How three heritage apricot orchards tell the story of Silicon Valley’s bountiful agricultural history

By August 10, 2023August 18th, 2023In The News

Julie Gentin /

My grandparents have lived in their house in the Los Altos Highlands neighborhood for over 50 years, built on an apricot orchard in what was then unincorporated Santa Clara County. My grandfather maintains various fruit trees, from pomegranate and grapefruit to plum. But his Blenheim apricot trees are the originals and most reminiscent of the Valley of Heart’s Delight, what Silicon Valley was known as due to its fertile soil and plentiful orchards.

The orange- and pink-tinged fuzzy fruits are mostly sweet with a hint of sour. They are tangy and juicy, dripping down your arm after a ripe first bite. But the fruit, which must be handpicked, is also fragile. Its harvest season is short, lasting only a few weeks starting anywhere from late May to early July.

“You can’t go into the store and buy what you eat right off the tree,” said Matthew Sutton, founder of Orchard Keepers, an organization that installs and maintains home orchards, hobby orchards and edible gardens throughout...cont.