News from the Farm | September 8, 2014

Hoes Down Harvest Festival!

Another summer has come and gone. Baby goats were born, tomatoes were packed and pages on the calendars turned. The farmers on Full Belly Farm generally do not count time day to day. Instead, we see the changing seasons by the events that have become the constant reminder that another year has passed. The fall is a time when the Full Belly farmers celebrate the beautiful harvest of another year. It is a precious time, full of total exhaustion, and excitement, as we mark our calendars and create no fewer than fifty to- do lists as we plan for the celebration that reminds us all to share the beauty of rural life, and lets us share our farm with others.  This year marks the 27th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival – we hope you will join us. In case you need convincing, we have created a list of the top ten reasons to come to the Hoes Down Harvest Festival at Full Belly Farm:

#10 – The Location – If you and your family have yet to visit Full Belly Farm, this is a perfect time to do so! Not only are there walking tours of the entire farm throughout the day, but you will also get to see the animals and crops that we watch over each year. Come see a working farm get transformed into a full-on festival! # 9 – The Music – We have pulled out all the stops for the 27th annual Hoes Down and are excited to feature Mamajowali and Hot Buttered Rum on the main stage, as well as almost 10 other terrific acts from Northern California. The Utah Philips Family Stage has a great line-up of talented entertainers, and the Local Lore Stage will feature the best up-and-coming artists from the area. We hope you will join us for a few do-se-dos during another rousing contra dance this year!

# 8 – The Cause – Every single penny raised during the Hoes Down goes to the Ecological Farming Association ( and local community organizations, such as the Davis Farm to School, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, The Kathleen Barsotti Foundation, and the local Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs. These are the organizations that help shape that agricultural climate of our region. By attending the Hoes Down, you are supporting these important causes!

# 7 – Sunday Morning Breakfast – Get a piping hot breakfast and coffee the day after the festival as we continue the celebration on the 5th of October. You do not want to miss the incredible sight –  farmers, and festival attendees waking up after a joyful night and beginning the new day as they share stories and breakfast together.

# 6 – Drought Education – This year the festival will have a strong (and necessary) focus on water conservation and drought education. Come explore the (now dry) Cache Creek-bed. Throughout the day you can learn from and talk to farmers firsthand about how California’s drought is affecting their line of work. You can also learn from water conservationists about what you and your family can do to protect our natural resource.


#5 – New Sunday Workshops – Have an interest in farm fresh florals and learning to design with Full Belly’s finest flowers? Ever wondered how to raise backyard chickens and dairy cows on the same pasture? Want to learn more about the amazing industry of local organic fibers or take a bike tour of the local farms? You will not want to pass up on the opportunity to learn from the Capay Valley’s best this year in our incredible line up of Sunday seminars.

#4 – Circus – The circus is coming! The circus is coming!! For the fifth year in a row Circus Bella will be gracing the fields of the farm with it’s open air, one-ring circus featuring contemporary, high-level acts. Do not miss the three shows on Saturday that will include incredible juggling, goofy clowns, and sidesplitting entertainment for the whole family!

#3 – Capay Valley Farm Trails – Want to see more Capay Valley Farms? You’re in luck! This year, farms of all shapes and sizes will be opening their doors for festival goers to come explore and learn more about the rich and diverse valley that is home to close to 80 family farms. Check out the Capay Valley Farm Trails ( to learn more, and to find the map of farms that will be available for touring on Sunday October 5th!

#2 – Carve a Pumpkins – The Illuminated Carved Pumpkins are one of the most wonderful parts of the Hoes Down! 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

#1 – Rain Dance – This year we need your help as we try to break the world record for the LARGEST RAIN DANCE EVER RECORDED! Come dance your heart out with farmers and festival friends as we all pray for a wet winter in California. No previous rain dance experience required, just bring your dancin’ feet and good vibrations to the main stage at 4:00. This is one dance that will go down in the books, and you will not want to pass up!

These are just a few reasons – there are literally hundreds of activities that happen during the Hoes Down (wine tasting, Olive Olympics, ice cream churning, local breweries, petting farm animals, Manure Pitch Off, 700- bale hay fort, sheep shearing, sudan grass maze, contra dancing, felting, solar cooking- the list could go on and on!) that help to create a truly magical weekend. We hope you, your family, and your friends will join us for the 27th Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival on October 4 and 5! Help us farmers’ mark another year of incredible bounty, and a successful harvest season by kicking up your heels, and putting your Hoes Down.

To find out more information about the Hoes Down or want to volunteer, visit If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at See you October 4!

—  Hannah Muller