Harvest has begun in our stone fruit orchards! At this point, the fruit is a little smaller than normal due to the decreased amount of time between bloom and harvest, and the timing is a little ahead of last year.
It’s hot! Last week we experienced rain and peak temperatures around 72°, this week’s record projected heat is as high as 109°. Grapes and stone fruit don’t like this heat any more than people. In stone fruit, extreme heat slows everything down and halts growth, causing some heat damage to the fruit – especially dark colored plums. In table grapes, any of the exposed berries not covered by foliage will burn.
A few months ago, we increased efficiency and eliminated the need for ladders by using platforms in our high density stone fruit orchards. Since then, we have started to experiment by attaching an artificial light to the same equipment to perform “night thinning.” Beginning before the sun comes up, crews are able to finish this crucial process in the cool morning hours. Going forward, we will modify our picking by transitioning this process into harvest, resulting in an optimal product by removing the afternoon heat. This is an efficient operation that benefits the workers and product by eliminating the summer heat.
We are moving rake wire in our table grape vineyards. This process opens up a wire in the middle of the trellis that helps guide and organize the canes and their growth to conform to the V shape of the trellis. There are multiple benefits of rake wire use. It helps get all of the clusters to hang out in the “fruiting zone” underneath the trellis, making maintenance and harvest more efficient. Sunlight is allowed in to hit the bottom of canes, which helps with fruitfulness in next year’s crop. A pocket forms for air to flow and escape, reducing chances of humidity getting trapped underneath the canopy.
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.
Ivory green seedless table grapes are now being harvested! This marks the beginning of our green table grape season at HMC Farms. Ivory grapes boast large berries with crisp texture and a sweet flavor.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, nectarines, and Flame red seedless table grapes. The weather in the coming days should include a bit of relief from the persistent heat, with peak temperatures in the mid to low 90s for most of the forecast. Overnight lows are settling back in the target range for fruit color and sugar development in our orchards and vineyards.
We are just coming off of a jump from temperatures in the 90s to a ten day stretch of temperatures reaching highs over 100 degrees, at least half of which were 105° or beyond. The heat wave peaked on Sunday, as temperatures hit up to 110° in some places on our farms. Extended periods of high heat can have a significant impact on our crops, especially when overnight lows don’t dip down enough to give our trees and vines some relief. We typically like the overnight lows to be in the mid 60s or below during the summer to allow for color and sugar development. A heat wave like this slows our production, increases stress on trees and vines, and reduces our harvest to half days because it’s too hot for crews to harvest.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, nectarines, and Flame red seedless table grapes. Ivory green seedless table grapes are on track to begin harvest soon. The forecast shows highs dipping slightly to the high 90s for a few days before popping back up into the 100s over the weekend for another five days.
Our table grapes have moved into the veraison stage. During veraison, the berries on the grape clusters begin to soften and change color, as pictured above. This color change marks the onset of ripening. From this point, the grapes pictured above will ripen fairly quickly.
Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Table grape harvest is still tracking slightly behind last year’s harvest dates, but will begin soon. Weather over the past 10-14 days has been very cooperative with the start of our table grape veraison. Hot and sunny days are in the forecast, just touching 100° over the weekend before dropping back down, but overnight lows should remain mostly in the low 60s.
Our peaches, plums, and nectarines continue to grow as summer approaches. As pictured, our peaches are beginning to gain a little bit of blush color. The anticipated sunshine and warm weather ahead will help our fruit continue to grow and deepen in color and flavor. Things are shaping up for harvest to begin a couple of days later than last year’s start date, which may shift slightly depending on the weather over the next couple of weeks. Keep in contact with your HMC salesperson for harvest updates.
Hot days are upon us, but a chance of precipitation lingers in the forecast. We are in the final weeks of historically-based weather concerns. Our tree fruit thinning is approximately halfway completed, and grape bunches are forming on our vines.
When the baby fruit on our trees is just under the size of a ping pong ball, we proceed with thinning in our orchards. Thinning involves removing under sized or over crowded pieces of fruit from our trees, which has multiple benefits. By removing excess and under-sized pieces of fruit, the tree is able to provide nutrients to the fruit that remains and the sun will be able to better reach the fruit, both resulting in good sizing and flavor. Additionally, removing excess weight prevents branches from breaking, and having evenly sized fruit results in fewer harvest passes through the field, reducing labor costs.
As mentioned above, tree fruit orchards are undergoing thinning at this time. Our table grape vineyards are in the shoot development stage of growth. This week’s forecast shows warmer days with no likelihood of precipitation.