Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Big Tree Organic Farms almonds processed with other nuts?
A: Our Organic Whole Natural Almonds & Organic Blanched Almonds (excluding the 10 lb Bag) are processed in a facility that may have present walnuts or cashews.
All our Organic Almond Products (ie: almond meals, sliced, diced, butter) are processed in facilities that may have present peanuts, soy, dairy, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, paranuts, macadamia nuts, queensland nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds; but are selected specifically because they have very rigid food safety and allergen controls that we trust. Please note that not only do companies need to adhere to very strict cleaning for food safety and allergen controls, but there are additional cleaning and segregation requirements because we are ORGANIC.
Our Organic Flavored Almonds are processed in a facility in Italy that may have present peanuts, soy, dairy, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, paranuts, macadamia nuts, queensland nuts, sesame seed. Some flavors may also contain milk.
PLEASE SEE INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT LISTING PAGES (ON OUR WEB STORE) AND CLICK THE "ALLERGEN INFORMATION" TAB TO VIEW THAT PRODUCT'S PROCESSING INFORMATION & POSSIBLE CROSS-CONTAMINATION RISKS.
Q: Why should I pay more for organic almonds?
A: Organic farming is more expensive, more risky, and delivers lower yields than “conventional” almond farming.
+ Expensive: Extensive labor and numerous passes with a mower are the substitutes for herbicides (chemical weed control), and organic nutrient products are more expensive than synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. There are fees for Organic Certification, Inspections, and State Organic Registration. Also, service providers, like shellers, sometimes charge organic farmers extra for running organic almonds through their facility.
+ Risky: Spring rains can ruin an Organic crop, since there are no organically approved methods to control orchard infections once they take hold.
+ Lower Yields: Organically farmed almond orchards usually produce 25% less than their non-organic farmed counterparts.
With all the great benefits for not only our environment but our bodies as well, it seems to be worth that extra bit of money.
Q: What exactly is “organic farming”?
A: Visit this page for a full answer.
Q: How should I store my Big Tree Organic Farms almonds?
A: For the longest lasting, freshest almonds, you should store them in air-tight containers, in a cool dry place, out of sunlight. If you refrigerate your almonds, they can last for several months; store them in the freezer and they can last for up to a year.
Q: What are “Transitional” Almonds?
A: Converting almond orchards to organic is a strict three-year process. "Transitional" Almonds are the product of almond trees that are still in that conversion period.
Q: Are Big Tree Organic Farms almonds pasteurized?
A: Yes, this is now an “outgoing standard,” which began September 1, 2007, and was determined by the almond industry and approved by USDA. All almonds must be treated to affect a 4-log reduction of Salmonella Enteriditis Phage Type 30, with very limited exception. So, some people just shorthand this treatment requirement as “pasteurization.”
Q: What pasteurization methods are used?
A: Our organic almonds meet the pasteurization requirements through the roasting or blanching processes. Additionally, our whole natural organic almonds are "flash pasteurized"- a steam based process intended as a surface treatment, to meet the food safety standards.
Q: Do the almonds sprout?
A: We have done some small, in house experiments with our own almonds, after they have been through the pasteurization process. We successfully “sprouted” the almonds after the process, which leads us to believe that it is indeed a SURFACE treatment, leaving the rest of the almond alive and well. We also have Lab results showing a marked reduction in Plate Count, Yeast, and Mold levels after the treatment. These results have led us to conclude that the pasteurization treatment is a step up in quality for our customers. And we also feel confident saying that the post-treatment almond is still raw.
Q: Is it true that all California almonds must go through irradiation?
A: No, this is completely false. This is a technology that has not even been considered by the Almond industry and is not allowed in Organic food production or processing.