inputs within the local region compared to 45% for farmers not doing direct sales. One of the most striking differences was that for every one million dollars of output produced by direct market farmers, 31.8 jobs are generated (hired labor is a very high percentage of expenses on direct marketing farms) compared to 10.5 jobs created for every million dollars of output on farms that don’t do direct marketing in the region. Here’s a link to the just-published study. [Read more…]
If you are getting CSA flowers, your bouquet this week is Globe Amaranth.
Basil: This is the first basil you have had in your CSA box in several weeks. Basil stores best if kept dry and not too cold. The Full Belly web site has a recipe that uses a lot of the items you have had recently in your boxes — do you have potatoes left over from last week? If so, look at this recipe for some ideas.
Cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and basil: When we think of salad in the summertime it’s usually a vegetable salad, no lettuce because we can’t grow that here in the heat. The cucumbers can be sliced thin, and with the chopped tomatoes, you have the base of the salad. Slice, oil, salt and then grill or fry some of the eggplant, let it cool and then chop it up as well. The pepper can be roasted, or you can slice it up raw. Dice some of the basil and combine everything with some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Peppers: We have been trying to give you a different variety of sweet pepper each week. This week it is Jolene’s Choice, sweet and good for snacking.
Recently one of our members wrote to us saying, “I only know the names of Cantaloupe, Honeydew and Watermelon. We get SO MANY MORE than that. I would really like to know more about them.”
Full Belly doesn’t grow the standard cantaloupe. We are focussed more on specialty melons. For example, in terms of orange-fleshed melons, some of our varieties are Goddess (a lot like the better-known Ambrosia), Charentais (a French, wonderfully aromatic cantaloupe with smooth skin), Honeyloupe (a cross between Honeydew and Cantaloupe) and San Juan (a bit larger than the others, football-shaped.) Some of these melons are “netted” – with rough skin (Goddess and San Juan) and others are smooth-skinned (Charentais and Honeyloupe). [Read more…]
If you are getting CSA flowers, your bouquet this week will be Cockscomb.
Garlic: If your garlic is building up on the counter, try roasting a batch of it — that makes it much milder to eat, and gives it a sweeter, earthy flavor.
Peppers: For the 2nd year in a row we constructed a shade cloth over our entire pepper field to protect the fruit from sunburn. Many of the early peppers had a malady called blossom end rot, but now they are producing abundantly. We are harvesting some wonderful varieties, many of them heirlooms. Sweet varieties are: Gatherer’s Gold, Jimmy Nardello (in last week’s boxes), Jolene’s Red Marconi Choice and Flamingo. Spicy varieties include: Shishito, Padron, and Jalapeño. We are putting a mix of sweet peppers into your boxes this week. Stuff them, grill them, roast them, or simply cut them up fine and add them on top of a salad or pasta dish.
Potatoes: We put potatoes in your boxes every other week, which unfortunately means that 1/2 of our biweekly members never get them and the other half always get them. Try making potato soup!
I hope that a few photos of farm activities will give CSA members a sense of being just a little bit closer to where your fruits and veggies are coming from. These are nothing too fancy, just simple photo-snaps taken with phone cameras by various Full Bellies as we do our work.
Several times a year, Jenna and Amon and several other farm chefs put together a “crew lunch” so that we can all have a sit-down time together. The lunch usually features Full Belly-grown products. [Read more…]