Flavor Delight Aprium - surprisingly healthy

carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)March 23, 2009

With all the talk about erratic fruit set in Pluots, the contrast with the reliable fruit set of Flavor Delight Aprium struck me this year. We got poor fruit set this year on Dapple Dandy and Flavor Queen Pluots despite good weather during bloom. Cold, rainy weather followed.

But, as always (so far) Flavor Delight set fruit way too heavily for me. I think it must have quite a bit of resistance to blossom blight. I sincerely doubt that it needs cross-pollination, which is a good thing, since not many apricots bloom so early.

We slacked off the copper spraying this winter, and Royal Rosa, which blooms with Flavor Delight (in another yard) has dropped 3/4 of its fruit. Much of it is damaged. There was also damage to later-blooming varieties from later rains. We expect damage on Blenheim from rain. There was also a little damage to Harcot and more damage to Golden Amber and Royalty. And we got rain just as Canadian White Blenheim and Chinese are finishing bloom. Canadian White Blenheim seems to be "on the edge" for us as far as chill requirement goes - most years it has not bloomed normally. This year it did.

Though Flavor Delight might not reach the very summit of apricot quality, it certainly has tasty fruit here in the Southern San Joaquin valley, with our high summer heat. I think it's almost as good as Harcot, my favorite of the varieties I have. Its fruiting season overlaps Harcot, unfortunately. Harcot has also been reliable for me, though it usually sets less fruit than Flavor Delight.

I guess this is a recommendation for Flavor Delight as a lower-maintenance "apricot" for growers who may slack off on winter spraying sometimes. At least in climates similar to ours, where its very early bloom does not pose a threat of loss due to frost most years. A pretty safe bet for a "gift tree" to novice growers in our region.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Carolyn: Flavor Delight has always set big crops for me as well both when I was in CA and now in my greenhouse. But I've never eaten one that I thought was really good. For me Tasty Rich is much earlier maturity and better quality. Tomcot is better eating and about same or earlier. I've got my first crop of Cot-N-Candy growing now. All I can tell at this point is the fruit is going to be very small. Also have the late cots Autumn Glo and Earli Autumn started. They should fruit along with Canadian White Blenheim next year. Don't have Harcot but will next year.

How do you find the eating quality of Canadian W Blen? Any other eating quality reports?

Thanks for the update!!!

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 4:44PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Harcot starts ripening for me just after Flavor Delight starts ripening. It is NOT a late bloomer here - starts before Blenheim. Harcot is a firmer fruit with more flavor and a different perfume than FD.

But Flavor Delight has produced better fruit for me than three other other relatively early apricot varieties - Royal Rosa, FloraGold and Royalty. I think Flavor Delight would be a variety landscapers could plant for "edible landscaping" - for people who aren't necessarily "Fruit Nuts" and who may not pay attention to winter care, etc. It is attractive in bloom, too.

I would love it if Dave Wilson released Tasty Rich for the retail market. Maybe even Honey Rich, for those people who are into "sweet-tart" fruit. I know people who could go for a firm fruit like that described in the Dave Wilson listings. I've never tasted it, though.

I don't know if Autumn Glo and Earli Autumn would be at risk for pitburn here. Don't they ripen in August? Last I looked, their chill requirements also looked a little high for me. I've thought about Autumn Royal, too.

Tomcot, Goldensweet and Robada are on my future apricot list. If anybody had some budwood of Sugar Sweet, an old Valley variety, I might try it, too.

Of the apricots I have grown, FloraGold (tree now dead) is only decent when dead ripe - bland rather than acid before that. I am not impressed by Royal Rosa, but it's not in the best location. Royalty is big and mushy, not fully freestone, with a tart layer under the skin - OK for people who want to grow big apricots on a windy hill - its claim to fame is wind-resistant spurs. Fine for jam. It reminds my husband of his Grandfather's apricots, so it stays.

Golden Amber is about the size of Blenheim, and decent for a late (not fall) apricot in our hot climate. Blenheim and Moorpark are both badly affected by pitburn here. You have to watch for brown rot with Blenheim, too. Moorpark is marginal for winter chill here. Once in a while you get a really good bite of fruit from the shady side of the apricot. Stark Sweetheart needs too much chill for our climate.

I've only tasted a couple of the Canadian White Blenheims (someone else got a few fruits). Most years, even when it blooms, I have to plan ahead for pollen from another variety. I recently planted Chinese, which is blooming with CWB this year. My Golden Amber is in a different location, but most years has a few blooms out with CWB - when CWB blooms.

The flavor of CWB made me think of the difference between a white peach and a yellow peach. I think yellow peaches taste "peachier" and white peaches more subtle. Same with yellow apricots vs. CWB. Yellow (orange) apricots taste more "apricot-y". But I would hate to judge just from the couple of fruits I've tasted. CWB had a sweet and subtle flavor. The fruit was sort of a pale, creamy yellow.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 8:22PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

If I remember correctly, Flavor Delight tastes better a few hours after picking than right off the tree - unlike Harcot, which tastes very nice right off the tree. FD fruit that falls because it is ripe is also good,

For growers further inland or north: If I lived where there was enough winter chill, I'd probably plant Orangered (Robada's parent) with Canadian White Blenheim. Both need cross-pollination. Orangered seems to be very popular in Europe. Listed at 1200 hours chill requirement. Don't know if Orangered is a sweet pit variety, but the patent says Robada is. So is CWB. Also Chinese and Montrose.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 8:59PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I grow Honey Rich. It is my second to ripen between Tasty Rich and Tomcot. It has never set many fruit. They are fairly large and blocky. The quality hasn't been very good, just good enough to keep one limb. Mine are soft and have only fair flavor. They don't hang on the tree very well. Not firm and sweet tart if that's what you've heard. But it might well be different in your climate than in my greenhouse.

Autumn Glo and Earli Autumn are going to ripen in the dead head of summer where you are. For my greenhouse it will be July. They must have some heat resistance but only time will tell. I'm just hoping they add a little variety to that time frame. It is when I have the most fruit of any time of year. That's one reason I really appreciate Tasty Rich, great quality for such an early fruit.

The late fruit I'm looking forward to this year is Flavor Finale pluot. This will be my first crop and it will be a big one. I have it on about four different trees, one in a pot. If it's better than Flavor Treat pluot I'll be overjoyed. Flavor Treat is my latest tree fruit, the largest pluot, and one of the very best. Never have enough to last the 6-8 wks it is in prime condition. Finale set a much better crop than Treat ever has. I expect Finale to be earlier. Would like one later but Flavor Fall was a total bust for me.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:07PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Sounds like Tasty Rich is a better candidate for home gardens than Honey Rich. Flavor Treat and Flavor Finale sound great. Glad for the evaluation of Flavor Fall.

A specialty commercial firm north of here which does dried apricots grows a yellow Japanese plum variety called "October Sun" for drying. Sounds nice. Would be interesting to know if it's good fresh.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:38PM
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