The California Prune Board was recently authorized to continue for another five years by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. During a public hearing, prune growers and processors spoke to the value that the board provides to the industry.
“We’re really pleased about it,” said Donn Zea, Executive Director of the California Prune Board. “The comments were all positive with some really good constructive criticism about ways to think about the future and we’re excited and honored that growers and handlers have that kind of confidence in us.”
Moving forward, the California Prune Board has outlined several priorities to focus on in the years ahead. Areas of emphasis include further nutrition and production research, as well as working towards improving trade conditions and market support. The board will also continue with industry unification efforts and building even greater global visibility for California prunes.
“Trying to get consumers’ mind- and stomach-share around the world with all of the different options they have is a challenge for anybody in the agriculture and food business,” said Zea. “We’re doing everything possible as strategically as possible to bring value back to growers and handlers and try to find new and innovative ways of educating people and introducing people to prunes not only as a snack but in the culinary arena.”
California producers are responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s prune supply, bringing quality prunes to market from more than 40,000 acres of production. Zea explained that while the global market can be tough, the quality of prunes that California producers provide helps keep the industry strong.
“There’s no way we can compete with cheaper producers in places like South America, it’s just impossible. California is an expensive place to do business in general and agriculture is no different,” Zea noted. “Our growers treat each and every tree that they grow in the prune business as a craft and what we end up doing is providing consumers the choice for the best, most premium prune in the marketplace.”