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Why Are Pistachios So Expensive?

Pistachios are so delicious and from children to adults are fan of them. They are most popular as a midday snack. Whether you’re a fan of pistachios or not, if you’ve ever purchased them, you’ve probably wondered about the price. Pistachios come in at a higher price point than nuts like almonds or peanuts. There’s not only one good reason for it, but several which we will mention about it in this article.

Pistachios Only Grow In A Few Places

Pistachio trees are a native desert plant and can survive in poor soil with bad weather conditions. They require two things: cool winter but not freeze and long hot summers with low humidity for proper ripening. The areas which pistachios can be grown are limited. Iran has long been a top producer, along with other countries of the Middle East, the San Joaquin Valley in California, southeastern Arizona, and the high desert of New Mexico. 98% of the US crop is grown in California.

Pistachio Trees Take a Long Time to Mature

The bad news is that growing pistachios is a long term commitment that requires patience. Pistachio trees take around 5-8 years to start to bear fruit, and it can take up to 15 years to get a full harvest.

Individual Trees Don’t Produce Many Nuts

Each female pistachio tree will only produce about eighteen kilogram of dry, hulled nuts. Like any other crop, weather conditions must be just right, or the amount of production will be affected. The male trees (the pollinator), do not bear nuts. The number of pollinators can range from 10% to 15% of the total trees in the grove.

Peak Production Is Only Every Other Year

Pistachios are bear fruit every other year, which means one year the tree has full production, followed by a year of lower production, when it stores nutrition for the upcoming year.

Pistachios Are a Labor-Intensive Crop

Machines are used to harvest and process the nuts, but workers are running and supervising the equipment, loading and unloading the pistachios. The most complex process is the last step of quality control, when the nuts are hand sorted to ensure that only the highest quality of nuts are packaged.

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