(La Luz NM)
North of Alamogordo, I stopped at the Eagle Ranch Pistachio Groves for a tour. Heart of the Desert is the largest and oldest one in New Mexico. They have 85 acres with 12,000 trees, and also a vineyard of 24,000 vines with 7 grape varieties. Their products of nuts, cookies, candy, popcorn, wines and gift baskets, are shipped all over the world. All items are prepared on the farm, except for the wine which is done at a local winery using the farm’s own grapes.
An explanation of the growing, harvesting, and each of the processing steps was very thorough. I got to see multiple sorting stages, roasting, packaging, shipping, and their on-line ordering system. Having it all done on site insures their high standard of quality. It was interesting to see how they did it all from the crop to the customer.
After the tour, they offered free samples of nuts, candy, and wine tasting at their gift shop. They had a large variety of pistachio products available in several flavors and sizes. I had some of the delicious candies, and bought a large cookie to go. Yummy!
I continued northward to Carrizozo where I camped for a few days at the Valley of Fires NRA. It’s a very nice BLM campground, about four miles west of town, next to an extensive lava flow.
Camp: Valley of Fires NRA-BLM drycamp
Scene: Ranch, buildings, equipment, orchard