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2016 Record Crop For Pistachio Growers

The 2016 pistachio crop is the largest in U.S. history, producing more than 900 million pounds, beating the previous record set in 2012 by almost double, according to Richard Matoian, Executive Director of the American Pistachio Growers Association.

A cooler winter last year and a smaller than usual crop in the 2015 season, combined to allow pistachio trees an extended resting period, Matoian said.

"When they have enough chill hours, they wake up and they are ready to go," he said.

Matoian anticipates the record 2016 crop to drive prices of pistachios down, benefitting consumers.

California produces 98 percent of U.S. pistachios, followed by Arizona then New Mexico. After the 2016 record crop, Matoian anticipates Arizonas acreage to double over the next two years.

Pistachio growing season is March through early November, with sales peaking in December. The U.S. is the largest supplier of pistachios in the world, followed by Iran.

U.S. growers export approximately 60-65 percent of its crop each year, primarily to China and the European Union.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.