While 250,000 acres are planted in California, Arizona and New Mexico, only 145,000 acres are producing a crop at this time (more than 98 percent are grown in California).  Pistachio trees take seven years to bear fruit.  Based on industry data, the current plantings will double the size of the crop from 2009 levels by 2017 to 800 million pounds. This raises the question, How to create demand ahead of the anticipated 40 percent of planted orchards that will begin producing over the next five years?

Farmers are looking to China, where a growing, health-minded middle class with an affinity for American products have generated an increase in volume sales since 2003/04 of more than 7,000 percent.  

The U.S. is now the No. 1 global producer of pistachios, surpassing Iran in 2008. As one of the fastest growing agricultural crops in the U.S., pistachios surged to the No. 4 spot of California agricultural exports in 2010.

Pistachio exports to China

Fiscal Year            Pounds            Farm Gate Value

  • 2010/11           79,821,916      $177,204,653
  • 2009/10           59,074,013      $121,101,726
  • 2008/09           54,291,729      $110,755,127
  • 2007/08           30,928,410      $63,403,240
  • 2006/07           12,867,604      $24,319,771
  • 2005/06           3,974,571        $8,147,870
  • 2004/05           6,872,883        $9,209,663
  • 2003/04           1,093,760        $1,334,387