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Almonds: Idaho's next cash crop?

Parma: Another U of I Ag research project bears fruit…Researcher Essie Fallahi has proof that Almonds can grow in Idaho.

“And when we have this kind of crop, I call it a success,” said Fallahi.

Success—when Idaho and California farmers started asking for research numbers on almonds more than 7 years ago, that got the ball rolling, followed by a $136-thousand dollar specialty crop grant to support the almond field trial at the Parma Research facility.

"These almonds are going to make it," added Fallahi.

The Idaho Almond trial included 14 different almond varieties, along with 10 walnut varieties, Researcher Sara Mahdavi says despite much different growing conditions than California, Idaho almonds are thriving.

"So far the quality, the numbers are very acceptable and good," said researcher, Dr. Sara Mahdavi."

Over the past two years, the almond grove has survived sub-zero temperatures, frost, blizzards, and blazing heat.

"I like the different varieties," said Mahdavi. "In high elevations, like the climate of Idaho, so far the varieties are doing fine," she said. How old are these trees?

"The trees are going to be seven years old," said Fallahi.

Almond demand is soaring, almond milk alone topped the $6 billion dollar mark last year. And production is growing at 14% per year, and forecast to double by 2025. Almonds could one day be an Idaho cash crop.