News from the Farm | November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving marks the home stretch for us – after this week, there are two more weeks before our winter break.

Every culture seems to have a harvest holiday like Thanksgiving, a time to sit down with friends and family and appreciate the land’s bounty. Not all are as complicated as ours though; the Thanksgiving story is based on a lot of myths and lies about American history. It is possible to observe Thanksgiving while acknowledging the long history of colonization, exploitation, and erasure, and the continued struggles and triumphs of Native people. One place to start is learning about the real history and your area’s Indigenous peoples and languages. And there are many other resources and ideas out there, including supporting Native organizations and movements.

One thing I’ve incorporated into my Thanksgiving is thinking about who and what I’m thankful for. It’s a long list, including all of the people who grow, harvest, and process the food that I eat- those that I know, and those who I don’t. At least when it comes to my job, the CSA, there’re some people who really stand out.

First – Jan, our farm manager. She handles so much day-to-day communication between different teams and somehow knows where everything and everyone is. She juggles it all with a great sense of humor. And I appreciate her amazing vehicle backing-up skills.

Second – Pancho and Jose (Pancho in the top photo, Jose in the bottom). They’re our two main delivery drivers and they spend five days a week on the road (a lot of time and a lot of miles) to make sure all our produce, flowers, and CSA boxes get where they need to. Pancho does the Bay Area and Jose does our Sacramento, Marin, and North Bay routes, even going all the way to Ukiah twice a week. I appreciate all of their time behind the wheel.

Third – Panchi and her team in the shop with some folks missing in this photo (from left to right: Panchi, Chica, Brenda, and Catalina). They They wash and pack the leafy greens, root veggies (except carrots), solanaceous crops (tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, not the potatoes), and more. They’re responsible for bagging up many of the components of the CSA, like fruit, AND they process and sort all of the nuts, mill flour, and package all of the special order items. They are a wealth of knowledge and fortunately are always very patient and willing to answer all of my questions.

Fourth – Shannon. Officially, her responsibility is sales, and she’s constantly working on building and maintaining relationships with our store, wholesale, and restaurant customers.  But she does so much more than that. She is the primary person answering the phone, sending out mail orders, and handing event RSVPs. Shannon is almost always part of the CSA packing line, bringing positive, cheerleader-like energy to that part of the day. She’s got a can-do, teamwork-focused attitude and always jumps in to help. And unfortunately she’s leaving! She and her partner have a grazing business, Perennial Grazing (website and Instagram) and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to sell produce and help shepherd and care for 600+ sheep. If you happen to know anyone who needs some land grazed, they’re the people to call! I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ll miss her a lot.

Then I also owe a huge thank you to the many people who graciously share their photos for the Beet (like Isshin, who took most of the photos you saw above!) and Andrew for frequently brainstorming newsletter topics.

I am thankful for everyone at the farm but will cut my list off here. Full Belly Farm is a group of really great people who grow, harvest, wash, pack, and deliver the best fruits, vegetables, and flowers there are, and make it a great place to work.

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager