Picking up where we left off, here’s the second phase of how 80% of the world’s almonds are harvested from California’s orchards.
After shaking, sunning, and sweeping, it’s time to make some moves! Once the almonds have finished drying in their neat rows throughout the orchard, farmers drive a pick-up machine – or “harvester” – over them, vacuuming the nuts up into a cart.
Once the cart is full, it travels to the edge of the orchard where a machine known as an elevator is waiting. When almonds reach the elevator, they are unloaded from the cart onto a conveyor belt which moves them up into a waiting semi-trailer. Because this is a busy time for the orchard, almond farmers often have multiple harvesters and carts working so that when one is unloading nuts onto the elevator, others continue the process of picking up almonds.
After the trailers have been filled, the nuts are trucked off to a nearby processor who removes the outer hulls, shells, and any orchard debris. Almond farmers practice a zero-waste approach ensuring everything an orchard produces is put to use, including almond shells which are used as livestock bedding and hulls as dairy feed. What’s more, research is underway exploring new potential uses that bring even greater environmental and economic benefits!
With the hulls and shells removed, the almond kernels head to a processor for sorting and sizing. After that, the kernels are shipped for your consumption or further processed into a variety of different forms for diverse culinary uses, both supporting healthy diets around the world.
Beyond being good for us, farmers are working to grow almonds in even in better, safer, and healthier ways, protecting local communities and the environment. This includes farming more efficiently, as well as working to protect the environment and those who work, play, drive and live nearby. Watch below for an inside look at what almond farming looks like throughout the entire year!