If you’re looking for a delicious New Mexico-grown snack, how about pistachios?
New Mexico is one of three states that grow pistachios in the United States, along with California and Arizona. Turns out our Southern New Mexico climate, with hot summers and chilly winters, is perfect for growing pistachios. You’ll find retail stores for two local growers between Alamogordo and Three Rivers on U.S. Highway 54/70 North.
The easiest to spot is McGinn’s Pistachio Ranch, due to the world’s largest pistachio seeming to sprout from the roadside. Sure, it’s not a real pistachio, but it is eye-catching! McGinn’s has been growing pistachios since 1980, and their 111-acre farm is also used to produce wine grapes for their Arena Blanca label. At this roadside store you’ll not only find many different flavors of pistachios and pistachio candies, but fun souvenirs, Naked Bee Lotions, books, and, of course, their wine.
Just to the southeast along the highway, you’ll see Heart of the Desert at Eagle Ranch. Theirs were the first pistachios in New Mexico, planted in 1972 and acquired by George and Marianne Schweers in 1974. They have also branched into wine grapes, as pistachios and grapes thrive with the same weather conditions. Heart of the Desert’s 24,000 vines grow seven varieties of wine grapes. At this store, you can sample flavored pistachios to find your favorites, both in the shell and unshelled for easier munching. There are also delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars to taste. Take a break on their patio adjacent to the pistachio orchard, where adults can relax with wine, beer, or coffee, or get some pistachio ice cream for everyone.
When you’re on the road, why not stop for some locally grown pistachios?
PistachioLand: McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch | Arena Blanca Winery
7320 U.S. Hwy 54/70 North, Alamogordo
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Heart of the Desert Pistachios
7288 U.S. Hwy 54/70 North, Alamogordo
Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
You can also find Heart of the Desert pistachios at:
The Cork and Kettle, Ruidoso
New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum gift shop
Mesilla Plaza shop
Written and photography by Cheryl Fallstead
Originally published in Neighbors magazine | 2021
Posted by Ruidoso.com