Christine Gemperle doesn’t like bare orchard floors in her almonds. “I’m a big proponent of having green stuff growing in my orchards,” she says. While appearance may be a factor, it’s not the only one she cites for wanting cover crops in her orchards. Gemperle and her brother, Erich, farm 40 acres of almonds near Turlock, Calif. and another 93 in nearby Gustine. They use cover crops early in the season to give arriving bee colonies a jump start from their overwintering status and to help promote soil health throughout the season. Christine admits the cover crops in the family’s Gustine orchard are currently opportunistic weeds that are mowed and managed the best that weeds can. At their Turlock farm, the cover crop is a mix of mustard and clover provided by Project Apis m., or PAm for short. Through its “seeds for bees” program, PAm provides seed mixes each year to growers interested in cover crops as a means to promote honeybee health, particularly during California’s almond bloom, which is the largest congregation of honeybees for a single pollination event in the United States.
About the Almond Board
Almonds from California are a natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,000 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit Almonds.com or check out California Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the California Almonds blog.