Monthly Archives: October 2015

FarmShares Week of October 26, 2015

Bushel

Raisins — Capay Canyon Ranch • Red Mustard Greens — Full Belly Farm • Italian Parsley —Riverdog Farm • Broccoli — Say Hay Farm •    Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Sugar Pie Pumpkin — Durst Organic Growers • Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Bok Choy & Rainbow Chard — Full Belly Farm • Pink Lady Apples* — Manas Ranch • Red Butter Lettuce & White Spring Onions— Say Hay Farm •

Bite

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Pink Lady Apples* — Manas Ranch • Broccoli, Red Butter Lettuce & White Spring Onions —Say Hay Farm •

Bushel contains listed items plus Peck itemsem> All contents are [...]

News From the Farm | October 26, 2015

Since 1992, Full Belly members and Clinic volunteers have supported delivery of 5 CSA boxes per week to clients of the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland.  You can be a part of this program by letting us know that you want to donate one or more of your CSA boxes (for example when you are going out of town) or by making a direct contribution.  We currently have boxes scheduled through the end of 2015, but there are not sufficient funds to continue beyond that point.  A letter from one of the Charlotte Maxwell volunteers follows.

We want to express heartfelt gratitude from the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic to Full Belly CSA members.

The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC) provides free integrative care to low-income women with cancer. As a CMC volunteer and long-time Full Belly Farm CSA member, I am delighted to know that the women who come to CMC in Oakland can get the same life-sustaining produce that I am fortunate enough to receive every week in my own box from FBF. 

The clinic is in an elegant old building in downtown Oakland. Baskets of beautiful produce, arranged with care by the day’s shift coordinator provide the first welcome to women as they walk through the clinic door. All of the women we see at CMC are on a journey with cancer, an uninvited and difficult companion. Some are newly diagnosed or undergoing medical treatment. Some have left cancer behind, but still experience the after-effect of illness and treatment.  They are often providing care to others while trying to heal themselves. Every day they face the challenges of illness, low energy, and effects on their ability to work and support themselves that come with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Fresh organic produce, already unaffordable for many families, would be off the dinner table for most CMC clients.

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Charlotte Maxwell Clients 

Penny Marienthal, one of Charlotte Maxwell’s longtime volunteers, and a cancer survivor, picks up 5 CSA boxes each week to deliver to the Oakland clinic. These boxes are available to us based on donations from members as well as anyone who provides their boxes when going on vacation. We serve nearly 100 women each weekend. The produce is gone by the end of each shift, picked up by women who are as happy to get their fruits and veggies as FBF members are when we get ours. As a clinic volunteer I thank the farm and members for the continuing donations. I encourage members who are able, to pay for an extra box now and then so that CMC can continue to provide an abundance of the fresh, organic produce that provides nourishment to the body and delight to the senses. 

For more information about CMC, or to volunteer, please contact Kris Waller, Volunteer Services Manager, at www.charlottemaxwell.org.

–Donna Odierna

Charlotte Maxwell Volunteer

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Full Belly Farm Produce displayed at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic

The post News From the Farm | October 26, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

FarmShares Week of October 19, 2015

Bushel

Bulls Blood Beet Greens, Green Beans, Red Radishes & Sage —Riverdog Farm •   Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Pomegranate* — 10 Gates Farm • Sweet Potatoes — Free Spirit Farm • Arugula, Gold Beets & Jimmy Nardello Peppers — Full Belly Farm • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Fennel— Riverdog Farm •

Bite

Pomegranate* — 10 Gates Farm • Sweet Potatoes — Free Spirit Farm • Arugula — Full Belly Farm • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Green Beans —Riverdog Farm •

Bushel contains listed items plus Peck itemsem> All contents are certified organic unless otherwise specified with [...]

News From the Farm | October 19, 2015

We are eeking our way into fall this week. Temperatures have been quite warm and the relief of chilly nights and cool days hasn’t yet come to us. The year has been noticeably warmer in both the exceptionally warm and dry January and February, and a noticeable multi-year pattern of warm and dry fall weather. 

There have been some interesting repercussions of these patterns. Instead of the year being a gentle push between winter storms, we started the year with a sprint. Dry weather means that the soil is dry enough to plant, cultivate and harvest – and irrigate. When there is little rainfall, we have made the deficit up with irrigation from the wells on the farm and from Cache Creek flowing on the east side of our farm. The pace didn’t slow down this year. As a farmer, one doesn’t know if the window in a dry February will be closed by a cold wet March, or a prolonged wet spring that doesn’t allow one to get into the fields to plant seed and grow spring and summer crops, so one plants when the soil is ready. A dry spring means that the work doesn’t slow down – generally until late fall.

We’ve been busy with our fall groundwork and harvest. Nuts and winter squash are in the barn; along with some feed corn for our chickens and heritage red corn that will be ground for cornmeal to sell. Fields are being planted with both fall crops and cover crops. We then irrigate these crops in order to get things growing. We hope to have the majority of our farm ground covered with growing plants in December and through the winter in order to protect it from heavy rains and blustery winds – should they come. 

The strategy of water management for farmers is too often focused only on water for the growing crop. Farmers are getting much more frugal with water as it becomes scarce. Most have moved to drip systems or micro-sprinklers to conserve water – the rate of adoption of water conserving technologies by farmers has happened swiftly. Yet it seems that much more could be done to consider water in its year-round cycle. Being ready for the winter and the strategies needed for a wet one might need a shift in thinking. Water that falls on farm fields and runs off is lost revenue – energy lost and a loss of water resources for the next year. Water that soaks into the soil is held as a reservoir for trees and deep-rooted plants like tomatoes or melons to draw upon – soaking winter rains feed summer crops and reduces the need for summer irrigation. Planning for maximizing winter rain harvest needs to become part of farm design. 

This can be done with cover crops, leaving crop residue on the soil surface or mulching the soil with organic matter. These fall practices shelter the soil from hard rains. Hard rainfall causes the soil to seal and water to run off – taking topsoil and nutrients with it, which creates added problems downstream. By using cover crops in the farm plan, farmers can increase soil organic matter and the resulting soil can hold more water. Cover crops also harvest sunlight, store carbon and accumulate nitrogen that feed soil systems and become food for the billions of microbes that nourish summer crops.

Yet most farms don’t plant cover crops – for a variety of reasons. Cover crops require additional groundwork in the spring when planting is the focus. They require a strategy for their incorporation and utilization for the spring planting season. Cover crops increase risk in some instances, a wet spring makes it difficult to get into the field and work in the cover crops, making it difficult for some commercial farms to meet the dates required by some contracts for crop delivery.

Farming is about managing risk and adaptation. Most farms now gamble on the hope for moderate rains and leave soil bare. Yet both climate change and global warming require that we have a new focus on using farmlands to harvest more carbon from the air and store it in the soil. If there are to be more severe weather events and if they come in the form of hard rains – one needs to gamble long on having soil protected. 

Farmers have not been paid for the processes that are at the heart of long term and sustainable stewardship. They are by and large paid only for the tons, bushels or bunches of crops that they deliver. It is assumed that they would work in their self-interest to preserve the soil resource that sustains them… Yet the value of soil stewardship is hard to measure. The value of keeping soil covered is clear to us here at Full Belly. The additional harvest that we can make of green material that feeds our soil is also clear. The fact that there is some fall irrigation involved allows us to start these cover crops when the days are warm and they can grow tall enough by December to do us some good is a tradeoff of a scarce resource for the potential for a greater overall harvest. In a drought year with scarce water it is not an easy question and not a clear trade of scarce resource for the potential benefits of greater harvest.

How would your farm – if you had one – respond? I am of the mind that we need to bet on the wettest year, optimizing the potential harvest and protect the soil resource. In all cases, the seeds should be planted and the hopeful anticipation of rains that allow the greening of fields and the protection of soil through the winter. Minimizing risk and bringing in a year-round harvest has hope for a partner. As we enter the rainy season, we are looking to the sky and planting our seeds with a measure of that anticipation.

–Paul Muller

The post News From the Farm | October 19, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

FarmShares Week of October 12, 2015

Bushel

Cantaloupe, Italian Parsley & Tokyo Turnips —Riverdog Farm • Broccoleaf —Say Hay Farm •   Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Butternut Squash — Durst Organic Growers • Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • French Breakfast Radish — Full Belly Farm • Genovese Basil — Good Humus Produce • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Mixed Sweet Peppers— Riverdog Farm • Red Curly Kale — Say Hay Farm •

Bite

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Genovese Basil — Good Humus Produce • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Cantaloupe & Mixed Sweet Peppers —Riverdog Farm •

Bushel contains listed items plus Peck itemsem> All contents are certified [...]

FarmShares Week of October 12, 2015

Bushel

Cantaloupe, Italian Parsley & Tokyo Turnips —Riverdog Farm • Broccoleaf —Say Hay Farm •   Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Butternut Squash — Durst Organic Growers • Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • French Breakfast Radish — Full Belly Farm • Genovese Basil — Good Humus Produce • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Mixed Sweet Peppers— Riverdog Farm • Red Curly Kale — Say Hay Farm •

Bite

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Genovese Basil — Good Humus Produce • Fuji Apples* — Manas Ranch • Cantaloupe & Mixed Sweet Peppers —Riverdog Farm •

Bushel contains listed items plus Peck itemsem> All contents are certified [...]

News From the Farm | October 12, 2015

One of the highlights of our spring this year were the beautiful flower fields and the wonderful flower bouquets that we made in record numbers.  From Agrostemma to Zinnia, this was a record year for flowers. As one of the people who often helps to organize the store orders that come in every day I have been struck by the fact that our flower buyers had their orders in often and early, while in contrast it was sometimes quite an effort to track down the produce buyers. Our friends in the stores don’t want to miss out on the flowers!

Some of you may have seen our “wreath room” — a small barn at the farm where we hang fresh flowers from the ceiling to dry. This barn has seen many people coming and going over the  years, and it had a very close call in the early morning last Sunday, when the strong Hoes Down wind blew a spark from a grill towards some bins next to the barn, which smoldered for a while and then almost burnt the whole barn down. A camper alerted the Rivers-Muller household and quick work soon put the fire out, but not before some damage had been done to the north wall. What a close call!

Hoes Down 2015 at Full Belly Farm!

Wreath room photo courtesy of Trav Williams, Broken Banjo Photography

The colorful flowers that we hang from the ceiling of the wreath room are used, come Fall, by our flower crew to make dried flower bouquets and wreaths for the holidays.  This crew, headed by Maria Isabel De Jacobo, never let’s us sidetrack them. No matter what other projects are on deck, the flower crew always works on the flowers, dedicated full-heartedly to every stage of flower production.

For any of you who enjoy working with flowers, we do offer the opportunity in November for you to come to the farm and make a beautiful dried flower wreath.  The class will be on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday November 11th from 11:00am to 2:00pm, rain or shine. The class includes all the supplies that you will need, and we will serve you lunch made from Full Belly fruits and veggies.  The class costs $50 ($25 for children – but we don’t provide child care).  Class size is limited.  Call or email us to reserve a spot: 530-796-2214, or belly@fullbellyfarm.com.

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