Blue Diamond Growers got its start in 1910 as a processing and marketing co-op for California almond growers. Today, there are six thousand almond farmers in California and thirty five hundred of them bring their product to their ninety-six-acre processing facility. In peak season, twelve hundred workers keep the lines running sixteen hours a day. The California almond crop is valued at over $1 billion annually. They are the largest food export from California.
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The company has two main brands:
- Whole almond and almond related products in various forms.
- Almond Breeze Almond Milk.
When the farmer delivers bulk almonds by the truckload, a sample is taken and carefully examined. Payment to the grower will depend on its quality. The nuts go from silos to the top floor of a five-story building, where the cleaning, grading, and sorting operation begins. Using lasers or infrared detectors the process knocks out items that seem too dark or too light. Sand, shell fragments, damaged nuts, are removed and excluded from sale to customers. Every almond is inspected by eyes that might catch something the process would miss. Still, the state-of -the-art plant in Sacramento has some of the most advanced computers, the laser, and the bar-code rule.
How The Blue Diamond Company Handles Almonds For Their Customers
The processing facility for Blue Diamond is located in California. The system produces exactly what the customer wants: raw, blanched, chopped, sliced, seasoned, diced, big, or little almonds. To keep the product fresh before satisfying orders, there is enough cold storage for millions of pounds. Presently, The Blue Diamond Company is the single largest operation in the world for processing nuts.
Sam Cunningham is the director of the Almond Research Center. With offices at the Blue Diamond organization headquartered in Sacramento, California. Nutrition and health are always on his mind. Instantly, he can give you chapter and verse on the chemistry of almonds. He speaks of cyanide, glucose, amygdaline, prunasin, mamdelonitrite, and most important of all, benzaldahyde, the key to the basic almond taste.
Sam Cunningham can tell you how almonds might help fight diabetes, allergies, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. He sees the health food industry as a place to go with almond paste, almond butter, and almond milk for the lactose intolerant. As a matter of fact, nut milks, made from grinding, soaking, and pressing the nuts, are widely used in the past as a substitute for mother’s milk for children and for cows’ milk in cooking. (Don’t miss our post on Plant Based Milk Options) “Tastier than soy milk,” he says. His son came up with a slogan and put it on a big sign in the office that says,
“Hey. Leave those cows alone!”