Theme: farm family

News from the Farm | November 28, 2022

Grandpa Joe hands out fresh milk to a happy customer at Story Road Drive-in Dairy

Good day to you all,

A warm north wind flowed down through the valley this Thanksgiving. As a river flows between its banks, the wind wandered between mountain ranges that cradle the land we care for. Trees now shimmer orange and undo their summer leaves, helped by the wind’s gentle fingers. An early frost painted the valley with the most spectacular fall colors I can remember. Deep amber, burnt orange, sweet reds and yellows all aglow. A serene exhale. A wave, goodbye for now, and in a mere blink of an eye, the whole landscape seems to be drifting off under winter’s spell. Early rains, of whose moisture ran deep into the soil, now bear their gift: a green glimmer beneath the gray foothills and pastures. Those rains washed away the dust and whispered songs of hope to all farms across the West. As we long for more, we must give thanks for the opening remarks they’ve given on behalf of this rainy season. It wasn’t just the dust they washed away, but the urgency of summer. Immediately following the first rain and cold of the year, there is a palpable heave felt for miles. A pressure valve released. We have time! Time to release our own leaves; successes, failures, milestones…memories. Winter’s gift to us farmers is this time, and the patience to digest and put to rest all of the leaves. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving marks the home stretch for us – after this week, there are two more weeks before our winter break.

Every culture seems to have a harvest holiday like Thanksgiving, a time to sit down with friends and family and appreciate the land’s bounty. Not all are as complicated as ours though; the Thanksgiving story is based on a lot of myths and lies about American history. It is possible to observe Thanksgiving while acknowledging the long history of colonization, exploitation, and erasure, and the continued struggles and triumphs of Native people. One place to start is learning about the real history and your area’s Indigenous peoples and languages. And there are many other resources and ideas out there, including supporting Native organizations and movements.

One thing I’ve incorporated into my Thanksgiving is thinking about who and what I’m thankful for. It’s a long list, including all of the people who grow, harvest, and process the food that I eat- those that I know, and those who I don’t. At least when it comes to my job, the CSA, there’re some people who really stand out. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 14, 2021

Interview of a Farm Kid  —  

When I was asked to write this week’s Beet article, I thought it would be fun and fresh to hear about the farm from a 3-foot perspective. So I interviewed my oldest son who is one of the six grandchildren that were born and raised at Full Belly Farm. Waylon Rain Muller will turn 5 in September, and aside from a handful of hours spent at the local preschool every week, he spends his days being a farm kid. “What’s a farm kid?” you might ask. Well, the job description varies depending on the day and the season, but here’s a sample of a day in the life of Waylon. He didn’t ask for this life, but so far he loves it and sure lives it to its fullest… [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 3, 2021

Baboo  —  

Full Belly Farm lost a cherished friend on Saturday. Our beloved golden retriever, Baboo, passed suddenly at the young age of 8. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 15, 2019

Barely any cucumbers make it home because they are so delicious!
(Thank you to CSA member Hallie Chertok for the photo!)  ––  

The story was told a hundred times and always began like this: “It was early July, the beginning of the hot summer, and Mama had fallen in love with a handsome young farmer who lived close by to Grandma and Grandpa. So Mama went out near her home and picked two big beautiful buckets of ripe, juicy blackberries that she found along the river edge. She took those blackberries home and baked them into a golden-crusted pie with the blackberries tucked inside. Later that day she drove out to where she thought that farmer lived and found his house along a long country road. She left that pie on his doorstep with a simple note that said, PLEASE ENJOY THIS PIE MADE WITH LOVE and in small letters at the bottom she wrote her name. Well, pretty soon that young man came home and ate up that pie and pretty soon after that they were married and pretty soon after that they moved to this house where you were born and where we all live now. Now Go to Sleep, Goodnight” [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 18, 2019


More like Winter

It’s wet.  In the last week, we have seen nearly five inches of rainfall here in the Capay Valley.  That is almost one quarter of our annual recorded rain! On Thursday morning, Cache Creek crested at 11,000 cubic feet per second ripping through the floodplain.  I watched full-sized trees carried effortlessly down the river. Then, less than five hours later, the river retreated to 3,000 cf/s in an amazing display of our watershed in action. Friday left us snow-capped peaks to dazzle over. As the weather played cat and mouse, I watched in awe. Rainbows, warm sunny moments and cold torrential rain were blended seamlessly throughout the day.  As the sun returns this week, I watch the water slowly recede into the ground and I cannot help but sigh with relief. I know that on cold wet days like these, trees tap their roots down a little further. Buds on the trees take one more day to swell before they flower and fruit. Birds wait and rest one more day before spring brings the nest. The carrots shiver and sugar their flesh as they await the farmer’s hands.  And the farmer waits blissfully as the storm passes, eager to sow the new season’s crops. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 15, 2018

This week was anything but uneventful here at Full Belly Farm with celebrations of birth and love and markings of age. Here is a general recap of the eventful things that happened, though this does NOT include all the picking and packing for markets and CSA boxes and harvesting of 12 acres of walnuts. That all seems to happen so seamlessly! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 13, 2018

Rest in Peace John Ceteras

This past Saturday, family, friends and neighbors from our Capay Valley and beyond came together to celebrate the life of our friend and neighbor, farmer John Ceteras. John recently passed away after a long, concerted and very private battle with cancer. He was 74 years old and is survived by his wife and artist, farm partner, Gretchen, son Noah and grandson, Jack. With Gretchen, John farmed Blue Heron Farm, a 20-acre certified organic farm in Rumsey. As an elder, his passing leaves a void in our community, but his legacy inspires seasoned and beginning farmers alike. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 17, 2017

This past spring I had the honor of taking a UC Berkeley design thinking class called Eat.Think.Design! To a degree I’d never imagined, it was intimate, hands-on, edgily interdisciplinary, upended established ways of thinking, an intentional community, out to better the world through food.  I got my first choice project team – Fair Labor Produce: working through empathy, interviews, research, prototyping, and play to increase transparency around labor conditions for farm workers in the Salinas region.  Judith was a great resource.

A few weeks before the big Innovation Feast, where we presented our projects to a diverse audience, came the best class of all. Homework: Bring a food to share with the class that is meaningful to you, and come tell what it means.  This most basic of human experience – sharing who we are, through food.  A crockpot, a toaster oven, chaat made of fish parts, mangos five ways, stories about falling in love, stories about finding out who we are, stories about food aboard a submarine, stories about a home far away.  The community that we had become grew twice as deep that night. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 3, 2017

There are some fertile stories that ripened this past week: The 114-degree heat that blistered the farm; Whole Food’s meeting the Amazon piranha; California’s listing of Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer) as a carcinogen; the many tweets and twitterings around health care…. all captivating stories. However I am more compelled to write about a passing that like many other moments in time requires us to stop and reflect on our own humanity.

This past Saturday a good Farmer, responsible steward and friend of Full Belly passed away after a prolonged battle with Multiple Myeloma. Nigel Walker, founder of Eatwell Farm, a 105-acre farm in Dixon, was a forward thinker and creative force in the organic farming community. Since its inception in 1993, Eatwell Farm has been a model farm in its beauty and complexity, integrating rotations of lavender, clover, vegetables, livestock and fruit with a vibrant CSA and farmers market community. 

Nigel was respected as an innovator. He forged his own path in energy use by powering his farm with used vegetable oil and energy efficient design. He was an innovator in crop rotation by utilizing legumes, chickens, permanent edges and vegetable crops to create a healthy farm eco-system that wasn’t supported with the addition of imported nutrients.  He nurtured community with a farm open to his customers as a place to visit, pick lavender or strawberries, camp, or make tomato sauce. At farmers market, Eatwell was known for quality heirloom tomatoes, wonderful eggs and a philosophy of responsible stewardship. One couldn’t buy his vegetables without getting a good dose of philosophy and farming reality. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 26, 2017

Proximity and Kinship

There is a game that I like to think that I made up but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a commonplace practice of cartographers. If I named it, I would call it something like Proximity. To play, you take a blank piece of paper and you draw a star in the middle of it to represent yourself. Then you think of every place in the world that you feel you are connected to and you draw a dot on the paper to represent those places in relation to your own star. If you wanted to add complexity to your map, you could code the dots in different shapes or colors to signify the type of connection. In drafting your map, you have to estimate distances and create your own scale, using your own brilliantly subjective mind. I like to riffle through my memory and think of places I have been in the context of people that have nurtured me and whom I love. The point of this abstract game is that, in the end, you have a unique, and ever-changing constellation of your own lived experience in proximity to place, people, experience and time. Like roots, you can conjure a map of the places that ground you and the places that have fostered your personal growth as a human being.

For me, Full Belly Farm is it’s own Milky Way of dots. Within this one location there are literally hundreds of individuals, places and experiences that I gravitate towards; with whom I have made beautiful and intense memories; from whom I have learned some of my most profound lessons; individuals who have cared for me in my darkest hours; people with whom I have laughed, cried and grown up, places that have wordlessly shown me the sublimity of existence and the inevitability of death. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 10, 2017

We spent this past week hustling to take advantage of a dry-enough period before the series of late-week storms dropped nearly 2 inches of rain. On Thursday the work of planting tomatoes, melons, peppers, corn, beans and other summer crops stopped as the generous clouds opened up and drenched the farm. The blessing of rain soaked our asparagus beds and loosened the soil above the spears and helped them to break through. Carrots, lettuce, beets, potatoes and all of the spring crops revel in the liveliness of rainwater. Trees are shooting out with an energy and lushness that is a remarkable contrast with the past couple of years.  The farm feels exuberant —humming with a vibration of life that explodes when Springtime arrives with it’s moisture, warmth and myriad of life forms that shake off a long winter and go to work….

We have been thinking about the cycles of life and death this past week. Andrew’s (one of the 4 original Full Belly owners) father, Martin Brait passed away on April 1. Marty was a great friend to the farm and was a delightful, creative, enthusiastic human being who visited us from his home in Philadelphia with his wife Marsha over the years. Who would think that clothier couple-haberdashers by trade- would hatch a farmer son? Marty, embraced the life that Andrew chose many years ago and was a part of a parental rooting club that each of the 4 original partners shared. The success of Full Belly is very definitely linked to our ancestors – parents – that had a common trait: the willingness to embrace and encourage creativity, responsibility, and social commitment to tending a healthy planet. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 20, 2017

March Birthdays

My Grandpa Bond was born well over a hundred years ago, on March 20 1902, a Spring baby.  I often think of him as one of the people who introduced me to growing vegetables.  He became an avid gardener during World War II because he lived in the industrial town of Birmingham England, and the war had disrupted the supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables.  To address the shortage, my grandfather threw himself into his vegetable garden — he had access to an allotment (the English term for a plot of land rented out for growing gardens). In fact, my grandfather eventually took over several allotments with his fruit trees and vegetables and never gave them up, even when the bombs stopped falling.  When he visited us in California, he and I worked together in a small garden in rocky soil, that while not producing a great harvest of vegetables, resulted in my life-long gratitude and fond memories of precious times together.

There have been many other happy birthdays to enjoy in March —  the popping up of flowers, both horticultural and wild all around us, and of course the Spring Equinox which we will observe on Monday March 20th.  Neighbors, friends and relatives, so many seem to have been born in March!  One very special, ‘round’ birthday, the 60th, should be mentioned, that of our beloved Dru Rivers, one of Full Belly’s founders and owners, who generously shared her March birthday with her daughter Hallie, 31 years ago.  This year, our goat Sweet Pea, was even inspired by the birthday energy.  Our lunch on March 15th was interrupted with the momentous news that Sweet Pea had just given birth to quadruplets.  Within minutes they were trying to get up onto their long legs, sniffing around their mom for milk.

–Judith Redmond

Happy Halloween From Full Belly Farm!

October 31, 2016


News From the Farm | September 19, 2016

My husband and I went to a wedding reception last night to celebrate the marriage of Edgar Jacobo and Martha Carrillo.  Edgar is the eldest son of Bonifacio and Maria Joaquina who are both team leaders at our farm.  Bonifacio has worked at Full Belly since 1988 and Joaquina has been here since 1993.  Bonifacio is the youngest of 10 siblings, born and raised in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.  Like most of his brothers, Bonifacio started working on farms in Mexico when he was 12 years old, usually 7 days a week, saving money so that he could take the bus to school.

Most of Bonifacio’s siblings have also worked at Full Belly from time-to-time, and several of them are working now.  His elder brother Celso is running our cherry tomato crew.  His brother Sergio drives trucks to the city. Their wives also work at the farm.  Their father, Señor Bonifacio worked here, and still comes back every summer, despite our reluctance to see him working, given his many years of service — it’s time for him to enjoy some rest with his extended family!  And it is a large extended family, with many aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws, so many that we need to draw a family tree to tease it all out. Probably more than 1/3 of our crew is somehow related to the Jacobo family. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 20, 2016

It has been a busy week at Full Belly! Summer came a’knockin with full force and brought the arrival of melons, tomatoes (we picked our first heirlooms!), more peach varieties, plums, apricots, eggplant, cucumbers, and corn – hooray for summer flavors! For most of us at the farm, we hold off eating summertime fruits and vegetables until they are in season which makes this time of year especially mouthwatering. In addition to the new harvest, we also welcomed our first group of summer campers to the farm yesterday – eager youngsters who will spend the week working, playing, swimming, laughing, and farming. Their first task: to care for the 11 new piglets born less than 24 hours before their arrival. 


These little piglets are busy eating – and growing! Their mother, Blueberry, will provide milk for them for a little over a month before they start to eat Full Belly grains and veggies! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 30, 2016

What’s happening at Full Belly Farm, as June and the official beginning of Summer approach? A morning’s walk around the farm reveal a patchwork of activities, just like the patchwork of fields — all getting sewn together to form the season’s quilt.  Young tomatoes, corn and melons in clean fields, as yet untouched by the onslaught of daily harvests. A crew pounding stakes into the ground, preparing to trellis the growing tomatoes.  Netted fence that has been put up around the orchards to protect the ripening fruit from hungry deer. Onions in burlap bags sitting in the beds, curing. Trucks, forklifts, backhoes and tractors, all at work on various projects.  We’re expecting some hot weather in the next few weeks, so the pace is likely to kick into even higher gear very soon.


Yesenia Gaxiola Vega, Wendy Arita Paz, and Maria Machado Castro harvesting garlic. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 28, 2016

Much of the rich diversity and prosperity of California’s remarkable agricultural landscape came from the efforts of immigrants. Men and women settlers who came, occupied a landscape that was incredibly rich in an abundance of resources—cheap land, deep fertility of remarkable soils, abundant water, a sparsely settled landscape, along with oil, gold, fish, timber and rich grasslands. They undertook a vast harvest of timeless wealth with the energy of new converts to a religion of abundance. Hard work enabled so much harvest.

My father was one such immigrant, as were my mother’s parents, emigrating from Switzerland to California where opportunities seemed limitless. My father immigrated after the war and first worked in the Redwood forests of Northern California, felling what he called ‘beautiful giants’.  He and my mother went on to establish a successful dairy in part of “the Valley of the Hearts Delight” – the Santa Clara Valley – now Silicon Valley. The cows left as the silicon moved in… By 1968 most of the cows were gone and the fabric of the native landscape torn and forgotten.  [Read more…]

Welcome Hazel Rose Muller!

Hazel Rose Muller

Born in the wee hours of January 7, Hazel has us all wrapped around her fingers – she is pure perfection! She joins big brothers Rowan and Arlo and parents Jenna and Amon Muller. She is a third generation member of the Full Belly Farm family! 

News From the Farm | August 24, 2015

It was my parent’s 32nd wedding anniversary last week. To me, along with wishing them a happy day and giving them a big sloppy smooch on the cheek, this also meant working along side them on the farm on another hot summer day.

There are challenges and incredible benefits to working with my family members. As sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers, we are all joined in the valiant effort of trying to feed the souls and bellies of those who surround us. Additionally, we all try to remember to ask how weekends went, how children are, and check in with each other on a personal level. During these long summer days, it would be easy to slide into work and forget that we are family. [Read more…]