In season: Blenheim apricots

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Just in

Blenheim apricots: You can find several different varieties of apricots at the farmers market -- Pattersons, Castlebrites, Gold Bars and a couple of others -- but to my taste, the king of the California ‘cots is the Blenheim. Also called the Royal (or sometimes the Royal Blenheim), this is the apricot that reminds you of what that fruit is supposed to taste like. Modern varieties may bear more consistently, they may be bigger, and they may even be prettier. But there is nothing like a ripe Blenheim. If only they weren’t so much trouble. In the first place, the trees tend to bear in alternate years -- one harvest is heavy, the next light -- and initial indications are that this is going to be one of the light crops. The fruit tends to be tiny and its golden skin is often freckled, or even speckled. Besides that, it can be tough to tell when a Blenheim is ripe; they soften from the inside out rather than the reverse, so what feels like a firm apricot may be just perfect. Go by the orangish-golden color instead. The season is just starting, but it is short. Get them before July rolls around and they disappear.

$3 per pound, Force Field, Flora Bella Farm, See Canyon.