USDA Cochran Bulgarian Program tours pistachio orchards
A delegation of the USDA’s Cochran Bulgarian Program selected ARO Pistachios as grower-processor farming operation for the pistachio portion of this U.S. tree nut tour. The group of six fellows hosted by the National Center for Food & Agricultural Policy and its administrator toured orchards during harvest. Participants were particularly interested in viewing the harvesting machinery and methodology as well as learning about the company's history and pistachio-ology.
The Cochran Bulgarian Program aims to provide a greater understanding of production and processing through final usage of U.S. tree nuts, surveying other facilities throughout the region such as Northern California and Oregon covering almonds, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. Participants range from tree nut certification managers to the country's agriculture director with goals of gaining an introduction and insights to U.S. methods and technologies to enhance the sustainability of the Bulgarian horticulture section.
Delegates spent the morning touring the Orandi Ranch orchards and each received gourmet pistachios to enjoy on their journey. We were delighted to meet the group and assist with their topical questions and comments. Concluding the tour, the group bestowed gifts of an exquisite Bulgarian ethnic flair such as the country's famous Rose Water parfum and T-shirts promoting the program's sustainability message.
Tour training topics included: processing technologies; best management and marketing practices; sustainable agriculture methods; best varieties of nuts; plant protection techniques; and the conservation of nuts. The tour was assembled by Karen Raetz, Administrator, NCFAP, Washington, D.C., and concludes October 4.