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Showing posts from 2016

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…

Almond Joy bites

Christmas is fast approaching and is only days away. Nothing says Christmas like the smell of cookies baking in the oven. You can never get enough Christmas cookies. So far, I have made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, 3 batches of frosted sugar cookies, candy and almond rice krispies treats and then a giant batch of these delicious almond joy bites! 
Why so many cookies you ask? Well, growing up in a farming family the holidays weren't just a time for us to be with family, but also our extended work family. Whether it was sharing a turkey or ham with employees, a holiday work lunch, or handmade Christmas goodies the holidays were always a time for us to share our appreciation for our employees, too. They spend long hours tending to our farm and truly become part of our families.

I have carried on this tradition for the holiday season and make Christmas cookies for our hard working crews. I like to include almonds when I am baking for our employees so they can literally …

Christmas Giveaway #3

By this time you should all be in the Christmas spirit! Have you finished decorating yet? We just put our lights up on the house last night and finished the tree this morning so I think I am as ready as I am going to be. I even have most of the presents wrapped and under the tree.

I have more Christmas Giveaways to spread my Christmas cheer to you all! So the last two giveaways where over Facebook and Instagram...this time I am switching it up a little!

But first, what's in Giveaway #3
20- 1 oz. Mariani California Almond snack packs, Roasted and Sea Salt
"Stirring up Inspiration" Almond Cookbook
Grey California Almond T-shirt, size large
2 almond snack tins- each tin holding the perfect 1 oz. portion size

Each giveaway has had different rules and different qualifications to win! This time I want you to enter right here on the blog...

To enter:
Comment on this blog postDon't worry if it doesn't appear right away, I will moderate to make sure there is no inappropriate…

Christmas Giveaway #2

You all were so fast and quick to enter the first giveaway! I am glad so many of you were eager to play along. So this week, I am switching it up and having an Instagram Giveaway...
This is my chance to say "Thanks" and give back a little something to you and your families during this holiday season. The first giveaway was on Facebook and I thought it would be fun to highlight other aspects of social media. So this time you need to follow along on Instagram to be eligible.

So what's in Giveaway #2:
40- 1 oz. Mariani California Almond snack packs, Roasted and Sea Salt
1 pair work gloves
Grey California Almond Tshirt- size small
2 almond snack tins- each tin holding the perfect 1 oz portion size

Giveaway #2 Qualifications; Follow Almond Girl Jenny on Instagram Like this post on Instagram Comment with your favorite nutty treat! I will pick a random winner on Sunday, December 11th and announce on INSTAGRAM.

Good Luck and Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny


Christmas Giveaway #1

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Thanksgiving has come and gone and advent has begun in our household. While it seems like it's already been the Christmas season if you have gone to any store in the past month, it is NOW officially the Christmas season.

Last year, I did a Christmas giveaway to my followers and readers and I am back at it again! I value each and every one of you and appreciate you all who read my blog and follow me on social media. Without you, I wouldn't be able to do what I love to do. To show my appreciation I will be having a series of giveaways for the next few weeks until Christmas.

This is my chance to say "Thanks" and give back a little something to you and your families during this holiday season.

So what's in Giveaway #1:
20- 1 oz. Mariani California Almond snack packs, Roasted and Sea Salt
1 pair work gloves
Grey California Almond Tshirt- size small
2 almond snack tins- each tin holding the perfect 1 oz portion size

Each giveaway wi…


Thanksgiving was a few days ago now and our stomachs are probably still trying to recover from the turkey and pumpkin pie overload. But I wanted to stop and reflect. On thanksgiving it is amazing the overflowing amount of thankfulness. It seems everyone took to Facebook and all social media to list what they are thankful for. But what happened next?

Well some when shopping for Black Friday deals, some started Christmas decorating Saturday, some fought traffic on Sunday and then we all went back to work on Monday. Back to the same old grind, back to the same routine, back to our same old self.

What happened to all those thankful people? We are quick to forget what meant so much to us a few days ago. As we prepare our list of Holiday "wants", as we push people through department stores for that special something, as we load up on holiday gifts, lets stop to think.

So, today I wanted to remind you all today and everyday, to stop and be thankful. Being thankful doesn't st…

Why am I an agvocate?

Today marks a milestone in my life. It seems crazy to me, but I have been blogging for three years now. Most days I feel like I am a newbie and am still getting my feet wet in this whole thing. Some days, I feel like I have been doing this forever and struggle with what and how to say things. Blogging has taught me one thing though, I am an advocate for agriculture. An agvocate if you will.

Writing this blog is merely one aspect of being an agvocate. I blog, I am active on social media with agriculture discussions, I do agriculture interviews for magazines and newspapers, I serve on a number of boards and committees that represent agriculture. But why? Why am I an agvocate?

Lately, I have noticed more and more that not everyone understands why people agvocate. I don't simply do this because I woke up one morning and it sounded fun. Some days, it isn't fun at all. The days people question my agenda, my desire, my passion, those days make me mad. But something I have come to re…

Inside Look: Weiss McNair, Nut harvesting equipment

I have found myself to be quite the tour junkie lately. Any chance I can get to see the inside look of how things are made or just learn different processes, I am so there! I had the opportunity to have an inside look into one of the leading nut harvesting equipment manufacturing facility's and I couldn't help but want to share it with all of you. This is not an endorsement or paid post, this is my honest opinion of a farmer tour I received.

Weiss McNair is a leader in nut harvesting equipment manufacturing. The company began in 1966 and they have grown to have quite the extensive portfolio of tractor-pulled and self-propelled harvesters, self-propelled sweepers, tractor mounted blowers, and tractor mounted sweepers. Their equipment is designed to be used in a variety of nut crops including almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, chestnuts and jojoba beans. Because everyone is looking for jojoba bean harvesting equipment, lol!
They are based out of C…

Almond Snickers Rice Krispies

Let me just tell you right now, these are so good and quite addicting! But so so so worth every bite. It's the beginning of holiday sweet tooth season, so you will want to add these to your recipe list.

Like most people out there on social media, my Facebook feed is often times overrun with recipe videos of the most delicious looking, oh so bad for you yumminess. Well a few weeks ago I saw Snickers Rice Krispies come across and they looked pretty good, then about a week later I saw them again and saved the recipe. Well Facebook is evil and when you save a video, it likes to remind you again and again of your saved video. After Facebook made me look at this video over and over again, I knew they had me hooked and I had to try it. I should just call this post, Facebook made me do it!

I will blame Facebook, but I did also think instantly of my almond farmer husband when I saw this recipe. He LOVES snickers. Like I find a few snickers wrappers a week in his truck. I bought Halloween…

Farm Tour: Mariani Nut Company

I can't lie, I was super excited when I found out I had the opportunity to tour Mariani Nut Company as part of the Farm Tank Summit. Yes, the summit was a good opportunity, and I got to tour a cool organic farm Full Belly Farm, but Mariani Nut is pretty impressive.
Mariani Nut is a family farm in Winters, Ca. They grow almonds and walnuts as well as process their own nuts and a handful of other grower's nuts. They have been in the business since the early 70's, when almonds were being introduced in a larger scope to farmers throughout California. They are a family business that is integrated and innovative in what they do. They have deep roots in farming and keeping the business family operated is important to them. What a better tour guide than a family member too, Matt Mariani the son of the starters, showed us around.

The afternoon started with a picnic lunch in an almond orchard. How else would you enjoy lunch while meeting a farmer? I loved this, and I loved that he…

Farm Tour: Full Belly Farm

So now that I have shared with you all my main takeaways from Farm Tank Summit day one let's explore day two. Day two of the Farm Tank Summit was tours. There were five different options to pick from; conservation, youth engagement, urban farms, hubs, and farmer for a day. I have always been one to jump at the opportunity to explore how others farm, so I picked farmer for a day. It intrigues me to see what other people farm and why, what works for them and what doesn't.

First stop for our farm tours was Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley west of Sacramento. One of the owners, Judith Redmond was our tour guide for the day. Full Belly is a certified organic farm, growing nearly 80 different crops. Their farm is roughly 350 acres and employs 60 year round employees including 6 yearly interns. They take pride in the fact that they have multiple generations of family members in their work force and happy to have their farm laborers pass on the tradition of working with them. They…

Farm Tank Summit

As a young millennial, as I am often called, I like to put myself in situations where I am surrounded by non like-minded people. My generation is seeking a sense of community and tie to the roots, locally and globally. We want to know we have a greater purpose and understand the world around us.

It was because of this sense of community that I attended the recent Food Tank's Farm Tank Summit. Food Tank describes their vision as building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. As a farmer I consider myself a supplier of safe, healthy and nourishing food. I wanted to take a closer look and see what it was all about. Farm Tank was a partnership with Food Tank and Visit Sacramento, the Farm to Table Capital, so I envisioned farmers and foodies alike coming together.
Farm Tank was structured whereas the first day was filled with panels and keynote speakers while the second day was agriculture centered tours, which I will cover on a later post.

Day One: The morning s…

No two farms are created equal

Every farm is unique and different. Every farm has a purpose. Every farm is needed. We are all necessary. No one farm can produce enough. No one farm is better than another. No two farms are created equal.

Organic, conventional, sustainable, small, large, factory, family owned, cooperative, every farm is necessary. There is an ever increasing demand for local, organic, family farmed food. And that is great for dwellers who happen to live within miles of where produce is grown. I am lucky to live in California, where I have access to fresh and local food all times of the year. But to someone living in the rural Montana mountains, what are they suppose to eat in January? Beef and mushy potatoes?

We need larger scale farms to be able to produce food to feed areas in the country and world that don't have access to fresh, local food all year round. If I lived in Montana I would certainly get tired of eating steak and potatoes after 4 months and crave a big garden salad, or a crispy ap…

How long is an almond orchard productive?

A question I get asked a lot, especially during harvest is "How long do trees live?" This questions is usually asked because people want to know how long an almond orchard is productive before we have to remove it. This harvest I have watched two different cycles of life on our farm. Our oldest orchard is seeing it's last harvest this year, at 28 years old. The production and profitability of an orchard definitely declines with age.  It's reached a point that it just isn't producing enough crop to justify keeping it around for another year. At the same time, we have another orchard that is being harvested for the first time at just under 3 years old. I guess it is true, with every chapter that closes another one begins.

Our 28 year old orchard is the last orchard on our farm that is flood irrigated. About 7 years ago, my family started transitioning our farm over to drip irrigation to help conserve water and better manage our decreasing water deliveries. At the …

Almond Coleslaw

It is hot and let's be honest, no one wants to cook or turn on the oven when it is hot outside. It is the season for grilling and staying cool, outside of the kitchen. With Labor Day weekend coming up, I am sure everyone has some bbq or swim party to attend.  While everyone loves a good hamburger or steak, those backyard bbq's need a good side dish.

Potlucks are the best, where everyone brings a side dish, know one has to worry about preparing a whole meal. But you never want to prepare the side dish at someone else's house. A make ahead dish where you just show up and plop your side in the fridge is the easiest way to do it.

I love this almond coleslaw because it is fast and easy. Few ingredients and ones that you can even buy all prepared and ready to throw in the bowl! One bowl means less dishes, which means more time for enjoying your company and relaxing.

Everyone has their own additions and modifications to everything, just like me.  But I do have to admit that almo…

Why AB1066 is bad for California agriculture.

The agriculture industry feeds you, clothes you and helps stimulate the economy. But our elected officials are in the midst of threatening the agriculture livelihood of California. Agriculture is a $2.4 trillion industry providing over 1.3 billion jobs. But that could soon be changing, and not for the good. California politicians already approved a minimum wage increase that will raise our wages $1/ hr every year until it is $15/hour by 2022.  This wage increase coupled with the proposed Assembly Bill 1066 will kill the California agriculture industry.

AB1066 is proposing to change our agriculture overtime laws. Although some would like to tell you we don't have such in place, we do. Agriculture employees currently get time and half after 10 hours of work. AB1066 wants to change that to 8 hours. So by 2022, after 8 hours of work we will be paying our farm laborers $22.50/ hour. That is an additional $15/ day per employee if we continue to work a 10 hour day. This number doesn't…

Plum Cobbler Bars

My father has one of the greatest fruit orchards. Hands down. When he planted his walnut orchard years ago, we left a row the length of their 2 acre homestead to plant assorted fruit trees. He has all kinds of fruit trees on this strip of trees; nectarines, peaches, apples, pears, figs, and of course plums. With about 4 of each fruit tree you can imagine the loads of fresh fruit he gets in the summer. Of course the family dog is sure to harvest from the low hanging branches. It seems like every time I am home for the summer I get boxes of fruit fruit. The last time I was home, I was handed a box of plums as I was leaving.

When looking for recipes to incorporate fresh plums into, there really aren't that many. I did find a few but if you follow my recipe posts, you  know simplicity is how I bake or cook. I needed something easy and with less ingredients the better.

I came across a breakfast bar recipe and of course had to put my spin on it! I brought these out to the farm one day a…

How is an almond harvested?

Harvest is in full force on the farm. We started shaking about two weeks ago and now we are sweeping and picking up almonds. After we shake almonds, we leave them on the orchard floor for 7-10 days to dry. Almonds have a pretty high moisture level on the tree and it takes a while for mother nature to dry them out. When they are dry enough we start sweeping.

A sweeper is a self propelled machine that is low to the ground, has brushes out in front and a blower to the side. The sweeper blows the nuts from the tree line to the orchard row and the brushes then sweep the almonds into what is called a windrow. The windrows make it possible for the harvester to come through and pick up the nuts.

The harvester gets pulled by a tractor through the orchard and carries a reservoir cart. The harvester picks up the almonds from the windrow and does an initial cleaning of dirt, leaves, rocks and other debris.  The harvester then dumps the almonds into the reservoir cart. This is one steady motion th…