The August Apricot Box
A taste of the Gjelina Group restaurants interpreted through a single ingredient. This August our chefs at Gjelina, Gjusta, and GTA created a lineup all spotlighting the Blenheim apricots from See Canyon and farmer Mike Cirone in San Luis Obispo, CA.
The pantry boxes are available in limited edition and ready to ship nationwide.
The Apricot Box includes:
GTA’s Apricot Cordial
The foundation of a refreshing, subtly sweet summer spritz or shrub — mix one part cordial to sparking water (or add a splash of apple cider vinegar), and serve over ice.
Gjusta’s Apricot BBQ Sauce
A savory-sweet summer BBQ sauce, able to be used as a marinade or dipping sauce. Our August box arrives with a recipe card from the Gjusta kitchen for a grilled tri-tip that utilizes the BBQ sauce.
Gjelina’s Apricot Preserves
Our classic monthly preserve, for pairing with yogurt, toast, or a cheese & charcuterie plate.
Gjusta Goods’ Apricot Beeswax Candles
A duo of hand-rolled pastel apricot taper candlesticks, made individually in Venice.
As a youngster growing up in San Luis Obispo, Mike Cirone would explore the old, abandoned fruit orchards around his home. It was during these adventures that he fell in love with trees, and later chose to study botany and fruit science at Cal Poly. After graduation, he made a handshake deal with an old WWII veteran to maintain the very same orchards he had explored as a child.
The unusually cool climate in San Luis Obispo’s See Canyon is well-suited for apples and stone fruit, particularly Cirone’s famous “Blenheim” Apricots. The area’s high rainfall and shallow water table provide enough water for his trees, so Mike has no need to irrigate the established orchards, with their deep roots. Where no irrigation is required, it is called “dry farming,” making See Canyon Ranch the epitome of a sustainable farm. The trees’ roots struggle some, causing the fruits to concentrate their flavors in smaller, more robust, packages. Otherwise “if you pump ’em all up, they all tend to taste the same,” Mike says. “When you let them do their own thing, it really accentuates the unique flavor of each variety.” So not only is dry farming the most water efficient , but the fruit it produces has a greater depth of flavor.
The Blenheim apricot is a unique fruit, preferring to grow where there’s a gentle coastal breeze. They ripen slowly, and from the inside out. Their flavor profile is honey sweet with a bit of tartness to the skin, famously making them the best apricot for jam. Due to its delicate nature most of the commercial Blenheim crop is used for drying, but when eaten fresh with its sweet and aromatic juices, it is one of the highlights of early summer.
In addition to apricots, Cirone also grows nearly 60 heritage apple varieties, with such names as Cox’s Orange Pippin, Esopus Spitzenberg, Stayman-Winesap, and Winter Pearmain. Like Mike’s apricots, the apples are also dry farmed, making them slightly smaller and oddly shaped, but equally packed with flavor.
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