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  5. Nature: the almond of the country of Valensole resumes root

Nature: the almond of the country of Valensole resumes root

The return to the sources of the Almond of Provence

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Nature: the almond of the country of Valensole resumes root
The success of the almond tree. Rather than the Californian, the nougatiers prefer the Provencal almond.
The nougatiers Pierre and Philippe Sylvain of Saint-Didier decided to replant 35 ha to see more almond trees. Backed by the world price, the price of amandon (almond kernel) is increasing: "In a few years, Pierre Sylvain, nougatier in Saint Didier, prices have tripled. proposed between 8 and 9 € / kg to professionals "

One reason for this inflation is related to the increase in demand. In five years, the volume of almonds incorporated, especially in chocolate bars, grew by 12%. The US, the world's largest producer of nearly one million tons, is benefiting from this improvement: "California is speculating on the almond," deplores Pierre Sylvain, "it dries up the market by selling small quantities and then opens the valves when prices are higher prices and which make reference to the world market. "

But France can not do without almonds from abroad. "French production covers 1% of consumption and the Provence region less than 0.3%". Amandons production is currently around 150 tonnes in the region, but it is difficult to predict an exact figure due to the dispersion of producers.

However, the almond had its golden age: between 1880 and 1930, Provence was a big region of production and the demand was boosted by the creation of the calisson. "In the department, production was concentrated in the Beaucet and Vénasque, Saint-Didier and Pernes areas, in poor lands suitable for almond trees, but it was renowned for its small ratio and was abandoned by farmers . "

They replant to ensure their production
To ensure the supply of the company, Pierre Sylvain and his brother Philippe planted an almond orchard of 35 ha, plan to install 10 more hectares "to ensure their self-sufficiency" Pierre Sylvain is thinking of a revival of almond in the department or even the region: "There are many issues to revive the almond tree." Almond of Provence has a certain notoriety, linked to the creation of new French varieties perfectly adapted to the terroir. It is necessary to act collectively and put around the table, producers, processors to define a common strategy to structure the sector. "

"From then on, we will be able to seek assistance from technical centers in the region to help us solve some of the problems, without which we will not succeed. 'improvises not and only technical mastery can ensure its profitability'
Today, Terraroma produces some 40 tons of almonds per year. It is the leading independent producer in France.

On the Plateau of Valensole, the little blue flower has competition. A beautiful white flower, arriving sooner and leaving later than its congener, tries to make its place in the sun. Or better to take back a place that was his earlier. With the development of lavender, we tend to forget that this remote area of ​​Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is also renowned for ... its almond trees.

A vein that the Jaubert family now exploits to perfection, since Pauline and Andréa lead Terraroma, the leading independent producer of almonds in France. For fifty years, no one believed in these trees, which limited the plots and shaded the crops. It was not until the early 2000s and the visionary vision of Jean-Pierre (the dad) and André (the uncle) Jaubert that the almond found its place on the Valensole plateau. "We planted 15,000 trees in total," explains Jean-Pierre, "that's 75 hectares of land, at the time we were taken for madmen.

Today, Terraroma no longer makes anyone laugh, from its 40 tons of almonds produced per year. It is the only one to have an almond cake in the area. And in spite of the mechanization of the harvesting process, she wanted to keep what made her trademark: authenticity and quality. "We have to face competition from Spain or California," Jean-Pierre Jaubert said. "But our almonds are better." This coincides with a demand far exceeding supply, both for the fruit and for its use. "We are working very hard with Occitane in Provence, which produces sweet almond oil with our raw materials," says Andréa Jaubert, "the crops have been good this season. years to come. " Proof of the good health of the almond of Provence.

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