Theme: fall

News from the Farm | November 20, 2023

The storm clouds that had been flirting with us for a week dropping a few drizzles became serious Friday evening. The field activities, cover crop planting and terminating tomato and pepper fields, stopped. We parked tractors and seeders inside and reveled in the feisty winds and the melody of rainfall.

The heavy clouds were generous, releasing 1.5 inches of rain. We’ve been sowing fields with a cover crop mix of pea, vetch, oat, tillage radish, clover, and wheat. Those seeds were thoroughly soaked and settled into finished summer. Earlier in the week we planted onions and the rain also settled the transplanted onion sets into their winter beds. Fields of lettuce, cabbage, greens, potatoes, and leeks were wetted with the clear nourishing rainwater. The farm breathed out a palpable sigh of welcome – opening the pores of the earth, releasing and exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. As the Earth sighed in gratitude, we, this land’s caretakers, did the same. [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 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 | November 14, 2022

I’m never going to claim that our fall colors are anything like the Northeast, Colorado, or some of the other famous fall foliage areas, but we do have some nice colors this time of year. The peach trees have turned a yellow/orange color that seems to glow near sunset, the pomegranate trees have turned yellow, and there are some stunning red Chinese pistache trees around the farm. I didn’t get a good picture but you can view photos here or here. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 31, 2022

Wow – it’s already the end of October! Time is flying. The days are getting shorter and it’s getting a little chilly, at least in the mornings; it was in the low forties a few mornings last week. It’s still been warming up to the 70s during the day, but that won’t last for long.
Friday was one of those days that started off cool. It also was our olive harvest day! Almost everyone headed out in two teams to rake, pull, and whack all of the olives (green and black) off the trees and they warmed up fast. It’s a big effort and requires a lot of people. There’s a reason that many farms use machines to do this work! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 24, 2022

What are some of the happenings, sights, and sounds from the past week or so?

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News from the Farm | October 17, 2022

It is remarkable to see just how fast the fall crops are growing. Just check out the difference between September 15 and October 15, documented in the photos below. It seems like a new fall crop, root or leafy green, is added to the harvest list each day. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 10, 2022

The past week, the first full week of October, the transition from summer to fall was on full display. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 19, 2022

Rain! It rained on and off Sunday and as of Monday morning, it’s sunny but the ground is damp and our rain gauges report 0.75 inches. There’s still some rain in the forecast for later today, but those forecasts have shifted quite a bit so we’ll see what the grand total ends up being. A burst of rain in September before returning to late summer/fall for another month isn’t unusual, but it still felt like a surprise, especially at this point in the long, hot summer. The rain washed off the layer of dust covering everything, making the plants and trees look more vibrant, and while the air is heavy and humid, it also feels cleaner and smells nice too, not like dust and overripe tomatoes. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 29, 2021

Kosuke and Andrew  —  

It is crazy for me to realize that my time at Full Belly ends in two weeks. I remember the first day, July 6th, 2020 when I spent that day and most of the week harvesting potatoes in the blazing summer heat.

The last year and a half has flown by and has been so enjoyable. Many days I could be doing a variety of tasks. Some days it could be everything from harvesting, planting, building a cooler and then ending with loading the delivery trucks. I spent many hours harvesting sunflowers, eggplants, peppers, and so much more. There were many days of planting transplants as well as seeding crops. In the spring, I spent every Sunday taking care of the greenhouse and watching the plants grow and learning how to take care of them with Andrew Brait’s advice. This summer, I was in charge of our sunflower harvest and bunching efforts. [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.

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News from the Farm | November 15, 2021

Dear Gentle Readers,

On a very special shelf in the Full Belly Farm office sit almost two-dozen binders that hold the dedicated archives of this newsletter. Coined The Beet in the late nineties the binders are a treasure trove of over 1,200 articles, interviews, opinion pieces, political sentiments, children’s essays, and guest editorials. One person has been responsible for the editing, proofreading, gentle deadline reminders and 90% of the written words over those past 25 years and yet not ONE article has captured the essence of who she is and her vital role here at the farm as partner, mentor and friend. So, this article is dedicated to Judith Redmond and not a moment too soon, for she will be stepping down in a month’s time from her daily duties here at the farm and opening some exciting new doors for herself in 2022.

Judith at this fall’s Grateful Harvest Gala

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News From the Farm | November 8, 2021

This past Thursday was our 2021 olive harvesting day! It was an all hands on deck effort to get our olives off the trees and turned into olive oil. Even some of us in the office chipped in a bit. A small crew stayed in the wash and pack area to take care of CSA boxes and orders, but everyone else grabbed tarps, ladders, hand rakes, and poles and headed out to the olives in three teams. Each team laid down tarps and then proceeded to pull, rake, and whack all the olives off the trees. Many larger olive oil operations use mechanical shakers to get the olives off of the trees, but we do it by hand. The olives on the tarps are emptied into small harvest bins which were dumped into large macro bins which were ferried back to the shop when full to be kept cool until we finished. It was a long day of work, but it was a true team effort and we had great weather.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 1, 2021

Weather is often the subject of conversation, and this is even more the case in the farming world where we’re constantly talking about it and glancing at the forecasts. For a good reason! It impacts what our day-to-day tasks look like, more than many other professions. We found ourselves talking about the weather even more than usual this past week. How could we not after receiving 6 inches of rain in 24 hours and about 7 total in just a few days? We didn’t have any flooding on our farm, a testament to the care and attention that we give to the health of our soil, and the ground soaked it all in very quickly, with only a small amount of standing water in some fields on Monday morning, which was gone by that afternoon. Or maybe it shouldn’t be surprising given that we’d gone 18 months with almost no precipitation. During last year’s “rainy season” we only got 5 inches. With so little rain, not much vegetation grew on the burn areas from the 2020 LNU fire, so there were some mudslides (including one that shut down Highway 16 further up the Valley) and a lot of debris in the smaller creeks that feed into Cache Creek.

This storm was warm, it woke up and invigorated the plants, different than our usual cold front storms from the north which usually halt plant growth for a bit. All of the germinating seeds, recent transplants, and established plants look better already, more brawny and certainly bigger. Even the few remaining summer crops which are slowly petering out look happier and healthier. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 25, 2021

The news from Full Belly Farm is: RAIN. Between Thursday night and Monday morning, we got about 7 inches of rain, with 6 inches coming between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night.  That is a lot of rain to receive all at once and is more than we received last winter and spring. Right now (Monday morning) there’s some water in the creek, muddy roads and lots of puddles everywhere, but most of the standing water in the fields and orchards has already started to sink it. Still, it’ll be a while before we can get tractors out into the fields; we don’t want to get them stuck or compact our soil. There was a lot of frenetic work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week to finish the walnut harvest, sow cover crops, transplant onions, flowers and almost 20,000 anemone and ranunculus corms, and everything else that needed to happen before it rained and it seemed like that was time well spent!

Creek, by Anna Brait

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News From the Farm | October 18, 2021

Being on the farm for the last 15 months I have come to learn the seasonal rhythm of the farm. After being here for over a year, when I see the change in seasons, I know what it means we are going to be doing. Summer is busy with lots of harvesting. As soon as we get to August, we start transplanting lots of fall crops. In the beginning of September we plant strawberries for next year and we continue to transplant and seed crops. Then as October begins, we plant garlic. Later this month will be getting flower transplants, bulbs and corms in the ground. At the same time as we are planting, there are lots of other crews working on harvesting and weeding. While summer is definitely the busiest time of the year there is so much to do the rest of the year and there is always so much going on: harvesting, weeding, and the never ending project list. It seems once one thing on the project list gets finished, we add at least two more things, ensuring we are never not busy. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 11, 2021

This past week was walnut week – marked by the hum of the machinery and the clouds of dust emanating from the orchard and full trailers of nuts. We aren’t completely done with our 2021 walnut harvest, but we’re almost there, having harvested two of our three walnut varieties and most of our 12 acres of trees.

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News From the Farm | October 4, 2021

NOTE: Farming is both physically and emotionally difficult work; it’s filled with plenty of heartbreak and sadness to accompany the positive and awe-inspiring moments. In addition to produce, we also raise animals and this brings even more emotional highs and lows. We don’t always talk about those harder moments and instead often focus on the cuteness of the babies or on how they help our soil fertility. But we think it’s important to talk about the whole experience. Kendall, one of our interns, wrote this week’s News From the Farm about her experience working with our animals. If you aren’t comfortable reading about animal death, we would recommend skipping this week’s News from the Farm.


At the beginning of May 2021 I was welcomed into the Full Belly Farm intern family. It’s been a crazy and educational five months so far and I’ve loved (almost) every second.

Kendall attending to a happy member of the flock.

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