From Orchard to Table
Crunching into an almond, it’s hard to imagine the journey that little tree nut took to make its way to your mouth. The almond lifecycle has many stages and an abundance of natural beauty, and here’s your chance to explore it all from start to finish.
November through February, almond trees go through a period of dormancy when the cold weather lets them sit back, relax and store up almond nutrients for next year’s crop.
Between late February and early March, almond tree buds burst into beautiful light pink and white blooms in preparation for pollination. Nonpareils are among the first to bloom, while other varieties, such as Carmel and Mission, bloom later.
Many almond trees are not self-pollinating, so bees provide the missing piece of the puzzle. Populations of bees are brought to the orchard to carry pollen and initiate crop development.
From March to June, almonds continue to mature, with the shell hardening and kernel forming. Also at this time, green almonds are harvested for various culinary uses.
In July and early August, almond hulls begin to split open exposing the almond shell and allowing it to dry. Shortly before harvest, the hulls open completely.
From mid-August through October, mechanical tree "shakers" harvest the almonds by vigorously shaking them to the ground. The almonds then dry naturally for 8–10 days in the orchard before they are swept into rows and picked up by machine.
After harvest, almonds go to a huller/sheller where the kernels pass through a roller to remove the hull, shell and any remaining debris. Next stop: the handler for sizing, where the almond kernels drop into separate bins according to size.
After sizing, almonds are kept in controlled storage conditions to maintain quality until they're either shipped or further processed into any variety of different almond forms for diverse culinary uses.