New automated processing and packaging equipment will be the center of Blue Diamond Growers expansion in Turlock. A groundbreaking ceremony in February marked the beginning this grower-owned cooperative’s continuing efforts to value added product lies and delivery of innovative almond products.
The new addition at the cooperative’s 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant will be the latest construction of the three-phased project that will eventually yield a total of nearly 500,000 square feet of building pace over the next nine years. This phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2020 and will accommodate growth of the cooperative’s business.
“We are pleased to build our partnership with the Turlock community by investing to expand our facilities and workforce,” said Mark Jansen, Blue Diamond President and CEO. “We are creating the healthiest almond products and delivering the benefits of almonds to the world. This project allows Blue Diamond to meet the growing demand for our innovative almond products.”
Blue Diamond Chairman of the Board Dan Cummings of Chico added, “We are thankful to our growers who own this cooperative for entrusting their almonds to us so we can continue to make valuable investments. This project gives them a secure future in the almond business.”
Blue Diamond first announced its plans to build a manufacturing plant in the City of Turlock in April 2012 creating more than a hundred jobs.
According to the Modesto Bee, the Blue Diamond expansion will help meet consumer demand for almond milk. The addition will also add 25-28 jobs to the current 150 at the plant.
The 52,000-square-foot annex also will employ a yet-to-be-determined number of people making a new product that is still under wraps, said Jansen.
The existing plant opened in 2013 with about 200,000 square feet of space for further processing of plain almonds received at Blue Diamond plants in Salida and Sacramento. The Turlock plant slices, dices and blanches nuts and makes almond flour, popular with people avoiding gluten.
The expansion will make the butter-like base for the Almond Breeze milk. Water is added at other locations around the world to reduce shipping costs.
The groundbreaking ceremony included presentation of a $20,000 donation to the California Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation. It was accepted by the Turlock High School chapter of the agriculture education group.