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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Family, Life's Greatest Blessing

A couple weeks ago my little family was lucky to be able to head up to Chico to help my father with walnut harvest for the second year in a row. Last year, we went up for an extended weekend and this year we went up for a whole week! It was great to be able to spend that much time with my family and share in so many great moments. Living 5 hours away from my family is hard. My parents don't get to see my son but maybe once a month if we are lucky. So being able to spend a whole week with them was amazing. Not just for the memories, but of course we had to put my almond farmer to work during walnut harvest

My dad primarily farms walnuts now. Growing up it was mainly almonds but farming almonds for 40 plus years on the same soil, a lot of farmers switch crops for the third generation. Two generations of almond trees on the same soil can take up all the necessary nutrients and not be able to rebuild for a productive third generation. So my father started planting walnuts and now only has a small amount of almonds left. Walnuts thrive in Northern California. They like the cooler summer nights and the rainy winters. But because harvest is in October time, they cant have it rain too much until after harvest is complete.

Being that their harvest is much faster and is a quicker process we thought a week would be a good time to help with the bulk of things. Of course not everything goes as planned, things break, people run late, life changes paths on you, but it all worked out at the end. After spending a week with my family, we returned home to celebrate my husband's grandfather turn 94 years young. It was a great day filled with sunshine, family, pictures, food and laughter. It was an honor to see how much family came to love our Buddy on his special day. The memories and stories that he has been blessed with and to watch them continue on is a true
 blessing.

All these great family memories really got me thinking of all life's blessings. Family truly is a never ending, forever pouring, forever loving, memory making happiness. Sometimes we tend to take family for granted. You may get to see them every day, work with them, or live with them. But others don't get to share as many moments with their loved ones, sometimes though this makes the fewer moments that much more special.
My family in my parents walnut orchard pre baby

My Husband's side of the family in our almond orchard

It may not always be full of smiles and laughter, things may not always go according to plan. Your plan may literary get thrown out the window, but one thing is always there at the end of the day. Regardless of how crappy your day may have been, how many things may have broke down, how many holes you may have got stuck in, how many times you may have started over, family is always there. You may not always like them, you may not always agree with them, you may not always want to talk to them, but family will always love you. You may not always be there with them, you may be hundreds miles away, but family is always there for you. Life will throw you curve balls, life will take you for a roller coaster ride and you will end up not exactly where you thought. But it is those times we get to create memories with the ones we love that really matter. Family really is life's greatest blessing.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Almond Processor Tour

So did all my harvest pictures make you hungry for almonds? If you follow me on social media, you know it was busy, busy, busy! Harvest is such a great time of year because there is so much going on in the fields to capture. Almond harvest is complete now and it's time for a long nap!  The nuts have all left the fields and they are on their way to the consumers. There are multiple steps though the almonds must go through to get to the consumer. Last year, I took you all on a tour of an almond huller and sheller. The huller is the first stop the almonds take once they leave the field. After the almonds have been hulled and shelled the next stop is the processor.


I had the opportunity to tour a local processor in our area to see the next step. Supreme Almonds of California is a great processor that is right down the street from our farm and they just so happen to send local almonds all over the country and world. They are just one of many local processors that service our great industry.

bins of almonds arrive from the huller
First, Almonds come from the huller in large wooden boxes. The almonds first get sampled for the processor to keep a small sample of the condition the nuts came in like. They are also sampled at all stages for quality and safety at each step. Then, the almonds go through a series of sizing belts. The sizing belts separate any blemished nuts and then various different sizes are sorted into separate bins. The blemished nuts go to animal feed, or to further processing for almond butter or almond milk. The different sized almonds all have different uses. Small nuts may be used for candy or granola bars while the larger nuts may get used in trail mixes,snack packs or consumed in the natural state. All the different sizes of almonds have so many different uses that each buyer has a preference and desired size they are seeking for their specialty.

sizing cups separate the almonds
Each size is them poured into new bins

Hand sorting
Once the sizes are separated they are taken to hand sorters. The hand sorters remove any more blemished nuts and any debris that may have been missed. The hand sorted almonds are then run through a metal detector next to ensure any parts from the harvesting equipment or anything non natural is absent. I thought this was a pretty cool step. Especially during hunting season, we get a lot of hunters on our property and it's nice to know anything that isn't supposed to be in the nut is taken out.

Almonds are also pasteurized to ensure they are safe for human consumption and free from salmonella or any bacteria. The almonds then get bagged or boxed into the buyers preference and shipped all over the world.


The processor was great to see first hand. The care and handling these almonds go through is special. The hand sorters tend so delicately to ensure these are the best almonds being sent out. The almonds truly do look perfect when they get packaged to be shipped out. Almonds are now ready to eat! So go get them while they are fresh!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl