Today’s CSA Box – Week of June 27, 2016

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

Basil: Store your basil dry in the refrigerator or in a vase with a bit of water in a cool place on your counter. This is one of the more delicate items in your box so you may want to think about using it towards the beginning of the week.  Besides making pesto, you can chop the basil to add flavor to the green beans, eggplant or summer squash when you use them.

Eggplant: Keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Eggplant absorbs flavors of herbs and sauces when you are cooking.  If you have a grill  just rub a bit of oil on the sliced eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill it quickly on both sides. 

Onions:  Our members who get a box every other week will have noticed that there are certain things that alternate regularly during the year — garlic and onions are an example.  The result can be that our every-other-week members are getting one or the other in every box!

Summer Squash: We are only growing two types these days, zucchini and yellow crookneck.  They can be used fairly interchangeably.  They store well if kept cold, in a bag in your vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. The Full Belly recipe archive contains an easy recipe for Roasted or Grilled Eggplant, Squash and Onions as well as a recipe for Summer Squash Basil Soup. Both of those recipes use items in this week’s box.

News From the Farm | June 27, 2016

We know that many of you are wondering where the tomatoes are and why you are “still getting beets and cabbage in your boxes.”  We also note that some of our members are happy to continue getting something green for awhile, like a cabbage…   As one of our members commented, “every single selection is someone’s favorite or someone’s least favorite.”  Even though the CSA boxes sometimes have the same vegetables in them for a few weeks, taken as a whole, the variety of fruits and vegetables in the boxes from season to season results in a remarkably diverse cuisine, providing healthy inspiration to your creativity and ingenuity in the kitchen.

June is always a month when the CSA boxes reflect a transition from cool weather crops to summer crops. You can follow that transition from afar… In June, the summer crops are growing so fast that you can see changes from day to day, but on the other hand, the spring crops are slowing down and starting to be a little peaked. By the end of June, the greens are long gone and the first ripe tomatoes and melons can be found if one goes on a determined search from one end of the row to the other.  By July, the yield of tomatoes is growing exponentially, from one or two cherry tomatoes, to a few boxes that go to farmers markets, to enough that we could literally fill your kitchen with them, multicolored and vibrating with summer heat and energy. 

This week’s box says “summer” with every item.  We hope that you enjoy it!

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Melons growing in the shade of a bed of sunflowers.

Flower Notes

If you are getting CSA flowers, your bouquet is a variety of black-eyed-susan that we are excited about this year, called Cherokee Sunset.

New Site in Oakland near Lake Merritt

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Full Belly Farm is opening a new pick-up site at the Bay Grape Wine Shop in Oakland.  The site will be open from noon to 9:30pm on Wednesdays and is across from Lake Merritt at 376 Grand Avenue.  You can sign up to pick-up your box at this site through our web site.  Note that the site will be PENDING until we know that there is enough interest to make it a success.

Farm to Fork

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On July 8 in downtown SF, Chef Caesare Assad will be serving up a Native American-inspired meal with produce sourced from Full Belly Farm and other farms in the Capay Valley. At the immersive pop-up dinner, you can enjoy a 5-course meal plus wine pairing, and learn about the people and places that make your meal possible! A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Mandela Marketplace. Click here for more information about the dinner, or for tickets.

Please Sign Off When You Pick Up Your Box

Please use the sign-in sheets when you pick up your box.  If there is a box left over at the end of the day, we can use the sign-in sheet to let us know who might not have picked up their box.  If some people have taken a box but not signed the sheet, it can be difficult to figure this out.

Summer Garden BBQ with Bradley Ogden and Full Belly Farm

Chef Bradley Ogden and Full Belly Farm are teaming up to offer a very special cooking class on Saturday July 16, from 1pm to 5pm. The class will include a short farm tour, a cooking class in the Full Belly kitchen, and an early dinner. Additionally, everyone will go home with a folder of Bradley Ogden recipes. The class will feature fresh vegetables and meat directly from Full Belly Farm. Chef Bradley Ogden is the culinary genius behind many award-winning restaurants including locally, The Lark Creek Inn, Lark Creek Steak, and One Market.  His numerous awards include ‘Best Chef of California’ by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. The class is $150 ($140 for current CSA members) paid in advance. Call the office to reserve a spot and make payment  – 530-796-2214.

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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.

NEW Apricot Jam – $9 for a delicious 12-oz jar!

Peach & Strawberry Jam – $9 for a 12-oz jar

New Sun Dried Apricots & Peaches – $5/ half pound

Almond Butter – $17/ jar – ask about bulk orders

Almonds – Raw $15/ pound  -OR-  Roasted $8/ half pound  -OR-  Tamari $8/ half pound

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.

Veggie Tips

Green Beans: Your box contains 1/2 pound. You can make a quick stir-fry to go over pasta by cutting the beans in half and frying them with garlic or onions, some herbs, a little bit of lemon and maybe some roasted nuts and cheese on the top.

Green Cabbage: Time for cole slaw, braised cabbage or a cabbage-based soup. Even a small batch of sauerkraut is pretty easy to make If you don’t eat your cabbage right away, no worries. It will store well in your refrigerator. 

Potatoes: These will store in the refrigerator, so if you haven’t been using them up each week, don’t worry. There are many great recipes for potatoes in the Full Belly recipe archive.

Sweet Corn: We haven’t grown much sweet corn for the last few years because of the drought. This year we are venturing back into some small plantings, with a bicolor variety that we have enjoyed in the past. There are yellow and white kernels. We do not grow the ‘super sweet’ varieties because we prefer the old-fashioned corn flavor. You can eat this raw right off the cob, or steam it for a few minutes. See this article for tips on cutting the kernels off the cob. Eat the corn early in the week – the sweetness turns to starch quite quickly. Store it in your refrigerator with the husk on. 

News From the Farm | June 20, 2016

It has been a busy week at Full Belly! Summer came a’knockin with full force and brought the arrival of melons, tomatoes (we picked our first heirlooms!), more peach varieties, plums, apricots, eggplant, cucumbers, and corn – hooray for summer flavors! For most of us at the farm, we hold off eating summertime fruits and vegetables until they are in season which makes this time of year especially mouthwatering. In addition to the new harvest, we also welcomed our first group of summer campers to the farm yesterday – eager youngsters who will spend the week working, playing, swimming, laughing, and farming. Their first task: to care for the 11 new piglets born less than 24 hours before their arrival. 

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These little piglets are busy eating – and growing! Their mother, Blueberry, will provide milk for them for a little over a month before they start to eat Full Belly grains and veggies! [Read more…]

Flower Notes

Your CSA bouquet this week is a beautiful Black Eye Susan and Safflower mix!

Veggie Notes

Basil: Basil is delicate.  If it gets too cold in the refrigerator, the leaves will turn black.  Try putting the basil in a jar of water, just like a bouquet of flowers.  Then loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter.

Green Beans: Green Bean Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons, Buttery Garlic Green Beans, Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic – these recipes are all available in the Full Belly recipe archives.  Green Beans store well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

Red Beets: So nutritious – Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid.  Let’s make some borscht!

Red Cabbage: Try it braised or baked slowly with butter, onions, apples, a bit of vinegar and some spices – You may not buy red cabbage at the store regularly, but once you discover some favorite recipes, you will realize that it can serve as the basis for a versatile and economical main dish.  Red cabbage stores well in the refrigerator. 

News From the Farm | June 13, 2016

The weekend has nearly run out on me – 9pm on Sunday evening and a Beet is due by tomorrow morning at 6am. There is simply a lot to report in the short space of a few paragraphs… The farm update: Spring is done and Summer has arrived. Our early peaches, though small, have been pretty tasty. We have run through the first four varieties with another 12 or so to go. The Royal Blenheim apricots are a couple of weeks early so you should see them in your boxes – at least this week. We have Santa Rosa plums, basil, beans, the first sweet corn is ripening, summer squash, goddess and orchid melons – all so early, and, the crème de la crème, the first pick of cherry tomatoes. It is getting too hot for the collards, kale, chards, lettuces, broccoli, cabbage and carrots. Spring has sprung out of here and summer is upon us. 

We have the ongoing tasks of preparing ground for late summer plantings – last tomatoes, summer cover crops, flowers, winter squash, leeks, celery root, and the final melons will go in the ground until the first of July. Planting will then take a break for a month as we focus on harvest. Indeed, we often have so much to do during the summer months that we are challenged to get it all picked, sold, packed and shipped. It is a period when the farm earns about 40% of our annual income as all of the springtime work of planting crops shifts to the harvest. This season it seems that things are a couple of weeks early so we are shifting to a yet higher gear to bring it all in.  [Read more…]

Flower Notes

Your CSA bouquet this week contains beautiful Black Eyed Susan!

Veggie Notes

Green Beans: The first green beans of the year!  This Blue-Lake-type variety is called Savannah.  If you cook them, just do it for a short time!

Cabbage: What a perfect size this green cabbage is! Cabbage is one of the vegetables that really grows on you once you realize how versatile and easy it is.  It will store well for awhile in your refrigerator.  It can be wilted for a crowd-pleasing salad, made into coleslaw, added to soups, or braised as in the simple recipe on our web site Butter Braised Cabbage.

Peaches: This variety is called Brittney Lane, a yellow-fleshed early maturing peach.

Garlic: The Full Belly garlic crop of 2016 has completed its journey from clove, to green garlic, to bulbed-but-not-fully-dried garlic, to a cured garlic head that you find in your CSA box. These bulbs will be fine stored on the counter.  For a special treat, roast them in the oven and squish them out of the skin when they are soft and delicious.

News From the Farm | June 6, 2016

Guest Contribution  –  Soil as a Carbon Sink

Due to climate change, scientists predict that California will experience weather extremes that will put a huge strain on our communities and on agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are among the first to experience the effects, including erratic weather, pest pressure, drought, yield decreases, and heat waves that impact worker safety and comfort. 

California’s farms and ranches produce two potent greenhouse gases: methane (mainly from livestock) and nitrous oxide (from fertilizers)—as well as the ubiquitous carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-powered equipment and pumps. Farmers can reduce emissions in a number of ways: replace synthetic nitrogen fertilizers with organic materials such as compost or manure; improve water use efficiency so less energy is required to pump water; produce on-farm renewable energy; and more. [Read more…]

Flower Notes

Your CSA bouquet this week contains Sunflowers, Safflowers and Scabiosas.

Feedback From Our Members

Q: Would you please consider not distributing cling peaches? They are suitable for canning, but are nearly impossible for eating out-of-hand, which is the use that your subscribers will make of them (who is going to can 7-8 small peaches?)

A: Full Belly grows (or has grown) nearly 25 different varieties of peach, most of which are freestone. Generally a clingstone peach has fruit that does not fall off the pit and a freestone peach has fruit that does fall of the pit.  Freestone peaches usually ripen a little bit later in the season than clingstone. Both types can be delicious. Some people don’t like to eat clingstones, because they can be a little messy.  Grandma Lois (Farmer Dru’s mom) used to call them ‘bend-over’ peaches!

Please Return our Green Boxes

If you have any of our Green CSA Boxes at your home, please return them to your pick up site as soon as possible.  If you get a home delivery of your CSA box, please make sure that you return all of our Green Boxes.  Every one of those boxes is important to us.  Last week we had to use quite a few of the waxed cardboard boxes because some of our Green Boxes had not been returned.  The waxed cartons, sadly, end up in the landfill. Help us to Stop Waste!

Veggie Notes

Beets: Loose beets, without their leaves will store well for several weeks in a bag in your refrigerator.  We have some great recipes for beets on the Full Belly website.  One of my favorites is Pasta with Roasted Beet Sauce.

Peaches:  As far as I’m concerned, smallish peaches are the way to go — perfect size for a snack.  I often make breakfast smoothies with the ripe peaches.  Chop them into the blender, then add milk, ice and maybe a bit of sugar.

Parsley: This culinary herb is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber with no cholesterol or fat. Is is native to Europe’s Mediterranean region. Use it fresh as a garnish, or dry to use as you would any other culinary herb.

News From the Farm | May 30, 2016

What’s happening at Full Belly Farm, as June and the official beginning of Summer approach? A morning’s walk around the farm reveal a patchwork of activities, just like the patchwork of fields — all getting sewn together to form the season’s quilt.  Young tomatoes, corn and melons in clean fields, as yet untouched by the onslaught of daily harvests. A crew pounding stakes into the ground, preparing to trellis the growing tomatoes.  Netted fence that has been put up around the orchards to protect the ripening fruit from hungry deer. Onions in burlap bags sitting in the beds, curing. Trucks, forklifts, backhoes and tractors, all at work on various projects.  We’re expecting some hot weather in the next few weeks, so the pace is likely to kick into even higher gear very soon.

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Yesenia Gaxiola Vega, Wendy Arita Paz, and Maria Machado Castro harvesting garlic. [Read more…]

Flower Notes

Beautiful scabiosa and sunflowers are in this week’s CSA bouquet.

Veggie Notes

Basil: When you get to taste the first of the year, no matter whether it is a tomato, a melon, or a bunch of basil, you may want to savor the moment — having waited patiently and eaten no out-of-season substitutes! Here’s your first-of-year fresh green basil, ready to season a sauce or add to a stir-fry.

Beets: Look for recipes on our web site. We love this observation from Deborah Madison’s beautiful cookbook, Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, 2013): “Beets are also full of sugars — think of sugar beets, from which sugar is made — and these two qualities, the earthy and the sweet, oppose one another and confuse the mouth.  At least I’m convinced this is so.  I’ve long believed that acid in the form of citrus juices or good vinegars make a bridge between these elements and unites them in a way that makes beets much more likable.” 

Cabbage: Use it to roll up some vegetables and rice, or make a wilted cabbage salad by slicing it up, salting it, massaging in the salt, squeezing out the water, and dressing it up with some lemon and parmesan cheese.

Potatoes: These are new potatoes which means that the skin is thin and doesn’t need to be peeled, plus you should refrigerate them to preserve their creamy texture.  These potatoes are great roasted, made into fries or potato salad or boiled.  For healthy comfort food, try Potatoes au Gratin.

News From the Farm | May 23, 2016

Summer season has begun and we want our CSA members to visit us! We want you to experience the farm and get to know the challenges and joys of each season. We want to be YOUR family’s farmer, providing as much of your diet for you as possible – vegetables, fruits, nuts and FLOWERS! Yes, even flowers…

On Sunday June 12, you and your family have another opportunity to visit Full Belly Farm, this time for a Field to Vase experience featuring a tour of the farm and our flower fields. Wander through the sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, asters and cosmos – this is your chance to explore our flower operation from seed to stem. Full Belly Florist, Hannah Rose Muller, will guide participants through a farm fresh floral design workshop, complete with harvesting and arranging YOUR own bouquet! [Read more…]

Flower Notes

Sunflowers are the chosen bouquet of the week!

Signing In!

Please use the sign-in sheets when you pick up your box.  Some of our site hosts are very helpful and proactive and at the end of the day, if there is a box left over, they use the sign-in sheet to let us know who might not have picked up their box.  If some people have taken a box but not signed the sheet, it can be difficult to figure this out.

Veggie Notes

Strawberries: We pick our strawberries ripe! Please eat them soon after they arrive, or put them in your refrigerator. If some of them get soft, add them to a smoothie, or smush them onto your toast for instant strawberry jam!

Collards: One of the heavier greens, so when you get ready to cook them, think of southern recipes and add bacon, garlic and onion.  Maybe cook them in chicken broth, or with some smoked meat.  These greens are best when cooked for longer than the light chards and kales.

Potatoes: Roasted in the oven, then flavored with a bit of cheese, salt and olive oil, these are guaranteed to satisfy. They are uncured new potatoes, creamy and tender. Note that unlike mature potatoes, these need to be refrigerated. You will not need to peel them because the skins are thin, which explains why they sometimes get scuffed

Tokyo Turnips: Eat both the greens and the roots. This turnip is very mild — so much so that you can eat it raw, or chopped up with a little vinaigrette splashed on top. Also great roasted or lightly steamed.

News From the Farm | May 16, 2016

We recently had a visit from researchers from Washington State University on a project to understand the effect that farm landscapes have on bird diversity. While we love all the birds that live around Full Belly Farm, we often have to work hard to protect our fruit from them. So we have a bit of a dual relationship with the birds and we are always interested in learning more about them.

We have excerpted below from notes provided by the researchers after a few hours of studying the Full Belly birds:

“The bird surveys were very interesting. We detected 47 unique species after sampling 15 points throughout the farm and stratifying the points by habitat type (orchard, livestock, vegetables, creek, etc.) This is the highest number of unique species on the farms we’ve sampled so far. Your farm had far more landscape heterogeneity than other farms. Landscape heterogeneity is known to be important in attracting some species of birds. You’ve also got great habitat for the birds throughout, with thick vegetation located at different heights (ground level for ground foragers, shrubs for edge associated species, thick groups of tall trees for forest species, the creek for marsh birds).  [Read more…]

Flower Notes

If you got flowers with your CSA box this week, you are getting a bouquet Snapdragons.