Theme: farm crew

News From the Farm | June 22, 2015

The animal program at Full Belly farm is a way for the interns to experience the responsibilities of caring for a diverse group of animals. As an intern, I have learned how to properly care for laying hens, cows, sheep, goats and pigs as an integrated part of an organic vegetable farm. Antonio Cruz is the shepherd here at the farm, and his wealth of knowledge and experience with farm animals makes every day dynamic and challenging.

Antonio has worked at Full Belly for twelve years, eight of which he has worked full time with the animals. He is from Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero in Mexico, where his three daughters, Almadellia, Esmeralda and Sulmarisandi still live. Besides a few months on a vineyard, he has worked at Full Belly since he came to the US to live with his brother in the Capay Valley. Before coming to the US, Antonio worked on a ranch caring for eighty cows. Every morning at 3am, he and two other men would spend the first four hours of their day milking the eighty cows by hand! As a new milker that finds milking one cow by hand challenging, the thought of milking for four hours straight is very impressive! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 16, 2015

Full Belly Farm is blessed to have some wonderful folks working here every day, and this week we want to introduce one of them to our CSA members, Inigo Encarnación, who has been working here since 2011. 

Inigo was born in the state of Guerrero, in southern Mexico, in a small village called Huehuetonoc.  That’s an Amuzgo Indian word signifying the tambor, a musical instrument. Inigo has three older sisters, two of whom are now teachers in Mexico. His father grew corn, beans and squash for the family, and had several cows.  Inigo helped out in the fields and enjoyed milking the cows with his father, who he called Jefe. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 20, 2014

With 80 or more people working at Full Belly it is sometimes daunting to get to know everyone.  There are field crews, a packing-shed crew, CSA customer-support staff, irrigation crews, an animal-care crew and a marketing team, just to mention a few.  Occasionally, we take space in the Beet to feature one of our staff, thinking that our members may also like to get to know the people that pick their vegetables.  Previously, we have always interviewed someone who has worked at the farm for many years, usually year-round. This week, in contrast, we talked with Angel Martinez who has only worked at the farm for a short while.

Angel started working at Full Belly a few months ago, at the height of the summer busyness, and in that short time he has been assigned quite a variety of tasks – “a little bit of everything” as he put it: packing peaches; planting strawberries, onions, broccoli and cabbage; sorting nuts; working on the almond-sheller; pulling stakes out of the ground in old tomato fields; pulling up plastic row cover and drip lines from finished fields; and of course, picking vegetables like eggplants and chilies. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 22, 2014

 Faces from the Fields

Maria Machado has worked at Full Belly Farm for five years, sometimes packing tomatoes and at other times picking fruits and vegetables.  Her husband Sergio works at the farm as well, on the irrigation crew. Last June, Maria was put in charge of her own picking crew. We wanted to tell a little bit of her story to our CSA members since Maria is an important part of the chain of many hands and many people’s dedicated efforts, that result in the CSA boxes that you enjoy every week.  

On a recent afternoon when Maria’s crew was picking padron peppers we sat and talked for a few minutes. The weather was a bit cooler and more comfortable than it has been in weeks past. From where we sat, when I reminded Maria that most of the people getting CSA boxes live in the city, and may never have worked on a farm, we couldn’t help looking around and feeling happy to see the hills on either side of us, the trees providing shade to sit under, and the sounds of the wind moving across the field. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 10, 2014

Meet Our Farmers!

Guests often come to Full Belly and wonder aloud how on earth we are able to keep so many balls in the air at the same time. It is true that at any given time, we have quite a few things going on! To keep everyone organized and moving forward, we do have a few secret weapons.  Some of our biggest assets are our amazing employees. Meet Janvier Velilla. Originally, she thought she would pursue business or accounting, but after signing on with Americorps and having the opportunity to work on a farm in Colorado, she fell in love with farming and decided to pursue more farming as a career option. 


[Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 2, 2013

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a holiday that honors the work of all who place their effort as a brick in the edifice of this amazing society. For most it is a day to stop work and take a rest – hard won through the struggles, marches and demands of workers in the late 1800’s. It is a day to honor, as Peter J. McGuire, co founder of the American Federation of Labor said in 1882, those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the Grandeur we behold.”  

Often acknowledged and celebrated is the vision of the successful entrepreneur, but Labor Day demands that we equally respect the patient, persistent and diligent contribution of those who labor at all levels, showing up every day to do the tasks that often are not acknowledged. Those who labor are linked together by the ethic of sustained dedication – the factory worker in a foreign land, the office worker in the Bay Area, the teacher, software developer, machinist, fast food worker and the farm worker in our fields – all have a personal commitment to the task at hand.  Most work for more than pay. There are rewards in the dignity that is linked to making something more whole. There are rewards from doing good, serving all creatures great or small and being linked to the common effort. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 26, 2013

It’s time to meet another one of Full Belly’s crew. This week we would like to introduce you to Catalina Soto.

When did you start working at Full Belly Farm?

About 9 years ago.

What was different back then?

It has changed little by little. I learn every day. The farm was smaller when I got here, there were fewer flowers, melons and tomatoes. Now there is so much of everything! My first day I started picking bunches of chard with Alfonso and Jose. I don’t remember what else I picked my first day! Since then I have picked beans, cherry tomatoes, eggplant – I’ve picked all of it, but I haven’t driven the tractors or worked with the animals. Now I don’t pick anymore, instead I am in the packing shed and in the afternoon I organize the pallets and load trucks. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | Week of July 8, 2013

This is one in our series of interviews in which we introduce our CSA members to the people who pick and pack the fruits and vegetables from Full Belly Farm.

Beet: Alfonso, could you tell our CSA members about your job here at Full Belly?

Alfonso: My work is to organize and pick the heirloom tomatoes. My group also picks basil.

B: And in the cool months?

A: We also pick the greens – chards and kales, and carrots.

B: How long have you worked at Full Belly?

A: I started in 1997. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | Week of July 1, 2013

The rainy days of last week have been replaced with one of the widest temperature swings in memory. The 42°difference between 70° and 112° has been mind numbing without the gradual swing that allows a body to acclimate. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are forecast to be 116° at the farm. This high has extended throughout California and into the deserts of Arizona where farm fields were closer to 120°.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | April 15, 2013

Greenhouse Work

Years ago, when European lords and ladies were interested in botany and agriculture, greenhouses were elaborate, beautiful buildings covered with glass and full of complicated heating, cooling and lighting equipment. If these grand greenhouses at Kew Gardens or the Palace of Versailles form your image of a greenhouse, you might find the four Full Belly greenhouses to be plebeian, practical affairs, covered with plastic films and watered by hand with a garden hose. But despite their simplicity, these greenhouses and Ana Cervantes, our Greenhouse Manager, are unsung Full Belly Farm heroes.

Ana has worked at Full Belly for eight years. This year, she started cleaning and preparing the greenhouses for their busy season in early January, and by the middle of the month she was preparing trays and soil mix for the first planting of tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli.  She explained to me that each tray can hold 200 plants and in one greenhouse there are almost 300 trays. Later, in the other greenhouses, she planted onions, leeks, melons and flowers. For each crop, there are several varieties. Lots of flower varieties are started in the greenhouse before being planted in the field: amobium, statice, lavender, asters, marigolds, globe amaranth, zinnias, and celosias. Luckily, we don’t have to sprinkle the seeds one by one into each cell of the tray – that’s how we used to do it!  Now we use a vacuum seeder that distributes them fairly accurately.  

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 1, 2013

This week we wanted to let our CSA members learn a little bit more about the people who work at Full Belly Farm, so we interviewed one of the crew members who irrigates the crops, Arturo Gaxiola.

Full Belly: First, please tell me a bit about your job at FB.
Arturo Gaxiola: My job is irrigating, the water. For example, we have several types of sprinkler right now: one type is the drip line like we use in the grapes and now we are also irrigating the peaches with special permanent drip lines. They are above the ground, with little sprinkles in between every two trees. I think the fruit is going to be better.

[Read more…]