Theme: farm events

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 | October 9, 2023

Well folks, we did it. The 32nd Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival has come and gone and the farm is almost back to normal. We transformed a working farm into a weekend festival for over 2000 people, we fed, taught, and entertained them, and then we cleaned up and turned it back into a working farm so that we could resume our normal Monday farm activities. That “we” is a big group. SO many people and SO much work goes into this really special event, even if it was Hoes Down in a “slowed down” format.

So we have many many thanks you’s to all of those who made is possible. This week we want to take a moment to express our sincere, deep gratitude for all of those who helped make the Hoes Down Festival the success that it was.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | September 18, 2023

We’re rapidly approaching the end of another Full Belly summer. Melons were picked, flowers were bunched and dried, tomatoes were packed, and our bellies were filled with the delicious summer bounty. We generally do not count time in days; instead we observe the changing seasons by the way the mornings feel (the cooler the better!), the flavors of the fruit, and the events that take place in our valley. The fall is a time when we Full Belly farmers make time to celebrate the whirlwind that is our summer and share the beauty of farm life with our community. It is a precious time, full of total exhaustion and excitement as we transform our working farm into a full-on Festival. 

This year marks the 32nd Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. We hope you will join us. Since announcing this year’s Hoes Down, we have heard from people who have been coming for decades and for whom this festival is very important to their families, and from people who have never come but want to deepen their relationship with our Farm. We have been preparing in earnest to welcome newcomers and returnees. In case you need extra convincing, we have created a list of the Top Ten Reasons to come to the Hoes Down Harvest Festival at Full Belly Farm:  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | April 11, 2022

A farmer, regardless of what they grow, wears many hats: agronomist, soil scientist, hydrologist, entomologist, pathologist, meteorologist, mechanic, salesperson, driver, regulatory specialist, and more, in addition to participating in agriculture-related advocacy and social groups. Plus being a parent, spouse, sibling, and friend, and roles in religious institutions, political groups, sports teams, and community groups, time for hobbies, and some have off-farm jobs. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 9, 2021

How to eat a Full Belly Watermelon  —  

Grateful Harvest Gala  —  

The fall at Full Belly Farm for more than 30 seasons has been a time when more of our attention reaches outward, as planning for various events, including our Hoes Down Harvest Festival, reaches a crescendo.  We have cancelled the Hoes Down for the last two years because hosting thousands of people at the farm during the pandemic seemed like a bad idea.  Nevertheless, the work of the Ecological Farming Association one of the beneficiaries of the Hoes Down Harvest Festival, continued.  EcoFarm, as it says on their home page, “nurtures just and ecologically sustainable farms and food systems through education, alliance building, celebration and advocacy.” [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 16, 2019

Stilt Walking at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival  —  

Howdy y’all! Full Belly Farm’s Education team – Sierra & Haley here! It’s been a couple of years since our last Hoes Down Harvest Festival, so we thought we’d give you a quick reminder of all the fun to be had, coming up on October 5th! Lo and behold, here’s the first installation of the ABC’s of the Hoes Down Harvest Festival:

A – Agricultural Workshops 

Interested in how to raise chickens, discover native plants, or learn the fundamentals of natural building? Well the Hoes Down is the place to do all that and more.  There are over 25 workshops available with the price of admission.

B – Barnyard Animals

Visit all of your favorite Full Belly Farm regulars that help make this farm run.  Stop by and learn how Eclair gets milked, what our lucky pigs get to eat, how our chickens move around the farm in their mobile homes and how our sheep get shorn.  Don’t forget to visit the FFA’s petting zoo too! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 15, 2019

Calling all Gardening Enthusiasts!

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to visit the Capay Valley on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, for the 12th annual Mother’s Day Farm and Garden Tour. Our valley is the proud home to an amazing array of gardeners and farmers, from a 2-acre homesteading garden to a 10-acre floral production field, we definitely have something to delight everyone. Eight gardens will be on display sprinkled through the Valley towns of Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey. Along with the gardens there are other points of interest including live music at the Taber Ranch wine-tasting room and the Seka Mills Olive Mill which is surrounded by roses and lavender. All attendees will be provided a self guided tour map so that you can make your own schedule and stop for a picnic lunch at one of the gardens. Box lunches will be available at our local Grange Hall and can be purchased in advance on the website. [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…]

News From the Farm | January 14, 2019

60,000 lettuce and cabbage getting started for the first New Year planting.

There are several opportunities in 2019 for you to visit us at Full Belly Farm.  Here are some of them.

Open Farm Day will be on April 6th.

Come and meet your farmers and visit the farm! Our lambs will be 1-1/2 to 2 months old and you will get the opportunity to meet them as well.  We will give a farm tour and you are welcome to stay for a picnic.  We will set up a farm stand, and will be selling our homemade brick oven-baked pizzas.  There is no charge for Open Farm Day tours. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 26, 2018

Fall is in full swing here at the farm. The first rain came last week and washed away months of dust and smoke that had settled on the plants. The leaves on the walnut trees seemed to change from bright green to a dark yellow overnight and the farmers began to walk a little slower and breathe a little deeper. It happens every year- and yet it feels just as refreshing this year as the last. The fresh flowers are frosted and the petals now have a beautiful browned edge that seems to signal the end of the season.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 16, 2018

Mothers’ Day Sunday always presents a plethora of options for families wanting to spoil that amazing mother (or grandmother!) for her special day. Well, we have a secret up here in the Capay Valley – the most perfect experience you could ever give your mom – the Capay Valley Mothers’ Day Garden Tour. Here are the top five reasons why this tour is exactly what that special mother (or gardening fanatic!) deserves for Mothers’ Day:

#1. It is in a spectacular setting. There is nothing more beautiful than this agricultural valley (that we are lucky enough to call home) in the middle of May. The Capay Valley is home to 5 small towns and winds through them all over 20 miles. The gardens are blooming, the temperature is typically ideal (usually in the mid 80’s) and best of all, the first fruit of the season will be starting with peaches, mulberries and strawberries! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 26, 2018

Open Farm Day

Saturday 3/24 was Open Farm Day at Full Belly Farm.  We all had a lot of fun.  Delicious pizza, fresh orange juice made on the spot, kite-flying, playing in the brook and listening to the frogs, tours of the fields, lamb petting, and playing and picnicking on the grass.  It was a warm, beautiful spring day.  CSA members received a jar of marmalade made from our Full Belly oranges. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 5, 2018

Open Farm Day Saturday March 24

Full Belly Farm Open Farm Day is coming up soon on Saturday March 24th.  It is likely to be a beautiful Spring day, perfect for an outing to the country.  It is your opportunity to enjoy the lovely flowers growing in our farm fields, visit our lambs, take a tour of the farm, and picnic on pizza from our wood-fired oven.

A visit to your local family farm is a way to get back in touch with where your food is coming from. Maybe you will figure out something more about the people who are growing the cabbage, potatoes and collards that you get every week in your CSA box. Or maybe you will enjoy the opportunity to smell a handful of the soil at Full Belly — soil that has been managed organically since 1985. Maybe you will just want to bring a friend and picnic on the green lawn in the Spring sun, a time to get away from city sounds. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 30, 2017

After a decade of dedicated planning, community organizing and fundraising, the Capay Valley is looking forward to construction of a Park and Aquatic Center in Esparto, the small town at the mouth of the Valley. A multitude of individuals and organizations donated countless hours to secure funding from various agencies so that the Capay Valley will soon be home to a swimming pool, soccer field and baseball/softball field. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 11, 2017

A Day in the Country

Full Belly is very lucky to be surrounded by open space, riparian habitat and native grasslands.  Our County is relatively rural and agricultural, producing processing tomatoes, rice, alfalfa hay, wine grapes, almonds and walnuts.  But not just agricultural — the County is also home to a significant number of rare and threatened plants and animals.

The predominance of open space and agriculture in this region is really not an accident — it’s the result of the efforts over time of people who live here working together to build organizations that support habitat conservation and viable business opportunities for agriculture. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 4, 2017

It’s been a hot week just about everywhere — not just here at the farm, but pretty much all around. We’ve had our crew arrive at dawn, hoping to get them home earlier.  But I think the first heat wave that we had in June was worse than this one. The June days were longer, thus the heat window was much longer.  Now the days are already starting to shorten, and the first day of fall is not much more than two weeks away.  I think we’re more acclimated to the heat as well — there have been a lot of triple digit weeks this summer in the Capay Valley.

We transplanted our first seedlings of greens into the field on one of the 109° days thinking on the one hand that it was awfully odd to be planting cool weather crops on such a hot day, but on the other hand, the shorter day length is a signal to the plants that fall is coming.  The lateness of summer also means that school started up, so all of the wonderful high school students that worked in the packing shed for the summer, are gone.  We had some great young helpers, we miss them and hope that they can come back next summer.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 15, 2017

Making your way from Sacramento or Berkeley, all the way up the Capay Valley to Full Belly Farm can seem like a long way.  After getting off the interstate, you follow a two-lane state highway and suddenly come upon Cache Creek Casino, which seems huge — a glittering, sprawling building complete with mini-mart and plenty of parking. Once past the Casino, the traffic thins out and to some, the setting feels downright remote.  Urban visitors, leaving behind the sidewalks and crowds of the city wonder how it would feel to live in a place where the nearest restaurant is a significant drive and there are no malls, museums or nightclubs.  

Museums and nightclubs are great when it comes to building cultural connections, but you should never underestimate the power of getting together to share good food!  I first got an inkling of this going to farmers markets — it wasn’t really something that I learned growing up.  When some of our farmers market customers talk about the food that they grew up with and describe the food customs they learned, their descriptions come from deep within their identity. Sharing seeds from home, or a sprig of treasured Persian mint to grow in the garden is how some of my farmers market customers tried to connect with me as a farmer.  Once the Persian mint was established, they yearned to see it back at the market so that they could taste it in their meals and share it with their friends. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 24, 2017

10th Annual Capay Valley Mothers Day Garden Tour

We would like to extend a warm welcome to gardening enthusiasts to our unique valley on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14th for the 10th annual Capay Valley Mother’s Day Garden Tour.  Our valley is home to an amazing array of gardeners and farmers – from a 2 -acre homesteading garden to a 20- acre floral production field, we definitely have something to delight everyone. Nine gardens will be on display sprinkled throughout the valley towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey.  Along with the gardens there are other points of interest including the new Seka Hills Olive Mill and wine tasting rooms and the Capay Valley Vineyards tasting room – both of which have special delights for mothers on their special day.  The Yolo Grange Hall is providing a “local lunch box” for those wanting to purchase a locally sourced meal. The tour is self-guided so that you can take your time and linger at those gardens that really draw you in.  

The gardeners themselves make the day an especially exceptional event. Annie Main from the Good Humus garden has a 30-year old botanical wonder of a garden that includes plants from her great grandmother interspersed with flowers and herbs that she uses in wedding arrangements and market bouquets. Her knowledge of plants and plant care is dizzying and she will be in the garden herself to answer any gardening questions. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 27, 2017

Our annual Open Farm day was on Saturday March 25th.  In the past, these days have been primarily for CSA members to visit the farm and get to know their farmers and the place where their food is grown.  In contrast, last year, and this year, we have hosted an almost overwhelmingly large number of visitors, mostly drawn to the farm through social media.  Many of the visitors in these last couple of years had never been to Full Belly or any other farm in the past and were not CSA members. There were lots of young kids and toddlers, and a wonderfully diverse crowd, from babies to great-grandmas, and a babel of languages and ethnicities.

The day brought fabulously beautiful spring weather between rainstorms. Just the day before we had almost an inch of rain.  Figuring out parking options was tricky, but Pancho and Paul spent the entire morning grading and leveling roads, trying hard to eliminate puddles and rope off safe parking so that no one would get stuck in the mud (and no one did!)  One visitor got out of his car asking why we didn’t have a “real” parking lot (!), but everyone else was game and even excited to take the short walk to our big grassy lawn and kitchen where our all-from-the-farm pizza crew was hard at work putting together wood-oven fired pizzas and salad for lunch. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 6, 2017

Open Farm Day Saturday March 25

Spring is a magical time of year at the farm. From the bouncing baby lambs to the honey-scented blossoms, every day it seems as though something else is waking up from a long winter nap. This year, after the buckets of rain we received, everything seems a little bit more vibrant. Our pastures are thick with grass, the trees seem to grow before our eyes, and insects are buzzing from bloom to bloom with glee. The farmers at Full Belly all agree: this is the best time to visit the farm! For that reason, we invite you, your family, and friends to our Open Farm Day on March 25.  [Read more…]