The CEO of Nuts.com, Sandy Braverman, comments:
“Years ago the majority of pistachios came from Iran. They were big and round and had a great nutty flavor. I believe they were the sert variety. The largest size was a 16-18 or a 14-15, which is a really big nut. And you really couldn’t eat just one. They were that good. Much nuttier taste. There were Turkish pistachios around, but they were small and hard to open. However, they had great taste if you were willing to work to get them open.
“After the trade embargo with Iran, the California pistachio became the dominant product in the U.S. They looked great, easy to open, but to pistachio connoisseurs they tasted like cardboard. The only way you could get the Iranian was to go overseas. There was even a 300% duty before the current sanctions, I think starting around the hostage crisis. If they allow the Iranian pistachios in the country it may take a real bite out of the domestic market as they are far superior.”
Now that, gradually, the sanctions will be lifted, Sandy Braverman believes Iran might “crack” the United States market “big-time.”
Even with sanctions in place, per Bloomberg, the nuts are the country’s second most valuable export after oil.
Source: Slate Magazine, July 14