Member News

Power Outages, Mealy Peaches & the Cold Chain

It seems that if 2020 has a theme, it will be about not taking basic things for granted like spending time with friends and relatives,  having a home that hasn’t burned down, having clean, breathable air and enjoying time outdoors. … Continue reading

The Year of Endless Fires and Smoke

It’s 7 a.m. on Wednesday, half an hour past sunrise.  It should be sunny.  Instead, it is still pitch black outside, with just a disturbing red-orange glow to east.  Massive fires to the north have covered the Sacramento Valley with … Continue reading

CSA Members Affected by the Fire

Last week’s giant LNU fire destroyed hundreds of homes and dozens of farms in the Pleasants Valley area of Winters and Vacaville.  Two of the farms destroyed belonged to long-time TFF subscribers who also happen to be suppliers to the … Continue reading

Fire on the Mountain

I have never been terribly worried about wildfires impacting Terra Firma’s operations dramatically.  Despite our location at the eastern edge of the fire-prone Coast Range, most of our fields, our office, and our packing shed are safely ensconced in a … Continue reading

Household Food Safety Tips

Most of the produce items in your boxes right now are not washed between leaving the field and entering your house.   Cooking at high temperatures, when applicable, is a reliable way to kill bacteria.  For items you plan to consume … Continue reading

Don’t Throw Away your TFF Onions

Last week, as part of our obligations under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2015, we conducted our annual  “Mock Recall”.  That involves tracing a single product shipped on a single day and finding out how much the buyer still … Continue reading

We’ve got Summer Covered

Most organic growers in California grow cover crops to protect their soil and build fertility naturally.  They are not harvested for a crop, but rather fed back to the soil. The primary season for growing cover crops in our area … Continue reading

The Fruitiest Month

August is our fruitiest month at Terra Firma. The late season peaches and nectarine varieties we harvest this time of year have complex flavor profiles usually associated with fine wine. Not sugary sweet, they are smokey, rich, and tangy.  All … Continue reading

The Black Box of the Produce World

Watermelons are hands-down the most challenging fruit or vegetable to harvest, for a number of reasons.  Obviously the flesh of all melons is hidden from view.  But with other types of melons, the rind changes color completely when they are … Continue reading

Field-Testing your Future Tomatoes

Every winter, I peruse websites and seed catalogs looking for new or newly available tomato varieties that sound promising.  Several years ago, I saw a striking dark purple tomato with green and red stripes, completely unique in appearance. The seed … Continue reading

The Gourmet Diet of TFF Jackrabbits

After a bumper crop of early Painted Serpent Cucumbers back in June, we’ve been struggling to harvest enough for all your boxes.  The culprit is our farm’s healthy population of (very large) jackrabbits. Painted Serpents — or more correctly, their … Continue reading

Celebrating the 4th with Immigrant Foods

Sweet Corn. Tomatoes.  Watermelon.  These are items that many Americans associate with the Fourth of July holiday.  Yet in most parts of the U.S., it is simply impossible to harvest a crop of any of them by July 4th.  Even with … Continue reading

Survey Says…

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to our survey about the CSA box price increase.  About a third of subscribers responded, which gave us a very good sample size and confidence in the data.  Anyone who responded … Continue reading

Help Us Make Some Decisions

I’m going to talk a little more today about the nuts and bolts of Terra Firma’s CSA.  Pay close attention because there will be a test at the end; well, actually it’s a very short survey. When you open up … Continue reading

Give a Garlic Braid a Home

Over the last ten years as subscriptions to our CSA —  the backbone of our farm — dwindled, we began to grow more produce for  restaurants, distributors, and food service.  This was not easy.  Households who subscribe to CSAs do not … Continue reading

S.I.P Squared

This week, much of Northern California is not just Sheltering in Place, we’re Sweltering in Place too.  Despite starting off at a cool, almost chilly 53 degrees Monday morning, this week turned into a real scorcher.  It was 101 here … Continue reading

Short & Sweet

It’s a point of pride for us that Terra Firma has one of the longest tomato growing seasons of any farm in Northern California.  Our strawberry season is the opposite. Strawberries like the same cool, dry weather that most Californians … Continue reading

A Little Bit of Good News

Terra Firma Farm might be a tiny island of good news right now in an ocean of sadness and anxiety.  I’m a little uncomfortable telling some people that right now, everything is going pretty well here, given the state of … Continue reading

Be Your Own Chef

In this stressful time, there may not be that many things that most of us can do to feel in control of our lives.  Preparing food is one of them. Over the last ten years, the economy of food shifted … Continue reading

Pandemics, Droughts and Earth Day?

Since March, people’s attention has been focusedly almost entirely on the pandemic and the resulting damage to the economy.  But there’s a big story in California that hasn’t gotten as much attention. Many areas north of San Jose all the … Continue reading

Strawberries, Supply Chains & Crystal Balls

In the past few weeks, products that everyone needs and takes for granted have become scarce.  Thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic, Americans are learning more about “Supply Chain” issues than they might ever cared to have known. Recently, stories have … Continue reading

Opening Day of Berry Season: Rained Out

It’s a bit of a cliche at Terra Firma that no matter what the weather has been doing in the weeks prior to the start of our first Strawberry harvest, it’s safe to predict that it will rain on “Opening … Continue reading

CSA: Our Mutual Commitment

As I mentioned last week, subscriptions to TFF’s CSA have soared with the shelter in place orders related to the coronavirus.  Although many of these are subscribers who re-activated old accounts, we have never added so many additional box deliveries … Continue reading

The “Essential Service” of CSA

With the full approval of our state and local governments, Terra Firma Farm will remain open for business delivering our subscribers fresh organic produce they need to stay healthy in this crisis.  We have posted a Covid-19 update on the home page … Continue reading

Covid 19 Update

We are doing our best at Terra Firma Farm to stay up to date with news and guidance on the Covid 19 outbreak coming from the state and federal governments.  As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 16th, we are confident … Continue reading

Hydroponics are not Organic

With everything that is happening in the news this week, I was a little surprised that a few subscribers even noticed the story that Terra Firma Farm had signed onto a lawsuit against the USDA regarding its policy of allowing … Continue reading

Little Purple Flowers Everywhere

From Thanksgiving through March, Terra Firma’s fields are “covered” with lush green vegetation that we never harvest.  These “cover crops” protect our soil from pounding rain and wind, and give our soils a nice vacation from their job of growing … Continue reading

A Global Pandemic, for Tomatoes too

The spread of the latest Coronavirus is giving humanity an unpleasant lesson in exactly how quickly micro-organisms can move acros the world and reproduce in our age of ubiquitous air travel and global free trade.  Farmers have been confronting this … Continue reading

A Tale of Two Februaries

February is commonly our wettest month in Yolo County, and there are plenty of years when we find ourselves wishing it would stop raining for just a day or two. Last year parts of the farm were flooded for weeks … Continue reading

Aphids, Cauliflower, and Warmer Winters

Broccoli, Cabbage and Kale are among our most important crops at Terra Firma, and we grow them from October through March.  Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts are very closely related to those crops, but we grow very little of the first … Continue reading

Finding Citrus Gold

Over the last thirty years, there’s been a different kind of gold rush in the hills of the central valley.  Mandarin Oranges have gone from a specialty and highly seasonal fruit item to a staple of produce departments and lunchboxes, … Continue reading

Los Brocoleros

All vegetables are sensitive to temperature changes over their lifespan, from “birth” through to harvest.  Seeds germinate more quickly when the soil is over 60 degrees, but will simply cook if the soil gets above 85 degrees.  Tomatoes ripen much … Continue reading

A Labor of (Carrot) Love

Everyone loves Terra Firma carrots.  For years they have been far and away our most popular winter vegetable, and we’ve never quite managed to keep up with the demand for them.  Back in the days when we sold at farmers … Continue reading

One Dry Day

Sometimes the difference between us having an item in your boxes at a certain time of year comes down to a single day.  Today is one of those days.   Planting vegetables in the winter is often a frustrating process.  … Continue reading

An Abundant Start to 2020

Happy New Year and Welcome to Terra Firma’s 2020 CSA! For many people January represents a blank slate, a fresh start, a chance to get things right that might have not gone so well the year before.  We often see … Continue reading

2019 TFF Annual Report

At the end of each year, it’s common to hear people talk about how the time has “flown by” or otherwise passed in a blur.  I have never found that to be true on the farm.  Every year that goes … Continue reading

Expanding the Culinary Tastes of Picky Eaters

One of the most ubiquitous pests we deal with on our fall crops is the appropriately named Cabbage Moth and it’s offspring the Cabbage Looper (so called due to it’s inchworm-esque mode of walking).  In addition to its namesake, the Cabbage … Continue reading

Catching up in Hurry

What a difference a week can make on the farm, and in California in general. Last Monday our area was actually under a Fire Weather Watch, with dry wind blowing dust everywhere.  One week later and the farm is a … Continue reading

The Families Who Really Grow Our Food

Terra Firma is a family farm, but not in the mainsteam mythology, TV ad kind of way where everything is done by the members of a single family.  Hector and Elena are full-time owner-operators, along with their son Hector Junior.  … Continue reading

Dreaming of a Wet Thanksgiving

We started picking Satsuma Mandarins on Saturday, and with that, we have now fully settled into “winter mode” — a relatively calm period at Terra Firma where we harvest citrus, root crops, and leafy greens. But it doesn’t feel like … Continue reading

A Bitter and Sweet Lettuce Tale

Last week I wrote about carrots — a vegetable we grow that few other farmers in our area grow.  Another one is lettuce. Most of the lettuce that grows in the area around our farm is actually a weed:  wild … Continue reading

Your Source for Hand-Crafted Carrots

It might surprise you, but for over 25 years, we’ve been one of the largest carrot growers in the Sacramento area.  But that is a deceptive statistic.  Very few farmers grow carrots at all in this area, so the 4 or 5 … Continue reading

Season Ender

There’s something missing in your boxes today, something you’ve gotten from us every week since mid-June.  That’s right, for the first time in 18 weeks, there are no tomatoes in any Terra Firma CSA box. Some years, our tomato season … Continue reading

Power’s Out: The Aftermath

At Terra Firma, we rely utterly on PG&E not just to keep the lights on, but to run our irrigation, washing and drinking water pumps and refrigerate our produce. But for the many people who might take it for granted … Continue reading

Power’s Out!

We woke up this morning with no electricity on the farm.  The powers that be at PGE in their infinite wisdom shut the lights off just after midnight.  For Terra Firma, that means our coolers and irrigation pumps are not … Continue reading

The Orange Glow of Autumn (Produce)

Orange is getting a bad name right now, what with all the crazy news coming out of Washington these days. That’s unfortunate, now that it’s fall.  I would hazard a guess that if you gave people a box of crayons … Continue reading

Terra Firma’s Aerial Defense Squad

Late summer is Dragonfly season in Terra Firma’s fields.  Every day around sunset, thousands of them take to the air en masse, hovering and swooping over our tomato, melon and other fields.  I enjoy watching them, but until recently I had … Continue reading

Countdown to Equinox

We’re a week away from the Fall Equinox, and despite all the hot weather we’ve been having, summer is wrapping up on our farm.  It’s true that it can stay plenty hot in the Sacramento Valley this time of year … Continue reading

Spending the Summer Under Cover

Cover crops — crops grown specifically to improve the soil rather than to produce income — are a critical part of our farming practices at Terra Firma.  In the winter, over half our land is normally “covered”.  But since we … Continue reading

The Last Stand of Summer 2019

After the “nicest July ever” that I mentioned a few weeks back, Summer of 2019 seems to have had second thoughts. Like a child just realizing that it’s time to go back to school, it’s making a dramatic last stand … Continue reading

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Power Outages, Mealy Peaches & the Cold Chain

It seems that if 2020 has a theme, it will be about not taking basic things for granted like spending time with friends and relatives,  having a home that hasn’t burned down, having clean, breathable air and enjoying time outdoors. … Continue reading

The Year of Endless Fires and Smoke

It’s 7 a.m. on Wednesday, half an hour past sunrise.  It should be sunny.  Instead, it is still pitch black outside, with just a disturbing red-orange glow to east.  Massive fires to the north have covered the Sacramento Valley with … Continue reading

CSA Members Affected by the Fire

Last week’s giant LNU fire destroyed hundreds of homes and dozens of farms in the Pleasants Valley area of Winters and Vacaville.  Two of the farms destroyed belonged to long-time TFF subscribers who also happen to be suppliers to the … Continue reading