For Immediate Release
February 7, 2005

For More Information:
Colleen Aguiar
(209) 343-3209
caguiar@almondboard.com

In Search of Something to Brighten the Winter Blues?

(Modesto, Calif. - February 7) While the rest of the country lies deep in winter slumber, California's almond orchards are bursting with blossoms and activity.  Almond bloom usually begins in mid-February and continues through early March giving the winter-weary a few weekend opportunities to take a trip to experience the first burst of spring. Almond orchards throughout the Central Valley from Chico to Bakersfield and from Hwy 5 to the Sierra foothills offer a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon drive. 

Picturesque beehives adorn each almond orchard, as the bloom would be incomplete without busy worker bees.  During bloom, orchards are alive with buzzing as bees pollinate the delicate white and light pink blossoms, which in turn produce delicious almonds.  Almonds are one of the rare crops that require bees for pollination. This natural pollination process has remained unchanged since almond crops were produced in California in the early 1800's.

Generations of almond farmers and families have enjoyed the bloom season.  "My grandfather would gather the grandchildren in and around the almond trees during bloom and take our picture.  I carry on this same tradition every year with my two sons," says Doug Harcksen, a 5th generation almond farmer in Ballico, California.  "We ride through the orchards during bloom and check on the beehives and blossoms.  The beehives were a curiosity to us as children and my grandfather always took the time to explain how vital they are to almond farming. My grandfather tells anyone from outside of the area to make sure and come back during almond bloom - a sea of almond trees in bloom is a sight that is hard to beat."

Jacob and Zachary Harcksen enjoy bloom time in their family's Ballico, California orchard.

Harcksen, whose grandfather and father still farm almonds, looks forward to passing his farm on to his sons one day.  "My family has been farming in the Central Valley since 1907.  Our family history is intertwined with this Valley's history.  I drive by neighborhoods that were my great-great grandfather's almond orchards and see old almonds trees that were left from his orchard."

Almond bloom traditions will continue for years to come but why wait another year to start your own family tradition? 

To view real time pictures of the almond bloom , click here or visit the "Industry Resources" section at www.AlmondBoard.com and click the web cameras link.

Thirty years of research funded by almond growers through the Almond Board has given the industry tools to become better stewards of the land.  Today's almond farmers strive to continually improve their farming practices while maintaining a productive and healthy environment for future generations.    

###

Editors Note - To obtain high-resolution images of the bloom or the Harcksen family quoted above, contact Colleen Aguiar at caguiar@almondboard.com or (209) 343-3209.

The Almond Board of California administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Established in 1950, the Board's charge is to promote the best quality almonds, California's largest tree nut crop.  For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com