Theme: flowers

News from the Farm | May 13, 2024

Mother’s Day week has come and gone. It’s different from other weeks in May, or any other week during the year, because of the enormous number of flower orders. In total, the flower team harvested and bunched over 5,500 bouquets last week, about 3,500 mixed and 2,000 single variety. In comparison, the week before, it was 2,900 bouquets, 1,160 mixed. WOW! How’d they do it? What’re the secrets to pulling off this feat?

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News from the Farm | March 4, 2024

It feels like it has been a long winter! And this coming from a gal who spent the first many years of her life in Vermont where there are snow days into April! Even though last year we had more rain in inches than this year, it seems like there have been many more cloudy, cold days. Maybe my bones are just getting older – after all I have been writing this “Flower Time Letter” for over 30 years and my bones ARE getting up there in age.  Even as I write, the blizzards in the Sierras are blowing  with gale forces confirming my instinct of a longish winter.

As the saying goes (and will go on for forever I hope) in California “March showers bring April flowers.”  This means flowers a month earlier than most places in the country, so we should all count our blessings! Here at Full Belly Farm I am constantly amazed at the resilience of our flower fields. Despite months of rain, clouds, and frost, the beds of larkspur, Bells of Ireland, calendula, godetia and snapdragons are roaring to life, getting ready to belt out their annual chorus of color. It is such a comfort to know that nature will do her magic – sometimes in spite of all the human meddling. We are eagerly awaiting that color riot in just a few short weeks.

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News from the Farm | February 19, 2024

“My mom and I speak to each other through the flowers we grow. The joys and triumphs of our flower fields and bouquets are etched into the smile lines around our eyes and each late frost that hit our spring flowers or gophers that found our tulips has added a wrinkle to our furrowed brows. We gawk over seed catalogs together, wondering whether new flower varieties would fare well in our growing zone. We harvest together early in the morning. We dream the same dreams of snapdragon fields, mixed bouquets and fragrant wreaths.”

-An excerpt from my new book Designing with Dried Flowers 

My childhood was spent in sync with seasonal flowers. I slept in harvest boxes as my mom picked calendula for orders, I rode alongside buckets of sweet peas in hand pulled carts headed back to the packing shed, and I created elaborate fairy mansions in the many roses, and irises under the shade of the fig tree in my mother’s garden. I grew up at Full Belly Farm, the youngest child of Dru Rivers and Paul Muller, and now a second generation farmer at Full Belly Farm. Sometimes it feels like I had no choice, not in moving back to the farm – that I did freely and without any pressure from family – but in choosing flowers as my life work and passion. It was ingrained in me, the flowers whispering to me through osmosis, calling my name “Hannah Rose” over and over again until I felt ready to listen in my early 20’s. I started designing flower arrangements for weddings and events ten years ago (using Full Belly Farm flowers, naturally) and worked alongside the Full Belly flower crew harvesting flowers, packing out orders and readying flowers for market and CSA. 

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News from the Farm | February 5, 2024

This time of year, late January and early February, usually ends up involving a lot of watching, waiting, and then suddenly springing into action on several fronts.

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News from the Farm | November 13, 2023

It’s another flower update! Flowers are a big part of what we do, so we want everyone to be in the know.

As described last week (which you can read here), this time of year is when we plant most of our spring flowers. On Thursday and Friday, the flower team aided by some interns and Alfonso’s group planted about 2/3 of our bulbs (tulips and iris) and corms (anemones and ranunculus). In total we planted 10,000 tulip bulbs, 7,000 Dutch iris bulbs, 11,000 anemone corms, and 7,000 ranunculus corms. There’ll be a bit more planting once we receive the rest of our underground roots! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 6, 2023

April showers bring May flowers, but when do you plant those flowers? It varies between years but Full Belly Farm, spring flowers went in the ground on Tuesday and Thursday of last week. 

Dru and Jan direct seeded 20 beds of flowers on Tuesday and Jan, the flower team, and Alfredo and his crew transplanted 24 beds of flowers on Thursday. Direct seeded flowers included larkspur, nigella, calendula, bells of Ireland, scabiosa and the transplants included snapdragons, godetia, delphinium, feverfew, Sweet William. Plus lots more! [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 6, 2023


One of the rooms in my small farmhouse has been hijacked over the past 10 years by the “Flower Team” for storing flower seeds, notebooks, lists, and planning charts – much to the dismay of other members of the household! What used to be the family ping-pong table for rainy day fun is now covered with mountains of seed packets for over 100 different flower varieties from our favorite seed sources (Wild Garden Seed, Johnnys’, Geo Seed, Adaptive Seed, just to name a few). Strange names like echinops and eryngium are printed on top and we’ve added sticky labels and notes to help us stay organized.  What could be construed by some as chaos actually represents years and of years of calculated research and development from the highly organized team of flower growers here at the farm (tongue in cheek, just a little bit!) [Read more…]

News from the Farm | October 24, 2022

What are some of the happenings, sights, and sounds from the past week or so?

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News from the Farm | September 26, 2022

It’s the end of the 2022 Flower CSA season, which goes from April 1 to September 30. During those six months, the flower team picked and bunched about 7,400 bouquets for our CSA members, in addition to all the other flowers they pick. They’ll be transitioning into dried flowers and wreaths soon (more about that in a future Beet) but in the meantime, here’s a recap of the season in words and photos from Hannah: [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 11, 2022

Hi Full Belly Community!

My name is Amyah, and I am the flower intern at the farm this season. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 13, 2022

When most people think of summer crops, often the ones that come to mind are tomatoes, eggplant, and melons, but a key crop that often goes forgotten is sunflowers. We grow a lot of sunflowers and it’s not just us; they’re the sixth most valuable crop in Yolo County, grown on over 20,000 acres. Driving around the County right now, you’ll see countless fields of sunflowers all in bloom. Almost all of those fields of sunflowers aren’t harvested fresh; they are grown to be hybrid seed stock that will be sent around the world to be planted for oil. Unlike the fields for seed, our sunflowers are for cut flowers, for folks like you to bring into your home! Last year we harvested over 15,000 bunches of sunflower from May through October, with many more heads going into mixed bouquets. They’re a significant summer crop for us, thus worthy of a deep dive in the Beet. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 7, 2022

As we tucked flowers and seeds into the ground in the fall of 2019, we had no inkling of what was in store for us in 2020. We had planned and planted, as many farmers do, with wishful thoughts of selling out at Farmers Markets, growing our flower CSA, and continuing our long relationships with stores and wholesalers in California. I had close to 20 weddings lined up for 2020 that I was preparing for as well, each requiring many consultations with couples, phone calls, vision boards, and countless emails. As all of our flowers began to bloom in March, the first lockdown began. Within a week, all but two of my weddings were canceled for the year. Farmers Markets shut down then reopened with strict protocols around social distancing and rules about customers not handling produce. Stores and restaurants closed and wholesalers were nervous buyers, especially in the case of flowers. As far as they could tell, flowers were an unessential item and the likelihood that customers would buy flowers in the midst of a pandemic seemed low. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 8, 2021

Precious. When I search for the word that best describes the new lens that I see the world through after the events of the last year this is it. Everything feels very, very precious. I know I am not unique; millions of others around the world have changed their view and vision of their lives and surrounds. For me this feeling is profound and spiritual – every little thing, down to the tiniest detail feels cherished, precious. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 9, 2020

Beware the Ides of March?

For many years in a row I have been the “flower article” author, bringing to you news about Full Belly Farm’s flower growing and the upcoming flower subscription (starts April 1st everyone!). The weather is often a common topic, how it effects our flower growing, how it is unusually warm, or wet, or cold, or dry.  [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 | March 11, 2019

Shhhh… don’t let anyone know but I love my job. I love our farm, I love all the people I work with, I love going to the farmers markets, I feel blessed to be able to help each day to make this farm productive and beautiful. I feel good about what I do everyday. I believe in my life and work each morning when I awake and even more so when I fall asleep. Strange, I know, but true. [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 12, 2018

Hannah and Dru today continuing their passion.

“It wasn’t as if the flowers themselves held within them the ability to bring an abstract definition into physical reality. Instead it seemed that…expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility, instigated a transformation.”

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

My daughter Hannah and I share a passion for cut flowers. Actually passion might be too light of a word – obsession might be more appropriate.  We scour seed catalogs for endless hours in bed, read blogs, follow hundreds of flower growers on social media, and go to flower meetings on Sundays –our one-day off.  We beg for cuttings, attend conferences and belong to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (who knew this even existed!) We go to seed swaps, have flower growers to the farm, lead workshops.  We lie in bed at night worrying about rain, frost, drought and wind.  Oh yes… AND we grow 15 acres of cut flowers at Full Belly Farm.  [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 13, 2017

On an anomaly of a beautiful day this February a group of 33 flower growers braved the flooded roads of Yolo County to come to Full Belly Farm for the 1st annual impromptu Northern California Cut Flower Growers meeting. 30 woman and 3 men talked flowers for 3 hours and then went on a tour of the Full Belly flower fields. My daughter Hannah and I organized this special meeting with a little bit of self-interest we must confess. We wanted to share stories, learn varieties and hear what works for other growers in our region – trying to break from the all-too-common mold of “farmer secrecy.” We were not disappointed! We learned about new greenery species that we should try, how to pinch carnations, a few must try rose varieties specific for cut flowers and a host of flower growing tips. We had farmers with just a few years under their belts and others who have grown flowers for several decades. In return for all of these great tips we shared everything that we have learned over the past 30 years of growing flowers at Full Belly. What a treat it was to listen and learn from others about favorite flower varieties, time of planting and woes of weather. We all departed feeling ready and excited about the spring to come and definitely wanting to do another gathering in the fall!

Full Belly Farm flower fields have been gracing the farm since our beginnings but really started ramping up in size about 15 years ago when we began our flower offerings for our CSA customers and delivering flowers to retail stores. We now have expanded to 12 acres of cut flowers grown during the course of a year with over 50 different species planted. Last year we picked over 40,000 bunches… Our biggest producer by far is the glorious sunflower, which we plant successively every 10 days from February to August, ensuring a constant supply. Last year we even harvested them the day before Thanksgiving! [Read more…]