The United States is the largest producer and exporter of shelled pistachios in the world. Iran is the second largest producer of pistachios in shells and the main exporter of pistachio kernels (pistachio products). Turkey is emerging as the new supplier of pistachios. The area under pistachio cultivation expanded further with the expansion of Islam and the subsequent Arab expansion.
Along with the Crusades, trade in the Levant in the Middle Ages was also widespread. The Republic of Venice, in particular, had close commercial ties with Syria, one of the main areas of pistachio cultivation. The products arrived in northern and central Italy via maritime trade routes. In the north of the Alps, pistachio remained unknown for a long time.
When it arrived in Central Europe, it was called the “Latin penny nut” because of its introduction from the Italian sales route, through the Alpine passes. While pistachio was used early on in a variety of ways for cooking in Italy, north of the Alps it was mostly used as an expensive addition to baked goods. Only after World War II did the image of pistachio gradually change from an expensive baking additive to a popular snack. During the 1880s, imported pistachios were popular in the United States, especially among immigrants from the Middle East.
Pistachio was further distributed through vending machines installed in underground train stations, bars, restaurants and other common places. The United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran are world leaders in the production and cultivation of pistachios. The Republic of Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic are ranked in pistachio production after the United States and Iran. These countries, as the largest producers of pistachio, supply about 92% of the world's total pistachios.
However, most of their products are consumed locally or partially exported to countries in their respective areas. According to statistics published by FAO, the United States produces 406,000 tons of pistachios per year, making it the world's first largest producer of this product. Nowadays, the cultivation and production of pistachios in Iran takes place at lower elevations and produces a good harvest. Legend has it that pistachios were the favorites of the queen of Sheba, who required all the production of her land for her and her court.
As a result, the industry has gone from barely supplying the domestic market to exporting most of its production to countries around the world. A newly planted tree takes five to seven years to produce a crop, but it takes 15 to 20 years to reach full capacity.