Theme: Elaine Swiedler

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 | March 25, 2024

Happy spring! Last week, we took advantage of the warmth and sun to harvest, weed, plant, and transplant. There was also a lot of mowing (cover crops and finished crops) and prepping bed to plant more.

As promised, this Beet contains the second part of last week’s discussion (which you can find here) of hybrid versus open pollinated seeds. 

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 18, 2024

I’m feeling like Goldilocks. After griping about the wet and grey weather, we had several sunny and warmer days but those were accompanied by complaint-worthy howling winds, which were unpleasant conditions to work in and prevented us from transplanting. One thing that none of us are complaining about is all the great cauliflower and romanesco we’ve harvested over the past few weeks. From a grower’s perspective, the timing was perfect – they were ready to harvest at a time that otherwise could’ve been a bit lean for CSA box contents and they were ready before the warmer weather that will undoubtably lead to aphids on most of our brassicas. From an eater’s perspective, they have been SO delicious. Many of us have been eating cauliflower daily! I’ve heard from several happy CSA members, including several that have been loving the leaves, which we keep most of to help protect the florets. If you haven’t been eating the leaves, try sautéing or roasting.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 11, 2024

As Dru wrote last week, we’ve had a lot of grey, cold, and wet days over the past couple weeks and months. The rain has been perfectly (or rather, unfortunately) timed to come right as things just start to dry out, which gets in the way of planting and weeding that will be crucial for abundant harvests in a late spring. Plus too many grey days in a row can start to feel a bit gloomy and monotonous. Six months from now we’ll be eagerly awaiting a cloudy, rainy day but when they’re abundant, they don’t feel special. 

We have had some bursts of sun and signs of spring (robins, flowering and budding fruit trees, sun). During these bursts of sunshine last week and the week before, there were some share-worthy happenings cataloged below! Though don’t let these photos fool you – these sunny days have been the exception.

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News from the Farm | February 26, 2024

When reporting on any farm news, it almost always seems like we need to start with the weather. Because it does have a big impact on what we do!

Last week, we started off with more wet, grey weather and by the weekend it was sunny and in the high 60s. February 23 and 24 looked quite different from this time last year when we had snow! By Saturday, it had started to dry up enough to start weeding. We’ve got a lot of weeding and planting to catch up on before it rains again, so we’re closely monitoring soil moisture.

[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 | February 5, 2024

This time of year, late January and early February, usually ends up involving a lot of watching, waiting, and then suddenly springing into action on several fronts.

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News from the Farm | January 22, 2024

Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives) are staples in most cuisines and are found in home kitchens around the world, making it easy to take them for granted. Like all produce though, they too have different varieties, seasons, nuances, and quirks. They have interesting backstories and are grown with love and care on farms, just like peaches, tomatoes,   asparagus, kale and other flashier produce. This week, let’s show some love for leeks, the alliums that are in our CSA boxes this week, and are a staple of our winter boxes. [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 | 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 | November 13, 2023

It’s another flower update! Flowers are a big part of what we do, so we want everyone to be in the know.

As described last week (which you can read here), this time of year is when we plant most of our spring flowers. On Thursday and Friday, the flower team aided by some interns and Alfonso’s group planted about 2/3 of our bulbs (tulips and iris) and corms (anemones and ranunculus). In total we planted 10,000 tulip bulbs, 7,000 Dutch iris bulbs, 11,000 anemone corms, and 7,000 ranunculus corms. There’ll be a bit more planting once we receive the rest of our underground roots! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 6, 2023

April showers bring May flowers, but when do you plant those flowers? It varies between years but Full Belly Farm, spring flowers went in the ground on Tuesday and Thursday of last week. 

Dru and Jan direct seeded 20 beds of flowers on Tuesday and Jan, the flower team, and Alfredo and his crew transplanted 24 beds of flowers on Thursday. Direct seeded flowers included larkspur, nigella, calendula, bells of Ireland, scabiosa and the transplants included snapdragons, godetia, delphinium, feverfew, Sweet William. Plus lots more! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 30, 2023

This past week was a good reminder that the weather is in charge, not us. As mentioned last week, we got about an inch of rain on Sunday the 22nd, much more than was forecast. The rain washed off the thick coat of dust blanketing everything, making people and plants alike feel a little refreshed and brighter. However the rain dictated what happened during the rest of of the week and slowed us down in making progress on our long list of time-sensitive tasks. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 23, 2023

Farmers are always talking about the weather but this Sunday’s rain was definitely worth talking about. We got between 0.85 and 1 inch of rain, depending on which rain gauge you look at! We’ve been continuing to ease our way into fall as the days cooled down, except for a few mid-90s days last week, but this rain seems like a more concrete transition away from summer to autumn. 

Beyond the weather though, what’s been happening the last week or so? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 16, 2023


The week before Hoes Down, in addition to all the general prep, we also harvested our walnuts!

We grow 12 acres of walnuts. These are large, beautiful old trees that were on the property when the farm was purchased in the 1980s. As a result, they don’t include newer varieties (like Chandler, which currently makes up about a third of all walnuts grown in CA) and the trees are more spaced out, and larger than more recently planted, high-density orchards. Most of our trees are Serr with some Tehama and Hartley.

How do you harvest walnuts? The short answer is, we shake them off the tree. The entire process is a bit longer though: [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 2, 2023

Our warm and cool seasons in the Capay Valley are very different seasons, marked by different crops and different weather. We find ourselves in a period of transition when the cool and warm seasons are briefly overlapping. The tomatoes and melons and other summer crops are winding down, the winter squash are reaching maturity and many varieties have been cut and cured, and we’ve started harvesting the leafy greens and roots that are signature crops of colder periods of the year. The weather also is overlapping. It was in the mid-60s on Saturday and even briefly rained, and next weekend it’s forecast to be in the 90s. Most of the days last week were beautiful days in the 80s with cool, crisp mornings.

The spectrum of things we’re currently harvesting is pretty amazing – fruits, nuts, greens, roots, solanaceous crops (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes), cucurbits (squash and cucumbers), and of course, flowers. We’re a diversified farm and always are harvesting an impressive number of things, but right now, that list of options is even more abundant. In our CSA boxes and on our farmers market tables, we’ve got a spectrum of crops spanning both seasons, though you’re less and less likely to see summer crops in CSA boxes; with each passing day, it’s slower and more difficult to pick some of those crops.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 25, 2023

It’s officially fall! But even without seeing the note on the calendar about the fall equinox, there were some clear signs last week that fall was upon us: [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 11, 2023

It’s getting to the time of the summer when everything looks a little dusty and tired, the people included, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of neat things to see. Need some examples? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 28, 2023

August is the busiest month on the farm with a never-ending list of things to do. What was keeping us busy last week?

LOTS of harvesting, packing, sorting: 

It’s been nonstop, especially for our biggest crops of the summer: melons, tomatoes, and flowers. Our heirloom tomatoes are starting to slow down, but the heirloom harvesting crew still has been hard at work harvesting, and the work won’t be winding down for a while for the crews that harvest “regular” (Early Girls, Romas, and slicers) and cherry tomatoes.  [Read more…]