Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pistachio Apocalypse

Oh, Nuts! Why California’s Pistachio Trees Are Shooting Blanks | Bay Area Bites | KQED Food

Detail from image by Kreg Steppe (flickr)

In California’s blazing hot San Joaquin Valley, millions of pistachio trees are now buried in clusters of small pinkish-green fruits — what would seem like a bumper crop.

But for many growers of the popular nut, the season is shaping into a disaster. Jeff Schmiederer, who farms 700 acres of family-owned pistachio trees on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley, says about 90 percent of the nuts he has sampled from his trees are hollow — what growers call “blanks.”

“I’ve never seen a year this bad for blanks,” says Schmiederer, who has been farming pistachios since the mid-1990s.
Pistachios are an extravagance I don't partake of as often as I'd like, but still, this news sends a chill down my spine ... then back up, over, and down my gullet.

Gullet. That's one of those words that feels archaic, but underused. Like maw, the gaping maw of a man about to devour a bag of pistachios.

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