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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The end in sight

Shaking is done! The shaker went through our last variety, in the last row, in our last field yesterday. What a relief it is to be one step closer to finishing harvest. It seems like forever ago that we started harvest, but in reality it was about two months ago. Two months of long hours, long weekends and tired feet. Our family and dedicated employees have worked hard to make it this far and now we are in the home stretch. I can see the end in sight.


Now that shaking is done we need to sweep and pick up what's left. And once we are all picked up, harvest will be done! We still have some of the Monterey variety to finish sweeping and then to finish picking up.
Shaking the last variety, in the last row, in the last field.




The finisher will be the Fritz that we just finished shaking. Fritz is always our last variety and the one we are waiting on. Now that we are done shaking we wait a week or so until they are dry enough to start sweeping.  Once they are dry we will sweep and pick them up. I can't wait until we can start picking them up, then the end will really be near.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

We're number one!

We're number one, we're number one!!


Every year towards the end of summer, the county Agriculture Commissioner offices release the crop reports for the previous year. The crop report is a compiling of the acreage, yield and gross values for the crops grown within the county. In California, the central valley eagerly awaits these numbers. But why? One reason, to see who is number one.


You have to understand something in California. We grow food to feed the world. The food we grow here, is not only consumed in our backyards and in our state, but the food we grow is shipped across the country and world. Our crop reports show us who grows the most. And because, we grow food for the state, nation and world we want to know who in California is the number one. In the Central Valley we are the heavy producers. Between Kern, Fresno and Tulare County the crop value is over $19 billion!


So when the 2016 Kern County Crop Report came out, everyone wanted to know, who would be number one. Kern County's crop value alone is nearly $7.2 billion. Now that's an impressive number. And between the three counties, Kern was the only county to see an increase from the year before.


Now what do these numbers mean? Well let me tell you, this doesn't mean the farmers in the county took home this much money. This is gross value of agriculture production. This doesn't include the cost of farming; water, labor, equipment, fuel, regulations, fees, fertilizers, etc. There is a lot that goes into making food, and none of that is covered here. We must remember that in California our water, if you have any, is very expensive. We have the highest minimum wage in the country and we are heavily regulated in doing business in this state. All these factors, make it very hard to farm in California, yet we do it. Don't ask me how, that is a whole other topic.


Needless to say though, I am proud to live and farm in a county that has the abilities, besides all its obstacles, to produce so much food. One in five jobs is directly or indirectly linked to agriculture production. I think people lose touch with this number. From the grocery store clerk, the truck driver, the produce broker, the field worker and the farmer there are so many hands that go into getting your food on your table.


So just how does Kern County and the rest of the central valley rank up?




Kern — $7.19 Billion
Tulare — $6.37 Billion
Fresno — $6.18 Billion


For the first time, Kern County is the number one agriculture producing county in the state and nation. We grow 40% of the states pistachios and 20% of the country's almonds. We grow more grapes or almonds than other counties total agriculture production.


I am proud to live and farm in Kern County. For the past several years, we suffered from a detrimental drought that cost us water, land, labor, farms and so much more. To have overcome such a lose and to come out on top shows that we are a strong county. Farmers and ranchers are tough. We know how to make more with less. We have had to grow more with less resources and we have done it well. So well, we are now number one.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Reminiscing









My life couldn't be more summed up in a better quote right now. It has been a challenging summer to say the least. While it is easy to say life will continue to go on, it is sometimes hard to coup.




My baby daughter arrived two days after the funeral of my grandmother. My grandma had a rough few months leading up to her passing. She suffered a fall in November that triggered an increase in her Dementia. As it tends to happen at the end of our lives, one little thing after another added up and led to her being placed on hospice care the beginning of June.




I was lucky to head up to say my goodbyes with only 3 weeks left of my pregnancy. I wasn't supposed to travel, but I knew if I didn't go then, I might not be able to go later. Well turns out my instincts were right. My grandmother passed away less than a week before my due date. Her funeral was on my due date, so I was unable to travel to be there.




My grandma and my daughter now share a middle name to remember and honor her forever.





Loss has an interesting way of presenting itself. I'd like to think that a little bit of my grandma was reborn with my daughter. It is sad to think that they will never meet, but I know she has an extra special guardian angel now.




As I look back and reminisce on the times I had with my Grandma, I am thankful and glad of the memories I have. It is those memories that I will share and pass on to my children. Grandparents are a special friend to small children and hold a place in our hearts forever. I can only hope that my children will cherish the times they share with my parents and forever be grateful of those memories.




Memories are with us forever. The material possessions that ones leave behind may help us to remember those times, but they too don't last forever. The only things that will be with us forever are the moments we shared together and keep in our hearts.




I quickly realized that when I wasn't able to be present for my grandma's passing or funeral, my memories I have are what I need to remember and share. The new life that I bring into the world will carry on new memories. The chances I get to reminisce with my children of the generations before them, will hopefully share a place in their heart as it does mine.






May our memories never fade and our hearts always be open to new ones.






Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Almond Peach Cobbler Muffins

It isn't quite summer without fresh peaches! Growing up my Dad always had a row of fresh fruit trees along the house and when those trees got ripe, it meant summer was officially here. Well my Dad still has those trees and when my mom came to visit the other week guess what she brought with her, a box of those fresh peaches from Dad's orchard. You could say I was a little excited.


But a whole box of peaches for our little family, what was I to do with a whole box? Well of course I eat my fair share, but you can only eat so many fresh peaches. I froze some. My sister made me a fresh peach cobbler and I still had some left. So I decided to make some peach cobbler muffins with an almond twist.




I can add almonds to just about anything I bake. If almonds aren't your favorite to bake with, you can always use normal flour and vanilla extract. I of course, love almonds to bake with so these are a yummy addition to me recipe book.




These muffins are very moist, they keep best in the fridge to keep them moist and fresh. The chunks of peach are oh so yummy. If you don't have fresh peaches or they aren't as sweet as peak of harvest peaches, you may want to add sugar. But fresh peaches and honey make this recipe so sweet, you don't need sugar.




Hope you enjoy these as much as we do.



Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Harvest is in full swing


Harvest is in full swing on the farm. Some farmers around us started a good week or two before us, but we finally started shaking last week.


Harvest starting all depends on soil type, water moisture in the nuts, weather and tree variety. These factors could vary throughout our state making the start of almond harvest vary throughout the state. But on our family farm, we are shaking.

Harvest is full of long hours, busy schedules and hot weather! So anytime we can find our favorite almond farmer to have some family time, we get excited. I consider it a huge blessing that between chaos of harvest we can take a few minutes to have some family time. We of course had to take a family selfie to celebrate our little girl's first almond harvest







Family selfie as a family of FOUR
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Drip irrigating nonpareils before harvest



Before we could start almond harvest, we had to give the trees one last drink. After the trees are shaken they will lay on the orchard floor for 7-10 days before being swept, picked up and taken to the huller. These trees could go a few weeks without water in the harvest process. With the hot 100 plus degree days, we want to make sure they get one last drink before harvest starts. And thanks to drip irrigation we are able to irrigate between harvest of the different varieties. 


After we irrigate one last time, we need to mow the weeds and grass from the orchard rows. Any debris left in the orchard during harvest could get picked up with the almonds. This would cause problems with the harvesting equipment getting clogged up or break down. If any of this material arrives with the almonds at the huller, the same could happen there.


So once, the trees are irrigated and the orchard is mowed it was time to shake. Now that we have shaking underway for about a week, we just started sweeping and will soon be picking up. Harvest is in full swing!


Mowing the orchard of weeds and grass

It's time to shake!


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Hull Split

Because I am now a busy mom of two and my life has been crazy, a not so wordless Wednesday.


Here are a few photos of hull split over the past few weeks. Harvest will be here soon, probably end of next week or beginning of the following week. Stay tuned...










Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Our newest little bundle of joy has arrived!

Daddy's little Hazel nut is here! Our newest little bundle of joy has arrived. We couldn't be more excited to welcome our little girl. As our doctor described it, she came in like a bullet train.




It was definitely an exciting and fast labor but not at first. My due date was June 21st and being 4 days early with my son, I was expecting to go into an early labor. Well, that didn't happen. June 21st came and went and I was still pregnant. My doctor actually scheduled me to be induced on June 21st because of low blood pressure and the fact that my son's labor was only 6 hours. They say your labor gets faster and faster the more kids you have.




June 21st was the first day of summer and in Bakersfield there was no doubt it was summer. That week was 110 degrees plus and apparently that causes women to go into labor. Although I was scheduled to be induced, there was an increase in women coming into the hospital in natural labor. There was no room at the hospital for me to come to. So, June 21st came and went and I was still pregnant. June 22nd, the hospital called and said I was first on the list to be induced and they would call me as soon as a room opened up. It was another day of 110 degrees and no rooms ever became available for me.




On June 23rd at 2am I woke up to use the bathroom as I did multiple times throughout the night for the past several weeks. I climbed back into bed to try to go back to sleep. As I lay there for about 2 minutes I feel a sudden burst of water and jump out of bed to realize my water just broke. No more than 5 minutes later I was having contractions. By the time we make it to the hospital at 3am my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was 7 cm dilated.




It was a fast and furious labor with no time for pain medicine. Hazel Frances arrived at 4:41am.


Photo credit: Stacey Leigh Photography






 
 





Big Brother loves her and tries to kiss and cuddle her constantly. We are working on being gentle and soft touches.





Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny