More Crop Per Drop—Water-wise Family Farming at Maisie Jane’s

Posted on : June 27th, 2019

Maisie Jane and Her Children

At Maisie Jane’s we are committed to sustainable family farming. That’s why we have put practices in place that will save 22% more water, our most valuable natural resource. Using holistic land management and new technology we’re joining other water-wise family farmers across the state of California in a quest to respond to changing weather patterns and more extreme conditions. After all, almonds are one of the state’s largest crops, providing at least 104,000 jobs and creating $5.2 billion a year in revenue from the nuts alone. $21 billion is generated when nut products are added in. So, naturally, we want to keep almond growing sustainable for our communities and our families, and get to eat healthy delicious almonds on into the future!

Water use has become a big topic in California. We had a lot of rainfall this past winter but many years of drought before that, compounded by out-of-control wildfires have people feeling scared. And rightfully so. But unfortunately, an alarming misconception was born of these discussions: the idea that growing almonds uses 10% of California’s water. It’s not true! The correct figure is actually only 9% of the state’s managed agricultural water, as shown in the diagram on the left. In fact, although almonds occupy 13% of California’s irrigated farmland, they use only 9% of California’s agricultural (not total) water. That’s about the same as other fruit and nut crops and less proportionately than many other crops grown in the state.

Still, water usage is incredibly important for a sustainable future, so let me tell you what we’ve been doing on our farm:

Solar Powered Pumps

We use solar power to run ag well pumps for our orchards and other small farm orchards we purchase from. It’s very cool technology: the solar production monitoring system actually sends information to a phone app in real time so we know what’s going on at all times. But the most exciting thing is that by using solar energy we have a smaller carbon footprint. That means fewer emissions that might otherwise contribute to global warming.

Smart Well Motors

Variable-speed drives on our well motors pull only the groundwater needed. Because the water meter and timer are automated to work together to control our irrigation, less water is pumped and less water wasted.

Water Monitoring Probes

Ground monitoring probes are now located throughout our orchards to monitor soil moisture. They also send information via phone, allowing us to adjust the moisture in the soil anywhere, at any time, without as much time needed by us to monitor it by hand. That’s amazing and it allows us, again, to only use the water that is needed at any given time.

Water-wise Distribution

Micro-irrigation, distributed via underground drip lines, deliver water directly to the tree root system. The lines deliver water very slowly and only where the water is needed so less water is lost to evaporation, runoff and wind. Drip irrigation is more than 90 percent water efficient in orchards vs. sprinklers (data: AB1881 using the California Model Water Ordinance) so that’s an important aspect of what we’ve been doing. We also use soil maps in designing our irrigation systems to best match the soil characteristics of our orchards. That means less puddling and standing water. Yay!

We’re proud to be part of a movement of farmers who are evolving, innovating and regulating their crops, to bring more food, grown with less water, to your table.

Join us in being water-wise!

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family-owned and operated orchards. We use organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.