( Courtesy California Prune Board )

The California prune harvest has wrapped up, with early forecasts of a short crop at 45,000 metric tons, a 37% drop from the previous season.

Combined with “carry-in” from last season however handlers should have sufficient supplies for the season, according to the California Prune Board, Roseville, Calif.

Growers worked through COVID-19 disruptions and wildfires during harvest, but the “optimum range of sizes” sets up excellent opportunities to market the crop this season, according to a news release from the board.

“While the pandemic has fueled consumers’ focus on healthy foods, the California prune industry regularly promotes the nutritional profile and invests in nutrition research that elevates the health benefits of prunes,” Donn Zea, executive director of the board, said in the release. “We are grateful that so many consumers have chosen California prunes during this time. We plan on doing everything we can to earn and keep their trust.”

The industry is focused on maintaining a balance of supply and demand through the season, according to the release.

During the 2019 season, which ended July 31, California prune exports rose 17%, and domestic shipments were 12% higher than the previous season, according to the board.

The California Prune Board represents about 800 growers, who produce about 40% of the world’s supply on 40,000 acres, according to the release.

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