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Showing posts from March, 2016

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…

The time I met Miss America

A few month ago now, I attended the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference. Among the attendees were your usual Mid Western corn and soybean farmers, Texan cattle ranchers, cotton growers from the South and Miss America. Yes, you read that right, Miss America came to the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) conference. Miss America and YF&R don't usually go together. You don't generally think Miss America would have anything to do with farmers. But this year, Miss America, Betty Cantrell is a girl quite familiar with agriculture. She grew up raising livestock through her local 4-H and grew up immersed in Georgia agriculture.

As a country girl she sees the importance of agriculture education and awareness. And that's why she has decided to partner with American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture in the First Peas to the Table  contest. The contest challenges Kindergarten to 5th grade classes to grow peas and learn about school gardens, history o…

What does a March RAIN mean to an almond farmer?

For the past few weeks the state of California has been receiving some much needed rain.  The quantity of rain is quite variable throughout the state. As usual the North State is receiving much more than the southern valley. While some parts of the state are receiving 3-5 inches over a few days, the other end of the valley is still only receiving 1/10 to a 1/4 of an inch at a time. We need the rain and especially the snow in the mountains so we can't be picky and we take what we can get.

This rings true for timing as well. Almond growers are very happy we didn't get any down pours of rain during the February bloom time frame. That could cause serious problems for the almond crops and potentially wipe out an entire crop. We had a few weeks in the beginning of the month that were quite wet and just a little clouds and sprinkles expected for the balance of the month.  But just what does a March RAIN mean for an almond farmer?



Well, the blooms are for the most part gone an…

The Future of Biomass

Tree and orchard removal seem to have been on the rise over the last couple years. With the lack of water, farmers are having to remove orchards that they can't irrigate. Farmers are down sizing their planted acreage and prioritizing what water they do have. Many farmers are removing older, less productive orchards sooner than they would normally. In it's place, sometimes the land is being fallowed and times they plant a new orchard which requires less water. All of this means more and more trees are being torn out and orchards are being removed. But what do farmers do with these trees once they are removed from the ground?

Until recently, a common use was co-generation. Farmers would pay for their trees to be removed and hauled to co-generation plants. These facilities would burn removed trees and make energy to be transferred into the grid. In the 1980's biomass plants and the utility companies created 20-30 year contracts for these facilities to be built and to use agri…

The Beauty of Bloom

The beauty of bloom really can't be discussed in words. So here are a few of my favorite bloom pictures from the 2016 almond bloom. Enjoy!







Until Next Time,
Almond Girl