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Showing posts from July, 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…

Tour of Maisie Jane's

I was blessed to have been raised in a farming family where I worked in the fields as a child alongside my parents, sister and cousins. My father farmed with his two brothers while I was growing up and our family remained close because our farm was not just a business but a family affair. Today, nearly all my cousins remain active in farming. Some have branched off to their own farming ventures, but one has made a unique niche in flavored nut products.

My cousin owns and operates Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine products where she grows, packs and ships a variety of flavored nuts, butters, desserts and more. The simple soy tamari almond is my favorite, but the mint chocolate covered is a close second, then there is my Auntie’s almond butter pie, and we can’t forget the cowboy bbq. I am just making myself hungry now…so let’s get back to her story. 
I went to visit Maisie when I was home for a weekend and it was refreshing to see her young daughter at work with her learning the busines…

Ask the Expert: Seeking your input

Have questions you want answered by industry experts? Interested in specific areas of production agriculture and never know who to ask?

Well I just might have your solution...This summer I will be running an ASK THE EXPERT series. I am opening the discussion up to you guys and seeking your input on questions pertaining to production agriculture in the almond or tree fruit industries. Submit questions below in the comments section of this post and I will invite industry experts in to answer your questions.

What areas of production agriculture interest you?

Beekeeping, management of hives and protection of bees
Nursery Production, growing baby seedlings into trees and developing rootstocks
Safety, implementation of California laws and regulations
Pest Control, preserving our crop and ensuring a safe food supply
Water Management, how tree farmers are doing more with less
Marketing our crop, managing of our end product in the market place




Submit questions below to ASK THE EXPERT and hear…

Preparing for harvest

With almond harvest less than a month away there is a lot still left to do. It seems like harvest kind of jumped up on us. I can't believe that it is July. For the past few years we have started harvest at the end of July, but before that we almost never started that early. Rule of the thumb was the first week of August. With less water, stressed trees and higher insect pressure it seems like maybe the end of July might be the new normal.


But before we can start harvest we have to ensure our equipment and fields are ready to go. First, we do a check up on all the equipment and make sure we have no leaks, broken parts or anything that just doesn't look right. We have a mechanic come out and run diagnostics and visual inspections on the sweepers and shakers. We replace oil, rubber parts and plastic wear parts to ensure we are in good working order. Our little almond farmer also likes to help with the test drives to make sure they are ready to go.

We recently added…

Lessons Learned on the Farm

“Good morning, good morning, good morning, it’s time to rise in shine. Good morning, good morning, good morning, I hope you’re feeling fine” This was the normal wakeup call I received growing up, when I hit snooze too many times and my Dad would have to come in my room and remind me to go feed my animals before school.

Growing up I never once thought twice about how I was raised. My parents lived on the farm in rural Northern California about 10 minutes from town. It was close enough that trips to the grocery store or shopping were not an ordeal. Yet, far enough that we could play outside or in the orchard and we didn’t bother anyone. Working in the orchards during summer or holiday breaks was the norm.Sure, I was able to the movies with friends or hang out at the river. But not before I completed my chores and fed my animals.  Nowadays, when I return home and hear my Dad’s wake-up call it reminds me of the many memories made and the lessons learned growing up on the farm.

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