It is hard to find loquats at the greengrocer in the English-speaking world, but in Italy in early spring you will see these small, oval, thin-skinned, apricot-coloured fruits even in supermarkets. They are native to China, were naturalized in Japan and have been cultivated in the West for quite some time.
Here they are called nespole, the tree a nespolo.
I mention all this with a degree of wistfulness. At Le Ripe we planted two loquat trees; two are needed for impollination. Although the tree is quite ugly (lugubrious is the adjective that comes to mind), we love the fruit and hoped to grow our own. Sad to say, the trees were planted in the colder part of the orchard (because less in view) but are consequently prey to frost when they bud in February-March.
I fear we lacked the courage of our convictions and will never see an apricot-coloured loquat in Le Ripe's orchard!