American Pistachio Growers Expands Marketing Efforts Ahead of Expected Record 2020 Crop
Trade organization pulls out stops with virtual harvest event and chef cook-alongs
American Pistachio Growers (APG) is mounting a full-court press to market the expected one-billion-pound harvest that is now filling bins in processing facilities. APG’s strategy includes a virtual harvest tour in California’s San Joaquin Valley and a schedule of live, interactive cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs catering to food writers and industry influencers in the U.S. as well as in six other countries.
This unique agricultural virtual tour will take participants from the pistachio orchards of California’s San Joaquin Valley into the kitchens of some of the most celebrated chefs in the country. The harvest segment features grower Rich Kreps, of LARK Farms in Madera, California, as he witnesses his first-ever harvest.
“Watching those delicious nuts falling out of our trees and into the catch frames was a literal dream finally realized. We were truly elated when it all came together in our first harvest,” said Kreps. “After five years of labor and investment in these pistachio orchards, we are finally seeing our first paycheck.”
APG has assembled an All-Star line-up of celebrity chefs who will make U.S.-grown pistachios the star of their dishes. Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton, Gerald Hirigoyen and Martin Yan will guide journalists in the U.S., China, France, Germany, India, Italy and Spain through live, interactive cook-alongs via Zoom. The Zoom events are limited to journalists only. The schedule of chef events runs from Nov. 12 through Nov. 25.
“Our growers have done their part, producing the world’s largest supply of quality pistachios in history. It’s our job at American Pistachio Growers to generate consumer demand around the world,” said Judy Hirigoyen, APG Vice President, Global Marketing. “Given the large number of confirmed journalists we have for these events, we will likely make this an ongoing series.”
Exports of U.S. pistachios are essential to the economic health of the industry as, on average, about 70 percent of the U.S. crop is sold in overseas markets. While growers in three states of California, Arizona and New Mexico are expected to harvest a record crop in 2020, growers in Iran are expected to harvest about 484 million pounds, less than half of the projected U.S. production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.
“There’s no bigger time of year than now as American pistachio growers bring in their 2020 harvest, so we created this virtual event to give agricultural reporters, food writers, and other food industry professionals the red carpet treatment to follow pistachios from the orchard to the kitchen,” Hirigoyen said.
Hirigoyen said pistachios have become a highly popular food due to their nutrient-dense, high protein content. Home cooks and professional chefs, alike, have embraced pistachios because of their growing reputation as a healthy, nutritious food for active lifestyles. Earlier this year, pistachios earned status as a “complete protein,” joining other plant proteins such as quinoa, chickpeas and soybeans. In July, a university study underscored the importance of pistachios as part of weight loss programs.
“Our marketing team is keenly aware that more and more families are preparing meals at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and attention is now focused on holiday meal planning in the coming weeks,” said Hirigoyen. “We’re excited to add these unique marketing elements to raise consumer awareness to the large U.S. crop and to the fact that in addition to their popularity as a snack food, pistachios are playing a bigger role in home-prepared recipes, on restaurant menus, and in a growing list of consumer food items.”