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Apricot King, Hollister CA

Bob W Mar 16, 2011 02:08 PM

Has anyone ordered from this "wild" bunch of apricot growers? Their wares look outstanding. I am a sucker for chocolate-dipped dried fruit.

http://www.apricotking.com./index.php

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  1. greygarious RE: Bob W Mar 16, 2011 02:57 PM

    I have been a steady customer for several years now. My favorites are the dried Bartlett pears and the pit-in dried apricots, which are rarely available. But the regular dried apricots are head and shoulders above supermarket dried apricots. All their dried fruit is exceptionally moist and usually quite large. I have posted about AK on CH several times.

    1. h
      HillJ RE: Bob W Mar 16, 2011 03:48 PM

      Bob W, I'm from NJ and I order from Apricot King several times a year. The large 5 lb bag of dried Blenheim SLAB Apricots are in my freezer right now (they freeze beautifully). It was a jar of Blenheim
      apricot jam that turned me onto this super friendly grower while visiting family in CA and I've gifted their bagged dried apricots a number of times. Just last week I warmed a large handful of the rich, moist apricots in warm water and whirled them in the food processor for a quick apricot spread with honey and gouda grilled cheese-wonderful!

      1. Bob W RE: Bob W Mar 17, 2011 05:49 AM

        You guys sold me -- I just placed my first order!

        1. rabaja RE: Bob W Mar 17, 2011 01:54 PM

          After reading about these guys on CH, probably three years ago, I ordered from them and was very pleased.
          I got some of the pit-in apricots, very nice and moist, and sent a gift basket to my future in-laws at the time. They were thrilled with all of the goodies.
          A nice family-run company. Not sure if anything is organic, but the products are obviously grown with care.
          I still have a bag of apricot pits from them. Now that I save my own pits each spring, I can't believe I actually paid for these, but it's nice to have a noyeau back up, I suppose.
          Those slab apricots are calling my name right now.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rabaja
            goodhealthgourmet RE: rabaja Mar 17, 2011 02:25 PM

            Not sure if anything is organic
            ~~~~~~~~~~
            they only have one organic option - whole dried blenheims. but i was glad to see that they also offer unsulphured pears and mango - i may have to order some one of these days.

          2. tracylee RE: Bob W Mar 17, 2011 02:13 PM

            Dang, sitting at my computer with my debit card is dangerous! Just placed an order.

            3 Replies
            1. re: tracylee
              tracylee RE: tracylee Mar 25, 2011 12:58 PM

              I received my order from AK on Monday, and the cherries had been replaced by pears, even though the packing slip still said cherries. I called and Patti got the cherries set up for shipping within minutes.

              I had kept the pears sealed in the fridge in case I needed to return them (I know, not likely), and since I didn't, I poached them in spices until softened and made a pear tart with them. Yummy!

              1. re: tracylee
                h
                HillJ RE: tracylee Mar 25, 2011 01:06 PM

                What customer service!

                1. re: HillJ
                  tracylee RE: HillJ Mar 25, 2011 02:12 PM

                  Yes, I was very impressed, and will definitely order from them in the future!

            2. bbqboy RE: Bob W Mar 18, 2011 08:11 AM

              not dried fruit, but chocolate dipped for sure:
              http://www.lilliebellefarms.com/

              7 Replies
              1. re: bbqboy
                h
                HillJ RE: bbqboy Mar 18, 2011 08:22 AM

                Ha! If their chocolate dipped is good enough for rock n roll, it must be good! I don't recall ever seeing an endorsement quite like that!

                1. re: HillJ
                  bbqboy RE: HillJ Mar 18, 2011 09:15 AM

                  I hadn't ever read that. I think they supply part of the backstage spread at our summer music festival. They are wonderful though, so they must get plenty of requests afterwards for tour bus supplies. The rogue creamery blue cheese thingies(it is next door) are my favorites. Decadent. Back to apricots. :)

                2. re: bbqboy
                  Bob W RE: bbqboy Mar 18, 2011 02:56 PM

                  If you like chocolate dipped dried fruit, check out these guys. I'm always partial to my RI homies, but this stuff is really good. The fruit is very moist. Speaking of rock and roll, this stuff was given out at the Emmys a couple of years ago.

                  http://www.frankiesfruitandchocolate....

                  1. re: Bob W
                    h
                    HillJ RE: Bob W Mar 18, 2011 04:04 PM

                    The fruit and chocolate circles look delicious. Bob W have you tried them?

                    1. re: HillJ
                      Bob W RE: HillJ Mar 21, 2011 07:31 AM

                      Not yet -- we tried the chocolate dipped apricots, pineapple, and mango. The dark circles look great! I am sucker for dark chocolate and fruit -- nice to now know there are some health benefits involved.

                      I'm still working on my Garrison Confections dark fruit and nut tablets. Talk about good...

                      1. re: Bob W
                        h
                        HillJ RE: Bob W Mar 21, 2011 07:38 AM

                        Oh I can see we travel the same chocolate/fruit path, Bob W. Garrison Conf.'s are top notch delicious!

                        1. re: HillJ
                          Bob W RE: HillJ Mar 21, 2011 08:39 AM

                          I have to give a shout-out to LA Burdick's too! Tastes as good as it looks.

                          http://www.burdickchocolate.com/item-...

                3. Bob W RE: Bob W Mar 25, 2011 05:54 AM

                  My order arrived last night and the apricots were as good as advertised. Incredibly moist, with intense apricot flavor. My kid and I could not stop shoveling them in.

                  The chocolate dipped ones were very good too, but in this case I think simple is the way to go.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Bob W
                    greygarious RE: Bob W Mar 25, 2011 09:11 AM

                    The day after you posted, I received an e-mail from them with a code for a shipping discount through the end of the month. If you want to take advantage of that to order more, I'm sure they'd send you the code if you e-mail them about it. I am so glad your expectations were fulfilled. Besides the dipped ones, which apricots did you order? I am not a huge chocolate fan so I don't get those. The slip-pits have a slight amaretto finish, thanks to being dried with the pits in place (they are the same family as almonds, and amaretto is made with them). Rarely, they have pit-in ones available and those are my favorites, with more pronounced amaretto flavor. When I got some last year, there was a note that they needed to be soaked. I accidentally left them in water too long, so they became almost as soft as compote. No problem! I kept them refrigerated and could also spread them on toast or, better yet, a just-baked Trader Joe's mini-croissant, after stuffing the croissant with a TJ French chocolate truffle long enough for the truffle to melt. Scratch that part about not liking chocolate much!

                    1. re: greygarious
                      Bob W RE: greygarious Mar 25, 2011 09:51 AM

                      Thanks greygarious -- we might have to order more so I will ask about the discount.

                      I just got the standard Blenheim SLAB Apricots, since that's their main item and I figured I should start there. Now I plan to work my way through their offerings. I may try their apricot bits -- our local Sheetz has started carrying a honey yogurt/apricot parfait that is outstanding -- I can make it at home with Chobani honey yogurt.

                      I have not heard the word compote in a long time. We had some mean compote makers in our family. 8>D Do people even know what compote is any more?

                      1. re: Bob W
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: Bob W Apr 13, 2011 12:14 PM

                        I have not heard the word compote in a long time.
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        you don't spend enough time on the Home Cooking board ;)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          Bob W RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 13, 2011 12:53 PM

                          I'm an eater, not a cooker!

                  2. eatzalot RE: Bob W Mar 25, 2011 12:19 PM

                    This firm is fairly local to me (locally it's also known as Gonzales Orchards). They do brisk business at a weekly farmer's market in Mountain View where they're well known. The matriarch (sorry I forget her name at the moment) presses samples on everyone -- like a drug dealer offering freebies, I quip to her, because some of the products are arguably addictive. (I'll then request a couple of "nickle bags" of almonds or apricots.) I've been eating those daily (the fruit and nut products, not the chocolate-dipped specialty items) for many years.

                    Of the multiple dried fruits, the extremely ripe, intense sun-dried Blenheim "slab" apricots are understandably popular. Compared to typical US commodity dried apricots I've eaten all my life, they are like moving from a black-and-white to a color picture. I recall them as not quite year-round available, but they freeze well as already noted (I just opened a frozen small bag marked October 2009, in fine condition). Being interested in local culinary history I was able to exchange some historical details with the woman in charge a few years ago, when she was preparing to give a seminar at a food-science meeting (among other things, she passed out samples there of Blenheim puree, supplementing theory with practice).

                    Other popular products are their raw nuts, especially almonds and walnuts. I rely on this firm as my main source of them for cooking, baking, or even making roasted salted almonds at home after dinner -- easy and much tastier than any commercial salted nuts. (Spread some in a shallow cake or pie pan, sprinkle with olive oil; roast in a preheated 400 F oven checking and stirring every few minutes until lightly toasted, which doesn't take long. Cool partly, sprinkle with salt -- nuts require very little salt to taste well-seasoned -- serve warm.)

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: eatzalot
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                      HillJ RE: eatzalot Mar 25, 2011 12:33 PM

                      Would that be Patti, eatzalot? She's the only person from AK that I've had the pleasure to order from. With all this talk of apricots, I may have to place another order!!

                      Bob W, I just placed an order with Frankie's. I'll let you know how my family responds.

                      1. re: HillJ
                        eatzalot RE: HillJ Mar 25, 2011 01:28 PM

                        Patti sounds likely, though unfortunately I just don't remember. It's a family business. (She and I know each other very well by sight, and if she happens to read this, she'll know who I am from the remarks about her addictive products.)

                        Those dried cherries are handy. Every year or two I buy a bag of them, intending to cook some interesting dish with duck or turkey or pork (I've encountered turkey breast prepared deliciously with a sauce of reduced meat stock, a few vegetable bits and herbs I think, and dried cherries) but they always end up somehow getting nibbled away before such grand plans execute ...

                        1. re: eatzalot
                          h
                          HillJ RE: eatzalot Mar 25, 2011 01:35 PM

                          but they always end up somehow getting nibbled away before such grand plans execute ...
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                          boy, can I relate to those sentiments! With all the fuss and muss I go through to make a special dish, some things just don't require such gussing up! AK fruit is a great example.

                        2. re: HillJ
                          eatzalot RE: HillJ Mar 25, 2011 02:05 PM

                          It's Patti all right (aka "The CotQueen"). I just encountered the email with her from five years ago. Here's a bit of what I sent, about how the pit fruits originally came to what is now silicon valley (formerly it had another nickname, and was known mainly for such produce). The "AK" business is slightly farther south but presumably traceable to the same origin. This is a small excerpt from my original of Aubrey Drury's 1935 overview book _California: An Intimate Guide._ (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1935, chapter 19):

                          "The prune was introduced from Agen, near Bordeaux, in 1856, and the millions of trees now yielding sunsweet fruit are the outgrowth of the tiny grove then planted in the eastern foothills near Evergreen by Monsieur Louis Pellier, an agrarian benefactor, to whose memory due honor. Besides prunes, the valley specializes in apricots, and raises also pears, peaches, and cherries. You will marvel to see acres of trays holding prunes and apricots outspread, drying in the ardent sun."

                          1. re: eatzalot
                            Bob W RE: eatzalot Mar 25, 2011 02:28 PM

                            "sunsweet fruit" -- methinks someone else read that book!

                            http://www.sunsweet.com/about/index.asp

                          2. re: HillJ
                            Bob W RE: HillJ Apr 13, 2011 09:09 AM

                            HillJ -- how did it go over? I told Frankie on fb that I got her some business and she definitely wants feedback.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              Bob W RE: HillJ Apr 13, 2011 09:10 AM

                              HillJ -- how did it go over? I told Frankie on fb that I got her some business and she definitely wants feedback!

                              1. re: Bob W
                                h
                                HillJ RE: Bob W Apr 13, 2011 09:25 AM

                                The dark chocolate circles with dried fruit bits and nuts are tasty. A friend wound up ordering some before I had a chance to but she shared right away. Nice rich dark chocolate and the dried fruit and nuts were very fresh. Cute packaging too. I enjoyed it.

                                And, how are you enjoying your apricots from Apricot King?

                                1. re: HillJ
                                  Bob W RE: HillJ Apr 13, 2011 10:52 AM

                                  The apricots are delicious. You know, I got some plain ones and some chocolate dipped ones. The Apricot King apricots are so flavorful the chocolate is just superfuous on them. Next time I'm going to just order a big bag of plain apricots (and maybe some other dried fruit) from AK and leave the chocolate dipped apricots for Frankie -- her dark chocolate is really good.

                                  1. re: Bob W
                                    greygarious RE: Bob W Apr 13, 2011 12:59 PM

                                    You should try ApricotKing's dried pears, cherries, and peaches. I loved the dried white nectarines but they don't seem to have them now. The current pears are not as large as some seasons', but are still better than any other dried pears I've had. I ordered their prunes once but think Costco's Sunsweet-made prunes are just as good.

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