My Flickr picture for Tuesday was the toasted almonds that Ana and Marisu brought us as a gift for taking photos of their children. As I explained, the almond is an important local crop here in the Vega Baja. Before the transfers of water from the Tajo to the Segura it would have been the principal crop because the almond tree only requires rainwater to survive. The citrus trees that took over require irrigation and of course the fields of broccoli and artichokes need regular watering.
The biggest nail in the coffin for almond growing though was cheap imports of Californian almonds.
In this area you find most of the almond trees in San Miguel de Salinas, Pilar de la Horadada and to a greater extent in Orihuela on the northern slopes of the Sierra Escalona, port Rebate, Torremendo, near the dam of La Pedrera and the valleys between the mountains of Pujálvarez and the Cristo on the border with Murcia. You can also find almond trees in Benferri, La Murada and on the path of the Albatera a los Hondones.
They are easy to spot at this time of year because the bare trees of winter are becoming loaded with white and pink blossom as the warm weather of Spring arrives. In fact you may find that the trees are flowering early this year brought on by the unusually warm weather of the last few weeks.
Let us hope that we don’t experience the same cold snap we did last year because that badly affected the artichokes which were blackened by the frost. Broccoli is hardier and those survived. The citrus trees were slowed down but ultimately came into flower a little later.