An exceptional terroir

Roussillon, Gard-Crau and Rhone Valley-Baronnies together account for virtually all of France’s apricot production. These three growing regions are particularly well suited to apricot, and are complementary in terms of varieties and harvest seasons. Apricot orchards contribute to the beautiful scenery of southern France, with its plains and hillsides.

Tradition and ideal conditions
Gros plan sur une branche d’abricotier chargée de fruits. A l’arrière-plan, un paysage méridional, entre garrigue et maquis Our regions’ apricots are synonymous with sunshine (the Ancient Persians called them “sun eggs”). It is only logical that virtually all of France’s production comes from three of the country’s sunniest regions, known for their mild spring weather.  This is the ideal setting because apricot is an early-blooming species. Finally, the soil of these regions is just right for apricot trees, which do not mind dry soil but fare poorly in excessive moisture.

In the past, each region boasted its own specific variety, which did not adapt well in the other two regions. One example is the Bergeron apricot, from the Rhone Valley.

Apricots and Vineyards
In France’s three apricot-growing regions, apricot culture is often associated with vineyards. For example, the Rivesaltes, Croze Hermitage and Costières de Nîmes appellations are adjacent to apricot orchards. Why is this so? In addition to the fact that both cultures need sunshine and are susceptible to spring frost, they are complementary in terms of their agricultural calendar: when there is work to be done in the vineyards, there is less to do in the orchard, and vice versa.

A good fit at every level
Apricot varieties have adapted to their respective growing regions:
• Royal Roussillon and Soledane are mostly grown in Roussillon,
• Orangered® and Bergarouge®  in Gard-Crau,
• Bergeron, Bergeval® and Orangé de Provence in Rhone Valley-Baronnies.

Varieties ripen sequentially, thus allowing successive harvests and a summer-long supply of our regions’ apricots. The earliest varieties come from the Roussillon and are harvested from mid-May to mid-July. One week later, from late May until mid-July, the Gard-Crau region unveils its delights. Finally the Rhone Valley, the mainstay of French production in terms of tonnage and surface area, brings up the rear from early June through mid-September.

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