This is an early-ripening form of the popular English Moorpark apricot, and well-suited to the English climate. It is also one of the best apricots for eating fresh, and like all apricots is an excellent culinary fruit.
Despite the name it is a mid-season variety, ripening in August. The fruit can be picked over the course of a week or so.
Unlike the modern orange-blushed varieties it has a paler colouring. The soft flesh has a good strong apricot flavour.
Early Moorpark apricot trees for sale
1.1-year maiden bare-root
Large size (3m-4m after 10 years)
How to grow
Although Early Moorpark is one of the best varieties for the English climate, like all apricots it needs maximum sunlight and warmth in the growing season. Fan-training on a south-facing wall in full sun is the best way to get results, although it will perform well as a free-standing tree in many areas.
Early Moorpark is slightly more vigorous than the modern apricots.
As with all stone fruit, keep pruning to an absolute minimum. However Early Moorpark has a fairly good track record for disease-resistance.
All apricots flower very early in the spring, and frost protection (such as a frost fleece) may be helpful.
Moorpark (or Moor Park) is named after Moor Park, in south Hertfordshire, where it was first grown at the end of the 18th century. Its earlier origins are unknown, although it was almost certainly imported from Europe. Early Moorpark is an earlier-ripening form.
A Moor Park apricot tree is the subject of an exchange between the characters Dr. Grant and Mrs Norris in the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park, which was published in 1814. The tree was obtained for Mrs Norris by a family friend for 7 shillings, and planted against a stable wall where it is apparently thriving. She describes the fruit as "valuable" and explains how her cook used the entire crop for early tarts and preserves. Dr. Grant, the new owner of the property, disagrees and thinks the tree produces worthless fruit - although this being a Jane Austen novel, it is likely that his criticism of the fruit is really a coded dislike of Mrs Norris and her family.
Early Moorpark characteristics
- Picking period (southern UK):mid-August
- Picking season:Mid
- Keeping (of fruit):1 week
- Food uses:Eating fresh, Culinary, Dual purpose (eat + cook)
- Gardening skill:Some needed
- Pollinating others:Average
- Vigour:Slightly large
- Bearing regularity:Regular
- Climate suitability:Temperate climates, Warm climates
- Cold hardiness (USDA):(6) -10F / -23C
- Summer average maximum temperatures:Warm (25C - 30C / 76F - 85F), Hot (>30C / 86F)
- Country of origin:United Kingdom
- Period of origin:1750 - 1799
- Fruit colour:Orange