From apricot tree to our regions’ apricots

It is the careful attention and unmatched know-how of French growers that bring our regions’ apricots to your local fruit stand. Indeed, apricot-growing is a highly technical craft and a true labour of love. Apricots are available from mid-May through mid-September, with a succession of nearly 40 varieties gracing the fruit displays.

The fruit of endless summer!
Apricots are the first summer fruit to reach the market and will regale your taste buds for almost four months: they are not merely a holiday treat! This extended season is due to the production of sequentially ripening varieties in complementary growing regions.

Early varieties  Mid-season varieties Late varieties May June July August September

Apricot culture, a labour of love and vigilance

The apricot tree is a vigorous species that tends to develop abundant vegetation. Although the tree itself can withstand very low temperatures, the same cannot be said of the fruits! In the spring, the tree becomes covered with dainty pinkish-white, graceful flowers. But even the slightest frost will destroy those blossoms, and with them, the future fruits.

What the grower says
" Apricot trees in the wild are happy in non-irrigated areas and have no problem in dry soils. But in the orchard, we like to provide at least some irrigation to improve the appearance and flavour of the fruits. "

Apricot varieties can be self-fertile (self-pollinating) or self-sterile, in which case the presence of nearby compatible varieties as well as pollinating insects (such as bees or butterflies) is imperative. The tree is propagated by grafting, and grows best in well-drained, preferably light (sandy, alkaline) soil.

Apricot-growers have work to do in the orchard all year round.
Their main tasks are:

Gros plan sur une branche d’abricotiers chargée d’abricots

  • Winter pruning. When the tree becomes dormant and the sap has stopped flowing, the grower cuts off some branches to keep only the best ones.

  • Thinning. When the tree is in flower, removing some of the flowers (and/or small fruits) serves three purposes:
    - It keeps the tree healthy by preventing “exhaustion,”
    - It concentrates the flavour of the fruit, which would be weakened by an overly large yield,
    - It increases fruit size.

Dans un verger d’abricotiers, un employé cueille à la main des abricots situés à sa hauteur

  • “Green pruning.” This treatment takes place just before or during harvest when the grower thins the tree once again. The aim is to allow the sun’s rays to reach the branches and foliage of the tree.

  • Harvest. Fruits are harvested entirely by hand, in several pickings – as many as 5 or 6! Picking starts at the tips of the branches and proceeds toward the centre of the tree. By the end of these successive harvests, each tree will have yielded 40 to 50 kg on average.

The 4 qualities of a grower of our regions’ apricots
Vigilance: due to apricot’s susceptibility to climate variations and the specific characteristics of each variety
Patience: many aspects of orchard management involve trial and error (such as finding compatible pollinizers)
Curiosity: staying abreast of research on new varieties is very important
Passion: our regions’ apricots would not be produced without a love of the fruit

Our regions’ apricots: a culture of innovation

Apricots come in nearly 40 different varieties. This exceptional diversity has been achieved especially through the development and planting of new varieties. Over the past 15 years, varietal research and innovation have been particularly dynamic in France. Consumer demand for apricots has given researchers (who are often former growers themselves) an incentive to breed earlier or later varieties of the fruit. The overriding goal of course is to keep apricots on fruit stands for more weeks of the year! Varietal research is done solely by hybridization. In addition to extending the season, new varieties brings other advantages, such as enhanced aromas, new flavours and colours, and improved natural resistance of the fruit.

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