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Showing posts from 2013

Modern Agriculture

What is Modern Agriculture?
Modern agriculture could be a scientist in a lab creating the newest impossible non-meat hamburger. Modern agriculture could mean the development of GMO seeds to decrease pesticide use. Modern agriculture could be turning on your irrigation system from an app on your computer. Modern agriculture could just mean the use of GPS in tractors, or maybe just the use of a tractor on a farm. Modern agriculture could mean something different to you depending on how you look at agriculture.

Modern agriculture is essentially developing practices that help farmers increase efficiency and reduce the amount of resources to meet the world's needs. But depending on your interpretation of the term you could already have created your opinion of modern agriculture. 2% of the population is involved in agriculture but 100% of the population has opinions.
That's the situation we face today, consumers tend to develop their own opinions of modern agriculture without unders…

Christmas in Chico

In my household, Christmas is a time for family, friends and faith.  I was able to go to my hometown of Chico, Ca for the holidays and spend time with my family. On Christmas morning we woke to a white Christmas! Well, for the Northern Sacramento Valley we consider a white Christmas frost. There was a pretty white frost layer on the orchard floor on Christmas morning.

My family lives in the middle of a walnut orchard now. In the winter, they just look like giant sticks! In Northern California, a lot of the farmers have started planting walnuts and not as many almonds. Walnuts aren't as susceptible to frost damage due to the cold weather that comes with Northern California. Walnuts also generally require less inputs and man power then almonds. If you drive up highway 99 north of Sacramento you will see more and more walnuts being planted for these reasons.What can I say we are all just nutty!

I have to tell you I was very blessed this Christmas season. I was able to spend almost a …

Almond Wood and Deep Pit

This weekend we had Christmas with my husband's side of the family and we decided to test out the new deep pit. My husband and his father built a 6 foot deep pit out of an old concrete pipe line they dug up when they were ripping the old field out. They dug a giant hole out at our shop yard and stuck this 6 foot pipe in it. At the bottom of the hole they poured concrete so there would be no air pockets or dirt in the hole. That is pretty much all you need to deep pit meat, a giant hole in the ground! So they decided to test it out for Christmas dinner. 
First, you need to start a fire and let it burn for at least 4 hours to heat the entire pit. What kind of wood did we use?  Almond wood of course, we think it burns the best! Some good seasoned almond wood burns a long, hot fire that is perfect not only for your deep pit, but home fireplace as well. I wouldn't have a fire with anything else! You want seasoned wood that is dried out for an extended period of time, last ye…

Christmas almond cookies

It's the holiday season and that means Christmas cookies and sugary sweets everywhere. I like to bake an assortment of different kind of cookies and such to have around during the holidays. It comes in handy when your going over to someone's house for holiday dinner, if you forget to buy a friend a gift, or just want to bring some sweets over and brighten someone's day. Of course I like to incorporate almonds as much as I can when it comes to holiday baking. By no means am I an aspiring baker or a Betty Crocker, I just like to bake and have fun in the kitchen. The two recipes I am going to share are super easy and fool proof. I actually acquired these recipes from an email chain around the holidays a couple years ago.

First almond recipe: Almond bark.

All you need is one package of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped almonds. You could use all mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, any kind of chips you wish. This time I used a mixed bag of mint and dark chocolate chi…

Hedging time on the farm!

The temperature has started to drop and it is most definitely winter now. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were still enjoying our 70 degree days and wondering how long fall was going to last for us in the Central Valley. Now that the colder weather seems here to stay, the fall leaves are saying good bye as well.  After the leaves have turned their color and winter weather turns to cold, the trees go to sleep for the winter months. The fall and early winter is time to prune the trees and what we call hedge.

Hedging is essentially cutting the middle branches out of the center of the rows and creating space for sunlight to reach its way into the rows of the orchard. The trees need sunlight, just as we do, for nutrients to help feed the trees in the development of almonds.

Massey, our black Labrador Retriever, loves to walk through the center of the orchard with us to take advantage of the sun that shines through. When almond trees are fully grown they can get up to 30 feet tall and spre…


The holidays are always a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. During all the hustle and bustle, it is nice to stop and think about all that we have in our lives.

I am thankful for family. Last week was thanksgiving and my family came down from Northern California to spend the holiday with us. I am thankful for the chances we get to spend time together. I am thankful for the memories, laughter and smiles that are created during our visits.

I am thankful for the opportunity my parents gave me of growing up on a farm. Working in the fields during holiday vacations and summer break, I was able to appreciate the land around me. I may have not liked the physical labor all the time, but looking back on it now, it strengthened me as an adult. Having the chance to work alongside my father, sister and cousins was a great experience I wouldn’t trade. I grew up raising sheep and swine for 4-H and FFA. I am thankful my parents gave me the opportunity to learn responsibility and finance …

Out with the old and in with the new...

Currently on the farm, we are in the process of removing an old orchard and establishing a new orchard. When almond trees are between 25-30 years old, the production starts to decline to a point that the orchard needs to be replaced. When the orchard yield declines, it makes more sense to replace the trees and start the cycle over again. The orchard we are replacing this year is 26 years old, my husband was 2 years old when it was planted! His mother and grandmother tell us stories of when they were planting the field and carry my husband in a baby carrier on their backs. He can't even remember the orchard without trees, and now he is in charge of removing the field and establishing the new one.

Over the past five years or so, the trees have been falling over every time we had the slightest bit of wind. Actually, I wouldn't be lying if I told you it was probably missing a quarter of its trees from all the ones that have fallen over the years. Almond trees have very shallow…

Welcome to my nutty life!

Welcome to my blog! I hope to take you on a journey of what it's like to be a farmers daughter and a farmers wife! I grew up in Northern California where my father farms almonds and walnuts. I went to college and met my husband who's family farms almonds in the Southern Central Valley of California. I thought it was perfect, one almond farmer falling in love with another almond farmer.

They only thing was he said it differently....what was an all-mend? I grew up saying am-end. This will forever be the argument in our house. What is the correct way to say it? If you are north of that Turlock line and you grew up in agriculture, you probably say am-end. If you farm in the southern end of the central valley and just about everywhere else, you look at us northerners weird when we say almond. Do you shake the L out of the them? Or maybe you say Salmon, so you say Am-end. I am not out looking to solve the ancient mystery of who says it right (even though I already know) ;) I am just…