Jean Pierre Jaubert, Almond Producer

Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, L'OCCITANE Partnership, Respecting Biodiversity, Supporting Producers Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, L'OCCITANE Partnership, Respecting Biodiversity, Supporting Producers

The Man Who Brought Back the Valensole Plateau Almonds

Born and raised among the almond trees of the Valensole plateau in Provence, Jean-Pierre Jaubert has seen his local landscape change dramatically. During his lifetime, many of the decades-old almond trees that once fragranced the hills with their heady white blossom were replaced by fields of blue lavandin.

Inspired by his childhood memories of picking spring blooms, and with a dash of entrepreneurial spirit, Jean-Pierre decided to bring almond trees back to the plateau. In doing so, he revived a local tradition and provided L'Occitane with an exceptional organic ingredient: lush Provence almond oil for our rich products.

This is Jean-Pierre's story.

“Almonds have a special place in my heart because my parents and grandparents grew them before me.​ It brings me great joy to follow in their footsteps and continue​ this family tradition, which I hope to pass on one day too.”
Jean-Pierre Jaubert


Almonds – A Family Tradition

For three centuries, Jean-Pierre Jaubert's family has lived on the Valensole plateau in the shade of the snow-covered Alps. Although his grandparents were originally sheep farmers, Jaubert explains that "growing almonds and herding sheep were complementary." The animals would often rest beneath the blossom-heavy boughs of the trees to seek shade from the southern sun. 

Harvest was Jean-Pierre's favourite time of year. "It was a special time," he explains. "A time for sharing and enjoying each other's company." Everyone gathered together to work while snacking on oreillettes (sweet Provençal doughnuts). The women would remove the green hulls, which would later be fed to the sheep, and the men would pull the nuts from their shells.

Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, Family Tradition, Natural, Organic Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, Family Tradition, Natural, Organic
Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, Reviving Tradition, Respecting Biodiversity, Supporting Producers Jean Pierre Jaubert, Our Inspirational Almond Producer, Valensole Plateau Almonds, Reviving Tradition, Respecting Biodiversity, Supporting Producers

Bringing Almonds Back to the Valensole Plateau

It was only until 1979 when Jean-Pierre took over the farm, that the almond trees were brought back. Reminiscing of the cloudy white almond blooms that once stood, Jean-Pierre decided to grow a small plot of almond trees to bring back a tradition. His parents already knew a lot about growing almonds and were there to help out during his first harvest. 

But reviving the old ways didn't come easy. "It was hard at the beginning and we had to test different frost-resistant species in order to find the same balance the plateau had all those years ago," Jean-Pierre explains. 

Expanding the Farm with L'Occitane

Jean-Pierre met Olivier Baussan, the founder of L'Occitane, in 2000, and the two discussed Baussan's plan to use almond oil from Provence in his cosmetics. After agreeing to partner with the company, Jean-Pierre and his brother André planted another 5,000 almond trees. L'Occitane helped the siblings to research and build their business and, five years later, another 5,000 trees took root in the dry clay soil. 

Another 5,000 were planted in 2010 and now the nuts are an integral part of the farm.Thanks to his commitment to cultivating these trees, we’ve been able to harness the oil’s softening and nourishing qualities into a line of almond-infused products, from soaps to hand creams.

Jean Pierre Jaubert, Olivier Baussan, L'OCCITANE, Partnership, Expanding, Planting Trees, Giving Back Jean Pierre Jaubert, Olivier Baussan, L'OCCITANE, Partnership, Expanding, Planting Trees, Giving Back
Respecting Biodiversity, Blossoming Almond Tree, Butterfly, Spring, Nature, Sustainable, Organic Respecting Biodiversity, Blossoming Almond Tree, Butterfly, Spring, Nature, Sustainable, Organic

Caring for the Land, Caring for the Environment

Looking after the local biodiversity is very important to Jean-Pierre. He keeps his lands scattered with weeds, explaining that it encourages insects to live on the ground. “We are happy to see all these insects, which are part of the life cycle,” he explains. He supports sustainable agricultural practices by only using organic and biological fertilisers. This ensures that no chemical, or potentially harmful, compounds are left behind, thus protecting the soil quality and beneficial insects.

By caring for this unique land, Jean-Pierre and his family are able to cultivate 80 hectares of almond trees with various types of almonds. “I see so many areas where almond trees cannot grow. Our trees are blooming, in both senses of the word, thanks to the dry soil of our 700-metre high plateau,” he says. 

Growing with the Rhythm of Nature

In spring, the plateau is blanketed by the pillowy white flowers. "The almond tree begins to bloom at the end of winter," says Jean-Pierre. "It heralds the arrival of spring with its beautiful, very fragrant blossoms." To encourage pollination, Jean-Pierre’s son-in-law installed 300 beehives in the trees, explaining that, “bees take care of the lavandin pollination in the summer and almond trees in the spring.”

Perched 700 metres above sea level, the plateau is an ideal environment for producing almond oil. Even the powerful mistral wind is beneficial. It creates natural ventilation that helps the almonds to dry while they're still on the tree.

Protecting Bees, Beehives, Nature, Biodiversity, Balance Protecting Bees, Beehives, Nature, Biodiversity, Balance
Next Generation, Continuing Tradition, Local Sourcing, Organic, Natural, Sustainable, Protecting Nature, Respecting Biodiversity Next Generation, Continuing Tradition, Local Sourcing, Organic, Natural, Sustainable, Protecting Nature, Respecting Biodiversity

The Next Generation of Provence Almonds

Almonds have always played a role in Jean-Pierre's life. He reminisces that as a child he loved to ride his bike and pick the first flowers to give them to his mother as a present. Happily, the next generation is already getting involved too – his daughter, Pauline, owns a small shop nearby and sells her father's produce. 

Jean-Pierre is rightfully proud of his role in producing almond oil. Not only does he create fine organic ingredients, he has also brought an old form of plant life back to the Valensole plateau. "It is a real pleasure every day to see these trees thrive and to enjoy this unique land with its outstanding location," he says.

Almond Best-Sellers

L'OCCITANE x BBC StoryWorks

L'OCCITANE are proud to be featuring on BBC StoryWorks, showing how the cosmetic industry is helping biodiversity. The L’OCCITANE episode will showcase how we have helped to bring the almond tree back to the South of France as well as our responsible sourcing of Almonds, with producers Jean-Pierre Jaubert and France Amande.

The almond tree was all but eradicated from the Provence landscape due to the popularity of olives and Lavender in the region. L’OCCITANE has worked with its producers to replenish the almond trees in the region and today they thrive. The almond tree is at the heart of L’OCCITANE and provides a true and inspirational story of how we can help nature when all seems lost!