Today’s CSA Box – Week of January 23, 2017

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

Cabbage: A delicate vegetable that can be led in numerous directions… Gently simmered or steamed and then topped with rosemary, blue cheese, and cream.  Shredded raw and massaged with salt and a bit of lemon. Parboiled in salted water for a few minutes, then tossed with olive oil and crushed garlic.  Kitchen wisdom is to avoid overcooking cabbage!

Bok Choy: Very popular in Asian cuisine, think about using this in a simple stir fry with garlic and sesame oil, served over rice. Morsels of meat can also be added.  The contrast between the crisp stems and the tender greens of bok choy is delicious in a stir fry. 

Scarlet Turnips: After describing a wonderful turnip soup made with Gruyere cheese and cream that she used to make at Green’s restaurant in San Francisco, Deborah Madison asks, “What was it that gave turnips such a bad name?” (Vegetable Literacy, Ten Speed Press, 2013).  Just try these scarlet turnips raw and you will be a convert.  You can make ¼-inch slices and enjoy them as a salad with roasted walnuts, feta cheese, salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil.

News From the Farm | January 23, 2017

The sun has broken through this Sunday afternoon after a powerful storm blasted through the valley at about 3:00 this morning. We have had our world soaked and saturated with rainfall that started around the first of the year and has scarcely let up. Cache Creek, the river that we use for summer irrigation and swimming, will peak today at 14,000 cubic feet per second. The high this year has been 25,000 cubic feet per second—a raging brown torrent.  To date compared to last year, Clear Lake and Indian Valley Reservoir have 175,000 acre-feet of increased water storage. This is water that will be saved and released for summer irrigation. 

The farm is high, yet hardly dry, and looking forward to a few days of sunshine. We have a full crew that has been slogging boxes out of the fields. They work rain or shine—mostly in rain this month. Our stalwart crew has been picking carrots or potatoes in flat-out downpours and need some time to wring out. So far this year we have been Wringing in 2017!

The water and snowpack has changed the outlook for California farms. There should be enough water for farmers to plant up every acre of San Joaquin Valley farmland that can possibly be planted. When given the resources farmers show little restraint for expanding farmed acreage. This has me a bit worried. For the trends in agriculture aren’t positive at this point.  I fear that a good deal of the drought-idled acreage in the central valley will be enrolled as organic acreage and prices will tumble. Vegetable and melon receipts were already down by 7% this year. 

Farmers can quite literally expand production to their own ruin. 2016 was a year when mid-western farmers were once again the victims of their own success. Corn and soybean prices have tumbled and net cash farm income was projected to drop by 17%.

In California, where almonds have attracted institutional investors like TIAA-CREF, hedge funds and even Oprah Winfrey, acreage and harvests of almonds has doubled since 2003, and prices have fallen to a place where some are projecting that farmland may be overvalued by 70 billion dollars, largely driven by the almond boom.  History has shown that when the rush for the door starts, as returns fall and institutional investors flinch, momentum to be the first one out becomes disastrous.  Added to the potential for a Trump trade war with China, almond prospects seem shaky at best. 

In this past year we have seen increased competition among grocers and the corresponding drive among wholesalers to buy our farm products more cheaply. Often, prices offered for our fresh fruits and vegetables were the same as those we received 10 years ago. This is part of what has been a trend of food price deflation as grocers try to outcompete one another.  In the end, that competition, makes it hard to remain viable as a farm.  It is reported that nearly 20 % of US farms are in financial distress.

We are entering our 34th year of farming here in the Capay Valley at Full Belly. We would like to think that our market mix and cultivated relationships have insulated us somewhat from the dropping prices in the marketplace. But when we add the justifiable increase in the minimum wage, and new overtime rules for farm workers, I am anticipating a squeeze that may challenge us to adapt and modify our expectations about the coming season.

Don’t worry, Full Belly is doing fine, but the need to think critically about the state of the marketplace requires adaptability. We will not compromise on our commitment to a healthy farm system and organic production. We will remain committed to an open and transparent farm, welcoming visitors and farm patrons to walk the farm and see what we are up to. We will create a healthy work environment for out employees, many of who have been with us for nearly 25 years. We will remain committed to growing food and crops with flavor that are healthy and wholesome. And we will tighten our belts and become more efficient in everything that we do. 

It is an old story for farmers and a cycle that shows itself with regularity. Granted, I am speculating here, but in tying this back to rainfall, farmers would be best served if restrained from planting each and every acre that can receive the plenty of this year’s rain and snow pack.  Restoring the San Joaquin River, or healthy salmon fisheries in our California rivers and balancing production with a better overall environmental story might serve them best. They may be best served by regulations that target the few ‘bad actors’ who look to cut costs while harming the overall environment. Why not argue for rewards for practices that enhance the overall health of land, water, and the wildlife that lives above, in and around a farm?

So on this afternoon, when the sun has found its way to warm the soggy lands of the farm, I hope that my mood wasn’t too rainy. I have been a part of a farm nearly all of my life, and honor those who farm as a wonderful and resilient lot who are clever and smart if they have survived to this point. Yet farmers are repeatedly caught in their own drive to produce great yields that lead to surplus and low prices, caught in forces that are larger than themselves and that they have no power to control. This may only change when success is measured by more than cheap food. It will change when value, mindfulness and fairness are central to the responsibility that each of us has to create the world that we want to live in.

— Paul Muller

Letter to the Editor

Concerning those green plastic boxes – here’s a solution that works for me: This technique has worked for me since before the green plastic boxes.  There’s no need to take Full Belly’s boxes anywhere.

Find a cardboard box about the same size as the Full Belly box. Shouldn’t be too hard, with all the deliveries people get these days. Reinforce it with duct tape if necessary.  Keep it in your car, with the grocery bags. Take it with you to your pickup site.  Do Not Remove the green box from the site. Transfer everything in the green box to your own box.  Put your box in your car, unload it at home, immediately. Return your box to your car for next week. Repeat.

Here’s hoping this idea makes a difference.

Helen  –  Lake Ave, Piedmont site

Farm Events

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.

2017 Farm Dinner Dates

Join us for dinner on the farm. This year, we have expanded the number of opportunities you can join us for a delicious seasonal meal – made with Full Belly Farm ingredients! Reservations are now being accepted – call 530-796-2214 to reserve your seats! These dinners will sell out – we recommend calling soon.

2017 Farm Dinner Dates:

February 18 – Farm Dinner and Tour

February 25 – Farm Dinner and Tour – Stay for the Almond Festival on February 26th!

March 18 – Farm Dinner and Tour

April 1 – Farm Dinner and Tour

April 15 – Farm Dinner and Tour

May 12 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

May 13 – Farm Dinner and Tour

June 9 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

June 10 – Farm Dinner and Tour

July 7 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

July 8 – Farm Dinner and Tour 

August 11 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

August 12 – Farm Dinner and Tour

September 15 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

September 16 – Farm Dinner and Tour

October 13 – Casual Wood Fired Pizza Dinner, no reservations necessary

October 14 – Farm Dinner and Tour

November 11 – Farm Dinner and Tour

December 2 – Farm Dinner and Tour

Details:

The Farm Dinner and Tour experience consists of a farmer-led tour of Full Belly Farm and a delightful and deliciously prepared seasonal menu – featuring the freshest flavors from the farm. The cost is $80 per adult ($70 for CSA members) and $40 for children ages 7-12 ($30 for CSA member’s children). Children 7 and under are free. The Farm Tour and appetizers begin at 5pm (sometimes a bit later, depending on the summertime heat). Alcohol is not included in price of dinner. 

The Pizza Dinner evenings are very causal – they are designed to be a fun and relaxed way to spend your Friday evening. We will be baking pizzas up in our wood-fired pizza oven, serving up delicious side salads, and scooping farm fresh ice cream. You can reserve a table space for $25 per person (includes one pizza, two sides, and dessert). No reservations are necessary – and if all of the tables are scooped up, you can always bring a blanket and picnic on our beautiful lawn!

Please note: We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions, though all dinners are prepared in a kitchen that contains wheat, nuts, dairy, and other potential allergens. Please let us know of any dietary notations when making your reservations. 

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.

Oranges – $7.50/ 5 pounds  -OR-  $15/ 10 pounds

Almonds – Raw $15/ pound 

Almonds –  Roasted $8/ half pound 

Almond Butter – $17/ jar – Crunchy or Creamy (temporarily out) – ask about bulk orders

Walnuts – $12/ pound 

Popcorn – $5/ pound 

Bloody Butcher 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

Sun Dried Peaches – $5/ half pound

Sun Dried Tomatoes – $5/ quarter 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.

Veggie Tips

Nantes Carrots:  This variety is so crisp that they could never be harvested by machine (unlike most common supermarket varieties) because they would break.  The frosty weather has made them especially sweet this year, so we are sending them as a weekly treat.

Celery Root:  A variety of celery cultivated for it’s wonderful root, rather than for the shoots, although if you enjoy the celery flavor, don’t overlook the leaves and stems. It will store well — but you should remove the leaves if you aren’t going to eat it in a few days.  The first time I was introduced to celery root I made soup with it and felt as if I had made an incredible culinary discovery.

Mizuna:  I recently ate out at a restaurant and was served a delicious mizuna salad with vinaigrette dressing.  So fresh and delicious!

News From the Farm | January 16, 2017

At this time of year an unusually large number of people join our CSA program for the first time, and that brings our attention around to the fact that getting used to the CSA box is sometimes challenging for new members. Sometimes people ask why they can’t just get one box as a starter, before they decide to commit for a longer term. But we encourage new members to make a commitment of trying at least 4 boxes when they first start, so that they have more of a chance to build a connection with the farm and to try and develop a greater knowledge of cooking ‘out of the box’.

Because there are so many new members right now, this is a good time of year for us to use this newsletter to answer some questions about how the CSA program works.  Here’s an example of one of the questions that we received recently: 

“I have always thought about getting a box but haven’t done it until now. One of the reasons that I would get a weekly box is to be able to get produce that is fresher than what I can get at the store. Can you give me an idea of the length of time between when your vegetables are picked and when they arrive at the drop-off location? I couldn’t find anything about it on on your website.” [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Navel Oranges: You will have navel oranges in your boxes every week for the next few months.  These oranges are from an orchard that we rent and have been managing for a decade.  An orange a day can help to keep the winter flu bugs away!

Honeynut Squash: We are coming to the end of our winter squash, and we hope you enjoy the last few weeks of deliveries.  If you are looking for a quick meal on a work night, this nutritious vegetable is the way to go. Just bake it until soft (not mushy), slice it up and serve it as a side dish, perhaps with a little bit of butter (and maybe honey…)  Honeynut is a lot like Butternut squash and can be used interchangeably.  For example, our recipe archive includes a recipe for Butternut Squash Casserole that also might be good with the spinach in your box this week.

Tokyo Turnips: The greens on our turnips are a little beaten up by the weather, but still delicious.  The roots are mild, crips and versatile.  Try them raw — you may be surprised at how good they are that way.  They can be used raw like a radish, on salads.  They are also good roasted, or added to soup.

News From the Farm | January 9, 2017

A note about our ‘Stop Waste’ boxes

Welcome back to Full Belly veggies!  We hope that you had some wonderful meals during our holiday rest.  We are excited to be your fruit and vegetable farmers for 2017.  We appreciate all of you who are continuing members, as well as all of you who are trying out a Full Belly CSA box for the first time.  We have had a lot of rain and some nice cold weather over the last few weeks, so our fields are muddy, slowing down the process of getting your veggies out of the field, to be washed, and packed.  You may notice that the cold weather brings out the sweetness in our greens and carrots.

One of the chores of our winter break every year, is to collect and count our inventory of ‘Stop Waste’ CSA boxes.  For our members who have been with us for awhile, the hard plastic green boxes that we pack your vegetables in, are old friends.  We call them our Stop Waste boxes, because they are an alternative to the ubiquitous waxed cardboard boxes, usually used to pack produce, that go straight to the landfill after use.  But the hard plastic boxes are expensive — we paid $12.25 for each one when we first purchased them in 2013, so we try to encourage all of our members, including those who get home delivered veggies, to make sure that all of the boxes are returned to the farm. [Read more…]

Recent Rains

This photo of the flooded creek was taken Sunday afternoon. The bushes that you see poking out of the water are normally the bank!

Veggie Tips

Kohlrabi:  Peel the outer green skin off.  It is the crisp center that you eat. Our web site has recipes for Kohlrabi Fries, Kohlrabi and Walnut Salad, and Kohlrabi Fritters.

Lettuce: If it looks a little bit wet in your plastic bag and you aren’t expecting to use it in the next few days, it doesn’t hurt to shake out the excess water before putting it in the refrigerator.

Tokyo Turnips: Separate the greens from the roots for better storage of both.  The roots can be cut into rectangles, lightly salted (to wilt) and served with a bit of lime or lemon juice.  They are crunchy and mild enough to eat raw or in salad.

News From the Farm | December 5, 2016

About 32 years ago, we started farming the fields that make up Full Belly Farm. In each of those 32 fall seasons, we have taken time to reflect a bit on the year past and think about ways to tweak our program so that we can do better in raising the quality of the food that we are sending to you – our farm supporters. 

2016 was indeed an eventful year… There may be too many moments lived where summary doesn’t do them justice – but of course we can try.

We celebrated Rye and Becca’s beautiful wedding under the deep shade of our walnut orchard; introduced some young full bellies into this life – Hazel, Clementine and Waylon; sent Ellis off to the University of Wyoming; purchased land adjoining the farm which we had been farming for years; held farm dinners; made pickles and olives and bouquets; hosted guests from around the globe; became an overnight camp for big-eyed third graders and chaperones; saw our truck driver, Pancho receive a new kidney and return to work 6 months later; planted trees, cover crops, sheep, cow and chicken feeds, new asparagus; and managed to get through it all with but a few bumps and bruises. [Read more…]

Stop Waste Boxes

Please remember to return any of our green or grey Stop Waste boxes to your pick-up sites this week that  you may have around your home.  We need to get all of them back to the farm so that we can do an inventory and deep cleaning.

Veggie Tips

Dino Kale: Also called Lacinato or cavolo nero, this kale has been part of Italian cuisine for  centuries.  Put it in your minestrone or ribollita.

Lettuce: If your lettuce arrives very wet, it is a good idea to shake it out before storing it in the refrigerator.

Scarlet Turnips: These turnip greens are more tender than the dino kale (also in your box) and need less time cooking.  Don’t peel the tender skin off the roots – it is part of the appeal of these beautiful turnips.  Take a taste of the raw turnip root – some people enjoy it in salad.  The turnips could be roasted along with the beets and carrots.

News From the Farm | November 28, 2016

In April of 2015, a professor asked me what I planned to do after college. I replied, “I’m going to do farm work.” She paused and then smiled, “So you’re going to give your brain a break for a little while?” 

My professor meant no malice by her comment. Rather, her comment reflects a societal misunderstanding of farming. According to this misunderstanding, farm work is a purely physical occupation. It is not intellectually creative work. Innovation in farming comes from the outside, from geneticists and engineers, not from farmers. Therefore, one can contrast farm work with “brain” work, which occurs in white-collar offices and is reserved, predominantly, for people with a college education. The latter is considered intellectual; the former is not. 

I graduated the following month. The timeworn ritual of college graduation, with speeches, awards, and obscure Latin calligraphy, gives students the impression that they know something. They certainly do—I deeply value my education—but it took me little time at Full Belly to realize precisely how little I know and how misled it is to apply the adjective “intellectual” exclusively to white-collar work.  [Read more…]

Holiday Treats

Our Fall Kitchen angels have been busy, offering additional treats for you to add on to your CSA boxes.  Email  if you want to add to your veggie box. Note that our minimum order is $8.

We have pomegranate syrup, in 250 mL glass bottles ($12) or 500 mL glass bottles ($20).  The pomegranate syrup is only made in small quantities and is available fleetingly each year. Think of it as the local analog to maple syrup.

We also have pizza dough made with Full Belly organic flour, a bit of additional fine pizza flour, and local organic olive oil from Pasture 42 (right down the road from Full Belly). The pizza dough will be frozen when it goes into your box, and then will be allowed to thaw.  When you pick it up, put it in your refrigerator and use it within a few days.  $6 per pizza dough ball.

Yarn Gift Boxes

Full Belly is proud of our flock of approximately 200 sheep (Merino, Rambouillet, Lincoln, and Suffolk breeds) that are raised organically on open pasture eating a diet of post-harvest organic crops.  Rotating the sheep through each field after harvest aids in breaking down plant bio-mass, and increasing the fertility and biological activity in the soil.  In this way, the sheep play an integral part in our sustainable farm system. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Roasted Roots:  Your box this week contains several items that you can use in your Thanksgiving roasted roots.  Combine the Carrots, Butternut Squash and Potatoes.  Aim for soft interior and crispy skin, with a deep roasted sweetness and flavor.

Broccoli: Check out this fun 2013 article about broccoli in the NY Times.  Advertising executives gave their first impressions of broccoli: “Overcooked, soggy.” “Hiding under cheese.” “Told not to leave the table until I eat it.”  Full Belly CSA members beg to differ, right?

Carrots: These are variety called Nantes.  At this time of year, with cold weather, they are absolutely terrific.  Make sure to just try some of them straight from the bunch.  If you’re going to store them, remove the tops.

Peppers: These are the last of our Spanish Bells, with flavor like a bell pepper.  They are suitable for stuffing.  Our recipe calls for parsley (in this week’s box) and tomatoes (not!)  Some cooked cubes of the winter squash might be a good substitute.

News From the Farm | November 21, 2016

Full Belly Farm started offering veggie boxes in 1992 and from the very start the program has had an influence on the farm that was perhaps bigger than might be expected from the number of boxes we pack each week.  Along with the economic relationship, it has created a source of constant feedback about what is working or not working. We can trace changes in the farm directly to comments and suggestions we received from our members — increases in  the diversity of fruits and vegetables that we grow for example. 

Some of our long-time members have always had a fierce desire to support our farm through thick and thin. We remember some of our first “work days” on the farm when small groups of members would arrive with their work boots and gloves, ready to take on whatever we had in store.  Now, faced with too many legal and liability complexities, we have morphed the work days into farm visits and tours, but the sense that we have of ready support and commitment as well as a two-way relationship with our membership hasn’t gone away.

We still have many members who joined the program when it started all of those 24 years ago. The farm now offers a summer camp to CSA members, and some kids tell us that they were raised on Full Belly fruits and veggies from day one, spent many summers at Camp Full Belly, became camp counsellors, and now take on responsibilities volunteering at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival in October every year. These are the kind of long-term relationships between a farm and its community that go deep and mean a lot to us, your farmers.  

In addition to the members for whom the program “works,” and who continue to be a part of the farm, we have, at any point in time, a majority of new members, trying out the CSA program to see if their busy lives can incorporate the challenge of cooking out of the box, sometimes with products that they might not have chosen to buy at the supermarket.  Hoping to make the CSA more accessible, we created our member portal, so that all of our members can create their own accounts, (and soon be able to add-on special orders through those accounts).  Our recipe archive (accessed through the recipe page of our web site) is built around the fruits and vegetables found in the box. Every day we respond to questions and concerns of members unsure how to use a new vegetable.

Each week, when we choose what we will put into the box, we think about and discuss the diversity, quality and value of the CSA box, knowing that our members are putting their trust in us — allowing us to choose.  The whole thing turns the modern food system topsy turvy — in the supermarket vegetable aisle, products from all over the world are on display! In fact just one bag of salad mix from the store almost surely contains greens grown in several different states, and hamburger meat from the meat department probably contains meat from cows that grew up in several different countries! Asking our members to build their meals around the products from one small farm facing the vagaries of our own local climate and weather, is actually a revolutionary concept, put in the context of the global food system.

It is Thanksgiving week, and we are thankful for many things, including the loyalty, flexibility and open-mindedness of our CSA members, both long-term and new-to-us. In this newsletter we are announcing a modest 5% increase in the price of our CSA boxes for 2017.  The last time we increased our prices was five years ago! We will, in future issues, perhaps talk to you about the significant increases in the cost of labor that lead us to make this change in our prices.  We may describe the challenges we face as we try to grow smallish quantities of such a diverse spectrum of fruits and vegetables in a food system focussed only on narrowly defined “efficiencies.” We may tell you about our commitment to soil-building with compost, cover crops, crop rotations, animal grazing and other experiments that we think will increase the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables.  For now, we hope that our price increase will not present a hardship to any of our members, and we trust that you understand that it is a necessary change.

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

—Judith Redmond

New Prices for 2017

Boxes purchased 4 in advance will be $19 per box or $76 for 4 boxes (was $18/box)

Boxes purchased 12 in advance will be $17.50 per box or $210 for 12 boxes (was $16.50/box)

Boxes purchased annually will be $16.50 per box or $792 for 48 boxes (was $16/box)

Our flower season starts in April.  Flower prices will be $8/bouquet for the entire 26-week season, or $8.50/bouquet if you purchase 4 bouquets in advance. In addition, we will be charging sales tax on flowers.  In the past we have backed sales tax out of the price of the flowers after purchase, but we will be doing it the more standard way (adding it on top of the purchase price) from now on.

These prices will go into effect for any renewals starting from December 12th, 2106 forward.  (Remember that the farm is on winter break from December 12th through January 8th.) The last time that Full Belly raised our CSA prices was in 2012!

Thank you.

Veggie Tips

Pomegranates: Free the seeds from the fruit the easy way. Eat the seeds straight out of the bowl, spoonfuls at a time.

Bok Choy: Bok Choy, garlic, vegetable oil, a splash of sesame oil and you have a delicious stir fry.  Serve it over some rice!

Potatoes: These potatoes are young and creamy.  Remember to refrigerate them like a fresh vegetable and keep them out of the light. Make them into potato soup, or Spanish tortilla. The dill that is in your box should go well in most dishes that you make with the potatoes.

News From the Farm | November 14, 2016

Guest contribution from our friends at the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)

Healthy soils not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration, but also provide tangible benefits to farmers’ bottom lines, their communities’ health, and the wildlife around them. So wouldn’t it be great if farmers could get paid to improve soil health? Thanks to new groundbreaking legislation, they can.

California is launching a first-of-its-kind program to pay farmers to adopt agricultural practices that enhance soil health and mitigate climate change. The state legislature established the Healthy Soils Program in late August and provided $7.5 million in start-up funding. The program will provide grants to growers for on-farm demonstration projects and soil management practices that provide clear climate benefits such as applying compost, mulching, and planting hedgerows.

img_0945Food “waste,” or food production? [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Napa Cabbage: In Asian cuisines, Napa Cabbage can be made into a salad by shredding the cabbage and combining with some roasted almonds, and sesame seeds, flavored with soy sauce, oil and vinegar. This web page has some great ideas for using your Napa cabbage.

Watermelon Daikon Radish:  Daikon radishes are used all over the world in many ways — not just on top of salads.  Slice them lengthwise with lime or lemon and salt, add them to miso soup, roast them with other veggies or place them in thin slices on top of a buttered baguette!  

Fennel: If you are using fennel in salad, you  might want to think about slicing it fairly thin.  Here is a recipe for Portuguese Fennel Soup that uses the fennel fronds and the bulb, as well as other veggies common in your CSA box at this time of year — garlic, cabbage and potatoes. Anthony’s Fennel Slaw, using lemon and a hard cheese is probably one of our all time favorite ways to use fennel.

News From the Farm | November 7, 2016

As the season of autumn abundance is upon us, I am checking in from the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC), where I have the privilege of working as a volunteer, providing free holistic and integrative healthcare to underserved women who are living with cancer. For the past 25 years, CMC has offered a wide range of holistic services to women who could not otherwise afford them: therapeutic massage and other kinds of bodywork, acupuncture, Chinese and western herbal medicine, exercise classes, as well as referrals to medical and social services. For many of those 25 years, the Full Belly Farm community has delivered produce boxes to CMC though the Farm Box Donation Program.

Women whose lives are often complicated, hectic, and difficult enter a serene healing space that is entirely dedicated to their own health and healing when they arrive at the Clinic. They are greeted by caring, compassionate staff and hot herbal tea.  And the first thing they see when they walk in, is a beautiful display of Full Belly fruits and vegetables, free for the taking. They are always taken – by the end of each shift, the fruits and veggies are gone. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

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.  If you get your box every other week, you are on the pomegranate schedule — let us know if you would like to get on a different plan…

Karinata Kale: This is a very special kale grown only by two Capay Valley farms. It is a cross between red Russian kale and Mustard. Lately I’ve been chopping up my greens, then cooking them in a bit of water flavored with apple cider vinegar, or some other acid like lemon or wine vinegar.  When they’ve absorbed most of the water, you can add a bit of butter and stir fry them for a few minutes. 

Leeks: Cut the leeks lengthwise to clean them.  Then put the two sides back on top of one another to chop and you have pretty, perfect sized half rounds!

Potatoes: These potatoes should be treated like a fresh vegetable rather than a storage vegetable — put them in the refrigerator and don’t leave them in light.  The skins have not ‘set,’ so don’t worry if they get scuffed up— the potato is tender and creamy.

Salad Mix/Lettuce: If your salad mix or lettuce is wet when it arrives, you might want to shake out some of the excess water — we do try to do that at the farm, but sometimes we don’t have time to dry the lettuce properly.  At some time we may invest in an industrial-size salad mix drier.  The salad mix is one of the most fragile things in your box this week — eat it first!

News From the Farm | October 31, 2016

We have been enjoying rain and the forecast for unsettled weather has created a marked difference to the start of this fall rainy season compared to the past 5 years when there was no fall rainy season. We have surpassed 3 inches here, creating a hue of soft green emerging from the straw-yellow hills. All edges have come alive as warm temperatures double plant growth in a great start to Fall. 

Fall work includes tomato fields to clean up, cover crops to plant, hoeing and cultivation of our greens and winter crops, hard squash in the fields to be picked up, pruning, early grasses to till in ahead of November grain planting, and repairs to equipment that is limping toward the year-end finish line.

This rain is a blessing that requires a bit of adjustment on our part. The more that it rains, the more the calculus changes. Little or no rain means that we adjust with pumped water, providing the moisture needed to grow crops. A lot of rain creates muddy fields where the crops that we harvest are carried to the edges. Picking slows down, tractors stop and raingear-clad crews carry 5 lbs of mud on each boot.  [Read more…]

Happy Halloween From Full Belly Farm!

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Veggie Tips

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!

News From the Farm | October 24, 2016

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.

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