Apricot tree varieties for Bay Area: Turkish types

homey_birdJuly 24, 2010

I ate dried Turkish apricots I found from Whole Foods and they were yummy. Since I was planning to get an apricot tree this fall, I thought I would find out if there are any apricot varieties that have turkish ancestors in them.

(It's likely that the ones from Turkey taste so good just because of the extreme heat that they get during their ripening season. In that case, I'd appreciate suggestions on sweetest varieties of apricots. I am not a great fan of sour-ish apricots you typically get).

I live in Bay area, on the peninsula. It's not very hot but we get decent figs and citrus around here.

Thanks in advance!

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

As a child on the farm we grew our own apricots and dried them ourselves. I learned to love the crisp apricot taste. Today unless I can find them at a farmers market, I do not buy dried apricots, because all that is offered is those imported from Turkey. When I drive through the town of Winters, which used to be the California Apricot capital, and see the Mariani Dried Fruit headquarters, now selling imported Turkish Apricots, I wonder what has happened. Al

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 9:18AM
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No offense meant to those who have fond memories of California apricots, but I definitely prefer turkish taste. It's a lot more intense and sweeter. I'd appreciate suggestions to a good variety of apricots that have a sweeter taste rather than sourish.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 11:32AM
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I did a google search on key words "sweet apricot varieties" and got some great hits. One link is below, but there were many more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Apricot Varieties

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Have you tried Blenheims? My subdivision here in Sunnyvale was previously an apricot orchard. Every home had two trees in front. In the late 70's Mariani used to have acres of drying apricots along side 280 at DeAnza Blvd. We have a working apricot orchard next to our community center growing Blenheims. The trees do well here.

The slab ones are extra sweet and chewy.


Here is a link that might be useful: Charlie Olson's Cots

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 2:43PM
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More than likely, your issue is not one of cultivar (variety) but rather one of the harvesting process.

It's almost impossible to find a truly sweet (ripe) apricot in our markets here. Mostly because ripe apricots don't ship well. Hence, we should not compare store-bought fruits (usually too tart for comfort) to what you can grow on your own tree.

Just about any cultivar that you can grow in your own garden will be sweet enough (or better) if allowed to ripen on the tree. And will match what you can get from Turkey.

With that said, the cultivars grown in Turkey are pretty close to what we grow in California with the exception of the fact that they do grow specific cultivars selected just for drying. Turkey is, after all, the leading producer of dried apricots in the world (estimated at 80% of the worldwide market). And with their labor costs, they can come in to the US at a more than competitive price; hence why many places that used to sell California apricots are now selling "Turkish" apricots.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 8:57PM
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Thanks, Gardenguru. My next question is, for those varieties that are grown for drying purpose, would fresh apricots lack the taste or flavor? Or would they be just smaller/less juicier while fresh?

Just curious!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Gardenguru nailed it. A truly ripe apricot melts in your mouth and drips down your chin. They bruise just putting them into a bucket while collecting them. We ate as many as we could, then cut the others in half to dry. My nephew calls them "ear prunes". The really ripe ones don't hold their shape but are wonderfully sweet when dried and you have to pull them apart to eat them. Those are the "slab" cots. Try those, you are in for a real treat.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Not to be a broken record, but yes, your apricot prejudice is against unripe/bad variety apricots, not California apricots. That said, I have several kinds and multi-grafted ones, and so far the best one of my many varieties is Robada and/or its parent Orangered, both of which are sold by Fowler's, who grow the most BEAUTIFUL bare root trees, and they do ship if you don't want to drive to Loomis next spring.


If you truly want Turkish, the only place I know that sells even close to them is Pars, and they sell Pakistan(??) varieties. I have never shopped there though, I only know their website. They might be closer to you. If you do go there, please report back here, so I'll know if I should ever make the drive to check out their trees. Obviously, I also have never tasted any of these fruits, so they might actually taste much worse than a Robada!!!


Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:28PM
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renataka(Bay Area CA)

Babka must live close to me. We're not on the peninsula, but in Cupertino. Sunnyvale's last heritage apricot orchard is just up the road from us, and it's Blenheim all the way.
You might have just missed it, but you might poke around the web or call around to the community center and ask if they are still selling Blenheims from their orchard. If they are, go IMMEDIATELY as the season's just about over. And buy the soft/bruised ones in the box. Not the perfect, firm ones - those aren't ripe. Apricots are like figs - they can't be picked when properly ripe or they'd never survive the trip to the store.
Blenheims are king around here but I believe they need the south bay heat. Depending on how far up the peninsula you are, you might have to ask your local nursery for a recommendation. Yamagami's in Cupertino or Roger Reynold's nursery in Menlo Park would certainly know.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:59AM
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I might add if lack of heat is a problem, you might want to try Tomcot, I like it a lot and many East-Coasters on this list report it as very tasty, and my assumption is that they grow theirs in temperatures under 90-100 degrees. So that might work for you. Dave Wilson has Tomcot in its stable, so any nursery around you will either have it or can order it bare root for you this fall.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:42AM
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