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Friday, June 26, 2015

Worries for the future

Almond harvest is just around the corner. Hull split is here and the countdown to harvest is officially on. Hull split is pretty early this year, about 2 weeks earlier than normal. Last year, we had hull split at the end of June and we thought it was pretty early then and this year is turning out to be even earlier than last year.  

Why are the nuts earlier? Well, with the drought getting worse and worse our trees are more and more water stressed. When the trees don't get enough water, they don't produce as well and could even die from too little or no water.

With the low amounts of water we have, irrigation is harder and harder to do effectively.  Our trees are being cut back. In fact, all farmers are cut back to a zero allocation of surface water from federal water projects. The state is implementing regulations to monitor groundwater pumping, an ever more necessary resource to agriculture production. With the threat of limiting our pumping from our own supply under our own soil, farmers are scared to know what they will have left to irrigate with.

So with all of the water problems farmers face this harvest has become exceptionally important for so many us. We must be able to harvest all we can and hope for good yields and prices. For many farmers, if the trees don't produce well they will have to taken out or just barely grown for the following year. Permanent crops are different than vegetable and field crops, we can't just stop irrigating them this year and plant a crop next year to make money. If we don't irrigate well this year, our trees will suffer and could die, which leaves us several years of recovery time to plant a new orchard or rehabilitate an existing.

With hull split starting our countdown to harvest, farmers are preparing for a harvest they hope will pay the bills and bring them some profit. Expenses are adding up more and more for farmers in times of drought. With increased water costs for decreased water supply it is getting harder and harder to predict the future of farming in California.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Father's Day with four generations

Father's Day is a day to honor our special men in our lives. Whether that be your husband, dad, grandpa, great grandpa, uncle, or special figure. This Father's Day was extra special in our home this year. My son was able to celebrate with his dad, grandpa and great grandpa. Having four generations with the last name is definitely a special treat for all of our family.
4 generations celebrating together
Our day was filled with little man giggles and chatterbox talking. Let me tell you that giggle is contagious! Once he starts everyone laughs at how sweet and precious he is, then he gets going louder and then we just can't stop!  But what really gets me, is that big ole smile when he looks at his great grandpa and they lock eyes! It truly is a special gift that we all get to witness.
We are lucky that my husband and I live about 4 houses down from his grandpa so our little man gets to spend time with his 'big buddy' very conveniently. My husband always called his grandpa 'buddy' growing up. He grew up riding with his buddy out to the farm while his dad was working and after awhile his grandpa told him he liked being his 'farming buddy'. Well I guess my husband liked it and kept calling his grandpa 'buddy'. It stuck and now we refer to great grandpa as 'big buddy' to our little man.
It's very unique that four generations live so close these days. Most families are spread apart and living all over. Take my side of the family for example. My family farms 300 miles away. Our Father's Day consisted of a FaceTime chat with my dad in the morning followed by a FaceTime chat with my grandparents in the afternoon. Having all these generations around for our little man to see really is fun. Twenty years ago, I couldn't see my grandparents if they weren't in the same town. Oh modern technology, you make these so easy. Just how did we ever survive before? It sure was great to be able to celebrate our special men in our lives.

Happy Fathers Day to all those special men in our lives, near and far!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Walnut Zucchini Muffins

I have a secret I have to admit. When it comes to baking, my favorite nut is walnut. I have to support the walnut farmers too, my father is a walnut farmer after all. Besides the bags of almonds piled in my freezer, I do have a large stash of walnuts as well. So when it comes to baking, I pull out the walnuts and get my fix!
During summer we usually have an abundance of zucchini from the garden or they are readily available at the grocery store. My favorite thing to do with zucchini is bake muffins! My least favorite thing to do with zucchini is grate them though. Unfortunately, you will have to grate and drain the zucchini for this recipe. Besides that, they are pretty easy and super moist. They get to be so moist by using the Greek yogurt and all the eggs. And that's why I love them! I hope you do too!

Almond Girl Note Added 7/16/16: So today I made these again and used convection bake and they cooked so much faster...25-30 minutes and they are soo delicious still! 

super easy batter
Ready to enjoy!
 Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Almond Pesto

It's officially summer. We hit 100 degrees this weekend and it was brutal! With the onset of summer though, comes garden veggies. I have to admit I love growing my own garden and eating the rewards of what we grow. Sadly, because of the drought we cut back our garden to the essentials. Just tomatoes, peppers, and basil this year. We also have an amazing rosemary plant that keeps coming back every year bigger and bigger. Oh, I love our Rosemary bush!
But today we are talking basil. I love basil and trying to add it to anything to add a little zip! But basil is best for making pesto of course. Pesto traditionally uses pine nuts, but those things are so expensive and when almonds are much more readily available why not use almonds! I use whole almonds as well, they are cheaper than sliced or diced and the food processor can handle the little extra work. This recipe for almond pesto is pretty easy and fast. I love being able to throw everything in the food processor and letting it do all the work. Who wants to chop everything anyways? Try it, you won't remember what pine nuts are for anymore.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl