The Best Dried Apricots, Cherries, & Walnuts From Fairhaven Orchards


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The Best Dried Apricots, Cherries, & Walnuts From Fairhaven Orchards

June 20, 2024
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The Best Dried Apricots, Cherries, & Walnuts From Fairhaven Orchards

The Best Dried Apricots, Cherries, & Walnuts From Fairhaven Orchards

When it comes to finding the best fresh and dried apricots, cherries, and walnuts, look no further than Fairhaven Orchards in Hollister. This family-run farm has been in business since 1958, offering top-notch produce that leaves taste buds yearning for more. Fairhaven Orchards embodies the heart and soul of California agriculture, from its fresh fruit and luscious dried apricots to its flavorful walnuts.

A Rich Heritage: Generations Of Farming Excellence

Nestled in the fertile lands of Hollister Ranch, is Fairhaven Orchards – a labor of love for three sisters and their families. They are passionate about keeping this family farm’s legacy alive for years to come.

Julie Gillio and Nicole Rakovich are two of three daughters who are carrying on their family’s farming traditions at Fairhaven Orchards in Hollister, California.

“My father and uncle started farming here in 1958. When my uncle passed away in 2007, my brother and I started working full-time with my dad to help him out with the farm. My brother got sick, and he was our main farmer. He instilled a lot of the great farming practices that we have here today.

When my brother passed, all three of my siblings decided that we were going to take it on and keep this family tradition going. Since then, our husbands have gotten involved. My sister Julie’s husband, Tim, is our main farm manager, and my husband, as well as my brother-in-law, are involved with our harvest operations. My sister is involved in the harvest practices as well. When everything gets busy, it’s all hands on deck,” says Nicole.

Growing Community and Family: The Heart of Fairhaven Orchards

Fairhaven Orchards is not just about growing fruit; it’s about community and family. Nicole shares:

“Some of our employees have been working for us for 40 years. Even those who aren’t with us anymore still come back and visit. They treat our land like it is theirs, and now their children and grandchildren are coming back and working for us,” says Nicole.

This sense of family extends to their customers, who return year after year to enjoy the fresh fruit and friendly atmosphere.

Fabulous California Blenheim Apricots: A Rare Delicacy

The Royal Blenheim apricot is a rare gem in the world of dried apricots. It grows well in the mild climate of Hollister, and these California apricots offer a distinctive sweet flavor you are not likely to find in your local grocery store. Julie explains:

“You can’t grow Royal Blenheim just anywhere. There’s a very small region where you can grow a Royal Blenheim apricot, and Hollister’s the ideal climate,” says Julie.

This region’s unique conditions, including just the right amount of chill hours, make these apricots exceptional. Their delicious flavor and sweet notes set them apart from Mediterranean apricots and Turkish apricots, making them a must-try varietal.

Sliced Apricot Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Dried Stone Fruit - Bronwen Wyatt

Here Are A Few Of Our Favorite Dried Apricot Recipes:

The distinctive flavor of Fairhaven Orchard’s dried apricots makes them perfect for all sorts of occasions. They make a great snack on their own, and are also wonderful in all sorts of recipes – like the ones below.

Warm California Grape & Pancetta Salad with Walnuts
Crisp butter lettuce and juicy strawberries mix with warm and savory crisp pancetta, toasted walnuts, dried apricots, and pleasantly warm, slightly jammy California table grapes. Tying it all together is creamy goat cheese and a tangy dressing. With each bite better than the last, this sultry, warm salad is sure to be the new it-girl of summer!
Click here for this recipe with dried apricots.
The finished warm salad with dressing ready to serve.
Apricot Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Dried Stone Fruit
In this olive oil cake from our friend Bronwen Wyatt, a layer of tender, flavorful pistachio cake is topped with a bright, rich layer of apricot butter and finished with the most addictive pistachio and olive oil streusel.
Click here for this recipe with dried apricots.
Apricot Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Dried Stone Fruit - Bronwen Wyatt
Fruit & Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad
This simple salad is easy to make and completely customizable, which makes it a superstar side dish that you can serve at any meal.
Click here for this recipe with dried apricots.
A serving dish with leafy greens and Fruit and Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad

What Types of Dried Apricots Are Available at Fairhaven Orchards?

Fairhaven Orchards offers different types of dried apricots, including slab apricots, colossal apricots, jumbo extra-large, and extra fancy apricots, to suit different preferences and occasions.

“We only have one variety of dried apricots, the Royal Blenheim, but we grade the apricots once they’re dried in two different sizes.

The slab apricot is an overripe apricot, and when you put it on the (drying) trays, it falls apart a little bit because they’re so sweet and sticky.

The colossal apricot is our biggest apricot, and they’re beautiful for charcuterie boards and chocolate dipping. Those are the ones that you want to purchase when you’re going to do something great with them, something fancy, like a dinner party.

Then we have kind of the middle of the road, it’s the jumbo extra large, it’s a super delicious, medium-sized apricot. And we do have others; we offer extra fancy, and those are even smaller than the jumbos.

Where can you purchase Fairhaven Orchards Dried Apricots?

  • In-person: Fairhaven Orchard’s farm stand is located in the heart of San Benito County in Hollister, California. If you’d like to plan a visit, their address is 1448 Bolsa Road.
  • If you live or are in California, you may be able to find their products in stock at a nearby boutique grocer.

“We carry our product in a lot of boutique grocery stores all through California from Napa down to Ventura and even further south, close to the border of Mexico. They have a stand down there that sells our apricots,” says Julie.

  • Online: You can order dried apricots, dried cherries, and walnuts directly from Fairhaven Orchard’s website by clicking here.

Health Benefits of Dried Fruit: Both Delicious and Nutritious

Fairhaven Orchards’ dried apricots are a healthy snack packed with nutritious benefits. They are a good source of fiber and a great source of the antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin C.

The unique tray-drying process at Fairhaven Orchards ensures that these apricots retain their intense flavor and delicious sweetness. Whether you enjoy them on their own, in granola bars, or in your favorite recipes, these dried apricots are sure to satisfy. Want to learn more about the benefits of dried fruit? Click here to read the article.


Dried Fruit: A Pantry Staple Worth Exploring.

Dried fruit is like Mother Nature’s fruit snacks – and is amazing in both sweet and savory dishes.

Did you know that the recommended daily serving of fruit for a 2,000-calorie diet is 2 cups? It’s true! I’m 100% sure I am not eating my quota, and I’m betting that you may not be either. There is no easier way to eat your share than by nibbling on dried fruit from California. Click here to learn more.

Fairhaven Orchards Cherries: A Feast for the Senses

Fairhaven Orchards isn’t just about apricots. They also boast some of the most amazing fresh and dried cherries in California.

“Another special thing about our fruit stand is we have a lot of variety of cherries, and when you go to a grocery store, you really don’t know what variety you’re purchasing. Here at Fairhaven, we have several varieties, and customers always have their favorites. We have Royal Hellens, Royal Hazel, and Black Pearl is a new variety that my brother planted, and it’s really popular. It’s a nice, big, sweet black cherry. We have a pie cherry, it’s called a Tartarian. They’re small cherries with more water content, so they’re perfect for pies. Then we also have a, kind of blush cherry, and it’s called the Rainier. It’s not my favorite, but a lot of customers do like it,” says Julie.

Walnuts: The Unsung Heroes

Fairhaven Orchards also offers some of the finest walnuts in California. Nicole shares some valuable storage tips:

“When you buy a product from Fairhaven Orchards, whether it be dried apricots or walnuts or even fresh cherries, you’re going to want to put those in refrigeration. That’s the best way to preserve them after you’ve opened the package. And if you’re going to have long-term storage with those dried apricots or walnuts, you’re going to want to put them in the freezer to preserve the peak color in those dried apricots and taste in those walnuts,” says Nicole.

Visit Fairhaven Orchards: An Experience Like No Other

Visiting Fairhaven Orchards is more than just a trip to the farm; it’s an experience. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip in the scenic Santa Clara Valley. The region boasts beautiful wineries, hiking trails at the Pinnacles, and off-roading at Hollister Hills. Plus, their Red Barn is a charming place to pick up fruit and nuts for snacks on the ride home.

Fairhaven Orchards stands out as a seller of the vanishing Blenheim apricot and other top tier produce. Their commitment to quality and family values makes them a cornerstone of California agriculture. So, the next time you’re in the mood for a nutritious snack or looking to elevate your savory dishes, remember Fairhaven Orchards—the home of the best-tasting apricots, cherries, and walnuts in California.

Ready to Groove to Some Sweet Jams? Check out this California Grown Spotify playlist:

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This article was written by Meg van der Kruik. Photo credit James Collier for California Grown.

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