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Almonds voted top nut in state
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Almond Board representatives recently announced the results of an online contest in which KGO radio broadcast proclaimed almonds as the winner of the nut category in the State of California.

California is the country’s leading producer of tree nuts, and has produced nearly 27 million tons of nuts in 2012 alone, increasing its production by 4 percent since 2011. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, nearly 90 percent of each year’s nut production is harvested from California, the typical favorites being almonds, pistachios and walnuts.

Walnuts have seen a large spike in sales this year in nursery trees. Farmers are forced to wait up to three years at a time for a walnut tree while pistachio consumption and crop value continues to grow. Last year’s pistachio production rose over 20 percent than 2011, and was valued at $1.1 billion dollars, while almond’s 2012 crop production fell 2 percent.

Despite these growing trends, almonds have proved to be the top commodity in Turlock, and have seen significant growth with the addition of the Food Safety Act and new enterprises, such as the Blue Diamond Company.

Though production fell by 2 percent at only 1.7 million tons, almonds were still valued at $4.3 billion, an 8 percent increase compared to 2011, which led to another record-breaking year for the almond industry in 2012.

“We are very excited to hear that the public in California has chosen almonds as their favorite nut,” said Johnnie Drake of Alldrin Brothers, Inc. in Turlock.  “It is nice to know that our product is not just being favored locally, but throughout California.”

“We take great pride in almonds’ growing popularity,” said Associate Director of the California Almond Board Molly Spence. “Domestic per capita consumption of almonds has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and that can be attributed to learning more about their nutrition and benefits, choosing them more often as a snack, and having many more almond products from which to choose.”

Many almonds take the form of cereal, granola bars, or food service outlets in conjunction with dietary plans. Almonds are not only a good source of protein, but Vitamin E, dietary fiber and monounsaturated fat, which is known the decrease the risk of heart disease.

More than 80 percent of the world’s almonds come from California, and because of this, most Californians have some form of almonds in their diet.

“Almonds are a great snack for busy and active California lifestyles,” said Senior Director of Global Marketing Stacey Humble. “They are naturally rich in nutrients, and they’re satisfying and easy to take on the go. They give you the power to be your best.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, California almonds top the chart for U.S. specialty crop exports by value at $2,822,000, and is California’s number one agriculture export, totaling $2,393,000.