Theme: produce

News from the Farm | March 25, 2024

Happy spring! Last week, we took advantage of the warmth and sun to harvest, weed, plant, and transplant. There was also a lot of mowing (cover crops and finished crops) and prepping bed to plant more.

As promised, this Beet contains the second part of last week’s discussion (which you can find here) of hybrid versus open pollinated seeds. 

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 18, 2024

I’m feeling like Goldilocks. After griping about the wet and grey weather, we had several sunny and warmer days but those were accompanied by complaint-worthy howling winds, which were unpleasant conditions to work in and prevented us from transplanting. One thing that none of us are complaining about is all the great cauliflower and romanesco we’ve harvested over the past few weeks. From a grower’s perspective, the timing was perfect – they were ready to harvest at a time that otherwise could’ve been a bit lean for CSA box contents and they were ready before the warmer weather that will undoubtably lead to aphids on most of our brassicas. From an eater’s perspective, they have been SO delicious. Many of us have been eating cauliflower daily! I’ve heard from several happy CSA members, including several that have been loving the leaves, which we keep most of to help protect the florets. If you haven’t been eating the leaves, try sautéing or roasting.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 22, 2024

Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives) are staples in most cuisines and are found in home kitchens around the world, making it easy to take them for granted. Like all produce though, they too have different varieties, seasons, nuances, and quirks. They have interesting backstories and are grown with love and care on farms, just like peaches, tomatoes,   asparagus, kale and other flashier produce. This week, let’s show some love for leeks, the alliums that are in our CSA boxes this week, and are a staple of our winter boxes. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 22, 2023

It’s new potato time! We’ve just started harvesting our spring 2023 potato crop, and if you aren’t excited yet, hopefully you will be by the time your finish this week’s News from the Farm.  [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 22, 2022

There is no shortage of ways to tell that it’s spring on a farm, but my favorite is probably when we start harvesting asparagus. It’s delicious, here for a relatively short period of time, is the only perennial vegetable we grow, and is fascinating for more reasons than that, thus worth taking a deep dive. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 24, 2022

As you’ve realized by now, we grow great carrots. Perhaps the greatest carrots. They’ve long been one of my favorite things that we grow, ever since my first Full Belly carrot in my family’s CSA box, and I eagerly await when they’re ready to harvest each year. If you’ve ever wondered the process of growing our amazing carrots, read on! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 7, 2021

This past week was an important one for Full Belly Farm garlic. You’ve been receiving garlic in your boxes since February and have gotten to see its growth and evolution from thin stalks of green garlic that look almost like leeks, to the dried bulbs in the boxes last week that look like “normal” garlic. Our garlic has finally reached the point when it is mature and is ready to be harvested and dried!

So there was a lot of activity happening up in the garlic field last week. I made a few trips up to the field and sat down with Andrew to get some details.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 8, 2021

Lamb  Count:  This morning the lambing crew reported that we have 108 lambs born so far, including 17 sets of  triplets.  This photo shows Dru feeding the “bummers” — lambs whose Moms needed a little helping hand taking care of the babies.  —  

Our farming cycle is very linked to the annual calendar cycle and it is a thing for us at Full Belly, before a New Year is in full swing, to look back at what has been learned the year before, hoping to inform our activities in the year to come.  Part of that thinking is to review the CSA boxes from the previous year, imagining a household that got a box every week: What did our members eat from the farm in a year of 2020 boxes? [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 28, 2020

Keeping the Faith by Maria Grazia  —  

The Full Belly Farm Boxes are very much an expression of our farm season — the time of year, the length of the day, the amount of sun or frost, and of course the level of care and attention that we are able to bestow on the crop. We rarely buy products from other farms to put into the boxes and we would be the first to acknowledge that there are some occasions when the boxes are a little bit repetitive from week to week — although we do try to avoid that.  It may be true that this summer, when our number of members unexpectedly doubled in March, we hadn’t been able to plan ahead for all of the new interest and excitement around CSA membership, and that may have resulted in less box variation than usual from week to week. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 10, 2020

Ellis and Andrew with six bins of sunflowers that they helped to pick  —

Viewed close in on a summer’s day, it would be fair to say that Full Belly Farm grows a lot of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants — all members of the same large botanical family of plants called Solanacea, also known as Nightshades.   On many summer afternoons, a good portion of the crew, including owners can be found in the tomato fields picking, or in the packing shed surrounded on all sides by boxes of tomatoes.  

Viewed from a bit farther out, with a different perspective, it turns out that Full Belly actually grows a lot of other things as well — but the preponderance of Nightshades in the summer has been the recent subject of many a comment from our members. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 2, 2020

Our two pigs were moved into new green pasture over the weekend, which makes them very happy.  This is Winona — she is pregnant, soon to have piglets!  —  

What you ate last year…

The CSA  boxes reflect for our members what it taking place at the farm.  Long-time members know the patterns well.  Cold weather brings greens and roots.  Hot weather brings tomatoes and melons.  There are both similarities and changes from one year to the next and from one week to the next.  Sometimes we can surprise even our long-time members with something new, but many households have their favorite ways of eating every single item in the box.   [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 4, 2019

Three  beds of tulips have all started to bloom at once, the first flowers available for 2019. They will be available at our farmers markets: Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon; San Rafael on Thursday morning and Palo Alto on Saturday morning. 

What You Ate Last Year  – On our Full Belly web site in our description of our Community Supported Agriculture program, we promise that if you join, you will “eat the freshest, most nutritious fruits and vegetables available.”  There are lots of ways to parse that promise, but this week we’re going to take a look at our program using a pretty straightforward metric:  What did we deliver to you in your boxes last year? [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 13, 2017

After years of eating out of the Full Belly Farm CSA box, I tend not to follow recipes carefully.  I use recipes and cook books all the time, getting inspiration and ideas that way, but with an allium, some herbs, some greens, and some roots at this time of year, a satisfying number of combinations seem to manifest, so around my dinner table, we are at ease making substitutions and carrying out kitchen experiments . 

If you got a box every week last year, or on the other hand, if you are a new CSA member, I hope that you are becoming comfortable with this experimental approach.  Full Belly offers a tremendous diversity of vegetable and fruit options — You are probably eating a much more diverse sample of vegetables than if you were shopping in a grocery store. For example, you might have thought you didn’t like broccoli, but when you start experimenting with it, you are likely to find recipes that work well for your palate (at least, that is my hope – there were almost 15 broccoli weeks last year.) [Read more…]

News From the Farm | August 22, 2016

Recently one of our members wrote to us saying, “I only know the names of Cantaloupe, Honeydew and Watermelon.  We get SO MANY MORE than that. I would really like to know more about them.”

Full Belly doesn’t grow the standard cantaloupe.  We are focussed more on specialty melons. For example, in terms of orange-fleshed melons, some of our varieties are Goddess (a lot like the better-known Ambrosia), Charentais (a French, wonderfully aromatic cantaloupe with smooth skin), Honeyloupe (a cross between Honeydew and Cantaloupe) and San Juan (a bit larger than the others, football-shaped.) Some of these melons are “netted” – with rough skin (Goddess and San Juan) and others are smooth-skinned (Charentais and Honeyloupe). [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 27, 2016

We know that many of you are wondering where the tomatoes are and why you are “still getting beets and cabbage in your boxes.”  We also note that some of our members are happy to continue getting something green for awhile, like a cabbage…   As one of our members commented, “every single selection is someone’s favorite or someone’s least favorite.”  Even though the CSA boxes sometimes have the same vegetables in them for a few weeks, taken as a whole, the variety of fruits and vegetables in the boxes from season to season results in a remarkably diverse cuisine, providing healthy inspiration to your creativity and ingenuity in the kitchen.

June is always a month when the CSA boxes reflect a transition from cool weather crops to summer crops. You can follow that transition from afar… In June, the summer crops are growing so fast that you can see changes from day to day, but on the other hand, the spring crops are slowing down and starting to be a little peaked. By the end of June, the greens are long gone and the first ripe tomatoes and melons can be found if one goes on a determined search from one end of the row to the other.  By July, the yield of tomatoes is growing exponentially, from one or two cherry tomatoes, to a few boxes that go to farmers markets, to enough that we could literally fill your kitchen with them, multicolored and vibrating with summer heat and energy. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | January 25, 2016

We know that CSA members have lots of choices when they decide where to get their fruits and vegetables. Not only are there lots of stores that carry organic produce, but there are lots of CSAs and CSA-type services to choose from: Companies that will do your shopping for you; web sites that offer home delivery of tasty local treats; and produce boxes that can be customized in every which way. 

Your Full Belly box is filled with produce that comes from our farm and nowhere else. We used to get winter oranges from a neighbor, but now we have our own orange orchard and for years, we have grown everything that we put in the box. So those of you that get a weekly box for a whole year may really have a special perspective on what it means to “eat local,” you have a sense of how the seasons affect the harvest, and you have a direct, visceral relationship with Full Belly.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 11, 2015


The way some of the crops work on the farm is that once they arrive, you may see them fairly regularly, until all of a sudden you don’t see them again until the following year. That is the case with basil.  Last year, during the 18 weeks of our warm season, from June to October, we put it in your CSA boxes 8 times. In 2013, as is the case this year, the basil started in May and was in the CSA boxes 9 times from May through September.  We mention this, because it helps to provide a perspective on the feast of basil about to arrive: It is transient. If you have time, you can make some pesto and put it in the freezer for winter pasta dishes, as a way to stretch the season. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 23, 2015

What we put in the CSA boxes last year

Veggies in Your 2014 Boxes

(Not including Fruit or Alliums)

Number of weeks out of 48 
Bunched Greens 41
Carrots 24
Potatoes 22
Lettuce and Salad Mix 19
Beets 16
Eggplant 15
Tomatoes – mostly heirlooms 14
Peppers (Flamingo, Jimmy Nardello) 14
Winter Squash (mixed varieties) 13
Broccoli 13
Cabbage (Green, Napa or Red) 11
Herbs (chives, dill, parsley, rosemary) 9
Basil 8
Spinach 7
Cucumbers 7
Turnips 6
Summer Squash 5
Asparagus 5
Red Daikon 4
Green beans 4
Fennel 4
Cherry Tomatoes 4
Kohlrabi 3
Celery Root 3
Rutabagas 2
Radishes 1
Black Eye Peas 1
Artichokes 1

Every year we like to look back at what went in the CSA boxes during the previous year.  This year I compiled the table that we are including here so that you can think back about how you used the vegetables that we put in the boxes over the 48 weeks that we made deliveries in 2014. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | Week of September 16, 2013

At the recent Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, I was bouncing back and forth between the displays of melons when I was distracted from the many, many different varieties by a woman talking to a group of children, all probably around 7-8 years old. She was holding a melon that looked cantaloupe-esque, heavily netted, with a faint orangey glow, but instead of a round orb this one grew a little bulb on one end, a cantaloupe crossed with a brioche pastry! It was innocently labeled “Sleeping Beauty.”

sleeping beauty melons

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | February 4, 2013

Farming is a fickle livelihood. I mostly point that out because I think that I like the words fickle and farming going together. Most farms across the country mix faith, hope and determination to develop their income stream—looking to minimize fickle. Most farmers plant in the spring when the weather is ‘just-so-right’ (“I thought that you Mr. soil would like to meet this rather cute-ish seed!”) hoping that soil and seed will hit it off in a warm enough environment to encourage a long term relationship. The stewarded relationship allows seed to sprout and send its radical down as a food-seeking anchor while the monocotyledon or dicotyledon (seed leaf) pushes skyward. This miracle of seed and soil and the matchmaking of the farmer can hit more than a few bumps. Too cold, too hot, not moist enough, wrong seed, wrong depth, too much rain or too little rain can make the introduction go sideways and strain the new relationship.

[Read more…]