Monthly Archives: November 2016

Veggie Tips

Dino Kale: Also called Lacinato or cavolo nero, this kale has been part of Italian cuisine for  centuries.  Put it in your minestrone or ribollita.

Lettuce: If your lettuce arrives very wet, it is a good idea to shake it out before storing it in the refrigerator.

Scarlet Turnips: These turnip greens are more tender than the dino kale (also in your box) and need less time cooking.  Don’t peel the tender skin off the roots – it is part of the appeal of these beautiful turnips.  Take a taste of the raw turnip root – some people enjoy it in salad.  The turnips could be roasted along with the beets and carrots.

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News From the Farm | November 28, 2016

In April of 2015, a professor asked me what I planned to do after college. I replied, “I’m going to do farm work.” She paused and then smiled, “So you’re going to give your brain a break for a little while?” 

My professor meant no malice by her comment. Rather, her comment reflects a societal misunderstanding of farming. According to this misunderstanding, farm work is a purely physical occupation. It is not intellectually creative work. Innovation in farming comes from the outside, from geneticists and engineers, not from farmers. Therefore, one can contrast farm work with “brain” work, which occurs in white-collar offices and is reserved, predominantly, for people with a college education. The latter is considered intellectual; the former is not. 

I graduated the following month. The timeworn ritual of college graduation, with speeches, awards, and obscure Latin calligraphy, gives students the impression that they know something. They certainly do—I deeply value my education—but it took me little time at Full Belly to realize precisely how little I know and how misled it is to apply the adjective “intellectual” exclusively to white-collar work. 

I arrived at Full Belly last January, after spending the previous summer and fall farming in southern Maine. The scale, scope, and complexity of Full Belly, with its 400-acres of row crops, orchards, pastures, and grain fields, contrasted with the 12-acre vegetable and flower farm at which I previously worked. Even in the quiet months of January, the farm appeared always to be in motion, with crew trucks arriving and departing from the packing shed, carrying boxes of unwashed beets, carrots, greens, to be unloaded, cleaned, packed, cooled, and palletized for delivery next morning. There was an engine-like quality to the farm that seemed, at first, to transcend the individual workers. 

Week-by-week, this illusion faded. There was no meta-level engine powering the farm, or sustaining its momentum. Instead, the farm’s level and quality of production, connect quite simply, to the collective engagement, expertise, and creative will of its crew—to the shepherd who makes lassoing goats, sheep, and the occasional intern look like a simple pastime rather than a skill developed over years of cattle work in Mexico; to the mechanics who repair tractors, pick-up trucks, forklifts, box-trucks, and a plethora of implements with a base of knowledge I have only begun to develop; to the strategic planning, dedication, and coordinating efforts of the owners and managers; to the packing shed workers, who collaborate to fill intimidatingly tall orders and do so consistently without mishap; to the pick crews, who bring years of experience picking tomatoes in Mexico or melons in Arizona to these fields and whose easy speed and attention to detail I have tried to replicate. 

At times, when I trip over unripe melons in the field, or get a forklift stuck in mud, I feel like a fumbling novice compared to these women and men. Yet, I am glad to feel that way. It reminds me how much I have yet to learn, which is humbling and exciting. It shows that education continues outside the classroom—and that this education in the field, in the packing shed, on tractors and at markets is equally valuable. Moreover, working with and learning from this crew has affirmed to me that intellectual work, at its core, demands one to listen and to see, to challenge presuppositions, to rethink existing systems, to solve problems. These traits are not reserved for white-collar professionals; rather, these traits define a good farmer.

I am ending this year as it started, with rain collecting in puddles and mud on my boots. By day, clouds hang low in the sky, merging with the valley hills. At night, they cover the stars that seemed so near in the summer; the sky is dark and still. As my departure date approaches, I have been thinking about the knowledge I have gained here, and the people who have contributed to this knowledge. I have a lot more to learn about farming before starting my own farm, but this year has been an educational one. But that’s no surprise to me; I have, after all, had such great teachers. 

—Shelby O’Neill

The post News From the Farm | November 28, 2016 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

Veggie Tips

Roasted Roots:  Your box this week contains several items that you can use in your Thanksgiving roasted roots.  Combine the Carrots, Butternut Squash and Potatoes.  Aim for soft interior and crispy skin, with a deep roasted sweetness and flavor.

Broccoli: Check out this fun 2013 article about broccoli in the NY Times.  Advertising executives gave their first impressions of broccoli: “Overcooked, soggy.” “Hiding under cheese.” “Told not to leave the table until I eat it.”  Full Belly CSA members beg to differ, right?

Carrots: These are variety called Nantes.  At this time of year, with cold weather, they are absolutely terrific.  Make sure to just try some of them straight from the bunch.  If you’re going to store them, remove the tops.

Peppers: These are the last of our Spanish Bells, with flavor like a bell pepper.  They are suitable for stuffing.  Our recipe calls for parsley (in this week’s box) and tomatoes (not!)  Some cooked cubes of the winter squash might be a good substitute.

The post Veggie Tips appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

Veggie Tips

Roasted Roots:  Your box this week contains several items that you can use in your Thanksgiving roasted roots.  Combine the Carrots, Butternut Squash and Potatoes.  Aim for soft interior and crispy skin, with a deep roasted sweetness and flavor.

Broccoli: Check out this fun 2013 article about broccoli in the NY Times.  Advertising executives gave their first impressions of broccoli: “Overcooked, soggy.” “Hiding under cheese.” “Told not to leave the table until I eat it.”  Full Belly CSA members beg to differ, right?

Carrots: These are variety called Nantes.  At this time of year, with cold weather, they are absolutely terrific.  Make sure to just try some of them straight from the bunch.  If you’re going to store them, remove the tops.

Peppers: These are the last of our Spanish Bells, with flavor like a bell pepper.  They are suitable for stuffing.  Our recipe calls for parsley (in this week’s box) and tomatoes (not!)  Some cooked cubes of the winter squash might be a good substitute.

The post Veggie Tips appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

News From the Farm | November 21, 2016

Full Belly Farm started offering veggie boxes in 1992 and from the very start the program has had an influence on the farm that was perhaps bigger than might be expected from the number of boxes we pack each week.  Along with the economic relationship, it has created a source of constant feedback about what is working or not working. We can trace changes in the farm directly to comments and suggestions we received from our members — increases in  the diversity of fruits and vegetables that we grow for example. 

Some of our long-time members have always had a fierce desire to support our farm through thick and thin. We remember some of our first “work days” on the farm when small groups of members would arrive with their work boots and gloves, ready to take on whatever we had in store.  Now, faced with too many legal and liability complexities, we have morphed the work days into farm visits and tours, but the sense that we have of ready support and commitment as well as a two-way relationship with our membership hasn’t gone away.

We still have many members who joined the program when it started all of those 24 years ago. The farm now offers a summer camp to CSA members, and some kids tell us that they were raised on Full Belly fruits and veggies from day one, spent many summers at Camp Full Belly, became camp counsellors, and now take on responsibilities volunteering at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival in October every year. These are the kind of long-term relationships between a farm and its community that go deep and mean a lot to us, your farmers.  

In addition to the members for whom the program “works,” and who continue to be a part of the farm, we have, at any point in time, a majority of new members, trying out the CSA program to see if their busy lives can incorporate the challenge of cooking out of the box, sometimes with products that they might not have chosen to buy at the supermarket.  Hoping to make the CSA more accessible, we created our member portal, so that all of our members can create their own accounts, (and soon be able to add-on special orders through those accounts).  Our recipe archive (accessed through the recipe page of our web site) is built around the fruits and vegetables found in the box. Every day we respond to questions and concerns of members unsure how to use a new vegetable.

Each week, when we choose what we will put into the box, we think about and discuss the diversity, quality and value of the CSA box, knowing that our members are putting their trust in us — allowing us to choose.  The whole thing turns the modern food system topsy turvy — in the supermarket vegetable aisle, products from all over the world are on display! In fact just one bag of salad mix from the store almost surely contains greens grown in several different states, and hamburger meat from the meat department probably contains meat from cows that grew up in several different countries! Asking our members to build their meals around the products from one small farm facing the vagaries of our own local climate and weather, is actually a revolutionary concept, put in the context of the global food system.

It is Thanksgiving week, and we are thankful for many things, including the loyalty, flexibility and open-mindedness of our CSA members, both long-term and new-to-us. In this newsletter we are announcing a modest 5% increase in the price of our CSA boxes for 2017.  The last time we increased our prices was five years ago! We will, in future issues, perhaps talk to you about the significant increases in the cost of labor that lead us to make this change in our prices.  We may describe the challenges we face as we try to grow smallish quantities of such a diverse spectrum of fruits and vegetables in a food system focussed only on narrowly defined “efficiencies.” We may tell you about our commitment to soil-building with compost, cover crops, crop rotations, animal grazing and other experiments that we think will increase the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables.  For now, we hope that our price increase will not present a hardship to any of our members, and we trust that you understand that it is a necessary change.

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

—Judith Redmond

New Prices for 2017

Boxes purchased 4 in advance will be $19 per box or $76 for 4 boxes (was $18/box)

Boxes purchased 12 in advance will be $17.50 per box or $210 for 12 boxes (was $16.50/box)

Boxes purchased annually will be $16.50 per box or $792 for 48 boxes (was $16/box)

Our flower season starts in April.  Flower prices will be $8/bouquet for the entire 26-week season, or $8.50/bouquet if you purchase 4 bouquets in advance. In addition, we will be charging sales tax on flowers.  In the past we have backed sales tax out of the price of the flowers after purchase, but we will be doing it the more standard way (adding it on top of the purchase price) from now on.

These prices will go into effect for any renewals starting from December 12th, 2106 forward.  (Remember that the farm is on winter break from December 12th through January 8th.) The last time that Full Belly raised our CSA prices was in 2012!

Thank you.

The post News From the Farm | November 21, 2016 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

News From the Farm | November 21, 2016

Full Belly Farm started offering veggie boxes in 1992 and from the very start the program has had an influence on the farm that was perhaps bigger than might be expected from the number of boxes we pack each week.  Along with the economic relationship, it has created a source of constant feedback about what is working or not working. We can trace changes in the farm directly to comments and suggestions we received from our members — increases in  the diversity of fruits and vegetables that we grow for example. 

Some of our long-time members have always had a fierce desire to support our farm through thick and thin. We remember some of our first “work days” on the farm when small groups of members would arrive with their work boots and gloves, ready to take on whatever we had in store.  Now, faced with too many legal and liability complexities, we have morphed the work days into farm visits and tours, but the sense that we have of ready support and commitment as well as a two-way relationship with our membership hasn’t gone away.

We still have many members who joined the program when it started all of those 24 years ago. The farm now offers a summer camp to CSA members, and some kids tell us that they were raised on Full Belly fruits and veggies from day one, spent many summers at Camp Full Belly, became camp counsellors, and now take on responsibilities volunteering at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival in October every year. These are the kind of long-term relationships between a farm and its community that go deep and mean a lot to us, your farmers.  

In addition to the members for whom the program “works,” and who continue to be a part of the farm, we have, at any point in time, a majority of new members, trying out the CSA program to see if their busy lives can incorporate the challenge of cooking out of the box, sometimes with products that they might not have chosen to buy at the supermarket.  Hoping to make the CSA more accessible, we created our member portal, so that all of our members can create their own accounts, (and soon be able to add-on special orders through those accounts).  Our recipe archive (accessed through the recipe page of our web site) is built around the fruits and vegetables found in the box. Every day we respond to questions and concerns of members unsure how to use a new vegetable.

Each week, when we choose what we will put into the box, we think about and discuss the diversity, quality and value of the CSA box, knowing that our members are putting their trust in us — allowing us to choose.  The whole thing turns the modern food system topsy turvy — in the supermarket vegetable aisle, products from all over the world are on display! In fact just one bag of salad mix from the store almost surely contains greens grown in several different states, and hamburger meat from the meat department probably contains meat from cows that grew up in several different countries! Asking our members to build their meals around the products from one small farm facing the vagaries of our own local climate and weather, is actually a revolutionary concept, put in the context of the global food system.

It is Thanksgiving week, and we are thankful for many things, including the loyalty, flexibility and open-mindedness of our CSA members, both long-term and new-to-us. In this newsletter we are announcing a modest 5% increase in the price of our CSA boxes for 2017.  The last time we increased our prices was five years ago! We will, in future issues, perhaps talk to you about the significant increases in the cost of labor that lead us to make this change in our prices.  We may describe the challenges we face as we try to grow smallish quantities of such a diverse spectrum of fruits and vegetables in a food system focussed only on narrowly defined “efficiencies.” We may tell you about our commitment to soil-building with compost, cover crops, crop rotations, animal grazing and other experiments that we think will increase the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables.  For now, we hope that our price increase will not present a hardship to any of our members, and we trust that you understand that it is a necessary change.

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

—Judith Redmond

New Prices for 2017

Boxes purchased 4 in advance will be $19 per box or $76 for 4 boxes (was $18/box)

Boxes purchased 12 in advance will be $17.50 per box or $210 for 12 boxes (was $16.50/box)

Boxes purchased annually will be $16.50 per box or $792 for 48 boxes (was $16/box)

Our flower season starts in April.  Flower prices will be $8/bouquet for the entire 26-week season, or $8.50/bouquet if you purchase 4 bouquets in advance. In addition, we will be charging sales tax on flowers.  In the past we have backed sales tax out of the price of the flowers after purchase, but we will be doing it the more standard way (adding it on top of the purchase price) from now on.

These prices will go into effect for any renewals starting from December 12th, 2106 forward.  (Remember that the farm is on winter break from December 12th through January 8th.) The last time that Full Belly raised our CSA prices was in 2012!

Thank you.

The post News From the Farm | November 21, 2016 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

Veggie Tips

Pomegranates: Free the seeds from the fruit the easy way. Eat the seeds straight out of the bowl, spoonfuls at a time.

Bok Choy: Bok Choy, garlic, vegetable oil, a splash of sesame oil and you have a delicious stir fry.  Serve it over some rice!

Potatoes: These potatoes are young and creamy.  Remember to refrigerate them like a fresh vegetable and keep them out of the light. Make them into potato soup, or Spanish tortilla. The dill that is in your box should go well in most dishes that you make with the potatoes.

The post Veggie Tips appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

News From the Farm | November 14, 2016

Guest contribution from our friends at the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)

Healthy soils not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration, but also provide tangible benefits to farmers’ bottom lines, their communities’ health, and the wildlife around them. So wouldn’t it be great if farmers could get paid to improve soil health? Thanks to new groundbreaking legislation, they can.

California is launching a first-of-its-kind program to pay farmers to adopt agricultural practices that enhance soil health and mitigate climate change. The state legislature established the Healthy Soils Program in late August and provided $7.5 million in start-up funding. The program will provide grants to growers for on-farm demonstration projects and soil management practices that provide clear climate benefits such as applying compost, mulching, and planting hedgerows.

img_0945Food “waste,” or food production?

The CalCAN coalition and a wide network of partners were strong advocates for this funding, and though it’s less than we asked for, it’s a good start. We are also pleased that our efforts to ensure the program’s long-term integrity succeeded. We strengthened the legislation’s definition of “healthy soils” to recognize their function as a biological system and the importance of soil organic matter and water- and nutrient-holding capacity. CalCAN also ensured support for projects across all farming types. Furthermore, CalCAN won a provision that increases the number and diversity of members on the program’s Science Advisory Panel. These members will be important in providing the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which oversees the program, with balanced perspectives on how to implement the program.

So what’s next? Now that the funds are available, CDFA will develop guidelines for the new grant program and then sometime in 2017 open a grant application period to farmers who want to implement climate-friendly practices on their land. At CalCAN, we will offer recommendations for how the program can support innovative farming practices with multiple ecological benefits and reach farmers across the state, including small- and mid-sized farms and under-resourced growers.

To stay in touch for updates on the Healthy Soils Program and other exciting developments in climate and agriculture, go to www.calclimateag.org to sign up for a monthly newsletter.

The post News From the Farm | November 14, 2016 appeared first on Full Belly Farm.

Farm Events

Full Belly offers a wonderful location for events like birthdays and weddings.  We have a full-service kitchen and can make a farm-fresh organic feast for you.  We also love to prepare beautiful organic flower arrangements for your special day.  If you are thinking about dates in 2017, you should secure a reservation soon.  Contact Jenna for information on catering and events. For a quote or consultation about floral arrangements, contact our in-house floral designer Hannah.

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Veggie Tips

Napa Cabbage: In Asian cuisines, Napa Cabbage can be made into a salad by shredding the cabbage and combining with some roasted almonds, and sesame seeds, flavored with soy sauce, oil and vinegar. This web page has some great ideas for using your Napa cabbage.

French Breakfast Radishes:  You might think that radishes are just to add on top of salad, but they are used all over the world in many others ways.  In a bowl for snacking or dipping; sliced lengthwise with lime or lemon and salt; or placed on top of a buttered baguette.

Fennel: If you are using fennel in salad, you  might want to think about slicing it fairly thin.  Here is a recipe for Portuguese Fennel Soup that uses the fennel fronds and the bulb, as well as other veggies common in your CSA box at this time of year — garlic, cabbage and potatoes. Anthony’s Fennel Slaw, using lemon and a hard cheese is probably one of our all time favorite ways to use fennel.

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