Almonds are not like most crops in the Midwest. Almonds are grown in the central valley of California. They grow on trees that can produce for many years. This provides an interesting issue when it comes to harvesting, because you can not just cut the tree down.
Almonds grown in the Central Valley
There are three parts to an almond. The outer layer is called the Hull. The middle layer is called the shell. The final piece is called the meat or nut.
Shakers are the first step of the harvesting process. They have rubber clamps that will wrap around the trunk of the tree. Once it is secure it will violently shake the tree to get all the nuts off the tree.
After the almonds are shaken off the tree, they are put into rows between the trees with a machine called a Sweeper. On the front end of the machine there are rubber flaps that will rake up the almonds into a centralized row. The back on the machine has a huge fan or blower that will push the almonds out from between the trees.
After being swept into rows the almonds are left to dry for a couple of days before being harvested. An almond harvester is what picks the almonds off the ground. This is possible by having the machine pick up all materials that are in front of it. That means almonds, leafs, and dirt. While on the machine there is a complex procedure that gets rid of all debris. The first step gets ride of dirt and sand, the second gets ride of leaves and grass.
Once the harvester is full the car is driven over to an elevator that will load up a semi-truck. This is the last step that is taken at the farm. Once the trucks are full they are hauled of to a hulling plant.