News From the Farm | September 14, 2015

I began working at Full Belly Farm as an education coordinator.  The other Beet articles that I have written have all been based around that. I love being part of the education program that the farm has, but those responsibilities do not always fill up my time. There are other projects I find myself working on during the year. These include the Hoes Down Harvest Festival, which is right around the corner. I don’t have to tell you that, as I am sure you have already purchased your tickets. Farming projects such as planting, packing, harvesting, and weeding also fill my time.  However, the projects I love the most are connected with cooking at Full Belly Kitchen (

In May we completed our certified kitchen and it is beautiful. The inside is crafted using exposed wood, lovely butcher-block counter tops and large hill-covered storage rooms. The outside is covered in reclaimed redwood panels from barns around Yolo County. Other parts of the building have sand and clay from the creek bed to give it a natural adobe look. On top of all, that the grounds are excellently landscaped with native plants growing all around. My favorite part of the whole building though, is the fun and imaginative creations happening inside. There are many services that the kitchen provides like having weddings, farm dinners, and a kitchen for summer camp, but usually during the week it serves primarily as a kitchen to make value added products. These are some of my favorite projects to work on. This is when we take fruit and vegetables from the farm that we otherwise could not sell. Taking our seconds we turn them into something that can make money. During this time I am no longer a farmer or a teacher, but instead an imaginative, creative, artsy cook. Already we have created some very exciting products.

We began the summer by making some peach jam. Spending the day blanching, cutting, pouring, stirring, and cooking was amazing. By the end of the day we had created over 200 jars of delicious peach jam. The fun had only begun as we started rolling out different products every week. We’ve made apricot jam, tomato jam (not to be confused with tomato sauce, but we made that too), and strawberry jam. These are just the jams we created this summer.

Some of my favorite products we have worked on are the pickled vegetables. We have made fermented and vinegar products. We took pickling cucumbers and lacto fermented them in a collection of spices leaving them crisp, a little spicy and sour. They are amazing. Using similar spices we have made okra and jalapeños and there are more to come. We have also been taking sliced cucumbers to make bread and butter pickles. These are perfect for sandwiches, assuming they can last that long. I find myself eating them straight out of the container.

I could write for days about the different products we are making in our new kitchen, but I don’t think there is enough space in the Beet. These products have started to make their way to our farmers markets where they sell out. How fun would it be if we could one day offer these to our CSA members?  We hope that is in our future. As school groups and tours slow down for the fall and winter I will be happily stirring away in our new Farm Kitchen.

–Jordan Dixon