California company's high-quality goal: Nuts to you

LE GRAND — In 1996 Joe Marchini of Le Grand brought together nine families. He had an idea. The families had been growing almonds throughout the county for decades.

Marchini's idea was that they combine their resources and start a company to get better market access and more flexibility in selling their nuts.

The result: Minturn Nut Co. Inc.

Scroll down to today. Minturn processes 80 million pounds of nuts a year, up from 5 million to 6 million when it was founded. Over the past four years, said General Manager Keith Rigg, the company has doubled its sales.

From those original nine, Minturn (named after the road it's on east of Highway 99) now has 274 growers. Although subject to the seasons -- September to Christmas is the busiest part of the year -- Minturn employs about 220 people.

It sells almonds mostly in the United States but also ships boxes to 50 countries, including China, India, the Middle East and Western Europe, mainly Italy, where Florindo, Joe's father, came from.

And those nine families still own the company. Marchini is president of J Marchini Farms, also in Le Grand. Marchini Farms specializes in radicchio, a leafy Italian vegetable, and figs.

Minturn is all almonds, all the time

Read the complete story at