News From the Farm | September 21, 2015

Another summer has come and gone at Full Belly Farm. Baby goats were born, tomatoes were packed, and our bellies were filled with delicious summer bounty. The farmers from Full Belly generally do not count time in ‘day-to-day’ – 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 the Full Belly farmers celebrate the whirlwind that is our summertime. 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 to prepare for the wonderful festival that reminds us all to share the beauty of farm life. This year marks the 28th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. We hope you will join us. 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! Not only are there walking tours (three of them!) 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 28th annual Hoes Down and are excited to feature The Dixie Giants (from Petaluma) and The Humidors (from San Francisco) on the Farm-On-And-On Stage, as well as many other terrific acts from Northern California. The Utah Philips Family Stage has a great line-up of talented kid-friendly entertainers, and the LocalLore Stage will feature the best regional musicians. 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 4th 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, again, have a strong focus on water conservation and drought education. Come explore the dry Cache Creek-bed. Throughout the day you can talk to farmers firsthand about how California’s drought is affecting their line of work.

#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 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 Saturday Workshops (free with admission!) Sunday seminars (pre-registration required). 

#4 – Circus – The circus is coming! The circus is coming!! For the sixth 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 4th! 

#2 – Carve a Pumpkin – 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 – The Good Old Fashioned Family Fun – A family friendly, foot stomping good time is hard to come by these days – but 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. We can’t wait to see the smiles on everyone’s faces during the first weekend of October!

These are just 10 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 28th Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival on October 3 and 4! 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 volunteering at it, visit If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at Tickets purchased in advance are $5 less. See you October 3 and 4!

— Hallie Muller