Friday, February 18, 2011

An Early Year for Almond Flowers

One of the wonderful things about agriculture is it's cyclical nature. Every year, the same processes occur, blooming, budding, sprouting, fruiting, harvest, etc. They don't always occur at the same or with the same intensity (ask any farmer about the lateness of last year's harvest), but they do occur.

One of my favorite cyclic events of the year is the almond bloom that starts in mid-February and lasts for about two weeks. Historically (I've been shooting the almond bloom since 2004), the bloom starts around February 18 and peaks around February 28th, as can be seen in a chart of the dates of photos of the almond bloom that I've taken in the past 7 years:

Almond photos 2004-2011
Chart of the dates of almond flower photos I've taken since 2004.

However, this year got an earlier start than I've ever seen: I took my first batch of photos on February 12th - far earlier than any previous year!

This isn't really much of a surprise since we have had six weeks of warm, dry weather in January and early February, with many days getting all the way into the 70's. 

I'm not sure what effect this will have on the length of the almond bloom, but knowing that a series of storms was coming, I wasted no time getting into the field this year. True, most of the orchards were just starting to bloom on the 12th, but there were enough flowers blooming to get a few nice shots (below).

All of the photos below were taken at Cal Worthington's ranch in Glenn County.

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

Hopefully, the weather will clear enough for me (and the bees) to get out again before the bloom is over. If I'm lucky and I get some really good weather, I might be able to even get some aerial views of the almonds again this year.

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