Summer is still in full swing in Mallorca in September as we anticipate a season change.
It is easy to tell the changing seasons in Mallorca by the produce in the shops, the traditional annual fiestas and the activity in the fields. The months of September and October are a hive of activity.
The shakers and beaters and bearers of huge nets are out in the fields for the annual almond harvest.
The almond tree has become emblematic of Mallorca as its million trees blanket the island with their white and pink blooms in late January into February signalling the end of winter.
Concentrated in the centre of the island, Santa Maria, Lloseta, Marratxi and surrounding areas, these trees produce ´ametlla de Mallorca `( Majorcan almonds ) that have a unique sweet flavour as well as a higher concentration of proteins, fatty acid and carbohydrates than almonds grown in other regions.
If you want to know when to pick your almonds, you just need to observe your ‘drupes’ ! When the outer husk ( the drupe ) dries, splits and starts to fall from the tree, it’s time to start picking.
Keeping with local tradition, most almond groves are harvested using the tried and tested method of shaking and beating the laden branches with wooden poles and collecting them in wide nets that are held or laid below the trees.
Occasionally you will now see a mechanical beater, ( has to be seen to be believed ) that swirls around the tree like a giant spider’s web and funnels the nuts into a collection chamber.
Once collected and bagged, the shells are mechanically cracked revealing the sweet treasures inside.
The almonds are then blanched to remove the outer skin, heated, dried and cooled and ready for action.
Salted, roasted or ground for Mallorca’s delicious gató de almendras ( almond cake ) and of course used in turron at Christmas time.