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Highlights of 2014

2014, you have been good to me! It has been a great year filled with new beginnings, adventures and of course new life. Looking back on the year only makes me look forward to what else is in store for me next year. If you follow me on social media, this week we looked back on the most popular blog posts of 2014. Here are my top three most viewed blogs of 2014.

 #3: Almond Huller & Sheller. I took you guys on a tour of our almond huller and sheller for a chance to peak into how almonds are prepped for processing. It was a first hand look at taking the hulls and shells off the almond and exposing the meat to be processed for consumption.

 #2: Almond Varieties. In this blog post I explained the many different varieties of almonds and the many different uses of this varieties. Many consumers don't stop to think about the many different kinds of almonds and what the farmer grows those for. Just like an apple, each kind of almond has a distinct flavor and complex characteristics. Explore with me the different uses and next time you bite into an Almond Joy or enjoy your favorite sliced almond you may be able to tell what variety of almond you are enjoying.

#1: How is the CA drought going to affect you? I enjoyed writing this blog and I am so happy that it picked up so much momentum. California is deep into a drought much like other states. But unlike other states, we grow a a quarter of all food produced in the world. What does this mean to you? Well, whether you live in California, the Mid West or Europe, you may have to go without certain foods or you may have to pay extra to enjoy these California crops.

Personally, my almond farmer and I also have a few highlights of our own we are proud of. We are getting more efficient with land optimization. We planted a new orchard and get to watch a new leaf as it is turned over on our farm.We were featured as a farming couple confronts drought as part of a California Farm Bureau publication. But most importantly, our highlight of the year was welcoming our Little almond farmer into the world! Next year will be filled with more adventures, more challenges and a lot more pictures of our little one. :)

We can't wait to see what is in store for 2015! See you all next year.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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Almond varieties

Did you know there are over 30 different varieties of almonds grown commercially?! All have their own unique purpose, size, and shape. Most almond farmers, have multiple varieties in the same orchard, the most popular being nonpareil. Nonpareil is the prettiest almond, most widely produced and comes with the biggest return back to the grower. But we can't all farm nonpareils, they need to be pollinated somehow. Almonds typically need at least two varieties in an orchard because the almond flower cannot pollinate itself like other fruit trees can. We learned about that with the almond bloom and bee blog!! So we have pollinator varieties that complement other varieties and offer their own unique purpose. I am going to outline a few of the more widely grown varieties for you, but feel free to check out The Almond Board of California's full guide.


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Almond by-products

When people think of almond uses they tend to just think of using the almond meat. Almonds have multiple by-products actually. When almonds are processed at the huller the almond meat is separated from the hull and shell. The hulls, shells and hash are also sold and used.

Almond hulls are the green out most layer of the almond while on the tree. The hull is what splits and starts the countdown to harvest. Once the almond has dried in the field, the hull also dries and begins to separate from the almond. At the huller, they remove the hulls and stock pile them until sold. Almond hulls are sold for animal feed, most commonly dairy feed. The hulls actually add nutrition to the animals diet and aid in healthy milk production. Growing up on my family's farm, we used the hulls to feed our breeding sheep. It was cheaper than grain, helped to add nutrition to the animal diet and while filled them up faster.

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What fertilizers do almonds need?

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We prefer the fertigation method to fertilize our trees through the water in our irrigation drip hoses. This helps us to be more efficient and effective in our fertilizer use. When we fertilize in the spring we use three different kinds of fertilizers; Nitrogen, Potassium and Zinc. It is like a farmers version of a a perfect vitamin combination.

Nitrogen is important to help encourage leaf growth and nut development. Nitrogen provides the building block to form protein and oils.  One of the key reasons you probably eat almonds is because they are high …