Almonds

As the brewing trade war between the United States and China escalates, North State farmers are caught in the middle. Farmers like Bill Carriere, the CEO of Carriere Family Farms and a board member of the California Walnut Commission.

Carriere greeted me outside of his office and walnut processing facility near the small town of Glenn. In the parking lot, we watched as one of his employees loaded crates of walnuts into a semi-truck. Carriere said the truck will be driving these crates to the Port of Oakland. His company ships their walnuts to 25 different countries, including China.

Carriere Family Farms grows twelve different varieties of walnuts. They have orchards in Glenn, Butte and Colusa counties. They also buy walnuts from just under 100 other farms, all north of Sacramento and package the walnuts for global export at their processing facility.

Art Siegel / Creative Commons

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is removing a pesticide used on almonds and other crops from the market, saying it is toxic to tiny aquatic insects that form the base of the food chain.

Sarah Bohannon / North State Public Radio

Almond bloom in the valley seems to have left as quickly as it came. That eye-catching sea of white flowers that every almond tree in the North State had on display a few weeks ago is now mostly on the ground – surrounding the trees’ trunks like snow. But what exactly has been happening in the orchards for the last few weeks while the trees were in bloom?

One word: pollination.

Now it’s important to remember that almond trees are self-infertile. That means they have to cross-pollinate with other trees in order to grow almonds.

Cowgirl Jules / Flickr: http://bit.ly/1PKK2mI

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar – maybe more bee thieves too.

A Chico man was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of grand theft of bees. According to Butte County Sheriff Detective, Jay Freeman, 31-year-old Jacob William Spath was caught trying to rent 64 stolen bee hives to farmers in Stanislaus County to use for almond pollination. The hives were owned by Olivarez Honey Bees, Inc. They were lifted from Hicks Lane north of Chico likely using a flatbed truck and a forklift.

Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

Almond milk is no longer a health food niche product. Last year national sales were up 40%, according to Nielson data. Today's market is worth more than $700 million dollars a year. That's good news for California where virtually all the nation's almonds are grown. 

But some dieticians question its nutritional value.

Almond milk dates back to the Middle Ages when Catholics and Muslims drank it during religious periods when animal products were banned.             

Today's popularity is mostly driven by people who want a dairy substitute.