By Ellen Walsh

If we have a secret, I would have to say it's in the processing.

”Says third generation prune farmer John Taylor, when asked

how he makes his prunes so moist. “When you dry the prunes,

you have to think of it as cooking. It's a lot of hands on.

We test the moisture by touch."

The Taylor family members have been farming in the outlying areas of Yuba City since 1916. Grandfather Earl Taylor passed the torch on to son George, nurturing over 100 acres of land that produced cherries, peaches, walnuts and prunes. George's sons, John and Richard, lived the farmer's version of the American Dream for their entire youth. Weekdays after school were spent walking home on farm roads with hardly any traffic on them, and weekends were spent carrying bushels of peaches and prune baskets to the local corner, where for 50 cents, you, too, could have your own bushel of fruit.

We were just typical boys, muses Richard, older brother to John. You'd think there was no trouble to get into, but we'd think of something. Like the time we got into a peach fight, and nobody could buy any peaches as they drove by because we were busy throwing them at each other?

Both men laughed, recalling the simpler days of American farm life. However things were destined to change. Issues revolving around the preservation of the American agricultural system coupled with progress, came to the forefront. In the Taylor family, the 100 acres gradually became 300 acres, and as John and Richard matured, the agricultural future of the family took a different turn.

Richard Taylor studied farm management at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, while younger brother John majored in Plant Science at California State University at Fresno. Their education made them unafraid to try the new improved technology and equipment available in today's market. Wanting to grow and sell great tasting products with preservation of the earth in mind, the Taylors inched their way into organic farming. In 1989, Taylor Brothers Farm's started converting their farm to organic, and everything conformed to the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) program. Today, Taylor Brothers is a large supplier of organic prunes in the U.S. market, however their impact in Europe and Asia is even greater.

Harvest Ripe, Process Ripe

The main priority of Taylor Brothers Farms, Inc, has always been the quality of their product. Picking their prunes at the height of their brix levels has made them the number one choice for taste in the American market, and it has made them the number one choice in Japan, and other International markets. Fresh tasting, moist prunes not only taste better, they retain a higher level of health properties. This has created a very strong market for them in Japan. Leading Japanese retailer Jusco Markets remains their number one fan,and exports into Japan represents 70% of their entire export business.

“People take a teaspoon of this stuff a day,

because it is so high in antioxidants, that it keeps people well."

The future in organic prunes is in processing, not in increased orchard production,”says John, and in fact, 1990 and 1991 had seen increased efforts in exporting, as well as processing. Those efforts have paid off handsomely, but not without a lot of effort and smart work on the part of John and Richard Taylor. Traveling to Europe and Asia over 5 times a year each in search of new markets, their efforts have paid off in business that has remained loyal, year after year.

Even when the larger American Corporations have gone after our business and tried to under cut our prices, we still keep the business. I think it is because we understand the level of quality that the Japanese market requires. We make a prune concentrate that we can only sell in Japan, says John. People take a teaspoon of this stuff a day, because it is so high in antioxidants, that it keeps people well. Americans just don't want to eat that –not yet, anyway!”

Prunes as an Ingredient for

Newly Discovered Health Considerations

The discovery that prunes act as a bacteria inhibitor as well as a moisture extender, has been a motivating factor to create a prune based product that can be used as an ingredient in both baking, and moisture retention in meat. Taylor Brothers and the California Dried Plum Board have worked hand in hand to create such a product. Taylor Brothers makes a prune powder that has 4 - 5% moisture. It's high moisture retention and high antioxidant properties have made this a superior product. Available in 40 lb bags in heavy sealed plastic, please speak to Richard or John about how this product can fit into your product needs.

Other Great Links
Antioxidant Levels in Prunes
Taylot Brother's Product List
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