California Almonds are produced in a dynamic environment in which variety development and selection changes over the years, resulting in lower production of older varieties and increased production of newer ones. Based on current marketing conditions, the California Almond industry has re-evaluated how varieties are currently grouped for marketing purposes and has updated the almond market classifications.
Because the almond market classification affects the price received, it is important for growers to consult their handler before planting and delivering new varieties. It is also important not to mix varieties at harvest, even when these varieties are in the same marketing category, as this will make handling more difficult and will reduce marketability and value.
- Only almond varieties producing in excess of 1 million pounds will be listed. Other varieties that are not listed are still produced; if you have any questions about where they are classified for marketing purposes, please contact your handler.
- Almond marketing classifications are grouped by general size and shape.
- Whether varieties are able to be blanched is an important issue and is a factor for the “California” classification. Since almost all varieties can be blanched with different degrees of effort and success, please contact your handler to discuss whether a variety is “blanchable.” You will note that some almond varieties fall into more than one classification since they have characteristics of one type (such as Mission), but are also blanchable (a requirement of the California classification).
Of the five classifications listed, most almond production falls into the three major classifications of Nonpareil, California, and Mission. Beyond these standard classifications there are numerous “minor varieties” whose use, and therefore market classification, will vary among almond handlers. The physical characteristics of some almond varieties vary from year to year, which also may affect how they are marketed.