The Central Valley has become the premier growing region, producing approximately 75 percent of the world’s almonds.
The dormant winter season is a time when almond trees are pruned to train the tree structure and remove dead, diseased, drooping branches and “suckers” in center of tree. Also, during winter pruning and maintenance we “sanitize” the orchard, removing all old nuts that didn’t fall off during harvest, called “mummies,” from the trees. This sanitation is actually one of the most important processes as it removes the overwintering breeding grounds for some of the worst insect pests in almonds enabling us to minimize insecticide applications.
Spring bloom season in the Central Valley is dazzling. From late February to early March, endless acres of almond orchards show off soft pale pink almond blossoms for as far as the eye can see. This is one of the most exciting times as millions of bees go to work in the trees; the orchards literally buzz on a sunny afternoon as the critical work of pollination takes place.
From this time forward into summer, orchards need to be frost-free, have mild temperatures and minimal rain for blossoms to flourish and let the delicate nutlets begin to take shape. As spring passes into summer, blossom pedals drop and trees leaf out. Successful pollination brings the early signs of fuzzy gray-green “fruit”.
During the summer growing season the almond outer hull and inner shell continue to harden and mature until the time when it begins to split open, which is typically in July. From this time until late August through October (depending on variety), the split widens, exposing the almond’s shell. This exposure allows the kernel, or nut, inside to dry.
The whole nut and stem finally are ready to separate and, shortly before harvest, the hull opens completely. The trees are shaken to remove the nuts and are finally harvested after the hulls and kernels have sufficiently dried on the orchard floor.