Skip to main content

Walnut Day

We all have our day. A day to celebrate you. Whether it's your birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, there is a day to celebrate you. There are also a million days to celebrate things. Pizza lover's day, Donut Day, Puppy Day, well today is National Walnut Day.


Today is a day to celebrate walnuts. I may be Almond Girl Jenny, but walnuts are a close second in my nut heart. My Dad is a walnut grower and I grew up surrounded by walnuts just as much as I grew up surrounded by almonds. Walnuts are my favorite baking nut. There is just something about banana nut bread that makes me happy.


Walnuts also make me healthy. They are a healthy punch of protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, and healthy carbohydrates. Who knew one nut could have so many health benefits?


But did you also know that walnuts are the only nut that has any significant omega 3's? Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is a plant based food source and walnu…

California Water Part 1: How we got here



There has been a lot of finger pointing in who is to blame for this horrible drought we are in. It seems like every time I check my email or social media, I see another article blaming someone. It is sad to me that we are always looking to blame someone. We are here. Regardless of whose fault it is, we are here in this drought together. Instead of looking to blame someone I am going to give you a little back story to how we got here and let you decide. Or even better, don’t decide or pick a side. Instead let’s look ahead and see how we can move forward. But, in order to move forward we must understand the past. 

Water in California is first divided into developed and undeveloped. Undeveloped stays in the environment. Developed water usage in California is broken into three categories; 50% goes to the environment, 40% to agriculture and 10% to urban. Many people don’t consider the environmental use of water when looking at water uses. I say it must be considered because it is still water that is being used and could be used for another purpose.


Environmental water is water flowing through rivers protected as ‘wild and scenic’, water used to maintain habitats within streams, supporting wetlands and wildlife preserves, and water required for delta outflow. Yes, we pump water into ocean. Why? We have a non-native fish called the delta smelt that the environmentalists say we must protect! It is estimated that 21 million acre feet of water is released to the ocean annually to save our non-native fish. 

Urban water is used for residential, commercial, industrial and large landscape uses. While landscaping being the largest consumer of water for urban use the graph below depicts best how urban water is used.   



California State receives most of the rain and snow in the north end of the state, whereas most of the population is in the south and the majority of agriculture in the Central Valley. We developed a series of canals, reservoirs, dams and an aqueduct to store and transport this water where needed.  Let me add quickly that 70% of our water is released to the ocean because we don’t have enough storage systems in place during wet years. California water is made up of three types of systems. 

The Central Valley Project is the federal water system developed by the US Bureau of Reclamation back in 1933 to transport water from Northern California to the Central Valley. On an average year, 7 million acre-feet of water flows through the CVP. 5 million going to agriculture in the Central Valley, 600,000 acre feet goes to municipal and industrial users and 800,000 acre feet is released into rivers and streams for environmental purposes. The last two years, federal water has been cut by 100% to agriculture. That’s right, growers are receiving a ZERO allocation and still are required to pay for the water they are not receiving. 

The State Water Project is the state water system that began in 1957 and allocates 70 percent of its supply to urban uses and 30 percent to agriculture uses. SWP sends water to 2/3 of the California population and about 750,000 acres of agriculture farmland. This year, there is an 80% cut in state water to agriculture. Agriculture water districts have a 20% supply of their full allocation, but some farmers are still receiving zero water due to different classes, contracts and varying water rights. 

Both of these projects were created to ensure our water table would be able to sustain as well as provide enough water for farmers to grow their crops and cities to thrive. Being that our population has more than doubled in the last 20 years and no new dams or reservoirs have been built to handle this population we are running out of water. Farmers have been able to drill water wells and pump their groundwater to supplement the water they aren’t receiving from federal or state water. California has large groundwater reservoirs as well; we also have the largest groundwater basin in the United States. Farmers are replenishing the groundwater basin each and every time they irrigate. The water goes to the crop and its root zone, as well as leaching into the soil and rebuilding the basin beneath it. During an average year the groundwater in California accounts for 38% of the total water supply. During a dry year that number rises to 46% because we have less state and federal water due to a decrease in snow and rain. This was all the procedure until last year. Last year, the state passed legislation to control our groundwater and how much we are pumping.  

So, the government is controlling our groundwater basin, cutting agriculture 100-80% of its supply for federal and state water, urban is only cut by 25-35% and we continue to flush water into the ocean to save our non-native fish. With little to no federal and state water, and the strings being pulled tighter on groundwater, where will your next meal come from? Stay tuned for the next series to cover more!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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…

Bloom and freezing temperatures

It's the most beautiful time of year to be an almond farmer. The buds are blooming and flowers are open everywhere. But as Mother Nature presents herself, no beauty comes without a challenge.



The first full week of February came and it brought with it almond blossoms. Bees were brought in about a week before that. We want the bees to arrive before bloom starts so they can get acclimated with their surroundings. This way when the buds finally open and flowers pop out, the bees know exactly where to go and what to do.

When the bees arrived it was sunny with high 60 degree weather. It was perfect conditions for them to get to work, but the flowers weren't quite ready to pop yet.


Now as full bloom approaches, we have returned to cold weather where the bees don't want to work much during the days. Bees prefer warmer temperatures, so when it's too cold they stay in the hives most of the time. We have had multiple nights of mid to high 20s. Freezing temperatures at night will…