Home News Ag Economics Celebrating Prune Growers for California Farmer and Farmworker Month

Celebrating Prune Growers for California Farmer and Farmworker Month

October is California Farmer and Farmworker Month, and the California Prune Board is celebrating those within the industry who work so hard to produce the premium fruit that contributes to health and wellbeing.

“California’s prune growers and orchard workers have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to keep this wholesome fruit on tables and in pantries for families, frontline workers, and food banks,” said Kiaran Locy, California Prune Board, Director of Brand & Industry Communications, and Buy California Marketing Agreement board member. “While many Americans were sheltering in place and working from home, the California Prune industry worked together with retailers and distributors to ensure a consistent and stable supply of premium fruit.”

The California Prune industry generates more than $717 million in annual economic impact flowing into the state economy creating and sustaining more than 7,000 full-time equivalent jobs. California’s prune industry is an important economic driver that contributes to the economic health of the communities throughout the state.

“Choosing California Prunes and other California-grown food, wine, flowers, garden and nursery plants, directly supports and stabilizes our economy,” added Locy. “California is the largest producer of agricultural products in the nation and the largest producer of prunes in the world.”

California Prune growers steward 43,000 acres of land. Generations of growers across the Sacramento and
San Joaquin Valleys have brought a craftsmanship to cultivating their trees with the best orchard management practices. The California Prune industry has invested millions of dollars in agriculture and sustainability research that conserves energy, reduces water use, and improves the safety and quality of prune production while ensuring longevity for the industry.

Growing a healthy food takes dedication and California’s prune growers and orchard workers are part of the vital network of producers that provide nutritious school meals and pantry-stable wholesome fruits for the most vulnerable of our population. Each year California Prunes works with USDA to secure prune purchases for school nutrition programs and food banks which also helps support the livelihood of prune-growing communities.

As prune growers and orchard workers are an invaluable part of California’s ag community, the California Prune Board celebrates October California Farmer and Farmworker Month by spotlighting a series of meet-the-grower profiles, sharing videos on “What Makes California a Great Place to Grow Prunes” and “How I Got Into Agriculture,” alongside heritage recipes from grower families. The California Prune Board is further sharing these stories on social media channels throughout the month of October in partnership with #CAGROWN to honor the grower and orchard workers’ contributions and dedication to ensuring a safe food supply, even under the most daunting of circumstances.

Always in season, California Prunes are good for your gut, heart, and bones. With under 100 calories per serving this fruit has no added sugar and packs a powerful punch of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that support overall health and wellbeing.

California Prune fans can access heritage recipes from grower families by visiting:https://californiaprunes.org/california-prunes-101/our-growers/ and follow @CAPrunes on Instagram, Facebook,Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter.

Mitchell Family Prune Cake
What’s a prune farmer’s favorite way to eat prunes? Well, for the Mitchell family of Yuba City, Calif., the choice is easy: this old-fashioned prune cake recipe takes the (ahem) cake. A soft, prune-studded spice cake is covered in a buttery-sweet glaze that has everyone going back for another slice (or two.)

SERVINGS: 12 piecesPREP TIME: 20 minutesCOOK TIME: 1 hour

For the cake:

1 heaping cup California Prunes, minced (28-30 prunes)

2 cups boiling water

1 cup neutral baking oil or olive oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2 cups gluten-free flour +
2 teaspoons xanthan gum)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


For the icing:

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch coarse kosher salt



Place the minced prunes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 300°F and spray a 13×9 metal or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour (or gluten-free flour + xanthan gum), baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Stir to combine. Fold in the drained prunes and walnuts.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked through and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

While the prune cake is baking, make the icing:

Combine all the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan. It will seem like the pot is too big, but the sugar mixture needs room to swell up in the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or just before the softball stage.

While the cake is hot from the oven and still in the pan pour the icing over the cake. Use a fork to gently poke holes all around the top of the cake so that it can absorb the icing. Enjoy the Mitchell family’s Old-Fashioned Prune Cake at your next special occasion!

Recipe Notes: Sugar in the cake recipe can be substituted for 1/2 cup monk fruit.

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