Whole Almonds are native to the Mediterranean Basin and have adapted well to the hot dry summer and mild wet winters. In Southern Spain and Italy, heirloom species have flourished for millennia, under the watchful eyes of small farming communities. The result is a uniquely sweet variety of almond that is as flavorful as it is nutritious.
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The Prunus Dulcis or Guara variety of almonds trees take up to three years to yield fruit, reaching full bearing up to six years after planting and grow up to 33ft high. It takes about 8 months for the fruit to mature at which point it becomes dry and the shell surrounding the almond splits. When the almonds reach this point they are ready to be harvested.
Almonds are only harvested once a year and have to supply us until the following year. Large tarps are unfolded around the base of the tree and suspended to create a sort of upside-down umbrella to catch almonds. After the tarps are in place, a large machine shakes each tree and releases the almonds from the branches. Once the almonds are collected they are sent to be cleaned and sorted. When the Almonds are harvested they must last for an entire year until the next harvest, so keeping them fresh is extremely important. Before storing, each almond is cleaned, scanned for contaminants and sorted by size, with the shell remaining untouched to protect the Almonds from going rancid. Before each shipment, the almonds shells are removed and then vacuum packed.