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Nicole Apricot—A Flavorful New Fruit From ARS

By Marcia Wood
August 25, 2003

The tasty apricot filling in your morning coffee cake or Danish pastry might someday be made from a flavorful new apricot named "Nicole." This gourmet fruit is meant for processing into jams, marmalade or fillings for baked goodies. The specialty apricot is superb for using in these foods because it keeps its delightful fragrance, exceptionally sweet flavor and attractive, deep-orange color.

Nicole is the newest apricot from Agricultural Research Service tree fruit breeder and geneticist Craig A. Ledbetter, based at ARS' San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, Calif. Ledbetter works in the Postharvest Quality and Genetics Research Unit at the Parlier center. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ledbetter singled out Nicole from other experimental apricots in 1992. After testing Nicole trees in Parlier research orchards and examining hundreds of apricots produced by those experimental trees, he offered the new variety to growers and breeders this year.

Nicole should flourish in any area where commercial apricots are currently grown. Trees will produce a bountiful supply of two-ounce fruit, a typical size for today's apricots.

To form these apricots, Nicole trees require pollen from the flowers of other apricot trees. That's not unusual for apricots, but it's a requirement that growers and backyard gardeners will need to keep in mind when choosing where to plant their new trees.

Budwood, for grafting onto standard rootstocks such as Nemaguard and Nemared, is available seasonally from Ledbetter for breeders and researchers to use.