Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Pruning: A Journey to California Pruning Peach Trees


One of the most challenging yet exciting parts of farming without your own land is figuring out your next step.  What do I want to learn and where do I want to learn how to do it?  At this rather early stage in my farming career, stability can still take a backseat to opportunity and exploration.  The goal is to have my carrots and eat them too, but while searching for that balance, there are many roads to travel, some of which happen to be in California.  Christmas marked the end of my season with Barbara and Eliot, at Four Season Farm and I booked a ticket to California.  I started up in the foothills of the Sierras, down through the valley of Sacramento and west along the Pacific coast, I encountered a variety of farms and lifestyles.  Every farm is different, every farmer has a different philosophy and every two hours I experienced a different climate.  Farming and good food have been staples in California for many years and although the majority of our country's conventional food production is found in the Central Valley, some of the longest running organic farms and farmers can be tracked down not to far away.  Locally sourced food isn't as much of a gimmick as it is a lifestyle here in California, but maybe that's because you can grow 12 months of the year without too much additional infrastructure.  In the northeast, we have a long way to go to catch up, but with greenhouse technologies and places like Four Season Farm and Stone Barns developing and sharing simple, applicable, four season farming practices to this ever-growing population of interested and active eaters, we are well on our way.  Today we are going to narrow this trip down and focus on one fascinating...