We are just coming off of a jump from temperatures in the 90s to a ten day stretch of temperatures reaching highs over 100 degrees, at least half of which were 105° or beyond. The heat wave peaked on Sunday, as temperatures hit up to 110° in some places on our farms. Extended periods of high heat can have a significant impact on our crops, especially when overnight lows don’t dip down enough to give our trees and vines some relief. We typically like the overnight lows to be in the mid 60s or below during the summer to allow for color and sugar development. A heat wave like this slows our production, increases stress on trees and vines, and reduces our harvest to half days because it’s too hot for crews to harvest.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, nectarines, and Flame red seedless table grapes. Ivory green seedless table grapes are on track to begin harvest soon. The forecast shows highs dipping slightly to the high 90s for a few days before popping back up into the 100s over the weekend for another five days.
Summer has arrived, and it looks like it’s going to be a hot one! There’s nothing better than sitting by the pool with a cold drink in hand on a hot summer day. Like any good farmers, we like to incorporate our HMC Farms fruit into all kinds of food and beverages. Here’s one of our summer favorites: sparkling white peach sangria.
This is an adult beverage, but a modified version could be made with sparkling water instead of the alcoholic beverages in our recipe.
What you’ll need:
3 or more HMC Farms white peaches (more fruit = more flavor!)
2 small clamshells of raspberries (or about 2 cups)
1 bottle of white wine (we used pinot grigio, but sauvignon blanc would also work)
1 bottle of Prosecco or Champagne
1 cup of peach schnapps
It’s best to start the process the day before serving, but if that ship has sailed, you can start a few hours before you plan to serve the sangria.
Begin by chopping the HMC Farms white peaches into small to medium sized chunks. Put the chopped peaches and raspberries into a pitcher, and add the white wine and peach schnapps – let this mixture sit overnight (or at least for a few hours). Add the Prosecco just before serving, and enjoy!
HMC Farms employees and their families volunteered at the Central California Food Bank’s new distribution center in Fresno last week. The Central California Food Bank covers five different counties, and serves more than 280,000 people each month. While HMC Farms donates regularly to local food banks, it was nice for employees to get a more in-depth understanding of the functions of the food bank at this event. The volunteers joined forces to create 600 food boxes for distribution to hungry families, and even had the opportunity to see the McClarty Family Training Room, named for a donation made by the McClarty Family Foundation.
Harvest continues for HMC Farms peaches, plums, nectarines, and red table grapes. Ivory green seedless table grapes will begin harvest within the next week. The forecast shows a lot of hot and sunny days in the week ahead, with a sweltering ten day stretch of highs over 100°.
Flame red seedless grapes are now in harvest at HMC Farms. Flames are the first of our California table grape varieties to harvest. As you can see in the photo, our trellis system and ongoing maintenance—including pruning and tying vines—have come together to create clean and organized vineyard rows. The trellis raises the height of the grape bunches, further contributing to ease of harvest and also providing shaded protection from the sun.
Harvest continues for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Our red table grapes began harvest this week, as mentioned above, and our Ivory green seedless table grapes will begin harvest in about 10-14 days. The forecast shows a slight drop in heat, with peak temperatures ranging from the mid 90s to low 100s and overnight lows in the 60s.
Chances are, you’ve seen a perfectly styled cheese or charcuterie board on social media. While cheese, meat, and crackers can make any crowd pretty happy; we feel that no charcuterie is complete without our HMC Farms fruit. The sweet flavors of our tree fruit and table grapes perfectly compliment the savory meat and cheese that are classic cheese board staples.
What you’ll need to copy our board:
4-6 pieces of HMC Farms fruit
We used 2 plumcots, 2 nectarines, and a large peach
HMC Farms grapes
We used Bunchkins, which are perfect for this, but our other grapes work well also.
3 kinds of cheese
We used 3 types of Vintage Cheese from nearby Bravo Farms: Dutch-Style Gouda, Chipotle Cheddar, and Classico (this one is a hard goat cheese) – we suggest using one cheese that crumbles well
2 types of meat – salami, prosciutto, etc.
We used sliced peppered salami and dry salami nuggets
Crackers, crisps, or a sliced baguette
We used cranberry pumpkin seed crisps and mini Croccatini crackers
1-2 kinds of nuts
We used raw almonds and cashews
We used chipotle honey from a local stand
We used oregano from our home garden, but rosemary is a beautiful accent.
The perfect board is a combination of beauty and taste. We started by placing our cheeses in three different spots around the board. We sliced the softer cheeses, and crumbled the hard cheese, while leaving it inside the rind for aesthetic purposes. Next, we sliced our HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, and plumcots, and placed them in three different spots on the board. We’ve found that the board looks best when the anchor items, in this case cheeses and fruit, are on different thirds of the board. Our jar of honey went right in the middle of the board.
Tip: A lot of our HMC peaches and nectarines are clingstone varieties. We’ve found that the easiest way to create pretty slices of fruit is to place the fruit on a cutting board with the stem side down and slice straight down on each side around the pit. These larger pieces can be sliced more easily that trying to separate each slice from the pit individually.
After placing the stone fruit, we added our Bunchkins Champagne grapes. These petite bunches of fun practically scream charcuterie board, and we are still in their narrow window of availability. Once the Bunchkins have completed harvest and are no longer available, try replacing them with our delicious HMC Farms California table grapes.
The open spaces remaining on the board were then filled in with the salami and crackers, followed by the nuts and garnish.
Tip: An easy way to make sliced salami look fancy is to fold it into quarters (in half once, and then in half again so that it is shaped like a slice of pizza) and then wedge it together with the rounded side up.
Honestly, we had to hold back the whole office to take photos of the board. It was promptly devoured as soon as we finished the photos. You can expect a similar reaction when serving a fruit and cheese board at your next BBQ, game night, or book club. People love these delightful mini buffets, and HMC Farms fruit will elevate your board to the next level.
We hope you enjoy our fruit and cheese board guide. Tag us in your fruit and cheese board photos on Facebook (@HMCfarmsKingsburg) and Instagram (@HMCfarms)!
P.S. We learned how to make cheese boards from @ainttooproudtomeg on her Instagram feed. Check it out for ideas on different types of board styles and ways to elevate your cheese board game.
HMC Farms recently hosted a group of college students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Fresno State University who are participating in the Western Growers Careers in Ag program. The students mostly represent STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and visited HMC Farms to learn about different types of careers available to them at a vertically integrated farming business. In addition to an open discussion about potential careers and the future of agriculture, the students were able to visit our orchards and vineyards to get an up-close view of our farming activities.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Our early table grape varieties are on the cusp of harvest. The forecast shows hot and sunny days ahead, with highs in the 100s beginning Friday, and lasting until at least the middle of next week – the longest stretch of days 100° or higher we’ve had this year.
Western Growers (a non-profit organization that represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico) is collaborating with Fresno State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to create the Careers In Ag program. This program introduces students, who are mostly made up of STEM-related majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), to the wide variety of potential careers in agriculture. On a tour of businesses in the Central Valley, the Careers in Ag group visited HMC Farms to cover the topics of farm management, sustainability, plant science, and innovation. Several members of the McClarty family met with the students, discussing their different areas of responsibility and how farming, ag technology, accounting, and sales all fit together to make HMC Farms a successful ag business with a very diverse set of career opportunities within one organization. In addition to open dialogue about different departments and career options at HMC Farms, Harold McClarty discussed the issues faced by California farmers, and the future of ag in the Central Valley with the students.
After the discussion held at the HMC Farms main office, the students headed out to the farms. Drew Ketelsen, Farm Manager and head of our technology projects, introduced the Careers in Ag students to different innovative techniques and technologies we have put in place to become more efficient. He discussed his background in civil engineering, and how that skillset has translated into farm management to transform our planting and irrigation methods. Students observed the difference between an orchard planted in the traditional method and one set up using a high density close-planting method. This new method of planting will ultimately make multiple farming activities, such as pruning and harvesting, more efficient using new ag technologies.
We are thankful to Western Growers for giving HMC Farms the opportunity to show STEM students how they can fit into the world of agriculture, and to hear their questions and concerns about careers in ag. We may have just met the future leaders of industry!
Our table grapes have moved into the veraison stage. During veraison, the berries on the grape clusters begin to soften and change color, as pictured above. This color change marks the onset of ripening. From this point, the grapes pictured above will ripen fairly quickly.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Table grape harvest is still tracking slightly behind last year’s harvest dates, but will begin soon. Weather over the past 10-14 days has been very cooperative with the start of our table grape veraison. Hot and sunny days are in the forecast, just touching 100° over the weekend before dropping back down, but overnight lows should remain mostly in the low 60s.