HMC News – April 2023

The current warm weather forecast is ideal for fostering growth in the fruit’s current stage of development. However, we are currently two weeks behind last year’s progress, which suggests that our anticipated harvest start date will also be delayed by two weeks. At this point, it is difficult to determine the size of the fruit. Despite the uncertainty surrounding future development and field conditions, the warm weather provides a promising start for a healthy harvest. To provide context for the timing difference between this season and last, the image on the left shows the Spring Princess peach at this time last year, while the image on the right depicts our current Spring Princess.

Thinning in our peaches and nectarines is finally underway. Thinning removes excess, under-sized, or damaged fruit from our trees while it is still in its juvenile stage. 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. Our official start date for thinning this year is 12 days later than 2022. Thinning is indicative of harvest timing, so we are still anticipating a start date two weeks later than last year. In fact, the closest year we’ve had to our current projected start date is 2010. Now the only concern is sizing. Warm weather can move the fruit up a few days, but sizing may be affected if that happens. All in all it looks to be a good crop, and we are optimistic for the 2023 season.

Even though it would seem our fears for historic flooding are finally at ease, they are not. Parts of the valley are still flooded, and a majority of the water is coming this summer. This is officially the largest snowpack on record for the Central and Southern Sierra Nevada mountains. The Department of Water Resources electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 61.1 inches, or 237 percent of average for this date. To put this into perspective, there is enough water in the mountains to completely fill our already full reservoirs anywhere from two to four times this summer.

With temperatures in the 90’s, timing may move up a day or two, but we still predict the crop will be 12 -14 days later than last year. There is an adequate stone fruit crop with some inconsistent sets that vary block by block. The freeze in January did affect some of our early season varieties, but it is very sporadic. The image above shows the difference in the amount of fruit on the top of the tree versus the bottom where the freeze affected the set.

Ag is always in the news for one topic or another. While some tend to focus on the negative, we like to bring to light all of the positive aspects of agriculture. Please click here to listen to a podcast with Hernan Hernandez, the Executive Director of the California Farmworker Foundation. HMC Farms has been a proud supporter of CFF since the beginning, which was developed to provide concrete solutions for many community-wide issues such as housing crises, food insecurity and healthcare. They believe in helping farmworkers become leaders, and empowering individuals to become advocates for themselves and their communities.

HMC News – January 2023

This month California was in a drought and a flood at the exact same time. We are ending the year with 40% more precipitation than last year, but unfortunately our state does not have the infrastructure to capture all the water that is rapidly falling upon us. On average, a “normal” rain day in California is 0.25″-0.75″, but these atmospheric river storms are bringing 2″+ of water at a time. While our vineyards and orchards are equipped to handle the weather, many places are not. The reservoirs are currently at half capacity and snowpack is already up to 200% of average, and we still have several months of weather ahead of us. Even though a lot of water will be lost to the ocean rather than being captured, the reservoirs and groundwater will get a much-needed recharge which is a big positive.



Pruning continues in our California vineyards. All acreage is pre-pruned with a machine that removes top half of the last season’s growth mechanically. The final pruning cuts are then made by hand with crews that have been trained to leave the precise amount of wood to ensure the optimal health of the vine and growth for future crops. These cuts form “spurs” (the positions on the vine from which this year’s growth will come) along the “cordons” (the main lateral limbs coming from the trunk). Because grapes are a vine, the growth each year is rapid. A fully
mature vine will be pruned back to essentially the same place every season.

Grape shipments from Peru have resumed at normal levels. Last month’s social unrest created a delay in shipments, which caused tight supply conditions this month. As we move into February, we should see the situation change, with ample supply of both Peruvian and Chilean grapes.


The storms have ended for the time being and bloom is right around the corner. Things here are wet, but the fields need it and the sandier soils in our area are draining nicely. The charts above show that while we received a historic amount of rainfall, a lot of the water was unable to be captured in reservoirs and instead drained into the ocean. In 2014 Proposition 1: The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, a $7.5 billion bond dedicated $2.7 billion for the public benefits of new water storage projects, was passed. Since then, nothing has been built to improve our water infrastructure. The drought combined with the floods are shedding a new light on the legislative issues that have contributed to our current water crisis.


The conditions this winter have been ideal for growing tree fruit. Our orchards are currently tracking at 963 chill hours for the season. This is a 190-hour increase from this time last season. Chill hours can have different definitions, but we calculate our hours by measuring the time the temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Fruit trees need a specific number of chill hours each winter to regulate their growth. If a tree doesn’t experience enough chill hours in the winter the flower buds might not open at all in spring, or they might open unevenly Fortunately, we have already received plenty of chill hours for the season and any cold weather is appreciated until the buds break and blossoms emerge.

Noticias del HMC - Febrero de 2021

Hemos recibido un total de 3,39″ de precipitaciones en el mes de enero. En comparación con los dos últimos años, este enero tuvo una precipitación significativamente mayor. Enero de 2019 tuvo un total de 2,83″ de lluvia, y enero de 2020 vio sólo 0,77″ en todo el mes. Esperamos que esto sea una buena señal para el total de lluvia anual de este año en el Valle Central.

Árboles de invierno con la inundación en primer plano

HMC Farms tuvo el honor de asociarse con la Fundación de Trabajadores Agrícolas de California para comenzar a proporcionar vacunas COVID a nuestros trabajadores agrícolas este mes. Hablando sobre el evento, Harold McClarty comentó: "Todos hemos luchado durante estos tiempos tan difíciles. Estamos muy agradecidos y apoyamos todo el trabajo que esta organización ha hecho por los trabajadores agrícolas. Nos da algo de esperanza para perseverar y seguir adelante con nuestro trabajo para apoyar el suministro de alimentos de la nación."

Un hombre se vacuna en el brazo

Las flores se están abriendo en nuestros huertos de frutas de hueso y a lo largo del famoso Camino de las Flores del Condado de Fresno. Esta es sin duda la época más hermosa del año en el Valle Central, atrayendo a gente de cerca y de lejos para conducir o ir en bicicleta a lo largo del camino y disfrutar de las hermosas flores rosas y blancas que llenan los huertos por millas. Para obtener más información sobre el Camino de las Flores del Condado de Fresno, visite su sitio web aquí.

Cimas de ciruelos con flores blancas, montañas al fondo

Estamos injertando en algunos de nuestros huertos de fruta de hueso. Si alguna vez han pasado pasado por un huerto que parecía un montón de tocones con una sola rama, lo más probable es que hayas visto un injerto en curso. El injerto es el proceso de añadir una nueva variedad a un portainjertos existente. Esto nos permite cosechar la nueva variedad en un plazo más corto al utilizar los portainjertos que ya están en el suelo en lugar de empezar de cero con árboles completamente nuevos. Fíjese bien en la foto de arriba y verá lo que parecen ser palos que salen de la parte cortada del árbol. Esos palos se llaman en realidad madera de vástago, y son la variedad de melocotón June Time que pronto crecerá en este huerto. La rama restante, llamada rama nodriza, se deja en el árbol para ayudar a mantenerlo vivo hasta que los esquejes injertados crezcan bien, y finalmente se eliminará.

Huerto con árboles frutales en proceso de injerto - tocones con una rama con flores rosas