BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It’s one of the more popular types of pictures you’ll see on social media this time of year. The blossoms of the almond orchards.
“Harvest usually starts sometime in August and for us it will go through about the middle of October. So, you have shakers who will come and shake the nuts off the trees.”
Almond harvesting isn’t easy work, but the ever-changing market for them presents new challenges. Fourth-generation farmer Brett Sils said that when dairy-free products first hit they saw a boom.
“When milk came along, we’re seeing people who wanted to have all the healthy proteins in their diet and not eat so much red meat or whatever, just all the different uses milk and butter and flour those are all big items that people are using.”
But in today’s market things are a bit more difficult.
“Almonds [have gone through a tough couple of years] and expected into next year the market is not very good. We kind of have a big supply right now and so we’re doing whatever we can to make it through these next couple of years.”
Sils said that weather has also played a significant role this year stating that almonds occasionally need cold weather, but varying weather will affect the crop.
“The cold weather that we had last week is definitely going to start affecting the quality of the nuts, we could see some drop the flower and nuts not setting.”
Still, he said almond farmers welcome sightseers but offers some advice to follow before planning a trip.
“We have bees out because bees need to come and pollinate every one of these flowers to turn it into a nut. So, you need to be careful because bees are out here, you never know what kind of nutrients we could be spraying on there, so you got to be careful. With tractors and equipment, you know if you’re watering you could fall and slip and not know.”
Sils said despite the challenges he still loves being a farmer and the effort he puts in for the end product is worth it.
“Really we’re feeding the world, and not just with almonds but with everything that we do. Food insecurity is really a [hot] topic right now we need to do what we can to help foods on the table.”
Bret said this year it may be too late to visit the blossoms but if you’re thinking about going next year the best time to go is around Valentine’s Day.