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HMC News December 2023

The California table grape season is slowly coming to a close. We expect to wrap up our California season and transition into Peruvian fruit at the end of this month or first week of January. We will expand our offshore offerings to Chilean grapes as well in early to mid-January. The recent cold weather has done a good job of starting the dormancy process on our trees and vines. This not only helps our plants receive their much-needed rest after a long season, but it allows our employees to make better pruning decisions. Without the leaves, the pruners can see…

HMC News – November 2023

A few members of the HMC Farms team recently participated in a panel at West Hills College focused on the Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation AgTEC initiative. This initiative focuses on developing a skilled, next generation workforce to support advanced, sustainable food production and manufacturing. As you’ve seen through our Ag tech topics over the summer, we are focused on improving jobs and processes through the use of ag technology and this was a great opportunity to talk about an example of how we’ve made that happen. As the seasons change, the trees adjust to their new environment. Leaves…

HMC News – January 2023

This month California was in a drought and a flood at the exact same time. We are ending the year with 40% more precipitation than last year, but unfortunately our state does not have the infrastructure to capture all the water that is rapidly falling upon us. On average, a “normal” rain day in California is 0.25″-0.75″, but these atmospheric river storms are bringing 2″+ of water at a time. While our vineyards and orchards are equipped to handle the weather, many places are not. The reservoirs are currently at half capacity and snowpack is already up to 200% of…

HMC News – November 2022

The fall rains are upon us. At the beginning of the month, we received over ¾ of an inch, which is substantial for our area. The storm was cold enough for snow in the mountains, and hopefully this is the start of some form of drought relief. Once it dried out, we continued pruning tree fruit orchards and wrapped up harvest on the grapes for the year. Overall, the weather has been nice and cool, which helps the trees enter dormancy and accumulate chill hours. Dormancy is important during pruning because it allows the trees to drop their leaves, giving…

dormant grape vineyard with puddle of water, blue sky with clouds above
HMC News – January 2022

We’re starting the new year with a good amount of precipitation on the books already this winter, and a gorgeous view of the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains from our office. September-December of 2021, we received 7.52″ of rain on our farms, compared with only 1.89″ in the same timeframe in 2020. We have already blown past the 7.07″ total for Sept 2020-June 2021, and more rain is likely on the way over the next couple of months. In December alone, we received just over five inches of much needed rain on our farms, which is a big step forward from…

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…

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…

HMC News – December 11, 2019

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. Crop Update: 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….

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…

HMC News – November 20, 2019

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. Crop Update: 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…