It’s harvest time for the Valley’s top cash crop.

Matthew Efird is a fifth generation farmer. He and his father Russel farm about 1,500 acres of several types of crops at Double E Farms in Fresno County, near Caruthers. He also owns Efird Ag Enterprises.

It’s now the middle of almond harvest and his crew is working overtime.

“We’re wrapping up harvesting the first of many varieties of almonds, the nonpareil crop,” Efird says. “It’s been run and gun this year.”

He explains this year’s heat has accelerated maturity and a typical one month time frame to harvest the nonpareil variety has been cut in half.

“With that heat, everything matured at the same time. And so we’ve been pushing as hard as we can to try and get that (nonpariel) off in a 14 to 16 day window.”

Efird shows the process, from shaking the trees, sweeping the almonds, cleaning the almonds and getting them to a processor. Efird is a Blue Diamond grower.

In Fresno County alone, almonds were valued over $1.2 billion in 2016.

“It’s been an expanding industry it’s grown very large. We’re looking at a new record crop this year and record producing acres.”

Efird’s family has farmed in Fresno County since the 1870s and he’s now a leader in Central Valley agriculture.

“It’s really cool, it’s something I’m proud to be a part of.”