California prune growers are stewards of the land and generations of growers across the state have brought craftsmanship to cultivating their trees using the highest agricultural standards around.

Now more than ever, as California experiences another year of drought, water conservation is critically important. The good news: Prunes use less water than many other crops grown across the state.

Because prune-growing doesn’t generate much waste and they don’t require much farm equipment, the crop has a lower carbon footprint per yield than most other crops. This means the overall process of getting prunes from trees into packages and out the door releases fewer greenhouse gases.

The California difference can also be seen among the multi-generational growers who have innovated practices passed down to them and carefully manage the resources on their land for their children and grandchildren.

  • Mike Vereschagin of Vereschagin Farms in Orland leverages micro-sprinkler irrigation to reduce water use by 30-35 percent and cultivates a robust cover-crop throughout his orchard to provide nutrients for the soil and food for honeybees.
  • John Taylor, co-owner of Taylor Brothers Farms in Yuba City, has experimented with beneficial bacteria to get the most out of his soil and his prune trees and injects nitrogen into his soil through a proprietary double-line drip irrigation system.
  • Michael Vasey, co-owner of Lindauer River Ranch in Red Bluff, has invested in five solar arrays to provide energy for all major electric needs and maintains a 100-acre riparian forest between his orchard and the Sacramento River to preserve native species of plants in their natural habitat.
  • Ranvir Singh of Feather River Farms in Marysville considers the indirect impacts to the environment and uses as small of a footprint as possible by closely observing his orchards to determine when to run his tractor to conserve fuel and allow the grasses to grow which serves as carbon capture and cleans the air.

Other local farmers are experimenting with integrated pest management, as well as a water well and pumping-plant technologies and tree-chipping to work organic matter back into the soil. Prune trees are self-pollinating, but many prune growers leverage bee boxes during bloom as an extra layer of insurance and support the health of the bees with nutritious orchard pollen. Prune orchards are often grown near other fruit and nut crops which also utilize bees and together these orchards protect pollinator health and allow the bees to leave stronger for pollinating other crops in the California ag eco-system.

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