HMC Farms hosted a special visitor last week: Greg Ibach, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Under Secretary Ibach toured our packing facility in Kingsburg before participating in a round table discussion on current trade issues, explaining the administration’s position and allowing us to explain ours in return. We appreciate the effort to show that the USDA cares about farmers and understands that we are in an uncomfortable position. It’s exciting that top officials in ag are showing an interest in farmers, including US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, who visited HMC Farms last year and invited Harold to be a guest at the NYSE bell ringing earlier this year.
Red plum harvest is slowly increasing, with black plums beginning harvest soon. We have completed approximately 2/3 of leafing and tipping in our grape vineyards. At this point, we are about a month away from grape harvest. It’s hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago we were still facing heavy rain, and we are now in the midst of a stretch of hot and sunny days.
It appears that the unusual weather period has passed, and we are now into hot and sunny days, which is typical of weather at HMC Farms in early June. The fairly sudden change in temperature has caused our tree fruit to begin maturing more rapidly, leading our farm management team to adapt to the changes while remaining selective in harvest to avoid any lingering issues from the adverse weather. We anticipate that things should be back to normal by next week.
Plum harvest at HMC Farms should increase in the next couple of weeks and be in full swing in the second half of this month. The cool weather previously slowed down the sizing of our table grapes, but with the shift to warmer temperatures they are now beginning to size at a faster pace. We are leafing and tipping in our vineyards. Tipping involves trimming each bunch in order to obtain the best size, color, and flavor for harvest.
This month has been the strangest weather we can remember at HMC Farms in the month of May. On Sunday, we received nearly 1.5″ of rain, and the high temperature was 58°. We have adjusted to deal with issues caused by the unusual weather, meaning that the fruit tastes great, but we are losing quite a bit to get it into the box. We will have to wait to see what impact the weather has had on our grapes as we approach table grape season. As the weather returns to normal, the problems we have faced in our orchards should correct themselves
Peach, nectarine, and summerwhite harvest remains ongoing. Plum harvest has begun with light volumes of Flavor Rosa plums. We estimate that the HMC Farms grape harvest will begin on par with, or possibly slightly behind, last year’s dates. The forecast shows temperatures warming up into the low 90s by early next week, which is more consistent with historical averages.
The names of tree fruit varietals often come from the nursery, but occasionally we have the opportunity to name them ourselves. Our Krista peaches are named after our very own Krista Jensen Carlson!
Tree fruit thinning is approximately 75% complete in our orchards. Peach, nectarine, and summerwhite harvest remains ongoing. Plum harvest is scheduled to begin soon. Grape harvest is estimated to begin at about the same time as last year, which could be impacted slightly by weather.
Adverse weather remains active through this weekend. While it is not good for our crops to have rain so far into the harvest season, we have been able to mitigate damages to this point. There has been minimal impact on our crops in comparison to some other types of active crops. We will continue to monitor the weather with a close eye as more rain approaches.
Chelsea (McClarty) Ketelsen and Sarah McClarty are featured on the current edition of Western Grower & Shipper magazine. The issue’s focus is women in agriculture breaking stereotypes. Chelsea is our Vice President and Sarah is our Chief Financial Officer, both crucial positions in our leadership structure. They are joined by several other women at HMC Farms in key leadership roles – from Packing House Manager to Director of Food Safety. Click here to read the full article.
Peach harvest is increasing, with nectarines, white peaches, and white nectarines beginning harvest this week. Once again, a chance of rain has popped up in our weekly forecast. We will continue to monitor weather developments as they occur.
Harvest is beginning in our peach orchards this week! Yellow nectarines, white peaches, and white nectarines are scheduled to begin harvest next week. We anticipate being in full volume harvest by the week of May 20.
Around this time of year, each grape berry reveals a tiny flower called bloom. The clusters of grapes have an excess of berries, so we need to thin them during the bloom. Because thinning grapes by hand would be quite time consuming and costly, we complete grape thinning by spraying. This process allows room for each berry to grow to an appropriate size, resulting in better quality grapes. The timing of this spray is crucial to its success.
Precipitation has crept back into the weekly forecast. We will continue to monitor the weather closely as we approach potential thunderstorms.
Harvest is rapidly approaching for our peaches, followed by nectarines and then plums in the coming weeks. From this point forward, our tree fruit will continue to grow and deepen in color until harvest. Keep in contact with your HMC salesperson for harvest updates.
This week’s forecast calls for warm days and cool lows. We are nearing the end of weather concerns, and heading toward hot, sunny days. Our tree fruit thinning is more than half complete, and bunches continue to form on our grape vines.
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.
Reedley College has revealed the location of the future McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The land on the northeast corner of the campus which is the future home of the new building is not just an important piece of the school’s future, but also an important piece of local history: the place where the town of Reedley was founded. The McClarty Family Foundation made a sizable donation to support this effort, which is a cause near and dear to Harold’s heart. Ground-breaking is anticipated to begin in about a year, and the building itself is slated for completion in approximately two years.
Thinning continues in our tree fruit orchards, and our table grape vineyards remain in the shoot development stage of growth. We received a dusting of rain early this week, with warm and sunny days in the forecast.
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.