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Blue Diamond Plant Operations: Firsts and Innovations

1910
  • Established and incorporated the California Almond Growers Exchange (now Blue Diamond Growers) as a cooperative.
1920
  • Constructed a five-story processing facility at 18th and C streets in Sacramento to receive, grade sort and pack inshell almonds.
1922
  • Developed and constructed first commercial sheller and commercial-size grader exclusively for California almonds.*
1925
  • Developed and constructed first commercial continuous blanching line in California.*
1926
  • Developed a commercial roasting and salting process for Blue Diamond almonds.
1928
  • Constructed center warehouse to expand manufacturing.
1931
  • Developed scientific mechanical test grading.
1937
  • Build corporate office at 18th and C streets in Sacramento.
1938
  • First to employ cello packaging on inshell and shelled natural almond meats.*
1946-1948
  • Constructed bulk storage levee warehouses at Sacramento plant.
1948
  • First to adopt electronic sorting machines.*
1951
  • Blue Diamond played an instrumental role in establishing USDA grades and standards for quality of shelled almonds.*
  • Constructed first cold storage unit at Sacramento plant.
1952
  • First in the industry to utilize silo bins for bulk almond storage.*
  • Constructed north warehouse storage buns to hold bulk inshell almonds.
1953
  • First to replace sacks with bulk boxes for grower deliveries.*
1954-1959
  • Constructed new warehouses on 17th Street at Sacramento plant.
1957
  • Constructed silo bulk storage bins at Sacramento plant.
1958
  • First to fumigate all incoming deliveries.
  • Designed and constructed first commercial halving machine.
1959
  • Designed and constructed the first commercial dicer for almonds.*
  • Constructed additional silo bulk storage bins at Sacramento plant.
1960
  • Designed and constructed the first commercial splitting and slivering machine.*
1961
  • Pioneered a heat-tempering process for cutting almonds.*
  • Designed and constructed the first commercial cube cutting machine*
  • Constructed manufacturing building at Sacramento plant.
1963
  • First to use nitrogen foil packets for packaging Blue Diamond roasted almonds for airline and vending use.*
  • Developed first high capacity huller.*
1964
  • First to package roasted almonds in a 25-pound vacuum foil institution pack.*
  • First to install high-speed continuous can lines for packaging cocktail almonds.*
  • Constructed research and development laboratory at Sacramento plant.
1965
  • Constructed grower meat line at Sacramento plant to process already-shelled almonds from the field.
1966
  • First to install a completely automated almond paste process.*
1967
  • First major packer to convert from bags to cartons for automation, which improved sanitation.*
  • Constructed Chico receiving station.
1968
  • Expanded Salida plant after acquiring adjacent land.
1969
  • Constructed Sacramento main production line for brown almonds.
  • Constructed both Fresno and Arbuckle receiving stations.
1970
  • Constructed a shelling facility at Salida plant.
  • Constructed Ballico receiving station, near Merced, CA.
1971
  • First to develop and use 2,000-pound expandable bulk fiber-shipping containers.*
  • Constructed a separate building and installed a new process for inshell almonds at Sacramento plant.
1972
  • First major handler to utilize ship pallet loads on slip-sheets while using an automated forklift attachment.*
  • Constructed a cold storage and distribution center at Sacramento plant.
  • Acquired additional warehouse near Sacramento plant for expanded bulk receiving.
1975
  • First processor to pasteurize raw almonds.*
  • Acquired the building adjacent to main Sacramento office building, formerly Pacific Wool Company, and converted it to consumer division corporate offices.
1976
  • First major handler to build bulk meat receiving facilities.*
  • First to store shelled meats in refrigerated bulk buildings specifically designed for that purpose.*
  • Constructed the manufacturing annex between the old main and manufacturing buildings at Sacramento plant.
  • Constructed an additional cold storage unit at Salida plant.
  • Constructed an additional bulk storage unit at Salida plant.
1978
  • Constructed the manufacturing mezzanine for expanded manufacturing at Sacramento plant.
  • Constructed an additional bulk storage unit at Salida plant.
1979
  • Expanded brown almond processing at Salida plant.
  • Constructed a retail store and main office building at Salida plant.
  • Constructed and operated a co-generation plant that burned shells to produce electricity and steam for Sacramento plant, and was later decommissioned in the early 1990s.

The 1980s were a time when several huller/shellers integrated their processes, and began processing and marketing brown almonds. Blue Diamond participated in the growth as well and began constructing several buildings and installed modern processes to retain the No. 1 position in the industry for quality and food safety.

1980
  • Constructed an additional bulk storage unit at Salida plant.
1981
  • Acquired Oregon Hazelnut Operations.
1982
  • Acquired Del Monte processing plant adjacent to the Sacramento property to expand manufacturing processes.
  • Relocated new bleaching equipment and processes to renovated Del Monte processing plant, renamed the Blue Diamond Building.
  • Expanded pasteurization of raw almonds.
1983
  • Expanded blanching, slicing and slivering processes to the former Del Monte processing plant in Sacramento.
  • Opened Blue Diamond Growers retail store in Sacramento.
  • Constructed an additional bulk storage unit at Salida plant.
1984
  • Acquired the A street building from Del Monte, north of railroad tracks in Sacramento.
1986
  • Officially changed company name from California Almond Growers Exchange to Blue Diamond Growers.
1987
  • Acquired the Foremost Dairy property in Sacramento to expand manufacturing processes.
1990
  • Offered financial incentives from City of Sacramento to retain Blue Diamond in Sacramento.
1994
  • First to install electronic length grading equipment to meet stringent customer specifications.*
1995
  • Constructed a tunnel linking the north and south sides of the Sacramento plant together, which included the installation of an in-ground towveyor system to transport product to and from processing, packaging and storage.
1996
  • Installed an additional oil roasting process in Sacramento.
  • Installed an automatic box-receiving-and-dumping system, enabling the consolidation of this process to Salida plant.
1997
  • Expanded Ballico Receiving station.
  • Expanded cold storage space in A Street building at Sacramento plant.
1998
  • First to implement a food safety program - (HACCP) Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points - and line certification to both plants.
  • Installed an oil treatment process to preserve cooking oil.
  • Further expanded cold storage space in the A Street building at Sacramento plant.
1999
  • First to implement computerized statistical process controls for all of production to monitor and track food quality and safety attributes.*
  • Designed and constructed a new machine for slivering almonds.
  • Closed city streets adjacent to Sacramento plant to improve security and food safety.
2000
  • Acquired Mac Farms of Hawaii, which was later sold in 2003.
2001
  • First handler to pasteurize all raw almonds shipped within the United States.*
  • Installed laser-sorting machines at Sacramento plant to improve product quality.
2002
  • Installed an inshell process that is the fastest and most efficient in the world.
  • Integrated inshell process with receiving, storing, packaging and shipping.
2003
  • Added plastic jar line to manufacturing processes at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed additional laser sorting machines to Sacramento plant to improve product quality.
2004
  • First to install in-line processing of by-products for our manufactured blancher products at Sacramento plant.*
  • Installed additional laser sorting machines to Salida plant to improve product quality.
  • Installed pasteurization process for almonds at Salida plant.
2005
  • Acquired Salida Hulling Association property adjacent to Salida plant
2006
  • First to design and install an automated process for brown almond by-products at Salida plant, thus eliminating several cleaning systems throughout the company.*
  • First to utilize X-ray technology for detecting foreign material on bulk almonds and to implement a 24-hour per day, 7-day per week processing schedule at Salida plant, breaking the 1 million-pound per day threshold.*
  • Constructed cold storage and distribution center at Salida plant.
2007
  • First to expand bulk-receiving capabilities at Salida plant with in-line truck conveyors and automation.*
  • First to install an automated 25-pound industrial pouch line at Sacramento plant.*
  • First to install technology to detect and reject insect defects in almonds.*
  • Installed new electronic technology at Salida main production line.
  • Installed a 1-pound stand-up pouch line at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed a new style plastic jar line at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed new high-speed packaging equipment for vending machine items at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed a new 50-pound packaging system at Salida plant.
2008
  • First to use a combination of technology to electronically sort almonds.*
  • New style of fumigation implemented to all of the bulk storage warehouses.*
  • Installed an almond butter line at Sacramento plant.
  • Acquired a cold storage building at Oakdale facility, formerly owned by Hershey, near Salida plant.
  • Installed new 6-ounce can line at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed new technology to improve food safety at both plant locations.
  • Installed new plastic jar line for square jars at Sacramento plant.
2009
  • Installed in-line oil treatment to preserve cooking oil indefinitely at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed additional laser and camera technology to Salida main line.
  • Expanded almond tempering/storage by converting old sheller building left by SHS at Salida.
2010
  • First to replace manual sorters with auditors at Salida main production line.*
  • Installed dry-roasting technology and new oil roasting capabilities at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed high-speed stand-up pouch line at Sacramento plant.
  • Installed additional laser and camera technology to Salida main production line.
* represents the Industry's first