|The first Royal Blenheims of the season|
The luscious sun-flecked, honey-flavored Royal Blenheim apricots are back in the farmer's markets. Those pictured above were grown in Winters and I snapped them right up at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza market. The ripe globes are overflowing with nectar and have a superb texture unlike the mealy character and bland flavor of other varieties. We also have a vendor in the Berkeley market and I've been checking on this year's progress. Rain can ruin the blossoms if it hits at the wrong time, but luckily this year's weather has cooperated and we can look forward to a bountiful crop.
The Blenheims were grown in Europe 200 years ago and flourished in the garden at Blenheim Palace in England, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The variety thrives in California but production is waning. They account for less than 2% of total apricot production. Still, the small handful of commercial Blenheim apricot growers say that, despite the odds, they will try to keep this fruit from becoming extinct in the golden state. I hope so, because no other apricot can compare!