Member News

Meet the New Kale, Same as ye Olde Kale

We’ve been growing kale at Terra Firma since the beginning of the farm — actually, since before it was even called Terra Firma. Kale is a great crop for anyone who has a limited amount of space.  A handful of … Continue reading

New Items for a New Season

It still looked and felt like mid-summer here on the farm yesterday — mid-summer in the Midwest that is, hot with clouds, thunderstorms and humidity.  But today it feels like fall, breezy and cool.  And your box this week clearly … Continue reading

Surviving a Year of Extremes

I hope everyone in the Bay Area managed to survive, or avoid, the record-breaking Labor Day weekend heatwave from hell.  I do my best to write newsletters every once in a while that aren’t about the weather.  But it was … Continue reading

ARkstorm vs. Hurricane Harvey

If you’ve seen the images of the devastating floods in Houston caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, you may find yourself thinking “That could never happen here.”  After all, the 40-50 inches of rain they received in just a few days is as … Continue reading

The Fall Planting Conundrum

A few weeks back we started getting pretty worried about whether the seemingly endless summer heatwave of 2017 was going to endure right up until Labor Day.  The first two weeks of August were almost as hot as it had … Continue reading

Navigating Food Trends in the #HastagAge

You’ve seen it somewhere on your computer screen hundreds of times:  “Ten Foods not to Eat!” or “Eat These Foods for (Fill in the Blank Reason)”.  During the 25 years we’ve been farming, we have witnessed at least a dozen … Continue reading

Where’s the Plan?

Innovation is one of the buzzwords of the 21st century, and like its cousin “technology” it has become almost synonomous with Silicon Valley and the internet.  But all successful farmers — from the smallest to the largest — incorporate continuous … Continue reading

Under Summer Cover

Thanks to the abundant and late rains this year we ended up with quite a few fields that we were unable to plant during the spring, either because they were too wet when we needed them or simply because we … Continue reading

When the Fringe becomes the Cutting Edge

Even just a few years ago, there weren’t many places for an organic farmer to turn to for advice or guidance.  I remember having to explain to a USDA employee the difference between manure and compost.  County farm advisors focused … Continue reading

Peak O’ the Season

We’re mid-way through our summer season at Terra Firma, and yet it still feels like we’re just getting started.  All the summer crops are planted, and several fields have already finished.  For a few short weeks, we can focus almost … Continue reading

Sitting, Waiting, Watching…the Vegetables

One of the single most frustrating things about growing fruits and vegetables is waiting for them to ripen, size up, or otherwise come to fruition. Vegetables are always listed in seed catalogs with their “Days to Maturity” — the number … Continue reading

“We Survived Heatstorm 2017″

Now that was a real, honest-to-goodness Central Valley heatwave:  10 days straight of temperatures over 100 degrees. Weather forecasters got a little excited about the hot weather last week, predicting that record high temperatures would be broken.  Other folks talked … Continue reading

Summer Solstice Sweet Corn

Everyone has their own “quintessential” summer food.  If yours is a fruit or vegetable, there’s a pretty good chance that Terra Firma grows it:  Tomatoes, Peaches, Watermelon, and of course, Sweet Corn. Sweet corn is not easy to grow organically. … Continue reading

Countdown to Summer

The strangest June we’ve had in years continued this weekend as an extremely rare series of thunderstorms plowed through Yolo and Solano counties yesterday complete with hundreds of lightning strikes and even hail.  We got a little soaking of rain, … Continue reading

Peaches and Climate Change

The 2017 peach crop on our farm and throughout the state is a mixed bag, some varieties are loaded while others are light thanks to the long wet spells that came during bloom.  But because Georgia and South Carolina lost … Continue reading

Why aren’t Farmers using more water now that the drought is over?

The timing of the first real “heatwave” of 2017 here this week on the farm coincided with another “first” for the year.  We started irrigating crops a few in late April, but it wasn’t until Monday that we started watering … Continue reading

Is Imported “Organic” Food really Organic?

When Terra Firma Farm started back in the late 20th century, we were the 17th organic farm to become certified organic in the Solano-Yolo counties region.  Back then, organic farms certified each other, banding together to create standards and check … Continue reading

The Year of the Fungus

One of the secrets to the success of organic agriculture in California is something that non-farmers often assume is a liability:  the lack of rainfall in our state. Yes, water is the source of life for everything on earth, including … Continue reading

The Weed Killer you’ve never heard of

All across California, from front yards to farm fields and orchards, you can see patches of soil or entire fields where nothing grows.  Or better to say:  nothing is being grown, on purpose.  Circles of dirt around trees in parks … Continue reading

Spring Update

Like most farmers in California, we’ve missed a lot of deadlines here at Terra Firma this spring. And we’re still missing them.  Because we’re at least a month behind in much of our spring work.  And it’s not like we … Continue reading

The Crop that will save California?

A few years back, the citizens of our state went to the polls and voted to legalize recreational marijuana.  This ended a number of injustices, the worst of which was long prison sentences for users and sellers of a fairly … Continue reading

Strawberry Season Starts Today!

Terra’s Strawberry season started last Thursday when we picked the first few boxes of berries.  Thankfully, the weather dried out enough on Monday afternoon that we were able to harvest again, and those berries are in your boxes today. One … Continue reading

First Harvest of our New Asparagus Field

Over the last ten years, we’ve planted a number of perennial crops at Terra Firma: apricots, citrus, grapes, peaches, persimmons, walnuts, and asparagus.  Perennial crops have an advantage over annual crops in that they don’t need to be planted every … Continue reading

Watching the Grass Grow

For a few weeks back in February and March, we got to experience a pleasure that has been rare the last few years.  Any time the sun came out and the sky cleared, you could look east from many of … Continue reading

Just in Time for Spring

Spring Equinox was Monday, and just in time we are officially starting asparagus season.  We had a bit of a false start this year, but it’s here now for real, and should continue through April and well into May. In … Continue reading

Good News about Groundwater

Yesterday we did something on the farm that we haven’t done since early November:  we turned a pump on to irrigate a field.  It was just one field, and we didn’t water for very long.  The ground in all of … Continue reading

Waiting for the Mud to Dry

A lot has changed since the first humans figured out that you could stick a seed in the soil and grow food.  But one thing has remained the same:  with a few exceptions*, you can’t plant in wet soil. For … Continue reading

How does an Orange become Organic?

Why is some of Terra Firma’s citrus fruit Certified Organic, and some not yet? There’s a pretty simple explanation and it helps explain some of the quirks of how we farm and get you such a wide variety of produce. … Continue reading

The View from Below

As you probably have heard, over the last week a series of events occurred at Lake Oroville — the second largest reservoir in the state — that caused the mandatory evacuation of almost two hundred thousand people living downstream in … Continue reading

Dear Diary

Fifty years before Terra Firma came into existence, George Hemenway tended dozens and dozens of acres of fruit trees and vegetables on much of the land we currently farm.  He kept a handwritten daily dairy of his work on the … Continue reading

Ferment It!

In most parts of the world, preserving crops was historically as or more important to human survival than growing them:  the yin and the yang of agriculture.  Humans discovered a number of different ways to turn ephemeral products into shelf-stable … Continue reading

It’s Official: The Drought is OVER!

Monday morning, the National Weather Service office in Sacramento issued a Tweet: “Are you ready for the next series of storms? Use these dry days to prepare for (another) stormy week”.  We took their advice.  Now on Wednesday morning, the … Continue reading

Resolutions for a Rainy New Year

Happy New Year. If you have New Years resolutions that involve eating healthier, spending quality time with family and friends, cooking more, or spending less, then 2017 could be a great year to make them a reality. On the other … Continue reading

Well-Traveled Pistachios

At Terra Firma we are pretty proud about how few miles there are between our fields and your forks.  Our delivery trucks drive fewer miles a year than lots of commuter Priuses.  But the pistachios in your boxes today have … Continue reading

Longjohn Season

Longjohn season is here at Terra Firma.  Here at the farm, it’s something we look forward too all year. If you live in the Bay Area, you probably don’t wear long underwear very often.  Unless you’re a frequent visitor to … Continue reading

Finding Solace in a Box of Veggies

Farmers have a pretty well deserved reputation as glass-half-full types.  It’s not a coincidence that many cautionary phrases have their origins in agriculture — “Don’t count your chickens…” The election left most people I know feeling pretty pessimistic.  I think … Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving

If you’re having a hard time believing it’s Thanksgiving already, you’re not the only one.  November isn’t what it used to be at Terra Firma or in Northern California in general.  Sure, we’ve had quite a bit of rain.  But … Continue reading

Generations of TFF Subscribers

There are lots of great things about our annual Farm Day:  meeting both new and long-term subscribers for the first time, getting in-person feedback about what we are doing as well as hearing so many people talk about how joining … Continue reading

SoCal Creep and Drought Children

You may remember a few years back when winter in Northern California was a time when you huddled indoors, cooked soup, needed an umbrella to walk anywhere.  You didn’t plan outdoor activities after Halloween unless they involved mountains and snow. … Continue reading

Does my Drone Bee have a Headphone Jack?

Last week while the media was focused on the release of the newest Iphone and the “controversy” over its lack of a headphone jack, a different company announced that it had created a tiny drone that could take the place … Continue reading

A Nation United…by Drought

Everybody knows that California is experiencing a drought and that agriculture is having a major impact on groundwater.  But these are not just issues just affecting our state. If you’ve ever flown across the Great Plains and looked out the … Continue reading

The Green Leaves of Autumn

Fall Equinox is just a week away, and in others parts of the U.S. it is primarily characterized by trees turning bright red, orange and yellow.  At Terra Firma it means fields of leafy greens taking the place of summer crops … Continue reading

Delicata Fajitas

A tasty vegan version of the classic dish. Cut 2-3 delicata squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and pulp, and discard.  Place the squash cut side down and cut into 1/2 inch thick half rounds. In bowl, toss … Continue reading

Say Hello to Winter (Squash)

It doesn’t feel anything like winter today, what with hot weather reaching all the way from the ocean to the mountains.  But in your boxes, Winter Squash season starts this week. Winter squash is not just for winter anymore, if … Continue reading

Abundance and Scarcity

Scarcity and abundance are the yin and yang of agriculture, coexisting in a complex dance that affects both farmers and eaters around the world. Late summer in Northern California is a time of abundance that can feel overwhelming at times, … Continue reading

Dust, Water and Food Safety

By the end of 2016, our farm and every other farm growing fresh produce in the U.S. will be required by the Food and Drug Administration to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act finalized last year. This well-meaning legislation … Continue reading

Asthma Prevention, Amish-Style

Last week the New York Times covered a study by a group of prestigious researchers who were seeking to understand the huge rise in the number of children with asthma over the last thirty years.  One group of people in particular … Continue reading

Another August, Another Fire

By now you may have heard that California’s newest wildlife is right here in Winters.  It started yesterday afternoon just few miles west of Terra Firma, and overnight has spun up to well over 1000 acres. At the current time, … Continue reading

Another Kind of Tomato

Don’t look now, but we are almost mid-way through our annual Tomato season.  As has been the case most of the last few years, the first half of the season was a pretty wild ride for us.  In the past, … Continue reading

Robots in the Garden

Gardening is big business.  Every year, tens of millions of people head out to their local nursery, hardware store or home improvement chain store to load up on soil amendments, bedding plants and perennials.  They spend a day or two … Continue reading

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Meet the New Kale, Same as ye Olde Kale

We’ve been growing kale at Terra Firma since the beginning of the farm — actually, since before it was even called Terra Firma. Kale is a great crop for anyone who has a limited amount of space.  A handful of … Continue reading

New Items for a New Season

It still looked and felt like mid-summer here on the farm yesterday — mid-summer in the Midwest that is, hot with clouds, thunderstorms and humidity.  But today it feels like fall, breezy and cool.  And your box this week clearly … Continue reading

Surviving a Year of Extremes

I hope everyone in the Bay Area managed to survive, or avoid, the record-breaking Labor Day weekend heatwave from hell.  I do my best to write newsletters every once in a while that aren’t about the weather.  But it was … Continue reading