The Salehi Family

Vahid Salehi credits his family with the work ethic and dedication he follows to ensure the success of Pistacia Global, the Visalia-based company he founded in 2006. His uncles, Ali, Mehdi and Ahmad Orandi, who immigrated to California’s San Joaquin Valley in the late 1960s, quickly recognized and appreciated the geographic and climate similarities of California’s fertile valley to that of their native Kerman Province of Iran, where family members grew pistachios. Because of their familiarity with pistachios, they decided to invest in growing pistachios in the United States.

“My family has been involved in pistachio farming in the Valley since 1975, in the Terra Bella area,” Salehi said. “When I was eight years old, pistachios became a part of my heart and soul. But it wasn’t until I earned a degree in business and spent a few years in the banking industry that I realized I was not cut out to be a banker. It just didn’t satisfy me intellectually or spiritually.”

In 2006, Salehi approached his uncles and expressed an interest in getting back to his farming roots. “They asked me if I was now ready to get rid of my suits and ties,” Salehi said. “I didn’t even hesitate. Farming pistachios is what I wanted to do.”

His uncles agreed to advise Salehi in his new endeavor and, with the blessing of his mother Fali Orandi Salehi, he began his new career by taking over the family’s 40-acre orchard. He also reached out to University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors and other research groups to learn about pistachio production.

Vahid and his team, which includes his wife Asiyeh’s who helps in managing the office, focused their efforts and thus increased the company holdings, which now top 1,500 acres of pistachios. Most of that acreage is located near Ducor and Terra Bella in Tulare County. Besides growing the Kerman cultivar, the most widely planted variety, Salehi grows Kalehghouchi and Ariya pistachios from Iran.

The Salehi Family

Vahid Salehi in the pistachio orchard.