Tale of a Scientist Farmer

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Ed Magee spends his days thinking about sunlight. When he isn't working on his 38-acre orchard of white peaches and nectarines in Vernalis, California, he's in a lab studying the energy of electrons. This scientist-farmer's day job aids researchers in determining the elemental mix of stars. Ed is a scientist through and through and he takes a very measured and managed approach to his farming as well. Not only do they prune their trees to reach a shorter height of between six and eight feet for easier picking but they also believe that by not treating their soil with nitrogen during the growing season their trees work harder to produce more sugar for their fruit. Recently he was telling me about the challenges around water management in the Delta.
As a small family farmer who is concerned about doing things in a sustainable way, Ed installed low-flow micro sprinklers on his orchard. Instead of irrigating his trees through flood irrigation, which can be wasteful, Ed's micro-sprinklers water a six to eight food-circle just around the base of the tree - enough to cover the root area and nothing more. He manages the water application process based upon the health of the trees, time of year, and weather. Ed says this year has been a tough one for water in the Delta because of the low snow pack in the Sierra Nevada. He said he's been told that he has only half the water available to him that he did last year, which could mean that in August he will not have water for his trees. Even after his July harvest is done, his trees will need water in the fall to strengthen themselves before turning dormant for the winter. Trees aren't the only creatures looking for water during this hot and dry time of year. Coyotes slink into Ed's orchard at night and gnaw on his irrigation system - ripping off valves and biting through rubber tubing to get a drink. "At least they serenade us," Ed says jovially.
Local & Regional: As your office fruit delivery company, The FruitGuys works hard to bring you fruit grown as close to your workplace as we can. Summer time is the best time of year for local and regional fruit. This week for our east coast customers we have Early Magic Plums from Kauffman's Fruit Farm, and Rising Star Yellow Peaches from Three Springs Fruit Farm. On the west coast we have Ed Magee's Summer Sweet White Peaches, Blake Carlson's yellow peaches and nectarines and his first Red Flame Grapes. Please check out our mixes which describe the local and regional product selections by area here.
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Enjoy and be fruitful!
chris@fruitguys.com

 

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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.