The first farm I went to on my California Organic Farm Tour was Full Belly, located in Guinda, CA. Guinda is in the Capay Valley in northern California. The valley is known for its Mediterranean climate that yields some of the ﬁnest heat loving crops in summer and cool weather crops in winter. They have been using organic practices since 1985 and are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.
Full Belly Farm takes advantage of the year round growing seasons and cycles through 80 different crops that fix nitrogen and provide organic matter for the soil. By planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife they use their cows, sheep, and chickens to graze and naturally cultivate the 300 acres. This strategy allows the farm to integrate farm production with longer-term environmental goals.
The farm owners are Andrew Brait, Paul Muller, Judith Redmond, Dru Rivers and there are about 45 to 55 employees. Hallie Muller, the daughter of two of the owners, took me on a tour of the farm. She manages their education and outreach. Over the past few years she’s noted a sharp increase of the amount of people interested in visiting their farm and learning about organic farming.
Full Belly products are marketed in both wholesale and retail. They sell to restaurants, at farmer’s markets, and through CSA. The CSA and the farmer’s markets forge a direct connection between the farm and the people who buy and eat its produce.
Check them out here on their website where you can sign up for CSA delivery and learn more about who they are and what they grow.
More high-res images here.