Strength Through Partnership

It’s difficult to believe that just over a year ago our world was turned upside down from a public health crisis that impacted nearly every facet of our daily lives. Fortunately, with the adoption of new public safety measures and the introduction of vaccines, we can all start to breathe a sigh of relief that light at the end of this pandemic tunnel finally is in view.

I’m encouraged that we were able to successfully secure a vaccine administrator and the COVID-19 vaccine doses needed to host on-site vaccine clinics for our team members at all three Blue Diamond facilities. This is just one more step we’ve taken to ensure the health and safety of our workforce.

I’ve shared with you before that I’m tremendously proud of how well our Blue Diamond team members pivoted over the last 12 months to ensure our facilities were able to continue receiving and processing the record-sized crop from our growers. Despite unexpected challenges to production demands, supply chain channels, and consumer behaviors we kept the manufacturing lines running and the shipments flowing.

Related to shipments, supply chain issues remain a global challenge, particularly at the Port of Oakland where agriculture products are stacked at the port with ships returning empty to Asia due to slow turnaround times.  Our Blue Diamond team has been working overtime to reschedule and find new ways to get product to our global customers.

As a co-op we seize any opportunity we can to celebrate our grower-owners.  For the fifth year in a row, The White House publicly recognized National Ag Day on March 23 in a well-deserved salute to the contributions of America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.  This year’s proclamation recognized the role that the 2 million American farmers and ranchers played over the last unprecedented year in ensuring a safe and abundant food supply for families around the world.

Through an extension of our co-op’s efforts to recognize and celebrate the diversity we appreciate in our Blue Diamond workforce, we took the opportunity to combine recognition of March as Women’s History Month with Ag Day in giving a shout out to our women almond growers. This was just one of several social media posts over the last two months as we increased our corporate social media engagement efforts to better connect our co-op and our growers to the communities we serve. You can read more about those efforts and other co-op news in the News in a Nutshell section of this issue.

We continue marketing though the record 2020 crop that is now estimated to top 3.1 billion pounds. I’m inspired by our relentless focus on innovation that delivers value to our growers through new uses of, and new markets for, their almonds. Our newest snack nut flavor family, XTREMES, brings on the heat to reach a younger target market share than almonds have traditionally.  Internationally, we also recently introduced Almond Breeze Almond Cooking Cream in Brazil, a cutting-edge non-dairy creamy base for dishes like beef stroganoff and alfredo pastas. You’ll find more details about both of these innovative outside-the-box Blue Diamond products in the next issue of Almond Facts.

With the 2021 bloom now complete, all eyes remain on the weather. After periods of March storms that included heavy rain, winds and even some hail, grower-owners might welcome springtime calm in the next growing phase as trees soak up the nutrients needed to grow the 2021 crop.  

Although the March rain may have delayed irrigation in some regions, California has been officially declared to be in a drought situation due to the lackluster snowpack in the Sierra watershed. While obtaining ample supplies of water will certainly present challenges for growers, I’m aware many of you have been planning ahead, using valuable lessons learned from past dry years to most effectively manage your orchards. 

I believe in the perseverance of our farmers and the strength of this Blue Diamond cooperative. This past year has clearly demonstrated that no matter what comes our way, by staying focused on partnership, quality and innovation, together we can ensure long-term success.

Mark Jansen
President and CEO
Blue Diamond Growers