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Almonds and Climate Change

By RICHARD VIGNOLA

Almonds are not the main source of California’s water issues. There is no longer any doubt that climate change is the new reality. California is in the fourth year of a drought that is starting to have an impact on its food production, and almond growers have recently been taking the brunt of criticism for high water consumption. This ill repute is largely unfair: from a nutritional-density perspective, almonds deliver much better value and in fact require less water than many crops that are far less nutrient-rich. Gallons-per-ounce values vary with different sources, but all agree that California’s biggest water sucker by far is the commercial meat industry.
Getting meat and dairy to your plate takes exponentially more water than almond production does, and those huge animal factory farms have a lot to answer for. Almost 50% of California’s water supply either directly or indirectly goes to the production of meat and dairy.
Almonds use about 10% of California’s total water supply each year, but they are also its most lucrative exported agricultural product, adding $6.5 billion to the state economy and producing 80% of the world’s supply. In these days of world trade, California’s drought is certainly not just a local problem, but a global one. In a year with practically no water coming from rain or alpine snow melt, that’s enough to send ripple effects throughout the world. With less water to go around, the main effect will be higher production costs, and this is felt far beyond US borders.

Innocent almonds bask in the California sun.

Rancho Vignola’s California almonds come from the northern areas, where water shortages are not as severe as other parts of the state. Yuba and Stanislaus counties still have plenty of water to grow almonds, using up-to-date water-saving irrigation methods. Our main suppliers, Stewart & Jasper (Newman, CA) and Maisie Jane’s (Chico, CA), both use modern water-saving irrigation methods and have their own water wells. In addition, Maisie Jane’s organic orchard is a well-established family operation committed to sustainable, eco-friendly farming methods.
California’s drought is impacting food prices across the board. Many crops and animal producers may be forced to relocate elsewhere. For Canadians, these higher prices may urge more of us to eat locally, growing leafy greens and vegetables at home and eliminating the need to transport these items that have relatively low nutritional density over thousands of kilometres. Alas, superfoods such as almonds and many other tree nuts don’t grow in our northern climes, so it's their high nutritional value that justifies the cost of transporting them. Despite any increased prices, raw almonds still provide far better nutritional value for your money than many other crops and remain one of the healthiest foods available.
Countdown to race season, by Rancho-sponsored Dahria Beatty
"My summer of training has been mostly dry-land training such as roller skiing, running and biking in and around Canmore, Alberta, but highlighted by a three-week, on-snow training camp in August at Snow Farm in New Zealand. Starting in May, the first few months of summer training are focused on building up our aerobic base, overall strength and stability. Read more...
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Almonds and Climate Change

By RICHARD VIGNOLA

Almonds are not the main source of California’s water issues. There is no longer any doubt that climate change is the new reality. California is in the fourth year of a drought that is starting to have an impact on its food production, and almond growers have recently been taking the brunt of criticism for high water consumption. This ill repute is largely unfair: from a nutritional-density perspective, almonds deliver much better value and in fact require less water than many crops that are far less nutrient-rich. Gallons-per-ounce values vary with different sources, but all agree that California’s biggest water sucker by far is the commercial meat industry.
Getting meat and dairy to your plate takes exponentially more water than almond production does, and those huge animal factory farms have a lot to answer for. Almost 50% of California’s water supply either directly or indirectly goes to the production of meat and dairy. Almonds use about 10% of California’s total water supply each year, but they are also its most lucrative exported agricultural product, adding $6.5 billion to the state economy and producing 80% of the world’s supply. In these days of world trade, California’s drought is certainly not just a local problem, but a global one. In a year with practically no water coming from rain or alpine snow melt, that’s enough to send ripple effects throughout the world. With less water to go around, the main effect will be higher production costs, and this is felt far beyond US borders.

Innocent almonds bask in the California sun.

Rancho Vignola’s California almonds come from the northern areas, where water shortages are not as severe as other parts of the state. Yuba and Stanislaus counties still have plenty of water to grow almonds, using up-to-date water-saving irrigation methods. Our main suppliers, Stewart & Jasper (Newman, CA) and Maisie Jane’s (Chico, CA), both use modern water-saving irrigation methods and have their own water wells. In addition, Maisie Jane’s organic orchard is a well-established family operation committed to sustainable, eco-friendly farming methods.
California’s drought is impacting food prices across the board. Many crops and animal producers may be forced to relocate elsewhere. For Canadians, these higher prices may urge more of us to eat locally, growing leafy greens and vegetables at home and eliminating the need to transport these items that have relatively low nutritional density over thousands of kilometres. Alas, superfoods such as almonds and many other tree nuts don’t grow in our northern climes, so it's their high nutritional value that justifies the cost of transporting them. Despite any increased prices, raw almonds still provide far better nutritional value for your money than many other crops and remain one of the healthiest foods available.