WENATCHEE, WA – While last year held a historic early start for apricots, it is befitting that this year holds a late start for crops up and down the West Coast. Anticipated to start two weeks later than usual, Stemilt and its marketing partner, Douglas Fruit, are ramping up for another successful Artisan Organics® apricot season. Stemilt expects its organic apricots to start harvest in late June, with volumes ramping up quickly for promotable volumes throughout July.
“We’ve found a great niche in growing apricots organically that matches well with our flavor focus,” said Jill Douglas, Co-President of Douglas Fruit, according to a press release. “We farm in the best locale, Washington’s Columbia Basin, where warm days and cool nights create beautifully colored fruits with exceptional flavors. Artisan Organics® apricots really exceed standards thanks to the climate and organic farming practices.”
The growing roots of the Douglas family tree date back to the 1890s, and today the fourth generation is hands-on when it involves the family’s business, which includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries. In 2007, the Douglas family started the transition process to move the majority of its apricot orchards to organic production, as well as the entire crop of peaches and nectarines, viewing the move to organic as an opportunity to differentiate the flavors of its stonefruits.
According to the company, Stemilt accounts for approximately 40 percent of Washington State’s apricot crop. Stemilt is also the leader in organic apricots, with 60 percent of its entire apricot crop grown and certified as organic. The leading variety that Stemilt produces is Robada. Robada has been strategically planted by the Douglas family and Stemilt because of its excellent eating qualities and vibrant color. The fruit has a firm texture and velvety soft skin that is accompanied by a balance of acids and sugars to make for an exceptional eating experience.