Blue Diamond Almonds are the largest almond processor in the world, and grow every single almond that goes into their delicious Almond Breeze® Barista Blend.
Low in calories and high in flavour, it's hardly a surpise almond milk is one of the world's most popular dairy-alternatives. But cultivating this plant-based pleasure is no easy feat. Here Christine Gemperle, a second generation almond grower for Blue Diamond, tells us the three main components of growing a perfect almond.
"California is like no other place on this planet. It is the confluence of all the things needed for maximum productivity and efficiency. A place where food should be grown and where I think it would be irresponsible and unwise to not take advantage of this great gift, not just to the region or the country but to the world. For starters, the Central Valley has some of the most fertile soils in the world and a climate that allows for year-round growing of food.
"The diversity of crops grown here is unparalleled. Although we have our share of climate change issues, drought and water conveyance issues, we actually do have a highly complex and functional system of water storage compared with other places in the world. We have knowledge, education and research available to us that enables us to produce the most with the least input."
SHOW THE NUT SOME LOVE
"Just kidding, but not really. I do think the more you love what you do the more likely you are to produce a better product. But generally, I would say a high-quality nut is a good nut, one with good flavor, no chips or insect damage. If you want to go deeper into that and get philosophical you could say that a nut produced responsibly is a good nut. I really do feel that our growers strive to be responsible growers, because in the end being irresponsible is not a good business model - this industry is about long-term commitment, we are lifers."
KEEP A SUSTAINABLE ETHOS
"I am a hobbyist beekeeper so that it makes me hyper aware of my practices on the well-being of my bees and pollinators in general (bees are needed to pollinate the almond blossom). In the fall I plant forage in the orchard rows - the mustard in every other row is a great source of food for bees before and after bloom.
"We also use our water very efficiently by working with innovative researchers and investing in technology. We have learned to cut back our water use without compromising our crop size; in fact, during the drought we survived only because of these changes. All our farming processes keep in mind the environmental impact, and because almonds are California’s #1 agriculture export we work very closely with research & governing bodies to constantly improve our practices."
These excerpts were originally featured here for Balance Festival.