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Showing posts from February, 2015

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…

Buds, Bees and Bloom- Part 3: Bloom

The final and most gorgeous B of our pollination series is Bloom!

This time of year we see all kinds of photographers and city dealers coming out to any almond orchard trying to capitalize on the beautiful sight. It is my favorite time of year for just admiring the beauty our crop showcases and how lucky we are to enjoy this beauty every day. And I can't lie, it is a good time for almond farmers to take beautiful family pictures as well! How doesn't love a good photo op?


But bloom is not just a time for pretty photos, it's the time of year farmers look to a crop prediction. Bloom is a time when almond brokers stop selling and almond buyers stop buying.  They patiently wait to see what the bloom set will be. Bloom set is the predictor of how many flowers are viable for almond production and an estimate to how many pounds of almonds the trees will produce this year. To a farmer, bloom is when every one weighs in on who is going to have the biggest crop or who's bloom was…

Buds, Bees and Bloom- Part 2: Bees

Our almond buds have broken and the bloom has started, now it's time for the bees to start working! Our 2nd B in our three part pollination series is Bees.
Bees are a vital part of the almond production process. Without the bees to pollinate the flowers, we would have no almonds to speak of. Almonds are self-infertile, meaning they need pollen from a different variety to produce a nut. Bees are needed to carry pollen from one almond variety to another, to ensure cross pollination

Beekeepers work all year to ensure their bees are healthy and happy. Bees use almond blooms as an essential part of their natural nutrients needed to survive. They may only be in the almond orchard for a month, but it is the most important month of the bees life. Almond pollen is critical to the life of the bee and bees are critical to the life of the almond. So it only makes sense that the beekeepers and almond farmers work closely together to ensure proper bee health.

Starting in the fall, we disc…

Buds, Bees and Bloom- Part 1: Buds

Buds, Bees and Bloom. Its pollination time!
These three B's are vital parts to a successful almond pollination and production. Over the next couple weeks I will walk you through Pollination's 3 B's and how each one is an important step to almond farmers.


First up, buds. In the Central Valley we are experiencing plenty of foggy days mixed in with a couple of sunny 70 degree days every once in awhile. These sunny days are important this time of the year to help those little almond buds grow. The bud is the first stage the almond bloom goes through. In the middle of January the buds start to push, meaning the buds will begin to break open and swell slightly, eventually showing just a hint of pink or white color.

It is this stage we can tell if the buds are going to be flower buds or vegetative buds. At this point the difference between vegetative and flower buds is the flower buds look huge in size in comparison to vegetative buds.

The vegetative buds will make new shoots …