A pistachio is a special, beautiful thing – the creamy lime green of the nuts, the rose petal pink of the husks, the smooth curves of the shell. They’re associated with elegant bar snacks and sophisticated ice creams, and they’re not particularly cheap. But have you ever wondered why?
Fresh pistachios on the tree
First of all, if you want to pick pistachios, you really have to think ahead. The story of a pistachio is a much longer one than most people think – in fact, each pistachio tree takes ten years to become fully mature. For the first seven years of its life, the tree produces hardly anything, and yet it must be carefully looked after for all that time. For us, there’s something very special about planting trees for the future – it’s a long-term, sustainable approach that we could do with more of in life. The farmers we work with are planting trees that their children will harvest, and picking pistachios from trees that their own ancestors planted. Generations must work together to keep the orchards thriving.
Although pistachio trees are reasonably tolerant of most things, they do insist on sunshine and well-drained soil, with long hot summers to ripen the nuts. Greece is the perfect place to provide such conditions, and because of this, produces some of the world’s best pistachios, including the Fthiotida pistachios that we sell, which carry a PDO, or Protected Designation of Origin. This is a designation awarded by the European Union to foods that are particularly special because of where they come from, and means that the landscape and traditional cultivation practices in Fthiotida result in an especially high standard of pistachio. We think they’re the best, and only ever use Fthiotida pistachios in our boxes.
Every single pistachio we sell comes from a tree that has spent a decade in the Greek sunshine, slowly growing from a seedling to a mighty giant. When they’re finally ready, the pistachios are gently shaken from the tree onto collecting sheets, washed in water and gently dried in the wood-fired ovens – the way Greeks have been preserving pistachios for generations. All we add to them is a pinch of salt and hint of lemon, before we pack them up and send them to you. They might require a good deal of patience, love and care, but we reckon they’re worth the wait.
Pistachio collecting - all done by hand