Our beloved grandfather, Poppy Sol, started this business in an open-air market. Three generations later, we’re still bringing smiles to our customers' faces.
— james May 13, 2009
“The quality of your products exceeds expectations. When I compare your products with what I have on hand from local supermarkets, there is no comparison. Most recently the pistachio nuts I received made the ones I had remaining from a supermarket purchase look like they must have been "seconds." Yours were twice the size and very uniform in color. Bravo”
Unquestionably one of the earliest authenticated historical records of any edible nuts is the Pistachio. Carbonized pistachio remains have dated back as early as 6760 B.C. from the early Neolithic settlement in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In early times pistachios were regarded as a food for the wealthy and privileged. Although the pistachios tree has been known throughout recorded history, its place of origin is uncertain. It is probably native to western Asia and Asia Minor, but is found growing wild eastward as far as Pakistan and India. According to Pliny, the pistachio was introduced to Italy from Syria during the reign of Tiberius, early in the first century A.D. Subsequently, its cultivation spread to other Mediterranean countries.
The pistachio tree is a deciduous tree which grows slowly to a height and spread of twenty-five to thirty feet. It can survive under dry, adverse conditions in poor, stony terrain where for most of the year there may be no rainfall. It can grow well on steep, rocky slopes suitable only for goats; it can endure drought as well. It thrives in areas which have winters cool enough to break bud dormancy and hot long summers. The tree is resistant to cold and wind but cannot tolerate excessive dampness and high humidity. It flourishes in some regions of Iran where temperatures vary from over 100 degrees in the summer to 15 degrees in the winter.
Sometimes known as the 'pistache,' the pistachio differs from other popular dessert nuts in the characteristic green of its kernel. This coloration, which varies from yellowish through various shades of green, is not limited to the surface but extends throughout the kernel. In general, the deeper the shade of green, the more the nuts are esteemed. The fruits grow in clusters resembling grapes. Although popularly known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is classified botanically as a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed. This oblong kernel about one inch in length and one-half in diameter is protected somewhat from dust, dirt and other impurities by a thin, ivory-colored, bony shell. When conditions are favorable, the shells split open just prior to harvest and have an appearance of a laughing face.
The world's major pistachio producing areas are Iran, Turkey, and the San Joaquin Valley of California. Due to the tough trade regulations with Iran, it is near impossible to find the Iranian variety in the United States. There is an import tax upwards of three hundred percent of the value of the pistachios to import Iranian pistachios. Today, Turkey is the main supplier of imported pistachios in the United States. Most of the Turkish production comes from the dry, barren foothills of western and southeastern Turkey, principally from the regions of Gaziantep and Urfa.
During harvest, the shells often become stained and blemished. Unless camouflaged, the pistachios appear unappetizing. United States importers sometimes employ a non-toxic red vegetable dye to give the nuts visual appeal. The red color serves another purpose as well, since it appeals to consumers who are used to it and demand it. In California, however, pistachios are mechanically hulled and dried and most are not colored and left in the unblemished, natural state.
There is considerable controversy concerning the merits of homegrown versus imported pistachios. The American importers of Turkish and Iranian pistachios describe the California counterparts as beautiful but tasteless. The California producers claim their pistachios taste about the same but are larger, fresher and easier to open. California is the only state which produces pistachios on a commercial scale. Most of the production comes from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, although some small acreage has been planted in the California desert near Barstow and Mojave, as well as in other parts of the state. Under favorable conditions a pistachio tree can live and produce for centuries.
When ripe, the pistachios tree is shaken and the nuts fall to the ground to be harvested. Following harvest, the nuts must be hulled and dried within twenty-four hours to maintain their high quality and unblemished appearance. The nuts are dried with forced air at 150 to 160 degrees. The moisture content which was as high as forty-five percent in the freshly harvested nuts is reduced to five percent in about ten hours. 'Electric eye' sorters then spot and remove blemished nuts to be dyed or shelled. The good quality is then graded and about ninety percent are roasted and salted in their shell for consumption. Shelled pistachios are utilized commercially in confectionery, ice cream, candies, sausages, bakery goods and flavoring.
Today, pistachios remain one of the most popular nuts for people of all ages. Approximately, three hundred million pounds of California in shell pistachio nuts are grown annually in this country.
We also offer Wholesale Pistachios.