Apricots from the farm

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At this time of year, The FruitGuys truck turns twice a week down a dusty driveway off a bumpy two-lane road in Patterson, California to load up on freshly-picked apricots. The workers on the farm wear wide sun hats and white cotton gloves as they balance on wooden ladders, gently harvesting the orange-golden fruit from the trees. They carefully put the delicate apricots into wooden fruit lugs for later packing or they field pack them right off the trees into cardboard boxes. The harvest season for apricots is short – June and July at most, and on this farm the owner is in the field from 6am until 7pm every day, checking the crop and directing the transfer of the fruit lugs to the field packing house where workers inspect the fruit and sort it by size and appearance. In the United States, 94 percent of all Apricots come from California. Of these, only 24 percent are grown for fresh use. The remaining fruit goes to canning, drying or other uses. We are lucky that the mild Mediterranean-like climate is so conducive to growing such a wonderful and delicate fruit in the local area.
by Chris Mittelstaedt, chris@fruitguys.com
Patterson, Golden Sweet and the elusive Angelcot
This week we have three types of Apricots for you to sample and one of them is such a unique delicacy that there are only two acres of land that produce this fruit in the entire world. Are you ready?
Patterson: The Patterson apricot is the namesake of Patterson, California. It’s the biggest of the three apricots that we are featuring this week. It has a sweet taste that mingles with a tartness coming from the skin. The sugar tastes clean and has a slightly high-pitched flavor to it on the tongue.
Golden Sweet: The Golden Sweet apricot is the smallest of the three apricots we have. It is full of sugar and leaves you with a comforted and fulfilled feeling. It has a velvety and rich finish that makes me wonder if apricot mousse can be grown on trees.
Angelcot: You may have heard of the Angelcot in last year’s The New Yorker article that featured a fruit-detective who was always on the look out for unique fruits. He mentioned an elusive white apricot grown in California. Well, we have found it. A family farm in Brentwood has hybridized a Moroccan and Iranian apricot that they call the Angelcot. There are only two acres of this special fruit in the world. It has a very pale yellow skin color with a slightly speckled and nearly peach like blush at the top. The Fruit inside is so juicy and refreshing that I can not tell if I am eating fruit or some impossible combination of warm-apricot-sorbet. It has the juiciness and smooth texture of a perfectly ripened peach with an indelible lightness that forces your tongue to question if taste buds are real or just part of the Matrix. Enjoy this rare delicacy. It will only last one week.

 

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