California Sustainable Farming
Although two weeks behind in the Rancho's planting schedule, harvest will be right on time. 300 acres of conventional tomatoes and 250 acres of organic tomatoes will be harvested the last week of August. Ensuring a healthy growing season Ranch Manager Charlie Edgar meticulously calculates how much water, soured from the Rancho's sloughs and lakes, to pump into the 550 total acres. Every Friday, Edgar calls the Rancho's Orchard Operation Manager, Victor, to tell him how many hours it will take to fully irrigate the fields. The number of hours is calculated through a process Edgar refers to as mathematical evapotranspiration rate (ETR). From this, Edgar discovered the fields needed to be pumped for an average of 23 hours a week. During irrigation 22 gallons of water per one acre is pumped every hour for five hours a day. 110 gallons of water per acre is needed each day. Translated, it will take an average of 13,200 gallons of water per acre to grow tomatoes this year.
Orchard and Row Crops
As summer creeps into fall, October looks to be a busy month. The Rancho will harvest all vine seed crop including watermelon, cucumbers and squash. Additionally, the orchard team has been busy transitioning our conventional walnuts to organic. This process takes a total of three harvest years with this being the first year of harvest. During the first two years of harvest, the walnuts will be considered transitional - they are not conventional nor are they organic. The walnuts will be certified as organic in the third year of harvest. The Rancho is currently laying 312 acres of irrigation pipes for a new almond orchard and 41,184 trees will be planted in October. However, we won't see our first harvest until 2020.
Additionally, 20 acres of organic California ancient grains will be planted in October and are set to be harvested next July. This summer 350 acres of barley were harvested for pigs feed. Straw left behind from the harvested barley is gathered, baled and used to continuously replace and refill the hogs deep bedded hoop barns. A spacious new load out pen has been built to keep our pigs happy, misted and cool during the summer heat. The pen is equipped with hanging misters and automatic water spigots. Check out photos of the new pen here. Furthermore, the cowboys' consistent cattle operation is running smooth with 850 pregnant mamma cows. The Rancho expects to have new calves born early October.