The pistachio, Pistacia vera, a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originally from Central Asia and the Middle East. Pistachio trees can be found in regions of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Xinjiang (China), Tunisia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Egypt, Italy (Sicily), Uzbekistan, Afghanistan (especially in the provinces of Samangan and Badghis), and the United States, specifically in California. The tree produces seeds that are widely consumed as food.

Hopevale Pistachios is a small family owned farm run by Mark and Michelle Liddle. Located at Boeill Creek, between Mildura and Dareton in the North West of NSW on the alluvial flats of the mighty Murray River.

The property is subjected to long hot summers and cold winters with severe frosts common in late winter and early spring.  So when looking at options for redeveloping the property we came across pistachios as an option almost by chance when a friend suggested they may be the way to go.  We did our research then went and looked at an existing orchard which looked amazing with its towering giant male trees and by comparison petite heart shaped females, walking through the cool shade of the trees our fate was sealed.

Pistachio Nuts, originally from Iran and Afghanistan, are well suited to the climate of North Western NSW, and under the right conditions, will live and produce for in excess of 100 years. Pistachio Trees thrive in extreme weather conditions With frosty nights to help fruit set and long hot summers to ripen the nuts, this area of Australia on the edge of the big desert has a very similar climate to the origins of the pistachio nut in Afghanistan.

Planting pistachios is a labour of love as it is extremely work intensive with all of the family including our daughters and even the grandchildren joining in to prepare for, plant and tend to the trees.  If all goes well it takes around 7 years for the trees to produce their first harvest and they reach full production at around 20 years so you have to be prepared for the delayed gratification.  

In the first season which was an extremely hot year in which temperatures were regularly well in excess of 40 degrees celsius, Mark lost over 16Kg due to the work involved in looking after the 4000 plus trees.  We spent so much time in the orchard with them our agronomist joked that we must have names for them all.  It has been challenging but the efforts have been worth it.  It is hard to describe how much we enjoy tending our trees and seeing the fruits of our labour.