Theme: farm philosophy

News from the Farm | January 8, 2024

Dear CSA friends, 

We are back and rested after a much-needed end-of-year break. After a good deal of greeting, handshaking and backslapping this morning at 8am our crew is in the fields, evaluating how we did in leaving our crops to rest over the past few weeks. As of now, things look good- lots of carrots, broccoli, greens, cabbage, potatoes, and roots to fill your boxes in the coming weeks. Oranges had a chance to ripen and sweeten as the milder December and early January largely avoided frost or freeze damage to the crops. So we are off to another annual race to a full year of farming.

All of our hopes for the coming year and past successes stem from being blessed by residing on this gracious and generous earth beneath our feet. Its abundance has been feeding us and our extended family of eaters for more than 40 years. A benign winter without damage from a deep cold spell or too much rain allows us to harvest and begin this new year with a continuation of a harvest suspended last December. We are happy to be your farm again as we start this new year and this morning we are excited to begin that work again. [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 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 | September 4, 2023

Friday morning’s meeting – every Friday, we start the day with stretches and exercises (usually led by Andrew) followed by announcements.

Like every morning this summer, our crew of about 90 came to work today to plant, irrigate, weed, irrigate, pick, and pack our harvest for distribution to the many purchasers of our produce. For the almost 40 years of this farm, we have all worked on Labor Day—perhaps missing the central point of the day, to honor and acknowledge the contribution of those who keep our world moving, and eating.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | December 5, 2022

The annual all-farm photo of the year-round crew, minus a few folks, with our new sweatshirts

The cold November has rolled into an early wet December. We are grateful for both and have been reveling in the rain – what a gift! Even though it means this week, as we wrap up the 2022 CSA, farmers markets, and produce sales, we will be slogging crops out of wet fields. [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 | February 7, 2022

In addition to lambing season, and growing and harvesting what’s in the fields, this is a time of year when we’re making a lot of decisions about what to grow the rest of the year, along with ordering and receiving a lot of seeds. There are so many crops and varieties – how to choose? [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 20, 2021

The last line of peaches, Autumn Flames — small but tasty  —  

It seemed to me that all of a sudden the gentler light, a cool breeze and a bluest of blue sky were announcing a change in the season. After another remarkably hot week, the nights are cooling down. As you walk through the walnut orchard, you have to make an effort to avoid stepping on the walnuts that have fallen from the branches and if you listen for a moment you will hear more of them falling to the ground.  Fig leaves are piling up in my garden and soon the peaches will be showing some fall color.  Persimmons and pomegranates are starting to look pretty ripe.  The heat of the sun doesn’t seem quite as intense.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 1, 2021

Griffin the Guard Dog  —  

What a wild turbulent week we have had here on this Full Moon end of February week here at the farm. Warm sunny days were followed by howling north winds and then more dry warm sunny days…. The old comment goes that we had 4 inches of rain this year and 14 inches of drying wind to soak it up.  The winds have been powerful and persistent, the days far too warm for February and the worries about a drought have us making plans for a dry year. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 18, 2021

As 2021 starts finding its way, I look forward to another year here on the Full Belly patch of land. I love the cool season when bunched greens, beets, carrots and broccoli are on the harvest list, crops that have a less urgent, a less demanding nature than summer’s heavy hitters like tomatoes and melons (I love those too, in their time!) Cooler weather, with its calmer harvest schedule, opens up time for projects, like expanding and rebuilding the flower cooler in the packing shed, something that has been on the list for some years now. This, and other investments in the future of the farm provide a reminder that we have much to be grateful for. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | December 7, 2020

2020 Looking Back, Looking Forward

Oh my, the last of the Beets for another year. And what a year it has been. Your Full Belly Farmers have been on this wonderful piece of land since 1984. Each year, as the discoveries continue here, our connection to all of the work and care of the past stewards of this place reminds us that our responsibility as farmers is to love this land and to help life blossom here. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 21, 2020

It sometimes feels like our lives have been put on hold as we navigate the current reality. Our friends are more separate, our children tethered close to home, we are using our computer screens to assess body language and connect in ways that aren’t real and human. It is not a healthy development and we need to redesign. Now may be a time of opportunity.

My daughter, Hallie and my sister Marianne are grade school teachers faced with the task of trying to create effective on-line learning for their students. They witness that it doesn’t work to have young students spend hours looking at a computer screen. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 29, 2020

The place to be when the temperature hits 102 degrees  — 

We are looking back on what was a very hot week here at Full Belly, with triple digits every day. (As our friend at Terra Firma Farm said, we were Sweltering in Place!) Looking forward, temperatures are predicted to be in the 90’s for a little while, which will be a big relief.  California has some rules about how to protect farm workers from heat stress with water, shade and mandatory breaks every two hours when the temperature is over 95.  While this (and other measures) can prevent people from getting sick, it is still uncomfortable to be working in the fields in a mask, during super hot weather.  Thank you to all members of our farm crew. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | December 2, 2019

Dru at the Farmers Market (photo by Lauren Betts)  — 

One delight of our Thanksgiving week was the remarkable change in weather. On Wednesday evening the temperature dropped to 28, freezing pipes, nipping the last leaves on the apples, peaches, walnuts and almonds; and frosting the last of the summer’s non-frost tolerant crops like potatoes and summer flowers. (Potato tops are dead and the spuds are resting in the soil until we harvest them later this winter.) All manner of summer frost-sensitive crops are now dark and done. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 11, 2019

One has to love a bargain- it may be a personality virtue – re-use, recycle, repurpose. Or maybe it is a malady that drives profligate hoarding or the accumulation of another’s junk; or being blind to eyesores; or an overactive imagining about future time that will be allocated for turning straw into gold. In my troubled view, my straw is generally junk steel. 

Admittedly, I have gone on a spree of imagining about good deals for too long.  As a result, my steel resource pile is a bit too big, the list of get-to-it projects enough for a couple of lifetimes.  The good ideas to be built from that pallet of auction junk become magnificence in my imagination as I raise my hand.  When I get it back to the farm, the filing system for my expanded resource base has not been well organized.  Where did I put that widget?  I know that I have one around here somewhere! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 26, 2019

Alex and Frederick raking the almonds into a central line, ready for the sweeper (shown below) to pick them up.

 An Ode to Thank the Capay Valley Farm Shop for the Use of Their Awesome Forklift

It was late on a summer’s night

Many hands had not been on deck 

Projects were piling up

bellies were growling

Worry wrinkles were deepening [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 20, 2019

Two huge oak trees toppled over last Tuesday night, apparently simultaneously. —

“If we could eradicate mosquitos from the face of the earth, do you think it would be a good idea?”  I heard this not-so-hypothetical question recently on a podcast.  The host maintained that because mosquitos are vectors of so many human diseases all over the world, there can be no possible reason not to energetically pursue their extinction using the full arsenal of human inventions. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 6, 2019

At times of the year we could use a thousand hands to get all of the work done. We are in the midst of our spring transition after that long spell of rains that graced the farm in January through late March. When all of that rain stopped there was a good deal of catching up that was needed… we are getting closer to catching up, but the season brings new tasks that pile on.  So many of the tasks are simply keeping up with the pick of lettuces, greens, flowers, asparagus, new carrots, onions and garlic. We have more than 40 crew-members out each day with the pick, and another 10 in the shop packing the orders that we harvest. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 18, 2019

Thinking about peaches  ––

Oh Spring! You have descended upon us this past week, gracing field, hillside, and human spirit with the seduction of warmth and days that stretch out like a cat after a long slumber. This year you have been away longer than normal – the cold and rain of January, February and early March now all but forgotten with your bursting on the scene. The trees have been patiently awaiting your beckoning call.  Our peaches and plums are finally blooming nearly a month late. Apricots and pears are swelling… [Read more…]

News From the Farm | November 12, 2018

The monumental tragedy of the Paradise fire is hard to comprehend.  A community swept away with a wall of flames driven by powerful winds offered little time to escape. The reality of fire consuming an entire town in a morning and the personal terror and loss is a sobering reminder of our interdependence and proximity to profound potential for change driven by a flame, or a gust, or a chance mistake. A brief spark can alter the trajectory of lives or extinguish the same in an unimaginable fury.  We turn our hearts to those who are suffering loss. [Read more…]