Blue Diamond Growers, a cooperative owned by more than half of California's almond growers, officially launched Phase 1 of its new manufacturing plant in Turlock today at an onsite groundbreaking ceremony. The 88-acre property is located at N. Washington and Fulkerth Roads.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in May 2013. It will provide about 200,000 square feet of building space for manufacturing and delivering new almond products worldwide. The three-phased project will eventually yield a total of about 500,000 square feet of building space over the next 15 years.
(For more on California's tree nut industry, see: Internet power boosts Western tree nut sales)
"There's no doubt that Blue Diamond will bring numerous benefits to the Turlock community, including jobs," said Mark Jansen, Blue Diamond President and CEO. "The number of jobs will not be known until we have made our investment decisions about new technologies. We will announce job openings in fall 2012."
Blue Diamond made its last major investment in 1968 in its Salida Plant. At that time, California was producing 140 million pounds of almonds. "Compare that to this year's crop of about 2 billion pounds and you can better understand why we are making a major investment to expand our business," explained Jansen.
"We have kept pace with upgrading new technologies in our plant operations over the last 44 years, but today we are celebrating the largest single investment in the 102 years of the almond industry's existence. In fact, this year we will also complete a state of the art Research and Development complex at our headquarters in Sacramento!"
Jansen added, "In our continuing efforts to deliver the benefits of almonds to the world, this project will allow us to expand our value-added product lines. It will seal our promise to be THE global almond ingredients and consumer retail market leader so that we can continue to create the healthiest almond products in the world!"
Blue Diamond Chairman Clinton Shick of McFarland added, "This celebration is really a continuation of the incremental steps we've taken in past years and those we will take over the next 100 years to continue to be the world almond leader. I would like to thank our growers for entrusting their almonds to us to make this investment. It will reap the largest incremental returns to almond growers who seek a secure future in the almond business."