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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 – 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…

HMC News – August 2021

While we are in the final third of the season on peaches and nectarines, we are just rounding second base on the plum season. We are looking forward to some of the highest sugar varieties of the year, including Black Majesty, Red Yummy, and of course our exclusive HMC Holiday plum. Holiday red plums will begin harvest in early September, and will pack and ship into October. Burro self-driving carts are currently running in our table grape vineyards. After experimenting with Burros for the past couple of years, this is our first time using them for a full harvest season….

HMC News – May 2021

The stone fruit season is now upon us! At the beginning of the month, we saw considerable volume available with fruit exhibiting mid-season flavor. This year the fruit size is better than last year, and the drought has created weather that is perfect for high sugar development. We have a full stone fruit crop, and it already looks like this could be be a vintage year for great tasting fruit. Rootstock is a term we use when covering the grafting process. Rootstock is the portion of the tree or vine that establishes the root system underground, hence the name. Because…

rows of trees in a peach orchard with a small developing peach growing on a branch in the foreground
HMC News – April 2021

Earlier this month, we began shoot thinning in our table grape vineyards. A shoot is fresh new growth that comes out of the grapevines in spring. As shoots develop, we identify the new growth that has the best size and position. At that point, we remove any excess growth from the vine. This helps keep the vine formed properly on the V-trellis and within the rows, and is our first step in selecting the best bunches for the coming table grape season. What does it take to become USDA certified organic? Before we can apply for the organic certification, we…

Blooming plum trees in high density planting block - trees are planted close together and supported by a trellis
HMC News – March 2021

This month, HMC Farms held a two day COVID-19 vaccination clinic for employees of HMC and several nearby ag businesses. At this point, we have successfully distributed vaccines to more than 450 agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley, in partnership with the California Farmworker Foundation and Heart of Ag (the free-to-employee clinic we sponsor) – both relationships built before the pandemic. Sarah McClarty, Chief Financial Officer at HMC stated at the event, “To watch every employee in our organization who wants a vaccine receive one over the last two days has been the biggest win in what has been an…

Orchard with fruit trees going through graftin process - stumps with one branch with pink blossoms
HMC News – February 2021

We received a total of 3.39″ of precipitation in the month of January. Compared with the past two years, this January had significantly more precipitation. January 2019 had a total of 2.83″ of rain, and January 2020 saw just 0.77″ in the entire month. We hope that this is a good sign for this year’s annual rain total in the Central Valley. HMC Farms had the honor of partnering with the California Farmworker Foundation to begin to provide COVID shots to our farmworkers this month. Speaking about the event, Harold McClarty commented, “We have all struggled during these very difficult…

High density stone fruit orchard - half pruned, half not pruned
HMC News – November 2020

We are pruning trees in our stone fruit orchards to prepare them for winter. Pruning allows us to shape the trees in order to prepare for next year’s new growth and harvest. Pictured above, the left side of this high density stone fruit block is pruned and the right side hasn’t been pruned yet. Block prep is happening on our farms. Before new plantings, we perform multiple steps to prepare the land. Pictured above, a large machine called a ripper is digging 5+ feet into the ground with a long shank to break up any hard or compacted streaks in…

Grape vineyard with smoky sky from wildfires in California
HMC News – August 2020

Smoke from the multiple wildfires around California settled in the Central Valley this month. We are carefully monitoring the air quality to ensure that our employees working outdoors remain safe, and are deploying additional safety measures as needed. We’re in the final stretch of the stone fruit season. Though we are closer to the end of the season than the beginning, there is still a lot of good fruit in our lineup over the coming weeks. We are about 80% through peach and nectarine harvest, and about 70% through plum harvest. It’s hot! Record temperatures this month challenged our crops…

Boy bites into a freshly picked peach in an orchard at HMC Farms
HMC News – July 2020

The Fourth of July not only celebrates the independence of our country, but it also marks the “spiritual” half way mark of the stone fruit season, and is the historically referenced start date for grape harvest in our area. The first six weeks of the season definitely require the most effort. We are generally still thinning through early June while picking the most temperamental and time sensitive varieties of the season. The Fourth of July is a point in time at which we reflect, look forward, and take a quick break with our families. We hope you had a moment…