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Showing posts from October, 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…

Pumpkin Pie Almonds

I enjoy a handful of almonds multiple times throughout my day. I keep a dish in my kitchen full of them, so when I walk through to the back yard or to take something out for dinner, I am always munching on almonds. It got me thinking, how do others eat almonds? I prefer my almonds raw, straight from the tree. But since I can't get those but once a year, I have to eat them other ways. I love the taste of just a raw almond, something about the purity and untouched almond that makes it so good. I know my parents prefer them roasted in the oven with a little garlic salt, which is also good but perishable. I have a great party nut recipe I like to enjoy around game days and party times.

There have been lots of recipes floating around for seasonal spiced things as well, which always gets me into the holiday spirit. So I decided to give one a try, and of course put my own spin on it. Since it is Halloween, I tried a pumpkin pie spice almond recipe and it does taste like I am eating a pum…

After harvest clean up, Leveling the rows

Now that almond harvest is over, it is time to get our fields back in shape. It is what we call orchard maintenance time of year or after harvest clean up. Oh the life of a farmer, they never stop! During harvest, the picking up equipment will leave behind humps in the orchard rows. When the picking up machine picks up the almonds, part of the process is to leave the extra dirt in the field as a dirt mound. This process helps maintain the top soil in the field, and the more dirt we take out of the field and put in the trailers the more expensive trucking and hulling charges can be. The mounds in the middle of the rows will cause the tractors and equipment to travel through the field unevenly. This can be an extra problem for the flood irrigated and older orchards where the mounds could cause uneven water distribution. If the dirt mounds are left in the field until next harvest this could cause us to pick up even more dirt with the almonds next year.
We try to take care of …

Walnut Harvest

Because farmers never rest and my almond farmer doesn't take a break after almond harvest, we went up to Chico to help my dad with walnut harvest. And the most important thing, my little almond farmer growing in my tummy needed some baby gear from my family baby shower!
My dad started walnut harvest a little over a week ago. Walnut harvest is very similar to almond harvest. Walnuts are grown on the tree in a green round hull surrounded by a shell and the walnut meet is the seed, very similar to the almond. When the hull is cracked open and starts to separate from the shell, the walnut is ready to be harvested. Walnuts are shaken off the tree with the same shakers we use in almonds. The walnuts are sweeped and picked up just like almonds. But instead of waiting a week or so to pick up the dried almonds, walnut must be picked up from their wind-rows and arrive at the huller within twenty four hours! Walnut meat and shells will darken in color the longer they sit on the…