Skip to main content

Camp Fire Donation Resources

It has taken me two weeks to be able to write this post. I keep struggling with words, how to express my sadness, how to help, just what to say. But here goes...


The morning of November 8th will be a day everyone in Butte County will remember. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It is the deadliest wildfire in US history in the past 100 years. The town of Paradise was destroyed by the fire, forcing 27,000 people to flee within hours. The news reports and stories victims tell are chilling and leave you speechless. For the last two weeks, my newsfeeds and text messages have been filled with Camp Fire stories and relief efforts.


Butte County is where I was born and raised. My hometown of Chico is where many sought refuge and hope following the tragic event. My mother worked in Paradise for a good chunk of my childhood. I have many memories of the church she worked at, the rectory that is no longer standing, and the local businesses we supp…

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

Working Bees
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 discuss bee hive needs and contract agreements with our beekeeper. In January, we discuss our fungicide spray timing to ensure we complete spraying in the most cautious and bee friendly manor possible. We also talk timing of bud break and when we expect bloom to begin so we can properly time moving the bees into the field. During this critical time it is important to maintain frequent communication with each other. Farmers want to ensure hive strength and quality is being assessed for best almond production.


Beekeepers checking on their hive strength prior to bloom
In the last 30 years or so beekeepers have been fighting diseases and mites in their bee hives. Recently, the struggle has been the Varroa mite. Varroa mite is an insect that is threatening the great relationship bees have with the crops they feed on. This mite feeds on the blood of honey bees and leaves its eggs in the hive, causing an infestation and weakening of the hives called colony collapse. Colony collapse has already taken claim to thousands of bee hives and is threatening the livelihood of bees, beekeepers and almond pollination. It is insects like the varroa mite that only strengthen the relationship farmers must have with the beekeepers to ensure proper care and health of the bees. Beekeepers work hard through the summer to ensure the mite population is gone by fall. Over the winter months is when the hive losses are most high.
Other then the mite, beekeepers also struggle the drought in California. Bees are only in almond orchards for a month or so, meaning bees need other crops to forage on for the rest of the year. The amount of natural wildflowers and pastures present in the spring and summer is increasingly low due to our lack of rain and snow we have received the last 3 winters. Beekeepers are having to feed supplemental pollen to their hives when they aren't able to find natural homes for their bees.
With the help of the Almond Board's Honey Bee Best Management Practices guide farmers and beekeepers have been able to receive much needed resources to help them work together to maintain the bee populations. So remember, next time you see that little bee fly by you, protect him. We need to save our bees to protect our almond supply!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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. …

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…

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 …