from Full Belly Farm, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
Summer is always a particular kind of crazy. Walk-in coolers are brimming with produce and farm driveways and pack areas are a non-stop flow of trucks and tractors and crews. The weather is hot, the hours are long and there’s always more to be done. We certainly feel the strain here at Farm Shop, and the folks at our farms are working just as hard. Here’s a glimpse at the bustle, courtesy of Full Belly Farm.
This has been a very hot summer so far. Our thermometers are regularly showing the high 90’s and not uncommonly several digits above 100 °Farenheit. We tell guests that we’re lucky to have Cache Creek to cool down in, but with the heat comes an intense farming season and there have been few sightings of farmers in the creek.
There are several months of each year when crop production in each of the fields is so prodigious that even our veteran crews will be overwhelmed trying to keep up. We run out of picking boxes, we have too little cooler space, there is no time to pick the specialty crops that we grow in small quantities, and we do not have enough trays for the fruit that we dry in the sun.
Standing in any particular place on the farm, no matter where it is, and catching ones breath while looking around, this farmer is struck first by a sense of amazement at the loveliness of some of our fields, and second with a checklist of all the things, from that specific vantage point, that should have gotten done yesterday: Johnson Grass (a nasty weed) taking over the fields, tomatoes that should have been staked and tied, plants in the hedgerow that have died, flowers that should have been picked to dry for winter projects, and a compost pile that needs to be turned.
This is the Full Belly dichotomy: beautiful, delicious produce in the midst of ongoing challenges; striving for perfection and sustainability and knowing that it will never be reached; appreciation of the gifts given by this farm while chafing at the farm as a taskmaster!