Member News

It’s 2013 but the Farm Bill is still stuck in 1983.

Welcome to 2013!  A few months back, Michael Pollan wrote a piece in the New York Times discussing whether there was a real movement to improve food in the U.S., or if it was just a trend or fad.  This … Continue reading

Ten Days ’til Solstice

With just eleven days to go until the shortest day of the year, it still doesn’t feel much like winter around here.  So it might be easy to forget that next week is our final delivery week for 2012.  There … Continue reading

Fill’er Up!

Everyone knows that water is a precious resource in California, and that there’s not enough to go around.  Except that really, there is plenty of water in our state.  Unfortunately, most of it is located many hundreds of miles away … Continue reading

Gully Washer

I hope everyone had a nice holiday and enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather that came along with it.  There’s a big, very wet storm headed our way now and we are trying to make the most of the two dry … Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is always a crunch at Terra Firma:  a full week’s harvest and deliveries packed into a half week of short days.  This year the whole endeavor has been made more complicated by absences of key staff members due to … Continue reading

Immigation Reform Now!

With the election a week behind us, the hope that politicians from the two parties would actually work together to solve our nation’s problems is already starting to seem naive — with one exception.  For the last four years, the … Continue reading

Daylight “Shaving” Time

Daylight “shaving” time took an hour away from us at the end of the day and added it back to the start of the day this week.  At Terra Firma, this is not normally a welcome development this time of … Continue reading

The Carrot Issue

Carrots are one of our staple crops at Terra Firma, and have been one of the most consistently popular items in our CSA boxes for years.  The handful of restaurants that we sell our produce to have always loved our … Continue reading

Feeding more people with less land

Thanks to everyone who came out to the farm on Saturday to enjoy a perfect sunny fall day.  We had perfect timing this year, as the raindrops starting falling less than two days later. As the big anti-proposition 37 campaign … Continue reading

In It for the Long Haul

Thanks to everyone who sent in a response to last week’s newsletter.  One thing I didn’t mention last week was that while our CSA box numbers have dropped a bit since their peak, they have been holding steady since and … Continue reading

Three Long Years

I’ve been thinking all week about something I heard an African farmer  on an NPR story last week about the challenges facing him and other farmers in his country:  “Farmers, our heads are full of sawdust:  we work so hard … Continue reading

Summer into Fall

Dear (Contact First Name), Roughly speaking, all fresh fruits and vegetables fall into one of two categories:  harvested fresh or stored.  I’m not talking about the difference between fresh broccoli and frozen broccoli or fresh tomatoes and canned ones.  Rather, … Continue reading

Farm Day: Saturday, Oct. 20th, 2-5 pm

Terra Firma’s annual CSA Subscriber Farm Day is a low-key event that features hay rides around the farm, pick-your-own strawberries, and a tour of some of our fields.  For your Halloween needs, there will be an assortment of organic Pumpkins.  … Continue reading

Certified Organic = No GMOs

Proposition 37, the GMO Labelling initiative on the ballot this fall, is generating some media attention even from national outlets like NPR and generating lots of questions — even from TFF subscribers.A few weeks back, a drop site host emailed … Continue reading

Scarecrows and Straw Men

Fall is just around the corner, and during this traditional harvest “crunch time”, birds have historically become pests in farm fields around the world — taking advantage of the concentrated abundance to help fatten up for their long migrations.  With … Continue reading

Berry Planting Time

Every year on or around Labor Day, we plant the strawberry patch that will provide the berries for your boxes next spring — and the berries for you to pick on Farm Day.  We took advantage of a nice cool … Continue reading

Proposition 37 and Assembly Bills 2676 and 2346

Several TFF subscribers have emailed me in the last month or so asking about my position on Proposition 37, the voter initiative that would require all products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to be labeled. It turns out it doesn’t … Continue reading

Cell Phone Time Machine

When people talk about technology, they are usually talking about computers and the internet.  In agriculture, GPS or drip irrigation are usually mentioned.  But the technology that may have benefited agriculture the most in the last twenty years is now … Continue reading

Heat Wave!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good old fashioned August heat wave in Northern California.  In fact, the eighth month of the year in 2011 and 2010 was much cooler than normal, especially the nights.  But the weather … Continue reading

Watermelon Harvest Secrets

Many of the vegetables and fruits we grow in the summer have been bred over the years to tell us when they are ripe:  tomatoes turn from light green to pink/yellow/green; sweet peppers do the same.  All the melons we … Continue reading

Cucumbers’ #1 Fans

Dear (Contact First Name), Cucumbers.  You either love them, or well, you just don’t pay that much attention to them. Unfortunately for us, there are two insect pests that love cucumber  so much, they are actually named after them.  They … Continue reading

Valley with No Name

We farm in a valley that has no name.  The Wintun band of Native Californians who inhabited this area for millenia certainly had a name for it, but somehow in the 150 years since the first European settlers arrived here, … Continue reading

Tomato Roulette

Heirloom tomatoes may be a tomato-lover’s dream, but they are very close to being a farmer’s nightmare.  We have spent almost twenty years growing them, and yet each year is like spinning a giant roulette wheel.  Each year there are … Continue reading

Dependence Day

Happy Fourth of July!  The Harvest Moon rose over the farm at dusk last night and was still shining at dawn today, a very fitting accompaniment to the abundance that is coming out of our fields right now.  It’s a … Continue reading

Dirt is Good for You

The news about the release of the Human Biome Project data generated some related commentary in the media last week.  My personal favorite was a piece in the New York Times by Dr. Jeff Leach that used the HBP as … Continue reading

Important News: 4th of July Delivery

Important Delivery Information:  The Fourth of July is next Wednesday and some folks have asked us if we are going to deliver CSA boxes that day.  The answer is “YES”!, boxes will be delivered as normal.   We apologize for … Continue reading

The Universe Inside Us and Under Our Feet

Have you ever wondered, while you are driving through rual parts of California, why certain crops are grown in certain places and not in others?  Climate plays an enormous role:  some crops like it hot and others do not.  And … Continue reading

Arbo-Psychology

It’s always a tough decision to let go.  All the years of time invested — for better or for worse, all that hard work.  You’ve spent some of the best years of your life together.  Maybe you grew up together, … Continue reading

Magic Beans and the Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is the most abundant element in our atmosphere and we breath it in and breath it out without absorbing it at all.  And yet, nitrogen is a precious resource that both governs and limits the growth of living organisms.  … Continue reading

New & Improved

A few months ago I promised you that we would be making improvements to the Terra Firma website to make it a better resource for subscribers and I am happy to announce that the revamped site will go live this … Continue reading

Are Organic Eaters Jerks?

Perhaps someone has sent you an article or you’ve seen the link to a new study(apparently not a joke) that has “determined” that people who eat organic food are more likely to be “jerks” than those who don’t eat it.  … Continue reading

Hyping Local Foods

Folks who live in the Bay Area, New York metro area, and other urban metropolises may be under the impression that “local food” is the biggest force affecting agriculture right now.  That’s because when media outlets in urban areas cover … Continue reading

Tomato Cam

It happened last Friday.  It was a warm day — hot for this time of year — and quite windy.  If you work with plants, it is the kind of day that makes you constantly anxious about their well-being.  You … Continue reading

Quarterly Report to Shareholders

The first four months of 2012 saw a distinct break with trends established during the previous eight quarters (2 years), as meteorological conditions shifted away from persistent cold low pressure systems that had dramatically impacted the farm’s production.  In their … Continue reading

“Agent Orange” Corn

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are making headlines this week as the federal government moves towards approving another crop that is modified to resist herbicides. But this time, the herbicide is not the catchily-named, consumer-friendly Roundup ™. Instead, it is … Continue reading

CSA’s In The News

There’s a long article in the food section of Sunday’s SF Chronicle exploring the culinary possibilities available by subscribing to a local CSA, including a series of recipes featuring seasonal produce. The article focuses primarily on one of our sister … Continue reading

Planting Puzzler

What crops do you think Terra Firma grows the most acreage of? The largest amount of? Which crop has the longest season? As you all know, we harvest crops from our fields 50 weeks out of every year, and we … Continue reading

April Showers

We got a nice soaking in Northern California over the last three weeks, desperately needed after one of the driest winters on the books. Around here, we prefer to get rain during the usually cold , dark months of December, … Continue reading

Diesel & Dust

We’re not Luddites here at Terra Firma, despite being organic farmers. As you all are probably aware, we take full advantage of the latest computer technology whenever possible to help make our business more efficient. As I write this, we … Continue reading

A Victory on Strawberry Fumigants

Happy First Day of Spring! It feels a little strange to be saying those words this year, since we haven’t seen much winter weather at all in 2012 — until last week anyway. Supporters of organic and sustainable agriculture everywhere … Continue reading

Planting Tomatoes in Sunny March

It’s been an exciting week at Terra Firma, maybe a little more exciting than we would like. With this week’s big storm forecast more than seven days out, we took advantage of the dry weather to plant our first tomatoes. … Continue reading

Scavenger Hunt for Late Winter Vegetables

Planning our your weekly boxes is always a central activity of our week here at Terra Firma, starting the prior week and continuing into Monday and Tuesday. Paul Holmes and our Harvest Manager Efrain spend several hours checking the fields … Continue reading

Potatoes – Planting Spuds Early

We took advantage of the warm weather and dry soil last week to plant the first few potatoes of 2012. Planting spuds in February is a bit risky: if the tubers sprout quickly and emerge from the soil during a … Continue reading

Pesticides – Studies & Safety

You may or may not have noticed that I don’t spend much time in this newsletter discussing pesticides. I find it to be a tricky subject to discuss. On the one hand, there is a widespread perception that organic farmers … Continue reading

What This Warm February Means for Crops & What’s in the Greenhouse

It might feel like May, but it is still February, and even in California there aren’t too many crops that want to be planted outside.  February is a suckers month — especially when it’s this warm.  You can plant potatoes, … Continue reading

Crops Feeling the Effects of December & January Cold

In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I’d like to remind all our subscribers that we had a really rough six weeks back in December and January. Most of our greens — kales and chards — got clobbered by the … Continue reading

Food Safety, Monsanto & Washington

Two twelve packs of soda. A giant loaf of Wonder Bread. A jumbo pack assortment of Frito Lays chips. And a gallon of milk. I watched in silence as the man in front of me at the local supermarket unloaded … Continue reading

The Weather & FDA Logic

Once again, the primary driver of the news here at Terra Firma this week was…the weather. After over a month without a drop of rain — and two months of almost entirely dry weather — we got three storms in … Continue reading

The Walnut “Drug” & Asian Pear Recommendation

Walnuts are good for you, right? A natural source of Omega-3 oils, same as fish oil but better tasting…good for your heart… Multiple studies have shown the connection, it’s pretty well established. Walnut growers and processors seemed to think so, … Continue reading

Where Our Water Comes From & What To Do With Asian Pears

Happy New Year and welcome to 2012! If you’ve been around for the last two weeks, you’ve probably been enjoying the warm, sunny — and dry — weather we’ve been having. Forecasters tell us that it is fairly common to … Continue reading

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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