From Rhio: (pas la ville, là!)
At the present time it is much easier to get raw almonds in some parts of California than in any other state of the US. The majority of the US almond crop is grown in CA and the current regulations state that any one purchaser can purchase up to 100 lbs. per day of raw almonds ONLY direct from the farm or from a farmer at a farmers market. Every single other CA almond by law is either treated with propylene oxide, a toxic fumigant recognized as a carcinogen by the EPA, or pasteurized, before being sold.
In NY at the Park Slope Food Coop that I'm a member of, they have brought in supposedly raw almonds from Italy. They are labeled raw but so are the other almonds labeled raw... the ones treated with either propylene oxide or pasteurized. I bought a few of these "raw" almonds from Italy but I do not trust them and I'll tell you why. First of all, the skin is much darker than I've seen on previous raw almonds... I mean the truly raw almonds that I've had experience with for many years. The skin of these Italian raw almonds are as dark as the CA treated and labeled raw almonds. The second reason that I don't trust them is that when you soak them in water overnight, the skins peel off very easily. This has not been my previous experience with truly raw almonds. When you soak truly raw almonds overnight, the skins DO NOT pop off easily.
Fifteen almond farmers and handlers in CA have teamed up with the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute (www.cornucopia.org) and instituted a lawsuit seeking to repeal the controversial USDA-mandated treatment program. Citing loss of markets to foreign nuts, and other business hardships, the lawsuit states that prior to implementing the treatment regulation, the Almond Board of California did not seek the input of small-scale family and organic farms or the public at large, that chooses to eat healthy, whole, raw almonds. The two salmonella contaminated almond outbreaks were traced to a factory farm operation of 9000 acres. Factory farms and organic or small-scale farms raise almonds in completely different and distinct ways. Why should we lose our raw almonds because the factory farms do not want to clean up their act? Why should we lose our raw almonds because the factory farms want to protect themselves from the liability of their actions (more salmonella contamination's) by killing all the almonds?
It would be in our own best interests to help retrieve our raw almonds by supporting this lawsuit either through financial donations or writing letters to the appropriate parties involved or better yet, DO BOTH. To help support the lawsuit and to get a list of the parties to write to, go to: www.cornucopia.org.
If anyone has any ideas on how people in other states can get raw almonds, please let us know. Perhaps a small private buying coop can be formed. I don't know how legal it would be, but I really don't want to settle for foreign almonds which may or may not be treated. The regulation states that foreign nuts do not have to be treated, but as I stated before, the ones that I've bought are suspect.