Plum trees are not self-pollinating like peach and nectarine trees, so they require pollination from other plum varieties in order to produce fruit. To give our plums the best chance of pollination, we plant blocks of cross-pollinating varieties adjacent to each other on large ranches. It is important to choose varieties which bloom at the same time to ensure that bees can do their work, moving pollen from the blossoms of one variety to another. when the bloom timing of the varieties is off, or when the weather is too cold for bees to fly (below 55°F), the result is a short plum crop. As pictured, we have lots of uniform bloom this year, which is hopefully a good sign for a full plum harvest.
Our dormant grape vineyards recently received a layer of compost to help feed soil microbes and replenish depleted nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil. Using compost allows us to maintain soil health using organic forms of nutrients, and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizer. To ensure the compost we use is safe to apply, it is put into rows, brought to an appropriate temperature, and turned multiple times to ensure any pathogens are cooked out. The timing of compost application depends on the weather – we wait until late winter has passed so that heavy rains don’t wash minerals past the root zone and the temperature is warm enough for soil microbes to be active.
We are taking as many precautions as possible to ensure a continued supply of nutritious produce during these unprecedented times. We are staggering break and meal periods in our facilities to minimize the number of people in a given area at one time, we have changed configurations in our processing facility to maximize social distancing, and we are continuing to follow our already extremely high standards for hygiene and food safety. We are also fogging common areas with disinfectant during off hours and have procured additional laptops to allow some employees to work from home as necessary. We are planning for the upcoming stone fruit season, with thinning starting. So far there looks to be a heavy crop load, which will require extensive and timely thinning of our crop. We are watching the skies closely as there is rain in the forecast, and we have approached the time of spring in which precipitation that turns into hail can be incredibly devastating.
Several members of our team from sales, production, and quality control recently visited our HMC Farms office in Chile. The group was also able to visit vineyards and packing facilities in multiple growing regions throughout the country. The key takeaway from the trip was an enhanced understanding of the scale and complexity of farming operations in Chile, as well as the unique challenges regarding production coordination, farming practices, and logistics.
The Fresno County Blossom Trail is one of the main early-spring attractions of California’s Central Valley. Each year from late February through mid-March, delicate blossoms from peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, almond, and apple trees decorate the 62 mile loop. Part of our farms sit directly on the blossom trail, adding pink blooms from our peach and nectarine orchards and white blooms from our plum orchards to this stunning display of natural beauty.
National School Breakfast Week, which launched in 1989 in order to raise awareness of and participation in school breakfast programs, is March 2-6. As alternative serving methods, such as breakfast in the classroom and breakfast on the bus, have gained in popularity, prepackaged and ready-to-eat items have become a staple in school breakfasts. HMC Farms provides value-added grapes, such as our washed and ready-to-eat Grape Escape, to schools across the nation as part of their school nutrition programs — which include breakfast, lunch, and snacks!
We are currently in the process of placing vine cover on our late season grape varieties. Vine cover protects grapes from early rain in September and October. The timing of the cover placement is important because we don’t want to cover the vines in very hot temperatures and trap heat around the grapes, but we also want to protect the grapes from rainfall as early as possible. We normally begin covering our grape vines in early to mid September, when we begin to see chances of precipitation in the forecast.
Harvest continues to slow for HMC Farms tree fruit. Table grape harvest is in full swing. Timco red seedless grapes have begun harvest. Allison red seedless and Autumn King green seedless grapes will harvest soon. The weather on our farms has jumped back into the 90s for a few days, but the forecast shows a progressive drop in high temperatures, putting highs in the 70s to start next week.
Stone fruit harvest is beginning to slow down at HMC Farms, so we are squeezing in as many ways to enjoy our delicious bounty as possible. One of our favorite quick and easy recipes for a dessert that’s sure to impress is a stone fruit galette. If you haven’t heard of a galette, it’s similar to an open-faced pie. It can be made using a single type of stone fruit, like peaches, or a variety of your favorites. In this case, we used peaches, nectarines, and plums to make a mixed fruit galette.
This recipe was featured on the Indy Style morning show by Lori Taylor from The Produce Moms. If you missed the episode, click here to watch how easy it is to make this crowd-pleasing dessert or brunch addition.
What you’ll need:
- 6-8 pieces of HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, plums, plumcots, or summerwhites
- Pie crust (pre made crust works just fine, but you can also make it from scratch)
- 1/3 cup of sugar + 1 Tbsp for sprinkling (raw sugar can be used here)
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-2 Tbsp flour or cornstarch to thicken the filling
- Beaten egg or cream for the edges of the crust
Steps to the easiest impressive dessert you’ve ever made:
- Preheat the oven to 375° and roll out pie crust on parchment paper on top of baking pan or stone.
- Slice the HMC Farms fruit.
Tip: A lot of our HMC Farms peaches and nectarines are clingstone varieties. We’ve found that the easiest way to create pretty slices of fruit is to place the fruit on a cutting board with the stem side down and slice straight down on each side around the pit. These larger pieces can be sliced more easily that trying to separate each slice from the pit individually.
- Combine all ingredients (except for the egg or cream wash and the 1Tbsp of sugar) in a large bowl and gently stir.
- Place the mixture from the bowl in the center of the pie crust.
- Fold the crust in about 2” in overlapping pieces to create a pleated look.
- Brush the top edges of the crust with the cream or beaten egg, and sprinkle the remaining sugar on it.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, checking every 5-10 min beginning at 30 min.
Tip: some of the juices will run out from the galette in the oven. Don’t be alarmed by this, but do prepare in order to prevent a mess in the bottom of your oven..
- Remove galette from the oven and cool on a rack.
Holiday plums are here! We wait all year for this HMC Farms proprietary red plum that has green undertones, speckled skin, and a sweet and distinctive flavor. Contact your HMC Farms salesperson for more information on availability.
Harvest is slowing for HMC Farms tree fruit. Scarlet Royal and Krissy red seedless table grapes and Autumn King green seedless table grapes are in harvest. Timco and Allison red seedless grapes will harvest soon. The forecast shows high temperatures ranging from the low 80s to the low 90s. We are closely monitoring any chances of early rain, which tend to pop up in the second half of September.
HMC Farms just won the Buyer’s Choice Award with our new SpongeBob™ and PAW Patrol™ grape multipacks at the California Food Expo! For more information on these products, contact Chelsea: email@example.com. These products will be in the Fresh Ideas Showcase at PMA Fresh Summit, where HMC Farms will be present at booth #3079. Contact your HMC Farms salesperson if you’d like to schedule a time to meet at PMA regarding this or other topics.
Harvest is slowing for HMC Farms tree fruit. Holiday plums are now available! Krissy and Scarlet Royal red seedless table grapes, and Great Green green seedless table grapes are in harvest. Timco and Allison red seedless and Autumn King green seedless grapes will harvest soon. The forecast shows fluctuating temperatures. At this point in the year, we have to watch out for chances of early rain.
HMC Farms is competing in the California Food Expo’s Golden State Award with our new SpongeBob™ and PAW Patrol™ grape multipacks. This award is based on social media likes on the product photo on Instagram and Facebook. Help us win by liking the photo on both platforms! For more information on how to purchase these products, contact Chelsea: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvest is slowing down a bit for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Table grape harvest continues with Krissy and Scarlet Royal red seedless table grapes, and Ivory and Great Green green seedless table grapes in harvest. Timco red seedless grapes will harvest soon, followed by Allison red seedless and Autumn King green seedless grape harvest beginning near the end of the month. The forecast shows a few more hot days, with a break in the heat over the weekend and into next week.
It’s the last day of National Peach Month, and we’ve got some fun facts about peaches for you!
Click here to download the PDF version of 5 facts about peaches.
We love homemade ice cream! We actually love it so much that we occasionally make it at the HMC Farms office. Something about homemade vanilla ice cream on a hot day just makes everything better, but we like to elevate our ice cream just a bit with the topping we can’t live without: caramelized peaches.
This recipe is enough for about 14-16 bowls of ice cream.
What you’ll need:
- 8 large HMC Farms peaches
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup of packed light brown sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Start by slicing or chopping your HMC Farms peaches, discarding the pits. Place the peaches in a bowl and mix in the fresh lemon juice, sea salt, and cinnamon.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a skillet on medium heat. Once the butter has melted and combined with the sugar, add the peaches and increase to medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
When the juice from the peaches, butter, and sugar have reduced into a thicker consistency, remove the pan from heat and let it stand a little before serving.
Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to split this into 2 different batches, the peaches should not be more than 2 pieces deep when putting them in the pan to cook.
Warm peaches are delicious, but if they are too hot they will melt the ice cream rapidly. Let the peaches stand a bit to cool before using them as topping for your ice cream.
Peaches straight from the pan are hot! When taste testing, let the peaches cool slightly to avoid burning your mouth.
If ice cream isn’t your thing, caramelized peaches can also be added to yogurt.
Drew and Alex from our HMC Farms grape team recently took a trip to Murcia, Spain, to visit the Sheehan Genetics grape breeding facility. The trip enabled Drew and Alex to explore the new varieties in development at Sheehan, some of which will soon arrive to the United States to be planted. We continuously search for new varieties with the best flavor and eating quality, which also fit into certain time frames during our grape harvest season. The trip was very informative, and we are excited for what the future will bring!
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, nectarines, and table grapes. Krissy and Scarlet Royal red seedless table grapes are in harvest, with Timco harvesting soon. Ivory green seedless table grapes are in harvest, with Great Green harvesting soon. The forecast shows peak temperatures mostly in the high 90s, with overnight lows in the mid 60s.