Eat them while you can, people. Pistachios are about to become a whole lot less available.
The USDA recently released a report showing that the United States, one of the world’s two main pistachio producers, would cut the number of pistachios it harvested by nearly half this year, due mainly to California’s punishing drought. This means a loss of over 100,000 tons of pistachios in the U.S. alone—an amount equal to nearly a fifth of the world’s entire 520,000 ton pistachio crop for this year.
Now, a worsening drought in Iran, the other top producer of pistachios in the world, has farmers there predicting that their pistachio harvest is also going to continue to fall dramatically—perhaps even further than the 20,000-ton drop that was already predicted for this year.
USDA says worldwide we’re going to lose 86,000 tons of pistachios this year. That figure sounds unsettlingly big, but the losses would look heavier yet if Turkey hadn’t had a surprise bumper crop which nearly tripled its expected harvest. Even that anomaly, though, still wasn’t enough to offset the loses.
Pistachios join chocolate, red wine, IPAs, salmon, coffee, almonds, and so much more on the list of foods that are going to get harder to come by in our hotter and drier world. On the plus side, however, the world market for edible insects continues to grow.