Fiddyment Farms – Pioneering Nut Farming

Goodlifer: Fiddyment Farms - Pioneering Nut Farming

People have been eating pistachios for millennia. Well-known (and highly prized) in the Middle East and Southern Europe for centuries, they eventually made their way to the United States. It used to be that almost all pistachios were imported into the U.S. from countries such as Iran. But in 1967, David Fiddyment and his family decided to plant 40 acres of pistachios in the area of Roseville, CA.

Although the Fiddyments had been farming for over 100 years in that region, pistachios were a very new crop in this country at that time. Mr. Fiddyment was a pioneer in other farming practices, too; he developed a mobile huller and drying machine for pistachios. These nuts, you see, are very sensitive to atmospheric conditions. It’s vital that they be hulled and dried within 24 hours of picking, to prevent staining as well as the threat of contamination from aflatoxins and molds. Through many years and multiple changes in their farm and the pistachio industry, Fiddyment Farms remains in the pistachio business, something for which we can all be glad.

PIstachios are sold in bulk, in-shell, kernels & flavored in-shell.

Pistachios are sold in bulk — kernels, flavored in-shell & in-shell.

Many Americans have had pistachio experience limited to those purchased in bulk from big-lot grocers. If you are one such individual, you need to try these pistachios! Certainly, the nuts from big-lot grocers will be cheaper, but if ever there was an instance where “you get what you pay for”, it’s in the realm of food. Pistachios from Fiddyment Farms will be healthier, fresher and of better quality all around. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather support a farming clan who cares about their products than a huge chain store. Buying from responsible small-scale operations is often better than buying from big industrial-scale organic farms. Many small farmers cannot afford to become certified organic, even though they follow the same protocols.

Roasted lightly salted, lightly salted kernels & salt free pistachios.

Roasted lightly salted, lightly salted kernels & salt free pistachios.

Members of The Diet Police can relax a little around these nuts: it takes 49 kernels to equal just one ounce of pistachios, and they are good sources of protein, thiamin, Vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. There’s another advantage to these particular pistachios, as well: they’re available in so many varieties and types! Say you’ve decided on a one-pound bag of in-shell pistachios. In most cases, your only other option would be salted or salt-free. Here, you choose between Lightly Salted, Salt Free, Jalapeno, Barbecue, Garlic Onion, Lemon, Chili Lime, and something called “Fiddy Fire”, a spicy-hot roasted variety.

Jalapeño, Garlic Onion & Fiddy Fire.

Jalapeño, Garlic Onion & Fiddy Fire.

Looking for something a little dressier, perhaps for a gift? Try pistachios in burlap bags (you can choose beige or green); there’s even a Pistachio Football (2.5 pounds of Lightly Salted in-shell pistachios in a burlap “football”). There are shelled pistachios (called “kernel bags”), candied pistachios, pistachio butter, gift assortments, gift jars, gift tins, and even larger-sized and bulk items. If you happen to live nearby, Fiddyment can be found manning stands at the Foothill and Davis Farmers Markets. Otherwise, products are available to order online.

Chili Lime, Cinnamon Sugar & Barbeque.

Chili Lime, Cinnamon Sugar & Barbeque.

Top photo by add1sun, Creative Commons.

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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