In Chirlata we have been dedicated to the cultivation of almonds for more than a decade from a small district of the Altiplano of Granada, on a farm at more than 1,000 meters of altitude. We respect the natural times of the almond tree following a model of traditional and organic agriculture , and we also take care of the fruit in each phase of its development.
Come on, we don’t take our eyes off our almond trees!
They came to Spain from Central Asia more than 2,000 years ago and today our country is the main producer of almonds, as well as a large consumer . Its presence within the Mediterranean diet is noticeable in the aperitif, as a base ingredient in main dishes and of course in sweet recipes. It could also be said that it is a “remedy for all ills” due to its multiple properties and health benefits .
The almond trees have a new calendar covered by snow . In January it is difficult not to hit the snowfall forecast in the Baza region and Finca Chirlata usually gives us beautiful Christmas postcards of the countryside covered by a white blanket and almond trees decorated with small ice pearls.
During February, encouraged by the low temperatures, the low light intensity and the shortening of the days, the almond tree continues to rest . And we take the opportunity to carry out the tillage and fertilizer work to prepare the land for the new season, and the pruning to renew the wood and get rid of broken, weak or diseased branches. In short, a tune-up before spring.
Each variety goes at its own pace but, in general, throughout the month of March we will see the first flowers. We are moved by the moment when the branches are filled with timid buds, which little by little swell until they cause an explosion of white and pink. The flowering of the almond tree is a unique natural spectacle . You do not need an invitation ( yes, an appointment! ) To come and enjoy the Finca Chirlata in its most beautiful stage in the first row.
And it is an ephemeral beauty, because almond trees usually lose their flowers in just a week. April turns green with the young fruits that sprout after the petals fall. By then we have already welcomed some very special guests … some neighboring bees visit us every year for pollination . And we always try to make your stay as comfortable as possible because the harvest depends on them.
In the month of May we accompany the fruit in its evolution to maturity. Almost like teenagers, we are very aware of our almonds so that their growth is correct . Water, pests or an irregular weather are usually the main problems that bring us upside down during this phase.
We enjoyed June and July to the fullest seeing the almond trees loaded with thousands of green shells . And it is that the almond tree is the tree that best supports the increase in temperatures and the dryness of the atmosphere. So it is the perfect tandem because they feel great in the summer heat and we can take shelter in its shade.
When August arrives we begin to feel that agitation of knowing the harvest is coming. The almonds open their outer shell and expose the seed to the sun , letting us know that they are ready, that they are at their optimum point of ripeness … well, it’s nice to see them.
September is a busy month in which we gather all our energy to proceed with the harvest and the hulling . They are long, tiring but satisfying days. The harvest is done following a very common technique known as “inverted umbrella”: a tractor vibrates the almond tree so that the fruit falls and is collected in an umbrella-shaped implement.
For the shelling we have to wait for the almonds to dry. We leave them to her love, well spread out in the sun . And before and after removing the peel, we carry out mechanical and manual screening to remove any foreign body that has crept into the harvest (twigs, leaves …). It is not surprising that October catches us in these tasks.
In those 31 calendar days we proceed to calibrate our almonds according to size. We do it by hand, selecting one by one the best quality ones for our chirlateros . We also take part of the harvest to peeling, a process in which the almond kernels are soaked in hot water (between 85ºC and 100ºC), the skin is removed and again they are allowed to dry.
With great care, in November we are dedicated to preparing all the orders and processing another part of the harvest to obtain our products: milk, flour, cream and chocolate almonds.
And in December we delight in watching our almonds accompany you to the table in the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Did you know the almond cycle? Now you can keep track of your Chirlata throughout the year and as much as we are always looking forward to the harvest, calm down, everything good takes time .