Third-generation prune grower | Taylor Brothers Farms | Yuba City, California
“We’re always learning. We want to hopefully pass this down to our children, that they will follow suit too and be as sustainable and do all the right things for the – with our earth.”
Get to know more about John and what it takes to be a California prune grower below:
What three words would your family use to describe you?
Loyal, diligent, patient
What is your favorite activity to do when you aren’t working?
Reading, walking, hiking, working around the house.
How did you get started in the prune industry?
I was born into it. I have been in a prune orchard since I could walk. As I always worked on our family farm plus the neighbors it was an easy transition to becoming a full-time farmer. As neighbors started to retire we would lease their land along with our father’s orchards. There has always been prunes grown in our area.
What makes you proud to be in the California Prune industry?
For one we live in a beautiful state, where we can grow a variety of crops. I have grown many different crops but have always enjoyed growing prunes, they bring a challenge and reward at the same time. With their health benefits and beauty that come from within this fruit. I want to share this fantastic product with the world.
What sets California apart from other prunes?
The care and quality that the California grower puts into growing his prune orchards. They pick them at just the right moment of harvest, picked at the peak of maturity so the consumer gets the highest flavor and healthiest components that the prune tree has to offer.
What makes your orchard different than your neighbors?
Well, I am an organic grower. One of the few in California or for that matter in the world. So we grow beautiful cover crops that help nourish our soils and maintain good beneficial bugs and the biology for our soils to feed our trees. We have a lot of everything living in our fields.
Who inspires you and why?
Dr. Dan Stridom, a Professor of horticulture from the University of South Africa. I met Dr. Stridom when we were growing apples. He would challenge us to grow the best fruit possible, with the least amount of impact on the environment. Always looking for a less laborious method to our farming demands. He also brought much insight to me into the growth of fruit trees themselves.
If you were not a grower, what job could you see yourself doing?
Forestry was my other area of interest. I enjoy the outdoors.
Describe prunes in three words.
Sweet, chewy, chocolate
What advice would you give a future grower?
Be prepared, always looking forward to the next day no matter the challenge, embrace diversity. Change keeps a person going forward. Expect mother nature to throw you a few curves.
Do you have anything else you would like consumers to know about your orchard and your growing techniques?
We try to use the latest growing practices in water conservation, biological nutrition, lessening our impact on the environment. We have put into place wastewater treatment at our processing plant that uses worms to clean our water for re-use in our orchards. We use solar to power our processing plant and dryer along with homes and farm shop. We monitor our runoff water from the farms using green strips and cover crops to catch soil and nutrients that may leave our fields. We are always thinking of the environment that we live and work in trying to leave it better for the next generation.
What is your favorite way to cook with prunes?
My wife makes a fabulous prune cake and prune tart. We also use prunes in our chicken and pork dishes. And a family favorite is prune bars.