Hulling, Shelling and Processing
A grower has two key partners once the harvest is ready for delivery; the huller/sheller who cracks and cleans the almonds form the field, and the handler who will process and market the crop.
Stewart & Jasper's Hulling and Shelling operation features two complete hulling and shelling plants - parallel operations with excess capacity that enables faster and safer handling of crop deliveries - thus reducing the risk of loss in the field, shortening the time from delivery to inventory, and providing the most efficient throughput rates for best quality output.
In fact, 90% of the almonds received for hulling and shelling are from growers others than Stewart & Jasper's own orchards.
Hulling removes the twigs, rocks, and most of the foreign material from field deliveries, and strips away the outer hull that encases the shell. Then the "sheller" removes the almond shell as inshell almonds pass between two rollers that crack and slip the shell apart from the nut. Both of these brute-force operations must be performed with the utmost care and respect for the fragile and valuable almond kernel inside. Scratching, breaking, or scarring the almond is never acceptable.
The kernels are transferred to Processing, while in the meantime the hulls and shells have become byproducts of the operation. Hulls are sold as a dairy feed ingredient, and shells are sold as cattle bedding material to diaries within a 50-mile radius of the plant.
The immediacy of the Hulling and Shelling operation is understood when one considers that all other operations in the almond crop cycle are year-round process, while the huller/sheller must complete its work in just 3-months. Once done, the kernels can then be sized, graded, and packaged in Processing, in fulfillment of customer orders.
Hulling and Shelling is where a crop becomes a yield, and a yield becomes an inventory.