Saturday, June 03, 2006

Weekend Farm Blogging

Cranky and I dashed up to Davis for a quick overnight visit. On our way we stopped by Full Belly Farm, which has a produce stand open to the public on Friday afternoons, but since we had rolled out of bed unusually early (excited, I suppose), we arrived before they had set up.
Never mind. We were invited to stroll around the farm, and it was an eye opener.
Full Belly Farm sells an enormous variety of produce at the Marin Civic Center farmers market (also Palo Alto and Berkeley), grown on a tidy 200 acres. But at the heart of the farm, where the workers congregate for lunch, where the cars with "agricultura orgánica" bumperstickers park, where the produce would be for sale if we could just dawdle for a couple more hours... well, we saw more than melons and peppers and lavender and onions.
We saw livestock!
What a great place, just north of tiny Guinda in the Capay Valley. You have to drive past the oddly anachronistic, disproportionately huge, entirely unwanted Cache Creek Casino to get there, but as we hummed by, I said to myself, "Just ignore it."
Full Belly is obviously not the only farm around; the entire valley is known for organic produce (and that damned casino).
But I was enchanted by the storybook beauty of the place (leafy shade trees, fragrant aromas, friendly owners and a large crew of workers), by the diversity of crops (flowers, fruit, vegetables, and by the unknown-to-me honeybees, goats, and a big old muddy sow). I understand there are also chickens and cows, but they weren't where I was.
We chose not to wait for two more hours, and instead went to the Davis farmers market this morning. Apparently Full Belly doesn't sell there. I could speculate on the economic reasons for that, but let's just say that the Davis market is beautiful, not too large and not too small. We found lots of produce and meat that, while not "officially" organic, is raised by methods I find quite edible. The heck with certification when you can go "beyond organic." Eggs from cage-free hens. Purebred pork from unmedicated pigs. Nuts. Peaches. Cherries. Cherries. Cherries. (Hurry, season's drawing to a close soon.) We even bought a couple of fresh nopales to roast and tuck into some spanking fresh corn tortillas.
The refrigerator is stuffed to the gills, and now I must go make lunch.
Sadly, I might have too much food in the house to make it worthwhile to visit the Full Belly folks at my local market tomorrow.
Well, maybe I'll just drop by and say hi.


Dagny said...

So you're saying that the next time my mother makes me drive her to that casino, instead of sitting by the fountain out front and reading a book, I can go on down the road and check out the farm? Sounds good to me.

cookiecrumb said...

OMG, Yes! It never occurred to me while I was writing that post that any of my readers might actually have any real bidness with a casino!
Yes, depending on the time of day (and the Friday produce stand opens at 2 p.m.), I'd say scoot on down for a look. It's great. You could probably sit on a log and read your book there.

Catherine said...

Great post! I really enjoyed this and will have to check it out!

Tea said...

Did I mention I made a quick stop at "your market" last Sunday? Haven't been on a Sunday in years and the only word that comes to mind is ZOO!

I can see why you send Cranky:-)

shuna fish lydon said...

When I moved to the East Bay many a friend said to me, "You are so lucky that you will be able to shop at Full Belly on Tuesdays!"

I love farm trips myself and have been to a few with many more planned as the summer progresses.

cookiecrumb said...

Shuna: I follow your farm posts avidly. I have to make more trips myself. It's so... well, I was going to say "serene," but that would be ignoring all those folks in the fields sweating up a storm for our benefit. But it's definitely a charged sensation: being on the spot where our food comes out of the ground. Watching the unripe tree fruit, imagining that in a few weeks or so, it will be at the market. And generally just flitting about!

Tea: Way "zoo." I prefer "farm" now! They have room & board internships at Full Belly; think Cranky would mind if I disappeared for a year and got a lot of dirt under my nails?

Catherine: Thanks. Do go!

Suzanne said...

That's so cool you visited our market. True confessions of a Davisite: I had no idea Fully Belly had a produce stand on Friday afternoons. Perfect for an afternoon outing with a restless toddler. 2nd confession: We keep meaning to visit Capay Valley and we keep putting it off. Now I really have to get over there!

cookiecrumb said...

Suzanne: Yeah, it was a great trip -- only an hour from Marin, as it turned out, so we're coming back!
I hope you will visit FBF (and let me know how the farm stand is). It's such a beautiful, rural drive. We stopped the car to forage pigweed (wild amaranth), which I will experiment with shortly and may even post about.
Do you love living in Davis? My only complaint might be the climate; otherwise it's such a great town.