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Aunt Elaine's Chinese Chicken Salad

It's spring and that means the weather is finally nice enough to enjoy being outside. We have even been eating dinner outside on the patio. I love spring and getting to enjoy outside. When summer comes, let's face it, it is WAY too hot to really enjoy being outside. Those 100 plus degree California days aren't ideal for backyard barbeques.


Spring always brings back memories for me. Spring is a happy time. It is a time for potlucks, family dinners and backyard barbeques. One thing I enjoy during spring is my husband barbequing in the backyard and all I have to do is fix the sides. I really enjoy side dishes I can make ahead. This way I can be outside playing and relaxing with the family while the barbeque is going. No one likes having to be stuck in the kitchen inside while everyone else is outside.


Well, I have a perfect side dish for your spring time dinners. My husband's Aunt Elaine makes the best Chinese Chicken Salad. When I first moved to the Central Valley, Ela…

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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