News From the Farm | September 30, 2013

A walk around the farm usually happens when the work day is done. The forklifts are parked, the trucks are loaded and ready for their next trip, and the crews have gone home. At other times, the office is buzzing and the fields are full of people. On a walk at dusk, the farm is quieter.


Full Belly is unusual in our integration of animals. These yearling lambs are grazing on a melon field that we have finished harvesting. They are enclosed in a solar-powered electric fence and will move on to another part of the field, and then another field on the farm within a few days. This part of our rotation keeps the soil alive and fertile.


We grow both hot and sweet peppers. By mid summer, the peppers can be harvested, but they don’t really hit their full flavor until the end of the summer. The sweet peppers that we grew this year were Flamingos, Sweet Marconies and Jimmy Nardellos. The Poblanos and New Mexico peppers are mildly spicy. Our hot peppers are Jalapeño and Cayenne (pictured here).


We are building a professional kitchen that will be used as a gathering place for on-farm events and dinners as well as a facility to host the many tours and activities that increasingly take place at Full Belly. It is going to be a beautiful building, designed and built by Steve Schroeder who also designed and built the Full Belly office.


On a walk around the farm you are likely to be rewarded with a treasure. Sometimes it’s a view of a beautiful hawk, other times it’s an especially stunning field. On this walk it was a perfect bird’s nest, made of mud and twigs, formed expertly – a comfortable bowl to protect the family. The nest was on the floor of the walnut orchard where the harvest is taking place. We shake the walnut trees with a machine so that the walnuts, because they are ready, fall to the ground. The little nest evidently fell off its branch along with the walnuts and wasn’t yet swept up into the harvesting bins. Now it is on the stairs leading to my house, reminding those who pass of the closeness and vulnerability of Nature.

–Judith Redmond