Welcome to FARM to KIDS, a philanthropy based organization inspired by our wish to give back to future generations by providing children and youth with easier access to whole foods. It is our mission to empower future generations to thrive in the classroom, on the playground, and overall in life by empowering them to choose healthy, nutritious and clean food.
Founded by 5th generation almond farmers in the Central Valley of California, we believe whole foods require a lot of care, discipline and love to deliver from the farm to the table. As parents, we also believe it takes endless care, discipline and love to raise a child, and feeding our children clean, healthy fuel plays an important role in their overall success in life.
Unfortunately, there is an abundance of processed unhealthy quick foods cleverly packaged, that all too often takes the place of whole foods, especially for busy families and low-income communities who often seek fast, easy and cheap meals-on-the-go. Our busy lifestyles have moved us away from taking the time to feed our bodies, and our children’s bodies, with whole foods essential to our overall longevity and health.
As part of the solution, FARM to KIDS is dedicated to making almonds a healthy protein source, rich in other vitamins and minerals available for our community’s malnourished children. Join our movement of getting wholesome food into the hands of children in our communities. Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to share information with your network of family and friends. Contribute your ideas, questions and insights on our webpage. Together, we can share the health and create a healthier future for generations to come.
Who We Are
We farm almonds east of Denair, located in the Central Valley, California. On a clear day you can catch a glimpse of the majestic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. On our days off, you can find us exploring the plethora of trails, lakes, rivers, and mountains in the Sierra Nevada. We feel blessed to have the opportunity to farm such a healthy protein rich food source at Sperry Farms.
What We Bring To the Table
Almonds are a quick and easy, on-the-go highly nutritious fuel for health, focus, and adventure. Almonds need a Mediterranean climate to thrive, therefore there are only a few countries that grow almonds successfully. California produces the majority of the world’s almonds, and we have a huge responsibility to participate in what is now a global economy. Running our farm requires a tremendous amount of dedication, physical labor, and team work, but the reward we feel in providing such a nutritious, high-quality product makes it all worth it and we are honored to be able to spread our passion for growing clean food with others.
Almond Farming In a Nutshell
The character and landscape of the ranch changes with the turn of each season, as does the overall production of the farm. Growth typically begins in February, when the orchard transforms from rows of lifeless, bare trees, to a vibrant sea of white and pink flowers. There’s a soft buzz in the air, telling us the bees are hard at work. Rows of almond trees are arranged in alternating varieties for cross pollination, as well as a staggered harvest. We grow a variety of almonds on our fall, each coming to bloom at slightly different times.
As bloom comes to a close in March, the ground is blanketed in white petals like freshly fallen snow. After shedding the petals, the trees sprout with new leaves, and the nutlets quickly grow to full size, though it will be months before they fully mature.
As the temperatures continue to rise in the summer months, we need to irrigate the fields. We use micro sprinklers to conserve water, which cast a six-foot misty spray to help limit run-off. The trees naturally conserve water by stopping photosynthesis once the temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. By mid-to-late July, the fuzzy, outer-protective layer of the nut – called the hull – begins to dry out and split open, indicating they are ready for harvest.
Harvest is our busiest time of year. The importance of team work and having the right crew in place is imperative. To remove the almonds from the tree, technology has changed from using a mallet and hitting the trunk over and over, to now a futuristic looking machine, called a shaker. Once the nuts are on the ground a second machine comes through called the sweeper or raker, this machine will make a couple passes sweeping the nuts into wind rows. Then, a pick-up machine will gather the nuts and transfer them into a cart. The nuts are then hauled off to a processor where the hull and outer shell are removed, and pasteurization begins. (Most almonds you purchase since 2007 aren’t actually “raw” as they have been pasteurized to eliminate the risk of salmonella.)
There is very little waste in almond farming. The hulls are often ground and used as cattle feed. The shells have a second life and can be used for pathways, an alternative to mulch, and ground cover. When our trees are at the end of their life, they make for a highly sought after hot burning firewood.
After harvest is complete, we will apply compost as well as fertilizer. They soon will lose their leaves and go into dormancy for a much deserved rest, almond trees need approximately 200-300 chill hours.
We give thanks and respect our hard working trees who continue to produce healthy food for us year after year. We are often asked the lifespan of a tree; it is around 30 years if taken care of properly.