News From the Farm | April 16, 2018

Mothers’ Day Sunday always presents a plethora of options for families wanting to spoil that amazing mother (or grandmother!) for her special day. Well, we have a secret up here in the Capay Valley – the most perfect experience you could ever give your mom – the Capay Valley Mothers’ Day Garden Tour. Here are the top five reasons why this tour is exactly what that special mother (or gardening fanatic!) deserves for Mothers’ Day:

#1. It is in a spectacular setting. There is nothing more beautiful than this agricultural valley (that we are lucky enough to call home) in the middle of May. The Capay Valley is home to 5 small towns and winds through them all over 20 miles. The gardens are blooming, the temperature is typically ideal (usually in the mid 80’s) and best of all, the first fruit of the season will be starting with peaches, mulberries and strawberries!

#2. The Garden Tour is flexible in order to meet every mom’s needs. This self -guided tour lets you go when and where you want from 10 am to 5 pm. Spend the WHOLE day and visit all seven of these spectacular gardens or, if you just have a few hours, be picky and go to exactly the ones you have always wanted to see. The gardens are all so unique and each one has its own special charm. You may find it tough to choose which ones to visit!

#3. Stretch your legs and spend the day outside.  So many Mothers’ Day options involve a day of lethargy and too much to eat. Get moving and stroll through fields of lavender, rows and rows of cut flower production, a garden designed for low water use with native plants or a plantation of olive trees. While those who want a more leisurely day can go at their own pace, there are plenty of possibilities for those with movement in mind. We guarantee fresh air and plenty of sunshine!  

#4. Don’t spend too much money this Mothers’ Day and give it to a good cause! The Garden Tour is only $10 per adult, and children twelve and under are free of charge. Pretty darn reasonable in this day and age! Your dollars go towards a worthy cause. The tour is 100% a fundraiser for outdoor community projects in the Capay Valley. All proceeds from this tour will go towards establishing and enhancing garden projects in the communities of Esparto and the Capay Valley, including the historic Guinda Grange Hall restoration project. Thank you for helping keep the Capay Valley beautiful!  The Grange Hall will have delicious boxed lunch available for sale for only $12, using locally sourced organic ingredients.

#5. Educate yourself throughout the day. This year we are increasing the number of workshops at some of the gardens – a flower crown class, two floral design classes (at Full Belly Farm) and especially for children, a chance to do hands on leaf and flower printing. All of these workshops last for an hour and the cost is $10 for some (while others are free!)

At Full Belly Farm we are pulling out all of the stops. We have three gorgeous gardens to choose from and LOTS of flower fields to enjoy, along with a few lovely grassy lawns for picnicking and running around. We will definitely have our yummy strawberries for sale and lots of flower bouquets designed by our own floral specialists! The floral design workshops will be at 11am and 2 pm and we will have a “pick your own bouquet” directly following the classes.

We hope to see you on the Mothers’ Day Garden Tour on Sunday May 13th. To purchase tickets online visit www.thecapayvalleygardentour.com. Tickets may also be purchased on Mothers’ Day in the Esparto Community Park. Please call with questions – 530-796-3464.

— Dru Rivers

Another Potential New CSA Site

Full Belly is looking to start another new pick-up site in the Pinole area. The pick up day will be on Friday with the hours to be determined. See our web site to place your order. Please help us spread the word and tell your family, friends and co-workers about this new CSA site – Thanks!

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).

Candied Walnuts – $8/ half pound.

Candied Citrus Peel – $8 for a 4-oz jar.

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.

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 ($12) or  500 mL ($20).

Olive Oil – Organically grown olives pressed on a non-organic certified press.  $15 for 250mL  or  $27 for 500mL.

Hot Sauce – Made with Full Belly Farm organic jalapeño peppers. $6/ 5-oz.  or  $10/ 10-oz. 

Red 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 sauce is made from Roma tomatoes. 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. 

Pomegranate Juice – Unpasteurized and not diluted — this juice is just the pure product pressed from our organic pomegranates harvested late in the fall of every year.  This juice is an incredible source of vitamin C — it’ll cure what ails ya! The juice is frozen when we put it into your CSA box, but is likely to have started to defrost by the time you get it home.  Please store it in your refrigerator. $7 for a pint  or  $13 for a quart

Lamb Bone Broth – This broth is made by simmering lamb bones overnight. It is incredibly rich and satisfying.  Enjoy a fortifying cup straight from the bottle, or use it to make soups and risotto. The broth is put into your CSA Box frozen, but may start to thaw on the trip to your refrigerator.  We suggest that you keep it refrigerated and use it within 5 days. $15 for a quart.

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

Pizza Dough – For a 14-inch pizza. $6/ dough ball. Frozen when we ship it, use within 3 days.

Sesame Seeds – $5/ quarter pound

Walnuts – $12/ pound 

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

Sun Dried New Mexico Chiles – $4/ eighth pound

Sun Dried Figs – $5/ half pound 

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

News From the Farm | April 9, 2018

The Water Information report from our local Water District says that Indian Valley Reservoir received just over 11-inches of rain this year, compared to almost 31 last year.  This includes runoff from last week’s storm, which added a precious 3-inches for the two surface water sources (Clear Lake and Indian Valley Reservoir) that provide irrigation water at Full Belly Farm.  Word is that despite the very low water year overall there will be enough water in Cache Creek for our summer irrigation season.  

Spring rain creates a forceful motivator on the farm when there is a long list of projects to complete.  Not only is there a daily deadline when the sun goes down, but the promise of rain on the way means that all field activities will have to stop when the rain arrives.  Last week, tractors were still out in the fields as the first drops fell.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 2, 2018

We are in the first week of a beautiful spring – warm temperatures, soil drying, pears blooming snow white, the pink peach blossoms finishing while the oaks, willows and walnuts that are woven into the farm are bursting with a myriad of greens. 

We are busy planting the first tomatoes, beans, squash, and corn – summertime treats that are a couple of months away. We have also been busy these past few weeks with some work that takes us away from the farm. Judith is working with a group called the Organic Farmers Association to advocate politically for Organic farmers; Dru is tending to the Ecological Farmers Association; Andrew is steeped in the work of the Marin Farmers Market; and I had an opportunity to meet with a group of leaders last week in Vermont to talk about the future credibility of the Organic farming movement.  This group is coming together and is proposing an add-on label to organic certification called, at this time, the Real Organic Project. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 26, 2018

Open Farm Day

Saturday 3/24 was Open Farm Day at Full Belly Farm.  We all had a lot of fun.  Delicious pizza, fresh orange juice made on the spot, kite-flying, playing in the brook and listening to the frogs, tours of the fields, lamb petting, and playing and picnicking on the grass.  It was a warm, beautiful spring day.  CSA members received a jar of marmalade made from our Full Belly oranges. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 19, 2018

Hi All! My name is Ben Culver and I am the newest intern at the farm. The other interns and I have started our own project and I’d like to share with you guys what we’re getting into! 

We are starting a little market garden behind the mechanical shop, where some of past interns have also done projects. Right now we have twelve 100-feet by 2.5-feet beds prepared with various different treatments. Six of our twelve beds are largely inspired by [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 12, 2018

Hannah and Dru today continuing their passion.

“It wasn’t as if the flowers themselves held within them the ability to bring an abstract definition into physical reality. Instead it seemed that…expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility, instigated a transformation.”

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

My daughter Hannah and I share a passion for cut flowers. Actually passion might be too light of a word – obsession might be more appropriate.  We scour seed catalogs for endless hours in bed, read blogs, follow hundreds of flower growers on social media, and go to flower meetings on Sundays –our one-day off.  We beg for cuttings, attend conferences and belong to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (who knew this even existed!) We go to seed swaps, have flower growers to the farm, lead workshops.  We lie in bed at night worrying about rain, frost, drought and wind.  Oh yes… AND we grow 15 acres of cut flowers at Full Belly Farm.  [Read more…]

News from the Courtroom: Glyphosate

A federal court hearing in San Francisco is turning the public spotlight onto the science surrounding the safety of one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, a weed killing chemical called glyphosate (branded Roundup) that has been linked to cancer and is commonly found in our food and water and even in our own bodily fluids.  More than 3000 plaintiffs suing Monsanto allege that exposure to Roundup caused them or their family members to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Plaintiffs claim that there’s a link between Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Two experts called to the stand contended that the study linking glyphosate and cancer has “serious issues and flaws” and should not be given much weight by the judge, who has to decide which scientific evidence a jury should consider if the case makes it to trial. The research at issue, the Agriculture Health Study, investigated risks associated with pesticides among users in North Carolina and Iowa over several decades. The study was backed by the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.

The judge presiding over the case for the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, actively questioned witnesses about their research. A pathologist said research showed about 60 percent of farmers had glyphosate in their urine after a day of application.  A decision is expected in the next few months.

News From the Farm | March 5, 2018

Open Farm Day Saturday March 24

Full Belly Farm Open Farm Day is coming up soon on Saturday March 24th.  It is likely to be a beautiful Spring day, perfect for an outing to the country.  It is your opportunity to enjoy the lovely flowers growing in our farm fields, visit our lambs, take a tour of the farm, and picnic on pizza from our wood-fired oven.

A visit to your local family farm is a way to get back in touch with where your food is coming from. Maybe you will figure out something more about the people who are growing the cabbage, potatoes and collards that you get every week in your CSA box. Or maybe you will enjoy the opportunity to smell a handful of the soil at Full Belly — soil that has been managed organically since 1985. Maybe you will just want to bring a friend and picnic on the green lawn in the Spring sun, a time to get away from city sounds. [Read more…]

News From the Laboratory: Nutrition of Organic Foods

I recently came across a great web site put together by my friend Chuck Benbrook.  The web site is a source of science resources and information about food and food policy.  Here’s a nutrition nugget that I thought might interest readers:

“Most consumers initially seek out organic food in the hope of avoiding pesticide residues, food additives, genetically engineered ingredients, and a long list of other substances that certified organic farmers and organic food companies cannot use.  

“Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially acknowledged that organic farming systems lighten agriculture’s environmental footprint, combat global warming by sequestering extra carbon in the soil, and promote biodiversity. 

“In recent years science has identified another reason to purchase organic food — improved nutritional quality.

“A solid body of research now confirms that on average, and across production years, regions, and different soil types, organic farming increases the concentration of a variety of health-promoting nutrients in plant-based foods (fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts).  While this body of work has not convinced everyone that organic food is more nutritious, it has clearly moved the scientific consensus in that direction.”

News From the Farm | February 26, 2018

I love my woodstove. Every cold night in winter, I fall more and more in love with the glow of fire, its warmth, comfort, and protection. So as I sit by the wood stove, penning this note, stoking another evening log into the firebox, I can’t help but wonder how the young and emerging seedlings out in the greenhouse are faring on this rapidly freezing night. With so many young plants, most of which are very cold sensitive, checking in on them like I did with my own children sleeping in the night, is pure instinct. After a week of substantially low temperatures and freezing weather, the safe haven of the greenhouses have been nearly breached, as heavy frost has encased the poly sheathed hoop houses and fatal cold has endangered plants closest to the outside walls. In the past, I have woken up to “frozen and fried plants” many times over the years, so I know that growing plants in a greenhouse is a 24/7 responsibility. Tonight, on this especially cold evening, I will check the greenhouse one more time before I go to bed. 

[Read more…]

Spread the Word

Being the busy farmers that we are, we don’t usually have time or budget to work on marketing our CSA program.  If you would like to help your community access fresh, local, organic, nutritious fruits and veggies from Full Belly Farm, we can send you our 8.5 x 11 flyers.  We can make the flyer specific to your pick-up location, and we can send them electronically or leave hard copies at your site.   Thanks!

Veggie Tips

Beets:  A trilogy of recipes on our web site fit this week’s box well — Roasted Beet Salad, Julienned Carrot Salad and Leeks Vinaigrette

Carrots: See our Recipe of the Week

Oranges

Broccoli Raab or Mizuna:  These wonderful greens have some welcome winter bitterness in their flavor that we hope you enjoy.  Use like other greens, lightly cooked over rice or pasta.

Collards: Here is a delicious recipe for your collard greens: Heat some oil and cook some bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon, add some chopped leeks to the pan and cook until tender.  Add a little bit of chopped garlic and cook until just fragrant.  Add the collard greens, coat them with the bacon fat, then add a cup of water or chicken broth, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, a bit of lemon, and some red pepper flakes.  Add back the crumbled bacon.  

Leeks:  Leeks can be featured braised or in soup.  On the other hand, they are a great beginning to veggie stir fry.

Potatoes

Salad Mix/ Lettuce

News From the Farm | February 19, 2018

What was most notable about the farm this last week was how a series of gently warm afternoons created just sufficient enough enticement to inspire many plants and crops into an explosion of blooms and young leaves.  The nights and mornings were cold, which meant cold fingers in the packing shed when the first of the day’s harvested crops arrived to be rinsed and packed.  But by early afternoon the days were warm, and the blessings of life were impossible to ignore in this beautiful Valley.

At this time of year many of our fields are growing cover crops.  These are crops that we grow to feed the soil — we don’t harvest them for sale.  Cover crop roots harvest deep nutrients and bring them to the surface for future crops.  Cover crop leaves harvest nitrogen from the air.  When turned back to the soil these crops build organic matter and feed microbial life, and those microbes in turn play a miraculous part in feeding the crop roots that follow in our fields.  

[Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Broccoli:  Broccoli is a real super food, and one that aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol, and increases mineral uptake into the body.  It also boosts the immune system, protects the skin, and improves ocular health.  In sum: eat your broccoli!! It is REALLY good for you!

Purple Carrots: These carrots are earthier than their orange counterparts, and, to the delight of my children, will turn your mouth purple when eaten raw.  Our favorite way to eat carrots is to cook them in a small frying pan with a little bit of water, a little bit of honey, a little bit of salt, and a little bit of butter.  No exact recipe needed here, just toss it all in the pan and simmer until the carrots are tender.  

Dino Kale: If you don’t like eating kale by itself, try adding the shredded leaves to soups or pasta!  I love it sautéed with olive oil and green garlic, with a bit of lemon juice and salt, and topped with a strong goat cheese.

Butternut Squash: If you are tired of eating butternut as a savory dish, try making it into a pumpkin pie, or adding some purée into your favorite muffin recipe.  I love it in sweet things and has so much more meat than a traditional pie pumpkin.

Leeks: I absolutely love the buttery flavor of leeks.  A member of the allium family, leeks can be used in place of onions, garlic, or chives.  The easiest way to clean leeks is to chop off most of the tough green top (leaving a little bit), and then make a cut right down the middle of the light green and white parts, splitting the leek in half.  You want to leave a bit of the top uncut.  Then turn the leek so that the uncut half is facing up, and make another cut down the middle, so that the leeks is cut into fourths.  Holding the uncut bit at the top, swish the ribbons of leeks at the bottom in a bowl of water. 

Rutabagas: A rutabaga is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, and the leaves are also edible as a leaf vegetable, like kale or chard.  The rutabaga originated in Scandinavia, where it grows wild.  It can be roasted, baked, boiled, added to soups, or eaten raw in salads.

News From the Farm | February 12, 2018

103rd Annual Capay Valley Almond Blossom Festival

Every February, the Capay Valley celebrates the number one cash crop in Yolo County: the almond or “ahh-mand” as they are pronounced around here. While we can all agree that a glass of almond milk is delicious, in our area, local farmers don’t only grow them for their juice. They are also roasted, turned into butter, made into soap, and even eaten in ice cream!

[Read more…]

Open Farm Day

You are all invited to join us at the farm on Open Farm Day, Saturday March 24th. Details will be available soon, for now we wanted you to get it on your calendar.

Veggie Tips

Broccoli: The word broccoli comes from the plural of the Italian word “broccolo,” which means the flowering head of a cabbage.  You can boil it, steam it, roast it, or my favorite way: blanch it quickly, dry it well, and then blacken it in a cast iron skillet.  Pour some garlic infused oil over it and salt it.  Scatter a few lemon slices, sliced paper thin.  

Napa Cabbage:  The best kind of cabbage for slaw (in my opinion)!  It is far more tender and delicate than a green or purple cabbage.  It is great both cooked and raw.  It contains lots of Vitamin A and C.

Carrots:  See our Recipe of the Week. Our carrots are super sweet this time of year, even with the warmer weather we have been having.  We grow a variety called Nantes.  Try grating the carrots and adding them to the Napa Cabbage in your box for a fun cole slaw!

Oranges: The navel oranges in your box are a cultivar called Washington Navel — but they are grown in our own orchard, not imported from Washington!  Navel Oranges were first brought to California in 1870 where the fruit became known as “Washington”. Oranges and grapefruit are pretty much the only fruits we eat in the winter here at the farm.  In addition to eating them plain, you also add the juice and zest to salad dressings, muffins and cakes.

Green Garlic:  See our Recipe of the Week. One of the most special and unique things that we grow.  Green garlic is just garlic, before it has bulbed up and dried down.  The flavor is mild and creamy.  We use it in place of onions and shallots, in scrambled eggs, and any other place you would find garlic.  

Dino Kale: This kale has so many other names!  It is also called lacinato, cavalo nero, Tuscan and black kale.  It is wonderfully hearty with lots of flavor.  One of my favorite ways to eat is is shredded and raw, with a good homemade caesar dressing and torn bread croutons.   

Potatoes: See our Recipe of the Week. There are more than 200 varieties of potatoes grown in the United States.  Here on the farm, we grow several varieties, including bintje, german butterball, french fingerling and several more!  We eat potatoes here at Full Belly for about 6 months of the year, and enjoy them mashed, roasted and in potato salad in the warmer months. 

News From the Farm | February 5, 2018

What did the CSA member have to eat for dinner?

No, this is not the first line of a joke — “What did the CSA member have to eat for dinner… I don’t know, what? Cabbage, Squash and Arugula of course…”  No, this is our annual report on how we fed our members last year, and it shows that members had a healthy dose of variety and nutrition!

Here are the top ten items that were in the 2017 Full Belly CSA Box:

Greens (Chard, Kale, Asian Greens, Collards, Arugula)

Fruit (Oranges, Grapes, Pomegranates, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Apricots, Figs and Strawberries)

Carrots

Potatoes

Winter Squash (Butternut, Delicata, Kabocha, Red Kuri, Acorn, Honeynut, Spahghetti, Sweet Dumpling)

Salad Mix and Lettuce

Melons

Beets

Tomatoes and Cherry Tomatoes

Cabbage (green, Napa, red and Savoy) [Read more…]