June 24, 2019

Summer Harvest

Apricot Tree

Farm News

Our apricots are here! All that pruning, cover-crop growing, blossoming and irrigation came together to put out an amazing set of fruit on our trees. This is among the first stone fruit of the California season and is certainly the first piece of stone fruit being harvested from our farm. The Royal Blenheim apricot is an heirloom variety, one of the originals!


Omar and his harvest crew have the job of getting each one of these gems off the tree at just the right time. Too early and they don’t taste as good as they could. Too late and the birds get them before we can. Staying on top of this task is a bit of an art. There are parts of the orchard with different soil that for whatever reason ripen a few days before everything else – we call these “hot spots,” and they get special attention. Also, we have to watch the weather. If it’s warm, maybe we need to pick again tomorrow. If not so warm, maybe we can wait three days. This is a job that you cannot do well without experience, and fortunately, Omar and team have been doing this for many, many years.

fruit Trees

With the first summer harvest, there is always a level of excitement—the grand finale of the crop, one whole year of care and attention, and finally, we get to reap the “fruits of our labor.” Sorry, I couldn’t help it, but it is a good saying and that has to be where it came from. I had a good chuckle explaining to my kids why school is out for summer and not fall, winter or spring. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone in the community was needed to do the job of getting all the fruit (this exact variety of apricot) off the trees in time. All the work was in summer, so they took it off school so everyone could be available to help with the harvest work.

The kids gave me that stare, kind of blank and kind of pensive as they tried to figure out if I was pulling their legs or telling them the truth. In the end, they figured I was joking. I let it go, knowing that in a few years they will be old enough to put in some long days on the farm and once they realize how much work it really does take to pick just one apricot tree, they will realize that papa wasn’t kidding.


Reminds me of the first time I really understood the number 1,000. As a kid younger than my kids are now, my brothers and I were all sent into the turnip field with an order to pick “1,000, no bigger than a quarter.” At the time, I thought the number 100 was big!