What makes California Prunes different? Everything.
It’s the legendary Petit d’Agen plum that was brought to California from France during the Gold Rush and grafted onto wild American plum stock. It’s the long growing seasons in California’s lush valleys with rich soil warmed by a steady sun and cool evening temperatures. It’s the hundreds of growers who hand-tend each tree to cultivate the perfect fruit. It’s the most rigorous agricultural standards of any place on earth. It’s the practice of drying prunes in climate-controlled tunnels, which California growers have honed into a precise art, balancing temperature, humidity and time. It is all these things combined that make a prune a California Prune.
California Prunes are descendants of the original imported Petit d’Agen stock. Unlike other varieties, these prune plums ripen fully on the tree — pit and all — without fermenting. California grows 99% of the total United States’ production of prunes and 40% of the world’s supply. Today, there are about 46,000 acres of California Prune orchards concentrated in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.