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Showing posts from June, 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…

White Chocolate Almond Coconut Cookies

You'd think that when the weather is hot and you are tired, nap time is in order. But after a long and hot week, I decided to unwind by baking a few batched of cookies. Nestle has an amazing recipe for these Island cookies as they call them. I altered a few things and came up with these yummy beauties! 

White chocolate is my obsession. I am not a huge milk or dark chocolate fan but when it comes to white chocolate, man I could eat buckets of those chips. If white chocolate isn't your thing you can always substitute milk or dark. And if coconut isn't your favorite you can just take it out. I am a sucker for any recipe with white chocolate or coconut, so adding almonds makes these unbelievably delicious!
As I am sure you all know by now, I like to skip steps or take shortcuts when it comes to any recipe. I like to mix the butter and sugars in the beginning instead of using separate bowls and mixing the flour and powders first. I am sure if you ask any professional baker, I …

Love what you do, do what you love

Wake up before sunrise. Get home after the sunsets. Work outside in the heat and the cold. Drive heavy machinery. Get covered in oil and grease fixing broken equipment. Fix broken pipe and fall in the mud. Be lucky to have a lunch break between all the chaos. Although it may seem like a hell of a day to many, to some this is just a normal day on the farm. Farming is certainty not for everyone, but for some it is everything. What makes it all bearable? Love. Dreams. Passion. YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO, DO WHAT YOU LOVE. 


When you grow up on a family farm you don't know any better. Having your father drop you off at school with a tardy note that reads "Had to help a ewe and pull a baby lamb out this morning" may be strange to city kids. But to a farm kid, it is probably just another Tuesday. My husband and I are lucky to have grown up in families with a deep passion and love for farming.

I was raised in the middle of an almond orchard, with orchards across the stree…

Harvest is coming, harvest is coming

Harvest is coming, harvest is coming. Some may call me chicken little, but harvest IS coming. Our almonds are starting to show early signs of hull split, which is the earliest sign of almond harvest. Nut size and nut set combined are what is referred to as yield.  In almonds these factors vary so much depending on where you are located in California. North, South, East, West, sandy soil, clay soil, state water, ground water, salty water, variety, rootstock the list goes on and on. These elements can change yield so much that almond estimates are truly that, an estimate.


In general terms in the southern end of the Central Valley most of our nuts appear smaller than last year when comparing size of the nut. Size of the nut can be determined by water the tree has available to take into its system and create a crop. Size can also be determined by how stressed a tree may be due to water or weather conditions. Size can also be related to set, a larger set produces smaller nuts because the t…

No, the California drought is NOT over

With more rain this winter than California has seen the past few years and many Northern California reservoirs filling up, many have forgotten that California is still in a drought. Average or even above average rainfall for one winter will certainly not carry us out of this drought. Our reservoir system is broken, farms have gone out of business, others are fallowing thousands of acres, and our groundwater is being depleted. No, the California drought is NOT over. We have a long road ahead of us.

Northern California has received some much needed rain this winter and snow in the mountains, helping to fill key reservoirs such as Oroville, Shasta and Folsom. As you move south through the state, the reservoirs are far from full, many at below average capacity still. However, California is some what used to this situation. Much of the rain and snow falls in the northern part of the state and the southern desert regions receive much less rain and snow. That is why the California aqu…