Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Apricot Picking Adventure!



When I was a little girl, we had an old apricot tree in our driveway. I have such fond memories of eating perfect, delicious apricots fresh off the tree. In years when there was a bumper crop my mom would make apricot jam and I loved "helping" her. Eventually the tree got old and died, and apricots were relegated to a mythical place in my heart... I don't know if you've ever had a perfect, fresh apricot straight off the tree, but let me tell you - it is a wonderful thing. It's SO hard to find a good apricot. Forget about the grocery store. Even the apricots from the farmers market are usually disappointing. The thing is, a properly ripe apricot is so extremely tender and short-lived... I imagine it's nearly impossible to market them. So, as a result, I have resigned myself to a mostly apricot-free life.

Recently, I had been fondly remembering my apricot-eating days with a few different friends. Remembering that tree in the yard, remembering making jam with my mom... and feeling quite nostalgic about it all. 

And then! Out of the blue, one of my yoga students/friends spontaneously sent me a text and invited me to go apricot picking at a top-secret derelict apricot orchard the very next day. Uh, YES PLEASE. 

As you can see… we, uh, picked SO MANY APRICOTS.

The orchard was part of a much larger farm... in all, the orchard wasn't huge, and it was clear than they hadn't been farming these apricots commercially for some time. The trees were old and sometimes dying. They haven't been pruned, and the fruit hadn't been thinned. Some trees hardly had any fruit, and others were laden with golden beauties! 

It was quite fun! First of all, there were weeds up to our waists!! and sometimes all the fruit was way up high on the highest branches. I even resorted to climbing a tree a time or two. We had a great time and the whole thing felt very adventurous. 

See all the apricots all over the ground?? Isn’t that wild? It was like heaven. Apricots everywhere.  

Of course I asked if I could bring Shaggy because i love taking him on little adventures. I think he had fun? But it was pretty hot and he’s so determined to be WITH ME that sometimes he wouldn’t even go a few feet away to sit in the shade! What a goof. Luckily I brought extra water and he drank plenty and I even poured water on him to keep him cool. 

It turns out little Shaggy Chunko even likes them! I ate so many that day. Ha ha ha. Sometimes I would tear off a little piece and share it with Chunko and he would very gently take it and gobble it up. CUTE.

How is this even real?
Apricots are beautiful and tender and delicious and amazing.

A few of the things I made!!

The very first night, I got straight to work and made a double batch of apricot jam. I used a wonderful and simple recipe from David Leibovitz - it even includes a little dash of kirsch, which I swapped for amaretto. Mmmm So good! Apricot jam is probably my number one favorite jam of all time. I actually ended up making another batch again, because I’ve already given away so many jars. I love canning and I love sharing my goodies. But in the case of apricot jam, I also love eating a lot of it myself.

The next thing I made was a big beautiful apricot galette for my yoga teacher and his family. I haven’t made a galette in years - it was so fun to make and offer to my teacher. 

I shared a lot of my apricots with friends and family - because it was even more than I could eat! - and my beloved pal Jane brought me a basket of her amazing organic strawberries from her farm. Mmm. She told me that her favorite thing to make is a strawberry-apricot crisp, so I copied her and made one for us. Oh it was so good! Mr. VE&T was *very* skeptical about the value of mixing fruits (“wouldn’t just one fruit be better??”) - but with one bite he was a convert. It’s a great fruit combo! 

Bottom left you’ll see my batch of Apricot Baked Oatmeal. I loooove baked oatmeal! I always use the recipe for Apple-Pear Baked Oatmeal from Oh She Glows - and then just use whatever fruit is seasonal and adjust the spices to go with whichever fruit I’ve used. After this batch of 100% apricots, I made another batch with apricots-peaches-and plums — it was EVEN better! 

By now, all my apricots are gone and I miss them already. 
Apricots will always have such a special place in my heart. 
Aren’t they just so beautiful? 

This really was an incredible opportunity and I feel so grateful! 


  1. This sounds magical! I love apricots, but I must content myself with supermarket or fruit store apricots. I have never had them fresh of the tree! Maybe a good thing, I don't know what I am missing out on.

  2. Wow, I can almost taste all of the apricot goodness! Lucky you! You really made the most of your bounty.

  3. This is a wonderful post. Funny how those childhood experiences made SUCH an impression ... and now we're the lucky beneficiaries. It sounds like a perfect day and totally satisfying followup. And Shaggy got introduced to apricots too! A very complete experience.

  4. What a great story. Now I'm longing for apricots, but all I can get are store-bought ones, which I will from now on be regarding dubiously. Everything looks delicious.

  5. Ohh, to have a secret derelict apricot orchard nearby! Apricot jam is my favorite as well, and I'd imagine it's just heavenly when it's made from fresh-picked fruit.

  6. I think your posts are wonderful. Perhaps you could think about getting a bunch of posts together and making a book. A real published book. Your style of writing is great.


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