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Friday, April 28, 2017

Green Almonds

There are always those trends that seem to pop up and certain people just shake their heads in disbelief over the following or popularity of the trend. Much like those new 'dirty jeans' that everyone seems in uproar about from Nordstrom. Yep, for those that haven't heard, you can buy a pair of jeans with dirt and grease stains on them for $425 from Nordstrom.


People in the working class community just shake their heads in disbelief that something we try so hard to clean after a hard days work, is now a trend. Well, much like the dirty jeans, when I first heard of green almonds I was caught a little off guard. People are paying a premium for what? To the average consumer, I am sure they would look at the price tag and the appearance and ask just what they were paying for. But for the high end foodie, celebrity or royal it may be something they look forward to all year.


So what exactly is a green almond?

Well, it is just what you would think, a green almond. An almond still in the green stage of development during early spring. The hull is soft and green while the inside is like a gelatin. These green almonds are consumed whole. Yep- hull, developing shell and meat in all.  This stage is about a four week window starting early to mid April. There is a second phase that can be available for about a four week window after that. This is when the kernel or meat of the almond is starting to firm up more and the hull is also harder. You wouldn't consume the hull in this stage.

What is all the hype about?

Green almonds are considered a delicacy that originated in the Mediterranean. No surprise, since the almond is a Mediterranean fruit. But there, people have been consuming this delicacy for decades. It is definitely a niche market product in America where you will have to dine at a fancy upscale East Coast restaurant, with the celebs or extreme foodies to find.

Halibut and pickled green almonds- PC: California Almonds
I would say it is an acquired taste. One that some members of my family do enjoy. They say it tastes like a cucumber and has the same texture as a grape.


Green almonds are a niche and a rare product to find on your supermarket shelves. Most who purchase, order direct from a processor who knows what they are doing with this delicate fruit. One specific grower seems to have figured out the market for them to sell green almonds. They hand pick the almonds and very carefully clean and pack them the same day to ship out to the customer. You wouldn't want to machine harvest such a delicate fruit and you want to make sure the tree still has fruit on it for harvest in the fall. We aren't talking large volume here, so hand picking for orders could be done fairly reasonable.


So there you have it. Green almonds in a nutshell. Well, actually green almonds before the nutshell. If you see yourself in a high end restaurant or dining with the queen during the next few weeks, be on the look out for green almonds. Now, you will be informed and aware of what you might eat. For the rest of us we can wait three more months for the finished product!


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Last Adventure as Three

The last couple week's I have been a little MIA, especially when it comes to regular social media updates on the farm or the family. Well, we decided to go on one last adventure as three. In a mere 9 weeks, our next little baby H is set to arrive. Our summer will be filled with the new baby and the adventures of raising two, all happening 1 MONTH before almond harvest will begin. That's right, about the time hull split is scheduled to occur and spray usually needs to be applied, I will most likely be welcoming a new baby into the family and taking my farmer husband away from the farm.
Luckily, our family farm has plenty of family around that will be helping out so hopefully my farmer husband can take a few days to help me get used to life as a mom of two.
But anyways, before that chaos starts and before I feel so uncomfortably pregnant, we wanted to take one last adventure as three. When thinking of places to go, relax and explore it seems like the beach is always the first thing to come to our minds. We live just under 2 hours from Pismo Beach area, which is very popular for getting away. It is also the area we went to college, so we are pretty familiar with where to go and what to see.
But I do have to admit, as much as I love the beach, I am more of a mountain girl. I grew up 2 hours from a family mountain cabin and exploring the lake, creeks and trails was always much more exciting to me.
After some contemplation with the husband, we decided mountains would be much more relaxing and change of scenery for us. When discussing where to go, we both made a weird realization. We live 3 hours from Yosemite National Park and neither of us had ever been there. As children, we both had gone on cross country car trips to see Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Four Corners, etc. but we had never been to Yosemite.
That was it. We were going to explore our own backyard vacation hotspot. After some research, I discovered a great vacation rental company, Redwoods in Yosemite, where you can rent a private cabin for your family. The cabins are fully equipped for your vacation needs as they double as private cabins that individuals own and use as well. It was perfect for us. I made our breakfast every morning, packed a picnic lunch for the day and we made it back for dinner every night. We did indulge one night with a dinner out at nearby Tenaya Lodge.  It was a great out of park, not as crowded option for good food.
Staying by the south entrance of the park was perfect for us. It was near the small town of Wawona that isn't as crowded or touristy as the other areas of the park. We were able to go explore and hike around our cabin, walk down to a near by elementary school for playtime, and still be close to a market for last minute food items I forgot.

Our little almond farmer playing in the park
On Thursday, it rained most of the day. But we were able to take in some sights and explore Big Trees Lodge area in between the rain. There is a Pioneer Village just up the road where you can take a self guided walking tour of old buildings and history of the pioneer days of Yosemite. Our little man enjoyed the old farm equipment and knocking on all the doors to see if anyone was home in the cute little cabins.
Rainy day tour of Pioneer Village
The day before we were only about a 45 minute drive from Yosemite Valley and the massive Yosemite Falls. Driving into the Yosemite Valley the sights are incredible. The valley is covered with quaint meadows, trails and the most beautiful waterfalls. This is also the most attractive places to stay in Yosemite so the two big lodges are here and multiple campgrounds, making traffic and parking kind of a nightmare. But we spent a good amount of time exploring the trails, scenic areas and waterfalls.
I was glad we didn't stay here though, too many people for me. I was happy to make the short drive back to our cabin at the end of the day and relax in quiet. It was the best time to go though, the record amount of rain and snow we have received made the falls overflowing with water.

Yosemite Falls

Lower Falls
On our last day we packed up our suitcases, said goodbye to our cabin and made the drive out of the park and towards Mariposa.  This town has loads of history in gold mining and was fun to explore. They have a quaint downtown filled with boutique shops, antiques, alpaca wool store, and olive oil tasting. A few miles up the road there was also a Mariposa Museum filled with old mining memorabilia and artifacts. This was a great little pit stop for us on our way to Chico for Easter.


I would say our last adventure as three was a success. My farmer husband got his history fix, with plenty to learn and read. My little almond farmer got to explore, play in the snow and run all over new places. And as for me. I got to relax with my two boys and enjoy the beauty we have in our own backyard before the chaos of motherhood is about to double!


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Life

Life can change in a blink of an eye. What is constant today, may be different tomorrow. Who we cherish and love, could be gone in a flash. In a world so fast paced and ever evolving as ours, you would think we would all be okay with this. But no. We aren't. And when change occurs, it shocks us. It rocks our boat. It alters our plans. But that is one thing I have learned over the years. We have no control over our plans.


There is a greater being that knows and understands our future far more than we do. We may have a path and a plan for what tomorrow should be, but tomorrow may bring something else. Life can change in a blink of an eye. There is something greater pushing us, challenging us, forcing us to take the other path.



The path we think we want, may not be the one we end up taking. Not by choice, but a greater pull. Life is full of unexpected pulls, changes and challenges. Just when you think you have life under control and you are headed down your path, you will make a sharp curve and end up somewhere else. We can't control life. As much as we want and try, it just can't happen.


We want our friends and family to be safe, healthy and happy. But sometimes the unexpected events happen and they are lost, gone forever. That evil word, cancer, is more and more common in daily conversations today. Tragic unexpected, unexplained accidents happen everyday. Know matter how religious you may be, evil can still come into your life. God is constantly changing our paths.


It may not seem like he has any reason for the tragedy he puts in your live, but there is a lesson to be learned. Something he wanted you to take away from it. He has a funny way of showing love sometimes. But don't give up hope. Life can change in a blink of an eye. What you may look at as tragedy today, could be hope and a new future tomorrow.


Love. Love each other. Love your enemy. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Don't be afraid to try something new. To step out of your box and be different. Life can change in a blink of an eye.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny