We’re nuts about sustainability—no, really! We’re excited to introduce you to the team at Harris Woolf Almonds, one of our almond suppliers here at Campbell.
About 80% of the world’s almonds grow in California, the home of Harris Woolf Almonds. It’s one of the state’s largest almond processors, handling up to 80 million pounds of the versatile tree nut each year. The company has been our Emerald Nuts almond supplier since 2017, but its history goes back much further.
It was 1973 when the Harris and Woolf families first opened their respective almond orchards. As two of California’s almond market leaders, they decided in 1989 to join forces to launch a local processing operation for their crops—and Harris Woolf was born.
Today, Harris Woolf is led by CEO Justin Morehead, who was raised on a California almond farm. His family has grown almonds for over three generations and are part of the family of Harris Woolf growers.
In the winter, the thick fog in California’s Central Valley surrounds Harris Woolf’s dormant almond trees as they chill out in preparation for a busy spring.
During February and March, beekeepers and their honeybees buzz on over to California. As the valley bursts into color with gorgeous white and pink almond blossoms, the bees get to work helping those flowers turn into almonds.
In June, the fuzzy hull that surrounds the nut begins splitting to reveal the hidden shell. Then it’s time for the shaker, a piece of equipment that shakes each tree for a few seconds, raining almonds to the ground. The nuts are swept into long lines to dry out for a week before a harvesting machine comes through, vacuuming up the almonds while separating out the dirt.
From August through October, the almonds are transported to the Harris Woolf processing facility, where they’re stored, shelled, sorted, and sized.
Harris Woolf does more than just grow nuts; it also integrates sustainability throughout its operations. Local dairy cows munch on hulls for food high in fiber and sleep on the shells for bedding. And when the trees reach the end of their quarter-century life cycle, rather than being burned and releasing greenhouse gas emissions, they’re chipped and returned to the soil, helping to increase yields, improve the soil’s ability to hold water, and sequester carbon.
“Sustainability isn’t a buzzword or a marketing and sales pitch for us,” said Mike Briano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Harris Woolf, who has recently taken a lead role on the USDA Advisory Council’s sustainability committee for the fruit and vegetable industries. “It’s something we all believe in and live every day. We want to do more than just work and collect a paycheck—we want to leave a legacy.”
That’s why the team worked to become certified as a B Corp™, committing to inclusive, equitable, and regenerative practices—on its farms, throughout operations, and within its community.
Harris Woolf also recently set a goal for 75% of its grower base to achieve Bee Friendly Farming classification by 2025 for its orchards to protect the health and habitat of its pollinator partners. As of 2021, 36% of its grower acreage have received the certification.
Another pillar of Harris Woolf’s sustainability program has been participation in the California Almond Board’s California Almond Stewardship Platform (CASP). Through CASP, 7,500 almond farmers throughout the state are working to reduce water usage, increase their efforts toward zero waste, help the bees that help them, and support economic growth.
“I see CASP as a foot in the sustainability door for growers because it’s not a certification,” Justin said. “It’s an assessment to help them understand where they are and where they should be.”
Last year, Harris Woolf launched its first Impact Report and established three goals: having Bee Friendly Farming Certified and active CASP partners, using renewable energy sources, and reducing greenhouse gas.
“Creating our Impact Report dovetailed nicely with working with companies like Campbell that also recognize the value associated with sustainable farming,” Justin said.
You can enjoy the bounty of Harris Woolf’s sustainable harvest in our Emerald Nuts almonds. Learn more about Emerald and find where you can pick up a bag of your favorite almonds today.
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