Japanese Growers Went from Vegetables to Almonds
Dave Thiel is the general manager of the Association and explains what happened. “They farmed up until WWII when the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened and all of the internment and unfortunate events occurred, most of them got shipped off to Colorado and they've had a lot of neighbors who loved them and took over their farms. And when the war was over, they all came back, and continued their lives after that major disruption,” Thiel said.
“At that time they were mainly farming vegetable crops, and they went to grapes and to peaches,” noted Thiel. “Eventually they all turned to almonds and Cortez Growers Association changed along with it. In 2005 we went into a hulling and shelling almonds exclusively. We decided to build a new plant and expand the operation because the almond industry was growing so quickly. And we went from about a 6 million pound operation to this year, right around 40 million,” he explained.
And Thiel said it was a big jump in such a short amount of time.
“I think the almond industry as a whole has experienced the same type of growth evidenced by the 3 billion pound crop that we'll receive this year,” he said.