For some time, the Central California Food Bank has been operating at maximum capacity. Through many generous donations, the CCFB was finally able to move into a new 140,000 square foot distribution facility in Fresno. Aside from our regular fruit donations to the food bank, Harold McClarty and family donated funds to the new facility, which led to the McClarty Family Training Room being named in their honor.
In 2016-2017, the Central California Food Bank, previously known as the Community Food Bank, helped 280,000 people per month through food distributions, meal recovery programs, and school sites. For more info on the CCFB and its mission to feed the hungry in the Central Valley, click here.
Harvest is beginning in our peach orchards this week! Yellow nectarines, white peaches, and white nectarines are scheduled to begin harvest next week. We anticipate being in full volume harvest by the week of May 20.
Around this time of year, each grape berry reveals a tiny flower called bloom. The clusters of grapes have an excess of berries, so we need to thin them during the bloom. Because thinning grapes by hand would be quite time consuming and costly, we complete grape thinning by spraying. This process allows room for each berry to grow to an appropriate size, resulting in better quality grapes. The timing of this spray is crucial to its success.
Precipitation has crept back into the weekly forecast. We will continue to monitor the weather closely as we approach potential thunderstorms.
Harvest is rapidly approaching for our peaches, followed by nectarines and then plums in the coming weeks. From this point forward, our tree fruit will continue to grow and deepen in color until harvest. Keep in contact with your HMC salesperson for harvest updates.
This week’s forecast calls for warm days and cool lows. We are nearing the end of weather concerns, and heading toward hot, sunny days. Our tree fruit thinning is more than half complete, and bunches continue to form on our grape vines.
Our peaches, plums, and nectarines continue to grow as summer approaches. As pictured, our peaches are beginning to gain a little bit of blush color. The anticipated sunshine and warm weather ahead will help our fruit continue to grow and deepen in color and flavor. Things are shaping up for harvest to begin a couple of days later than last year’s start date, which may shift slightly depending on the weather over the next couple of weeks. Keep in contact with your HMC salesperson for harvest updates.
Hot days are upon us, but a chance of precipitation lingers in the forecast. We are in the final weeks of historically-based weather concerns. Our tree fruit thinning is approximately halfway completed, and grape bunches are forming on our vines.
Reedley College has revealed the location of the future McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The land on the northeast corner of the campus which is the future home of the new building is not just an important piece of the school’s future, but also an important piece of local history: the place where the town of Reedley was founded. The McClarty Family Foundation made a sizable donation to support this effort, which is a cause near and dear to Harold’s heart. Ground-breaking is anticipated to begin in about a year, and the building itself is slated for completion in approximately two years.
Thinning continues in our tree fruit orchards, and our table grape vineyards remain in the shoot development stage of growth. We received a dusting of rain early this week, with warm and sunny days in the forecast.
When the baby fruit on our trees is just under the size of a ping pong ball, we proceed with thinning in our orchards. Thinning involves removing under sized or over crowded pieces of fruit from our trees, which has multiple benefits. By removing excess and under-sized pieces of fruit, the tree is able to provide nutrients to the fruit that remains and the sun will be able to better reach the fruit, both resulting in good sizing and flavor. Additionally, removing excess weight prevents branches from breaking, and having evenly sized fruit results in fewer harvest passes through the field, reducing labor costs.
As mentioned above, tree fruit orchards are undergoing thinning at this time. Our table grape vineyards are in the shoot development stage of growth. This week’s forecast shows warmer days with no likelihood of precipitation.
Last week, we grafted vines in one of our table grape vineyards. Grape vine grafting involves placing the shoot of one grape variety into the root stock of another variety. It is useful because it allows us to change out an under-performing variety without the time it takes to grow new root mass. With grafting, we only miss one season of grape production, compared with two to three seasons if we replant from scratch.
Our table grape vineyards are showing off more bright green leaves as the days progress. Tree fruit thinning has begun in our orchards. Precipitation has followed us into April, with a couple of rainy days showing up in this week’s forecast.
Early season varieties like Spring Flame 20 & 21 & Zee fire only yield around 600-750 boxes an acre. Varieties that are harvested in July, like July Flame, Summer Fire and Summer Flame 26, yield around 1,200 boxes an acre. Regardless of variety or timing of harvest, cultural costs are the same. The same[…]
On January 16, 2019, the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation (CVFF) hosted the first annual Central Valley Pruning Competition. Dozens of farm workers made up the participants of this event, which focused on grape vine pruning. Contestants were judged on the following factors: quality, safety, speed, and knowledge of vineyards. Two employees from HMC Farms made it to the final round of competition, and our very own Jose (pictured far left) won 3rd place in the men’s division!
We are proud of Jose, as well as all of the other participants who stepped up to show off their skills in this competition. Our talented employees work very hard, and this was the perfect platform to showcase the knowledge and expertise that they possess.
Read the full press release from CVFF:
CVFF – 2019 Pruning Competition press release
The Central Valley Farmworker Foundation aims to serve and support farmworkers by providing programs and services to better their quality of life. For more information, visit the CVFF website, Facebook, or Instagram.
HMC Farms made an investment and commitment to plums in 2001 for the same reason that we developed a tree ripe peach and nectarine program over 25 years ago. We believed that the industry was not dedicated to producing a good tasting piece of fruit. As a result the industry’s plum sales fell from 14.6 million boxes in 2002 to an estimated 9 million boxes in 2011. Shippers did not have the patience, finances, or commitment to rehabilitate a commodity which sees seven years elapse between the time a tree is planted and the time a full crop is realized.
HMC Farms has assembled a specialized team with farmers that only grow plums and a packing house that only packs plums. We did this in order to meet the challenges of growing, harvesting, and packing great tasting plums. Because of our consistent supply of plums from the beginning to the end of the season and our focus on taste, we only harvest plums that are truly tree ripe. The plums are then handled with the utmost care at our specialized packing house with equipment designed, and people trained, for the sole purpose of packing a box of plums that represents our passion for growing tree ripened stone fruit.