FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Pistachios are a top Central Valley crop, ranking just behind almonds and grapes in Fresno County. This year, the pistachio crop is setting a new record.

“We hit a record crop of just over 1 billion pounds produced in the states of California, Arizona, and New Mexico,” said American Pistachio Growers President Richard Matoian.

The unusual circumstances of 2020 do not seem to be stopping the nut from growing in popularity.

“During the height of the COVID period in March and April, we had record shipments domestically,” said Matoian. “I think people’s patterns where they working, what they were eating, changed and pistachios became one of those items consumers bought a lot of.

Matoian says it’s good that production and demand are both growing.

“You know the general rule in agriculture is, the more you produce the lower the price grows goes down or the less your produce the higher the price goes up. But with pistachios we’ve been very fortunate, we continue to have growing demand domestically and the worldwide marketplace.”

American Pistachio Growers Vice President of Global Marketing Judy Hirigoyen says Americans view the nut as a snack – while in other parts of the world it is an everyday food. She says recent research shows pistachios offer complete protein like that found in animal products and certain plant foods like soy and quinoa.

Her work on behalf of American Pistachio Growers is one reason the nuts are trending with celebrity chefs,

“Wolfgang Puck just created a really great pistachio butter that used coconut milk and Aleppo chilis in it.”