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It's official: Pistachios break billion-pound barrier

Todd Fitchette Pistachios
California pistachios passed the billion-pound threshold for the first time.
The October pistachio inventory report puts crop receipts at 1.04 billion pounds.

The 2020 growing season for almonds and pistachios yielded record-size milestones for both commodities. Though it will be a while before final almond production numbers are in, pistachios broke the billion-pound threshold for the first time ever.

The October pistachio inventory report puts crop receipts at 1.04 billion pounds as total shipments at the end of October totaled more than 108 million pounds.

A November press release from the American Pistachio Growers suggests a "full-court press" is under way to sell the crop through marketing strategies that include cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs and presentations with food writers.

The Almond Board of California is projecting its first-ever three-billion-pound crop as growers experience a significant price reduction following last year's under-estimated production forecast.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2019 almond estimate came in about 350 million pounds short of actual receipts.

As handler receipts began to quickly tally beyond the 2.2-billion-pound estimate, world almond prices fell quickly and have remained below $2 per pound to the grower in some cases.

Nut size is said to be quite small this year, according to Donny Hicks, field representative with Hughson Nut Co. 

Even the traditionally large Nonpareil nuts were small, and in some cases smaller than Independence variety nuts, which Hicks says are selling for over $2.50 inshell to foreign markets.

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