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Road and telephone pole in front of an orchard of trees, lightning bold in the background
HMC News – August 2022

A summer storm made its way to the Central Valley this month. An estimated 1/4″ of rain touched down on our farms, which is unprecedented at this time of year. Some stone showed hardly any impact, while other blocks were more significantly impacted. It appears that the rain impacted all commodities to some degree and the varieties that were just ready to be harvested and in the middle of harvest were most severely affected. Table grape harvest remains ongoing. We’re seeing an impressive crop of green seedless varietals coming out of our vineyards this year. All commodities appear to be…

Row of grapevines with clusters of grapes turning from green to red
HMC News – June 2022

We are tipping and thinning clusters in our table grape vineyards. During this process, each grape cluster is inspected and clipped to reduce the density of berries and obtain a manageable overall bunch size. At this point, we are getting into a nice harvest groove. Peach, plum, and nectarine harvest is moving right along in our orchards, with flavor continuing to impress across our early season varieties.  Plumsicle™ harvest has begun! As expected, the crop is sweet and flavorful. Plumsicle is available only in limited supplies this year, but we continue to add more acreage to our Plumsicle orchards each…

Tree branch with leaves and small peaches
HMC News – April 2022

April’s weather has been a rollercoaster, bouncing around 20 degrees up and down over a few days more than once. Thankfully, the forecast ahead shows weather conducive to stone fruit growth. We are thinning stone fruit in our stone fruit orchards. Thinning removes excess, under-sized, or damaged juvenile fruit from our trees. 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. Hail damage is prevalent across the industry in scattered pockets. We’ve discovered hail damaged stone fruit…

Pink blossoms on a tree in an orchard
HMC News – February 2022

After a winter with sufficient chill hours, some of our earliest stone fruit varieties have started to wake up from their winter hibernation as they push the first blooms of the 2022 season. These first flowers bring anticipation for the upcoming season along with the anxiety of knowing that unfavorable weather conditions can now have deleterious effects on the 2022 crop. Blossoms become commonplace around the valley as hundreds of different stone fruit varieties will be in different stages of bloom in late February and early March. We are in the process of grafting trees in some of our stone…

HMC News – December 2021

We’re almost completely done pruning in our plum orchards, and we are busy pruning in our peach and nectarine orchards. Pruning is an important process of the annual stone fruit cycle as we prepare the trees for winter. By removing the older wood from the trees, we not only make way for new fruiting wood for the 2022 harvest season, but we also keep the trees shaped properly. In our high density stone fruit orchards, crews are using electric pruning shears in order to reach the upper parts of trees without ladders. These electric shears improve efficiency while still allowing…

Artwork with instructions on growing grapes with 4 greeting cards depicting fruit on the right side
HMC Farms collaborates with Paper Farm Press on “Grapeful for You” project

As a family owned farming business, we are always excited when we have the opportunity to partner with other local businesses in California’s Central Valley on different types of projects. Sometimes that leads to delicious pies and specialty ice cream flavors, and other times it leads to beautiful artwork.  This year, we had the opportunity to partner with Lauren, owner of Paper Farm Press, on a grape project. Paper Farm Press is a fellow Central Valley business which creates hand printed cards, stationery, and artwork prints using vintage printing machines affectionately named Willa and Heidi. Their mission is to cultivate…

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…

Two people sitting on a panel with quote on the right side
HMC Farms participates in Western Growers AgTechX Summit at Reedley College

Editorial by Harold McClarty HMC Farms recently participated in an ag tech summit at Reedley College to determine the future needs of the ag work force in specialty crops over the next ten years. HMC Farms is a progressive leader in mechanization and technology. We recognized years ago that our time and labor sensitive commodities are not sustainable the way they are produced today. Our role, if stone fruit and table grapes are to exist and be viable in the future, is to combine a technological approach with an educated workforce. This year, we made decisions on which blocks to…