Today’s CSA Box – Week of Sept. 18, 2017



*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

Veggie Tips

Basil: Pesto comes to mind right away, but basil is an herb that adds wonderful flavor to many meals. It’s great with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, pasta salad, in sandwiches, on pizza, or in your stuffed peppers.

Radishes: Our radish seeds were planted only three weeks ago! When the weather is warm, the radishes can keep growing so fast that we have to scramble to make sure that we use them all before they go right past.

Winter Squash: Acorn, butternut, delicata, red kuri and triple treat pumpkins are winter squash, or hard squash that we grow. If you need to get a meal on the table quickly, you can simply bake one of these squash (cut it in half to make it bake more quickly), and take it out of the oven when it is soft all the way through, ready to serve.

News From the Farm | September 18, 2017

Top Ten Reasons to Join Us at the 30th Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival: 

Once again that time has come, when the air starts cooling down, the sun stays hidden for just a bit longer, and farmers feel some weight lift off their shoulders as the Summer season comes to an end. Fall is coming, a time when pumpkin patches start popping up, farms stay dark just a few minutes longer and the season of tomatoes and summer squash comes to an end. As people search out their Halloween decorations, and farmers pull out their mud boots, Full Belly gets ready for the Hoes Down Harvest Festival. 

This celebration is a chance to get out to the country and experience some good old-fashioned family fun. Although there are countless reason to come to the Hoes Down, I have done my best to pick the top 10!

#10: The Vendors! The farmers’ market features fresh fruits and veggies, the crafts area offers great crafty gifts from our artists and herbalists, and you can try your luck at our Silent Auction.

#9: The Workshops! Have you ever wondered how to grow harvest and use local grains? How to milk a goat? Or what it takes to have a farm within the city limits? The 2017 Hoes Down workshop lineup is packed with hands-on and practical learning opportunities.

#8: Sunday-Funday! After spending the night camped under the stars, you can wake up to a delicious breakfast and a Sunday filled with activities from in-depth workshops and seminars, to a REALLY fun farm clean up. Don’t go home early! 

#7: The Illuminated Carved Pumpkins! Every year, over 500 pumpkins are carved by festival-goers and they are all displayed on the path leading to the heart of the festival. Folks of all ages and talents use Full Belly pumpkins to create masterpieces that make the Hoes Down so special. One of our favorite moments is when the pumpkins are all lit. It is not a sight to miss! 

#6: The Children’s Area!  Kids of all ages can spend hours crawling through the 700-bale hay fort, turning wool into yarn or felt, churning ice cream, or petting the various animals featured in the 4-H petting zoo. Make clay creatures, paint-a-pot or create a prayer flag…

#5: The Music! The musical line-up for 2017 is some of the most toe-tapping, boot-stomping, knee-slapping, kick-your-heels-up, good time music we have ever featured. Make sure to swing your partner ‘round and ‘round during the contra dance, try out your dancing shoes during The Dixie Giants and celebrate another incredible year with our closing act Con Brio!

#4: The Yummy Food! The food alone is worth the drive. From organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables to fresh Prather Ranch burgers, you will definitely leave with your belly full and happy taste buds. Over 90% of the food served at the Hoes Down has been donated by amazing businesses who care deeply about the future of agriculture in California! 

#3: The Venue! The Hoes Down gives you the chance to get your toes dirty on a real, working farm. You can take a farm tour with one of the Full Belly Farm partners or fall asleep in the shade of an apple tree. Whatever your speed, Full Belly Farm is full of places to explore. 

#2: The Cause! Every single penny raised during the Hoes Down goes to the Ecological Farming Association and local community organizations, such as the The Farmers Guild, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the Esparto School District, and the local Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs. By attending the Hoes Down, you are supporting these important causes!

#1: The 30th Annual! The Hoes Down Harvest Festival is all about celebration. It is a time to form new friendships, strengthen relationships, and spend a weekend playing with those you appreciate and love. In a world where we are often lost in cyberspace, a weekend at a farm is just what the doctor ordered. 

There are literally hundreds of activities to enjoy on October 7th (a circus, Olive Olympics, ice cream churning, local breweries, splashing in Cache Creek, petting farm animals, Manure Pitch Off, sheep shearing, Sudan grass maze, acupuncture, massage, amazing arts and crafts vendors, felting, solar cooking –– the list could go on and on!)  We hope you, your family, and your friends will join us for the 30th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival on October 7 and 8! 

To find out more about the Hoes Down. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us. See you October 7!

— Claire Main

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are a mixed bouquet of Broom Corn, Celosia & Globe Amaranth. 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!

Tule Elk in the Capay Valley

This beautiful photo is from a group of tule elk that live in the Capay Valley and are under study by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. DFW is monitoring the elk population’s size, movements and demography, and they use melons from Full Belly to feed and briefly trap the elk so that they can collar them.  The Cache Creek herd is the oldest free ranging tule elk herd in California and was established in 1922 with 21 elk from Monterey County.

Add These Delicious Treats to Your CSA Box

We can deliver the following products with your CSA box to your pick-up site.  For additional information about any of these products email or phone us (800-791-2110).

Apricot Jam – This delicious jam is made from Full Belly organic Apricots plus a little organic sugar and lemon juice. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Peach Jam – Made from Full Belly organic peaches, plus a little organic sugar and lemon juice. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Tomato Jam – The only ingredients are Full Belly organic Early Girl tomatoes, organic sugar and organic lemons.  A nice short list of ingredients and a perfect balance between sweet and acid. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Marmalade – Bright and sweet, our marmalade is made with Full Belly Farm organic navel oranges, organic lemons and organic sugar.  We make our jams and marmalades in small batches to preserve the flavor and color of the fruit. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Candied Citrus Peel – A wonderful addition to cakes and preserves, made from our organic Navel Oranges and sugar.  $8 for a 4-oz jar.

Safflower Oil – Our organically grown safflower makes oil that is a deep, rich yellow color.  This oil is buttery and earthy in flavor.  It can be used in high-heat cooking.  Stored it in a cool, dark place, it will keep for a year after opening.  You can order 250 mL ($13) or  500 mL ($25).

Fermented Dill Pickles – Made with Full Belly Farm organic cucumbers, water, salt, organic garlic, organic spices, organic grape leaves and organic tarragon.  If you like dill pickles, you will be really glad to have found these — they are some of the best. $8.00 for 1 quart.

Bread and Butter Pickles –  Made with Full Belly Farm cucumbers, onions, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt garlic, jalapeño and spices.  All ingredients are organic. $8 for a 18 oz. jar. 

Red Tomato Sauce and Jubilee Tomato Sauce – Made with Full Belly organic tomatoes harvested at the height of the summer when they are full of incredible hot summer flavor. The Jubilee Sauce is made from our beautiful orange Jubilee Heirloom Tomatoes.  The Red Sauce is made from Romas. Other ingredients are organic salt, rosemary and oregano.  The bottles are shelf stable until opened — Refrigerate after opening. $12.00 for 24-oz bottle, $120 for a case of 12. Please specify Red or Jubilee when ordering. 

Lard – Made with organic fat from our pasture-raised pigs.  Less saturated fat and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight. $9 for 16 oz. jar.

Bone Broth – (frozen beef & pork combination) – $15/ quart

Campanelle Whole Egg Pasta – Sent to you from our freezer.  Store it in your refrigerator and use within 5 days. $8 for 12 oz

Pie Dough – For a 9-inch pie.  Frozen when we ship it, use within 3 days. $5

Pizza Dough – For a 14-inch pizza. $6/ dough ball 

Walnuts – $12/ pound 

Cornmeal – Contact us for information about the  corn varieties that we offer as cornmeal or corn kernels. 

Sun Dried Peaches – $5/half pound

Sun Dried Tomatoes – $4/quarter pound 

Sun Dried Figs – $5/half pound 

Wheat Flour –  Contact us for information about our heirloom wheat flour varieties, also sold as wheat berries. 

Cotton Bags (11.5 x 12.5 inches) – $8 for 5 bags 

Veggie Tips

A box full of fall and summer put together.  

Sweet Corn: It is very difficult for sweet corn grown at Full Belly Farm to avoid the attack of the corn ear worm.  We don’t use the strong insecticides that are available to prevent it from making its way to the tip of the corn where it feeds on the kernels.  If you see any evidence, just tip the corn and enjoy the rest of the ear, knowing that you are eating corn grown organically.

Black Eye Peas: After shucking the peas out of their pods, they can be used with some of the tomatoes to make soups like ribollita, or they can be slow-cooked in a crock pot with some bacon or pork.  You treat these more like beans than peas… There are many kinds of Southern beans, always called peas in the US South.  Fresh like this they only take about 30 minutes to cook.

Chard: The first Full Belly greens in a long time — planted just a few weeks ago and already we’re picking them!

News From the Farm | September 11, 2017

A Day in the Country

Full Belly is very lucky to be surrounded by open space, riparian habitat and native grasslands.  Our County is relatively rural and agricultural, producing processing tomatoes, rice, alfalfa hay, wine grapes, almonds and walnuts.  But not just agricultural — the County is also home to a significant number of rare and threatened plants and animals.

The predominance of open space and agriculture in this region is really not an accident — it’s the result of the efforts over time of people who live here working together to build organizations that support habitat conservation and viable business opportunities for agriculture. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Eggplant and Peppers: At my house, we’ve been grilling our vegetables a lot — partly to keep the heat out of the kitchen.  Slice  your veggies into 1/3-inch slices, sprinkle with salt and olive oil, grill them and then chop them up together to make a vegetable salad.  Add herbs like basil, peppermint or rosemary — a great way to enjoy the veggies.

Grapes and Sugar Plums:  I hope you are enjoying all of the fruit in your boxes. Our Grapes and Sugar Plums have been prolific.  The sugar plums are a variety that can be dried into prunes, but are also delicious fresh.

Delicata:  This is a light-textured squash that can be baked until soft at around 400° and eaten without much additional effort, skin and all.  A little butter, salt and pepper are the only other things that you really need.

News From the Farm | September 4, 2017

It’s been a hot week just about everywhere — not just here at the farm, but pretty much all around. We’ve had our crew arrive at dawn, hoping to get them home earlier.  But I think the first heat wave that we had in June was worse than this one. The June days were longer, thus the heat window was much longer.  Now the days are already starting to shorten, and the first day of fall is not much more than two weeks away.  I think we’re more acclimated to the heat as well — there have been a lot of triple digit weeks this summer in the Capay Valley.

We transplanted our first seedlings of greens into the field on one of the 109° days thinking on the one hand that it was awfully odd to be planting cool weather crops on such a hot day, but on the other hand, the shorter day length is a signal to the plants that fall is coming.  The lateness of summer also means that school started up, so all of the wonderful high school students that worked in the packing shed for the summer, are gone.  We had some great young helpers, we miss them and hope that they can come back next summer.  [Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are stunning Globe Amaranth. 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!

Hoes Down Festival

Our 30th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival is on October 7th this year (less than 6 weeks away!)  We invite all of our CSA members to come!  This Festival takes place at Full Belly Farm and features music, performance, hands-on activities, workshops, a circus, tours of the farm, and much more.  

The Hoes Down is an on-farm fundraiser for community organizations — all of the net proceeds are donated to organizations doing important work.  Hundreds of volunteers contribute 4-hour shifts that make the Festival a success.  Volunteer sign-ups have been brisk.  We only have a few shifts still available — afternoon or evening dishwashing and food service. A few Friday shifts have opened up due to cancellations — so a note on your sign up if you would like to work on Friday.  Volunteer for a shift here, or call us at 800-791-2110.

Veggie Tips

This week we are sending you the perfect box for fixing a picnic salad — Tomatoes, cucumbers, a little onion and minced basil.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are low in calories (mostly water), but contain significant amounts of potassium which is often scarce in the US diet.  If you eat the peel of the Persian-type cucumbers, rinse the cucumber first.

Melon:  We have had a lot of melons and watermelons in the packing shed this summer.  We’re always opening them to taste and evaluate them.  Besides eating them straight off the vine, you can make aqua fresca with both watermelons and the cantaloupe-types.  

Last week’s figs: We apologize that a few of you got figs that were moldy last week.  It was a big disappointment to both you and us.  If you feel that you need a credit for the figs, let us know.  Managing so many different fresh crops, with varying temperature cooling needs can get challenging at this time of year.  Some of you thought that the figs must have been old, but in fact we pick and pack our fruit very fresh for the CSA boxes.  When picked ripe, figs will only last 3 or 4 days, so they are probably one of the first things you should eat if you get them in your box again. If they are very ripe, you should store them in the refrigerator.

News From the Farm | August 28, 2017

Why We Farm

Our neighbor Elvira just published a book telling the stories of 15 Capay Valley farms in all their diversity — truck farmers, plant breeders, farms of 3000 acres or 1-acre, conventional and organic. Full Belly is included. 

The challenges faced by the farms and the innovations that they invent make an inspiring set of vignettes. Many of the farmers learned a lot on the job and leaned a lot on advice and assistance from the Capay Valley community of farms. Each of the stories illustrates a solution to the puzzle of putting people, land, and production agriculture together in a way that is sustainable. There’s Charlie Opper, owner of Cache Creek Lavender Farm, who says, “I found a niche and focused on it.”  There’s Grumpy Goats Farm, producing olive oil, and named Grumpy Goats in reference to the two owners “stubbornly butting heads as they make decisions.”  There’s Annie Hehner who says, “When farming by yourself, you have a lot of time to think.  So I think about how I can help build community.”

Find out more about the book, Why We Farm – Farmers’ stories of growing our food and sustaining their businesses, by Elvira Dibrigit here.

“The fight to save family farms isn’t just about farmers. It’s about making sure that there is a safe and healthy food supply for all of us. It’s about jobs, from Main Street to Wall Street. It’s about a better America.” — Willie Nelson

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are magnificent plume Celosia. 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!

Veggie Tips

Eggplant: Moussaka, baba ghanoush, ratatouille, eggplant parmesan — there are so many recipes that you have to experience before eggplant season is over!

Figs: Here’s a gallery of fig recipes. And here’s some fun fig history from Alan Davidson’s Oxford Companion to Food: “The Romans used to eat large amounts of both fresh and dried figs. The finest fresh ones were an expensive delicacy, while cheap ones were described by Pliny as the food of slaves.  Dried figs were used mostly as a sweetener and to make sweetmeats, their high natural sugar content being particularly valued in an age when sugar was an exotic rarity.  Figs were used also in savory dishes, and a Roman would not be surprised by the modern Italian habit of eating fresh figs with prosciutto.”

Peppers: Someone visiting the farm said that the peppers in her garden had been better than ever this year.  Ours have been phenomenal as well — I think in our case it has something to do with the shade cloth that we have set up to cover the entire field as a way to prevent sunburn on the fruit.  I have been roasting the peppers by placing them (without a pan) above the flame on my gas-stove burner.  Cook them that way until the skin starts to burn and separate from the pepper flesh.  Then put them in a paper or plastic bag to steam for a few minutes.  Finally you can scrape off the skin and enjoy your roasted peppers — They’re great in all kinds of salads.

News From the Farm | August 21, 2017

Full Belly Farm has hosted a number of photographers this summer.  I had the pleasure of walking around with a couple of Bay Area photographers one morning last week and realized (as I repeatedly do), what a picturesque place this Capay Valley is. On summer mornings at Full Belly, crews are spread out across the farm, picking crops.  The melon picking crew has carried tons of melons out of the field this summer and they manage to make it look like an art.  They know a lot about choosing only the best, and sometimes this includes taste testing them in the field… The flower crew keeps a laser focus year-round on planting, weeding, picking and drying our flowers. The fruit crew checks the figs, plums, peaches and other fruit, to estimate when it will be ripe.  The wonderful photos that we are sharing with you in this newsletter are courtesy of  Diana Rothery Photography[Read more…]

CSA Flowers

Your CSA flowers this week are lovely Globe Amaranth. 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!

Veggie Tips

Black-Eye Peas: These can be used with some of the tomatoes to make soups like ribollita, or they can be slow-cooked in a crock pot with some bacon or pork.  You treat these more like beans than peas… There are many kinds of Southern beans, always called peas in the US South.  Fresh like this they only take about 30 minutes to cook.

Asian Pears: Snack on them with some cheese!  Asian pears should store well in your refrigerator.

Summer Vegetable Ragout: You can make a summer vegetable ragout with the onion, black-eye peas, your peppers, the summer squash, some of the basil and the tomatoes.  A little cream at the end is a nice touch.

News From the Farm | August 14, 2017

It is easy to become intimidated by the challenges defined in news cycles and their focus on overwhelming problems like climate change, hunger and poverty, sowing the seeds of hopelessness. Many of these issues are framed in a way that makes us feel overpowered by their magnitude. Those in the political and business worlds often use the theatre of power to keep us in a state of incredulity, disarming the ability to act.  Global warming, for example, dwarfs any potential contribution that an individual might make and intimidates many by its magnitude.

We are in need of pathways forward that allow us to see clearly our power to instigate positive change and ethical renewal. Those contributions must be simple, satisfying, accessible, replicable actions that might inspire others to become part of large-scale action. The actions must be creative and resonate for all with a positive message. They must combine hope with action, building a new design to empower and join in rethinking parts of the design that fail to enhance health and beauty. These acts must be leavened with love and empathy.  [Read more…]