Heart of Ag Wellness Center is now open! Heart of Ag is a private medical facility which HMC Farms employees can use at no charge. The center provides a wide range of basic healthcare services from flu shots to annual physicals and much more. The ribbon cutting ceremony drew in special guests, including Assemblymen Joaquin Arambula and Devon Mathis, representatives from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and State Senator Melissa Hurtado’s offices, and the mayor of Selma. With the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in the United States, we are excited to offer this opportunity to our employees!
Pruning remains ongoing in our tree fruit orchards. Rain cover removal continues in our grape vineyards to prepare for pruning to begin within a couple of weeks. The forecast shows overnight lows cool enough for our dormant trees and vines to get some chill hours – we’ll touch on this more when we return in 2020.
High density planting, shown above, allows our farm crews to prune, thin, and harvest the organized rows with greater efficiency. Now that these trees have grown large enough, we will bring in a platform pruning system to prepare them for winter and the coming season. This new method of farming will ultimately result in an even better quality of product and more efficient system of delivery for the California stone fruit system.
Our weather has finally caught up with the calendar. Since Thanksgiving, we’ve received about 2.59″ of rain, which is more than 20% of our annual average. Sunday, a thunderstorm dropped quite a bit of hail in some spots on our dormant farms. The forecast shows no rain through the weekend, with precipitation popping up again toward the end of next week. We’ve had a some foggy mornings this week, which are likely to continue due to ground moisture.
Traditional pruning is quite labor-intensive, and we are always looking for ways to improve upon the process. This year, we are using a pre-pruner in preparation for pruning our grape vines. The pre-pruner thins out excess growth and performs a basic cut on vines, significantly reducing the amount of time crews need to spend on pruning. This should allow crews to more easily access the vines for targeted pruning, making the overall process more efficient.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, some precipitation finally materialized in our area, allowing us to complete grape harvest just before the rain began. The lack of any early rain this year was highly unusual, but it seems that we’ve gotten back on track. We are removing rain covers in our grape vineyards and pruning in our stone fruit orchards, taking breaks to enjoy “farmer’s holidays” during the welcome rainy weather.
Pruning is in full force in our traditional tree fruit orchards, as pictured above. As you can see, the trees are bare of leaves, allowing our crews to distinguish between older wood and fruiting wood. We will soon begin pruning in our high density planting orchards, which is a slightly different process. Pruning allows us to prepare for the next season by maintaining the shape and structure of the trees.
HMC Farms table grape harvest is rapidly winding down. The weather has continued to cooperate with our harvest, helping to maintain excellent grape quality. It looks like we may finally see some precipitation in the middle of next week. The forecast shows high temperatures in the 60s with some chilly overnight lows to start Thanksgiving week.
Autumn is staking its claim on our tree fruit orchards. These beautiful fall colors signal that pruning time is near. We wait for the leaves to fall off of the trees in order to prune and select the best fruiting wood. Older wood appears thicker and rougher, like the tree’s trunk, in comparison to fruiting wood, which still has fresh bark and is likely to bear the best fruit.
Our table grape harvest is still going strong, with weather that continues to cooperate well in our vineyards. The forecast shows daytime temperatures dipping down with highs into the upper 60s to end this week, and then climbing back up a bit to start next week in the high 70s. Some cloud cover lies ahead, but there is still no significant chance of precipitation on our farms.
This year has proven to be one of the most unusual fall weather patterns we’ve seen. The weather has been virtually perfect for grape growth and harvest on our farms, with high temperatures in the 70s and 80s and cool overnight lows. With precipitation continuing to hold off, we will likely complete our grape harvest before adverse weather hits our vineyards.
Wildfires have blazed through parts of California over the past few weeks. Our farms were not in close proximity to any of the fires, but we’ve monitored the air quality closely, as smoke from these fires can drift to the valley floor. Fortunately, the major fires have been fully or mostly contained at this point. For updates on the California wildfires, visit the CalFire website. Table grape harvest is still going strong in our vineyards. The forecast shows slightly warmer days, with high temperatures creeping back up into the low 80s.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the original Lunch Bunch® grapes! Lunch Bunch grapes were the original value added grape solution for HMC Farms, dating back to 1979, and they continue to be a staple in our product offerings. To learn more about the Lunch Bunch, contact your HMC Farms salesperson.
Table grape harvest continues to thrive in the current weather conditions. Timco, Allison, and Vintage red seedless grapes and Autumn King green seedless grapes are in active harvest. Tree pruning will begin soon in our peach, nectarine, and plum orchards. The forecast shows more sunny days with high temperatures in the low to mid 70s. We still have seen no signs of early rain, which is unusual this far into October.
PMA Fresh Summit is this week in Anaheim, California! Stop by our booth to say hello and learn about our peaches, plums, nectarines, and table grapes. Our Nickelodeon™ ready-to-eat grape packs featuring SpongeBob™ and PAW Patrol™ characters are part of the Fresh Ideas Showcase, so be sure to check them out at the expo! If you haven’t scheduled a meeting with HMC yet, contact your HMC salesperson to confirm remaining time slots.
Timco and Allison red seedless grapes and Autumn King green seedless grapes are in active harvest. Vintage red seedless grapes are beginning harvest as well. The forecast shows mostly sunny days with high temperatures in the 70s, and overnight low temperatures in the high 40s. This weather pattern of warm days and cool nights is conducive to grape maturity. While there is no imminent threat of precipitation in the forecast, we will continue to monitor any chances of early rain that may arise in the coming weeks.
On Friday, October 4, Harold McClarty received the Award of Distinction from University of California, Davis. This award is the highest recognition given by the university to individuals whose achievements and contributions enrich the UC Davis image and reputation and enhance its ability to provide public service. Harold, who served on the university’s Board of Trustees for six years, and the McClarty family are long-time supporters of UC Davis, making this honor particularly special. Click here to read more on this topic.
Fall post-harvest fertilizer is currently being applied to our peach, plum, and nectarine orchards. The fertilizer helps replenish the trees’ nutritional reserves, and is essential for fall root development. In spring, these reserves will provide an important energy source as the trees come out of dormancy. Timco and Allison red seedless grapes and Autumn King green seedless grapes are in active harvest. The weather is cooperating well with table grape growth.
Allison red seedless table grapes are now in harvest! The crunchy texture and sweet flavor of the berries make Allison a memorable varietal that brings people back for more. Contact your HMC salesperson for more information on pack styles and availability.
HMC Farms tree fruit season is winding down, but table grape harvest is still going strong. At this point, all vines have been covered for rain protection. Timco, Allison, and Krissy red seedless grapes are in harvest, as well as Autumn King green seedless grapes. The forecast shows a few cool days leading up to a warm start to next week. The overnight lows are in a range that should help move the color along in our red seedless grape varietals.