The weather in this area is ideal for this spectacular fruit—cool winters allow the trees to “hibernate” for the upcoming season. Late spring/early summer provides warm days for the growing season and the relatively cool evenings give the trees time to recuperate each night. It’s a nearly perfect growing environment.
Also, the soil in these local farmlands is superb for growing Blenheim apricots. The result is an apricot with the perfect combination of sweet, tart, titillating flavor that is so spectacular it’s unmatched from any other place on earth!
The Blenheim variety is rare indeed. Not only have most local farmlands, where they once grew, given way to homes, businesses, streets and highways over the past 50 years or so, but the Blenheim apricot is such a delicate, temperamental variety that these days most farmers do not want to bother with them.
At Sigona’s we actually sell tree-ripe fresh Blenheim apricots for 2-3 weeks during late spring/early June. These excellent-tasting beauties bruise so easily that the few farmers who presently grow them aren’t usually willing to pick them for retailers. Instead, Blenheim apricots have always been grown mainly for drying and even then, compared to other tree fruits, it’s a major challenge to cultivate, pick and process these delicate treats.
Here at Sigona’s Farmers Market I continue to have the privilege and good fortune of doing business with Mark Gibson of Gibson Farms in nearby Hollister, California (San Benito County). Mark and I have been friends for over 30 years and during that time I have bought nearly all of our dried apricots from him. He grows and processes his dried apricots right there on his ranch with meticulous care and pride. His beautiful apricots are picked at the peak of ripeness, hand cut in half and sun dried, all of which helps retain the bright orange natural color, vitamin and minerals.
Mark Gibson is one of the few remaining growers of the exquisite Blenheim apricot..
Our Blenheim dried apricots are great for eating out of hand, for apricot pie, in trail mixes and in cereal. They offer many nutritional benefits as well. For example:
- Vitamin A