DINUBA, Calif. — The California apricots industry, rumored to be dying out just a few years ago, should continue its upward climb this season.

No longer are grower-shippers pulling apricots in favor of other commodities.

There was no encore of last year’s late frost; this year’s weather has been cooperative.

“The crop looks great,” said Sheri Mierau, vice president of sales and marketing for Fruit Patch Inc., Dinuba. “We expect to have a much larger crop than in 2009.”

Picking of the early varieties, earlicots and poppycots, was scheduled to begin the last week in April, she said, with tasty rich apriums to follow. The season will last through mid-June, Mierau said.

Also targeting the end of April for the first apricots was Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC, Traver, said Dave Parker, director of marketing.

“Our volume of apricots will double the 2009 deal, and we’ll have promotable supplies through June,” he said.

Not all grower-shippers were willing in early April to predict large volume increases.

“We’ll have a larger crop than last year, but remember the huge frost in 2009 put a large chunk of apricots on the ground,” said Sam Stewart, salesman for Wes Pak Sales Inc., Dinuba.

Wes Pak anticipated the apricot harvest would begin in late April or early May, he said. One concern is the bloom was somewhat sporadic, he said.

“That could change the length of the season,” Stewart said.

Early May was the picking target for Bakersfield-based Sun World International LLC, said Gene Coughlin, category manager for stone fruit.

The first of the company’s orchards to see picking crews will be in the Arvin area at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, he said.

“We’ll start with our honeycot brand, and there are four patented varieties under that brand,” Coughlin said.

The apricot season is the shortest of the California stone fruits. The Sun World apricot harvest will likely wrap up in mid-June, Coughlin said.

Trinity Fruit Sales Co., Fresno, plans to launch its stone fruit season with a new proprietary variety of apricot in late April, said John Hein, salesman.

“The variety is so new it does not yet have a name, but we’ll be packing about 30,000 cartons,” he said.

Other apricot varieties in the Trinity Fruit inventory will include earlicots, castlebrites and pattersons, Hein said, and the company also will be marketing apriums.

Apricots are just one commodity in the season opener program for Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg, said Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing.

Most of the season opener fruit will be produced on the company’s Kettleman Hills acreage, an area on the western side of the valley that offers slightly warmer spring temperatures.

Tasty rich apricots were scheduled to begin coming off of the trees April 22 with poppycots one day later and Apache apricots the following day, Spain said.

The company’s aprium harvest also was scheduled to begin in late April, starting with the golden sweet and tasty rich varieties followed by honey golds about May 2.

Harvesting of the first of Kingsburg Orchards’ proprietary varieties of apriums, the red velvet, was scheduled to begin May 6. There are now six velvet varieties, which are 75% apricots and 25% plums, Spain said.

“Every year it just gets a little bit better for us, and this stuff is spectacular,” he said.

The skin of the velvet apriums looks something like velvet and will be offered this year in red, black, crimson, blue, ruby and gold, Spain said.

The apricot star for Gerawan Farming, Sanger, is the company’s proprietary primacot, said George Papangellin, sales manager.

Picking of the primacot, one of several of the company’s proprietary stone fruit varieties, was scheduled to begin about May 10, he said.

The primacot is an unusually large bright red-orange apricot with a bright orange flesh, Papangellin said.

Fowler-based Simonian Fruit Co. was scheduled to begin shipping apricots “about the second week in May,” said Jeff Simonian, salesman.

The company’s apricots will be available until the end of June, he said, and will be mostly poppycots and earlicots.

Field crews at Sunwest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier, were reporting an above-normal crop in orchards at the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley but slightly lighter volumes in the central part of the valley, said Jesse Silva, salesman.

The apricot harvest at Sunwest was scheduled to begin in late April or early May, he said.

“We’ll have our bigger volumes from about May 15 to late June,” he said.

The varieties offered by Sunwest this season will be poppycots, trigems and pattersons, Silva said.