News From the Farm | May 3, 2021

Baboo  —  

Full Belly Farm lost a cherished friend on Saturday. Our beloved golden retriever, Baboo, passed suddenly at the young age of 8.

Perhaps the friendliest dog to have ever roamed these acres, you may have seen him sleeping on the Hoes Down dance floor, sniffing at your slice during a pizza night, or letting your children pet and climb all over him at an Open Farm Day. Raised at Full Belly from 8 weeks old, Baboo knew all the best places on the farm to find the best treats and the coldest air conditioning. He was a lover of all creatures big and small, wild and domestic, human and beast. You could find him napping almost anywhere – in the middle of the yard, on the cool concrete of the packing shed, or just right outside the egg washing room where his family spends a lot of time. He helped raise three beautiful farm children gently, lovingly, and patiently. He belonged to Rye and Becca Muller, but gave freely his heart and soul to all the farmers at Full Belly. He is buried deep in rich soil along a line of old black walnut trees on the creek road and will be forever missed by all at the farm, and everyone who ever had the fortune of spending time with this truly legendary dog. We love you, Babs, and will carry you in our hearts and memories for all of our days.

   

The family held a ceremony for Baboo on May 2nd. Rye Muller welded together a beautiful headstone for Baboo from the “resource pile” north of the packing shed.  The amazing sculpture turns in the wind.

— Becca Muller

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Today’s CSA Box | Week of May 3, 2021

asparagus beets carrots fennel greens, bunched lettuce

*Click on produce above for Recipes

Flower CSA bouquet this week: Glorious Godetias. 

These are quite long lasting and will continue to open over a long period of time.

Here are a few tips on keeping your flowers looking fresh and helping them last the longest:

1) Pick up your flowers on time; earlier is better. If possible bring a bucket or vase with water, or even a wet towel, to transport your flowers home.

2) Remove leaves below the top of the base. Cut the bottoms of the stems before placing your bouquet in cold, clean water.

3) Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and keep them in a temperature controlled room, preferably between 50º and 75º.

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News From the Farm | April 26, 2021

Everyone around here has been hoping, waiting and watching for the promised rain of this last weekend of April, and we were rewarded with a beautiful Spring day with gusty winds and a few squalls.  Droughts are part of California’s climate and we are now in a second year of drought.  Our County, Yolo, has been declared by the folks that define these things, to be in an “extreme drought” which means that there is little pasture for cattle and livestock, reservoirs are extremely low and the fire season could be a long one. 

The drought isn’t just in the Capay Valley.  Most of California has been abnormally dry for several years. This water season was the third driest in California’s 101 years of rain recording.  Only 1924 and 1977 were drier.  And there isn’t much snow in the Sierra’s where we are at 30% of average, so we can’t rely on snowmelt into reservoirs as a way to keep the rivers running. Ecosystems around the state are very vulnerable in drought years, with fish, wetlands birds and forests all predictably suffering declines.  

Our farm usually relies on Cache Creek for irrigation water during the summer months. Releases into the Creek have just started, but they won’t last beyond mid-June. In drought years, when there is little rain to irrigate crops, and when streams and reservoirs are low, those farmers that have wells, rely on pumping groundwater. Full Belly Farm is no exception. Deeper wells will potentially stay productive while shallower wells may run dry. Across the state there will also be some fallowing of agricultural land and again, Full Belly may also use this strategy, choosing not to grow quite as many crops on quite as many acres.  

It’s hard to predict how future years will treat the Capay Valley in terms of water.  Groundwater levels, on average in the County, have shown a pattern of ups and downs, depending on rain to send the level up and then going down again with pumping and droughts.  The level fluctuates from a healthy high of about 20-feet below ground (and that was over 20 years ago) down to 75-feet below ground in the worst of droughts (and the last time it got THAT bad was in 1977).  We are lucky in that the aquifer is sustained by recharge when we do get rain, so that groundwater levels do recover well after droughts.  But we can’t be complacent that this healthy pattern will continue as there are more and more new wells going in, putting additional pressure on the groundwater resource. 

One result of all this is that our irrigation manager, Arturo, who has worked with us for almost 25 years has been pretty busy.  In a good rainy season, he gets a bit of a break during the winter.  But not this year.  The irrigation has been going non-stop and as he dashes from his car first thing in the morning, before the work day has even officially started, he waves distractedly at me and says, “mucho trabajo” — I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Sometimes we think of organic farming as the practice of agricultural arts — the arts of husbandry, horticulture, soil science, engineering and others. Perhaps the art of organic farming gives us less ability to schedule activities, less predictable sequences of procedures and more opportunity for creativity and exercise of intuition than in an industrial setting. Farming follows cycles rather than straight lines, and each cycle seems to bring its own challenges, like the challenge to farm with less water.

Farming here is also an art in that it is beautiful.  The setting is beautiful, but so are the farm fields themselves.  Spring brings beautiful colors, lovely birdsong and a rising sap of energy and rebirth. In hopes that your spring is also bringing you joy, here’s to blessings on your meals!

— Judith Redmond 

An abandoned combine outside our sheep barn, inherited from farms past.

This Week’s CSA Box

Veggie Tips

 

Asparagus 

 

Beets – Beet roots will store for a while in the fridge. You can combine with kohlrabi for a tasty salad (like this or this) or roast with fennel.

 

Kohlrabi – A CSA member wrote in after the last time we put kohlrabi in the boxes that she’d cooked with the greens too, and really loved them! You can use kohlrabi greens like you do kale or collards. And the bulb is tasty raw or cooked.  You can find more ideas for kohlrabi here and on our website.

 

Carrots – Remember to remove the tops to keep the roots at their best. The tops can be used – sautéed or in one of these dishes.

 

Fennel – Fennel is another very versatile vegetable. It can be enjoyed raw, thinly sliced in slaws and salads, or cooked (roasted, braised, sautéed). And it’s yet another vegetable that you can combine with kohlrabi to make a tasty salad!

 

Broccoli Raab – You can use broccoli raab similarly to kale. It’s great prepared simply with some garlic, but it can also be combined with some of the other produce in the box this week – beets or asparagus.

 

Lettuce

 

 

 

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News From the Farm | April 19, 2021

A set of baby chicks arrived last week and 6 piglets were born on Saturday 4/18! (Piglet photo courtesy of Julia Funk)

We are enjoying mild, beautiful weather here at Full Belly Farm, the warm afternoons and constant effort to get water to all of our fields underscoring everyone’s ever-present uneasiness that we are in a parched drought year.  Cache Creek, usually a significant source of irrigation water in the summer months will benefit from reservoir water releases for only 45 to 60 days, so Full Belly, like farms all over the state, will be using more groundwater than otherwise.

Cottonwood trees on the banks of Cache Creek lining most of our property, are in their cottoning phase, and clouds of their seeds, which look like airy white puffs of cotton, are floating everywhere and collecting in corners and walkways.  Red winged blackbirds, ceaselessly singing and chasing around are ever-present on the stalks of the tall, dense cover crops that we have left standing in a few of our fields.

The annual grasses are already turning brown and dying, and the Capay Valley has already seen its first grass fire, which was quickly put out by volunteers from the local Fire Department. After our experiences with fire over the last few years, and especially last year’s LNU complex fire, many residents are clearing brush and pruning dead branches away from their homes in hopes of being more protected.  It was during last year’s fire that our Valley came to deeply appreciate the services of our volunteers who worked 36-hour shifts to keep the fire as far off the Valley floor as they possibly could.  During that time, CalFire was unable to provide support because they were fighting fires started by lighting strikes, on so many other very dangerous fronts.

Many of the 15 Fire Protection Districts in our County are staffed by volunteers and many of them are challenged by a declining volunteer base, increasing call volumes and increased cost of operations.  Our County (Yolo) recently completed an analysis of the situation and concluded that “these challenges pose a significant risk to the health and safety of the community.”  It is unlikely that they would find many community members who would disagree.

The County came up with several proposals, all of which involved discussions of funds that the County receives from a one-half-cent sales tax that was approved by voters in 1993.  All revenues from that particular sales tax are meant to support public safety activities and fire protection was repeatedly called out in the actual language of the law, however many counties (including Yolo) never allocated a penny of the funds to their fire departments.  This is especially ironic given that right before election day in 1993, devastating fires broke out in Southern California consuming over 1,000 structures, one result of which was increased support for fire fighting capacity and for the Proposition itself.  While seven measures were on the 1993 special election ballot, only two passed, including the tax measure, Proposition 172.  The campaign for “Yes on 172” featured soot-covered firefighters. Voters thought they were voting to support their local fire departments.

In a number of counties, fire departments have sued to get a portion of the Prop 172 funds and won.  The recent analysis by Yolo County staff does not endorse the option of disbursements to fire fighters from the Prop 172 Fund, pointing out that “the funding does not appear sufficient to address the full scope of staffing and equipment needs across the County.”  On the other hand, at a meeting on the subject, a County staff person pointed out that some fire departments are “flush” — seemingly an opposite reason for refusing to allocate any of the funds. So for departments that are “flush” or for those that aren’t, the County is giving ‘no’ for an answer.

Capay Valley Fire Commissioners have been attending these discussions in good faith for several months, but at the most recent meeting they were told, “You are eligible, but you are not entitled to Proposition 172 funds” — leaving the impression that the County had dug in its heels and leaving the Fire Fighters frustrated. This column has covered Capay Valley wildfires all too many times in recent years and here we are again, still thinking about the subject as we enter this year’s fire season. 

Thank you to all of our CSA members, buyers and farmers market customers, for your friendship and support. We are grateful for the Spring and for the farm’s abundance.  Many blessings on your meals.

— Judith Redmond

The cover crop from Judith’s porch.

News From the Farm | April 12, 2021

You can really tell it’s spring because we’ve already moved on to summer. Not actually – we are very much still in the process of harvesting spring vegetables. But we also are thinking ahead and taking actions now so that we’ll be ready when summer actually gets here. That being said, the weather forecast shows some pretty toasty temperatures next weekend and we’ve already had to do quite a bit of irrigation, much more than would be ideal this early in the year.

Last week we got our first tomatoes of 2021 in the ground! We also transplanted some melons, onions, and some other summer crops. As mentioned in a recent News from the Farm, we direct seed a lot of our crops but there are several things that we put in the field as transplants in order to give them a head start on the weeds and/or on the weather, or because they just do better that way. When it comes time to set them out in the field, there are two ways that it happens: by hand or with a mechanical transplanter.

There are many types of mechanical transplanters, ranging from the very small and simple to larger and fancier ones. See the photo below for a view of the tomato transplanting team as seen from the perspective of the tractor driver. Those three people lift each plant out of its cell in the tray and drop the transplants root first into rotating cups, one per cup. As the rotating part moves further away to the furthest away position, the cup opens and places the plant into the soil. The transplanter opens up a small furrow for the plant before it drops and then packs soil around it after. The other people in the photo are walking behind the tractor to make sure that the plants are going in at the correct depth and to fill in missing plants if plants get stuck in the cups. You can adjust the depth of planting and the distance between plants, up to a point.

*If this is all sounding confusing, there are a plethora of videos on YouTube showing mechanical transplanters at work.

Fun fact about our tomatoes: every couple hundred feet, we plant a member of the Umbelliferae family (dill, cilantro, or fennel) that we let go to flower to provide a habitat for beneficial insects, like syrphid flies and lacewings!

Mechanical transplanting doesn’t work for everything. We can’t use it for crops that need to be placed quite close together, or those that are more delicate or have an odd shape that will get stuck in the machine. For these, we transplant by hand. A few people lay out the transplants in the row with the correct spacing and then others come and quickly tuck them in before they dry out, making sure that the soil surrounding the roots is no longer visible. We transplant our onions this way and all of our flowers. It’s tedious work!  

The work required to hand transplant makes me reflect on the true cost of our food and flowers. We think of onions as the staple of many of our dishes, and therefore expect them to be cheap. Produce can only be cheap if it’s easy and fast to grow and doesn’t require much labor. Onions actually grow pretty slowly (the ones in your box this week have been in the ground since mid-November!) and for most farms, including ours, they require a fair amount of labor to plant, maintain, and harvest. A diversified farms like ours can’t invest in too much specialized labor-saving equipment just to simplify growing one crop, unlike a farm that specializes just in onions or in a small number of crops. Just something to think about the next time you see an onion!

—  Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

News From the Farm | April 5, 2021

Asparagus crew  —  

Why did the sheep cross the road? To get to the other side!

Specifically, last week this year’s lambs and their mothers crossed from the fields next to lambing barn to our fields on the east side of Highway 16 to eat down the cover crops! The cover crops are at the right maturity to incorporate into the fields, and we need to get those fields ready for our summer plantings. To do that, we could use a tractor to mow down the cover crops or the sheep to munch them down. Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks. The sheep do great work, but they go through the field more slowly than the tractors, and there’s more left in the field after they head out, so we have to go back in to do some cleanup work. But when we can, we like to use the sheep. Unlike a tractor, they cut the plants and break down the biomass a bit via digestion making the nutrients more quickly available for the microbes and plants that will soon be growing there. The trick is making sure they have the right amount of space – not too much or too little. Putting many sheep on a relatively small section of land helps keep them from being selective with what they eat and leaving some plants behind. They’ve been moving through 1.5 acre blocks in about four days. See the photos for proof. And we also have to keep timing in mind – organic and food safety regulations prevent us from harvesting produce from fields that have been grazed for certain time periods.

   

Day 1 – Before the sheep enter                     Day 2

   

Day 3                                                       Day 4 – After the sheep leave

But the sheep also might have crossed the road to get a better look at the asparagus! We’ve got two fields and one is not too far from their new home. And asparagus is worth crossing the road for; in addition to being delicious, it’s a very cool plant to watch grow. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that’s a member of the Lilly family. You can plant it from seed, or by transplanting the crowns (roots). We started the seeds in the greenhouse, then transplanted them into the field and then waited until the third year to harvest. Once established, we’ll keep these crowns in the ground for about 12 years (they can produce for longer, but the production declines and the spear size decreases). The crowns stay in the soil the entire time and the part we’re harvesting are the spears as they emerge from the soil, like something out of an alien horror movie.

Asparagus growing in the field 

And the spears are definitely emerging! They can grow fast (3 to 6 inches per day!), especially with last week’s warmer weather, so there’s a daily harvest where the team goes up and down the rows with special asparagus knives that cut just below the soil. They cut out the spears that are a good height and width and leave the shorter spears to grow more. If there are any that are too skinny, or too oddly shaped to be easily bunched, they cut them and leave them in the field, preventing the plant from wasting more energy on those spears, and saving our packing crew the trouble of sorting them out. The asparagus is brought back to our packing crew and are sorted, bunched, and trimmed into the neat, tidy bunches you’re used to seeing. It’s a lot of work, thus why asparagus can be so pricy, but we think it’s worth it.

In a few weeks, we’ll stop harvesting and the unharvested shoots will turn into tall, fern-like leaves for the summer which take in energy to store as food for the crowns. Then the ferns will die back, be mowed in, and after a brief period of empty-looking fields, the cycle will start again.  But we’re not at that point yet – still very much in harvest mode.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

News From the Farm | March 29, 2021

Flowers that Hannah made for Cheryl’s ceremony  —  

Spring time is absolutely wonderful in the Capay Valley – the mountains rise above us on either side, green with annual grasses, the orchards are in flower and the weather is mild.  Not a day goes by on the farm without tractors preparing beds for planting and seeds going into the ground. As flowers burst forth everywhere, even our crops respond to the lengthening days and warm sunshine by rushing to flower.   We call it ‘bolting’ when the carrots or cabbages abandon leafy growth and start growing flower stems, an apt term as the pace quickens in plants and humans both.

There are only a limited number of these beautiful springtimes that each of us will be blessed to experience as humans on the earth and as farmers, we know that the life bursting forth from the spring soil is in some ways, just the other side of lives that have ended.  That didn’t really serve as consolation this weekend when we said goodbye to one of our friends Cheryl Whitfield, who passed away recently. 

Cheryl had worked at Full Belly Farm for over thirteen years. I remember very clearly that after making several visits to the farm all those many years ago to check us out and purchase a bouquet of flowers, she was very clear in her intention.  One day, even though there was no job announced, she simply gave us her resume and said very convincingly, “I want to work here”.

Cheryl with the some of the members of the flower crew in 2019

Cheryl was important to the CSA program because she worked the CSA line every afternoon that she was here. Everyone would hear Bonifacio’s voice over the radio, “Cherito! Cherito!”  And Cheryl would answer, “Coming Bonifacio!”  The CSA line manifests at a time in the afternoon when the packing shed is already buzzing with activity and everyone is rushing to get their work done before the day ends.  Ten or 11 people have to put down what they are doing and help to fill the CSA boxes. Everyone lines up: one person to put the boxes on the roller-line, one person per item in the box, one person at the end of the line to check the box, another to stack the boxes onto pallets and if we’re lucky a floater to restock as items run out.

Cheryl, Shannon and Zeus outside the office last year, just before she got sick

Cheryl also carefully maintained binders with copies of the weekly Beet newsletter, and if you called the farm when she was in the office, it is likely that she answered your call and made sure that you got taken care of. These are only a few of the things that Cheryl did at Full Belly, but I wouldn’t want to leave the subject without mentioning the delicious days that she was the pinch hitter lunch chef or the many times that she showed up for work with brownies or pineapple upside down cake that always disappeared by the first break of the morning.  It wasn’t just the humans that she prepared treats for — she also always had a treat for any of the dogs that walked through the office door.

Cheryl first went into the hospital for cancer treatments last October, but spent most of the last few months at home surrounded by her loving family. We thank her for all the great work that she did here at Full Belly.

— Judith Redmond

Circle of Joy, by Maria Grazia

News From the Farm | March 22, 2021

Andrew at work  —  

The fields and shop are always abuzz with activity, but for six months of the year (January to June), our greenhouses can be included in that mix. On Friday, I got the official tour of the greenhouse from Andrew (Brait) to share with you all this week.

Andrew, Chica, and Ana head up our greenhouse team. This team, along with other helpers, is responsible for seeding, watering, and tending to tens of thousands of plant starts each year to be transplanted into the fields when they’re big enough. This time of year, our greenhouses are full of flowers, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and early melons and basil. Our greenhouses allow us to get a head start on the season; we can start a tomato or pepper plant in the warm, protected confines of the greenhouse long before we could set it outside. And when our transplants do make it out to the field, they have a head start on the weeds too! We direct seed (meaning putting seeds straight in the ground) the vast majority of our crops, and we don’t grow all of our own transplants (more on that later) but these greenhouses are key to some of our important crops.

Recently germinated brassicas

Greenhouses are complex and simple at the same time. The goal is simple – to transform seeds to transplants that can go in the field in as expedient a manner as possible. The general process isn’t too complex, in theory. Seeds are put in trays of potting mix (ours is a soil-less mix of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and some fertilizers), kept at the right temperature, watered regularly, monitored, and occasionally given supplemental nutrients. We have three greenhouse areas, each equipped with different combinations of methods of temperature control: heated tables, fans, heating elements, vents, and plastic sheeting. But in reality, growing plants in a greenhouse isn’t quite so simple. Too much or too little water, light, and heat are not good and pests and plant diseases that are introduced to a greenhouse setting can be catastrophic. We have to open and close vents on the greenhouses throughout the day, water at least once, if not multiple times, each day to make sure they don’t bake.  While a greenhouse allows us more control over the growing environment than out in the field, we still are subject to the weather outside and need to pay attention to the same factors.

It takes a lot of work and space to grow and transplant plants. We lean on external help for growing out our flower and vegetable transplants, as do almost all of our peers growing organic mixed vegetables. We grow a lot of our own transplants for spring and summer crops, but we send our seeds away to Headstart, one company in the robust California nursery industry, for our fall and winter crops and some of our warm weather crops too. We don’t have the capacity (space, climate, or time) to do all of our own, and they are really good at it. To grow our own fall crops, we would have to tend to the greenhouses and closely monitor them during peak summer when we’re at our busiest and the temperature is in the mid-100s every day. All it takes is being an hour or two late to water, and you can kill off an entire planting. So we wrap up our greenhouse work by early June and hand the reins over to Headstart Nursery until January when things have slowed down and cooled down. We tell them varieties, quantities, and delivery dates for the plants we’ll need, and almost like magic, they show up.

As you have gathered, greenhouses and growing transplants are a lot of work, and can be a huge source of stress and heartbreak. The fate of thousands of plants all in one building. But they’re also rewarding, educational, and magical places. I’ve always loved seeing how different plants look when they first germinate and seeing how much they can grow in just a few days. You can zero in on individual plants in a way that isn’t possible in the field. You can focus on the individual, not just the population. In a six-square foot area, you have 4,000 plants that will later be spread over half an acre (about 22,200 square feet) and you can see them all at once. You can observe plant behavior and differences in plants, and maybe even figure out why and address the problem. They provide a great classroom and lab for the new and experienced farmer alike and make all of us excited about the future harvests ahead.

Elaine Swiedler

CSA Manager

Greenhouses are also for trees:  These cuttings are from the experimental orchards at Wolfskill where tree fruit varieties from all over the country are bred and grown.

News From the Farm | March 15, 2021

Along with 20 other farms, our farm got to participate in a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic last week.  The clinic was organized by Yolo County and took place on a nearby farm.  In all, 338 farmworkers got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine (so we don’t need to go back) and over 200 people returned to get their second Pfizer vaccine after a clinic at the same farm a couple of weeks ago.  By the end of this month, we can rest assured that 90% of our crew is protected.

Yolo County announced its intention to vaccinate frontline workers on February 15th and started pop-up clinics on farms a few days later. These clinics are part of a landmark effort in California to bring the vaccine directly to the fields.  Reports of similar pop-up clinics have come from Riverside, Monterey, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Marin, and small farmworker towns in Tulare and Fresno Counties.

These clinics are noteworthy for taking place in usually underserved areas like Dinuba, Earlimart and Porterville.  Farmworkers are at high risk of getting COVID, and outbreaks have crippled the work force on farms across the country.  Between Mid-July and November of last year, 13% of farmworkers in the Salinas Valley tested positive in comparison to only 5% of Californians in general.   Latino food and ag workers age 18 to 65 in CA had a nearly 60% increase in mortality during 2020 compared with pre-pandemic times — that’s a very high risk factor.

Farmworkers often live in crowded, multigenerational houses, eat together in dining halls,  travel to work and out to the fields in crowded vans, or work in bustling packing houses.  They can have spotty internet access and may be wary of registering for government programs at large vaccination sites.  Yet these workers never missed a beat when the shelter in place was announced — they are the first step in the chain that gets food to everyone’s table. For all of these reasons, the prioritization of farm workers and the on-farm clinics to deliver those vaccines make a tremendous amount of sense.  When was the last time that you saw farmworkers get preferential treatment for anything?

California is ahead of the curve in terms of farm worker vaccines.  In states like Georgia, Texas, New York and Florida, farmworkers are not yet in the priority groups authorized to receive the shots.  Although the CDC recommended that farm workers should be prioritized along with other essential workers, the CDC also allowed states to set their own priorities and some states are requiring documentation of legal residency which is a good way to disqualify many farm workers. In my view, if ever there was a clear need to set aside the requirement for documentation, this is the time.

With the shortage of vaccines (which hopefully is going to become a thing of the past) and the limitations in logistical preparation, health officials everywhere are grappling with questions of equity.  In California, where 40% of the vaccines are supposed to be directed to disadvantaged areas, there are still inequities.  By February 19th, 24% of African Americans over the age of 65 in Los Angeles had received a vaccine, compared to 43% of white residents in the same age bracket. One of our farmers market crew members, an 80-year old African American without a car or smart phone, needed a COVID test a few months ago.  He walked all the way to a test site and was turned away because he didn’t have an appointment. In that same time frame, all of the other members of the farmers market crew (all white) were easily able to get tested.

The cruelties of this disease are everywhere to see. One of our employees is now 65 years old. She was able to get an appointment for a vaccine the day before her 65th birthday (they were hard to get and that was the day that was open). When she arrived, she was turned away because she was not yet 65. Tragically, she since has developed COVID. When an employee gets COVID, it has a significant and wide-reaching impact. Co-workers have to be quarantined and tested. Tests need to be timed correctly with respect to exposure to the sick individual. Housing has to be found for people who don’t want to take the chance of infecting others in their homes. The work of all the quarantined people has to be covered by others. The sick person has to be monitored and cared for. Anxieties need to be assuaged and questions need to be answered. 

We have treated Full Belly like a bubble with respect to COVID.  We have restricted access to visitors and severely limited social activities.  Within our Full Belly bubble, there are smaller bubbles — the kitchen bubble, the packing shed bubble, the intern bubble, the office bubble, and several other crew bubbles.  We have tried to keep the bubbles separate, but they do tend to bump into each other. The same is true out on planet Earth.  None of us are really in bubbles that can be kept isolated from the rest of  humanity.

After taking so many precautions for a year, it will be some time before we are ready to lift too many of the restrictions, despite the vaccinations.  We intend to stay the course that we have established, maybe with a few small adjustments. We are hugely grateful that our crew has been vaccinated, and hope that all others across the globe, who want to be vaccinated, will be able to get it done soon.  Meanwhile we hope that you stay healthy and eat your veggies!

Blessings on your meals,

Judith Redmond

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