Looks like a great almond year. Overall, quality looks good, and harvest is right on target.
After pollination in late February and early March, almonds hang on the tree seven to eight months before harvest starts in late summer. By the end of October, this harvest will be complete. Pretty much the norm this harvest, unlike the past two years. Due to soggy springs and wet fall weather, this delayed the crop at both ends of the previous two seasons.
After the nuts are dried, hulling and shelling continues into January and February. That means there will be plenty of fresh almonds in stores and markets for holiday baking, gift-giving and everyday nibbling.
The one drawback of all that heat: The almonds lost some of their weight before harvest. The September heat wave reduced their moisture content. The quality is still good, but that lower moisture content means we lost a lot of weight. Instead of another record crop of 2.1 billion pounds, as estimated, the total now will be in the 1.8 to 1.9 billion range.
California, the nation’s only almond-producing state, grows more than 80 percent of the global supply. In the past decade, the state’s crop has more than doubled.
Most of the almonds for the entire world are grown in California. California has unique climate conditions. Most of the world can’t grow them.
California gets some competition from Australia, Spain, Chile and the Mediterranean countries where almonds have grown for thousands of years. But California is a natural for almond success.
It’s the Mediterranean climate that California has that makes growing almonds so successful. They need a cold winter to produce fruit, a mild spring for bloom and a dry, hot summer.
California almond growers are enjoying the global boom, pushed in part by more almond products such as almond flour, almond butter and almond milk.
Worldwide consumption is growing by leaps and bounds. At one time, there was concern that California couldn’t sell a 300 million-pound crop. Now, they’re pushing over 2 billion.
It’s a crop with demand up worldwide. It’s a nutritious product, excellent tasting, enjoyed by many cultures worldwide.