Saving Cherished Slow Foods, One Product at a Time
The Blenheim apricot has been grown in the Santa Clara Valley region of California since the early 1900, a time when it was one of the most widely planted apricot varieties.
Similar to other varieties like the Royal apricot, the Blenheim was also prized for eating fresh, canning, and drying—its differentiating factor was that it ripened later than other popular apricots.
With nurseries selling both the Royal and the Blenheim apricot the two varieties eventually became irrevocably intertwined. By the 1960s both the Blenheim and the Royal—once lords of California's apricot orchards—began a slow decline, losing out in sales to earlier-maturing and more transportable varieties.
The Blenheim is both sweet and tart with an intensely aromatic aroma of honeysuckle. The apricot ripens from the inside out causing fruit pickers to develop specific harvesting habits for the apricot that included picking fruits that still had a faint green tinge. The revival of the Blenheim is happening at local farmers markets where long-distance shipping is not a critical issue.