July and August:
In July and early August, the hull begins to split open exposing the almond shell, allowing it to dry.
As the season progresses, the split continues to widen and the hull becomes tough and leathery, although still adhering to the shell.
Harvest occurs mid-August through October. There are many steps almond growers must consider prior to harvest.
Some of those steps include:
- Clearing orchard floor of debris.
- Coordinating harvest times by variety.
- Maintaining a dry environment within the orchard.
Mechanical tree “shakers” vigorously shake the almonds to the ground. The almonds, which are still inside their shell and hull, dry naturally for 8-10 days in the orchard before they are swept into rows and picked up by machine. This drying period is critical for the almonds.
Almonds are gathered and transported to the huller/sheller where they are stored in bulk until processing occurs.
After being gathered from the orchard, almonds are transported to the huller/sheller where kernels pass over a roller to remove the hull and shell as well as any remaining foreign material or debris.
The hulls are used to feed dairy cattle while the shells are used as a bedding for livestock.
After almonds are sized, they are kept in controlled storage conditions to maintain quality.
Almonds have natural antioxidants that promote a long storage life if properly handled.