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Join us as we celebrate 100 years of history!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

For an entire century, Sunsweet has been inspiring consumers to eat well and to enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The company has a rich heritage and deep roots within the growers’ valley of California. But where did it all start?

Once upon a time in California…

Believe it or not, the Sunsweet story began with just one man, Louis Pellier, who imported prune orchard stock from France to California. Louis Pellier introduced Agen prunes to the region in 1850. But it wasn’t until 1917 that Sunsweet was formed. A group of farmers founded and named it the Sunsweet California Prune and Apricot Growers Association. In that first year alone, they handled 43% of the state crop. Today, the company is 250 growers strong, producing 40,000 cases of fruit and juice every single day and exporting to more than 45 countries around the world. In fact, the Sunsweet Growers, as it is now known, is one of the world’s most successful agricultural cooperatives!

Generational Experience and Innovation

Many growers within the cooperative are from family businesses and bring generations of expertise to the craft of cultivating prunes. While building on learnings from the past, Sunsweet has always had an eye on the future too, striving for innovation and improvement. In 1966, for example, Sunsweet patented a unique pitting system. No other prunes in the world are pitted with the same precision and care as Sunsweet prunes, resulting in fruit that is rounder, plumper and more flavourful. The ‘Smart Pitter’ has been improved over the years and remains patented to this day. No doubt, the original Sunsweet farmers, of 1917, would be proud that their cooperative continues to grow, innovate, improve and deliver the best prunes possible to customers.

When plums are dried into prunes, the dehydration concentrates their flavour. The prune becomes about one third of its original size but retains its nutritional value. Did you know that Sunsweet prunes:

  • Contain just over 7g fibre per 100g, that’s about a quarter of your daily needs.
  • Are a source of vitamins like B6 that can help you feel less tired and Vitamin K that supports the maintenance of normal bones.
  • Count towards your 5-a-day with just 4/5 prunes classed as a serving.

A very special place

Sunsweet growers know good farmland when they see it. Sunsweet prune plum orchards are only planted, in the rich soil of lush regions, with rain-free summers and cool but not freezing winters. There are only a handful of places like that on earth and the birthplace of the Sunsweet prune - the San Joaquin Valley - is one of the very best.

It goes without saying, that Sunsweet farmers have strong ties to the land and so it’s only natural for them to be committed to the preservation of nature and to lead the way in green innovation. You can find out more about Sunsweet’s green credentials on the website.

A very special company

Despite the passing of 100 years, Sunsweet’s passion for all-things prune has remained undiminished. The company has an award-winning commitment to quality and customer service and is always investing to ensure the best quality prunes in the world. And the good news for you? All of these measures help Sunsweet to grow prunes that are deliciously plump, succulent and tasty for you to enjoy.

Here’s to the next 100 years!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.