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Showing posts from January, 2014

Harvest is Here

Almond harvest is here! Almond trees are shaking all over the valley and it's officially harvest season. About a week ago we started shaking on our farm.





But before you even start shaking, mowing is the true first sign of harvest. We don't just mow to make the orchard a cleaner environment. Grass could cause harvest equipment to get clogged up and unnecessary debris get stuck with the almonds  Weeds also take vital nutrients and water away from the trees and root system.


Once mowing is done, the orchard is ready for shaking! I like to say we shake the L out of them. Makes sense if you remember where I grew up. In Northern California we say A-MEND, just like salmon. None of that ALL-MEND business. But regardless of what you want to call it, almond shaking is how we get the nuts on the ground.



After we started shaking, the next day we were ready to start sweeping. Sweeping is the process of getting the almonds in nice, clean windrows so they can be picked up. Unfortunately, th…

Game Day Almond Recipes

Sunday is the big game day and whether you're entertaining or going to a friends house, you need good food. The following two recipes are easy snacks that are perfect for bringing to a party or to make ahead for your own. They will be able to sit out all day during the game and still be delicious! The added bonus, they have almonds in them!
I am the kind of cook that looks at a recipe and looks for ways to put my own spin on it. Maybe there is an ingredient I don't like or I don't have on hand, I use something else. My husband even jokes that if I make the same dish twice, it is never the same. I usually never follow recipes, so I did my best to accurately measure for you today. But I am a strong believer in making it your own, so feel free to switch it up!

Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts

2-3 cups assorted nuts- I used 2 cups almonds and 1 cup cashews. Pecans or peanuts also work well.
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2-3 teaspoons packed brown sugar- use more…

California drought

Well the rain Gods haven’t been listening to our rain calls and all those rain dances being done across this great state of California.  As declared by our Governor, Jerry Brown, we are officially in a drought. It’s been all over the news about how California is setting record dry days, this isn’t the kind of record we want to be setting. Every time I look into the 10 day forecast the rain isn’t there. In fact, we have 70 degree days and sunny for our forecast. Some parts of the country may be jealous of this type of the weather, I would be more than happy to take some of the snow from the Mid-West. Without the snow pack in the California mountains and without rain this winter, California is scared for the summer months to come. The below picture shows how much snow we had last year in our mountains versus what we have this year and last year was a low snowfall year.

California State water allocations for 2014 have been cut to a mere 5% of what we are paying for. This is …

No moisture = Poling

California hasn’t had any rain this winter season and we have had barely any foggy days. In the Southern Central Valley we are known to have thick Tule fog, but we haven’t had any this year. Without the rain or fog there is little to no moisture in our air. Almond farmers need moisture to properly winter shake their trees, as we discussed in winter shaking. Without the moisture the almonds don’t shake off the tree.

If the shaker isn’t shaking all those almonds off the trees we have to bring in poling crews. This of course is an added expense that could leave the farmer with a bill that he wasn’t prepared for, as much as an additional $200 per acre, and all because mother nature didn’t respond to our rain dances. A crew upwards of 20 people take long 20 foot poles and walk through the orchards shaking any almonds off the trees that the shaker couldn’t shake off. You can imagine how tedious of a process this is. Your crew of people must be very vigilant and attentive to the trees making…

SMART goals for 2014

So it's a new year and with a new year comes new challengers, new adventures, new journeys and New Years resolutions. Well maybe for some people. I spent the last week trying to come up with something and I have decided I don't like the term resolutions. They never stick, they are always far fetched and people forget about them in a month. Most people try going to the gym more, drinking less coffee, spending less money, spending more time with family, etc etc. But what I find in these attempts are people who try for a month or so and forget even what their resolution was when April rolls around.

The term resolutions makes me think of something people make and forget. The term goal is something I look at as a challenge. I was talking with my boss the other day about my work objectives for 2014. My work has us all set goals and objectives as a team and an individual for us to follow. I am held accountable to these goals to succeed in my job and the possibility of a bonus at the …

Winter shaking

It's been an unusually mild winter thus far. Not nearly enough rain or snow for what we need by this time of year. Pray for rain and water to come our way. Normally by this time of the year we have 3 inches or so. This year we have only had about half an inch, maybe. Rain is in our extended forecast for next Thursday, only 30% chance but I'm hopeful Mother Nature will hear our farmers cries! 

We need the rain to help our ground water supply. If it doesn't rain we will need to irrigate using our wells or irrigation district water even earlier than we otherwise would. We are only allotted so much irrigation district water each year, and we want to save our allotment to use it for the hot and productive months. If we don't receive enough rain and snow that allotment will be reduced by the state, as it has been for the past few years. If we use our ground water in the winter, we are lowering our water table with nothing to recharge it. Farmers pray for rain th…