Dried Tangy Apricots
California Dried Apricots are grown and dried in California, as opposed to their more common counterpart, Turkish Apricots, which are imported from Turkey and grown and dried in various parts of the Middle East. Although we offer many varieties and styles of California Apricots, all from neighboring farms, we grow and dry what we refer to as the Tangy Apricot. Our Tangy Apricots are made only from the Patterson variety grown on an estate orchard that has been in the family since 1943. Although the Patterson variety is the main variety grown in California, our painstaking cultural practices make ours a cut above the rest for many reasons. First,the typical Patterson Apricot grower wants to get as much fruit on the trees as possible and who could fault him/her for that? More to sell, right? That is true, however we go for growing the largest, sweetest and most flavorful apricot possible. To do that, we start by hand pruning each tree in winter to get abundant and uniform sunlight through the tree and onto the fruit. Then in spring the labor intensive and very expensive task of thinning begins. Once the tender young fruitlets turn from flowers to fruits we thin off at least half and in some years up to 90% of the fruit allowing the remaining fruit to grow larger, sweeter and more flavorful. Then about 90 days later the golden gems are ready for harvest. The typical Patterson Apricot orchard is harvested with a machine that grabs the tree and shakes all the fruit off onto a canopy that collects them onto a conveyor which dumps them into a bin. Our estate grown Patterson Apricots are hand selected from the tree by harvest specialists, many of whom have been with our family farm for generations. Each tree is harvested several times by only selecting fruit that is perfectly mature and ready for drying each round through the orchard. Earlier I mentioned that we are trying to get our apricots as sweet as possible, but we call them Tangy. What's up with that? Having the best flavored apricot is not good enough for us here at Bella Viva, the right sugar acid balance is critical for the ultimate apricot experience. The Patterson variety has a slightly tart or acidic skin. We grow our apricots on a special plum rootstock called Myrobalan 29c. This rootstock accentuates the acid, giving the apricot that just right tang when you bite into it causing an uncontrollable craving for more. I love our Patterson Apricots and could write a lot more about them but better stop now before I give any trade secrets away.