Scientific Name: Prunus dulcis
Common Varieties: Nonpareil, Butte, and Mission
California is the number one almond producer – nearly all of the almonds sold inside the
U.S. come from California. Most California almonds are produced in the San Joaquin and Sacramento
Valley regions. There are over 6,000 almond growers in California, who produce nearly one billion pounds of almonds each year!
Almonds thrive in a climate that has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Almonds grow best on deep loam soils consisting of clay, sand, humus or other organic material. This soil type allows
for optimal permeability, water retention, and root zone aeration. When preparing to plant a new orchard, growers cultivate the soil to loosen clods and grade the orchard. It is common practice to use a chisel attachment to dig deep down and break up any hardpan below the soil surface to
help newly planted trees establish a deep root system.
Once planted, it takes three to four years for an almond tree to begin producing nuts. The almond tree has an average life span of 20 to 25 years. Once established, trees typically begin blooming mid-February through March. Almond
trees are alternate bearing, meaning that a large crop will be
followed by a lighter crop the following year. Almond trees are not self-pollinating and require bees for pollination.
Growers consider soil and water conditions, fertility, and pest pressures to decide economically viable growing practices.
Growers employ many techniques to protect their orchards from weeds, disease, and pests. A common example of weed
control used by most commercial almond growers is the application of herbicides. These may be directly applied to weeds or added to the irrigation water. Almonds are
susceptible to a variety of different infections, caused by fungus, bacteria, mites, insects, and nematodes. Growers routinely apply fungicides, bactericides, or pesticides at different times in the life cycle of the orchard to protect the trees and developing nuts. Also, growers select specific root
stocks that are resistant to certain types of pests. This can reduce the need for certain pesticide applications.
Almonds are harvested between mid-August and October, about two weeks after the last irrigation. It is a dusty job, but dry conditions are paramount to reducing mold and bacterial contamination of the almonds. When the nuts are ready, pick-up machines, as you might
expect, “pick up” the nuts from the ground and convey them into carts or trailers that are used to transport the almonds to the huller/sheller.
Bearing Acreage: 104,400
Yield Per Acre: 1.75 Tons / Acre
Total Tons: 182,600 Tons
Gross Total Value: $694,031,000
Data Source: San Joaquin County Crop Report, 2020. https://www.sjgov.org/WorkArea//DownloadAsset.aspx?id=33165
Added Value: Essential Food Production, Essential Worker Employment, Education, Research
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 300°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Fold in almonds.
Drop by level tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 22-24 minutes. Cool for 1-2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Recipe Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/almond-sandies/