Theme: farmers markets

News from the Farm | April 8, 2024

Every week while managing our South Berkeley farmers market stand, I get asked over and over again “So, what’s new at the farm?”

I love this question because it is completely open-ended and forces me to synthesize all the moving parts that make up Full Belly Farm for someone who cares about us. In some ways, it’s my own short version of this weekly newsletter. 

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News from the Farm | February 12, 2024

Today’s Farm News covers two small ways you can get involved to help combat food insecurity. It’s a huge, complicated problem, but that means that any measures to chip away at it are important.

First, our CSA donation program. We’ve gotten a few inquiries recently, thus wanted to explain how it currently works! On a week that you don’t want a box, you have the option to donate or skip. Skipping means we move the box to the end of your schedule, or to a date you’ve specified. When you donate your box, the value of the box (or flowers, or whatever you’ve donated) goes into our Good Food Community Fund. When it comes time to set up donation boxes, we pull from the Fund. We don’t make the box and then donate it, thus why we need as much advance notice for skips and donations. We also have a few particularly generous CSA members who make separate donation payments just to the fund.

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News from the Farm | August 7, 2023

In honor of National Farmer’s Market Week, I would like to thank all of you who attend farmer’s markets regularly; you are directly supporting small (and often, family) farms like ours and also nourishing yourself with the best food on Earth! I also want to encourage those of you who’ve maybe never been to one to give it a try. Farmer’s markets are a great opportunity to meet the people who grow your food and to develop a real and lasting understanding of what you choose to put into your body and why. My personal market-going has gone through several iterations over the years, from toddling around the market stand, to being a marketeer, to managing our Tuesday market in Berkeley for six years. These days, I help my parents manage our Saturday market in Palo Alto. The following is an account of one such Saturday last month that I think I’ll never forget… [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 28, 2021

There’s a farmer who specializes in Asian vegetables and sells at the Berkeley Farmers Market. Since Full Belly has no greens at this time of year I brought home a large bunch of his Water Spinach, a steaming green that has thin long leaves and hollow tender stems.  I had never cooked it before so I was following my own maxim, something I find myself saying quite often when I’m behind the Full Belly market stand, “Every time you try something new, you live a day longer!”

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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 | May 2, 2016

We were caught between a high and a low-pressure system that created powerful winds this weekend. The 30 mph winds cracked limbs and sucked the green from hillsides, grasses and young plants. The crew worked half a day on Saturday and headed home, appreciative of a reprieve from the relentless energy of the wind.

Dru and I had headed off early that Saturday morning to market in Palo Alto. The farm has been present there every Saturday for more than 30 years. At 3:30 am we were driving down highway 16, dodging downed limbs and being buffeted by the wind. Dru was on tenterhooks, worried about what the wind would do to her flowers in the week preceding Mothers Day — it seemed best to leave the farm and not feel the pulses of damage, than to hang around and watch it happen. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 8, 2015

Farmers markets have been an important part of the Full Belly economic picture since the farm started way back in 1985. As beginning farmers, Dru and I were informed of a market in Palo Alto that was brand new and looking for growers. In those early days we were looking for access to places that might buy some of the organic crops we were producing. 

We had been selling to a local Nugget Market that was bold enough to give our white  Silver Queen corn a try. This was a corn that many of the local farmers were planting on the side of their ‘feed corn’ fields in order to have some good sweet corn for their tables at home.  The flavor of the corn was far better than anything that was on the market, but white corn was not very common. The reception at the Nugget Store was enthusiastic, not only because George the produce manager, was willing to give the corn a try, but also because flavor and freshness assured us access to crowded supermarkets. We were also selling corn to an organic wholesaler in Los Angeles and to a wildly enthusiastic woman from Berkeley named Alice, who would either drive to the farm herself to pick up the corn and tomatoes we were producing, or send someone from her Chez Panisse kitchen to do so.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | April 27, 2015

Last Thursday I went to a farmers market where there were no cash boxes and no scales.  It was at John Still Elementary School in the Sacramento City Unified School District, one of 42 districts in California participating in a program called California Thursdays.

There were about six other stands featuring locally grown produce, fruit, rice, and even someone making smoothies. At around 8:00am waves of excited kids, arriving one grade at a time, started gathering around, all with their California Thursdays cloth bags ready to be filled. Many of the kids had family members with them and everyone had just been served a California-grown breakfast.

The program was sponsored by the Center for Ecoliteracy, one of several efforts (another notable example is the California Farm to School Network’s Harvest of the Month) bringing fresh and local food to the state’s school kids. [Read more…]