Since the beginning of fig farming in California, fig growers have watched over their land and orchards with an almost spiritual zeal. Many of the original orchards planted during the inception and expansion of the Fresno Fig Garden were on marginal soil. It was a necessity for growers to take very good care of this marginal land to maintain its fertility for future generations.
Fig trees are well suited for marginal soil because they need fewer inputs, including water. In fact, a fig tree will flourish with about one-half the annual water needs of an almond tree. There have been, and continue to be, few herbicides and pesticides used in the production of figs. Many orchards are no till and most growers chip their tree trimmings for mulch or biofuel. Unlike some dried fruits, figs are naturally dried in the sun and not dehydrated in fossil fuel burning mechanical dryers.
Valley Fig Growers Digester
Valley Fig Growers’ digester demonstrates technologically advanced anaerobic digestion as a cost effective method for treating food processing wastewater. The digester reduces the concentration of the high strength wastewater sent to the City of Fresno’s sewer system, thus reducing Valley Fig Grower’s wastewater disposal fees.
By reducing wastewater strength 70 to 80 percent with the digester, Valley Fig Growers is freeing up capacity for other users equivalent to 2,500 homes. The digester produces biogas, a clean-burning, renewable fuel that is captured, pressurized, and used in burners providing hot water to the plant.
Valley Fig Growers Continues On A Greener Path with Solar Panel Installation
Fresno, CA (June, 2013) – Valley Fig Growers is proud to announce the planned installation of a solar array of photovoltaic panels that will generate 60 percent of our electrical needs and reduce our carbon footprint.
Always interested in exploring ways to reduce costs and move towards a greener energy producing system, we will be working with JKB Energy. JKB Energy proposed a system which would generate 60% of our electrical needs and breakeven in today's dollars. With anticipated electrical cost inflation factored in, we will reduce costs substantially over the next 10 years.
The project was presented to the board of directors and they approved $1.4 million to purchase a 625 kW photovoltaic electrical generation system from JKB Energy. The system will be financed and leased through Farm Credit Leasing.
These panels will be installed on the roof of all warehouse buildings. Construction will be completed within 100 days of the start date.
“This system married with the process water anaerobic digester we completed several years ago will make Valley Fig Growers a model for other California food processors and will keep us on the cutting edge of the sustainability movement,” says Mike Emigh, outgoing President of Valley Fig Growers. “Contrary to Kermit's standard line,” Mr. Emigh says, "It's easy to be green.”Live Solar Monitoring System