Avanti Nut Company, Inc. is a family owned and operated walnut processor. Avanti was originally Andy Solari’s idea to become fully integrated in his walnut operation. However, at the time Andy was not capable of custom farming, picking, hulling, drying, shelling, and marketing without help. Andy approached Pete in 2003 presenting his idea of a walnut shelling operation. In 2004 Pete agreed to operate and manage a walnut processing plant and Avanti Nut Company, Inc. was formed. The first building was erected in 2004 with the first walnut crop being marketed in 2005. The first year of sales consisted of only Vernon and Andy’s walnuts. After the first year, Avanti expanded their grower base and have consistently had the same dedicated growers for the past 9+ years. Every year the company has continued to expand in size and number of pounds processed bringing the highest returns to their growers.
Emily & Pete Katzakian
Chief Financial Officer | President
Pete Katzakian is the President of Avanti Nut Company, Inc. He received his B.S. in Plant Science from Fresno State and later became a certified Financial Planner. After being a full time farmer for 10 years the opportunity of starting Avanti Nut was presented to him by Andy Solari. Pete marketed and sold the first product in 2005. Emily Katzakian is the Chief Financial Officer of Avanti Nut Company, Inc. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Business from Fresno State and her MBA from the University of the Pacific with a focus in Finance. Emily worked for an Ag Lender for six years prior to accepting a full time position with J&A Solari, Inc. & Avanti Nut Company, Inc. Emily is active in her community by being the Art Docent and organizing fundraisers for a local charter school, University Public School. Emily & Pete have coached their kids sports teams (soccer, softball, & baseball) for the last 5+ years. Emily & Pete are married and they have two children; Helene & Alex.
Andy Solari is the President of J&A Solari, Inc. and is one of the founders of Avanti Nut Company, Inc. He is a second generation farmer with 48 years of experience growing walnuts, asparagus, tomatoes, cherries, wheat, kidney beans, sugar beets, corn, plums, peaches, nectarines, and bell peppers. Andy operates a vertically integrated walnut operation in which he custom farms, picks, hulls, and dries walnuts. In 2004 Andy presented Pete with the opportunity to go one step further and shell walnuts. Andy is married to Kathy and they have six children; Sarah, Heather, Emily, Andy, Nick, & Nina.
V.P. Quality Control & Food Safety
Nina Solari is the Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Control of Avanti Nut Company, Inc. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Business from Fresno State and her MBA from the University of the Pacific with a focus in Human Resources. Nina worked for an Ag Lender for two years prior to accepting a full time position with Avanti Nut Company, Inc. Nina is active in her community by coaching her nieces & nephew’s sports teams (soccer) for the last 5+ years. Nina is married to Nick Gaines.
Vernon Bava is the President of John Bava & Son, Inc. and is one of the founders of Avanti Nut Company, Inc. He received his B.S. in Pomology from U.C. Davis. He is a third generation farmer with 54 years of experience growing cherries, walnuts, sugar beets, kidney beans, tomatoes, and onions. Vernon is married to JoAnne and they have two children; Joe & Pete.