News From the Farm | March 9, 2020

Beware the Ides of March?

For many years in a row I have been the “flower article” author, bringing to you news about Full Belly Farm’s flower growing and the upcoming flower subscription (starts April 1st everyone!). The weather is often a common topic, how it effects our flower growing, how it is unusually warm, or wet, or cold, or dry. 

It makes me chuckle to look back over the past 10 years of articles and read all the different weather reports that I have given during that time. To stay consistent on that road I will say that thus far in 2020 we have experienced the driest February ever recorded in California; but this February “was not just merely a below average month,” Dr. Swain, a climate scientist of UCLA said, “It was, in a lot of places in California, a completely dry month, which is truly extraordinary.” The Capay Valley, where our little farm is located, was indeed no exception and we ended February without a single drop of water falling from the winter sky. We started irrigating our flower (and vegetable) fields in the middle of February as the cold winds had dried out the soil and many of the plants were longing for a drink. We are very fortunate to have access to both well water and creek water for irrigation – many other farmers don’t share in that access and if things don’t change we may have a very difficult farming year in California.

Despite a warm and balmy January, a completely dry February and a beginning of March with little change, our flower fields are looking full to bursting. For those just joining our CSA, or reading the newsletter for the first time – our flower roots began as a small garden by my house over 30 years ago where we tried to bring some color and beauty to a new and unfolding farm. Some of the extra blooms were packaged up for the farmers markets in the wee hours of the morning and much to our joy were sold and enjoyed by our early customers.

Fast forward thirty years later and we see a farm that is dotted with flower fields everywhere. We are growing over 15 acres of flowers now and sell to stores, wholesalers and continue to bring them to the markets each week. One of our favorite outlets is to bring them directly to our CSA sites where people can order for a whole season or by the month. Each site is brightened up by buckets of pre-ordered blooms that change dramatically with the seasons – sunflowers, tulips, riotous mixed bouquets, cosmos, and chrysanthemums to name a few. In all we grow over 50 different varieties in an unparalleled color range from the beginning of February through the end of November. 

Full Belly Farm takes pride in the fact that our flowers are grown organically – having been certified organic since 1985. Our commitment to soil health and environmental stewardship is not just for our produce! Organic flowers are finding their importance in a market where more and more people are recognizing that local and sustainably grown is so important.

The month of March is such a hopeful month. It is a time of renewal and rebirth. Passover, Easter, Ramadan, Equinox.. all have roots in renewal.

With all of the troublesome news circulating around the globe let’s try and dispel the “Beware” the Ides of March idea for a moment. In fact, the Ides of March (or March 15th) in the Roman calendar once signified the New Year, which meant lots of celebrations and rejoicing. The notion of the Ides being a dangerous date was purely an invention of Shakespeare’s; each month has an Ides (often the 15th) and this date shouldn’t be associated with danger. I think we should all try and bring some joy and light into the world this Ides of March by giving flowers, or produce to our neighbors and friends.  It seems that everyone needs a little light and love in their lives right now. 

Let’s give it a try.

Dru Rivers – (born on the Ides of March!)

Please let us know if you would like to add flowers to your CSA box. Bouquets are $9 each (plus tax),  or $8.50 each if you pay for the whole 26 week season ($221 plus tax).