- Location: online only
- Website: apricotking.com
I first sampled these apricots from ApricotKing Orchards a few weeks ago at the house of two of my friends in Boston. These friends are dedicated Northeast locavores, but said they make one of their only exceptions for dried apricots from this particular orchard in California. They buy them by the pound and keep the bags squirreled away for fear of over-consumption.
After trying a few, I can see why! These dried apricots have just the right balance of softness and chew, while the flavor is an intense burst of apricot goodness. My regular apricots back home taste watered down and too-sweet in comparison.
I also tried a few of the orchard's unsulphured dried apricots, which I'd never come across before. ApricotKing Orchard dries these in the sun and that's it - no preservatives used. These were darker and more leathery than the other apricots, but I found nibbling my way through a handful to be immensely satisfying. The flavor was also amazingly complex - almost like dessert wine in dried fruit form.
ApricotKing Orchard is owned and operated by the Gonzales family in Hollister, California. They grow Blenheim apricots, which are listed on Slow Food's Ark of Taste, and do all the processing on their farm. Their apricots are grown organically, though not all their products have actually been certified organic, and are minimally processed with no sugar added.
Aside from the dried apricots and the unsulphured apricots, the orchard also offers slab apricots (similar to fruit leather), dried apricot pits, and "Slip Pit" apricots, in which the ripe apricots are dried whole and then pit is gently slipped out after a few days. Sounds incredible.
The prices also startlingly reasonable. You can buy two pounds of their KotKing Special for just $12.50, which is really a bargain for such high quality fruit. You can also save money on all the items by buying in greater bulk, so think about getting some apricot-loving friends together to split an order.
Related: How to Dry Fruit in the Oven
(Image: ApricotKing Orchards)