The Boling Air Media thermal airship, ALEX, made its maiden flight in conjunction with the 2015 World Ag Expo in Tulare, taking to the air above the event on February 10, 11 and 12. Alex now works with clients to deliver advertising messages to major outdoor venue audiences.

Boling air in flightThe 150’ long x 65’ tall ship flies approximately 1000’ above the ground and is clearly visible to observers up to 2 miles away. The first advertising banners in Tulare, “Eat Pistachios”, flanked each side of the bright red 105,000 cubic feet aircraft. The client was American Pistachio Growers.

“The thermal airship is similar to a helium blimp in size and structure,” says Boling Air Media President, Chris Boling. “However, our airship uses propane-heated hot air instead of helium. It’s environmentally friendly and is definitely a ‘green’ way to fly.”

VIP guests and members of the press were invited to board the Boling airship for short orientation flights in Tulare. Passengers’ responses were unanimous: flying in a “blimp” is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although the airship is capable of carrying up to four passengers, the true thrust behind its operation is as a mobile advertising platform. Due to its size, custom banners featuring corporate logos or advertising messages can be as large as the equivalent of six highway billboards.

Always popular, blimps measure an incredible 92% likeability rating among the public and virtually guarantee extensive viewership and brand retention for the advertiser.

Chris Boling may be reached at 559-244-5741 or at Additional information is available at

American Pistachio Growers Celebrate World Pistachio Day with Good News

Just a week after the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), American Pistachio Growers, the trade association representing more than 625 pistachio grower members in California, Arizona and New Mexico is celebrating the good news today – on World Pistachio Day.

People who eat tree nuts on a daily basis, including pistachios, are making healthy choices, according to the report. The recommended guidelines emphasize a diet higher in plant-based foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seafood to lower the risk of chronic diseases, particularly those associated with obesity. These recommendations are consistent with the findings of numerous science-based studies on the role of tree nuts, including pistachios, in preventing obesity and providing other health benefits. The report provides the scientific evidence for the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are expected to be published by the end of 2015.

About two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese and about half of adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Poor dietary and physical activity patterns are associated with these conditions. Pistachios have been shown to play a positive role in weight management, blood sugar management, heart health and as a post exercise snack.

“It’s no wonder that more than 1/3 of Americans are obese. We’re eating too much salt, saturated fat, refined grains and added sugar resulting in excess weight, unhealthy blood sugar levels and deficiencies in calcium, fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, D, E, and C,” says Cheryl Forberg, Nutrition Ambassador to American Pistachio Growers.

Forberg continues, “Thankfully, the new guidelines suggest more whole foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, nuts, such as pistachios, and seeds to offset our nutrient needs and promote healthier weights and blood sugar levels.” One of the nation’s leading advisors on health and nutrition, Cheryl is a New York Times bestselling author, James Beard award-winning chef and the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”

Pistachios a Source of Important Shortfall Nutrients

Pistachios can help consumers meet a minimum of shortfall nutrients identified by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee while limiting overconsumption of sodium and saturated fatty acids. These nutrients include vitamins A, D & C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and iron for adolescent and premenopausal women. Of these, calcium, vitamin D, fiber, potassium and iron are considered of public health concern.

A 1-ounce 160 calorie serving of pistachios provides:

  • 290 mg potassium (8% Daily Value)
  • 3 g total fiber (12 % Daily Value) making pistachios a “good” source of fiber
  • 6% Daily Value of iron
  • 8% Daily Value for magnesium

In addition, unsalted pistachios are a sodium-free food. Pistachios provide 13 g of total fat primarily monounsaturated fatty acids (7 g) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (4 g) with about 1.5 g saturated fatty acids.

Three USDA-Recognized Healthy Diet Patterns Include Nuts

The Committee encouraged consumers to adopt dietary patterns low in saturated fat, added sugars and sodium. These include Healthy U.S.-Style, Healthy Vegetarian and Healthy Mediterranean diets. Such patterns are:

  • Rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts such as pistachios
  • Moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products
  • Lower in red and processed meat
  • Low in sugar sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains


About American Pistachio Growers

            American Pistachio Growers (APG) is a non-profit voluntary agricultural trade association representing more than 625 grower members in California, Arizona and New Mexico. APG is governed by a democratically-elected board of directors and is funded by growers and independent processors with the shared goal of increasing global awareness of nutritious American-grown pistachios. For more information, visit

Nuts May Prevent Cancer

Nut Consumption May Prevent Cancer

The review, carried out by Marco Falasca, Ilaria Casari and Dr. Tania Maffucci at The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University, found evidence suggesting eating nuts may prevent cancer by providing a protective effect—chemoprevention—in cancers including colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer in women and prostate cancers in men.

It is already well established that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the team also identified research showing a significant inverse association between nut consumption and death from cancer. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that nut consumption should be considered as a tool of intervention to reduce the burden of cancer.

The review highlighted a range of components that nuts contain that may contribute to their anticancer properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components as well as a range of phytochemicals, vitamins and micronutrients, plus dietary fiber, of which nuts are a rich source.

Professor Falasca commented, “Although there is strong evidence that nut consumption is related to the prevention of several diseases including cancer, more support is needed to research the mechanism of action and to find a direct correlation. We’re also a step in the right direction to support the claim that we should have nuts as one of our five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables in order to prevent diseases.”

Globally, cancer is on the rise; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there were more than 14 million cases of cancer diagnosed and 8.2 million deaths in 2012, up from 12.7 million cases and 7.6 million deaths in 2008. By 2025, more than 19 million cancer diagnoses are predicted. Up to 40% of cancer cases are estimated to be linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, occupational hazards, and exposure to sun and sunbeds.

power of pistachios for cancer prevention
Power of pistachios for cancer prevention

Arianna Carughi, PhD, Nutrition Research Science Advisor for American Pistachio Growers, said: “Pistachios are a nutrient and fiber-rich wholefood and contain a number of bioactive compounds that may be useful at the cellular level. This review highlights the potential of nuts, such as pistachios, as a tool in the fight against cancer and further adds to our understanding of the important contribution that nuts can make to health and wellbeing.”

At 160 calories, one ounce of pistachios contains less than two grams of saturated fat and six grams of protein per serving. Pistachios make the perfect snack and can be included as part of a healthy diet.

Sources: Falasca M, Casari I& Maffucci T. Cancer Chemoprevention With Nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst 2014: 106(9), American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers Pair with Anheuser-Busch and Michelob ULTRA Beer

First Ever In-Store Promotions for American Pistachio Organization


Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers is joining with Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri, to promote the perfect pairing: the perfect smart snack and the perfect beer for adults with active lifestyles.

Starting now and through 2015, pistachio lovers can save up to $6 on the purchase of American Pistachio Growers member-branded pistachios and a 12-pack or larger of Michelob ULTRA.

This partnership between American Pistachio Growers and Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob ULTRA recognizes the increasing number of Americans who are eating healthy and staying fit. Pistachios are an ideal post-workout and daily snack and host a significant number of nutrients required to stay healthy. Additionally, pistachios are the lowest-in-fat snack nut grown in the United States. Michelob ULTRA is a superior light beer with 95 calories and 2.6g carbohydrates, and a proven favorite among adult consumers who enjoy a socially active lifestyle.

Beginning with the season of New Year’s resolutions — when many commit to health and fitness goals, the joint promotion will run through the National Football League playoffs and the Super Bowl; a time of many parties and gatherings. Three additional promotional periods are scheduled for Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings, and kick-off of the fall football season.

“This is our first initiative at point of sale, to identify and promote pistachios grown and processed by the hundreds of members that make up American Pistachio Growers. It is a strong nationwide rollout, with a leading retail partner, and more than 19,000 stores participating including supermarkets, mass market retailers and drug stores,” says Judy Hirigoyen, Vice President, Global Marketing. Hirigoyen continues, “This concept was tested successfully in a few states in 2014. Research continues to reveal the health attributes of pistachios and industry growth confirms they are a popular choice as more Americans are choosing nutritional snacks.”

American Pistachio Growers view the Michelob ULTRA and pistachios partnership as a natural collaboration. The Michelob ULTRA beer line has long been associated with numerous athletic contests including running and cycling events, PGA Tour golf tournaments and ATP Tennis. American Pistachio Growers have teamed with several high-profile athletes including British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish, professional big mountain snowboarder and adventurer Jeremy Jones, pro sports team nutrition managers and is the “Official Snack” of USA Water Polo’s Men’s and Women’s Teams.

Details of the instant coupons and rebates on a state-by-state basis can be found on the American Pistachio Growers website

Nut Yields May Be Reduced by Drought

Source: Christine Souza; Ag Alert

Enduring a drought that has lasted several years, growers of California’s primary nut crops—almonds, walnuts and pistachios—are finishing this year’s harvest and planning for what Mother Nature may or may not bring in the coming year.

“Location, location, location” proved critical to almond and pistachio crops in particular, and seemed to be the determining factor in whether trees had enough water and the required number of chilling hours.

Some farmers were luckier than others, including Larry Lowder of Madera. A grower of almonds and pistachios, Lowder said he was “very fortunate where we live and this year we were able to produce a crop, where others didn’t have that luxury.” He said his farm is located in a microclimate that received sufficient chilling hours during the winter, something that was lacking in other parts of the Central Valley.

Dealing with a surface water allocation of zero, Lowder said he had to rely on deep wells, and he saved as much water as possible by using drip irrigation, microsprinklers and upgraded wells.

Even with a relatively favorable situation, Lowder said his almond yields were down by about 10 percent, although pistachio yields were much better.

In some California pistachio and almond orchards, the drought resulted in a shorter crop and a higher incidence of “blanks,” when a shell lacks a viable nut or kernel.

“Some growers, who had the effect of poor pollinization as well as lack of water, their crops were significantly off and there will be crop insurance claims filed,” said Richard Matoian, executive director of Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers. “One grower said the orchard looked like it had 3,500 pounds per acre, but ended up with 800 pounds of nuts to the acre.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated this year’s California pistachio crop at between 485 million and 500 million pounds, Matoian said, which is smaller than expected because it was to be an “on year” for pistachios. New figures from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios have increased the estimate to 515 million pounds, which Matoian said was “larger than expected in midsummer but certainly lower than original expectations.”

Many pistachio growers purchased emergency supplies of water, Matoian said, paying as much as $3,000 per acre-foot. Reports from the almond sector showed some growers paid between $1,200 and $2,200 per acre-foot.

Reflecting on how almond growers negotiated the drought, Mel Machado, assistant director of member relations for Blue Diamond Growers, said some orchards were either removed or abandoned, and water was moved from older blocks of trees to younger blocks.

“Growers have learned a lot about how to manage the water they have, but even with good technology and good application, there are orchards that definitely had increased stress this year,” Machado said. “You can see it in the lack of growth of the trees.”

Farmer Stan Wilson of Shafter grows almonds and other crops, and said he made it through this season on well water, but had to reactivate old wells, add extensions to pumps and install an underground pipeline so that he could move water from one field to another.

“We made it through the year. We had no surface water at all, so the only water supply we had was from wells. It is the first year we had zero deliveries,” said Wilson, who fallowed about 160 acres of row crops as a result of the drought.

With harvest drawing to a close, Machado reported that this year’s almond crop is hovering at around 1.85 billion pounds, down from the earlier government estimate of 2.1 billion pounds. Machado said he has seen higher levels of rejects in the almonds produced, but there were problems in addition to drought that played a part, such as varying degrees of stress and salinity issues.

“Quite frankly, we needed the 2.1 billion pounds. A lot of people look at orchards planted over the past few years and say, ‘What are you going to do with those when they come into production?’ Well, we’re going to market them. There is demand out there for the product. We’re still in a demand-exceeds-supply situation,” Machado said.

With just a few more weeks left of harvest, California walnut growers expect a crop that is 545,000 tons, which would be a record, said Dennis Balint, CEO of the California Walnut Commission. No official production figure will be known until harvest is complete, but Balint attributed the expected increase to newly planted orchards and young orchards that are coming into production with higher yields.

He, too, reported continued strong demand.

“Traditionally, we’ve been the ingredient nut, but demand for walnuts is strong and health benefits are starting to drive demand for walnuts. We are seeing more snacking, which we are pleased with,” Balint said.

Marketers said the increasing demand for California nut crops in domestic and global markets is good news for growers. There are 200,000 bearing acres of pistachios in California, and 100,000 acres are non-bearing, Matoian said. For almonds, USDA reported there are 860,000 bearing acres, with 80,000 non-bearing acres. There are an estimated 280,000 bearing acres of walnuts in California, and 45,000 acres that are non-bearing.

For the almond business, Machado said, “the limitation on the crop is going to be water. Water is going to be the competing factor for the almond crop, just as it is for just about every other crop in the Central Valley.”

As winter approaches, nut growers said they are hopeful that the state’s water situation changes for the better, although, Matoian said, “Even if we have a good rain year, we are going to have a lack of water available to growers; that is inevitable. That is what we’re being told by water regulators.”

Water Bond Campaign Launched by Tree Nut Industry

Tree Nut Industry Partnership to Help Fund Campaign to Pass Water Bond


The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), the Almond Hullers and Processors Association (AHPA), American Pistachio Growers (APG) and the California Pecan Growers Association have come together to help fund the campaign to support Proposition 1 – The Water Bond.

The Water Bond is a multi-pronged approach to solve a portion of the state’s water crisis by providing $7.5 million for water quality, supply, treatment, and storage projects.

The bond is on the November 2014 ballot and is completely in the hands of California voters.  The participating organizations are asking their members for donations of at least $1,000 each with the goal of raising $200,000 on behalf of the tree nut industry.

Agriculture is being asked to raise $5 million towards the $20 million campaign, with labor, business and other organizations kicking in the remaining $15 million.

Other agricultural commodities, including cotton, citrus, rice, fresh fruit and dairies have already committed to contributing in excess of $100,000 each.

With over 1.5 million total tree nut acres in California, it boils down to approximately 14 cents per acre!

The organizations are asking their membership “to consider contributing and send your contributions in ASAP, as the campaign is already underway!

Pistachios May Benefit Heart Health in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes


Stress Tests Show Blood Vessels More Relaxed and Open in Published Study

In the Journal of the American Heart Association


It was announced TODAY, that a healthy diet including pistachios may benefit heart health in adults with Type 2 diabetes, according to a Pennsylvania State University study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, who were otherwise healthy, participated in a randomized, controlled clinical study and showed a more positive response to stress following a diet containing pistachios than when following a standard low-fat control diet. The healthy diet, which included two servings daily of pistachios, significantly reduced peripheral vascular resistance, increased cardiac output, improved some measure of heart rate variability and importantly reduced systolic ambulatory blood pressure.

Dr. Sheila G. West, principal investigator and professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences at Penn State, and her colleagues reported similar beneficial results in a study of adults with elevated LDL cholesterol and stress, published two years ago. Increasingly it has been found that pistachios, both salted and unsalted, contribute to a heart-healthy diet in high-risk groups. Pistachios contain good fats and fiber, potassium and magnesium.

In this Penn State study, test diets included a low-fat control diet with high carbohydrate snacks (27 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat) compared to a moderate-fat diet (33 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat) that included 3 ounces, or 20 percent of the calories, from pistachios. The servings consisted of equal amounts of salted and unsalted nuts. All meals were provided to the 30 participants, an equal number of men and women, ages 40-74. The calorie levels for the subjects were based on the Harris-Benedict equation so that calories and body weight did not change throughout the study.

A two-week run-in period on a typical western diet preceded the first test diet. Participants discontinued all dietary supplements at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the study. These adults were then administered each test diet for four weeks, separated by two-week compliance breaks, randomized and in a counterbalanced order. At the end of each diet period, including the run-in weeks, participants underwent comprehensive testing.

Researchers measured blood pressure and total peripheral vascular resistance, both at rest and during stress tests, which consisted of holding a hand in ice water for more than two minutes and a difficult math challenge. “After the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests,” confirmed Dr. West. She continued, “The pistachio diet reduced their bodies’ responses to stress.”

Twenty-four hour systolic blood pressure was significantly lower following the pistachio diet compared to the control diet, with the largest reduction observed during sleep. According to Dr. Kathryn Sauder, a co-investigator who conducted the measurements, “This finding was important because individuals who do not display a dip in blood pressure during sleep may be more likely to experience a cardiovascular event.”

Dr. West concluded, “A moderate-fat diet containing pistachios may be an effective intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk in persons with type 2 diabetes.” In spite of being obese and having a diabetes diagnosis, participants had normal blood pressure and only moderate dyslipidemia. However, even in relatively healthy diabetics, there is room for improvement. The results of this study suggest that a healthy diet containing pistachios can add to the protective effects of drugs for persons with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers suggested future studies should enroll larger samples, include ambulatory blood pressure as a primary outcome and test the effectiveness of pistachio consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in a free-living setting.

The study was supported by the American Pistachio Growers, Fresno, Calif., with partial support from the National Institutes of Health-supported Clinical Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Pistachio Facts

Pistachios are nutrient-rich and full of antioxidants, vitamins, protein and fiber. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals 49 nuts, more per serving than any other snack nut. They are cholesterol free and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 12.5 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. In addition, they contain a significant amount of potassium, 300mg, and 3g fiber per serving.

About American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers (APG) is a non-profit voluntary agricultural trade association representing more than 600 grower members in California, Arizona and New Mexico. APG is governed by a democratically-elected board of directors and is funded entirely by growers and independent processors with the shared goal of increasing global awareness of nutritious American-grown pistachios. APG pistachios are the “Official Snack” of USA Water Polo, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish and the Miss California Organization. For more information, visit

American Pistachio Growers Team Up with Anheuser-Busch

A Boon for APG Members and Michelob ULTRA

 By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Move over peanuts. You’re not wanted anymore by active consumers who drink Michelob ULTRA. American Pistachio Growers’ pistachios will soon be marketed alongside the beer to adults with an active lifestyle.

“In 2015, the nationwide partnership with Michelob ULTRA Beer will roll out with a series of promotions throughout the year,” said Judy Hirigoyen, Director, Global Marketing for American Pistachio Growers.

“We worked with Anheuser-Busch this year in a pilot project in California, Arizona and Nevada. It offered a $2 off coupon for eight member brands within the American Pistachio Grower membership, or any store private label. Anheuser-Busch, not us, paid the retailer the $2,” said Hirigoyen. “The campaign went very well. So we have signed a contract to go nationwide with a series of promotions in 2015.

“In the future nation-wide promotion, consumers will get anywhere from $2.00 to $6.00 off their pistachios, making it a great boon to pistachios and beer lovers alike,” said Hirigoyen.

The discount coupon for pistachios will be available right where the beer is sold.

“What’s really exciting is the Michelob ULTRA shares the same target audience that pistachios do,” she said. “We look for active, fitness enthusiasts, and we want people who care about their nutrition and their health and who are looking for a lower fat, yet very delicious option. And that is true for both pistachios and Michelob ULTRA Beer.”

It’s a good fit as about 50 percent of all beer sold in the U.S. is an Anheuser-Busch brand. Furthermore, Michelob ULTRA was a big sponsor of the Amgen Bicycle Race Tour this year in California.

“Since everyone loves our product, Anheuser-Busch wanted to team up with us. They want to find ways to get out of the beer aisle, and we want to find ways to get into the beer aisle. They now can get their beer displays in the snack aisle, and in the produce aisle, and we can get our pistachios into the aisles where beer is promoted,” said Hirigoyen.

“We are promoting very actively on social networks to let people know that there is free money for pistachios,” said Hirigoyen. “So look for those coupons and purchase some great pistachios from members of the American Pistachio Growers.”



American Pistachio Growers to Discuss

Industry Issues 

By Patrick Cavanaugh and Laurie Greene


TODAY, at the American Pistachio Growers Seventh Annual Conference in San Diego, Sharon Roden, a second-generation pistachio grower in western Kern County, said that over 700 people are attending this year.

Sharon Roden
Sharon Roden


Roden said over 22 teams played in today’s Pistachio PAC Golf Tournament on Coronado Island to raise money to get legislative support for issues facing the pistachio industry.


The Conference’s aim is to educate growers on these issues for the pistachio industry here in California, nationally and internationally. Speakers and breakout sessions will cover governmental affairs, science and technology, nutrition, and marketing.


Roden says this drought affects everybody, “We are all in the same dry lakebed boat. We are all straining against the tides of political forces that are not solving the issues that we need solved for the health and safety of the industry and of the state as well.”

Pistachio - The Love Nut
Pistachio – The Love Nut


Her concern, like many Californian growers, is “There are a lot of jobs being lost because of the loss of water, and it will only continue to spiral downward. It’s a pretty scary situation.”


As for her own farm’s water supply, Roden responded, “We are part of the state water project and we’re at zero this year.”