Sometimes you gotta
shake rattle and roll!

Harvest usually starts the first week in August and lasts till the end of the month.

Harvest time is determined by the pressure the prune flesh can withstand as well as its sugar concentration. A higher sugar content allows for a better dry down. However, the higher the sugar, the softer the flesh.

Harvest is done mechanically with two machines: a Shaker and a Receiver.

(Click on the photos below to watch a slide show)
The mechanical harvest uses two machines to harvest the prunes. Here the Shaker is shaking the tree while the Reciever catches the falling fruit.
(Click Prev or Next)Once the fruit is in the Reciever the fruit follows the conveyer belt to the sizing table.
(Click Prev or Next)The prunes pass over a fan that sends a jet stream of air through the fruit to help remove the leaves and sticks. The fruit is heavier so it falls on to the sizing table.
(Click Prev or Next)The sizing table allows the farmer to choose what size fruit he will take to the dehydrator. To keep the bigger fruit: links in the belt are widened, to keep smaller: fruit the gaps are closed.
(Click Prev or Next)Once the fruit has passed over the sizing table it is then dropped into field bins. The fall does not bruise the fruit.
(Click Prev or Next)When the bin is full the receiver will drop it in the row. After the row is finshed being harvested a Bin Carrier will come through and pick up the full bins.
(Click Prev or Next)Once the prunes are brought out of the orchard they loaded on to trucks. The trucks take the fruit to the Dehydrator which is just a few miles away.
(Click Prev or Next)
(Click on the photo below to see a harvesting video.)