According to nursery gardener Giovanni Zanzi, while the focus in the past was mainly on grades, we now need to focus on flavor, texture and color when it comes to apricots.
"Color is very important, but flavor and texture are just as important. Consumers go back to purchasing fruit, and apricots in particular, only if they are sure about their good flavor. This is why we can no longer afford to make mistakes: all links part of the chain need to assume their responsibilities and do their best."
Giovanni Zanzi, left
Vivai F.lli Zanzi has been focusing on varieties that meet consumer tastes. "We work with various international breeders who are doing an excellent work. I would like to also mention the Maspes project, which gathers nursery gardeners, POs, Universities and research centers: new interesting selections are emerging that guarantee a future to the domestic apricot production."
Another very important characteristic for producers is the self-fertility of plants, so off-crop years are limited.
"Some varieties are very suitable for industrial processing. They are usually orange and very productive. It is obvious that, when producers choose a variety, they need to be certain about their sales channel."
Left to right: Riccardo, Matteo, Giovanni and Enrico Zanzi during a technical day in 2018
Sugar levels need to be high, but fruits also need to be firm and with a good shelf-life. Having high organoleptic qualities means reaching a considerable Brix level, but we need to keep in mind consumption is not immediate, except in rare cases. Therefore fruits need to reach a compromise between sugar level and firmness.