This past weekend was hot, I mean 100 degree hot. In that type of heat, you cover every inch of skin and wear a ridiculously large hat that covers your face, neck and shoulders. But even with all of that protective clothing, I was burning up and there was no amount of water that could keep me hydrated. I stumbled out of the field around 3pm, almost the hottest part of the day. Marisa was behind the farm stand selling cold and tasty popsicles to sweaty, hot and uncomfortable tourists stuck in the central valley heat. There sitting behind our tables topped with beets, chard, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, jams and nuts was a box of “seconds”. Seconds are fruit that we do not sell because of bruises or small nibble marks from birds. My personal opinion is that seconds are the best because you know they are ripe.
I picked up a baseball size apricot, it smelled like every apricot dream you ever had and it was just soft enough that I knew its juice would drip down my chin. I took a bite and just as I thought, the sweet juice rolled down my chin streaking my shirt. I normally am not one to brag, but our Robada apricots are some of the most delicious stone fruit I have ever eaten. I may even go so far to say, they are some of the best fruit I have had since I moved to California. When you get one just right, they are intoxicatingly sweet and aromatic, and their skins are just sour enough that they offer a depth and complexity not experienced in peaches or nectarines.
I did not grow up with apricots and until this summer, I did not understand why people went crazy for fresh apricots. To start with, the trees themselves are fussy. They don’t like to be pruned in the winter like most stone fruit, they send tall flimsy branches up to the sky to create sails that crack and break in the wind, and they seem to be susceptible to everything. Even fresh apricots had been disappointing, every one I had eaten was too sour, too mealy or too bland. But I can now say that I am a lover of apricots and I get what the fuss is all about. When you can find that perfectly ripe apricot with just the right texture, smell, and flavor, your tastebuds are in for a ride.
* Note. Our peaches, apricots and nectarines are in transition to certified organic.