Plum harvest, like many other California crops, is a bit early this year. Perhaps it was the warm winter and mild spring that set trees ahead of typical schedule.
Fresno County, Calif. farmer John Chandler is harvesting his fresh-market Black Amber variety plums already. He says the crop looks good and is being harvested four days earlier than last year.
“Maybe it was the warm winter or the oddball spring we’ve been having; I don’t know,” says Chandler.
Chandler’s crop is destined for the nearby Sunwest Fruit Company in Parlier, Calif. From there it is shipped to locations based on market demand.
Chandler was in his first pick of plums. It is typical for crews to come in from two-to-four times to hand-pick plums based on ripeness.
“We don’t ever get to four picks,” he said. “Right now we’re picking for color.”
Fruit size seems a little smaller this year, which he credits more to the mild winter than the drought and shortage of water.
Chandler also grows grapes, almonds, citrus and peaches in Fresno County.