News from the Farm | September 18, 2023

We’re rapidly approaching the end of another Full Belly summer. Melons were picked, flowers were bunched and dried, tomatoes were packed, and our bellies were filled with the delicious summer bounty. We generally do not count time in days; instead we observe the changing seasons by the way the mornings feel (the cooler the better!), the flavors of the fruit, and the events that take place in our valley. The fall is a time when we Full Belly farmers make time to celebrate the whirlwind that is our summer and share the beauty of farm life with our community. It is a precious time, full of total exhaustion and excitement as we transform our working farm into a full-on Festival. 

This year marks the 32nd Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. We hope you will join us. Since announcing this year’s Hoes Down, we have heard from people who have been coming for decades and for whom this festival is very important to their families, and from people who have never come but want to deepen their relationship with our Farm. We have been preparing in earnest to welcome newcomers and returnees. In case you need extra 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! There will be walking tours of the entire farm throughout the day, and even without a tour, you will see the animals and crops that we tend to all year. If you’ve visited before before, the farm is constantly changing and evolving, and we promise you’ll see something new. 

# 9 – The Music – We have an amazing line-up of Northern Californian musicians! We are excited to feature the Town Howlers, a dance-y bluegrass band, the King Street Giants, (from Petaluma) and of course, a wonderful foot stompin’ Contra Dance with Driving with Fergus and caller Eric Hoffman. Enjoy some of the best of folk and bluegrass all day with two stages full of talented performers!

# 8 – The Cause – Every single penny raised during the Hoes Down goes to the Ecological Farming Association and local community organizations, such as Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Yolo Farm to Fork, CalCAN, and local Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs. These organizations, and many others, shape our region’s agricultural climate. By attending the Hoes Down, you are supporting these organizations and their important work.

# 7 – Yummy Food – The food alone is worth the drive. From organic and locally-grown fruits and vegetables, to fresh Stemple Creek Ranch burgers, you will definitely leave full and with happy taste buds. Over 90% of the food served at the Hoes Down has been donated by amazing businesses who care deeply about the future of agriculture in California! 

# 6 – Sunday Morning Breakfast – Enjoy a piping hot breakfast and coffee the day after the Festival as we continue the celebration on the 8th of October (and start to clean up). You do not want to miss the incredible experience of farmers and festival attendees waking up after a joyful night and beginning the new day, sharing stories and breakfast together. 

#5 – Amazing Agricultural Workshops – Have an interest in farm-fresh florals and learning to design with Full Belly’s finest flowers? Ever wondered how to milk a goat and turn the milk into yummy cheese?  Want to learn more about the amazing industry of local organic fibers? 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 Saturday Workshops (free with admission!). 

#4 – The Children’s Area! – Kids of all ages can spend hours crawling through the hay fort, wandering the Sudan grass maze, turning wool into yarn or felt, learning how to mill grain, making a flower crown, participating in the scavenger hunt, painting, working with clay, or climbing a tree. There are countless activities that will keep kids engaged and enthralled all day long! 

#3 – The People – The festival is all about community! This year’s Hoes Down slogan is “Slowed Down.” It is a time to form new friendships, strengthen existing relationships, and spend a weekend slowing down and playing with those you appreciate and love. In a world where we are often lost in cyberspace, a weekend at a farm surrounded by kind friends is just what the doctor ordered!

#2 – Carve a Pumpkin – The Illuminated Carved Pumpkins are one of the most wonderful parts of the Hoes Down! Every year, hundreds of 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 special. One of our favorite moments is when the sun goes down and the pumpkins are all lit. It is not a sight to miss!

#1 – Good Old Fashioned Family Fun – A family-friendly, good time is hard to come by these days. The Hoes Down is an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the land, unplug from your normal routine, and enjoy yourself in a dreamy setting. More than anything, the Hoes Down hopes to provide your family a place to play, be silly, learn, and laugh. 

These are just 10 reasons. There are dozens of activities that happen during the Hoes Down (wine tasting, petting farm animals, lawn games, sleeping under the stars, sheep shearing, a silent auction, and so much more) that help to create a truly magical weekend. We hope you, your family, and your friends will join us for the 32nd Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival on October 7th! Help us farmers mark another year of incredible bounty, and a successful harvest season by kicking up your heels and putting your Hoes Down. 

You can get more information about the Hoes Down and buy your tickets on the website. 

If you are interested in volunteering, you can get more information here.

And if you have additional questions not answered on the website, send an email to

We hope to see you on October 7th.