Meet Our Growers

Pistachios are grown by a community of farmers, some on family-owned farms, many in the second or third generation of farming. Their livelihoods depend on Mother Nature and their ability to work with her. They’re involved in their communities and work diligently toward a sustainable future in farming. With a constant eye on the weather and another on the crop, these folks all have one thing in common—they love what they do.

Check in occasionally as we add growers to our American Pistachio Growers photo album, and welcome to the farm!


 
Amin family

The Amin Family

Ali Amin was born and raised in a farming family, in Iran. They have been growing and marketing pistachios in the San Joaquin Valley for four generations. In 1989, Ali Amin founded Primex International, a trading company dedicated to processing, promoting and exporting pistachios. He also oversees pistachio orchards located in Central California.  Ali has served in various leadership positions in the pistachio industry, including past Chairman of the California Pistachio Commission.
The Blackwell Family

The Blackwell Family

Three generations of Blackwells have farmed pistachios in an area called Little Creek, where the foothills of the Sierra Nevada roll down to the San Joaquin Valley floor. As a teenager, Brian began working at Pioneer Nursery, where pistachio rootstock is developed for the industry. He and his son Jeremy now farm their own land, as well as manage farms for other families.  Brian has long been a leader in the pistachio industry, including past Chairman of the California Pistachio Commission and American Pistachio Growers.  Jeremy serves on the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
Steve and Klytia Burcham

The Burcham Family

In 1998, Larry and Linda Gage planted their first field of pistachios at Gage Farms located on old river ground just outside of Firebaugh, California. In 2000, the family grew with the marriage of their daughter Klytia to Steve Burcham. Together they planted their last crop in 2005. In 2011, when Larry passed away, Steve took over the family business. Steve serves as a member of American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
Th Cook Family

The Cook Family

Jim Cook’s family has ranched and farmed in Arizona since the 1880s. In 1973, he began farming pistachios, which was a new crop in the area. He raised his sons, Mark and Michael, who farmed alongside with him. Now they all farm their own land as well as manage the farms of others in Southeastern Arizona, where pistachios have become an important crop. Mark chairs the Arizona Pistachio Growers Association.
Thom and Dottie Dille

The Dille Family

Thom Dille is the general manager for Fiddyment Farms, which includes pistachios in Kern County and a boutique pistachio processing operation near Sacramento, California. Thom lives in Lincoln, California with his wife Dottie, and he is past Chairman of American Pistachio Growers.  He has advocated on behalf of pistachio farmers in Washington, DC and has represented them in China, meeting with dignitaries and consumers alike.
The Fiddyment Family

The Fiddyment Family

David Fiddyment is a pioneer in the American pistachio industry, with his first orchard being in Roseville, California. For many years pistachio growers used processing technology that was invented by him. Their children, Diane and Duane, joined David and his wife Dolly in their farming operation.
The Gupta Family

The Gupta Family

The Gupta family started out farming in India with their maternal grandparents. Now in their fifth generation of farming, Anil Gupta oversees their pistachio orchards in Tulare County, where the family now lives. Anil also serves on the Board of Directors of American Pistachio Growers.
The Keenan Family

The Keenan Family

In 1972, Keenan Farms began when Charles Keenan purchased 100 acres of newly planted pistachio trees in Avenal, California. With their first crop in 1976, Charles and his son, Robert, took a further step as growers and invested in their own processing equipment. Since then, the family has been growing, processing and marketing pistachios. Robert has served in leadership roles for both the California Pistachio Commission and American Pistachio Growers.
The Kusmak Family

The Kusmack Family

Adam and Danielle Kusmak have been farming since 2005. Located in New Mexico, their orchard of a few acres has expanded, and they enjoy bringing their young sons up on the family farm. They are invested in teaching good agriculture stewardship to the next generation of Kusmak pistachio farmers. Adam is on the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
Larry and Janice Lowder

The Lowder Family

For the last two generations, Larry and Janice Lowder have farmed cooperatively with other family members, who also own farms. They’re located in Central California, where they also grow raisins and almonds. Larry has served on the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors, and Janice volunteers on the Nutrition Research Subcommittee.
The Munger Family

The Munger Family

The Munger family has been farming pistachios for over 28 years. Siblings Kable, David and Kamie Munger—and their extended family—also grow blueberries in Central California. Grateful for the life they’ve established in California, they continue to support community medical projects and schools in Punjab, India. Kamie is an active volunteer on the Marketing Communications Committee, at American Pistachio Growers.
Alison Nagatani

The Nagatani Family

In 1912, Alison Nagatani’s great-grandfather emigrated from Japan to the United States, settling on 20 acres of farming land near Ducor, California. In 1980, the family planted a pistachio orchard in nearby Earlimart, where Alison, her father, and her husband John Weesner continue the family business today and are raising the fifth generation on the farm. Alison serves on the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
Mehdi and Adam Orandi

The Orandi Family

In 1971, Dr. Mehdi Orandi, a fifth-generation farmer from Rafsanjan, Iran, joined his brother, Dr. Ahmad Orandi, to plant their first orchard of pistachios in Terra Bella, California. Now the Orandis have seven families working in farming and farm management. Mehdi’s son Adam, a processor, farms side-by-side with his father marking six generations of pistachio growers. Adam serves on the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
The Pitigliano Family

The Pitigliano Family

Fourth-generation farmers (now raising the fifth generation) Charlie and Nancy Pitigliano value the community involvement and family time that a life of farming affords them. Joined by their sons Dominic, Mike and Josh, they farm pistachios in Tipton, California. Dominic serves in a leadership role for the American Pistachio Growers membership, including the Board of Directors.
Alan Robbs

The Robbs Family

Alan, his wife Kathy, and his three sons, Nick, Zach and Joram, farm pistachios, along with other crops such as lettuce and pumpkins, much of which is sold at regional farmers markets. Alan is a second-generation farmer.
The Robinson Family

The Robinson Family

A longtime farm manager, Gary Robinson started his own pistachio farm in 1997. Supported by his wife Karen and daughter Kristi, he now grows pistachios, almonds and walnuts on the west side of Fresno County, California. Gary and Kristi have both served in leadership roles for the California Pistachio Commission and American Pistachio Growers.
The Roden Family

The Roden Family

Sharon Roden has two big passions: Growing pistachios and operating the sag wagon for Team Chain Gang, cyclists who ride to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. She’s a second-generation pistachio farmer, along with her Brother, Bill, and his children, Christina Borchard and Mathew Roden. Sharon serves as APG Chair on American Pistachio Growers’ Board of Directors.
The Salehi Family

The Salehi Family

After a career in banking, Vahid Salehi followed his uncles, from the Orandi family, into pistachio farming, losing his suit-and-tie attire in favor of work boots and jeans. Supported by his wife Asiyeh, he oversees multiple aspects of the farm operations near Visalia, California.
Shirley and Steve Seplak

The Seplak Family

Steve Seplak’s career as a bridge engineer gave way to farming pistachios in the high desert of Arizona. Steve has served in leadership roles for both American Pistachio Growers and the Arizona Pistachio Growers Association, including the Board of Directors. He and Shirley are dedicated members of Shriners, a charitable organization that builds children’s hospitals and serves families regardless of their ability to pay.
The Schmiederer Family

The Schmiederer Family

Frank Coit started the family farm, of about 10,000 acres, in the Central Valley town of Mendota, California. After his death in 1970, the family combined Coit Farming with Schmiederer Family Farms. In 1995, they planted their first pistachios. Jeff Schmiederer has served on the Membership Committee of American Pistachio Growers.
The Schweers Family

The Schweers Family

While George Schweers was researching crops grown in the deserts of the world, one crop kept coming to the top of the lists—pistachios. He bought land and planted in the early 1970s. By 1976, the Schweers had their first harvest. They now have pistachio orchards and vineyards on their farm in New Mexico. George is a past member of the American Pistachio Growers Board of Directors.
The Wilkinson Family

The Wilkinson Family

Larry Wilkinson’s grandmother, Janie Poonian, began farming in the mid-1980s, in Delano, California. She taught him to farm and now he carries on the family tradition. He farms with his wife Lorie and their six children. Larry has served as a volunteer on various committees with American Pistachio Growers, in support of the entire community of pistachio growers.
Jimmi an Tammi Valov

The Valov Family

Over 30 years ago, Jimi started farming in Kern County. In 1983, he and his brother planted 40 acres of pistachios. The 33-year-old trees still produce. Jimi is the owner and managing partner of Valov & Sons Farming, in Tulare and Kings counties, where they grow pistachios, almonds, cotton, and alfalfa. Jimi and his wife Tammy are very active philanthropists in their community, and Jimi is past Chairman of American Pistachio Growers.
Brian and Patti Watte

The Watte Family

George Watte & Sons, in Tulare, California, began with row crops in 1983 that included cotton, wheat, corn, and alfalfa. In 2000, they planted their first pistachios and are now joined by their sons in the farming operation. Brian has served in leadership roles at American Pistachio Growers, including the Board of Directors, and his wife Patti serves on the Nutrition Research Subcommittee. Son Matt Watte has traveled to China as part of a trade outreach mission to further the relationship between Chinese consumers and the pistachio industry.
The Wylie Family

The Wylie Family

The Wylie brothers, Craig and Chris, started farming in Madera, California. in the 1970s. Now their sons, Justin, Chase and Ryan carry on the family business. Chris and his son Ryan also manage the orchards at Agri-World Co-op in Madera. Justin and Chase work alongside their father Craig on the family’s ranch. Justin volunteers as Vice-Chair of the Nutrition Research Subcommittee, at American Pistachio Growers, and is on the Board of Directors.