Questions about Pistachios
Q: What are kernels?
A: Kernels are the shelled pistachios. Though not common in stores yet, they are growing in popularity in the pistachios business.
Q: What is the process of being certified organic?
A: Our ranch is subject to annual inspections by CCOF, our organic certifier. We must show proof of organic agricultural practices, storage, and handling. It is a very extensive inspection.
Q: How do I know a product is certified organic?
A: The USDA has an organic label that is placed on all organic products. It is also very common for wholesalers to ask for your organic certifier certificate.
Q: Is growing organic nuts really that expensive?
A: Yes, it is a very expensive way to farm. The fertilizers are much higher priced. Also, weed control is much more difficult. We have to mow the orchards or another way is to use propane burners that will scourge the weeds.
Q: Why should I eat organic nuts?
A: You are supporting the environment and eating healthier at the same time! The conventional chemicals are polluting the groundwater, land, and the overall environment. Also, organic foods like our California pistachios have beneficial bacteria that can assist your body.
Questions about Almonds
Q: Are the almonds raw?
A: All U.S almonds must be pasteurized according to USDA regulations. Raw almonds may be sold by the farmer but only in person transactions are allowed.
Q: How are the almonds roasted and salted?
A: We slow roast the almonds in a sea salt to give a smooth roast flavor with the perfect amount of salt.
Q: Are the flavored almonds organically approved?
A: Yes, all the ingredients in the flavored almonds are organic. For example, the garlic in the garlic almonds is certified organic.
Q: How should I store almonds?
A: If you plan on eating the almonds in a short amount of time, then keeping the product at room temperature will be fine.
The best way to store the almonds is to refrigerate or freeze them. If you order a case, we suggest rebagging the case into smaller quantities and keeping the product cold.
Source: Braga Organic
The art of the pistachio
Pistachios are harvested once a year in the middle of September.
After being harvested, the pistachios are dried and hulled. The hull is a thin outer layer around the pistachios.
At the huller, the pistachios are labeled “sinkers” or “floaters” based on weight. The floaters are shelled into kernels and hand sorted numerous times to produce high quality Braga Organic Farms kernels.
The sinkers are run through a color sorter which removes the highly stained pistachios (those are also shelled into kernels). After color sorting, the inshell pistachios are hand-sorted briefly then run through sizing trays.
The two common sizes are 18-20 and 21-25. The sizes refer to the nuts per ounce so the 18-20’s are bigger in size.
After sizing, the inshell pistachios that are below 21-25’s are shelled into kernels. The 2 larger sizes are run through a needle picker (that is why you will see a tiny hole in the inshell pistachios) to separate the closed shell from the open shell.
Also, the closed shells are turned into kernels.
We only process the pistachios that are needed to fill an order so we can keep them in cold storage as long as possible. We hope you enjoy our organic food!
Michael Braga has been growing organic food for 10 years. The trees are about 20 years old.
Source: Braga Organic