Theme: cooking

News from the Farm | April 22, 2024

Last week was another very busy spring week: 

  • Planting and transplanting – over the past few weeks we’ve planted basil and the first melons, basil, tomatoes, and eggplants
  • Preparing other beds for planting, including mowing cover crops with tractors and sheep
  • It got pretty warm, and we got a long enough break in the rain that we’ve needed to start irrigating
  • Lots of weeding and harvesting
  • and more! 
[Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 10, 2020

Ellis and Andrew with six bins of sunflowers that they helped to pick  —

Viewed close in on a summer’s day, it would be fair to say that Full Belly Farm grows a lot of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants — all members of the same large botanical family of plants called Solanacea, also known as Nightshades.   On many summer afternoons, a good portion of the crew, including owners can be found in the tomato fields picking, or in the packing shed surrounded on all sides by boxes of tomatoes.  

Viewed from a bit farther out, with a different perspective, it turns out that Full Belly actually grows a lot of other things as well — but the preponderance of Nightshades in the summer has been the recent subject of many a comment from our members. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 1, 2020

Baking With Whole Grains — 

It has been rewarding to grow a variety of grains at Full Belly Farm, some to be fed to our livestock and some to sell to our customers.  We grow wheat, corn and barley and sell them all in their whole kernel form as well as ground into flour.  We have a small stone mill and have been processing the whole grains into flour in small batches, as needed.  Freshly milled whole grains are known to be a great improvement over highly processed flours that have had their nutrients and fiber removed.  High levels of starchy processed food in the western diet have been linked to several chronic diseases, especially diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon-cancer. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 25, 2020

Cooking Out of the Box

One of the common reasons that people become members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is because they want to have access to healthy, fresh, organic produce.  I’ve always loved the beginning paragraph from the 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking because it links good food and good health so well: [Read more…]

A Week of Meals From the CSA Box

May 14, 2018

I get my box on Wednesday.  It travels on Antonio’s truck to the East Bay and then arrives back at the Full Belly office for me to take home at the end of the day.  We call it a “quality control” box. 

When my husband and I are home, we usually build a meal around the vegetables that we get in the box. I often remember Farmers Market conversations with people figuring out the challenge of pulling together a quick meal from their CSA box at the end of working days. Here are the meals that we built around vegetables from last week’s box in our kitchen.

Wednesday: Bok choi, and green garlic sautéed with a little bit of sesame oil, served over pasta with toasted Full Belly sesame seeds.  

Thursday morning: strawberry smoothie (see veggie tips)

Friday: Slowly sautéed chard over pasta, using both the stems and the leaves. I started with 3 slices of our Full Belly bacon, removing them from the pan when they were done.  Next a diced fresh onion and a stem of minced garlic went into the bacon fat. Next the chopped-up chard stems and finally a bit of pasta water to make the sauce.

Saturday: Potato Latkes

Mothers’ Day brunch:  Salad using the lettuce and Fennel Slaw 

The only things left were a bit of lettuce for our tacos, and the beet leaves!

News From the Farm | November 13, 2017

Getting Dinner on the Table

Years ago at a Farmers Market, one of our CSA members opened his CSA box and said to me, sounding a bit exasperated, “I just need to get dinner on the table after work so the kids can go to bed on time.”   I don’t remember what it was about the box that he was responding to, but his comment worried me.  We hear similar expressions of frustration whenever we put too many pomegranates in the box — “So much time, so little return” –– or when there is 1/2 pound of spinach and the cook needs a whole pound to complete a chosen recipe.  

I have come to realize that we are in our own private produce reality at Full Belly, cracking open watermelons in the heat of the summer and devouring them whole, or crunching our way through an entire bunch of carrots from our ‘quality control’ CSA box before the rest of the vegetables have even been noticed.  You can find snacking-bowls full of pomegranate seeds in most of the kitchens around the farm these days, and huge oversized cabbages greeted with comments like, “I LOVE cabbage!” Full Belly interns often arrive at the farm with very little experience of beets, chard, rutabaga or daikon — but each of them is assigned to cook lunch for several dozen farm hands once a week.  Of course the results are varied, but I do think that those that arrive saying they can’t cook and don’t want to, leave the farm with more kitchen-confidence. [Read more…]

The Joy of Cooking

Last week we included a “Frosted Melon” recipe from the 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking.  This week we want to pass on some words of wisdom that we really enjoy from the same volume.  These words come from a section called “The Foods We Eat”: 

“We enjoy the cynical story of the old-fashioned doctor who insisted first on going straight to the kitchen of the afflicted household. Not until he had effusively thanked the cook for giving him a new patient did he dash upstairs to see how he could relieve the cook’s victim.  The fact is that everyone who runs a kitchen can, in the choice and preparation of food, decisively influence family health and happiness.”

Looks Delicious!

July 31, 2017

Sarah from one of our Sacramento CSA sites shared this photo with us. She said it’s Full belly pie crust, eggplant and basil!!

News From the Farm | July 24, 2017

When I was younger I left my pet beta fish on a windowsill and came home to find it a blackened crisp in steaming water. That very day my older sister made me sign a contract, finger print and signature included, in which I agreed, “I will never own a pet or a living thing ever again.”   

Then fast forward 11 years, forget about the fish pet story for just a moment. I became 21 and I read a book that captivated me. The book delved into the enchanting nature of baking bread. It seemed truly magical. From a gooey mixture of flour, water, salt, and air you would encounter something completely transformational. The fair skinned dough rises in the oven, gradually growing into a beautifully browned nourishing loaf of bread. It was a sort of magic I couldn’t resist being involved in, and so began my process of baking the ultimate sourdough bread. However, the catch about Sourdough is that the baking doesn’t happen until two weeks in. First you begin by starting a starter, and I had no idea what a starter was. I was blind but willing as I followed Chad Robertson (author of Tartine Bread) and Martha Stewart in their recipes for a heavenly loaf of Country Bread.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 13, 2017

After years of eating out of the Full Belly Farm CSA box, I tend not to follow recipes carefully.  I use recipes and cook books all the time, getting inspiration and ideas that way, but with an allium, some herbs, some greens, and some roots at this time of year, a satisfying number of combinations seem to manifest, so around my dinner table, we are at ease making substitutions and carrying out kitchen experiments . 

If you got a box every week last year, or on the other hand, if you are a new CSA member, I hope that you are becoming comfortable with this experimental approach.  Full Belly offers a tremendous diversity of vegetable and fruit options — You are probably eating a much more diverse sample of vegetables than if you were shopping in a grocery store. For example, you might have thought you didn’t like broccoli, but when you start experimenting with it, you are likely to find recipes that work well for your palate (at least, that is my hope – there were almost 15 broccoli weeks last year.) [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 20, 2015

We put an unusual plant, purslane, in our CSA boxes two weeks ago — well the plant itself isn’t unusual, but it’s not one of those things that find its way to your plate all that often, so it was definitely a culinary challenge!  We aren’t going to put it in again this year I don’t think, but we got so many fun comments as a result, that I decided to share some of them.

Here’s an example: “There was something in our box not this past Wednesday but the one before, that I have no idea what it is, nor how to prepare/cook it! I looked at the website and was still miffed. It looks like a small shrub that was pulled out of the ground dirt and roots and all and if I was to describe it, it looks a bit like something in the cactus family. It is green…” Another member said, “The purslane, for me, was not a winner. I think it was a bit too on the mature side.”  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | December 1, 2014

Happy Holidays to all of our members.  Thank you for your support in 2014.  After our break, we will be delivering boxes again starting the week of January 6th.  Here are photos of some of the delicious Thanksgiving dishes that we shared here at the farm.  We hope the photos will help to inspire your holiday cooking!


Hard to choose from so many delights! About 50 people joined us for dinner. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 6, 2014

The Full Belly web site has a recipe page with an index that contains many recipes from past years.  When you get your box, if you aren’t sure how you are going to use one of the vegetables, the wealth of recipes that we have collected is worth a quick visit.  The best way to use our index is to look at the list on the right hand side of the screen and click on the vegetable you have in mind or click the link in the electronic newsletter.

There are definitely vegetables that you will get in your CSA box that will stump you temporarily, but over time, once you experiment with them, you may end up developing a favorite way to use them.

Because the pace of our activities keeps all of us so busy, and because so many of us go out to eat a lot, getting people to eat their fruits and veggies from a CSA box can be a hard sell.  It involves preparing and cooking your meals at home, which takes time. But there are lots of reasons why the effort is worth the trouble, not the least of which is that the increased consumption of locally grown organic fruits and vegetables will pay off in improved health.  Besides, once you get into the habit, it really doesn’t take all that much time! Home cooked food really is healthier, tastier, educational for the kids, and less expensive. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 23, 2014

Summer Time is Yummy Time

One of the things I love most about summer is how simply yet sumptuously we eat without much time devoted to food preparation. In the winter time when it’s cool outside it’s fun to spend long hours over the stove, simmering and slow cooking and taking the time to really bring out flavors, but in the summer, it’s all about letting the freshness and coolness sing. Often all the produce needs is a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of salt. Breakfast this morning was a toasted Acme baguette with fresh mozzarella and sliced New Girl tomatoes, with a bit of salt and basil. It couldn’t have tasted any better! Let me know if you ever need any ideas!

 padrons with fritters








 Amon and I love cooking for events in the summer. Above are pan fried padron peppers and zucchini fritters, below are goat cheese and Jimmy Nardello pepper croustinis.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 9, 2013

Full Belly Farm is in the northwest corner of Yolo County, a relatively rural and agricultural county growing an incredible diversity of fruits, nuts and vegetables important to the local economy and also to surrounding urban regions. The Yolo County Agricultural Crop Report for 2012 reported that the value of organic production in the county increased by almost 33% between 2011 and 2012. 


An annual event that celebrates the agricultural bounty of Yolo County was held on Sunday September 8th to benefit the Yolo County Land Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving Yolo’s agricultural and natural values. Almost 40 regional restaurants, wineries and breweries, and 13 local farms worked on the event, with the farms donating products for the restaurants to prepare Yolo-centric summer season dishes. Guests went from table to table tasting the creative and inspiring dishes that each chef had created.

Notes on Potatoes

On the Recipes page of our web site, there is a recipe for Cream of Greens soup – you could use the potatoes and collards from your box to make this soup!

Here’s a note about potatoes that we got recently:

“Like the year of many turnips, I’ve been grateful for the plethora of potatoes this year. They were oft overlooked in my box, easy to brush aside while excitedly reaching for more colorful things like asparagus or butternut squash or beets. But as they started piling up a bit (I admit it), I needed to turn my attention to them, and I’m SO GLAD I DID! Any time anything got roasted, in went some spuds. But their constant inclusion inspired me to mix up my seasonings as they’re such a great canvas for flavors. Lots of potato salad experimenting gave me chances to really perfect my technique. But I think what really made me a convert is this: I started boiling them in batches and keeping the boiled, salted taters in the fridge and found a new favorite easy snack. I started by dipping them in leftover homemade goddess dressing (any excuse to eat that stuff. Seriously.), then branched out to other fun dippings and condiments. Then just started munching on them all by themselves. So delicious! Thanks, as always, FBF.”

— Christina Stork

Jeanne Killian posted on Full Belly Farm’s Facebook page:

May 6, 2013

It was hot last week so I looked up recipes for cold soups. Using a few as inspiration, I attacked my supply of Full Belly veggies. Chopped fresh onions and fennel bulb and sautéed with olive oil. Peeled some beets and chopped some potatoes, threw them into the pot. Chopped the last bit of arugula. Added vegetable broth. Whirled it all with my submersible blender (best purchase for my kitchen I ever made), added a dash of milk, and voila – a Soup with pretty shade of pink! I can eat it cold or now that it clouded up warm it up a little. Yummy.

Getting Aphids off your Greens

Some of you have written to us about about aphids on your greens.  It is true — we have a lot of aphids this year, all over the farm, and especially on the leafy greens.  These unappetizing, sap sucking insects have been doing a lot of damage to our young plants.  Aphids have a lot of natural enemies — ladybugs, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, lacewings and others.  But the aphids are more comfortable in cold weather than most of their natural enemies, so until the weather warms up (which it may do this week) we will probably continue to see them in our fields.

We have tried to pick only the parts of the field with fewer aphids, and our beneficial populations are always boosted by flowers along field edges.  Additionally, we have been trying to control the aphids with a garlic-clove oil spray and cedar sprays (using the oil from cedar trees) on a weekly basis, and we have released some green lacewing larvae to eat them up, but despite our efforts, you may find some of the little bugs on your spinach or bunched greens. You can wash them off, but it may take a bit of extra time.  They don’t come off with a simple rinse in water because they adhere to the surface of the plants.  So you have to swish them around in cold water that has a pinch of salt (or a drop of soap) in it. The  salt or soap act to reduce the surface tension between the aphids and the leaf.  Leave the greens in the cold water for a few minutes, swish them around, drain and rinse the greens.