France imports 10,000 tons of pistachios each year, mostly from the United States and Spain. Some farmers in the Vaucluse department have decided to reintroduce this crop, which had been gone for nearly a century.
Fabien Fiorito, truffle producer in the Luberon, decided to diversify two years ago, and started growing pistachios on a 1.5 hectare plot, with the Kerman variety planted in the fall of 2020. “The advantage of the pistachio is that it blooms late, which protects it from the frost. The tree is native to semi-desert areas so it adapts very well to the Mediterranean climate and is not afraid of the heat.”
Several other farmers also embarked on the adventure. Nearly 100 hectares have already been planted since 2017 and the first pistachios should see the light in two years.
On an experimental plot, some researchers have planted about 15 different varieties where each plant is analyzed and monitored. “The goal is to know how the plants behave in Provence (when they bloom and when they should be harvested),” explains Nicolas Vaysse, technician and pistachio advisor for the Vaucluse Chamber of Agriculture.