Skip to main content

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…

California Water Part 2: Agriculture Production



Next in this California water series we need to look at agriculture production. In our drought situation everyone seems to question why agriculture is ‘such a large consumer of water'. I put this in quotes because I feel that line is subjective. We might be a large user of water because we produce so much food in our great state. 
I say agriculture is a user not a consumer of water. Agriculture uses the water to grow our crops, leaving the water in the ground to replenish our aquifer and in the food itself to give nourishment to its consumers. But, just how much does California agriculture produce?


California is the leading state in agriculture production in the United States. California brought in over $46 billion dollars in agriculture sales while Iowa, the second leading agriculture producer, contributes $31 billion. Needless to say, we are by far the leader. Iowa produces hogs, cattle, poultry, corn and other feed crops. And for California, well the list of crops is 400 strong and too long to even begin. Our top 10 crops alone account for $38.7 billion in value. That’s more than Iowa as a state. Not to pick on Iowa, but I think this shows how important California is to agriculture and putting food on your table.

Milk, almonds and grapes are the leaders in California; valued at $7.6 billion, $5.8 billion and $5.6 billion respectfully.   California also produces more than 99% of almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwis, olives, cling peaches, pistachios, prunes, pomegranates, and walnuts. Why? Well because they simply can't be grown anywhere else! Try! They won't produce a crop, have an extremely low yield or the plant will simply die. There is a reason you wont see almond trees in North Dakota or Pistachios in Vermont. These commodities are grown in California because we have the best soil, climate and production for them to flourish. 

Our largest agriculture producing counties are in the heart of the Central Valley. The Central Valley climate is ideal for agriculture and specifically almonds! Fresno County agriculture production value is $6.5 billion consisting of $875 million in almonds $650 million in livestock and $540 million in raisins.  Kern County, where I live and farm, has an agriculture production value of $6 billion consisting of $1 billion in table grapes and $780 million in almonds.  

It shouldn’t be surprising that to produce these large values of food it requires a large amount of water. Water is required to grow food. Without water, food won’t grow. Yes, people need to drink water, bathe, use water to wash dishes, do laundry but we also need to eat. And where do we expect to get that food to eat? Stay tuned  to answer more questions.


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…

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…