Blue Diamond Almond Facts November-December 2021



111 th Annual Growers Meeting

More Time Indoors for Honey Bees

“Can a Week” Turns 35!

Here’s to one less worry this season.

Alion ® Herbicide, a foundational pre-emergent, helps deliver consistent weed control year in and year out. No nutrient-sucking weeds. Just acres of undisturbed almond trees. Sit back and enjoy one less worry this growing season with Alion.

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bayer, Bayer Cross, and Alion ® are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-866-99-BAYER (1-866-992-2937) or visit our website at Bayer CropScience LP, 800 North Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63167. ©2021 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.

NOV–DEC 2021



Features 6 President’s Corner

20 Celebrating the 35 th Anniversary of “Can a Week” Campaign To celebrate the anniversary of “Can a Week,” we heard from several growers who were part of the 1986 campaign on their experiences and shared photos to look back and enjoy. 38 Honey Bees Indoors Over the last several years, indoor storage has been rapidly gaining greater popularity among US commercial beekeepers and an increasing number of colonies are spending time indoors.

Taken from his 2021 annual meeting speech, President and CEO, Mark Jansen, expresses the importance of partnership as a key factor in our success as a co-op. Instead of our planned $.13 beat, Blue Diamond delivered an incredible $.23 competitive return advantage. 8 Chairman’s Message Blue Diamond’ s Chairman of the Board, Dan Cummings, congratulates new board members, names the 2021 Grower Ambassador of the Year Award Recipient, and several other updates for the year.

ON THE COVER: Blue Diamond wishes you a very Happy Holiday Season!


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dan Cummings, Chairman of the Board | Chico Dale Van Groningen, Vice Chairman | Ripon John Monroe | Arbuckle Kevin Fondse | Ripon

Stephen Van Duyn | Modesto Charles Crivelli III | Turlock Dan Mendenhall | Winton

Matthew Efird | Fresno Kent Stenderup | Arvin Joe Huston | Monterey

OFFICERS Mark Jansen, President and CEO Dean LaVallee, Chief Financial Officer

ALMOND FACTS STAFF Blue Diamond Growers Communications Department, Jillian VanTassell, Managing Editor Mel Machado, Contributing Photographer Gray Allen, Advertising Sales 916.783.4334 & 916.765.3234

Blue Diamond , the world’s largest processor and marketer of almonds, exports to over 100 countries. Almond Facts , established in 1922, is published bimonthly by Blue Diamond Growers , 1802 C Street, Sacramento, California 95811, phone: 916.442.0771. Address all correspondence to the Editor, Almond Facts , P.O. Box 1768, Sacramento, California 95812. Advertising subscription rates provided upon request. Blue Diamond is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Blue Diamond Growers . Other registered trademarks are The Almond People, Smokehouse, Golden State, Celebration, From the Valleys of California, Confetti and Almond Facts . Blue Diamond Growers does not endorse or verify statements made by advertisers within this publication. Blue Diamond reserves the right to refuse advertising. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

© Blue Diamond Growers 2021


Annual Meeting 2021

Today, we recognize partnership as one of Blue Diamond’s 5 core values. Last year, the importance of partnership was never more important.

In 2020, Blue Diamond Growers harvested a monster crop. The additional 120 million pounds alone were equivalent in size to the 3rd largest almond handler. Years of investment in markets, infrastructure and people made it possible for your co-op to gracefully handle all those almonds.

Mark Jansen President & CEO

executive team went proactively to your Board of Directors and said, “We can deliver incremental competitive return with these low almond prices. Instead of our planned $.13 beat, we want to deliver $.20.” As you can imagine, your board agreed. What we could not have anticipated was the heroic performance of team Blue Diamond . As many of you have already seen in your patronage payment, Blue Diamond delivered an incredible $.23 competitive return advantage. For a grower, this could have been the difference between losing money and having the profitability to continue investing in your farming operations. Amazingly, in part due to your record yields, our total distributable payments were within 3% of last year. With higher prices for the 2021 crop, we not only survived, we thrived. I am confident you agree, Blue Diamond ’s executive team is a dream team with the best people in the business. When you get the chance to meet them in person, please thank them for their integrity, partnership, and for finding ways to deliver extra payments when you most needed it. Special congratulations to Dean LaVallee for taking on new responsibilities in his promotion to COO and CFO.

Lesser known and as important as our impressive performance, is how the spirit of our partnership allowed Blue Diamond to deliver a record competitive return advantage. In the spring of 2020, with very healthy trees and perfect bloom weather prices plummeted by over $.80 a pound. Your executive team recognized that at these prices, many growers would no longer be profitable. We understood that the costs of all your key farm inputs were also increasing. Lower prices and higher costs are an ugly combination. I recall our CFO, Dean LaVallee, saying “We need to help our growers.” Fortunately, by building our global branded consumer franchise we are able to deliver incremental profit in lower priced almond markets. Last year, that work created a unique windfall. Any public company would have buried the profits and spent the money to make next year’s targets easier. That is not who we are. We are a co-op in partnership with our growers. Our



during COVID was made possible. In fact, our dedicated team members embraced the extra precautions that were necessary during the pandemic. We are proud to have kept our lines continuously operational. It is only appropriate that we say thank you for the quality work they do under unusually difficult circumstances.

Good news, almond prices have returned to more normal levels, up at least $.50 from last year. Accordingly, the impact from the extra profit windfall earned by our consumer business is reduced. We are back to our return glide path and targeting a healthy $.14 return advantage. Even better news is that your payments will grow larger. We trust you will appreciate this progress. Over the course of 35 years at Blue Diamond , there is one man, Bill Morecraft, who has led the sale of more almonds than anyone in world history. As Blue Diamond ’s Senior Vice President of Global Ingredients, he just completed his greatest ever performance as we successfully sold through the record 2020 crop. Nobody is more deserving of a standing ovation than Bill who will retire from Blue Diamond at the end of the year. Please join me in congratulating Bill for his many contributions to Blue Diamond and the California Almond Industry.

Blue Diamond team members understand we have a noble purpose. With 3,000 farm family owners who entrust us with their year’s work in the form of the almond crop. There are new challenges to delivering this mission. If you are listening to the business press, you will hear of near universal difficulties around supply chain disruptions, inflation, finding workers, the great resignation and new government regulations. While I cannot make promises to the impact of these still emerging threats. Blue Diamond leadership is planning and preparing to minimize any impact to your cooperative business. Every year presents new challenges as well as opportunities. As you know, we have demonstrated an incredible talent for nimbleness in the face of major plant fires, large crops, short crops, pandemics, and perpetual change. I have incredible faith in everyone who plays a role in Blue Diamond ’s success. This is my 12th annual meeting and know that you trust me when I say at Blue Diamond , The Best is Yet to Come!

Through the last two years there are so many people worthy of recognition, and it all begins with our front-line workers in manufacturing and distribution. These everyday heroes account for more than 80% of our workforce. Our most important workday action is to ensure that each of us goes home safely. With years of work training, communicating, and living a safety culture; our success in staying operational

Mark Jansen President & CEO


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Chairman’s Speech 2021 Annual Growers Meeting I’m privileged to have served as Board Chairman for the past seven years and as your District 1 director since 2006. I’m especially proud to say I’m a third generation Blue Diamond grower. I’d like to thank all our presenters in the annual meeting sessions as well as our sponsors and exhibitors for your support — Farm Credit, Bank of America, Semios, Suterra, Dave Wilson Nursery, Burchell Nursery, Teleos Ag Solutions, UnitedAg, Flory Industries, and Netafim. Congratulations and welcome to our new Board Members — George te Velde from District 4 and Nick Blom from District 6. I’d also like to welcome our newest Board Member at Large, Kristin Daley, who joined us back in August and brings 30 years of experience in the food and ag industry in both strategy consulting and operations. Thank you to Charlie Crivelli and Kevin Fondse for their commitment to the Board and service to the co-op. Our appreciation goes out to the rest of our Board members for their continued leadership: Vice Chairman Dale Van Groningen – District 3; Matt Efird – District 8; Dan Mendenhall – District 7; Kent Stenderup – District 9; John Monroe – District 2; Steve Van Duyn – District 5; and our other Director at-large Joe Huston. Your work on behalf of this cooperative is key to our success.

Dan Cummings Chairman of the Board

Thank you to all Grower Liaison Committee Members — we appreciate your dedication to our co-op.

Rising to the Challenge, our theme for this annual meeting, is a true testament to the obstacles we’ve overcome, starting with our record 3.1 billion-pound crop. It’s truly amazing what our co-op has been able to accomplish over the last 12 months. We started the year by harvesting a record-sized crop larger than any we’d delivered before, and ended with a summer filled with water supply and drought concerns that forced tough decisions on the part of many of us. But in looking back over the year, it is how we worked through the adversity and rose to the challenge that really showcased the strength of our cooperative. One of the ways our growers demonstrated their strength is through an unwavering commitment to sustainability and to being stewards of the lands we farm. To further emphasize our co-op’s commitment to Sustainability, this year we introduced the Blue Diamond Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program to encourage participation in the Almond Board’s California Almond Sustainability Program, or CASP. I am thrilled to report that one-third of the growers who participated in the program achieved the Gold level; and approximately two-thirds achieved Silver level and Bronze levels. Thank you to all Blue Diamond members who participated in the assessment this year. Congratulations and thank you for your commitment! This dedication to stewardship and to doing the right thing is the very essence of the award I have the privilege of awarding to one Blue Diamond grower each year. The Chairman’s Ambassador of the Year award recognizes outstanding service and unwavering commitment to the overall success of the Blue Diamond cooperative.



This year, one of our growers took on a very visible and time-consuming role on behalf of Blue Diamond , serving as the face of water efficiency for our industry on behalf of countless international and national media interviews. In the face of a drought that gained worldwide attention and questioned the very future of our industry, this grower offered viewers and readers an authentic portrait of almond farmers that was smart, strategic, and focused on the future. This year’s Chairman Ambassador of the Year is Christine Gemperle from District 6, an exceptional ambassador for our industry and for our Blue Diamond cooperative.

We are committed to fostering the next generation of ag leaders and are proud of Blue Diamond ’s long-term partnership with the California Future Farmers of America. What an incredible legacy. This year, Giving Tuesday is on November 30, and I’m proud that Blue Diamond will once again match donations to FFA up to $25,000 to help raise funds for those iconic blue jackets. To further help nurture our future leaders, we remain committed to our Blue Diamond Growers Scholarship Foundation. This year, 24 aspiring young men and women were awarded scholarships so they can build a bright future for agriculture and in our communities. Thank you for the generosity of our growers in making these scholarships possible. Thank you, John Monroe, for your contagious energy and leadership of the foundation committee this year. For the first time, we have a new way to increase financial support for our scholarship program through online donations. I also look forward to the fundraising golf tournament returning this spring. Finally, I want to highlight a program designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in our Blue Diamond co-op. We changed the name of the program from “Young Leaders” to “ Blue Diamond Leadership” to broaden participation of all those interested in leadership. Due to COVID restrictions, the 2020 class that kicked off in January 2020 had a unique experience. Given all the starts and stops, we have invited those class members to return in June 2022 to finish their program alongside the new 2022 class that will kick off in January.

One of the keys to our success as a co-op is the connection between our grower-owners and our cooperatives’ leadership, processing facilities and business functions. This year, Mark and his team restructured our Member Relations organization to make sure our field staff, our Regional Managers, had the resources needed to provide superior customer service to our growers. We created a northern and southern region and assembled a top-notch team within each.


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Regional Managers

Vice President Member Relations Mel Machado

Glenn, Butte, Tehama, Placer, Yuba & Sutter ( DISTRICT 1 & 2 ) Christine Ivory, (530) 518-9109 Colusa, Yolo & Solano ( DISTRICT 2 ) John Aja, (530) 338-6440 Sacramento ( DISTRICT 2 ), Calaveras, Alameda & San Joaquin West of Austin Rd ( DISTRICT 3 ) Ben Goudie, (209) 225-0413 Stanislaus County North of Tuolumne River & West of San Joaquin River ( DISTRICT 5 & 6 ) Justin Elam, (209) 303-7306 San Joaquin East of Austin Rd; Stanislaus South of Tuolumne, East of San Joaquin River & West of Hwy 99; Merced North of the Merced River, West of Hwy 99 ( DISTRICT 3 & 4 ) KC Stone, (209) 596-5375 Stanislaus South of Tuolumne River, East of 99 & Merced North of Merced River, East of 99 ( DISTRICT 6 & 7 ) Brian Noeller, (209) 417-2010 Merced County, West of 99 & South of Merced River, East of 99, North of Hwy 140 ( DISTRICT 7 & 8 ) Trent Voss, (209) 470-5981 Merced County, South of Hwy 140 & Madera County, North of Ave 12 ( DISTRICT 8 ) Kenny Miyamoto, (209) 323-8454 Southern Madera County & Northern Fresno County ( DISTRICT 8 ) Ashley Correia, (559) 356-1584 Southern Fresno & Kings Counties ( DISTRICT 8 & 9 ) Meggie Gilbert, (559) 470-9731 Tulare & Kern Counties ( DISTRICT 9 ) Jeremy Basich, (209) 446-2107 South Valley Training & Development Mike Griffin, (559) 779-6400 Membership Office Jennifer Claussen – Membership Coordinator (209) 545-6225 Daniel Dekeyrel – Membership Assistant ( Delivery Tags ) (209) 545-6261 Grower Accounting Joe Lavagnino – Grower Accounting Manager (916) 446-8591 Kristie Ezell – Grower Accounting Coordinator (916) 446-8368 Erika Martin – Grower Accounting Assistant (916) 446-8385

(209) 545-6222 – Salida (209) 531-6352 – Cellular Director, Northern Region Ben Goudie (209) 225-0413 Director, Southern Region Jeremy Basich (209) 446-2107


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2021 Grower Liaisons




Brian Erickson Stacy Gore Jerry Montz Kevin Davies John Nock Raymond Antonowich Darren Rice P. Samantha Lewis

Don Bransford Ryan Finnen Brian Cahill Michael F. Doherty Kelli Evans Jim Peart Brook Bachmann Cathy Marsh Sid La Grande

Chairman Vice-Chairman Ex-Of ficio Director Appointed (Member-at-Large)

Almond Board Alternate Almond Board Director Almond Board Chair

Chris Alves Luke Konyn Robert Thill Dan Cummings W. Howard Isom Steve Carlos

Joe Martinez Sarah Pippit t John Monroe

Elaine Rominger Gerald Rominger Maryann Warmerdam



Don Van Vliet Rick Phillips Louie Tallerico

Kevin Van Laar Rick Morris Paul Adrian Will Drost Wes Eisenga Robin Giuntoli Joe Gasper John Almeida

Michael M. Petz Lloyd Van Dyken Bruce Oosterkamp Craig Miller Ian Koetsier Nick Alta Chris Rishwain Jack Dalton Dale Van Groningen

Phil Mohler Jake Sonke Bryan Van Groningen

For Grower Liaison contact information, please contact your regional manager.

Kevin Fondse Kenneth Roos Wayne Bruns

John Thoming Mike Boget ti






John De Visser Manuel Furtado Lucas Van Duyn Jack Hoekstra Sonny Johns Sid Miller Gary Darpinian Eric Heinrich Naomi A. Layland Alex Vanderstoel Ryan Valk Stephen Van Duyn Neil Van Duyn Grant Ardis

Frank Borba Trent Voss Michael Mora

Ryan Indart Lee Erickson

Gurcharon Dhillon Kyle Balakian Keith Gilbert David Snell

Galen Miyamoto Joe Sansoni Jimmi Atwal Jim Snyder Victor Yamamoto Bobby Deol Alan Sano Frank Fagundes Jef frey Baize Tim Lohman Rick Scoto Dan Mendenhall Robert J. Weimer Louie Bandoni

Norman Pretzer David Massaro Jerry Rai Anthony Basila Dan Wat tenbarger David Tolmosof f Robert Allen Jens Finderup RJ Maan Mat t Efird George Goshgarian Aldo Sansoni Steve Bains

Richard Gemperle David M. Genzoli Paul Lara Darryl Starn Christine Gemperle Don Clark Jared Serpa Hal Carlton Charles Crivelli III Steve Vilas Bill Brush Paul Danborn

John Allen Don Davis

Chris Vanborg Mark Fanucchi Doug Kindig Ray Van Beek Kent Stenderup Clinton Shick Karamjit Jhandi


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Blue Diamond Member Relations Team Members at the Tree & Vine Expo. L to R: KC Stone, Trent Voss, Kabir Tumber, Kenny Miyamoto, and Justin Elam

Connecting with Growers at the Tree & Vine Expo On November 9, Blue Diamond hosted a booth at the annual Tree & Vine Expo at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, in Turlock. Regional managers met with growers in the Turlock and Fresno areas to discuss Blue Diamond ’s Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program rebranding from the Sustainability Incentive Program, and many growers expressed their intent to participate again. They talked about new items in Blue Diamond innovation, and current market updates. Regional managers expressed their excitement in seeing growers for the first time in several months because of COVID-19. Stories of Blue Diamond generational farming were exchanged, and other attendees visited the Blue Diamond booth to rave about Blue Diamond product and its glowing reputation.



All-American Foods Served on Vietnam Airlines For the first time ever, Vietnam Airlines is offering direct flights from Vietnam to the US. To prepare their travelers for the amazing American cuisine awaiting them, the airline will serve in-flight meals and snacks that include a variety of California grown fresh produce and foods including Blue Diamond ’s single-serve Almond Breeze , a variety of cheeses, raisins, fresh grapes, and dried blueberries.

• Fully Isolated Drop on Cab • Quietest cab on the market • Best in class serviceability • Best visibility on the market

• New & improved A/C and Heating • Integrated cowling for improved sealing and maintenance

To see our complete line of harvesters, sweepers, conditioners & orchard cabs, please visit or call 209.544.8600 Built by farmers for farmers…we understand!

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Assemblymember Villapudua Named 2021 Almond Champion of the Year for Support of Pollinator Habitat Legislation Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) is being honored as the Almond Alliance of California’s 2021 Almond Champion of the Year for his effective leadership in authoring legislation that supports California’s pollinator habitats, as well as leading efforts to educate his fellow legislators about the importance of a sustainable California almond industry to the state’s economic health. The legislature this year approved a budget containing funding that will help almond growers implement those important conservation practices that benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in the orchard. Assemblymember Villapudua’s leadership on AB 391, which highlighted the need for funds to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices designed to integrate pollinator habitat and forage on working lands, was critical in getting these funds approved. Almond Alliance Chair Mike Curry praised Villapudua for his work on legislation of importance to the California almond industry. “Assemblymember Villapudua as a freshman legislator has really taken the time to get to know the many facets of our industry,” explained Curry. “As one of the few legislators representing agriculture, he has done a great job of educating his fellow legislators about how important farming is to this state. His most recent efforts in obtaining funding for pollinator habitat conservation practices will benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in almond orchards.” The Almond Champion of the Year Award is presented annually to those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in education, coalition building, partnerships and promoting legislation and policies that encourage the advancement and protection of California agriculture and the California almond industry. The award recipient is decided on by our Government Relations committee members.

Committee members include: • Micah Zeff Montpelier Orchards • Mike Curry Johnson Farms • Dick Cunningham Cunningham Ranch Inc. • Jeannine Grech Campos Brothers Farms • Alicia Rockwell Blue Diamond Growers

Past recipients of this award include: • Assemblymember Adam Gray • Assemblymember Heath Flora • Connie Conway, former Director of Farm Service Agency

• Dave Phippen

Travaille & Phippen

• Melissa Frank

The Wonderful Company

• Steve Van Duyn

Van Duyn Family Farms

• Todd Meyer

Bear Republic Nut

• Bill Lyons

Mapes Ranch

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“As one of the few legislators representing agriculture, he has done a great job of educating his fellow legislators about how important farming is to this state. His most recent efforts in obtaining funding for pollinator habitat conservation practices will benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in almond orchards.” — Almond Alliance Chair Mike Curry

The award was presented by the Almond Alliance at the California Almond Industry Political Action Committee’s Annual Modesto Fundraiser at Del Rio Country Club on October 27, 2021. About the Almond Alliance The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community. For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Assemblymember Villapudua (center) pictured with Blue Diamond VP of Member Relations Mel Machado (left) and Blue Diamond Director of Member Relations - North, Ben Goudie (right).


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#WeAreBlueDiamond Social Media Activity

Blue Diamond had a lot going on this month! We celebrated Veterans Day by honoring Blue Diamond team members who have served or continue to serve in the military. We enjoyed our 111th Annual Meeting and sent all growers a box of Blue Diamond goodies. We hosted a successful job fair, attracting new talent, and we celebrated National Nut Day by offering a discount for a day in our Nut & Gift Shops.



BLUE DIAMOND INVESTMENT PROGRAMS Current Investment Rates available as of August 8, 2021

Blue Diamond Growers offers members short-term and long- term investment programs. The objective of these programs is to serve as a competitive investment alternative for our members and provide Blue Diamond Growers with a steady source of funds. The interest rates effective August 8, 2021, for the program are listed here:

Short-Term Investment Certificate (STIC)

Long-Term Investment Certificate (LTIC) (Maturity Date of 6/30/2024)

Initial Investment Required



Interest Rate



(Variable, subject to change)

(Fixed rate)

For more information, contact your local Regional Manager, or Member Services at (209) 545-6225.

This summary does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to purchase investment certificates. We will provide a package of documents for the programs to those members who are California residents and who express an interest in participating in the program.

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Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Difficulty: Easy Serves Up To: 48

Ingredients • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate • 1¼ all purpose flour • ½ cup cocoa powder • 2 teaspoons baking powder • ¼ teaspoon salt • 1 stick butter • 1½ cups packed light brown sugar • 2 large eggs • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract • ⅓ cup Almond Breeze ® Chocolate Almondmilk

• 1 cup granulated sugar • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions 1. M icrowave chocolate in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly. 2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat butter and sugar together then mix in eggs, vanilla, peppermint and melted chocolate. 3. Add dry ingredients in two batches, adding the Almond Breeze ® Chocolate Almondmilk in between additions. 4. R efrigerate dough for 2 hours. Then make 2 inch balls of dough, roll them in granulated sugar then powdered sugar. 5. Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and cook for another 7 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks and then enjoy!

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Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Cookies Prep Time: 35 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Difficulty: Easy Serves Up To: 15

Ingredients • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar • 2 tablespoons butter, softened • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 cups Blue Diamond Almond Flour • ½ teaspoon baking soda • ¼ teaspoon salt • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chunks • ¼ cup dried, sweetened cranberries • C oarse sea or kosher salt, if desired

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

3. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until combined. Add egg and vanilla; beat on high until smooth and pale tan in color. Add flour, soda and salt; stir until a dough forms. Stir in chocolate and cranberries. 4. D rop by heaping tablespoonful ’s onto prepared baking sheet, about 1" apart. Flatten cookies to about 2½" in diameter. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. 5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

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“Can A Week” Campaign Turns 35! To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the iconic “Can a Week” ad campaign series, which was launched in 1986, we’ve connected with some of the growers who participated 35 years ago! We asked them about their experience, and they shared fond memories along with photographs from the production.

Dan Cummings, the Chairman of the Blue Diamond Board, shared his memories of the campaign. His family has been Blue Diamond members since 1928, starting with his grandfather. In the ad, Cummings wore a white tuxedo to marry Steve VanDuynt’s cousin, Jeannie Betschart DeSimone. He had fun participating with other growers and the marketing team at that time including Al Greenlee and Chris McGlasson. The Montgomery family has been farming since 1910. Mark Montgomery is unsure when his grandfather became a member of Blue Diamond , but he believes it to be over 100 years ago. They have been members his entire life of 71 years and for all his father’s life.

Mark, Kathi, and their son Fred were excited at the opportunity to audition for the campaign and even more thrilled when they were selected. Kathi enjoyed the whole process and believes that consumers could relate to the campaign since real almond growers were advertising their own product. She remembers the director agreeing, saying that the growers were just what they were looking for with this campaign since they were real farmers, not actors. Kathi understands that younger generations enjoy the homespun feel of raw videos, like what’s on TikTok, and she would like to see the “Can a Week” campaign reinvented, even encouraging Fred and his two children to participate.

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It will be interesting to see how the next generation of young farmers faces the challenge of producing a sustainable, nutritious, delicious and economical almond crop to our world that is making so many demands on the few who choose to grow the food that sustains us and all of the industries that are part of agriculture. A challenge indeed! God bless the farmers!

Fred reflects, “I was only about 9 or 10 years old when we filmed the commercials for Blue Diamond . I remember it being kind of an exciting thing at that age, especially knowing that I was going to be on TV! The filming process was fun, and the directors had to do lots of takes to get the footage that they wanted. They seemed pretty patient with all of us farmers, considering we had no formal acting training!” Pete and Vicki Bandoni were also featured in the campaign. Pete and his father planted their first family almond orchard when he was 9-years-old. Unfortunately, Pete has passed away since then. Vicki was flattered to be chosen and had never experienced anything like it before. She became instantly recognizable and called it her, “Five minutes of fame.” She added, “For years people who had seen me in a magazine or a billboard would always mention it. I got calls from old friends across the country. I often thought of all the things I have done in my life which I thought were more important and no one noticed, but people remember the Blue Diamond advertisement.” The increase in almond acreage has transformed the industry, but also, technology has evolved. When asked how the industry has changed, Cummings noted the vast innovations beyond the snack nut category such as crackers, flour, and oil, the success of Almond Breeze , and the major improvements throughout Blue Diamond , including the storage capacity at the Salida site. Fred Montgomery believes the biggest change in the industry has been the drastic volume increase of almonds produced. He stated, “The statewide crop back then was probably

only a few hundred million pounds, and now we are producing around three billion!” Technology has also driven the industry forward, “at lightning speed,” according to Vicki Bandoni. She also added, “It will be interesting to see how the next generation of young farmers faces the challenge of producing a sustainable, nutritious, delicious and economical almond crop to our world that is making so many demands on the few who choose to grow the food that sustains us and all of the industries that are part of agriculture. A challenge indeed! God bless the farmers!” Several other Northern growers participated in “Can a Week,” but several have passed away or have retired. Bob Overton participated and has since passed away, but his son Greg Overton continues to farm as a Blue Diamond grower. Chet Rice participated and passed away, but his sons, Darren and Kevin continue to farm as Blue Diamond growers. Stanford McLaughlin participated but has since passed away. Sandy Morimoto was a participant; her parents and uncle were Blue Diamond growers but have since passed. Sandy is a teacher today. The Mead family still belongs to Blue Diamond . Today, the ads can be found online; just type “A can a week, that’s all we ask” into your search browser. The simple phrase is still widely remembered today with its rustic, folksy, and fun concept. We enjoyed speaking with our Blue Diamond Grower “Can a Week” celebrities about their experiences and we are very proud that many of them are still part of the Blue Diamond family.

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Blue Diamond Team Members and Growers Show Support for Blue Star Moms Team members and growers rallied together to collect and donate 473 pairs of socks for people serving in the military. The Sacramento Blue Star Moms posted a thank you and photos on social media, sharing their gratitude and appreciation for the generosity of the people of Blue Diamond .

Thank you to the Blue Diamond teammembers and growers that celebrated Veterans Day by donating over 400 pairs of socks to the SBSM packing event this past Saturday. The SBSM could not do what we do without the support of your great business and the community. Thank you! — Sacramento Blue Star Moms

Blue Diamond Growers does not endorse or verify statements made by advertisers within this publication.

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California Must Confront Supply Chain Crisis with Bold Action California agriculture is part of a complex global system facing supply chain upheaval resulting from a failure to invest in upgrading ports, overly ambitious regulatory goals slowing goods movement, a lack of equipment, and other issues creating a system fraught with pitfalls.

Photo credit: Paul Teysen from Unsplash

Given the crisis has been years in the making, there is no easy answer, but it is clear all levels of government have fallen short in failing to recognize issues sooner and for not identifying certain governmental actions as part of the problem. Our state must take bold action to address our supply chain needs and time is of the essence. California Ports California agricultural exports are a major part of the engine fueling our economy, accounting for $21.7 billion in value in 2019, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). California almonds are

the state’s highest valued export commodity with a value of more than $4.9 billion in foreign sales in 2019, according to CDFA. Much of the media coverage regarding California’s ports focuses on imports and the resulting impacts on retailers and consumers as our nation heads into the holiday season. However, as almond growers know well, California agriculture depends upon a reliable supply chain, and at the ports, agriculture requires the use of container units leaving the ports to export products.

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Across California’s three major ports, comparing first quarter of 2020 to first quarter of 2021, there is an 80 percent increase in empty export containers departing the ports, which would typically serve as the containers for agricultural exports. At the Port of Los Angeles, nearly 75 percent of all exported containers left the port empty from January through July of 2021. Some ships are avoiding the Port of Oakland altogether — where many agricultural products move out of — to return to Asia more quickly and bring back more imports. In addition, access to export containers is even more limited given that costs are skyrocketing due to additional surcharges and fees. Given that agricultural exports are a critical driver of California’s economy, Ag Council is working with Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration and legislators to raise issues relating to goods movement, including obstacles facing exports, and our team is participating in conversations to develop solutions. Letter to Gov. Newsom Requesting Urgent Action Ag Council is part of a goods movement coalition with other associations and recently worked with partners in agriculture and business to send a letter to Governor Newsom asking him to declare a State of Emergency at the ports to facilitate supply chain movement and resolve bottlenecks. The letter garnered the attention of the Wall Street Journal in an article published on November 4 focusing on California’s barriers to goods movement, including trucking and warehouse regulations, which are leading to a more severe crisis in the state. The letter also asked Governor Newsom to review regulations hampering the movement of goods, including considering expediting CEQA permits and other permits for warehouses, rail lines and goods movement components, as well as looking at the potential suspension of rules preventing the unloading of goods at warehouses during

certain times of day. Even temporarily, such steps would help bring at least some relief amid extreme supply chain congestion. Select Committee on Ports & Goods Movement Hearing Prior to a legislative hearing on November 3, Ag Council worked with legislators to communicate the severity of the impacts on agriculture, including the fact that lost agricultural export costs are nearing $1.5 billion. Special thanks to Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) for assertively raising issues of concern to agriculture during the hearing. Short-Term Actions The hearing revealed a few short-term actions that would help alleviate port backlogs, including a huge need for chassis, sweeper ships, and warehouse space. Chassis California must work to free up more chassis, which are the wheels underneath containers, to assist in moving goods quicker. Due to a lack of warehouse space and vacant lots near the Southern California ports, some truck drivers are leaving containers with the chassis outside of storage areas to retrieve later. Additionally, major retailers are paying a premium for chassis at the ports. This is contributing to the shortage of chassis and adding to gridlock. Sweeper Ships Sweeper ships remove empty containers from the docks and create more room to move containers from ships and into warehouses. These ships are desperately needed, and we understand there is an effort to work with trade partners to send sweeper ships to California. Warehouses We must find more areas for warehouses to store containers near the ports and elsewhere in California. We have a tremendous number of containers and not enough places to store them. Our letter to Governor Newsom requests a review of the laws and regulations hindering the use and development of such facilities.


Long-Term Actions Funding California is lagging far behind other states when it comes to making investments in its ports. According to the California Association of Port Authorities President Daniel Wan, there is a nearly 11 to 1 imbalance in investments made by other states in their ports versus the investments made by California in areas such as infrastructure, marketing, and coordination at the ports. This is not acceptable. The recently approved federal infrastructure measure contains $17 billion for ports nationwide, which is a start. However, the state must also make funding a priority now. Ag Council understands Governor Newsom’s upcoming January budget proposal will likely contain funds for port upgrades. Trucking Trucking is a major aspect of goods movement and is also connected to the congestion at the ports and posing a significant challenge to the movement of agricultural products. Nationwide, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of 80,000 truckers and California is embarking on an environmental transformation in the trucking industry, which will further constrain the number of trucks commercially available on the market. Along with temporarily securing increased weight limits on trucks moving perishable products, Ag Council has worked with CDFA and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to take a deeper look at the movement of agricultural products. The goal is to find policy options to increase the number of drivers and determine a path forward on environmental regulations to meet air quality regulations while smoothly moving our products in the future. Conclusion California prides itself on being at the forefront of many policy issues and its participation in the supply chain should be at the cutting edge of technology and its investments should be the envy of the world.

We need more accountability and strong leadership to help coordinate with all levels of government and the private sector going forward. Ag Council stands ready to work with officials as we take steps to overcome obstacles and develop a more resilient supply chain now and in the future. If you have feedback regarding the supply chain crisis, please email me at:

Emily Rooney, Ag Council President


Please Join Ag Council for our 103 rd Annual Meeting

Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa March 14–16, 2022

Registration and additional details will be available in early January 2022 at: Please email with any questions.

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Dr. Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE Area IPM Advisor for San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties led a session where he discussed the increasing problem of brown spots on almonds due to insect damage and a the best ways to approach the issue.

What Causes Brown Spots on Almonds? Farm advisor offers causes and cures

With brown spot defects on almonds approaching the frequency of Navel Orange Worm damage in recent years, growers have begun looking for answers to the cause and cure. Those questions were addressed at Blue Diamond Growers ’ virtual annual growers meeting November 17. Dr. Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE Area IPM Advisor for San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, pointed his finger at several species of Hemiptera “True Bugs” as the primary culprits who attack immature almonds early and mid-season, leaving them gummy, stained with brown spots or lying on the ground from nut drop.

Leaffooted Bugs and several varieties of Native Stink Bugs do most of the damage, Dr. Rijal noted. However, a new, invasive stink bug has found its way into the Central Valley — the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) which feeds on almonds throughout the season.

predators to count on for control. Only a few insecticides are available for these pests and these materials are most useful early in the season. • Bifenthrin (Brigade WSB) • Lambda-Cyhalothrin (Warrior ll with Zeon) • Clothianidin (Belay) • Esfenvalerate (Asana XL) Pest Behavior Most feeding damage from True Bugs occurs before shell hardening — early through mid-May. The bugs are equipped with sharp, needle-like feeding “stylets” that they insert through the hull as far as the kernel, release one or more enzymes that liquefy the nut material, and suck up the juice. The brown spots occur as a result of the plant fighting back by deadening the flesh around the wound to prevent the bug from causing any more damage.

But not all brown spots in almonds are created by bugs, he said. Mold, fungus, high moisture, and pathogens transmitted by large insects can also be a factor. Bug Control Prevention and control of Leaffooted Bugs and Native Stink Bugs involve early detection through visual inspection of the tree canopy looking for bugs and egg masses and applying insecticides before the bugs begin feeding on the new crop. When visually checking for True Bugs, Dr. Rijal recommends concentrating on the middle and upper canopy early in the season before the bugs damage the fruit. He says there is no economic threshold to begin control. There are not enough

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The size and number of resulting brown spots depends on the number of bugs feeding on the crop, the size of the bugs, their feeding mechanism, and the age of the crop. Early season nuts are more vulnerable to bug damage. A bug attack at that time can cause complete collapse of the kernel or can trigger hormonal changes in the tree that result in significant nut drop. Mid-season and later feeding produce significant gumming, brown spots, and dimpling. Late season attacks produce shallow spots. BMSB: The invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug arrived in Southern California in 2002, the San Joaquin Valley in 2015, and registered its first almond crop damage in 2016 in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. It continues to spread in the valley causing extensive damage. It is distinguished from Native Stink Bugs by white bands around its antennae and legs. Symptoms of its presence in an almond crop include gummosis, yellowish nuts and

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brownish speckles on kernels, also shriveled and dried nuts. Most of the damage occurs along the edges of an orchard. BMSB causes kernel damage all season but lessens

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later in the season. Commercial traps are available for BMSB. The pest can be detected in traps in mid-March. The same control measures that are effective for Native Stink Bug help control BMSB.

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Government Affairs session panelists included Administrator Daniel Whitley, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA, Administrator Bruce Summers, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, and Lynn Jacquez, Principal and Of Counsel, JPH Law Firm. The panel gave expert advice on climate change initiatives, investment programs that assist businesses, and how to find support amid the pandemic.

How Emerging Climate Policy Could Impact California Almond Industry

With increasing demands from legislators, media and climate activists for individuals, business and agriculture to reduce their carbon footprints, state and federal policymakers continue to enact ever more restrictive policies affecting agriculture. The effect those policies could have on the California almond industry was the topic of a panel consisting of two USDA administrators and Blue Diamond ’s legislative and regulatory representative in Washington, D.C.

point of view across and that several partnerships on the issue were formed. An Aim for Climate initiative emerged to “take advantage of the political will to accelerate investment in climate change practices, sustainability practices, and reduction of greenhouse gases and emissions for decades to come,” he said. Administrator Whitley acknowledged that farmers and ranchers across the country and in California, particularly, are leading the way in adopting sustainability practices. He also stated that the USDA believes American agriculture should be equipped with the innovation, tools, and technology available to help achieve such goals as President Biden’s “Net Zero (carbon) by 2050.” Other countries and advocacy groups are pushing to limit tools and resources for agriculture. “At FAS, we think science supports various approaches to achieving sustainability goals,” Administrator Whitley countered. The agency is aggressively promoting the work that American farmers are doing towards sustainable food production as an example for other countries to learn from, he explained, and FAS remains alert to any effort by other countries “to erect trade barriers disguised as good climate change politics.” Addressing long term implications of emerging climate policy and trends, Administrator Whitley predicted, “We think a market-based incentive will emerge. Consumers will want foods verified to have been produced sustainably. There will be demand for it.”

Administrator Daniel Whitley, FAS within USDA, reported, after attending the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in October and November 2021, that “the stars have aligned around the world” on the issue of climate change and that

Administrator Daniel Whitley, FAS, USDA

the world is coming together to address it in a meaningful way. “It is clear that there is a lot of momentum to address climate change and that agriculture will lead the way,” he reported. Administrator Whitley noted that the COP26 participants do not agree on every aspect of how to address the perceived threat of climate change nor do they agree on the science around the issue, but he feels that the large US delegation was successful in getting the US government’s

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