Farming Practices

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Our 20 acre farm is located at the mouth of the Capay Valley – a beautiful 30 mile long valley on the east side of the coastal range, home to dozens of small farms and speciality growers.  We are members of the Capay Valley Grown partnership of farmers and ranchers who are all committed to growing the very freshest and tastiest of foods.

 

We have planted eight acres of olive trees. Our rows are spaced 18 feet about, with the trees 13 feet apart in the rows – for a medium density spacing of 186 trees/acre.  About 2/3 are the Coratina variety originating in Puglia, Italy.  About 1/3 are Picual, originating in the south of Spain.  They were chosen for their affinity to this climate, and for the flavor profile and high level of polyphenols in the oil.  We also have small numbers of other varieties:  Pendalino, Itrana, Barnea, and Nocellara del Belice.  They add pollination and potential for blending.

 

We prune our trees in deep winter to optimize fruit production and harvesting. In the spring we mow the cover crop several times, and apply organic compost and gypsum to the soil. A drip irrigation system monitors soil moisture in the fields, which we use to guide our summer irrigation levels. We send leaf samples to the lab in July to determine the nutrient needs of our trees. During the summer months we also apply organic sprays to control olive fruit fly, and fertilize the olives by using the irrigation system to apply liquid organic fertilizer to each tree. The olives are ready for harvest in late October and November.

 

In 2013 we completed a 3 year EQIP grant from the USDA NRCS for execution of appropriate conservation measures for the farm.

Getting advice from Agronomist Milagros Castro