The California Prune harvest wrapped up on schedule this year and growers have worked through the challenges of wildfires and market disruptions caused by the pandemic to harvest premium quality fruit consisting of an optimum range of sizes, setting up excellent opportunities to market the sweet, larger prunes for which California is famous. With early industry projections of a short crop, growers and handlers can now estimate production of 45,000 metric tons (50,000 short tons) of California Prunes, a decrease of 37 percent from the previous year. Combined with the carry-in from 2019, handlers should have sufficient supply for the new selling season.
As markets globally adjust to a “new normal” the California Prune industry remains focused on maintaining balance of supply and demand and reliably delivering the premium fruit that the world expects. Prune growers in California play an essential role in producing a premium product that offers health benefits, great taste, versatility, and shelf stability, all vital to what consumers desire in the current environment.
Data reported to growers and handlers at the recent conclusion of the 2019 crop year (July 31, 2020) underscored consumer desire for California’s best-in-class prunes, as shipments to export markets jumped 17 percent and domestic shipments improved by 12%, as compared to the previous year.
“While the pandemic has fueled consumers’ focus on healthy foods, the California Prune industry regularly promotes the nutritional profile and invests in nutrition research that elevates the health benefits of prunes,” said Donn Zea, executive director of the California Prune Board. “We are grateful that so many consumers have chosen California Prunes during this time. We plan on doing everything we can to earn and keep their trust.”
California is the largest producer of prunes, producing about 40 percent of the world’s supply, bringing quality prunes to market from 40,000 acres concentrated in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.