Second-generation almond farmer finds passion in the family business

Meet an almond farmer whose parents immigrated from India and settled in California’s fertile Central Valley.

Mallvinder Kahal is a second-generation almond producer in California’s Central Valley, who hails from a long line of farmers. His family immigrated here from India and decided to settle in the fertile countryside.

“They were looking for opportunity, and farming was something that naturally attracted them,” Kahal said. “It was already a part of their heritage.”

Kahal’s parents bought their first farm well over 30 years ago, and over the last three decades, they have dabbled in growing wine grapes, apples, peaches, and pistachios—but ultimately found their place in the almond industry.

Kahal says there are countless almond varieties, and each one has a different purpose and a different market. Adding that harvest time typically spans from August to October, making the harvest very time-sensitive.

“We want to make sure when we go in, the nuts come completely off the tree,” he said. “And that’s where our shakers come in. They’re grabbing the tree at the perfect speed, you know, for three to four seconds of shaking all the nuts off the tree.”

Rick Kushman of the Almond Board of California says demand for almonds is as strong as ever because of all of the new ways these nuts are being used.

“Among all the products on Earth that get introduced every year, almonds are right at the top, and there have been 12,000 new products introduced with almonds just last year,” Kushman said. “All of them involve health—and that’s one of the things that’s driving it.”

Nearly all of the almonds Americans enjoy come from the Central Valley, and California supplies close to 80 percent of the world’s almonds.

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