Pistachios and Minerals – How are they linked?

The owners of this website are also Pistachio Farmers. We have about 200 nut bearing trees that are around 20 years old.

We take great joy in mining minerals to use in production of our pistachio harvest – We want to share with you what we do with the minerals and, most importantly, give you the chance to enjoy some of our harvest!

Pistachio trees are either male or female. You can graft the two together and have one hermaphroditic tree, as we have one of these in our grove, however, for the most part, they are separate and do different things.

The female tree has big broad leaves and branches that have lots of curves and style. The male tree has very thin leaves and sharp pointed branches that have sharp, straight, shoots. The female tree is the one that bears nuts, the male tree is responsible for the pollination. They are wind pollinated, so the timing has to be perfect every year during pollination.

The first mineral we mine and use is raw gypsum/selenite. Just a few miles away from our orchard, we have extensive deposits of raw gypsum, which we then water tumble in a giant 50 pound vibrating tumbler. The “waste” water is a large part of what we need for the grove. Every year we make a fertilizer for the tree including pistachio wood ash, steer manure, a rich compost and tea, plus, crushed gypsum, all watered down with our waste water from the gypsum tumbling.

Mining Gypsum to use as a soil irrigation aid

Mining Gypsum to use as a soil irrigation aid


Pistachio wood trimmings are used for roasting and fertilizer, resulting in a beautiful cycle of nature and renewal.

Pistachio wood trimmings are used for roasting and fertilizer, resulting in a beautiful cycle of nature and renewal.

Gypsum has a wonderful effect on soil, creating a path way for water to seep deeper into the ground. This is especially useful for this climate as the soil around the trees needs to soak in the water rapidly to the trees, rather than evaporating away from the top of the soil.
The larger pieces of gypsum are then sold as tumbled stones by us at mineral shows and even on Amazon.com, where you can get a nice box of tumbled gypsum with free prime shipping!

There are two important times in the pistachios tree’s lives every year. In the beginning of spring, which is around March, the branches start to bud.

Female Pistachio Tree Starting to Bud

Female Pistachio Tree Starting to Bud


Boron, from crushed Borax crystals, and Zinc, are applied to the buds on the female pistachio tree just as they start to bud.

Boron, from crushed Borax crystals, and Zinc, are applied to the buds on the female pistachio tree just as they start to bud.

During this time, pollination is right around the corner, but first, they need a treatment of minerals to help them through the year. A mixture of Borax and Zinc are prepared and sprayed onto the tree’s branches, in order to do two things. The Borax, which we mine in Searles’ Lake every October, makes the hard shell form thinner, which allows the pistachio seed to break open the shell while on the tree, something we want to happen.

This is a developing pistachio, before it grows the thick brown shell you are familiar with.  The Boron helps to keep the nut wall from being too thick, which results in more split nuts during harvest.

This is a developing pistachio, before it grows the thick brown shell you are familiar with. The Boron helps to keep the nut wall from being too thick, which results in more split nuts during harvest.

The Zinc allows the stems and seeds to hold fast onto the tree, which is very important because the winds in this part of the world can be devastating to an non zinc treated tree, dropping all the blooms and seeds onto the ground, resulting in a loss of pistachios.

These tiny pollinated buds are now hanging on tight, so they can develop into full fledged pistachio seeds.

These tiny pollinated buds are now hanging on tight, so they can develop into full fledged pistachio seeds.

At the end of October and beginning of November, the trees are harvested. Most orchards harvest with a tree shaker, we harvest ours by hand. It requires a lot of labor and time, but it is what we choose to do. It makes us appreciate these delicious tree seeds a bit more! We separate the nuts from the stems by rolling them around on a large tarp, where the stems start to float to the top of the pile, then, scoop up the pistachios, put them in an industrial peeler which removes the fleshy coating, then float the nuts in a vat of water. The empty nuts float to the top and the ones with nuts sink to the bottom. They are then air dried and roasted with pistachio wood to fuel our ash needs for the following year. We brine some of our nuts with pink salt that we collect every year in Trona, California. We separate only the finest crystals for this use!

Natural Salt Crystals from Trona California

Natural Salt Crystals from Trona California

The end result?

Lightly salted, lightly roasted, pistachio seeds in shell - ready to be delivered to you!

Lightly salted, lightly roasted, pistachio seeds in shell – ready to be delivered to you!

We had bumper crop this year and we are happy to take your orders for pistachio nuts in opened shells from now until December 1st 2016

You can get a 5 pound sack of pistachio nuts in shell, in our lovely hand screened burlap sack, $45 for the nuts, plus $12.00 shipping via Priority Mail (US only)

We also offer a 2.5 pound lot, with shipping, for $30

Then, we can do 10 pound boxes for $80.00, plus shipping of $17.85.


Pistachio Options




We also offer gift boxes for those looking for a bulk, fun gift item, minimum order of 10 gift boxes, which include 3 pounds of nuts and one bottle of pistachio oil, all in a custom hand printed box, for $35 each plus shipping.

For more bulk options, contact us directly at FortySevenPress@gmail.com

I hope you got a kick out of seeing how pistachios are linked to minerals. Selenite, Borax and Halite are all mined for the trees, along with the powdered zinc, these all serve their purpose during the growing and harvesting of pistachio nuts. A perfect holiday treat, our nuts sell out quickly every year, so please give us a try!

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