BY ANGELINA MARTIN
Blue Diamond Growers officially announced last month the expansion of its Salida manufacturing plant in a special groundbreaking ceremony, which celebrated the second, state-of-the-art facility meant to help the company keep up with the ever-growing almond industry.
Blue Diamond’s first almond warehouse and receiving station in Salida opened four years ago. Construction officially began on the new expansion in February, and comes on the heels of a January expansion of the Sacramento-based company’s Turlock plant.
“Today, we’re back again and the reason is that the growth of the almond industry continues to accelerate,” Blue Diamond President and CEO Mark Jansen said.
Over the past year, Blue Diamond was once again named one of the fastest-growing mid-size companies in the world with over $1 billion in sales.
“Part of that growth is making sure we can handle every almond our growers give us, and store it and process it in the best possible way,” Jansen said.
The new facility is expected to be completed by August 2020, increasing Blue Diamond’s receiving capacity by 25 percent and adding 20 percent more bulk storage of almonds that come from over 3,000 growers in California. According to a 2015 report from the Almond Board of California, that’s nearly half of all the almond farms in the state.
“The cool thing about this warehouse is, once again, we’ve replicated the unique design that allows us to take our most premium, finest almonds and store them and process them in the most gentle way possible, and that allows us to have the best quality almonds in the world,” Jansen said.
At the new warehouse, six million pounds of almonds can be received per day, or 350,000 pounds of almonds per hour. The facility will have the capacity to store over 50 million pounds of almonds and will feature a 26-degree floor slope — the natural angle for almonds’ gravity flow.
After being sent to Salida to be processed, almonds are then either transported to Oakland for shipment overseas, to Sacramento to be seasoned and packaged or to Turlock, where they’re chopped or converted into almond milk.
“This step forward with the warehouse is the latest in our vision of delivering the benefits of almond to the world,” Jansen said.