Above: PistachioLand's giant nut is a tribute to owner Timothy McGinn's father, Thomas. Photograph by Megan Dailey.
ON THE NORTH END OF ALAMOGORDO, McGinn’s PistachioLand draws a crowd with its nut orchard, country store, winery, ice cream parlor—and a whopper of a roadside attraction. The 30-foot-tall tan-and-green pistachio was built in memory of owner Timothy McGinn’s father, Thomas McGinn, who died in 2007. To create it, McGinn gave local craftsman Ernest Martinez a fresh pistachio and asked him to scale a version to the size of a windmill. It took roughly four months to build a steel framework with iron pipes welded on, shape the outside with wire netting, then coat it with cement and gallon upon gallon of paint. During construction, complaints rolled in. Too big. Too close to the highway. But one day, even as scaffolding blocked half of the structure’s big body, a man stopped to snap the first picture. Once the scaffolding disappeared, another visitor asked everyone to clear away so he could take his shot. Today, people visit Alamogordo from all over the world, in part to buy bags of chile-dusted or chocolate-covered pistachios but also to claim a selfie, smiling below the world’s largest pistachio.
PistachioLand, 7320 US 54/70, is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The McGinns also sell products online.