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 of the makeup of our soil, we often use rootstock combined with scion wood (the upper part of the tree or vine which determines the fruit variety). We carefully select our rootstock based on characteristics such as drought resistance or increased vigor to pair with both the scion wood and the soil type. Because we grow permanent crops, the rootstock we choose is incredibly important. We basically have one chance to get it right, so we carefully research the pairings before planting and grafting. Learn more through this video on our YouTube channel.
Harvest is now underway for yellow and white nectarines. When compared to last year, nectarines were delayed 3-7 days, and peaches were delayed 1-4 days for early season varieties. Peach sizing is on par, but nectarines are a size to a size and a half smaller than last year’s crop thus far. All of the fruit is exhibiting great flavor and quality. Towards the middle to end of May, we started full volume peach and nectarine harvest.
We recently installed a new grading machine at our packing facility in Traver. Last year, we installed the same machine at our plum facility and saw great results, so we’ve added another machine for peaches and nectarines. It performs vision-based defect sorting and removes any fruit not meeting our programmed visual specifications. After going through defect sorting, the fruit is checked by graders before going to packers, so that the packers no longer need to re-grade the fruit. This helps us ensure that only the very best fruit is packed into HMC boxes, and helps deal with the ongoing labor shortage we’ve experienced in more recent years.