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Bloom and freezing temperatures

It's the most beautiful time of year to be an almond farmer. The buds are blooming and flowers are open everywhere. But as Mother Nature presents herself, no beauty comes without a challenge.



The first full week of February came and it brought with it almond blossoms. Bees were brought in about a week before that. We want the bees to arrive before bloom starts so they can get acclimated with their surroundings. This way when the buds finally open and flowers pop out, the bees know exactly where to go and what to do.

When the bees arrived it was sunny with high 60 degree weather. It was perfect conditions for them to get to work, but the flowers weren't quite ready to pop yet.


Now as full bloom approaches, we have returned to cold weather where the bees don't want to work much during the days. Bees prefer warmer temperatures, so when it's too cold they stay in the hives most of the time. We have had multiple nights of mid to high 20s. Freezing temperatures at night will…

Why the valley fog is good for farmers

Low clouds, poor visibility, dense ground level fog. This has pretty much described our mornings the last couple of weeks. The Central Valley and especially the southern end that we farm and live in, are quite prone to what is called the Tule Fog.


This Tule fog is created when there is plenty of moisture in the ground, the right temperature and stable atmosphere.  The fog generally appears more after a period of rain and cooler temperatures at night. Our night temperatures the last couple weeks have been in the low 40's, which is pretty cold for us. Mixing these with a few days of rain scattered in, we have had the perfect conditions for fog.


The typical residents of the Central Valley don't generally like the fog. It brings poor visibility of a mile or less, fog delays for surrounding schools, and people not knowing how to drive in the conditions. But farmers in our valley appreciate the fog.




Being home to the top almond producing county, almond farmers need the fog. The fog allows us the perfect conditions to prep the trees for the new crop. Fog presents the right amount of moisture for us to winter shake the old almond mummies off the trees. Almond mummies are the old almond crop that didn't shake off the tree during harvest in the fall. Almonds that stay on the tree after harvest become home for worms and insects. Theses worms and other insects staying on the tree allow for disease and insect populations to infest the new crop. So, we winter shake the trees to get these almond mummies and they respective worms off the trees. (P.S. Check out my saved Instagram story for more worm picture)


Our little almond farmer helping knock the almonds off


Fruit and nut trees also need winter chill hours to become dormant, and Tule fog helps contribute to that chill. Tule fog comes with cooler temperatures. Almonds, like other fruit and nut trees, go dormant in the winter to prepare for the new growth and buds in the spring. The chill hours help the trees to go through what we call bud differentiation. This is when the trees are determining whether a bud will be a flower or a leaf. Very soon, in the beginning of February, almonds trees will bloom and produce flowers. The almond trees need to have so many chill hours prior to bloom to ensure those buds are able to produce viable nuts.




So, next time you look out your kitchen window in the morning and see that low, dense fog, remember how good it is for farmers and how it is helping produce your favorite afternoon almond snack.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

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