Member News

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

CSI Terra Firma: The Farm Detectives

At least a few times a year, we come across the scene of a minor crime on the farm. It’s almost always theft of small, easy-to-transport items like chainsaws or other valuable tools. Occasionally, someone will steal a farm pickup … Continue reading

Farmers Need Help Adapting to Climate Change

Last week the U.N. released a report that clearly stated that the world’s food supply is threatened by climate change. It received quite a bit of attention from the media, including this article in the New York Times. Any time … Continue reading

Confused Onions: The Sequel

Back in the spring I wrote a newsletter about our confused onions that went to seed instead of making edible bulbs for us to harvest. While we were initially disappointed, our attitude changed when we found out seed for that … Continue reading

Everyone’s Favorite Tractor

If you drive around a rural area, you’ll see some big, shiny new tractors out in the fields just about every day. But during the busiest times of year — planting and harvest seasons — you’ll see plenty of old … Continue reading

Nicest July Ever

Just this week we added yet another feature to our list of social media resources: a Terra Firma Farm You Tube channel. We will use this channel every once in a while to post videos of cool stuff that we … Continue reading

All the Colors of a Sunrise, in a Peach

Way back in 2003 when a group of our CSA subscribers helped us first secure a piece of land with the security to plant fruit trees, we decided to focus primarily on Peaches and Nectarines. Taken together, these so-called “stone … Continue reading

Cucumbers and their Diabolical Pests

Growing cucumbers organically is challenging just about everywhere in the continental U.S. thanks to a small pest with a big appetite. Two actually. Cucumber beetles are the size and shape of Ladybugs, but that is where their similarities end. These … Continue reading

Interactive Tomato Identification Guide

Happy July 4th Holiday! We’ve packed you a seasonally appropriate box of produce this week; more on that below. With tomato season hitting its full stride this week, we present the following interactive textual Ven diagram to help you figure … Continue reading

Stuck in the February Mud: A Tomato Tale

Tomato season kicked into full gear at Terra Firma over the weekend, as you will see in your boxes today. As TFF subscribers, you are sharing the harvest of one of the only producing tomato fields in Northern California right … Continue reading

“Your Cheatin’ (Apricot) Heart”

If more country tunes were written by farmers, there would be a song about Apricots: how they love you and leave you with a broken heart and an empty bank account. Then, just when you are getting over them and … Continue reading

Celebrating the Annual Garlic Harvest

We have been growing Garlic at Terra Firma since, well, since before it was Terra Firma. In fact, when our founder Paul Holmes starting farming up, garlic and tomatoes were his primary crops. The climate in Winters is very close … Continue reading

Summer Starts…NOW!

Imagine you come to work on a Monday morning to find your workstation has been moved to a room with no climate control. Your job description has been changed without any notification. The project you were working on on Friday … Continue reading

Potatoes, Parsnips and Lessons Learned

There are many ways to learn your lesson farming, but many of them involve failure. I remember quite clearly arriving for the first time to work at Terra Firma (called Sky High Farm back then) in February of 1993. It … Continue reading

The Heartbreak of Rain on May Fruit

The storms that swept through California during the last week produced record amounts of rainfall as well as record cool temperatures for late May. They also ruined millions of dollars worth of cherries and strawberries. Cherries and Strawberries have a … Continue reading

The Sad Tale of the Confused Onions

Most vegetables go through a series of life stages including vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting and senescence (aka, “death”). Our goal as humans — farmers, gardeners, and eaters — is generally to succeed in growing them until they produce the part … Continue reading

Tariffs and Tomatoes

If you’re paying attention to trade policy at all, you’ve probably heard that the Trump Administration is threatening to raise tariffs on Friday on a large part of the exports that China sends us, again. This news caused the stock … Continue reading

CSA and Climate Change

There’s a lengthy series in the New York Times this week about farming and climate change that includes a “How-to” guide for consumers to reduce the carbon footprint of their diet. I would guess that most TFF subscribers are already … Continue reading

Berry Season has Begun.

Strawberry season is here! We started harvesting a trickle of strawberries last week from our field; mostly too late to get them into your CSA boxes. But we knew that with summer-like temperatures coming this week, the numbers would jump … Continue reading

A Shout-Out to the Production Crew

On our farm, “the harvest” is a daily, never-ending activity that involves the majority of our team’s time and energy. Picking the crops, washing them, sorting them and packing them is a year-round activity. Anyone who calls this “unskilled labor”, … Continue reading

The Revenge of the Fungi

The use of antibiotics in conventional livestock production has made meat cheap and abundant, but it has also contributed to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterias like E. Coli and Salmonella. Now, a new drug-resistant pathogen is spreading rapidly through hospitals … Continue reading

Foraging in our own Fields

During the fall, spring, and winter I enjoy foraging for wild mushrooms in our fields as well as the surrounding woods. We don’t get many of the exciting varieties that Bay Area mushroom hunters treasure, like chanterelles or morels. But … Continue reading

Suburban Sprawl is not Climate-Smart

Almost ten years ago, Yolo County (where Winters is located) came out with a preliminary study identifying major sources of carbon pollution here. Compared to other counties surrounding us, we don’t actually have much. There is very little industry here, … Continue reading

CLICK HERE FOR MEMBER NEWS

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