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Blossom Hill readies for apricot season

A family-owned farm for four generations, Blossom Hill grows, packs and ships fresh apricots and apriums harvesting more than 1,000 acres of apricots each year, 200 of which are organic. The latter number is also on the rise.20190321 095808

Lucich Santos Farms has spent more than 35 years growing and shipping apricots. The company consistently researches the best variety apricots so the consumer has a great eating experience every time.

“Apricots are a very delicate piece of fruit so proper growing and harvesting and packing methods need to be done properly,” said Jim Lucich, sales manager of the Patterson, CA-based company. “It’s important to have a good volume and a consistent supply so retailers can promote them.”

The apricot season starts up in early May with Kylese aprium coming on line first, followed by Poppy, Apache and Earli Cot.

“After a good dormancy and rains, we see the trees setting a good crop,” Lucich said. “That means there’s going to be good volume for retailers to fill ads as we will see good eating apricots in steady supply.”

The company utilizes an optical apricot sorter/defect grader that is specific to only apricots, which enables Blossom Hill to get better quality in the box. With California raising minimum wages, Blossom Hill’s costs and water will continue to be issues until more storage is built.

“With our new optical sorter/defect grader we’re able to increase production,” Lucich said. “Using soil probes and weather stations, we can better monitor water needs and usage to conserve water.”

Blossom Hill also takes food safety very seriously, and it’s an integral part of its overall operation. Blossom Hill’s food safety program includes the use of Good Agricultural Practices during planting, crop protection, growing, harvesting and HACCP during packaging steps. Blossom Hill has been certified according to the GFSI benchmarked standards Global GAP and Primus GFSI.

“We’ve also increased our cold storage capacity this year, and planted more acreage of new varieties of apricots,” Lucich said. “We are continually testing new varieties that eat great; we want to make sure every customer returns to buy more apricots. We’re excited about seeing demand for apricots grow as we do our job providing a positive consumer experience.”

To see a rise in apricot sales, Lucich said retailers should promote them in the peak of the season setting up large displays.

“One retailer will be working with us this year utilizing their kids’ program by providing a free apricot throughout June,” he said.