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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…

Drought slowing us down...again

We are in full swing of almond harvest on the farm. Shaking, sweeping, picking up and hauling the crop away to the huller. There is a lot going on out on the farm lately. But one thing is slowing all of us almond farmers down. It's this dang drought again, it seems to keep popping up in new ways. Our orchard rows have too much debris, the wood chips and dirt are slowing things down for the pick up machines and even at the huller.

So if you remember, when we have dead branches or prunings from our trees, we chip them up and add them back into the soil. This process helps keep those nutrients in the orchard and usually helps with rebuilding the soil. Well, because we have had very little rain in this drought, these wood chips haven't had enough time to breakdown into the soil. Our irrigation is even less than usual since we don't have any federal or state water on our farm, so we aren't able to irrigate as much as we'd like. All these factors lead to these wood chips and debris still in large forms on the orchard floors.

When our sweepers sweep the almonds into rows for the pick up machine, the debris is being gathered up with the almonds. This is causing the pick up equipment to move slower through the fields. We aren't able to separate the almonds from the chips in the field so we are hauling everything off the huller as is. When these loads arrive at the huller, it is an even slower process there trying to separate everything out. The huller is getting backed up, and accumulating their own garbage piles of these chips. 

We aren't the only growers experiencing this mess. With lack of rain and insufficient irrigation water, many growers are in the same situation. Harvesters and hullers alike are being slowed down, costing us all more money, trying to turn out a crop. That's the thing with droughts, they seem to always have side effects that you don't think of or realize until it's too late. This time of year is the most important for us, we wait all year for this. It's simple really, farmers need water. If we don't get it, we will continually have these set backs and side effects hurting us from being as efficient and effective as possible.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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