Casarosa Almonds Australia produce the four most popular varieties of almonds; these are Nonpareil, Carmel and Price which are soft shell almonds, and Peerless which is a hard shell variety.
The farms also have new plantings of the Monetary variety.
Nonpareil are the classic flavoured almond easily distinguished for their flat, smooth, light coloured kernel. The Nonpareil almond is the very first variety we harvest and make up 50% of the almonds we grow.
Carmel is known for its rich almond flavour and can be distinguished by their medium to narrow shaped kernel. Carmel is generally harvested 4 weeks after Nonpareil.
Price is a sweet and buttery tasting almond and distinguished by its smaller narrower shape kernel. Also a soft shell variety, it is harvested generally 2 weeks after Nonpareil.
Peerless are a hard shell almond with a rich flavour. The kernel is large and light in colour and harvest up to 2 weeks after Nonpareil.
The Almond Lifecycle
Almond trees are dormant during the Australian winter months from May to July.
Blossom occurs between late July to early September. At the start of blossom in almond orchards, you will often see alternate rows in bloom. This is because almonds are not self fertile, so there are always 3 varieties inter-planted in an orchard. Bees are used to cross-pollinate the blossom and bee hives are supplied through our local bee keeper.
Following petal fall, the new leaves shoot and small green fruit begin to grow rapidly. This occurs from September to December. The hulls which cover the shell and kernel of the almond begin to mature and harden, at the end of this period the kernel begins to increase in weight in the maturing stages.
Once the fruit has finished growing, the hull begins to split during the summer months, from early January. Over the next month the split widens and the almond shell is now visible through the split in the hull, and the nut itself begins to dry. Eventually, the section between the stem and the fruit weakens which means the nuts are now ready for harvest.
In Australia harvesting of almonds starts late February and continues into April. The Nonpareil variety is the first to be harvested with our tree shaker, followed by the pollinating varieties which are Carmel, Price and Peerless.
The shaker has two arms that clamp together between the tree trunk and shakes the trees for several seconds until all the almonds have fallen from the tree. The almonds are then left to dry in the warm Australian sun for several days and are then swept into the middle of the rows. From here a mechanical harvester picks up the almonds and then they are packed into trucks and transported to our processing and storage facilities.
Finally the almonds are processed by de-hulling and or shelling and then sized and graded before they are packaged up ready for our customers’ specific requirements.
The information above provided on the Almond Lifecycle is courtesy of the Almond Board of Australia.