This seesaw weather we've been having (chilly and windy, then warm and sunny) might trick you into thinking we're stuck in a perpetual springtime, Memorial Day's approach notwithstanding. Local eaters with their noses stuck in the markets know otherwise, now that we have crates of stone fruits perfuming the air. With that in mind, wine drinkers take note - if you're looking to train your nose on the myriad stone fruit notes, now is a great time to start with one of the shorter season fruits. Apricots.
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Global imports and the migration of primary orchard growing regions from the Santa Clara Valley to the San Joaquin Valley have slightly hiccuped the harvest numbers over the past couple of decades, but California is still the nation's primary apricot supplier. Lucky for locavores in L.A., the SJV is now providing easier market access to some of the juiciest and most flavorful apricot varieties just across the mountains, including the early season Jumping Jack pictured above from K&K Farms.
We took these early 'cots home last week and were bowled over. Fully ripe, they hold their own against the Blenheim, the diminutive heirloom flavor king of later season apricots, and are almost twice as big. The plan was to jam them, but they never made it beyond the fruit bowl. Sloppy eating for sure, but reminiscent of younger days spent wiping juicy chins with rough paper towels. They'll be here only for a few more weeks, but not to worry. The overall apricot season will run through June, showcasing more varieties as they come into season, with the Blenheim taking up the rear. They'll be making way for apriums and pluots before long.