Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Watching the Prune Harvest

Have you ever seen prunes harvested?

Probably not.

This was my first chance to see them harvested by machine.

 I know "prunes" are not so popular any more. I love snacking on the sweet dried fruit. They used to be more in demand. The market was better and my husband's family had more prune orchards.

This year the harvest was small. The weather was slow to change this Spring. But, there were still some harvest-able prunes on the trees.

My husband suggested I bring the kids down to watch how it all works. He has fond memories of watching his Dad harvesting prunes when he was young. Of course our son is so much like his Daddy and was mesmerized by everything.

The prune picker is an impressive machine. 2 halves make up the whole, driven by two different people.

One person drives the shaker which fits around the tree and shakes it. The prunes come raining down with many heavy thuds...

This is the two halves put together around one tree for harvesting.

The other side is the receiver. My husband was driving this today. The prunes come down and funnel into a track on the receiver which has a belt to put them in a bin at the back.

We did take the opportunity to sample a few...

It is fun to see how the prunes go from the tree to the dryer, which is the next stop for these bins of prunes. My kids loves seeing Daddy at work, and my son loved seeing the new big machines.

So prunes are now done for the year. We will have to wait another full year before we get to see the prune picker in action again. I am pretty sure my son will be counting the days.
The next time you buy dried fruit, why not grab a prune? Call it a prune or dried plum, it tastes just as sweet!
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