Almonds are from Middle East, they were spreading around North of Africa and South of Europe thanks to Romans. During the XVII century, Spanish implanted the first seeding of almonds in California. But the development of this production was slowed down because of climatic difficulties. Indeed, almond trees must have been involved to be compatible with the Californian climate. Finally, the production increased during the XXth century. Since the last 30 years, almonds production from California has quadrupled.
Today, California is the first almonds producer in the world, Spain was second during many years but now Australia have significantly increased its production. At the same time, Mediterranean almonds production didn’t increase a lot.
|Estimated World Almonds Production 2014/2015|
|Countries||PRODUCTION per TONS|
|USA||1 027 726|
|TOTAL||1 285 426|
Source: XXXIII World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress Melbourne May 2014
Almonds trees give fruit from the fourth year.
The harvesting of Californian almonds begin in august to mid-October. All is automated during the harvesting.
In Australia, the harvest is also automated and it’s from February to April.
The Spanish harvest is during September.
Countries of origin
In USA, almonds are produced in California in Central Valley.
In Australia, the production areas of almonds are in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
In Spain, we can find almonds around the Mediterranean coast and in hinterland.
In Chili, the production is located at North and South of Santiago.
Varieties and grades:
The almond board of California takes on about thirty varieties of almonds whom the most important are:
Nonpareil, Carmel, Butte, Padre, Mission, Monterey, Sonora, Fritz, Peerless and Price
- Nonpareil: It represents around 35% and 38% of the total production every years depending of the harvest. This variety is very appreciated by the buyers because it is easily blancheable. It characterized by his clear skin and not much wrinkle.
- California: This commercial name brought together individuals varieties. These varieties are blancheable and are distinguish with Nonpareil thanks to long shape and a darker skin. The almonds in this group are primarily: Carmel, Butte, Padre, Monterey, Fritz and Price.
- Carmel/Monterey: These varieties are from the California group thanks to their shape and their colour. But they often are named separately given that importance in the market.
- Mission: This variety is not easy to blanch so it’s mainly use by the snack industry with roasted and salted almonds.
Through production importance and by top down, the Nonpareil variety is the most important come after Monterey, Butte/Padre and Carmel.
- Valencia: As the California variety, Valencia is a commercial name that bring together many individual varieties. It’s with a long shape and rather punt.
- Marcona: most bend and round
- Larguetta (Longuette)
Australia and Chili: These two countries produce the same varieties as California.
- Nonpareil, Carmel, Price, Fritz et Mission for Australia
- Nonpareil et Carmel for Chili
Every producing country has his own qualitative norms and grades as USDA ones in California. These grades are takeover by Australia and Chili:
US Fancy ; US extra n°1 ; US n°1 (supreme) ; US select sheller run ; US standard sheller run ; US n°1 whole & broken ; US n°1 pièces.
The almonds also take into account the different size as 20/22 (almonds per ounce) in California, Autralia and Chili. (Spanish equivalent is 14-15mm)