From Plum to Prune
Aus Prunes are sweet plums of the D'Agen variety dried to roughly one third of their original moisture content. Most Aus Prunes are dried on the farms where they are grown.
Getting ready for the next season
You could say the year begins in autumn for Aus Prunes, because that's when the harvest is complete and the trees begin to lose their leaves and get ready for the next growing season. It's a surprise to most people to learn that the trees actually develop their flower buds at this time. Those buds will lay dormant over the winter season and burst into flower at the start of spring.
Winter in the orchard
In winter, the trees are dormant and that's when growers prune their trees and do many of the jobs that are needed to maintain a healthy orchard. Sometimes the local wildlife likes to visit and feed on the ground cover.
The trees come to life
The first signs of new growth come in early spring, with fragrant, white blossoms appearing on the trees. At this stage, some growers introduce extra bees into their orchards to help with the vital pollination process.
After only a week or so, the flowers drop away and the leaf buds burst into life. Soon the fruit will start to form.
It's great to see the plums forming in late spring and ripening up in the summer. At this time, growers are especially vigilant about watering, monitoring for unwanted pests and checking the sugar levels of their fruit.
It's time to harvest
The harvest usually starts in mid February and it takes just a few days for growers to collect all the plums from their trees. These days, that's done with a mechanical shaker which grabs trees by their trunks and shakes them vigorously. All the fruit falls onto a soft tarpaulin in a matter of just minutes.
From there, the plums are placed in large bins and then after thorough washing, they are placed on large trays which are fed into a dehydrator.
Now the newly dried prunes go to our Australian local packers where they are inspected, graded and finally processed and packed as our favourite Aus Prunes brands.