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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…

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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