Perusing the growing stack of gardening magazines on my desk, my eye was drawn to the Henry Field's (I know, I KNOW!) catalog which beckoned my imaginative taste buds with the words:
Sugar Pearls Apricot - the most heavenly tasting stone fruit you can eat!
Words don’t do justice to the rich, full-bodied, sweet, golden-honey flavor of Sugar Pearls. These amazing white-fleshed apricots are unlike any fruit we’ve ever tried before, and must be tasted to be believed! The good news is, Sugar Pearls blooms much later than all other apricot varieties—so even if you were too far North to grow apricots before—now’s your chance!
Plant two for increased yields.
Ripens late June to early July.
ORDER EARLY—SOLD OUT QUICKLY LAST YEAR!"
A semi-dwarf is 36.00.
This is why I have yet to have any fruit trees, though in my mind I have planned and planted, over and over again, the most beautiful orchard you have ever seen. There is lush orchard grass growing beneath every fruit tree imaginable, and several of each variety, two of each of those, of course. It is fenced so I can let the cow or horse, or even the goat or sheep in occasionally, as the mowing needs to be done. There are children sitting, hidden and giggling in the branches of the mulberries and the cherries, there are bushels filled with apples and pears, bushels filled with peaches and nectarines, picnic tables here and there for picnicking with friends, tasting of the delectable.....
.... oops, sorry.
What I have is a little piece of property that is not the best for fruit trees, and a climate that likes to give surprise late hard frosts after balmy and warm spring days; a complete enemy arsenal of fungus, mildews, rots, cankers; a veritable smorgasbord of evil borers, tunnelers, girdlers, and chewers; the epic battle of our archl nemesis, the Japanese Beetles and his larger Kamikaze brother, the June Bug; and not a lot of money to buy trees or do battle to defend them.
Yet... there is that Sugar Pearl....
I did some research, thinking, "Maybe THIS is the ONE!" I found some interesting things.
One, that what I really want to grow is CandyCots, but they are so exclusive you can't buy them; plus, the buds would be killed off with our late frosts, like most all of the varieties tantalizingly waved in front of my eyes.
Two, that they are not an apricot. (Henry Fields, I know, I KNOW!) They are a nectarine.
Three, that they do actually seem to have a good reputation for handling late frosts.
Four, that they are still ridiculously expensive. Even with the 25 dollars off, to get two (always better, no matter what they say) would be 47 dollars plus tax, shipping, and handling. Gosh, that seems like a lot of money when my future here on my land is shaky at best.
If growing apricots interests you, here are a few articles I found.
This one is a good general overview of the cultivars, according to area of the countries. http://www.oakcreekorchard.com/id82.html
Here's the lucky guy with the ability to get in on the ground floor with CandyCots. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/18/dining/18apricot.html
If you want to see the H.F. ad or order yourself a Sugar Pearl, here ya' go. http://henryfields.com/product.asp?pn=71546&bhcd2=1262265685
The patent on the Sugar Pearl Apricto, which tells the the real story - it's a nectarine! http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/PP17442/description.html
Still waffling between the long a and the short a on these,