There are approximately 30 almond varieties produced in California orchards. Ten varieties represent over 70% of production. Varieties are grouped into broad classifications for marketing purposes based on distinguishing characteristics such as size, shape, and “blanchability.” The majority of almond production in California falls into the following three major classifications: Nonpareil, California, and Mission. Some varieties may fall under more than one classification because they have characteristics of one type (such as Mission) but are also blanchable (a characteristic of the California classification). All California Almonds are developed using traditional methods; genetically modified almond varieties are not planted or available in California.
When purchasing California Almonds, it is possible to order either by classification type or by specific variety, depending on what best suits the ultimate usage. Working with your supplier, it is important to understand whether your needs will be best served by ordering a specific variety or a classification type, ensuring the almonds you receive are appropriate for your product line. For example, ordering California type without further information could result in delivery of various almond varieties that also fall under the Mission type, such as the Butte, Padre, or Fritz, which may be a different shape than you need for your application.