Almond-ing with the Almond Board of California
California Almonds invited me to attend their Almond Orchard Experience. My airfare, meals and hotel accommodations were all paid for. I was not compensated to write this post…I just thought it’d be fun to share the trip with you.
I recently took a trip to my favorite state (California!!) to learn all about almonds with the Almond Board of California and to find out exactly how we get this…
Let’s find out.
The first day of the trip I arrived at Wine & Roses Resort and headed to the pool for a swim to stretch my legs after traveling all day.
At one point the chef made almond cheese. I’ve had almond cheese before that was SO gross and vowed to never eat it again, but this way actually really tasty! Made with soaked almonds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Served on a grilled peach salad with almond vinaigrette made with…you guessed it, almond oil!
Then we moved outside to keep mingling and eat dinner.
Salmon + grilled veggies + salad + a roll.
The next day started off with a yoga session from RD friend Alex. She’s one of those yoga teachers that gives mini massages during class. IT IS THE BEST.
While we were doing a breathing exercise, Alex mentioned to the group that if she said something that doesn’t fit with you, reframe the saying in your mind so it does. I really liked the class starting with this because sometimes yoga teaches say some interesting things and I’m like whaaat, but I don’t believe that and now I’m going to think about how I don’t agree with that statement for the rest of the class.
Yeah..really liked this yoga class.
After yoga, we headed to breakfast.
Eggs + bacon + greek yogurt + ginger almond granola + oranges + an iced almond milk latte on the side.
Then we spent the rest of the morning listening to a couple talks all about…ALMONDS. We learned about sustainability, almond growing, almond nutrition, almond marketing/advertising and almond trends.
Some of my favorite info I learned or was reminded of:
- Almonds are California’s second most valuable crop, second to milk.
- Over the past 20 years, almond growers have improved their water use efficiency by 33%.
- 1 servings of almonds = 23-28 almonds
- Research is showing that consumers want high protein snacks to help satisfy hunger. Since almonds are high in protein (6 grams protein/23 almonds), they are a great snack option. (I’d recommended pairing almonds with a carb source – fruit, yogurt, dried fruit, pretzels- for a more balanced snack.)
- Research has found that there is a significant association between eating a one-ounce servings of nuts (~25 almonds) daily and a lower death rate from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease compared to those who did not eat nuts.
Around then it was time for lunch.
BBQ chicken + mac & cheese + cornbread + salad.
Then we were divided into teams to compete to see who could create the best almond-infused snack. Our team won thanks to Megan’s advice to keep it simple.
We had a couple hours free time so I headed back to my hotel room to get some work done. The Wine & Roses resort was gorgeous. My room had a lofted bedroom with SO MUCH natural light. Plus a massive balcony. I got very little work done during the two hour break because all I wanted to do was sit on the balcony or take a bubble bath. I did both and then got back to almond-ing.
Next up on the agenda was a trip for dinner to Lange Twins Winery.
Dinner was roasted summer veggies + almond oil drizzled lamb kabobs + paella timbales + shrimp with romesco sauce.
Dessert was an almond cake that I felt kinda meh about until I tried it. The entire cake tasted like marzipan…the best!!
Then back to the hotel to sleep!
The next day started with a run with RD friends Heather, Deanna, Genevieve, Rachel, and Kim. After running cross country in high school and then continuing to run too much in college (my poor body), I finally came to the realization that I actually don’t love long distance running (anything over 2 miles) so now I don’t run over that distance on my own…but I’m always up for morning runs with new friends! We covered about 3.5 miles.
Showers then breakfast.
Oatmeal + gingery almond granola + cantaloupe + egg burrito + iced almond milk latte.
Then our group headed over to an almond orchard and production facility.
One of the highlights of my trip was when I saw Meme making a snow angle in the thousands of almonds that were on the ground waiting to be picked up. The cutest!
So little did I know, but almonds are actually closely related to peaches. They have an outer hull that is fuzzy just like a peach. Who knew?!
Then we walked around the production facility to see almonds get ready to be sent to you via giant machines like this…
Last up was a picnic lunch.
Italian sandwich + greek salad + my first macaron EVER (yum!) + a mini jar of peach cobbler.
With that we headed back to the resort and I took a late night flight back to Houston. Thanks for having me, Almond Board of California.
There’s a fun almond flour breakfast recipe coming your way this week!