FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Almond harvest is officially underway for the Fresno State Farm's nearly 67 acres of nonpareil, aldrich, price, butte, and poudre varieties.
"All the varieties kinda woke up at the same time. I'm used to the nonpareil starting to bloom and the others slightly behind them,' said Robert Willmott, manager.
A federal survey shows California's 2016 almond crop is set to surpass 2-billion pounds for the first time since 2013.
"I know the trees have been stressed for several years because of the drought, it was really starting to show in the last few years," said Willmott.
Over the summer, students work the farm full time. Once the semester starts they'll do 20 hours per week on top of their class load.
"We do the harvesting, picking, we send a lot to the farmers market where everything is sold. Everything else goes to packing houses," said Willmott.
"I go to class and learn theory of stuff, and then I come out here and work and I get the practice part of it. I get the best of both worlds," said Alfredo Padilla, student manager.
Padilla said it's in his blood. He's worked his father's farms in Atwater and Chowchilla his whole life.
"I love tractor work. I just like it. I like being dusty, I like getting dirty."
Next, the almonds go to the processing lab where students add a little touch of flavor. Whether they're coated in chocolate or seasoned with spice, after being processed by the Central California Almond Growers Association students in the lab tap into their creative side.
"It's totally up to them what they want to do, and we do take suggestion for the Gibson Farm Market and the clientele-- that starts there," said Julia Jepson, unit manager.
Over the last year, students have come up with more than 17 different flavors. You can get your taste at the Gibson Farm Market.