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McClarty family in a peach orchard
Reflecting on 2021 and the future of California agriculture

Next year will be better. We live by this credo, which some find irrational. The onerous circumstances we must navigate in California agriculture to produce better tasting fruit each year are getting increasingly more difficult, and have yet to reach an inflection point. Inputs, whether they are labor, water, or materials, haven’t just become more expensive, but at times they have become unavailable. If you read our newsletter on a monthly basis, you are aware of some of the creative ways in which we are trying to keep costs from continuing to rise. We want to keep our products as…

HMC News – November 2021

In the beginning of this month we continued to prepare for new planting in our orchards. Once the old trees are pushed out, they go into an industrial wood chipper. The ground wood is then incorporated back into the soil on our farms. Through this process, we are doing our part to capture carbon in the atmosphere and fix it in the soil. Chipping the wood also eliminates the need to burn old trees, which can have a negative impact on the air quality in the Central Valley. The next step will be to go in and break up the…

HMC News – October 2021

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…

HMC News – September 2021

The United Nations declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables in order to raise awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health. One of the key messages in this campaign is the value of family farms in communities. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, family farms generate income, improve food security and nutrition, and enhance resiliency through sustainably managed local resources. We couldn’t agree more! We normally compare table grape harvest timing to the previous year, but last year’s heavy wildfire smoke blanket pushed back grape…

HMC News – August 2021

While we are in the final third of the season on peaches and nectarines, we are just rounding second base on the plum season. We are looking forward to some of the highest sugar varieties of the year, including Black Majesty, Red Yummy, and of course our exclusive HMC Holiday plum. Holiday red plums will begin harvest in early September, and will pack and ship into October. Burro self-driving carts are currently running in our table grape vineyards. After experimenting with Burros for the past couple of years, this is our first time using them for a full harvest season….

HMC News – July 2021

All of our table grape varieties are in some point of veraison now, which is the stage when red grapes gain color and green grapes shift from grassy green to a creamy green color while the berries begin to soften and ripen. The crop looks good, and we are on the cusp of kicking off harvest season with Flame red seedless grapes. This month we have been keeping an eye on the overnight lows – hot days and cool nights assist the ripening process, but with overnight lows in the mid 70s, the vines sometimes lag behind in ripening. In…

HMC News – June 2021

HMC Farms was the recipient of the 2021 Agriculture Business of the Year award from the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce. Notable reasons for the selection include: a strong relationship with the food bank, support of the local senior center, adjusting to fit school nutrition needs during the pandemic, and providing vaccination clinics to agricultural workers. It means a lot that we were selected with so many different ag businesses to choose from in our area. We are in the midst of the most labor-intensive part of table grape farming: pre-harvest hand labor. This work consists of leafing, hanging and dropping…

HMC News – May 2021

The stone fruit season is now upon us! At the beginning of the month, we saw considerable volume available with fruit exhibiting mid-season flavor. This year the fruit size is better than last year, and the drought has created weather that is perfect for high sugar development. We have a full stone fruit crop, and it already looks like this could be be a vintage year for great tasting fruit. Rootstock is a term we use when covering the grafting process. Rootstock is the portion of the tree or vine that establishes the root system underground, hence the name. Because…

rows of trees in a peach orchard with a small developing peach growing on a branch in the foreground
HMC News – April 2021

Earlier this month, we began shoot thinning in our table grape vineyards. A shoot is fresh new growth that comes out of the grapevines in spring. As shoots develop, we identify the new growth that has the best size and position. At that point, we remove any excess growth from the vine. This helps keep the vine formed properly on the V-trellis and within the rows, and is our first step in selecting the best bunches for the coming table grape season. What does it take to become USDA certified organic? Before we can apply for the organic certification, we…

Blooming plum trees in high density planting block - trees are planted close together and supported by a trellis
HMC News – March 2021

This month, HMC Farms held a two day COVID-19 vaccination clinic for employees of HMC and several nearby ag businesses. At this point, we have successfully distributed vaccines to more than 450 agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley, in partnership with the California Farmworker Foundation and Heart of Ag (the free-to-employee clinic we sponsor) – both relationships built before the pandemic. Sarah McClarty, Chief Financial Officer at HMC stated at the event, “To watch every employee in our organization who wants a vaccine receive one over the last two days has been the biggest win in what has been an…