In the Pyrénées-Orientales, the apricot harvest started 10 days ago. A harvest which has been affected, however, by the frost episodes of early April. As a result, producers are hoping for 7,000 to 8,000 tons of apricots instead of the usual 15,000 tons. “For some varieties, everything is lost...not a single fruit is left on the trees,” explains Eric Hostalnou, head of arboriculture at the Chamber of Agriculture of the Pyrénées-Orientales. “The fruits are shriveled, dehydrated or on the ground. In some orchards, 30 to 50% of the production is missing, with damage and deformation: the fruit is not round or the epidermis was burnt by the frost.”
In the Salses orchards, the early varieties, like the “tsunami” apricots, are ripe and ready to be harvested. “The calibers are good and the fruits are ripening slowly. The sugar levels are also good and the fruits look nice! There were no strong winds or heavy rains so the fruits are more than decent,” explains arboriculturist Laurent Battisti.
With lower volumes throughout Europe, a price increase is to be expected.