When Dale Hummer applied for a position at the Portland factory responsible for producing 10,000 gallons of vegan milk substitutes per day, he wasn’t sure what he’d be doing.
He assumed he’d be labeling bottles, sorting soybeans, or counting almonds. He never considered that the position he accepted would mean spending 8 hours a day trying to find nipples on almonds. “They’re just so dang tiny,” Hummer said.
His department, like many in the almond milk industry, is struggling to hit daily production goals, and that’s starting to affect the market. Prices have jumped 30%, and unless nut milkers make huge strides very soon, that’s unlikely to change.
“I can find the nipple on a cashew in a few seconds, but these almonds – this is a whole different ball game.”