Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eagle Ranch Pistachio Farm

Our family may seem like a bunch of nuts, but really we are mostly nuts about a certain nut. For many families the peanut reigns supreme on the top of the nut list. We do peanuts, mostly in the creamy form mixed with chocolate. However the nut that is the top nut in our family is the pistachio.

I had read that one of the crops grows well in New Mexico is the pistachio tree, and that a couple of farms gave tours of their operations. Well one nut plus another equals two nuts, so we found a farm, Eagle Ranch, near Alamogordo, New Mexico, that not only gave tours, but also sold some uniquely flavored pistachios like chile and roasted garlic along with pistachio cookies, biscotti and ice-cream. Sounded good to the nut-loving Martins!!
We had to keep in mind we were visiting in January, so the operations side of things were in slow mode. We did get to see the quality control ladies sort through pistachios and another worker packaging some fresh nuts. We learned how the climate of New Mexico is similar to that of Iran and perfect for growing the pistachio tree. Evidently pistachio trees are native to Iran. We also learned about male and female trees, what grafting is (a good Biblical talk a couple of days later referred back to this lesson) and saw the machines separate the good nuts from the rejects (I was reminded of high school).

The BEST part of the tour was the stop at the store at the end where we bought not only a big bag of our favorite nuts, but also a bag of the red chile pistachios and some biscotti. We all also enjoyed taste testing the various flavors of nuts, candies and cookies. All in all it was a nutty day for a bunch of nuts.

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