How long does it take a farmer to pick all those tiny little almonds from an almond tree? About four and a half seconds.
We’ll show you how it’s done in the video at the end of the post.
The photos in this post were taken at Koretoff Ranches, where the Koretoff family has had almonds in the ground since 1966. In those days an almond orchard in Frenso County could have been used as a landmark, but today almond trees are everywhere you look.
The technology that’s developed since those early days has been good to the almond harvester.
Today, the farmer or field worker jumps in an air-conditioned cab with a radio, and all they have to do is drive up to the tree and push a button, computer sensors tell the arm of the shaker where to go and there you have it, a tree’s worth of almonds hits the ground all around you.
“Now a days, this is cake compared to the old days of using a rubber mallet*, or the first shaker that I ever saw was a Ford pick-up. They took the bed off of it and there was a boom on the other side of it and when you’d shake the trees all the nuts and the leaves and the dust mites were on you, it was a hot miserable job. When I used to do this job, the machine was quite a bit smaller and the motor was literally right behind me, it was a gas engine. It was like having a Volkswagon motor right behind your head all day long. You’d lie in bed at night and your ears would be ringing.” —Steve Koretoff
*Back when almonds were harvested manually, laborers would go out with mallets and hit the branches to shake the tree and knock the almonds loose.
But those days are over and gone. It’s still work, but as fun as seeing a tree shaker in action for the first time was for me, you’d think the harvesters might still get a kick out of it for at least the first few rows of each season, no matter how many times they’ve seen it done.
Check out the tree shaker in action, and see what other steps are involved in getting an almond from the field to your table in the video below.