Lifespan of a peach tree

Fact or Fiction: The average lifespan of a peach and nectarine tree is 12 years.

Fact. Unlike permanent crops that last for 40 years, peach and nectarine trees only last for about 12 years.

Year 1 though 3 the tree is not producing any fruit but is concentrated on growing a good base for peach production years.

Year 4 through 8 are peak production times. Depending upon the variety these trees could produce over 2,500 boxes an acre. Starting about year 8 the tree starts producing less and less fruit.

By about year 12 the production amount has lowered so much that it is beneficial to the grower to replant a new variety.

Labor Issues

Our Industry’s largest issue today is Labor Labor Laws & Card Check–Card check, also called majority sign-up, is a method for American employees to organize into a labor union in which a majority of employees in a bargaining unit sign authorization forms, or “cards,” stating they wish to be represented by the union. […]

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Is Your Fruit Hydrocooled?

Is your fruit hydrocooled? If you like ripe fruit, it should be.

Hydrocooling is the process of taking the field heat out of the fruit after harvest before packing. It allows pickers to harvest fruit at a riper stage than fruit that is packed without hydrocooling. Our summer temperatures can hover around 100 degrees, so it is important to bring down the temperature of the fruit to around 58 degrees before packing. We only cool to 58 degrees because it was discovered that temperatures below 58 can lead to staining and splitting in tree fruit. Hydrocooling is just one essential part of our complex program that ensures we deliver the ripest, best tasting fruit.

How much of HMC’s fruit is grown within 5 miles of a packing facility?

96% of the peaches & nectarines and about 60% of the plums we produce are grown within 5 miles of our commodity specific packing facilities. Minimizing transit time is one component in providing the ripest fruit possible.

Peaches & Nectarines require different handling techniques than Plums. HMC Farms has invested in commodity specific packing facilities with equipment and employees that specialize in providing the best that the commodity can offer.

Other benefits include a lower carbon footprint, reduction of bruising caused by transportati on and centralized farming organizations which lead to more sustainable practices.

How many times is our fruit sorted to ensure only the best fruit makes it into the box?

1. Hand selected by the picker–Our field crews come back year after year and all of them know our philosophy, we ripen fruit the old fashioned way, we leave it on the tree. Several picks, and hourly instead of piece work wages is just the beginning of how we work towards the perfect piece of fruit

2. Bin Check–Bins are constantly monitored and sorted through as fruit is picked to work out any sort of defect that the person picking may not have been able to catch.

3. Quality Control Evaluation–Once the fruit is brought into the packing house each lot is tested for sugars and pressures. This ensures any internal damage is found prior to packing. With the majority of our orchards less than 5 miles away we are able to make changes in harvest practices based upon these results.

4. Presorting–before the fruit is sized or stickered it is presorted for any sort of defects that may have been missed out in the field.

5. Packaging–before the fruit is placed in the box it is looked at one last time. Pieces that are not quite up to our premium standards are placed in a utility box again just to ensure that only the best goes in our HMC Farms box.

6. Before shipment, a final inspection is completed to ensure sugars, pressure and exterior quality.

How does grafting peach, plum and nectarine varieties work?

Many tree fruit varieties do not grow from their own seed. They are propagated by grafting plant material from the desired variety onto a specially bred rootstock. The rootstock is root system and usually the bottom two to three inches of the trunk. Just as picking tree fruit or pruning trees, grafting is also a specialized skill. There is a lot of care and experience that is needed to graft correctly.

Cut—A cut is made in the rootstock about 12 inches above the soil. Then either a straight slanting cut about 1 ½ inches long is made or a notch is cut out of the side on the exposed limb of the rootstock

Union—Match the young shoot and rootstock where the cuts or notches were made.

Tying and covering—If slants are cut then the new graft needs to be bound tightly with tape then carefully covered with tree seal. If notches are cut then only tree seal is required. The tape and tree seal bind the two parts together and keep moisture from rotting the exposed limb.

By the following season the small trees will be producing fruit.