Farmer Spotlight: Organic Almonds

Henry Colombo Organic Almond Farmer

August and September are extremely busy harvesting months for almond crops. As a result, our growers easily find themselves with little time on their hands outside the orchards. Bella Viva makes a point to build firsthand relationships with our passionate farmers. This way you can rest assured the product you’re receiving has been loved since day one. One of our partnering almond farmers, who is also the nephew of Bella Viva owners Victor and Angela Martino, can be found in Oakdale, CA – one of the many valley towns where the almond trees flourish thanks to an ideal habitat. He’s Henry Colombo and he’s no exception to the busy lifestyle an almond farmer represents.

A father of four, this husband and dad is out in his certified organic orchards almost daily, making certain his almond crop is babied as well as it can be. Yet just because he is hard at work doesn’t mean he’s unable to spend time with his family. The Colombos are so passionate about what they do that they all can be found being involved somehow in some way and they enjoy it. Including around a dozen of other employees as well, it’s a great team effort to keep the trees healthy and in good shape. They even go as far into detail as to check every single sprinkler on a regular basis.

“Making sure the irrigation system is working efficiently during the hot months, fertilizing with compost at the right time of the year, and monitoring pests is very important to see maximized production,” Henry said, and he’s willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

Almond farming is no stranger to the Colombo family either. Starting back in 1908 with Henry’s grandpa as the first generation, the Colombos farmed market fruit until the 1960s when they converted to walnuts. That walnut acreage is still in production and the family added almond ground in 1992. That’s one main reason Henry says he pours his whole heart into what he does; it’s second nature to him and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

It might be hard to believe at first, but California solely produces around 90 percent of the entire world’s almond crop (1)! The central valley alone is responsible for over 869,800 acres of almond orchards, stretching from San Joaquin County in the north down to Tulare County in the south (2), meaning the highly sought-after and appetizing snack is found right in our own backyard. Henry is responsible for commercially harvesting around 2,000 of these acres including organic almonds.

“The weather conditions are perfect (for almond crops),” Henry said. “Here we have the only climate with dry summers and usually little rainfall in the spring which is during bloom. It’s perfect!”

Not only can Henry be found growing and harvesting his certified organic almonds for others to enjoy, but he loves to eat them also. He knows how beneficial they can be to your health and how delicious they are to munch on. He says he always seems to have at least a handful of them on him. When asked if he cooks with them too, there was no hesitation before mentioning what could only be a mouthwatering family recipe of brussel sprouts, dried cranberries and almonds grilled to perfection.

That’s the nice thing about almonds; they’re convenient for an on-the-go snack, are overflowing with nutrients and are wonderful with so many different types of foods. With all of those factors, what’s not to love? Available Bella Viva almond products include almonds in roasted, certified organic, raw and lightly salted variations as well as almond flour and meal. We’ll supply the tastiness and you get to enjoy them while knowing they’re coming straight from someone who cares. It’s a win, win situation!

Check out our YouTube video on almond harvesting!