Our main source of Apricots is Turkey, with there being many other origins available through the world ranging from Argentina to China.
The UK predominantly imports Turkish Apricots for the baking and snacking industries.
Turkish Apricots are grown around the Eastern City of Malatya and shipped via the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean Sea. In Malatya there are thousands of growers ranging in size from those with acres of land down to the individual household that has a single apricot tree in their garden.
Each grower can take their dried apricots to the local Bourse where product is sold to agents representing packers. Prices paid here can affect Apricot prices worldwide within hours. In Malatya itself there are many apricot packers with people from the area holding the dream to own their own factory one day.
Natural Apricots are a sun dried apricot that hasn’t been preserved in SO2, the colour of a natural apricots is a natural dark brown and flavour is sweeter than that of a sulphured apricot. To achieve the golden yellowy colour the consumer associates with Apricots a sun dried apricot is gassed with SO2 in small chambers, this results in different levels of SO2. A natural apricot dries for around 7 days with pitting taking place by hand after about 4 days of drying. A sulphured apricot is pitted after 3 days and then taken for SO2 treatment to preserve the colour.
The Turkish crop is harvested in July and August with shipments not arriving in the UK until early September.