“For the Love of Apricots” is a work-in-progress, the fruit of my heritage in Saratoga, California where I had the good fortune to grow up under the remnants of a French prune orchard. Back then, in the 1960s, Saratoga was a village set between forested mountains and fertile farmland, along the hilly fringe of the Santa Clara Valley. There were orchards in all directions — apricots, prunes, cherries, peaches, almonds and walnuts. Today, only one commercial orchard remains in Saratoga, which I rediscovered in midlife.
Visiting this local orchard became a habit while caring for my aging father. It was delightful to walk together through the orchard rows, feeling the soil, enjoying the views, chatting with the owners and buying their apricots, cherries and other produce. Our walks brought memories of our Saratoga property close again. Those visits with dad helped me recognize that I love apricots for many reasons: their unique beauty, flavor and the sheer joy of eating them, as well as for their deep connection to our agricultural heritage. Today, Saratoga is part of Silicon Valley but not too long ago, it was known as the Valley of Hearts Delight.
Planning our Saratoga high school reunion a few years ago rekindled old friendships with a local photographer and a research specialist, both with a deep appreciation for our shared past. My son’s recent wedding brought a talented food photographer into our family. A neighbor who generously provided graphic arts support for me over the years shared a family cookbook she created and encouraged me to think of doing my own. At a time in life for reflection and appreciation of all that has formed and enriched us, and with an awareness that it could all pass away, I began to collect apricot recipes.
These forces have helped set me on this Apricot journey and I hope you will join me too! I promise it will be delicious, beautiful and lots of fun. And one day, there will be a handsome, useful cookbook: “For the Love of Apricots“.