Monthly Archives: June 2015

FarmShares Week of June 29, 2015

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Okra — Alemaya Farm • Jimmy Nardello Peppers & Roma Tomatoes — Full Belly Farm • Lemon Thyme — Good Humus Produce •  Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Cantaloupe — Capay Organic • Mixed Medley Cherry Tomatoes — Durst Organic Growers • Spring Onions — Fiddler’s Green Farm • Green Beans — Full Belly Farm • Suncrest Peaches & Yellow Crookneck Squash —Good Humus Produce • Red Torpedo Onions — Motroni Ranch •

Bite

Cantaloupe — Capay Organic • Mixed Medley Cherry Tomatoes — Durst Organic Growers • Green Beans & Jimmy Nardello Peppers — [...]

News From the Farm | June 29, 2015

A Midsummer’s Daydream

Fellow herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, I have a few words and thoughts to share. Take heed as you read this letter, because I mean for this Beet to ignite. A charge in my body pulses through me. No other thoughts invoke such a feeling in me. I cannot help that my hands, my mind, and my soul care so much about food! The pulse I have been charged with I feel I must share. Now more than ever the world must eat organic!  

Growing up on a farm I was thrown into the mud at a pretty young age. Watching my parents work so hard for what they believed in seemed so crazy to me then. However, not getting my parents full attention as a little tyke opened my awareness to the things I could feel around me. Ever since I was a baby, my hands always reached for the dirt.  I fell for it immediately. Most of my childhood pictures would confirm that I even had an appetite for it. Lucky for me the dirt I was holding was healthy, rich and clean.  In just a handful of that sweet soil I wasn’t aware of the trillions of bacteria happily living in it. Nor was I aware that the 100 trillion bacteria in my gut were probably the ones telling me to eat it! I believe that there is an evolutionary romance between our gut bacteria and those in the soil. Pesticides and Antibiotics are like the third wheel on this bacterial honeymoon.  We don’t need them – in fact, they are destroying our guts! Organic soil systems capture more carbon, use water more efficiently in droughts, and produce healthier disease-resistant crops – and all because it is good, organic dirt.  Buying organic is a vote for healthy soils.

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We should all feel responsible for educating others about the food we eat. A broken food system won’t change unless everyone knows why we have to change. As a nation today, we are being crippled by many preventable diseases, most of which are directly related to the decisions we make about food. Americans are now spending more money on their health care bill than their food bill. Roughly $2.6 trillion dollars each year are spent fixing our health! Autism rates are climbing as fast as pesticide applications rates.  Some 200 million pounds of pesticides were applied in California alone last year.  This number will continue to grow as farmers use more GMO crops, which actually are increasing dependence and reliance on those pesticides.  They will continue to haunt and hinder us as long as that way of farming is supported. For a start, what if we all started only buying organic? We could nurse our population back to health and spend that $2.6 trillion dollars on more productive things. Our children are tomorrow’s leaders and their health will mean the health of our nation. Buying organic is a vote for healthy people.

Rather then wallow in agriculture’s despair, I ask that we unite in a cause. Food is critically bound to all aspects of our planet’s security, our national security, and our individual wellbeing. Your health is just as important as my health, as long as we both live on earth. The food we eat affects everything around us. Each bite you take is a chance to make a statement. Let’s support a system of agriculture that nourishes our health, not hinders it. Let’s talk to our neighbors about the importance of organic. Let’s tell our supermarkets that we want 100% organic on all the shelves. Let’s make California the first certified organic state. Organic CAN AND WILL feed our growing population and it will do so giving good health.

I still learn best when my hands are in the dirt. For that, I thank my parents. I want my kids to be able to grow up with strong, healthy dirt at their fingertips, too. Dirt that has a heartbeat, take a listen sometime!

— Rye Muller

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FarmShares Week of June 22, 2015

Bushel

Jalapenos — Full Belly Farm • Emerald Drop Pluots — Hamba Kahle Farm • Walla Walla Onions — Motroni Ranch • Pickling Cucumbers — Riverdog Farm •  Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Sunburst Squash — Alemaya Farm • New Girl Tomatoes & White Sweet Corn — Full Belly Farm • Santa Rosa Plums & Suncrest Peaches — Good Humus Produce • Chilton Apricots — Guru Ram Das Orchards • Italian Parsley —Riverdog Farm •

Bite

Sunburst Squash — Alemaya Farm • New Girl Tomatoes — Full Belly Farm • Santa Rosa Plums & [...]

News From the Farm | June 22, 2015

The animal program at Full Belly farm is a way for the interns to experience the responsibilities of caring for a diverse group of animals. As an intern, I have learned how to properly care for laying hens, cows, sheep, goats and pigs as an integrated part of an organic vegetable farm. Antonio Cruz is the shepherd here at the farm, and his wealth of knowledge and experience with farm animals makes every day dynamic and challenging.

Antonio has worked at Full Belly for twelve years, eight of which he has worked full time with the animals. He is from Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero in Mexico, where his three daughters, Almadellia, Esmeralda and Sulmarisandi still live. Besides a few months on a vineyard, he has worked at Full Belly since he came to the US to live with his brother in the Capay Valley. Before coming to the US, Antonio worked on a ranch caring for eighty cows. Every morning at 3am, he and two other men would spend the first four hours of their day milking the eighty cows by hand! As a new milker that finds milking one cow by hand challenging, the thought of milking for four hours straight is very impressive!

At Full Belly, Antonio’s main responsibilities are with the sheep and the cows, though he also helps care for the chickens, pigs and goats as well. One of my favorite things to do on the farm is to help Antonio move our herds of sheep. The sheep are moved every two or three days, depending on how fast they are grazing a particular field. First, we set up the new set of fences that we will be moving them to. Then we must set up fences along the roads we will be herding them to, in order to protect the growing vegetables crops from stray sheep. Antonio says his favorite herd are the ewes, or what we like to call, the ‘mamas,’ because they follow him very easily from pasture to pasture and don’t require many fences, unlike the lambs, who are less experienced at being herded and take a lot more guidance towards their next grazing spot. Antonio remembers herding animals in Mexico on horse, but here at Full Belly, you are either running with the sheep with a bucket of grain in hand, or behind on a four-wheeler making sure any stray sheep stay on course. 

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Working with Antonio has taught me the need to be fastidious and vigilant when working with animals. While we put up our electric fences, it is important to be sure nothing is tangled so the current runs smoothly, therefore assuring the sheep are secure. In the summer, checking that every group of animals has fresh, clean water is of the utmost importance. He has taught me everything from how to lift heavy bales of hay correctly to how to round up a flock of chicken escaped from their fencing. As new interns come every year to the farm, Antonio patiently trains future farmers in sound animal husbandry, and he has enriched the Full Belly intern experience. 

–Ellen Knight

The post News From the Farm | June 22, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

FarmShares Week of June 15, 2015

Bushel

Red Lasoda New Potatoes — Full Belly Farm • Slicing Cucumbers — Good Humus Produce • Dragon Tongue Radishes & Nantes Carrots — Riverdog Farm •  Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Royal Blenheim Apricots — Casa Rosa Farm • Blackberries — Free Spirit Farm • Basil & Cipollini Onions — Full Belly Farm • Santa Rosa Plums — Guru Ram Das Orchards • Red Chard & Zephyr Squash —Riverdog Farm •

Bite

Royal Blenheim Apricots — Casa Rosa Farm • Blackberries — Free Spirit Farm • Basil — Full Belly Farm • Slicing Cucumbers — [...]

News From the Farm | June 15, 2015

 Farm Day 

It was a small, but happy group of open farm day visitors last Saturday. First we visited some of the Full Belly chickens and talked about pastured animals. The chickens were clustered in the shade under mulberry and quince trees, behaving quite chicken-like, which they might not have had a chance to do if they had been living in battery cages.

Next we got on a trailer and were toured around the easy way, behind a tractor, stopping to discuss any interesting sight that we passed.  We ended up picking apricots and gorging ourselves on the delicious fruit, but not quite spoiling our appetites for picnic lunch.

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more apricot bliss

Above: Picking and enjoying the Blenheim apricots.

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Above: Enthusiastic group leaving for a fascinating tour of the Farm.

The post News From the Farm | June 15, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.