Theme: CSA

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! 

We also took some time away from our normal work to have our annual CSA Open Farm Day on Saturday! It was so nice to have CSA members here to take tours, talk and ask questions, pet some of the lambs, and enjoy the farm on a beautiful spring day. The weather couldn’t have been better and everyone seemed to have a great time. Thanks to everyone who made the trip to the farm, whether making the relatively short trip from Woodland and Davis or the much longer trek from the Bay Area! We had CSA members of all ages and from all spans of being in the CSA at the event, from longtime member to folks who just got their first box a week ago, and a few site hosts joined us too.

I really enjoyed meeting folks who I normally only interact with via email or phone and getting to hear their questions and comments. A major “finding”: rutabaga fries are a favorite rutabaga preparation method! Someone shared their special carrot top pesto recipe, another person proclaimed their love of poached quince, and there was a lot of cauliflower and carrot love.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the CSA member survey! I will be contacting raffle winners shortly and will be sharing results once I get a chance to dig into the responses. 

The CSA/farm relationship is a special one, and one that we don’t take for granted. We hope you feel the same. By choosing to be in the CSA, you’ve sought out a personal connection to your food and the people who grow it. And we’ve chosen a very direct, less anonymous customer base that really has been an important part of Full Belly Farm’s development and success. We are thankful for the 32 years of CSA members and their support and involvement with the farm. It’s much more than an economic relationship.

Last thing for the week – I want to share two things that have come into my inbox recently from CSA members:

First – this note and beautiful photo from Olivia: “Loving our Fully Belly dinner tonight including:

  • Moroccan beet, radish, and carrot medley (loosely based on this recipe, which I got from the Beet)
  • Garlicky carrot, beet, and radish greens 
  • Potatoes with green onions 
  • (…and some Tilapia topped with lemon)” 

And this recipe from Christina, who said that she’s been putting it on EVERYTHING!

Umami Dressing, Riffed from Carla Lalli Music

  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup Braggs liquid aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil (grapeseed, avocado, etc)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Put all of the ingredients in a quart mason jar and blitz together using a stick blender.

When you have questions, comments, feedback, recipe ideas, and more, let us know!

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

News from the Farm | April 1, 2024

It’s the first week of April, and it’s spring! Which means a few things:

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 12, 2024

Today’s Farm News covers two small ways you can get involved to help combat food insecurity. It’s a huge, complicated problem, but that means that any measures to chip away at it are important.

First, our CSA donation program. We’ve gotten a few inquiries recently, thus wanted to explain how it currently works! On a week that you don’t want a box, you have the option to donate or skip. Skipping means we move the box to the end of your schedule, or to a date you’ve specified. When you donate your box, the value of the box (or flowers, or whatever you’ve donated) goes into our Good Food Community Fund. When it comes time to set up donation boxes, we pull from the Fund. We don’t make the box and then donate it, thus why we need as much advance notice for skips and donations. We also have a few particularly generous CSA members who make separate donation payments just to the fund.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 15, 2024

It’s amazing what some rain can do. In the fall, a bit of rain washes off the layer of dirt and dust and rejuvenates everything. That kind of rain isn’t enough to refill our streams or turn the hills green – that’s what the winter rains are for. At this point, the hills around us are green again, a welcome site after months of brown. Most fields are also green – the cover crops have germinated and are chugging along, despite the cold and wet days, and relatively little sunlight.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 8, 2024

Dear CSA friends, 

We are back and rested after a much-needed end-of-year break. After a good deal of greeting, handshaking and backslapping this morning at 8am our crew is in the fields, evaluating how we did in leaving our crops to rest over the past few weeks. As of now, things look good- lots of carrots, broccoli, greens, cabbage, potatoes, and roots to fill your boxes in the coming weeks. Oranges had a chance to ripen and sweeten as the milder December and early January largely avoided frost or freeze damage to the crops. So we are off to another annual race to a full year of farming.

All of our hopes for the coming year and past successes stem from being blessed by residing on this gracious and generous earth beneath our feet. Its abundance has been feeding us and our extended family of eaters for more than 40 years. A benign winter without damage from a deep cold spell or too much rain allows us to harvest and begin this new year with a continuation of a harvest suspended last December. We are happy to be your farm again as we start this new year and this morning we are excited to begin that work again. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 27, 2023

We are rapidly approaching the end of the calendar year, and the end of the Full Belly Farm year (December 9) is even closer. 

These approaching milestones usually lead me to reflect upon the past year and plan for the upcoming year. Something that’s been on my mind more than usual recently has been the “C” in CSA, community. Who is in our community? How do we support our community and how does our community support us? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 17, 2023

Last week’s deep dive into our plastic CSA boxes and wax boxes (which you can read, or reread, here) got pretty detailed, but I realized during the rest of the week that we’d barely scratched the surface when it comes to boxes and packaging. The Beet could probably focus on some aspect of packaging and post-harvest handling every week! But that would get boring pretty quickly.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 10, 2023

This week marks a CSA milestone: ten years ago, we stopped using waxed cardboard boxes for the CSA and started using the green plastic “Stop Waste” boxes*. We call them our “Stop Waste” boxes because the initial box purchase was aided by a grant from StopWaste. At the time of the switch, Judith wrote “this is a trial run” and since we’re still using them a decade later, it seems that the trial was a success. So this week, it’s a deep dive on boxes, accompanied by a smattering of vintage box photos from the past ten years. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 9, 2023

It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up the 2022 season. Yet almost a month has passed and here we are, back from our winter break. Everyone took some time off, an opportunity to shake up our normal routines and get off the farm. Hopefully we’re all well-rested and ready to dive into another year of farming and all the other tasks required to make the “magic” happen. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 29, 2022

The CSA truly is a team effort, as is almost everything we do here. Everyone’s work has an impact on the many boxes we send out each week, whether they spend most of their time in the field, in the orchards, in the shop, with the animals, or on tractors. And (almost) everyone ends up packing CSA boxes at some point; even the farm kids have been helping out recently!

That being said, there are a few individuals that play a larger and more direct impact on our CSA members’ experience and we’ve had several big changes in the core CSA team this year. Judith and Becky both retired at the end of 2021, which has changed how the office operates, and not just regarding the CSA. And now we find ourselves rapidly approaching another change in the team – the departure of one of our delivery drivers, David, who will be moving to Boston for his wife’s job. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 22, 2021


We’re closing in on the end the year! After this week, we’ve got two more weeks until our winter break, with a teaser this weekend when most of us have Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off –– the exceptions are the Saturday farmers market crew, our hard-working delivery drivers, and the folks who care for our animals, who will be working.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 30, 2021

At some point, every CSA member will open their box to find something that’s not what they were expecting. Perhaps they’ve never seen or eaten a kohlrabi, Paloma eggplant, or persimmon. Or it could be because the size or shape of the produce is not what they’re used to seeing.

Produce in a CSA box can be larger, smaller, or differently shaped because CSAs are not governed by all of the strict rules and expectations of the wholesale produce world about size and appearance. It makes sense for the industry to have a set of norms and accompanying vocabulary to help farmers, wholesalers, and customers communicate what we (the farms) have and make sure that buyers are getting what they expect. Some of that language describes size or appearance and you’ve probably seen some of this: Size A, Extra Fancy, No 1, etc. Most produce also has an expected pack size, usually a combination of weight and count that is expected in each box. There is a recognition of variation, but each order is expected to be fairly uniform and having to follow certain grades and pack sizes leaves out a lot of what we, and other farms, produce. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 26, 2021

Last week was a big one for harvesting eggplants and melons, just like the week before. It’s been a great year so far for both, in terms of yield and taste, especially the melons, and you’ve probably tasted. If you missed it, here’s the scoop on how we harvest both. And it was a big week for the flower crew too, but it’s always a big week for the flower crew. The everyone in the field is almost exclusively focused on harvesting crops, with some weeding and tractor work mixed in, and the irrigation team has plenty to do, setting up and maintaining drip tape, and moving sprinklers. The winter squash are up and some are starting to set fruit. Before we know it, well be focusing on getting other fall crops in the ground, whether by direct seed or transplant, but we arent to that point yet.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 22, 2021

The first day of Spring is officially not until March 20, but there’s a feeling in the air that Spring is right around the corner.  In a worrisome note, this has been one of the driest winters we’ve seen.

It’s Community Supported Agriculture Week!

Technically, it’s CSA Week at Full Belly Farm for all but four weeks of the year, but this is the week that many farms and farm support organizations across the country will be promoting CSAs and encouraging people to join. For CSAs that don’t operate year-round, this time of year is a popular time to sign up new members in advance of starting in the spring. We’re in a different situation – we do our CSA year-round and we bring on new members on a rolling basis (instead of requiring members to join for a whole year/season). We also currently are doing just fine on membership and have a waiting list for the first time since starting the CSA in 1992, but we still think CSAs are worth celebrating and talking about. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 8, 2021

Lamb  Count:  This morning the lambing crew reported that we have 108 lambs born so far, including 17 sets of  triplets.  This photo shows Dru feeding the “bummers” — lambs whose Moms needed a little helping hand taking care of the babies.  —  

Our farming cycle is very linked to the annual calendar cycle and it is a thing for us at Full Belly, before a New Year is in full swing, to look back at what has been learned the year before, hoping to inform our activities in the year to come.  Part of that thinking is to review the CSA boxes from the previous year, imagining a household that got a box every week: What did our members eat from the farm in a year of 2020 boxes? [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 18, 2021

As 2021 starts finding its way, I look forward to another year here on the Full Belly patch of land. I love the cool season when bunched greens, beets, carrots and broccoli are on the harvest list, crops that have a less urgent, a less demanding nature than summer’s heavy hitters like tomatoes and melons (I love those too, in their time!) Cooler weather, with its calmer harvest schedule, opens up time for projects, like expanding and rebuilding the flower cooler in the packing shed, something that has been on the list for some years now. This, and other investments in the future of the farm provide a reminder that we have much to be grateful for. [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…]

News From the Farm | March 2, 2020

Our two pigs were moved into new green pasture over the weekend, which makes them very happy.  This is Winona — she is pregnant, soon to have piglets!  —  

What you ate last year…

The CSA  boxes reflect for our members what it taking place at the farm.  Long-time members know the patterns well.  Cold weather brings greens and roots.  Hot weather brings tomatoes and melons.  There are both similarities and changes from one year to the next and from one week to the next.  Sometimes we can surprise even our long-time members with something new, but many households have their favorite ways of eating every single item in the box.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 18, 2019

Hello Fellow CSA Members,

As the year draws to an end, it is once again time for a report from the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC) which provides free integrative health services to low-income women who are living with a diagnosis of cancer. The produce boxes donated each week by Full Belly Farm and its CSA members who donate a skipped vacation box or add a box when they renew are visible manifestation of support and kindness, and they are received with joy. 

Earlier this year CMC moved into a beautiful, welcoming new space. The rooms are light, airy, and bright with color. During each shift, when they arrive for their acupuncture, bodywork, herbal healing, or other services, CMC clients can pick up fresh FBF produce to take home for themselves and their families.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 1, 2019

Prom Corsage? (Thank you Margaret Dollbaum, for this photo!) 

The weather prediction is that early April will bring more late rain and coolish weather to our already soaked and saturated soils.  These late spring rains have made it impossible to prepare our fields for planting, let alone get crops started for spring. In some years, our Mediterranean climate provides windows during the winter and early spring that allow us to prepare ground, plant seeds and keep a lineup of a few crops coming, but in other years, like this one, there are no openings, and we can’t work our fields because they are wet.  So we are slowly harvesting our way through each and every field of crops planted before the rain started, with one eye on the weather reports and the other on the calendar. [Read more…]