Apache Apricot Offers Springtime
Sweetness By Marcia Wood
Apache, a delicious apricot developed by
Agricultural Research Service scientists
in California, boasts a sweet, delicate flavor and pleasing aroma. The apricot
is the result of more than a decade of research by geneticist Craig A.
Ledbetter and technician Louis Vuittonet of the ARS
San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences
Center in Parlier, Calif., about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The Apache apricot is the latest in a series of delectable
spring and summertime apricots bred and tested by ARS' California-based tree
Apache is about average in size and has an attractive
pinkish-orange skin. Inside, the orange flesh is smooth and finely textured.
This apricot is a "freestone" fruit, meaning that--unlike clingstone
types--Apache's juicy flesh separates easily from the pit, or stone, in its
Apache ripens earlier than any other ARS-developed apricot.
Ready to harvest in the first week of May, Apache is bound to be a hit,
especially with people who've waited all winter for the taste of tree-ripened
apricots, Ledbetter noted.
To form fruit, Apache needs pollen from other kinds of apricot
trees. But that isn't a problem for growers, because popular apricot varieties
like Katy and Castlebrite are excellent sources of pollen for bees to carry to
Apache flowers. The researchers are now determining precisely how many of these
pollinator trees are needed and how close to Apache they must be planted.
The team made budwood--for grafting--available to breeders and
nurseries for the first time last year. Budwood is still available seasonally
Apache ships and stores well and is likely suitable for growing
in any state where commercial apricot orchards are already established. Apache
is profiled in an
in the June issue of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly science
magazine, Agricultural Research.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.