News From the Farm | May 18, 2020

We are staking our first 6 acres of tomatoes, more than 1,000 stakes per acre!

— Wool Products —

Depending on your connection with Full Belly Farm, you might think of us mostly as a place where you can get amazing fruits and veggies… or inspiring flowers… or a place where there used to be some great seasonal pizzas on Pizza Nights, straight from the wood-fired oven.

Hopefully those pizzas will be back one day, but some of you may not know that Full Belly is also home to a herd of sheep that we think of with pride and care for with as much attention as we give to our tomatoes!  The sheep graze our fields when crops (or cover crops) are done and contribute mightily to our soil health. 

We have two groups of grazers: lambs and moms.  The lambs are raised until they are the proper age for meat sales and we work with Superior Farms to produce quality cuts for a variety of restaurants and other customers.  The hides are tanned and sold online and through our Farmers’ Markets. 

Every year the lambs and their moms are shorn in the late spring and the wool is cleaned and spun to make yarn. For many years, Full Belly has worked with an incredible wool mill in Vermont called the Green Mountain Spinnery.  For those of you yarn-fans out there, the yarn is a three-ply, sport weight that is perfect for anything from hats and scarves to winter sweaters or blankets.  

As we continue to support the small, local systems within our community, I am hoping that we can further work to bring our wool products into these systems as well.  A couple of years ago, Woodland-local, Marcail McWilliams took over a wool mill just outside of Woodland.  It’s called the Valley Oak Wool Mill and it’s where Marcail is now making history by cleaning, spinning and selling wool from all over California.  After our shearing last year, Marcail was able to clean our wool for us, producing fluffy puffs of wool fiber that were ready to be spun.  

Up in Ukiah in Mendocino County, Matthew and Sarah Gilbert are known for their ability to shear and spin different fibers into a variety of quality yarn products.  In the late months of spring, Matthew travels up and down California, shearing sheep for hand spinners and blue-ribbon fleece winners. Through this process he really gets to know California wool and the people who support it.  Just a month ago, instead of shipping our wool across the country, we sent our cleaned wool to the Mendocino Wool Mill, where Matthew and Sarah created our brand new wool roving! Roving is the step right before spinning the wool into yarn.  A nice tube of soft, combed wool that is perfect for weaving, felting or hand-spinning.  If you are feeling cooped up at home, you might consider getting some of our beautiful roving and trying your hand at a new project!

While we have been selling our yarn for years, this is our first new step in bringing Full Belly and our wool into the local agriculture community that we’ve helped to foster for so long.  I’m so excited for this project to grow so that we at Full Belly Farm can offer organic, sustainably managed, and well-loved sheep products to our community.  

For online sales of hides, yarn and roving, see the Farm Shop on our web site, or if you are a CSA member, go to the CSA Farm Shop using your account.  

Sierra Reading

Full Belly Farm Educational Director


Peaches are coming soon…