Keenan Farms began in 1972 when the adventurous entrepreneur Charles Keenan purchased 100 acres of newly planted pistachio trees in Avenal, California. Knowing what we know today, no one would have questioned the wisdom of his decision but at the time, little was known about growing pistachios. In fact, until 1976 when the state produced its first commercial crop, pistachios were grown primarily only in the Middle East.
Pistachio trees generally take 6 to 7 years to begin producing which meant years of patient waiting. Growing pistachios was also an expensive endeavor. It was still unproven if this exotic nut crop native to the Middle East could even produce in California’s soil and climate…much less thrive. But Charles Keenan was truly a man of vision.
And then it happened. With their first crop in 1976 of just 500 pounds, Charles and son Robert decided to take another giant step into this new industry and invest in their own processing equipment as the nearest processing facility was more than 100 miles away. And so within the next decade, processing and marketing their production and that of other growers became an integral part of the Keenan family business.
Still in the same location, our processing plant has expanded along with the size and scope of the industry. State of the art equipment and facilities have been continually integrated into the plant while the original pistachio trees planted many years ago still flourish alongside ever increasing orchards.