Did you know that the World’s Largest Pistachio is in New Mexico? Did you know that visiting this pistachio has been on my travel wish list for several years now? We had originally planned to stop at the pistachio farm during Big Trip 3 but the road over the mountain from El Paso was closed due to flooding so we opted to skip the farm and continue to Albuquerque via the interstate instead. This past summer (10 years later!) we finally made it to see the Giant Pistachio in person (and to eat yummy pistachios!).
Why a giant pistachio statue?
The current owner of the ranch, Tim McGinn, conceived the idea as a memorial to his father, Thomas McGinn, shortly after his passing in 2007. One year later, the statue was standing proud for all to see. Here’s what the plaque at the pistachio says…
Why is there a pistachio farm here in the dry desert of New Mexico?
Pistachio trees are high desert trees that originated first in western Asia. They thrive on long, hot, dry summers and cool winters and are wind-pollinated. The climate of Alamagordo is perfect! It happened to be rainy the day we stopped by but it’s usually a hot, dry area. In America, pistachios are grown in California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
How are pistachios harvested?
Did you know that pistachios are harvested by shaking the trees until the nuts fall out? You can see the process in this video filmed at McGinn’s Pistachio Ranch.
What to do at the pistachio farm?
Besides the most obvious attraction, the giant 30-foot pistachio statue, there are many things to see on a visit to McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch.
- Tour the orchard and vineyard
- Feed the koi fish
- Talk to Pappy, the ole talking cowboy
- Eat ice cream
- Taste the pistachio samples
- Make a pressed penny
Our stop at McGinn’s was pretty short. We used some of our travel time in a spontaneous stop at the Smokey Bear State Historic Park earlier in the day on our way down from Albuquerque so we didn’t take time for a farm tour. Instead, we walked around the outside of the building to peek at the vineyard and orchard then took turns going inside to sample the many different pistachio flavors in an attempt to narrow down our purchase choices. And of course, I had to get my pressed penny!
Here are a few pictures of our visit…
Is McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Farm pet-friendly?
Rocco wasn’t allowed inside the store but he was free to walk around with us outside the store as we checked out the edges of the vineyard and orchard. Definitely consider how hot it will be when you visit – this is southern New Mexico, after all, and it gets pretty hot in the summer!
Fun Pistachio Trivia
- Pistachios are called “smiling nut” in the Middle East
- Pistachio shells usually split naturally when ripe
- Pistachios are wind-pollinated and one male tree is required for up to 30 female trees
- In China pistachios are called “happy nut”
- Pistachios are said to have grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon and were a favorite of King Nebuchadnezzar
- One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as an orange.
- The Kerman variety is grown in the US
- Pistachio shells can be recycled. They make great fire starters, drainage filler in potted plants, acidic mulch, and compost.
- I think pistachios are delicious!
Did you know there’s a National Pistachio Day?
If you’re like me and you enjoy celebrating off-beat holidays, then you will be happy to know that National Pistachio Day is celebrated on February 26 every year. Grab your favorite flavor of pistachio and snack away!
Other sites to see in Alamogordo
The World’s Largest Pistachio at PistachioLand is just one attraction in the Alamogordo area. Some other (perhaps more well-known!) attractions include White Sands National Monument, the National Solar Observatory, and the New Mexico Museum of Space History (home of the International Space Hall of Fame) as well as some lesser-known attractions such as the Mad Max Car and a scrap metal roadrunner statue.
I would really like to come back to this area at some time other than the middle of summer. I’m sure I would enjoy seeing White Sands in cooler weather. Someday… Someday…
Want to follow along?
Wondering what amazing roadside attraction we might visit next? Click the photo below to sign up for email updates and never miss a stop!