Monthly Archives: November 2015

News From the Farm | November 30, 2015

This may be the last letter to you, dear CSA patron, for 2015. We hope that you have had a positive experience this year as part of our farm. We have tried hard every week to have product in your boxes that we are proud of – reflecting our hard work and commitment to a healthy farm, while delivering freshness and great flavor. We understand perfection can be elusive. If we have missed the mark, we apologize, and we hope to do better next year.

Many of you have been through the cycles of a CSA season for quite a few years. There are many of you who fed your children our food as they were growing and they now make meals for their children with our farm goods. This is quite a rare thing in today’s economy – a multigenerational relationship with the source of ones diet. We have the same experience with many of our long-term farmers market customers. They have shopped from us for over 30 years and have watched our family grow, while each week we witnessed the same with their children. Many of those children have now grown and have children of their own. They come to the market to buy from our market-going kids!

There is shared trust in that long-term relationship. We live at a time when choice can be overwhelming and the act of making a purchase is analyzed – your personal profile responded to with ads tailored to your perceived likes – encouraging you to buy more…. We have sought to create a business that has at its core a mutually rich relationship where the experience of buying is the act of supporting an enterprise, a set of principles, or a group of people who incorporate transparent values into the process of production.  The scale and tangibility of that relationship becomes central to the experience of what your consumer dollars support.

For some families, their relationship with Full Belly extends through Hoes Down, farm visits, summer camp, a weekend farm dinner, or even a wedding in the shade of our walnut trees.  Some of the brides are former 3rd graders who many years ago milked the cow with Dru on a school farm visit. By opening our farm and allowing our customers to walk, share a meal, dance and celebrate here, we are immeasurably enriched.

Most farmers are proud of the crops they grow and are proud of the combination of art, planning and skill that it takes to grow good crops year after year. Yet, the satisfaction that might arise in a multigenerational relationship with their end user is often lost in the labyrinth of a marketplace where the farmer is generally anonymous. Our amazing US farm production system produces a lot of incredible food, and does it pretty cheaply. But in this system, farmers and farm workers remain generally separate and are often times the victims of the very surpluses that create social wellbeing. 

Not all farms can be like Full Belly, and not all farms want to know their end users. They produce – you consume. These are seen as separate and interdependent jobs mediated by the marketplace. Yet something is missed when the worlds are so separate. For many farmers they see the story as increasingly critical of their choices – of technologies, land use, water use, food safety, and of worker safety. It seems to me that one often gets what is paid for. When inexpensive food and low price is the primary driver, there is collateral damage to the very structure of the system: long term soil health, ecological diversity, wise water and land use. The very health of both farmers and their workers are often compromised. It is a design issue driven by the goal of cheap food.

I have predictably wandered off track. This Beet was intended to thank you for your patience with us this year, and for your commitment to our farm when making your choice as to what your family eats. It is intended to usher out the wild ride of 2015 and welcome 2016 as a year to continue to deepen our relationship with you. In doing this work together, there becomes a growing alternative that offers another option for farmers who are caught in a hard design and consumers who need to be offered new patterns of choosing. Full Belly may not be a model that serves all farmers, but increasingly is becoming a satisfying and viable pathway for new farmers to begin and for older farmers to diversify and explore new options.

We hope that this may be a year of prosperity for you and your family. We are headed for a much needed break where some parts of the farm rest a bit. We will see you in 2016 – when we will play it all over again – learning, building and savoring this amazing experience of being your farm.

–Paul Muller

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The post News From the Farm | November 30, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

FarmShares Week of November 23, 2015

Bushel

Bintje New Potatoes — Full Belly Farm • Cherry Belle Radishes & Perella Lettuce — Good Humus Produce • Collards — Riverdog Farm •    Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Sugar Pie Pumpkin — Durst Organic Growers • Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Carrots — Full Belly Farm • Bok Choy, Gold Chard, Italian Parsley & King Richard Leeks — Riverdog Farm •

Bite

Bintje New Potatoes & Carrots — Full Belly Farm • Perella Lettuce — Good Humus Produce • Gold Chard & King Richard Leeks —Riverdog Farm •

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

News From the Farm | November 23, 2015

Eagle in November

By Rye Muller

Still, smoky air settles in the valley

The hills appear as paintings in fall’s cold haze

Days of November

 

Yesterday we sowed our cover crops,

Today, rain falls kindly on that soil

Seeds set free

 

Fruit trees that speckle our land

Welcome winter winds 

Yellow leaves blanket orchard floors

 

The sleepy sun sits low in the sky 

A shadow twice my size at noon

Days of dusk so it seems

 

Fall brings a quiet stillness

Spring brought flowers and summer the fruit 

Now we listen 

 

Naked trees with canopies of blackbirds

Resting together, hardly moving

Until the Eagle stakes its claim

 

Silence makes easy prey 

If they dare move

Coddled in dry nests

 

Golden hills of the valley now turn grey

Worn by sun and hoof

Wait patiently for rain

 

Not all is seen in fall pastel

Bright turnip, carrot and beet

Glow beneath our feet

 

Buds on the tree dream of spring swell

Coyotes sing to solstice moons

Rivers rage and rise

 

Two Eagles build a nest

Atop the tallest oak tree

Mates for life this mighty pair

 

Somehow they see a glimmer of spring

Tomorrow’s warmth in today’s cold hands

Wing in wing they prepare

 

Hatching love, a sprouting seed

Egg to Eagle, grain to bread

To this the farmer bows his head

 

Let us always remember

To give love, peace and thanks

For the Eagle in November

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The post News From the Farm | November 23, 2015 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

FarmShares Week of November 16, 2015

Bushel

Arugula & Tokyo Turnips — Good Humus Produce • Cilantro & King Richard Leeks — Riverdog Farm •    Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Carrots, Fennel, Gold Marconi Peppers & Green Butter Lettuce — Full Belly Farm • Red Bor Kale — Riverdog Farm • Cauliflower— Say Hay Farm •

Bite

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Carrots — Full Belly Farm • Arugula & Tokyo Turnips — Good Humus Produce • Cauliflower —Say Hay Farm •

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News From the Farm | November 16, 2015

Please Return Our Green ‘Stop Waste’ Boxes

Full Belly used to pack your CSA fruits and veggies into waxed cardboard boxes. Now we use the hard plastic, green ‘Stop Waste’ boxes.  We made this change in late 2013 because although we were able to reuse the waxed cardboard boxes a few times, they had to go to the landfill once they started to break down. Because of the wax coating, they were not recyclable and without the wax coating they really didn’t hold up for more than one use. The hard plastic Stop Waste totes that we use now have proven extremely durable — we are not aware of even one box that has broken since they were purchased.  That means that these boxes can be used over and over again. 

Every week, for 48 weeks of the year, 1,100 families get a Full Belly CSA box. That’s a lot of boxes (52,000 — but who’s counting!) We calculate that more than 6 tons of cardboard waste are avoided every year as a result of replacing the waxed cardboard with the permanent hard plastic boxes.  We used an Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Emissions calculator and estimate that switching from waxed cardboard boxes to reusable plastic totes has resulted in an annual rate of greenhouse gas emission reductions of 34.1 tons.  So the program is a success in many respects.

The one way that the program could be improved is if we got all of our boxes back. But unfortunately, the number of boxes on hand is dwindling, even to the point that we had to go back to using some of the waxed cardboard boxes last week because we didn’t have enough Stop Waste boxes available. This program only works if the boxes are returned. That’s why we ask all of our members to bring a bag to pick-up the veggies and leave our box behind.

Packaging produces lots and lots of waste.  Your Full Belly CSA box has very minimal packaging compared to those of most of the CSA boxes, meal kits and home delivery shopping services that abound. When businesses try to reduce their waste stream, what they start with is trying to increase the amount of recycled and/or recyclable material that they use in packaging. Full Belly tries to do that as well — and we still see room for improvement.  But the best solution, with much greater impact is to make reusable packaging work.  That’s what we did when we went to the hard plastic totes.

Please help make reusable packaging work by returning any of our boxes that you may have at your home or business!  We’re going to be picking up all of our boxes at every CSA site and bring them all back to the farm for the break to assess if we need to buy more.  We’ll let you know what the count is when we have it.

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FarmShares Week of November 9, 2015

Bushel

Dill & Jimmy Nardello Peppers — Full Belly Farm • Bok Choy — Good Humus Produce • White Spring Onions — Say Hay Farm •    Plus everything in the Peck

Peck

Butternut Squash — Durst Organic Growers • Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Dino Kale & Watermelon Radishes — Full Belly Farm • Scarlet Queen Turnips — Good Humus Produce • Gold Beets — Riverdog Farm • Little Gem/Rhazes Lettuce Mix— Say Hay Farm •

Bite

Fuyu Persimmons* — Evergreen Farm • Jimmy Nardello Peppers — Full Belly Farm • Bok Choy — Good Humus Produce • Little Gem/Rhazes Lettuce Mix & White Spring Onions —Say [...]