November 4th, 2011
Completed our 2011 Pistachio nut Harvest in October and now have a fresh new crop of plump, delicious pistachios. This year’s crop was not quite as large as last year’s record breaker, either at San Luis Obispo or statewide. But the nuts were as large as we have ever seen, and a beautiful emerald green color.
Largest Nuts Ever!
Very tasty too! We have roasted up a nice batch of them so now is the time to order up a Holiday package.
Our trade Association, which used to be the Western Pistachio Association, is now called American Pistachio Growers.
New Sign in our Orchard
There is a new logo and a cute new mascot, Captain Pistachio. The Captain came out to the Harvest this year and it looks like he liked what he saw. Put in your order for some “fresh from the field” pistachio nuts and you’ll see why.
May 20th, 2011
You’ve probably noticed a big difference in the taste of Pistachios from one company to another and even different bags from the same company. There can be many reasons for this but the one common denominator is freshness. The fresher the Pistachio nut, the tastier it is, and we sell them to you as fresh from the orchard as possible. There is another factor involved, though, and that is harvesting.
Ready to Harvest
There is quite an art to determining when to harvest a Pistachio orchard. Harvest too soon and the nuts are somewhat undeveloped and don’t shake well off the tree. Harvest too late and you risk nuts falling off the tree by themselves (never used in the US) or insect damage due to open nuts remaining on the tree too long.
Shaking the Tree
Once harvested, the nuts must have the pulpy hull removed, be thoroughly cleaned and then dried to remove 95% of the moisture. They can then be comfortably stored in an air cooled, temperature silo for many months without losing any freshness or taste. If this process is not done within 24 to 48 hours, a purple stain begins to develop due to mold growth. While not harmful to humans, this stain leads to the red or white dye being used to mask its rather unsightly appearance.
Thanks to our modern harvesting techniques, there is very, very little incidence of staining with California Pistachios and no dye is ever used. This has lead to the term “California Blond” to describe our Pistachios on the world market, and they are the freshest, plumpest, tastiest nuts available.
A Good Crop
You can see a video of this harvesting and processing on our home page. And you can taste the results by visiting our online stand. Enjoy!
November 8th, 2010
Well, as I predicted in my last blog, at San Luis Obispo Farm we did indeed have a bumper crop of Pistachio nuts. Not quite as big as our humungous 2008 crop, but very close.
- A Bumper Crop!!
The nuts this year were very large and healthy. The trees were heavily laden with large pink and green clusters. What’s more, the price we received from the processors was the highest in recent memory. This was mainly due to 1) a substandard crop in Iran, our biggest competitor 2) inroads we have made with California product into the European and Asian markets 3) the fact that there was no carryover from the 2009 harvest.
Loading the Trucks
Unfortunately for the consumer, this will mean higher retail prices starting very soon. So far we at San Luis have kept the prices the same on our website but, unfortunately, this will have to change in the near future.
So now is a great time to invest (like a squirrel) in Pistachio nuts for the coming Winter. They will stay fresh for several months in a cool dry place and almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. So stock up and enjoy these plump, nutritious treats over the Holidays. The best from California to you!!
Tim and Bill Enjoy the Crop
August 1st, 2010
The 2010 Pistachio nut crop at San Luis Obispo Farm is looking very good. After a cold, wet winter, the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is melting right on schedule and providing plenty of water for the trees. This is when they really need it as the nuts started filling in with fruit in July. Right now we have beautiful green clusters of Pistachio nuts which are ripening in the warm summer sun.
Young Pistachio Nuts
It looks like we may have a record crop in 2010 but there are still several weeks to go before the nuts are ready to harvest so we have to keep a close eye on them. But all of our trees are as loaded with luscious looking Pistachio nuts as I have ever seen them. Temperatures have been perfect for this time of year (hot!) which is helping the growing process. So keep your fingers crossed and hopefully we will have a big, fresh new crop of delicious Pistachio nuts for you to enjoy come the Fall.
In the Orchard
May 31st, 2010
Iran has been the #1 pistachio producing country in the world since as long as anyone can remember. But, at this writing California is set to overtake Iran as the world’s largest producer and distributor of pistachio nuts. There are several reasons for this having to do both with California’s rise in the industry and trouble in the Iranian pistachio orchards. Iran normally produces in excess of 400 million pounds of pistachio nuts every year. In contrast, California, which produces 98% of the nuts grown in the US, had produced in the 300 million pound area only recently. This is due mainly to the fact that the pisctachio industry has only been viable in California since around 1976. Iran, on the other hand, has had a few thousand-years head start. Some horticultural historians date the Middle Eastern pistachio harvest back to 3000 BC! So the US (meaning California) is definitely the new kid on the block. Nevertheless, despite it’s late start, California has been coming on strong. Enter Mother Nature.
The 2008 pistachio harvest in Iran was a “disaster” any way you look at it. Production was down up to 75%. A killing frost was the main culprit. California, on the other hand, had a record crop in 2007 and better than average in 2008. (Pistachios are harvested in autumn in both countries.) This allowed California to take the title as the world’s largest distributor of pistachios in the 2008/2009 year. The 2009 crop in California was a little less than expected, but Iran was again hit by bad winter weather and it’s crop is down as well. Current estimates of Iran’s 2009 crop put it at about 330 million pounds compared to 360 million pounds in California. It is pretty much neck and neck at this point who will be the leading distributor for 2009/2010 but so far it looks like California has the edge to be in the top spot for the second year in a row. Long term, Iran still possess the ability to produce more, but the long range look definitely favors California. The last ten years have seen an enormous increase in the cultivation of new pistachio orchards in California. The amount of nut bearing acreage has nearly doubled in the last decade, while the non-bearing (not yet mature) acreage has more than tripled in the last five years and, over the same period of time, more acres have been newly planted than in the previous fifteen years. It is only a matter of time before these new trees begin to yield some serious harvests and California should take the lead for good.
May 23rd, 2010
Why do people love pistachio nuts? They may be fond of filberts, admire almonds, be pleased with pecans or want some walnuts, but people are really passionate about pistachios. When I say they love them, I mean loooove them! There is nothing lukewarm about it. Ask someone how they feel about pistachios and you won’t get too many “mildly favorable” responses. Nope, people love pistachio nuts. But why? Out of the entire nut kingdom, why do people feel so strongly about pistachios?
Maybe it’s because of their color. Unlike the drab browns of the rest of the nut family, the vibrant green of the pistachio nut stands out like a beacon. Fresh pistachio nuts have a cheerful, bright, healthy look that other nuts just don’t have. Maybe it’s because of their nutritional value. Pistachios are chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, “good” fats and are cholesterol free. And they are fun to eat. There is a whole adventure involved in cracking open the shells and discovering the delicious little morsel within. Like lobsters and Christmas presents, it only heightens the enjoyment. But really, the reason people are so smitten with pistachios is that they just taste great! Talk about pistachio nuts in any group of people and they will just lick their lips and go, “Ummmmm”. End of conversation. It’s the unique deliciousness of the little green nuts that keeps people reaching into the dish for more saying, “I just love pistachios!” Enjoy!
April 22nd, 2010
At this point, the Pistachio crop that was harvested in late September 2009 is going fast. Not only here at San Luis Obispo Farm, but industry wide as well. There are a number of factors causing this. 1) The US harvest was less than expected–375 million pounds compared to 435 estimated. 2) Iran, normally the world’s largest producer of Pistachios, has had a much smaller crop than expected this year due to adverse weather conditions. This follows a disastrous year in 2008 when the crop was decimated by frost. The inability of Iran to provide enough Pistachios to her markets in Europe and Asia has led to the US making tremendous inroads into those markets. All of this has put significant upward pressure on the price of raw Pistachios on the market. This will undoubtedly translate into higher retail prices in the Spring and Summer as supplies dwindle. Here at San Luis Obispo Farm we have managed to avoid raising our prices so far as we still have Pistachio nuts left from our 2009 harvest. So you can still enjoy fresh, nutritious Pistachios direct from the farm at what will be increasingly attractive prices. Enjoy!!
December 17th, 2009
Tim and Bill
Greetings from San Luis Obispo Farm! Ever since we harvested our first crop of pistachio nuts nearly thirty years ago, we here at the farm have considered ourselves very fortunate indeed to have an endless supply of fresh, tasty pistachio nuts always on hand. There is a huge difference between fresh pistachios and ones that have been sitting around on a shelf or in a warehouse for months or even years. You can taste the difference immediately.
Sometimes, just for fun, we will buy a bag at a convenience store or a supermarket. We are almost always amazed at the flat, rather stale taste of these nuts in comparison to what we are used to. We’ve often wished we could offer a fresher product that what is usually available, and now, thanks to the internet, we can!!
Our online store has the freshest, most nutritious pistachio nuts available. We guarantee our pistachios are always from the most recent harvest, and we roast them in small batches so the pistachio nuts we send you are pretty much direct from the roaster. We think you will be able to taste the difference, and with more and more research data indicating that pistachio nuts have numerous health benefits, eating the freshest pistachios possible is important.
So join us in what we have been able to enjoy all these years: fresh, tasty, nutritious pistachio nuts—straight from the Farm!
2009 SLO Farm Pistachios