Theme: tomatoes

News from the Farm | July 31, 2023

After starting tomato seeds in the greenhouse in winter, transplanting them (late) in April, staking, and tying them, plus other steps in between, it’s undeniably tomato time. Three different harvest teams (one for cherry tomatoes, one for heirlooms, and one for early girls, romas, and slicers) are busy picking, giving the packing team plenty to do. Dru and Andrew could be spotted during the week sorting tomatoes! It’s an almost overwhelming amount of tomatoes, in addition to all the other summer bounty we’re tending to, harvesting, and boxing up, and we’re making good use of all those tomato boxes we’ve made. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 19, 2023

Seeing rolls of twine at the end of a tomato field means someone is about to tie tomatoes, someone is tying tomatoes, or someone just finished tying tomatoes. 

Once we’ve staked the plants (refresher, plus video, on that process here), the next step of the tomato growing process is tying. Tomatoes are large, vine-like plants that need some extra handling so that they aren’t a mess of plants and fruit sprawled on the ground. 

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News from the Farm | May 29, 2023

Remember those tomatoes we transplanted a month ago? The work isn’t done once they’ve been transplanted; tomatoes also need to be staked and tied, and we’ve just finished staking both fields of tomatoes. We’ve planted a third field of tomatoes, but those aren’t tall enough yet to stake.

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 18, 2022

The news from the farm is that tomatoes are here. The trickle of tomatoes has grown each week and has now reached the point when we have enough to put them in the CSA boxes, which is exciting. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 27, 2022

What’s the news from the last week (or so)? [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 16, 2022

It’s time for a tomato update! [Read more…]

News From the Farm | September 6, 2021

We’ve reached that time of the summer: Almost everything and everyone is pretty hot, tired, dusty, and ready for the end of summer, but we aren’t there yet. September is a very busy month that bridges summer and fall. We continue summer harvesting activities and get prepared for the cooler months by clearing old fields and planting new crops. Members of our summer crew who are students have headed back to the classroom, so our workforce has shrunk while the workload still is high. We had a bit of a reprieve from the heat and smoke last week, with blue skies and maximum temperatures in the upper 80s, and days are getting shorter and nights a little cooler, but it’s just a tease of what’s to come; we’re back in the 100s this week and have more summer ahead. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 13, 2019

Alfredo has been working at Full Belly for at least 17 years.  He works hard and is very focussed when he works.  I was recently visiting our tomato plantings because I had not seen them in a week, and I ran into him working in our first planting.  It’s about 7-acres, with tomato plants about a foot tall, transplanted out of the greenhouse and into the soil in the first few days of April. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 23, 2018

The consistently triple digit temperatures for the last two weeks have been stressful for our crews who know that every day counts in terms of getting fruit out of the field in good shape.  If we miss a day of picking, the quality can go downhill, but a lot of these afternoons are just too hot to pick in.  Some of the fields are not only hot, but also very humid because the lines of plants are close together and the plants are transpiring continuously. 

This is our full-on harvest season, with each day a “big” day, so that almost first thing in the morning, planned and necessary projects are triaged in order to get the orders filled. Tremendous quantities of beautiful fruits and vegetables are picked every day from very hot fields.  Then they are brought into our packing shed, cooled down and boxed up for stores, restaurants, wholesale distributors and of course our CSA members. [Read more…]

Tomato Harvest

Paul invented and manufactured this cart for our tomato crews so that they don’t have to carry boxes out of the field 4 at a time — instead they can stack 15 on the cart at once and wheel the tomatoes out of the field.

News From the Farm | July 27, 2015

The Heirloom Tomato

Many of the tomatoes that we call ‘heirlooms’ today were developed in home gardens in the 19th century.  Without refrigerated transport or large-scale farming, tomatoes were grown according to the characteristics of each region, and eaten vine ripened.  Although the majority of the tomato varieties grown in the U.S. before the Civil War have long since disappeared, a small number of gardeners in many different regions kept growing the varieties they knew, whether green or orange, bumpy or freckly, pulpy or crisp.  

In the1930s and ‘40s, agriculture turned away from this wide array of open-pollinated crops and towards a narrow range of hybrid crops. As this occurred, there was a substantial increase in the scale of farming, the widespread application of synthetic fertilizers, and the growth of agribusiness.  The tomato changed radically.  The long reign of the uniformly bright red, round tomato had begun.  Standard sizes and shapes were easier to distribute, and were considered more attractive on grocery-store shelves. For decades it was nearly impossible to buy an ‘heirloom’ tomato, and gardeners had to search far and wide to find the seeds. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 18, 2013

Saturday March 16 was a banner day at Full Belly Farm: one of the earliest days in recent years that we were able to plant our first tomatoes. A crew of 8 carefully transplanted the tomatoes from their warm safe spot in the greenhouse out into open fields. ‘Open fields’ except for the fact that the beds that the tomatoes went into were carefully covered with black plastic to warm up the soil, and also, were covered with a special cloth to protect them from cold night temperatures.

The wonderful warm, dry weather that we have been enjoying is a mixed blessing when it comes this early in the spring. The dry spell started back in the winter when it should have been raining and because it hasn’t rained in so long, we have been able to get a lot of work done very efficiently – planting, weeding, and mowing the orchards!  But we’ve also got the irrigation going already, trying to get water out to all the thirsty greens and cool-weather crops.

[Read more…]