The Founder’s Harvest

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | Thursday November 12, 2020

Location(s) of Field Day:
Sierra Orchards – Winters, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Craig McNamara – Owner & Founder
Ramon Del Toro – Farm Manager
Sean McNamara – Farm Manager
Emily McNamara – Apprentice Farm Supervisor
Attila Kolozsi – Loading Supervisor & Farmhand

Theme:
Organic Walnut Production, Conservation, & Food Security

Summary of the Day:
The Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership class commenced the 2020-2021 program a bit differently than previous years; Opting for a digital model that abides by the social-distancing safety standards necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Students and teachers from Grant Union High School, Luther Burbank High School, and River City High School all joined Craig McNamara, owner of Sierra Orchards in a Zoom webinar for a screening of the virtual tour of his organic walnut orchard. In the post-tour Q&A session, one standout Junior of Luther Burbank, held Mr. McNamara to task with a battery of questions about his experience in the organic growing industry. FARMS Leadership students and a couple lucky teachers were provided Hands-On Learning Kits that included: organic walnut pieces, organic in-shell walnuts, crushed walnut shells, Sierra Orchards compost, organic cover crop mix, and a walnut grading sheet exhibiting the various defects that can befall the nutty legume; all complements of Craig McNamara and Sierra Orchards.


For more information or to view November’s Field Day, ‘click’ the YouTube link below:

¿¿ Drupe?? It’s ‘Drüp.

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin Valley | January 16, 2020

Location of the Field Day:
Prima Noce Packing
16461 Comstock Road, Linden CA 95236

Partner(s):
Joseph Stacher – Production Manager for Prima Frutta

The San Joaquin Valley Prima Noce field day began in the packing facility’s break room. Following a quick sign-in, mixed-berry breakfast parfaits, and some much needed hot cocoa, we started with a big introduction circle. After our host, Joseph “Joe” Stacher formally welcomed us all to the Prima Noce compound, Joe led us to the Prima Noce cherry and walnut orchard. Given we were in the dead of winter, most all trees within view were bare because their harvest was already in full swing. Students, teachers, and FARMS staff were able to walk through the orchard while Joe provided some Prima Noce history and fielded student questions.

Following our host, we began to tour the Prima Noce grounds, surveying various machinery for harvesting and the maintenance shop for keeping those machines in tip-top.

Once inside the primary facility, we were required to undergo a sanitation process that consisted of usage of mandatory hairnets, hand-washing, and an under-boot wash.

Now that we were all were contaminant-free, Joe could lead us through the various processes necessary to bring these Prima Noce drupes to market. Sorting using lasers, grading and bleaching based on the market they were destined for, and of course the packing lines.

We ended this field day early because it began POURING rain outside. However, before our premature departure, we all enjoyed big bowls of vegetarian chili and creamy tomato basil soup with tangy vinaigrette salads garnished with Prima Noce walnuts. After a couple professional skills development exercises and an workshop on “the correct way” to crack a walnut, we concluded the Prima Noce tour with a big ‘thank you’ to our host and a ‘closing circle’ to reflect on all that we had learned.