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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…

Farmers are gamblers

Farmers are gamblers. We all gamble every day and hope that we are profitable at the end of the year. We gamble with mother nature, politics, environmental changes, natural disasters, life events and the list could go on. There are a number of factors that go into making our farm successful that we have no control over. Water is the biggest gamble lately. But farmers still wake up every morning and tend to their fields with the same aspirations of making a living with a successful crop.

Almond farmers are no different. Our crop is very unique and depending on where you farm throughout the state, your challenges vary. Some farmers are doing better this year and have less water issues. Some farmers are hurting from water and have more challenges in their areas.

On our farm this year, our crop looks light. On our farm and in our area, the crop looks down roughly 15-20%.  Most varieties seemed to have fewer nuts than average this year. The amount of meat when compared to the hull and shell is also smaller, meaning the kernel itself is lighter. Both of these lead to smaller yield.

This year and the past couple years, our winters have been quite mild. Almonds require a certain amount of chill hours or cold temperatures to produce a nut. Without the required chill hours, the flowers are less frequent. With less flowers, there will be less nuts.  With too many nights above the threshold degrees and with too many warm days during winter months, the trees didn't know if it was winter or spring. Confused trees are stressed trees.

Considering our water situation and the increased costs of getting water, we all hope for more income coming in. But if the trees have been stressed and aren't getting as much water, I guess it is no surprise they didn't produce as well. It is just a roll of the dice.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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