News from the Farm | September 26, 2022

It’s the end of the 2022 Flower CSA season, which goes from April 1 to September 30. During those six months, the flower team picked and bunched about 7,400 bouquets for our CSA members, in addition to all the other flowers they pick. They’ll be transitioning into dried flowers and wreaths soon (more about that in a future Beet) but in the meantime, here’s a recap of the season in words and photos from Hannah:

If you ask anyone around the farm, I bet you’d hear that I’m full of flowery phrases, but I truly do think that 2022 blossomed quite nicely. This year got a slow start in FBF Flowerland. It began with late tulips and hungry gophers that made us toss and turn in the middle the night and caused some tormented angst. There were also some germination issues and a couple late frosts that may have given me my first gray hairs. But by the time the CSA flowers started in April, our worries had mostly subsided as we harvested truckloads of snapdragons, armfuls of godetias and it turned out the gophers had eaten just the right amount of iris to keep them satisfied and for us to keep us on top of harvesting them. I even stopped to get married in the middle of the flowers in June. Just for a brief moment, then back to harvesting out of those same rows.

The summer flowers were beautiful; plenty of sunflowers, hardly any crop failures and an amaranth jungle that was easy to get lost in. While we harvested flowers for CSA customers, made mixed bouquets for markets, and filled orders for stores, we also made time to dry flowers in our Wreath Room for the fall and winter months. I lovingly call us field mice when we gather things for the fall and winter. The act of planning so far ahead feels a bit excessive at times, but I know, we will be thankful for these moments of preparation once the first frost has made all of our fresh flowers whither away.

Meanwhile, we also made flower arrangements for all of the weddings at Full Belly Farm this year as well. Some of the couples were long-time CSA customers who have gotten our flowers delivered to their homes each week. There is nothing quite like seeing our flowers enjoyed in these on-farm celebrations.

I made a joke on our social media on April Fools Day that Full Belly Farm was switching over to growing exclusively cut flowers. Which I thought would have been warmly received but it turns out folks still enjoy the occasional tomato or eggplant in their CSA box as well. And while that joke holds no truth- I do find my days filled to the brim (much like a vase of our flowers on your table) with blooms from our fields.

– Hannah Muller

News from the Farm | September 19, 2022

Rain! It rained on and off Sunday and as of Monday morning, it’s sunny but the ground is damp and our rain gauges report 0.75 inches. There’s still some rain in the forecast for later today, but those forecasts have shifted quite a bit so we’ll see what the grand total ends up being. A burst of rain in September before returning to late summer/fall for another month isn’t unusual, but it still felt like a surprise, especially at this point in the long, hot summer. The rain washed off the layer of dust covering everything, making the plants and trees look more vibrant, and while the air is heavy and humid, it also feels cleaner and smells nice too, not like dust and overripe tomatoes. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 12, 2022

Saturday night’s moon was a remarkable fuzzy peach orb. It was a beautiful harvest moon, breaking through the suspended dust of a long valley summer hanging in the stale air. A full red/orange beacon, ushering in the ending of a long 2022 summer, rising though the haze of the Mosquito fire, and signaling the change to fall. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 5, 2022

What’s the news from the farm?

We are working this Labor Day Monday, as we do every Monday (we’ve got Tuesday CSA deliveries, store deliveries, and a farmers market) though we did take Saturday off. This week is going to be a series of scorchers – 110 and above every day. We’re prioritizing everyone’s health and will likely try and wrap up as early as possible to get folks out of the heat, which means limiting orders. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 29, 2022

The CSA truly is a team effort, as is almost everything we do here. Everyone’s work has an impact on the many boxes we send out each week, whether they spend most of their time in the field, in the orchards, in the shop, with the animals, or on tractors. And (almost) everyone ends up packing CSA boxes at some point; even the farm kids have been helping out recently!

That being said, there are a few individuals that play a larger and more direct impact on our CSA members’ experience and we’ve had several big changes in the core CSA team this year. Judith and Becky both retired at the end of 2021, which has changed how the office operates, and not just regarding the CSA. And now we find ourselves rapidly approaching another change in the team – the departure of one of our delivery drivers, David, who will be moving to Boston for his wife’s job. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 22, 2022

The song “Old MacDonald” covers the sounds that farm animals make, but what about us humans? We do most of our communication with the outside world via email and phone, but on the farm, it’s either face-to-face or over the radio. Face-to-face looks like it would at any workplace except instead of heading to someone’s desk, you’re likely heading out to the field, or to someone’s station in the shop or the kitchen. We also have “all staff meetings” most Friday mornings, a rare time when everyone is in one place at one time. It’s a great opportunity to share announcements with everyone, and we also do a group stretch, usually led by Andrew, followed by brincas (jumping jacks) before starting the day. But most of the time on most days, people are spread out from the hub of activity around the shop and the office to a few miles up the road in Rumsey. We have poor cell reception, so the radios get a lot of use for quick questions, check-ins, and updates. All chatter over the radio is broadcast to every radio, so everyone can hear what’s going on, whether they want to or not.It’s quite the chorus of voices and communication styles and it took me a little bit to learn who was who, as well as the various nicknames people use, but now is something I don’t need to think about. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 15, 2022

It’s August, which means it’s time to start prepping for fall. It can be difficult to think about the next season and its crops when it’s so hot and we’re so busy harvesting and packing summer produce. However, all of those peppers, tomatoes, and melons will eventually wind down and we need to have the cooler season crops ready to take over at that point. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 8, 2022

What do you do when you have a lot of hot peppers? If they’re hot because they’re spicy, we make hot sauce! If they’re hot in temperature, then we need to cool them down. The faster we can cool them down, the longer the shelf life and we want to get all of our peppers to our CSA members and other customers in the best condition possible. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 1, 2022

What are the furry, feathered, and hooved residents of the farm up to as we pick, wash/sort, and pack the summer’s bounty? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 25, 2022

We are heading into our 3rd week of triple digit temperatures here on the farm. High heat creates stress on everything and everyone. Plants and animals need more water, and we humans do too as we remain in the fields to do our work. We emphasize frequent water consumption, more breaks, monitoring for heat stress (in yourself and team members), and we try to be done earlier in the day. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 18, 2022

The news from the farm is that tomatoes are here. The trickle of tomatoes has grown each week and has now reached the point when we have enough to put them in the CSA boxes, which is exciting. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 11, 2022

Hi Full Belly Community!

My name is Amyah, and I am the flower intern at the farm this season. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 4, 2022

We’ve reached one of the important milestones of the summer: we’ve started harvesting peppers! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 27, 2022

What’s the news from the last week (or so)? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 20, 2022

Full Belly Farm is a special place for many reasons, and high up on that list is the people. Since almost the very beginning of the farm, interns have played a key role in the farm community. This week, I sat down with two interns, Yasuaki Saito (left, in both photos) and Kosuke Kato (right) to learn about their background and their experience at Full Belly Farm. They both arrived last September as part of the Japanese Agriculture Exchange Program, a program that Full Belly has had a relationship with for many years. The program starts with two months in Washington State taking English classes, then 13 months working at a farm (mostly on the West Coast), and then concludes with two months at UC Davis. They’ve done a little bit of everything (including filling in for a home delivery route) and are great members of the team. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 13, 2022

When most people think of summer crops, often the ones that come to mind are tomatoes, eggplant, and melons, but a key crop that often goes forgotten is sunflowers. We grow a lot of sunflowers and it’s not just us; they’re the sixth most valuable crop in Yolo County, grown on over 20,000 acres. Driving around the County right now, you’ll see countless fields of sunflowers all in bloom. Almost all of those fields of sunflowers aren’t harvested fresh; they are grown to be hybrid seed stock that will be sent around the world to be planted for oil. Unlike the fields for seed, our sunflowers are for cut flowers, for folks like you to bring into your home! Last year we harvested over 15,000 bunches of sunflower from May through October, with many more heads going into mixed bouquets. They’re a significant summer crop for us, thus worthy of a deep dive in the Beet. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 6, 2022

 

 

It’s June and there are several signs that summer is approaching: [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 30, 2022

This week’s News from the Farm is from guest writer Dave Runsten, Senior Policy Analyst, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Dave and CAFF are long-time friends of Full Belly and advocates for farms like ours in Washington and Sacramento. We appreciate the great work that they do on our behalf and hope that you’ll support them (and us) by participating in their campaign. The images are some examples of the great artwork that recent farm guests with the Art & Ag Project from Yolo Arts shared with us. The top watercolor is from Johanna Pack and the bottom from is from Elly Gould.

The Drought and Small Farmers: #Don’t Let Small Farms Dry Up!

Like Full Belly Farm, there are many small farms in California that produce food for local communities. These are the thousands of farms at farmers’ markets, running CSAs and farm stands, and selling to restaurants. This group includes most beginning farmers, immigrant farmers, and farms run by people of color. Most of these farms are dependent on groundwater for food safety or because they are located outside irrigation districts. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 23, 2022

Among all the good things that happened last week, as well as the mundane, and some “milestones” (on Wednesday we had our first 99 degree day), we also had two power outages. The one Tuesday was relatively brief, just a few hours in the morning, while the one on Thursday started in early afternoon and we didn’t get power back until 11am on Friday. Neither were Public Safety Power Shutoffs; both were caused by cars colliding with power poles at the entrance to the Capay Valley, cutting off electricity to the entire Valley. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 16, 2022

It’s time for a tomato update! [Read more…]