Friday, April 03, 2015

Pistachio in America

The pistachio began as a wild tree, probably in Asia Minor where Neolithic peoples latched on to its grapelike clusters of red-hulled fruit and learned to like the meat they found inside the hard ivory kernels.

The United States was first introduced to the pistachio in 1854 when Charles Mason a seed distributor for experimental plantings, brought some trees to California. The first pistachio seeds were planted in California and several southern states, but the trees did not thrive.

The nuts became popular during the 1930s, when pistachio were imported from Turkey by American traders, primarily for US citizens of Middle Eastern origin.  The nuts were sold to immigrant groups and distributed through vending machines.

Many recipes using pistachio published in American cookbooks after the beginning of the twentieth century. They were largely sold to immigrant groups and distributed through vending machines.

In 1929 William E. Whitehouse, an American plant scientist, planted pistachio seeds from Iran in California’s San Joaquin Valley where they thrived. He convinced that the state was ideally suited for growing pistachio.

He wondered around Persian plantations, dusty village markets and bazaars for six months, collecting distinctive nut seeds.

He came back with twenty pounds of carefully selected seeds, and germinated them in 1930 at the Chico Plant Introduction Station.

Pistachio was only developed on a large scale in the 1970s. In 1976, the first major crop of pistachio nuts was harvested in California which, in the early 2000s, was the world’s second largest producer.
Pistachio in America