It's thought the apricot originated northeastern China near the Russian border (in the Great Wall area). From there it spread west throughout central Asia. Cultivation in China dates back 3000 years. The Romans introduced apricots to Europe in 70-60 BC through Greece and Italy. Apricots probably moved to the US through English settlers on the East Coast, and Spanish Missionaries in California. For much of their history of cultivation, apricots were grown from seedlings, and few improved cultivars existed until the nineteenth century. Cultivars vary among countries, and in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria, a great deal of the production is from seedling orchards. Cultivation in the USA was confined to frost-free sites along the Pacific slope of California, due to early bloom but relatively high chilling requirement, and fungal disease problems in humid climates. Now, most of the production in California is in the San Joaquin valley.
Apricots surely have more flavor packed into them than any other fruit. A tree ripened apricot fresh off your own tree is a true delight. Ripe apricots are so soft they rarely ship well so the best way to enjoy an apricot is fresh from your tree. Unfortunately, they don't like wet feet and bloom early, making them vulnerable to heavy soil, late rains or frost. They do not need as much heat to ripen as peaches. Most varieties do well in zones 5-9. They should begin fruiting in two to four years after planting. They're harvested when soft and sweet. All varieties offered are self fertile.