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Showing posts from September, 2014

What to do with all the fresh fruit from your fruit tree

It's summer and nothing says summer more to me than fresh fruit right off the tree. I am lucky to have grown up with a whole row of fruit trees in my Dad's orchard. He has a few of everything; plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries, apples, pomegranates, oranges and even figs. Summertime just isn't complete without a fresh peach to eat as you're walking around the backyard.


When we moved into our house we live in now, we were lucky to have a peach and persimmon tree already in the backyard. They were large and established. In fact, we moved in July and the peach tree was kind of like a welcome home present. The first week we moved in, the peach tree was already gifting us with fresh fruit. Some may have been a little overwhelmed with a whole peach tree but I was rejoicing.


Within the next few years we added some dwarf trees to our collection too; lemon, nectarine, plum, pear, mandarin and lime are now part of our family too. Whether you too have a backyard fruit tree, …

Almond by-products

When people think of almond uses they tend to just think of using the almond meat. Almonds have multiple by-products actually. When almonds are processed at the huller the almond meat is separated from the hull and shell. The hulls, shells and hash are also sold and used.

Almond hulls are the green out most layer of the almond while on the tree. The hull is what splits and starts the countdown to harvest. Once the almond has dried in the field, the hull also dries and begins to separate from the almond. At the huller, they remove the hulls and stock pile them until sold. Almond hulls are sold for animal feed, most commonly dairy feed. The hulls actually add nutrition to the animals diet and aid in healthy milk production. Growing up on my family's farm, we used the hulls to feed our breeding sheep. It was cheaper than grain, helped to add nutrition to the animal diet and while filled them up faster.

Almond shells are the hard layer between the hull and the almond meat. …

Almond Huller & Sheller

Our almond huller is running in full swing, so I thought I would go and check it out! We belong to a cooperative huller, meaning the farmers who use its services own an interest in the huller.  A select few farmers who are members of the cooperative are also elected on the board of directors. Most of the hullers in our southern Central Valley region of California are cooperatives. We also have a few large corporations and small growers in our region that operate private hullers as well.

The huller has received over half of all almonds that it will this year, but some have to wait in stock piles to be run at a later date. When the farmer is done harvesting and picking up the almonds from the field, they haul them to the huller in semi truck trailers. When the trucks arrive, the almonds are weighed and either sent to be processed or stock piled until the huller can run them. They fumigate and tarp the stock piles to keep the almonds safe from any insects or rain that may h…

Falling Ground Water Table

We lost suction on one of our agriculture wells. The ground water table has dropped below where our pump was set. So, when we turned on our pump to irrigate our orchard, it was pumping air instead of water. We had to have the well maintenance company pull the well out of the ground and inspect the pump to determine the cause of lose of suction. It was determined our pump was too short for where the water table had fallen. Now, we have to extend the pump at least 40 feet further down, so we can pump from the water table. We hope that this will work and we will be able to pump water again.

Because of the drought, we have neighbors all around us drilling new wells. Farms are also pumping more from existing wells because we can't draw from federal or state water. Both these factors cause a greater dependency on ground water, causing our water table to fall deeper.  
Pray for Rain!!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

Almond varieties

Did you know there are over 30 different varieties of almonds grown commercially?! All have their own unique purpose, size, and shape. Most almond farmers, have multiple varieties in the same orchard, the most popular being nonpareil. Nonpareil is the prettiest almond, most widely produced and comes with the biggest return back to the grower. But we can't all farm nonpareils, they need to be pollinated somehow. Almonds typically need at least two varieties in an orchard because the almond flower cannot pollinate itself like other fruit trees can. We learned about that with the almond bloom and bee blog!! So we have pollinator varieties that complement other varieties and offer their own unique purpose. I am going to outline a few of the more widely grown varieties for you, but feel free to check out The Almond Board of California's full guide.


Nonpareil has the most uses and purposes of any other nut. It can be used in raw form, blanched, processed or anything you …