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Pistachios are an antique fruit which was known to the Babylonians, Assyrians, Jordanians and Greeks.
It is even mentioned in the book of Genesis and is a food which has helped shape the Mediterranean peoples’ cultural and gastronomic heritage.
Bronte’s Pistachio plant, is the Pistacea Vera, which may live for more than 300 years. It is resistant to hot dry climates and the Bronte native plant grows from Bronte to Ragalna, on the slopes of Mount Etna, in the Catania province (Sicily). Trees have been known to grow back after being knocked over by the volcano’s lava.
The Bronte Pistachio harvest takes place every two years from the first week of September, after the first rains. If the rains do not occur in late August, the farmer is forced to irrigate the plant a few days before the harvest and this is difficult as many plants are in inaccessible (volcanic material clusters) and steep places which are difficult to harvest or irrigate.
Freshly harvested pistachios are deprived of the
husk covering the shell and dried in the sun for
at least 3-4 days to avoid a parasitic infection.
Pistachios most serious physiological problems is
the the alternation of production which means the
cyclical alternation “loading” and “unloading” years
which lowers production by up to 20%. There are
no remedies to this alternate production issue.
In Bronte, and typically in the Etna area, the
unloading years are used to remove the few
fruit buds to prevent the parasite (Chaetoptelius
vestitus) from being hosted and stopping the
insect's biological cycle.
Planting pistachio trees is a long term investment bearing in mind that they will give the first fruits
only after about a decade!
The Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry granted Montebianco permission to use such identifification, having checked its authenticity.
This is an extremely important and exclusive recognition, since the Bronte's Green Pistachio represents only 1% of world production.