New APG Ambassadors Shine!

American Pistachio Growers Introduces New Ambassadors 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor, California Ag Today

American Pistachio Growers (APG) held its annual summer luncheon late last week in Visalia, shared the organization’s marketing plans with a large crowd of growers, and introduced the newest APG ambassadors.

Richard Matoian, executive director of APG, framed the meeting, “We’re voting on our budget for the upcoming year, so it is a good opportunity to tell our growers what we are doing on their behalf to promote and to help sell pistachios.”

From Left, Sanya Jones, Cheryl Forberg and Judy Hirigoyen, APG
From Left, Sanya Jones, Cheryl Forberg and Judy Hirigoyen, APG

Bree Morse, recently crowned Miss California and now serving as an ambassador for American Pistachio Growers, effused, “We have so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities being here today at the annual luncheon. It’s neat today because I get to meet and interact with the people in the industry, APG staff and the growers themselves, who are behind what I’m representing. We have amazing opportunities; I get to go to China in December to be Ambassador of American Pistachios abroad, and I’m just really excited to be the face of pistachios.”

Another great APG Ambassador introduced at the lunch was Sanya Jones, the recent Season 16 Biggest Loser television show runner-up, who lost 144 pounds. And guess what? Jones considers pistachios an important part of her success, “Well the funny thing is, I always loved pistachios. I would always get them for my dad as a kid and we would sit in front of the tv and eat them mindlessly.” Anecdotally, Jones shared that pistachios was the one food that her dad would put his teeth in to eat!

“But once I got to the ranch,” Jones continued, “Cheryl Forberg, chef and nutritionist for the tv show, got them on the menu for us. Pistachios are nice when you are a food-addict or a bulk-eater because they make you slow down. I can’t just inhale them; I have to slow down and crack them open. Plus, they are so nutritionally wonderful and keep me fuller longer.”

Who can argue with success?

Featured Photo: Bree Morse, Miss California

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