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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…

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…

3 plumcots on tree - new Plumsicle variety from HMC Farms
HMC News – June 2020

Our platform equipment is now being used for harvest in our high density stone fruit orchards! This is an exciting moment for us, since this concept has taken three years of hard work and dedication to come to fruition. We recently installed an optical grader to the packline in our plum packing house at HMC Reedley. The optical sorter not only improves our efficiency by automatically removing fruit with defects before it reaches the pack tables, but it also provides detailed statistics about each lot of fruit that help us improve our practices out in the field.  Our plum team…

HMC News – April 2020

Take a look at a before and after of tree fruit thinning in one of our peach orchards, pictured below. Thinning is a process in which we remove under sized or over crowded pieces of fruit from our trees. This allows our trees to provide better nutrients to the remaining fruit for better sizing and flavor. It also protects tree limbs from breaking due to the heavy weight of too many pieces of fruit. During this process, our crews are also able to remove unnecessary new growth to save time and costs by not taking another pass through the orchards…

HMC News – February 2020

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,…

HMC News – January 2020

Welcome to a new decade! Although it’s winter on our farms, there’s still a lot going on… Recent weather has provided some crucial chill hours to our trees and vines. Chill hours occur when the temperature is between 32°F and 45°F while our trees and vines are dormant. Each variety and type of fruit has different chill hour requirements, which can range from approximately 100-800 hours. We currently have more than 700 chill hours logged on our farms. That’s around 200 hours more than we had at this point last year. January rainfall on our farms is average for the…

12 grapes at midnight

Did you know in Spanish culture it’s considered good luck to eat grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve?  Las Doce Uvas de la Suerte (The Twelve Grapes of Good Luck) is a Spanish tradition dating back to the late 1800s.  This tradition involves eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight on December 31st for prosperity and good fortune in the coming year.  The twelve grapes represent the 12 months of the year. We partnered with The Produce Moms to create a fun, educational activity sheet to teach kids about this tradition. Try your luck at midnight, but remember to…

HMC News – December 4, 2019

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. Crop Update: Over the Thanksgiving holiday, some precipitation finally materialized in our area, allowing us to complete grape harvest just before the rain began. The…