The “Bloom Season”
This week is a big one for the almond growers in California, from whom Hinsdale & Foster Provisions sources the almonds to handcraft NaturAlmond almond butters.You may be wondering what makes this week so special for the almond industry.The answer is simple: after a long period of winter dormancy, almond trees will be entering the “Bloom Season,” when the buds on those trees will burst into beautiful light pink or white flowers and prepare to be pollinated.
You see, during the winter, almond trees enter a dormant stage, during which they store nutrients in preparation for the spring and summer, when they bloom and produce the fruit that will become great-tasting almonds.
Although various factors influence the blooming of almond trees, the last week of February is generally when the Bloom Season begins for the Nonpareil variety of almonds, which make up a large portion of the world’s almond crop.Other varieties, like the Carmel and Mission almonds, bloom later in the season.
The Bloom season is critical to almond farmers because it determines the yield of their crop.Almond trees are not self-pollinating, so they require the presence of other trees in order to produce fruit.Most orchards will contain at least three varieties of almond trees to optimize cross-pollination and produce the highest-quality crop.
For a tree to produce almonds, its pollen must be carried from one tree to another, usually by bees.To ensure that a large number of the almond tree’s flowers are pollinated, almond farmers rely on the work of honeybees.
In the largest managed pollination event in the entire world, migratory beekeepers bring their hives from all over the U.S. to California, where their bees busily pollinate almond trees, making for a bountiful harvest in late summer.
The Bloom Season lasts for about 2-3 weeks, ending halfway through March.Once the season is over, each pollinated flower will develop into a green fruit.Almond fruits resemble green plums or peaches and have a tough flesh that is not suitable for eating.Inside that flesh is a woody shell know as an endocarp which contains the edible seed of the almond tree, which we call a nut.
In the early summer, the almond fruit will split open, exposing the endocarp.This allows the nuts to begin drying.By the end of the summer, the hull will open completely, allowing the almonds to be harvested.If the bees did their job during the Bloom Season, the harvest will be plentiful.
Thanks to the Bloom Season, Hinsdale & Foster Provisions has the ability to source the highest-quality almonds available from California.So next time you’re enjoying NaturAlmond almond butter with some apple slices, or in an AB&J, you can thank those busy bees who pollinated California almond trees during the Bloom Season!