Stone fruit harvest in full swing in Central Valley

Dale Yurong Image
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Stone fruit harvest in full swing in Central Valley
The stone fruit harvest is in full swing in the Valley. That includes peaches, plums and nectarines.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Instead of climbing up and down ladders that they carry around the orchard, workers picking peaches and nectarines near Parlier are tethered to a mobile platform in between the trees.

HMC Farms has put several of the platforms to use during harvest these past few years.

Jon McClarty says they help keep workers safe and out of the sun since they provide shade protection. The crew had to wait a few extra weeks for these fruits to mature.

"It's a late crop, probably the latest we've seen in a couple of decades, brought on by a colder and rainier winter," he said.

HMC Farms grows more than 100 varieties of stone fruit, as well as grapes.

The nectarines are organic and will be shipped to stores all over the US.

"I think the industry responded to an increased demand in organic fruits, so it's been growing at 5-10% a year in terms of demand," McClarty said.

McClarty says all that wet weather may have slowed the crop, but the trees look extremely healthy.

"The quality of the crop is really good," he said. "The eating experience is wonderful -- probably the best I've had in the past 15 years."

McClarty also believes those harvest platforms we saw will help attract more laborers who like the idea of working more in the shade.