Celebrating the half-century mile-stone of a family business is a worthy endeavor. At Mariani Nut Company, Winters, CA, the commemoration involves aggressively implementing sustainable farming and business practices. As one of the world’s largest walnut and almond processors, the company, while facing significant challenges in California, is uncompromisingly honoring the environment to ensure the availability of nutritious products and a healthy future.
Cousins Jack and Dennis Mariani started the company in 1972, processing mainly walnuts from their own orchards. Later in the 1970s, Jack’s brother, Martin, joined the business and the focus expanded to include processing almonds. “Six family members are actively working in the business today,” says Matt Mariani, sales and marketing director. The three generations represented are involved in various areas including the farming side, processing, and operations. “We’re a vertically integrated company so we’re hands-on from harvesting, processing, sorting, packing and developing the packaging,” says Mariani.
Technological advancements through the past 50 years have been good to tree nut harvesting and processing. Consumer access to more walnuts and almonds in a variety of formats has encouraged a broader level of enjoyment and usage. Mariani expressed how today’s well-in-formed consumers have an authentic understanding of the nutritional value of walnuts and almonds beyond the significant category of nutritious snacking products.
Continuous dedicated research for best ecological practices related to water, energy, bee health, pest management and soil and air quality is a commendable investment. In 2023, the company is scheduled to become fully solar powered. To reduce carbon emissions, by 2025, all forklifts will be fully electric. Energy saving LED lighting is used in 75% of the processing facilities, and automatic sensors on all lights result in a substantial energy savings. Mariani Nut Company achieves zero waste in its orchards by optimizing everything it grows. This includes using valuable byproducts (nut shells) for livestock feed and bedding, and as soil aerators in the orchards. Mariani indicates in addition to committing to renewable energy, the family company’s strategy is continued dedication to the quality of the products, well-being of employees and the health of the environment.