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Stories from the valley

Having a Carl Sagan Moment

Contributed by Jim Morris

I can still hear the comment from astronomer Carl Sagan about the billions and billions of stars in our galaxy.

A lot closer to home there’s much beauty in the brief but stunningly beautiful billions upon billions of blooms in almond orchards throughout the Central Valley. This is an important time of the year for almonds and other orchard crops. The better the weather, the better shot farmers have at bountiful crops come harvest time.

Dax 1I paid a visit to grower Dax Kimmelshue in Durham, a community in Butte County that has long been a major farming area for almonds. The Kimmelshue’s started growing almonds in the 1960s.  The orchards look good and nature has cooperated so far.  It seems honeybees are pretty finicky and don’t do their best work if it’s too wet or windy.  (It’s astounding to think that around 1.7 million bee colonies are needed to pollinate the almond crop.)

As you drive throughout the valley, keep an eye out for the blooming orchards. They’re more than a lovely sight on the landscape. Those billions upon billions of blooms eventually mean food, jobs and economic revenue for our region and state.