Apricots grow sweet in Isle of Wight orchard

By Richard Wright

Sunday, July 13, 2014

 

Apricots grow sweet in Isle of Wight orchard

Stuart Pierce in his Isle of Wight apricot orchard. Picture by Peter Boam.

AN ISLE of Wight grower has brought a taste of southern France to Arreton.

Stuart Pierce’s 22 acres of apricots are producing fruit in their fourth year and are among the first in the country to do so.

A total of 4,500 trees — six varieties in all — are being cultivated by Stuart, owner of Farmer Jack’s.

He said: "We are growing them because they flower very early in the season so for apricots in the UK, it has to be relatively frost free from March."

He has been working closely with the breeder from Nimes, in southern France who has provided growing advice.

Stuart said: "Feedback from customers has been fantastic, many people did not know how sweet apricots are.

"Another big advantage is they fit in well with the other stone fruit as they pick about a month after the cherries start.

"Next year, if the season is a good one, we hope to start supplying one of the supermarkets."

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