Monthly Archives: September 2016

Veggie Tips

Basil: This basil has a few flowers, but don’t throw them out! Basil flowers can be sprinkled on salad or pasta. They are totally edible and taste similar to the leaves — perhaps a bit milder. Don’t store your basil in a wet bag. It needs to be cool and dry. You can even put it in a jar like a bouquet, on the counter (in a cool place).

Acorn Squash:  The first of our hard squash harvest is in your box this week.  Later, you will get butternut, red kabocha and other varieties. At the beginning of the squash season we often simply bake the squash, slice it up when it comes out of the oven, and serve it.  Once at the farmers market a gentleman said to me, “I just need food in the CSA box that I can cook quickly and serve for dinner to my kids.” I think there were some obscure things in the box that week and he wasn’t sure that they qualified.  Well, acorn squash probably does qualify.

Tokyo Turnips: Mild and tender with just a little spice.  These are good raw or lightly cooked.  They don’t need to be peeled.  When they are raw, you can have them with a dip, or dice them into a salad..  Don’t miss out on the delicious greens — they also cook quickly. Try this soup.

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News From the Farm | September 26, 2016

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Several score Hoes Down volunteers arrived at Full Belly Farm on Sunday 9/25, helping us prepare for October 1st. Festival weather is predicted to be mild, but our volunteers cheerfully worked through high heat to build the hay fort,  spread wood chips, clean the volunteer kitchen, make scarecrows, put up tents, clean supplies and all kinds of other jobs. The Hoes Down Festival is special for many reasons, but the outpouring of volunteer energy makes it wonderful and unique. Come celebrate sustainable agriculture, say goodbye to summer crops and welcome in the fall!

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Veggie Tips

Corn: Here’s a way to remove the kernels from then cob: Boil the corn IN ITS HUSK for 8 minutes.  Then remove the husk and wipe down the corn with a kitchen rag to remove the silks.  Then cut off the kernels.  Note that you may need to tip the corn (cut off the tip) because of the corn ear worm — which is easy before you take of the husk.  Just feel to see how far down the ear the damage is.

Chard: The chard is a sign that the days are getting shorter — but not yet a whole lot cooler.  You will be able to taste the difference when the weather cools down and brings out a little additional sweetness. Here are a some simple recipes for chard from the Full Belly archive: Sautéed Chard with Lemon and Hot PepperFrittata with Swiss ChardPasta with Chard and Feta CheeseWilted Chard Salad with Walnuts and Asian Pears 

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News From the Farm | September 19, 2016

My husband and I went to a wedding reception last night to celebrate the marriage of Edgar Jacobo and Martha Carrillo.  Edgar is the eldest son of Bonifacio and Maria Joaquina who are both team leaders at our farm.  Bonifacio has worked at Full Belly since 1988 and Joaquina has been here since 1993.  Bonifacio is the youngest of 10 siblings, born and raised in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.  Like most of his brothers, Bonifacio started working on farms in Mexico when he was 12 years old, usually 7 days a week, saving money so that he could take the bus to school.

Most of Bonifacio’s siblings have also worked at Full Belly from time-to-time, and several of them are working now.  His elder brother Celso is running our cherry tomato crew.  His brother Sergio drives trucks to the city. Their wives also work at the farm.  Their father, Señor Bonifacio worked here, and still comes back every summer, despite our reluctance to see him working, given his many years of service — it’s time for him to enjoy some rest with his extended family!  And it is a large extended family, with many aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws, so many that we need to draw a family tree to tease it all out. Probably more than 1/3 of our crew is somehow related to the Jacobo family.

Walking around the crowded room of 500 beautifully-dressed guests, I talked with the sons and daughters of our eldest crew members, many of whom had also worked at the farm, and who now are the doting parents of their own children. The sons and daughters are all bilingual, and some of their children now prefer English to Spanish.  The groom, Edgar  Jacobo went to school in Esparto, started working at Full Belly for the summers and then full-time for awhile, but moved on and is studying to become a police officer.  His sister Briceda is studying to be a nurse.

After dinner, the bride and groom danced together, then the parents came out on the dance floor, then the aunts and uncles, and in a ritualized sequence, parents danced with kids, brothers danced with in-laws, and cousins danced with each other. All the while the little kids were running circles around everyone.  Most of the guests were Hispanic and spoke Spanish, but a group of us gringos were there, feeling very lucky and special that we got to be part of California’s amazing cultural mix.

Bonifacio and Joaquina brought the same work ethic that they show at Full Belly Farm, to the preparation for the wedding of their eldest son. They missed a lot of farm work, cooking all the wedding food themselves and taking care of every detail.  The entire Full Belly crew, with all of their families, were at the wedding as well, cutting short our Saturday workday for what they believed were more important things.

How lucky it is that Full Belly, for so many years, has benefited so greatly from the the leadership and hard-work ethic of these wonderful families.  We might be a very different place if it had not been so.

–Judith Redmond

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News From the Farm | September 12, 2016

Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Hoes Down 

Summer for most farms in this area is the busiest time. Produce is growing rapidly and the summer bounty is thick. Everyone is rushing around to complete his or her work from sunup to sundown. I love everything that the summer brings from tomatoes and melons to finally getting to swim in Cache Creek. However the fall is my favorite time of year. There is delicious acorn squash and chard, but also everything slows down for just a moment.  The Hoes Down is our last big hurrah to say goodbye to summer and hello to the fall. Here are ten reasons why you should join us in ushering in the new season: 

Contra Dancing One of the most popular events each year at the Hoes Down is the amazing Contra Dance. People of all ages from the old to the young join hands on the dance floor to be lead through the dances. We have been so lucky to have Driving with Fergus and caller Erik Hoffman to lead our dance every year. Even more exciting we have moved Contra Dancing to the LocaLore stage this year to allow more space for each of you. 

Utah Phillips Stage We have some really wonderful acts lined up from Deane Dance Center to the Nighttime Story Walk and a Piano Concert. Come and enjoy families relaxing in the shade while they listen, dance and interact with our amazing performers. 

Location The Hoes Down Harvest Festival is located at Full Belly Farm, surrounded by rich agricultural land, farm animals, and the Capay Valley hills. This is a unique opportunity to eat incredible organic food, stomp your feet to music and get your hands dirty on the farm. 

Agricultural Workshops Interested in learning how to raise chickens, discover native plants, or learn the fundamentals of natural building? Well the Hoes Down is the place to do all that and more. There are over 25 workshops available with the price of admission. 

Food Almost everything you eat at the Hoes Down is organic and uses the freshest ingredients. There’s delicious grilled lamb at the Mediterranean Café, homemade pizza from Red Horse Pizza, and the most scrumptious apple galettes provided by Frog Hollow Farm. Want to be more hands-on with your food? Head over to the kids area to make some salsa, bake some bread or churn some ice cream. 

Circus The circus is a must-see event that your children will drag you to again and again. We are excited to have Circus Bella back for their 7th year of amazing acrobatics, clowns, jugglers and entertainment.

Animals If you love animals don’t miss your chance to meet some of the Full Belly regulars. Stop by and learn how Pinto Bean gets milked, how our chickens move around the farm in their mobile homes and how our sheep get shorn, or you can check out our petting zoo, turn wool into yarn or take a ride in our horse drawn wagon. 

Family Fun Come and enjoy one of the last homegrown family fun festivals in Northern California.  The Hoes Down is a chance to relax, get away from the city, and take your self back to a simpler time.  Families from all over come to smile, laugh, sing and dance. 

Music We bring together local performers who will get your hips swinging and your feet stomping. And there’s music for everyone from the rocking music of Diego’s Umbrella to the energetic folksy music of the T-Sisters. The music never stops at our Farm-On-and-On Stage, the Utah Philips Family stage and the Localore stage (featuring young fresh talent), so if music is your draw we’ve got it all day. 

The Giving The Hoes Down Harvest Festival is proud to be an on-farm fundraiser for some amazing community groups.  Your support goes to help the Ecological Farming Association, scholarships to young eager college bound students, and grants to over a dozen local community groups. None of this giving could happen without your participation. 

In reality there are a million reasons to come to the Hoes Down. Blacksmithing, wool dying, clay creatures, flying foxes, pizza making, tours, bike rides, hikes, dunk tank, and the amazing Hay Fort… Don’t miss your chance to sing your heart out, dance your feet off, and eat ‘till your stuffed as we celebrate a phenomenal summer. 

— Jordan Dixon

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