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Pistachios are a staple of the vaunted French aperitif, but the nuts come from thousands of kilometers away -- a situation a handful of farmers in the southern Provence region hope to change.DESSERT DEMANDSOnly around 10 hectares of pistachios are currently planted in France, a figure Joseph's association hopes will double by next year.They have already lined up one major buyer: Olivier Baussan, founder of the L'Occitane en Provence chain of cosmetics and beauty products and owner of the Confiserie du Roy Rene confectionary business.His Confiserie factory in the city of Aix-en-Provence goes through 5 tons of American and Spanish pistachios every year to turn out 50 million marzipan-inspired calisson sweets, a local speciality.Baussan has pledged to buy the first French pistachio crops. Renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme would also be interested in sourcing French pistachios, according to a spokesperson, who said he currently worked with Iranian nuts.TOUGH TREESPistachio trees could prove a welcome crop complement for Provence farmers, who have seen longer and drier summers in recent years, which most scientists attribute to climate change.
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