Member News

Community Supported…Wedding?

By now, most Terra Firma subscribers know what “Community Supported Agriculture” means.  But what would a “Community Supported Wedding” look like? Maybe it would have most or all of the wedding guests make a contribution:  not simply purchasing a gift, … Continue reading

A Love Story

It’s well understood that humans have the capacity to love a place, from a humble spot like their local beach or hiking trail to majestic destinations like Yosemite or Pt. Reyes. The intense feelings of pleasure we get from visiting … Continue reading

Happy News for Thanksgiving

Like July 4th, Thanksgiving is a big holiday in the produce business.  Everyone in the country is eating the same things, on exactly the same day.  Demand for those foods spikes for a single week.  Turkey growers manage this problem … Continue reading

A Sad Sweet (Potato) Saga

Some of you have likely noticed the absence of one item from the boxes in general this year:  Sweet Potatoes.  We plant sweet potatoes every spring and normally harvest the first roots in October.  This gives them just enough time … Continue reading

Thanksgiving Green Beans and other Holiday Myths

For many years, we tried to have fresh green beans in your boxes for Thanksgiving.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, the warm, sunny days and cool nights here in the fall are perfect for growing long, slim, and tender … Continue reading

Eat your “Miracle” Vegetables

A few weeks back I wrote about the benefits of growing leguminous crops.  Planted on millions of acres around the world and consumed in some form by a majority of humans, beans and peas are an incredible example of how … Continue reading

Countdown to Winter

While we didn’t get much rain last Friday morning, it was enough to get things muddy and damp, and we were very happy with our decision to postpone our Farm Day event.  The weather this Saturday should be perfect for … Continue reading

Shovels are for Fighting Fires…and Irrigating

By now, everyone has seen the photos from the Napa and Sonoma fires of torched houses across the street from untouched grapevines.  Irrigated fields, whether the vineyards in Napa or the orchards and fields of Terra Firma and other farms … Continue reading

Carrots are Back!

For the last week or two we’ve been waiting for our first fall Carrots to size up enough to begin harvest.  Part of our job as farmers is normally to check on our maturing fields to determine when crops are … Continue reading

The Crop that Gives Back

Most of the crops we grow at Terra Firma fall into a small group of plant families.  Of course there are the Solanums — Tomatoes, Peppers and Potatoes.  Cucurbits include Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Melons, Watermelons and Winter Squash.  Brassicas or … Continue reading

Team Building, TFF-Style

We don’t do any structured teambuilding exercises at Terra Firma, but everything we grow at Terra Firma is the result of constant daily teamwork between the fifty or so people who work here.  Every item in your box gets to … Continue reading

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

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Community Supported…Wedding?

By now, most Terra Firma subscribers know what “Community Supported Agriculture” means.  But what would a “Community Supported Wedding” look like? Maybe it would have most or all of the wedding guests make a contribution:  not simply purchasing a gift, … Continue reading

A Love Story

It’s well understood that humans have the capacity to love a place, from a humble spot like their local beach or hiking trail to majestic destinations like Yosemite or Pt. Reyes. The intense feelings of pleasure we get from visiting … Continue reading

Happy News for Thanksgiving

Like July 4th, Thanksgiving is a big holiday in the produce business.  Everyone in the country is eating the same things, on exactly the same day.  Demand for those foods spikes for a single week.  Turkey growers manage this problem … Continue reading