STOCKTON, Calif. — With peaches, plums and nectarines approaching 60 million cartons in some recent years — and cherry acreage doubling in the last 20 years — apricots were threatened with becoming California’s endangered stone fruit species.
Not any longer, but the first of the apricots may be a bit tardy this season. Weather permitting, the month of May should provide ample opportunity for apricot promotions, grower-shippers said.
Stockton-based Grower Direct Marketing LLC will once again be featuring its series of the proprietary monster cot varieties, said Mike Isola, salesman.
“We’re looking at a good, healthy crop,” he said. “Everything that had to line up has.”
Picking of the first of the monster cots was scheduled to begin in late April or the first days of May, Isola said. The monster cot varieties are large with lots of 60s, 70s and 80s, he said.
Grower Direct’s monster cot volume this year will be larger than in 2010, Isola said, because younger orchards are maturing.
“We’ll have lots of promotable monster cots for the weeks of May 8, May 15 and May 22,” he said.
Del Mar Farms, another grower-shipper based in the northern San Joaquin Valley, is equally optimistic.
“Barring wind damage or rain, we’re going to have a real nice crop with very good quality,” said Brian Wright, salesman.
Westley-based Del Mar also will offer more apricots this year compared to 2010, he said, because more young trees are coming into production.
New for Del Mar this year is the aprium, coral cot, which Wright said is similar in harvest timing to trigems.
Giumarra Reedley, a division of Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. Inc., Los Angeles, will launch the season with several varieties: among them, he said, will be tasty rich, poppycots, helenas, lornas, castlebrites, robadas and pattersons.
“We’ll have apricots through the end of July,” Thiesen said.
Two central California grower-shippers, Brandt Farms Inc., Reedley, and Fresno-based Crown Jewels Marketing LLC, reported they would be marketing limited supplies of apricots this season.