Harvesting the Fruits of our Labor

C.F. Koehnen & Sons farms in both Glenn and Butte counties in Northern California. About half the acreage farmed is almonds and the other half is walnuts. While harvest season lasts for a period of just a few months, orchards are cared for year-round. The typical nut harvest begins when the nuts are mature enough to “shake” from the tree; this will vary depending on the season.

Almonds, having a much lower moisture content in the kernel will not deteriorate in quality once shaken. They will sit on the ground for about 7 to 10 days, allowing the hulls to dry fully. Walnuts, having a higher moisture content, must be picked up immediately so that the nuts can be quickly hulled and dryed, avoiding loss of quality.

The harvesting process itself for both walnuts and almonds is basically the same (with certain adjustments made to the equipment). After shaking, nuts are blown away from under the trees by a blower, then any remaining nuts are raked from the tree trunks by a raking crew. Next, a sweeper will sweep them into windrows down the center of the orchard row. A harvester and bankout pick them up and they are moved into trailers by a conveyor. C.F. Koehnen & Sons will haul this “field run” to our main facility where it will be processed.

Harvested almonds will be briefly stored at our ranch in carefully maintained stockpiles until each lot can be hulled and shelled. Walnuts are not stored but are hulled and dryed quickly within a few hours. Each process results in a high quality finished products.