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HMC News – September 2022

Fall is finally upon us. With the last 100+ degree day behind us we can begin to prepare for the season ahead. Rain is not forecasted in the foreseeable future, but we are prepared. Our late season table grape vines are now covered to protect them from any precipitation we may have between now and the end of harvest. The covers are perforated in the middle so that rain can drip down in the center of the V-trellis without falling directly on the grape bunches. Our late season grape crop is looking to be of great quality, although earlier than…

Road and telephone pole in front of an orchard of trees, lightning bold in the background
HMC News – August 2022

A summer storm made its way to the Central Valley this month. An estimated 1/4″ of rain touched down on our farms, which is unprecedented at this time of year. Some stone showed hardly any impact, while other blocks were more significantly impacted. It appears that the rain impacted all commodities to some degree and the varieties that were just ready to be harvested and in the middle of harvest were most severely affected. Table grape harvest remains ongoing. We’re seeing an impressive crop of green seedless varietals coming out of our vineyards this year. All commodities appear to be…

Platform with two drones in the middle of an orchard full of trees
HMC Farms® announces autonomous drone harvest pilot program

For immediate release: HMC Farms® has partnered with Tevel Aerobotics Technologies to pilot their drone harvesting system utilizing Flying Autonomous Robots. Each robot has the ability to fly, locate fruit, harvest and place the fruit all on its own with no human interaction required. HMC Farms has a reputation for pursuing cutting edge ag technology. Drew Ketelsen, Vice President and Farm Manager, has a background in civil engineering which gives him a unique perspective on farming and technology. He and Jon McClarty, President of HMC Farms and Drew’s brother-in-law, work together to stay updated on the latest developments and test…

Row of grapevines with clusters of grapes turning from green to red
HMC News – June 2022

We are tipping and thinning clusters in our table grape vineyards. During this process, each grape cluster is inspected and clipped to reduce the density of berries and obtain a manageable overall bunch size. At this point, we are getting into a nice harvest groove. Peach, plum, and nectarine harvest is moving right along in our orchards, with flavor continuing to impress across our early season varieties.  Plumsicle™ harvest has begun! As expected, the crop is sweet and flavorful. Plumsicle is available only in limited supplies this year, but we continue to add more acreage to our Plumsicle orchards each…

Tree with green leaves and ripe peaches in an orchard
HMC News – May 2022

Harvest season is finally here! Peach and nectarine harvest is underway as stone fruit continues to mature and grow in our orchards. Pictured below is our Sangria plum, which will begin harvest at the end of May. Thinning has now wrapped up in our stone fruit orchards. The warm and sunny spring we’re having is perfect for growing great tasting fruit with high sugar content. We have seen excellent eating quality right out of the gate. So far fruit looks and tastes as good or better than last year’s vintage crop, and we hope that will continue for the whole…

Tree branch with leaves and small peaches
HMC News – April 2022

April’s weather has been a rollercoaster, bouncing around 20 degrees up and down over a few days more than once. Thankfully, the forecast ahead shows weather conducive to stone fruit growth. We are thinning stone fruit in our stone fruit orchards. Thinning removes excess, under-sized, or damaged juvenile fruit from our trees. This ensures that nutrients are directed to fewer pieces of fruit, resulting in better size and flavor. It also protects the tree from damage due to too much weight on the limbs. Hail damage is prevalent across the industry in scattered pockets. We’ve discovered hail damaged stone fruit…

Man standing at podium in a dirt lot. American flag and construction signs at left
HMC News – March 2022

This month, Reedley College held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The new 24,000 square foot facility will attract talent and draw audiences from near and far. It will also provide students and faculty the much needed opportunity to showcase their talents and skills on campus. Harold gave a remarkable speech about his own life and impact the college and the arts had on his upbringing. Click here to see what he had to say. It got cold at the beginning of the month. There was a widespread freeze, but only various colder…

dormant grape vineyard with puddle of water, blue sky with clouds above
HMC News – January 2022

We’re starting the new year with a good amount of precipitation on the books already this winter, and a gorgeous view of the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains from our office. September-December of 2021, we received 7.52″ of rain on our farms, compared with only 1.89″ in the same timeframe in 2020. We have already blown past the 7.07″ total for Sept 2020-June 2021, and more rain is likely on the way over the next couple of months. In December alone, we received just over five inches of much needed rain on our farms, which is a big step forward from…

Woman packing plums into boxes in a packing house
The Cost of Doing Business in California Agriculture

While everyone is a little bit tired of hearing about inflation, our products are far from immune from the cost increases seen in other parts of the economy. Cartons and other packing materials have gone up in excess of 15%, chemicals and fertilizer in the field have increased substantially with some products more than doubling, and labor has become in short supply and more expensive. Farmers in California are not only looking at regular per hour wage increases, but have also completely lost agriculture overtime exemption (only one of two states in that situation). The latter not only makes activities…

HMC News – December 2021

We’re almost completely done pruning in our plum orchards, and we are busy pruning in our peach and nectarine orchards. Pruning is an important process of the annual stone fruit cycle as we prepare the trees for winter. By removing the older wood from the trees, we not only make way for new fruiting wood for the 2022 harvest season, but we also keep the trees shaped properly. In our high density stone fruit orchards, crews are using electric pruning shears in order to reach the upper parts of trees without ladders. These electric shears improve efficiency while still allowing…