General Information


Fresh, ripe, well-displayed California apricots are irresistible. And while their peak season is short, consumer demand is growing. The average size of the fresh crop is up to 1.5 million 24-pound packages, so you can make the most of those glorious weeks we know as the apricot season.

Over four hundred growers produce apricots from orchards covering 21,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley and northern California. About 95 percent of the apricots grown in the U.S. come from California. Many different varieties grow in California, each with special characteristics. The most prevalent varieties are the Pattersons, Blenheims, Tiltons, and Castlebrites. Growers continually experiment with new varieties that deliver sweet, juicy flavor and ship or process well.


Apricot Variety Avg. Maturity Date General Size Trend Profile/Flavor
Poppy 7-May Med/Large Solid Orange/Good Flavor
Earlicot 11-May Large Firm/High Color
Lorna 12-May Large Deep Orange/Juicy
Robada 17-May Medium Red Blush/High Sugar
Ambercot 25-May Medium Firm/Sweet
Jordanne 25-May Large High Color/Flavor
Castlebrite 28-May Medium Firm/Full Flavor
Katy 5-Jun Large Firm/Good Flavor
Helena 8-Jun Large Firm/Juicy
Tri Gem 11-Jun Large Firm/Good Flavor
Goldbar 15-Jun Medium Firm/Deep Red Blush
Patterson 15-Jun Medium Firm/Good Flavor
Tomcot 15-Jun Large Orange/Sweet
Blenheim 19-Jun Medium Intense Flavor
Tilton 25-Jun Large Firm/Tart Flavor

Other varieties shipped are: Derby, Modesto, Royal Blenheim, Tracy and Westley.

Apricots can be halved or sliced then frozen in syrup made from 2 cups sugar to 5 cups water; add 2 ounces ascorbic acid for each 2 1/2 cups syrup. Plunge the whole apricots into boiling water for about thirty seconds, and peel, pit and halve or slice.

Apricots can be made into wine and brandy.

They are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin A, especially when dried. Essential for healthy skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A is also needed for good sight; insufficient amounts can cause night blindness, impair sight and increase susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. Although it is one of the few vitamins which we can theoretically build up to toxic levels, this doesn't normally happen if it is taken naturally.

Apricots originally hailed from China. Cuttings of this golden fruit made their way across the Persian Empire to the Mediterranean where they flourished. The Spanish explorers get credit for introducing the apricot to the New World, and specifically to California, where they were planted in the gardens of Spanish missions. In 1792, in an area south of San Francisco, the first major production of apricots was recorded.

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California Apricots