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Stemilt-Douglas Fruit looking at later start but good stone fruit season

Stemilt Growers and marketing partner Douglas Fruit are expecting a later start to the Artisan Organics apricot season, with a late June harvest anticipated.

But volumes should ramp up quickly for promotable volumes throughout July.

Stemilt-Apricot-Harvest-1246Photo courtesy of Stemilt Growers.According to a Stemilt press release in late May, the Douglas family has been growing tree fruit in Washington for well over 100 years, and in the past decade it has transitioned the majority of its apricot orchards to organic along with its entire peach and nectarine crops.

The Artisan Organics apricots, according to Douglas Fruit Co-President Jill Douglas, present exceptional flavor.

“We’ve found a great niche in growing apricots organically that matches well with our flavor focus,” Douglas said. She cited the Columbia Basin’s warm days and cool nights, saying the combination creates “beautifully colored fruits with exceptional flavors.”

“Artisan Organics apricots really exceed standards thanks to the climate and organic farming practices,” Douglas added.

As the leading apricot producer in Washington, Stemilt accounts for approximately 40 percent of the state’s crop. It is also the leader in organic apricots, with 60 percent of its entire crop certified. The leading variety is the Robada, which has “been strategically planted by the Douglas family and Stemilt because of its excellent eating qualities and vibrant color.”

The peak of this year’s organic apricot season is expected to begin in early July, and retailers can plan for promotions during the first three weeks of the month.