We are pushing out trees and prepping blocks for new planting in some of our orchards. Once the trees are removed and the compacted ground is broken up and prepped, we will be ready to plant new trees in about three to four months. The varieties we’ve chosen for new planting are the result of a good amount of research and planning, and we are confident that they will make a great addition to our stone fruit lineup.
Late season table grape harvest is thriving with the current weather conditions on our farms. The cool overnight low temperatures are ideal for berry color and maturation, as well as pleasant harvest weather for our employees, helping move us toward the end of the harvest season. The quality, timing, and flavor of grapes coming out of our vineyards are all holding strong.
Students from Reedley College recently visited our farms as part of a two semester course titled Fundamentals of Fresh Fruit. This class was privately funded by HMC Farms and other local stone fruit growers, and we’ve taken the lead on the course design. This semester, the focus is exposing students to all areas of our industry. Drew and other members of our farm management team gave students an introductory crash course on trees and vines. We covered everything from prepping fields to selecting varieties, and the concept behind our high density orchards. The goal of this course is to educate local students on everything ag has to offer in order to help attract and cultivate future generations of ag professionals in the Central Valley.
Last week, a group of HMC Farms employees volunteered at the Central California Food Bank. It was our first in-person group service event since the pandemic paused our extracurricular activities. We got to work on the food bank’s pack line, testing our quality control and packing skills on a new commodity; our team packed over 2,600 lbs of peppers! We greatly appreciate the work that food banks do to ensure people don’t go hungry, and are always thankful for any opportunity we have to support their efforts beyond our regular fruit and monetary donations.
The crispness of fall is finally in the air on our farms, and that means we’re cooking up all of our fall favorites in our farm kitchen! One of our favorite holidays around here just so happens to be Halloween, and we’ve got some ideas for healthier Halloween treats featuring grapes from HMC Farms! These treats are kid and adult approved, so gather the whole family and swap out sugary sweets for nature’s candy!
Looking for the perfect snack for your favorite Halloween movie? Whip up a bowl of these monster eyes! This almost-too-cute-to-eat snack is simply HMC Farms green seedless grapes topped with candy eyes (trust us, the plastic googly eyes don’t taste good, so please don’t eat them). To stick the candy eyes to the grapes, use a small dab of your favorite nut butter or icing. Get the monster eye look by just adding candy eyes to the top layer of grapes, it’s tough to keep them stuck to the grapes on the bottom layer.
Having a full on Halloween movie marathon or party? Try this Halloween snack board! We used the bowl of monster eyes for the center, and surrounded them with HMC Farms red seedless grapes, ghost & bat veggie chips, string cheese ghosts, cheddar jack-o-lanterns, pretzels, almonds, and candy bones. We achieved the string cheese ghost and cheddar jack-o-lantern looks by using a permanent marker on the plastic wrappers. If you want to draw directly on the cheese, be sure to use a food-safe marker! You can easily add some spooky salami to this board, or swap the cheddar rounds for mandarins, but the monster eyes are a must!
If you look at our Halloween snack board and imagine your children fighting over the same string cheese ghost, or if the thought of other people’s hands touching your food haunts your dreams, try a charcuterie assortment! This is a perfect way to offer snacks to a skeleton crew, or a whole mob of zombies in your backyard. It’s also a great way to have the kids help put snacks together – let them wash and dry their favorite color of HMC Farms grapes and fill up their jar while older kids or adults create the salami & cheese skewers and strong cheese ghosts.
The jarcuterie is perfectly portable for a treat yo-self moment in your bathtub with a glass of wine, or for watching your favorite celebrities learn to dance on television.
If you’re using HMC Farms grapes in your Halloween snacks, be sure to tag us on Facebook and Instagram!