Prune Haulin’

John sent me these photos of him and his co-pilot out for a spin on a beautiful morning in lovely southwest Oregon.

We went out picking prunes today. They grow wild along the road in a number of places around our area. We dry them and enjoy them over the winter months.

As a point of interest, the Roseburg area (Douglas County, Oregon) has been variously called the “Turkey Capitol of the nation”, “The Prune Capitol of the nation”, and “The Timber Capitol of the nation.” The big turkey sheds are mostly gone now. The big prune orchards are gone but we still have one local commercial prune dryer in operation. The prunes growing beside the rural roads are a residual remnant of our agricultural history. And, finally, timber production in this area is just a shadow of what it was in the booming 70’s and 80’s.

John in Roseburg

Picking prunes along the roadside seems like a perfectly wonderful use for a bicycle built for two.

13 Responses to “Prune Haulin’”

  • Bob German says:

    Here in Iowa we call them “plums” which also grow wild but are of a smaller variety. After they are dried down, then they are “prunes”, just like grapes vs raisins. Fruit picking along the trails here also include mulberries, raspberries, and gooseberrries.

  • ksteinhoff says:

    I’m with Bob on that. Plums when “wet,” prunes when dry.

    Do Iowans use the expression, “You’re full of prunes,” as an affectionate way of saying you’re full of it? My MO dad used that all the time, usually when talking to us kids.

  • Jan Norris says:

    My friend Ken Steinhoff ( sent me here after reading the story about plum tart today (at It has a cycling connection: the gal who wrote it is reknown in California among cyclists. She was attacked by three men in a car several years ago while cycling along a rural road in California – and almost killed. She spent a year or more relearning basic skills like writing and reading. The men were caught, arrested and one convicted of, I believe, manslaughter.

    Her plum tart (we call them prunes once dried, but the plums she mentions are “Italian prune plums) is viable only this time of year — because that’s when those beautiful plums are available. Lucky John in California who can just ride around and pick them by the road; they don’t grow here in South Florida. But: Oranges and Key limes do!

  • JB says:

    Prunes are a type of plum. In the US, most prunes are sold dried, hence the widespread, but mistaken, belief that prune = dried plum.

    More importantly: Hooray for picking wild fruit! Double hooray for hauling it by bike!

  • Dave says:

    An inspiring way to keep moving in more than one way, you provide a great example of the lifestyle we all should aspire to.


  • ksteinhoff says:

    I just noticed that my sometime riding partner and the former food editor at my old paper had a post on her blog this morning about plums and Pflaumenkuchen.

    Thank goodness for cut-n-paste. Ain’t no way I could have spelled “Pflaumenkuchen.”

    She may show up here later with some other comments.

    Incidentally, Jan said the gal who posted her plum story is a cyclist “who was nearly killed when 3 men rode up beside her and tried to kill her on purpose; she was badly injured and had to learn to walk, speak and write again… One of the guys was convicted of attempted manslaughter or murder, I forget which.”

  • Barbara Kilts says:

    I’ve noticed in the store that what was once called prunes is now called dried plums – just a way to get away from that little old lady image! Hey, what ever they’re called, they’re tasty and good for ya!

    Years ago, back when I lived in Missoula, a bunch of us got together at an old apple orchard, loaded up panniers, baskets and trailers with macintoshes and rode across town where a apple press was waiting. Lots of sore arms later, we all took home a gallon each of the best taste of autumn – sweet!


  • bongobike says:

    Plums are called prunes and criminals are convicted of “manslaughter” even though the victim didn’t die. What a topsy-turvy post!

  • Jan Norris says:

    Sorry, and thanks for catching: I dropped a word — men were convicted on 3 counts of “attempted” vehicular manslaughter charges.

    And: Plums as we Americans know them are indeed called prunes in several cultures — particularly those in Eastern Europe and Germany. They indicate both fresh and dried fruits. In America, California’s Sunsweet Inc., which actually markets nearly three-fourths of the world’s dried plums (prunes) spent billions in marketing efforts to change the name of the product to “dried plums.” A cadre of young celebs was hired to promote them as “dried plums” to shake the fruit’s image as a natural laxative (which it is) for your granny. The program was a failure — we still call ‘em prunes.

  • daniel runyan says:

    Moved here from Medfod, OR. a few years ago. Wish I knew you guys then. I love plums. Miss the light traffic too.

  • ksteinhoff says:


    Jan’s typo of dropping the word “attempted” is why newspaper stories reporting trial verdicts used “guilty” and “innocent” instead of “guilty” and “not guilty.”

    If the word “not” got dropped anywhere along the process, the story would be wrong, wrong, wrong and could, in some cases, make a city go up in flames.

    It was a little confusing for readers who would look at a guy with a rap sheet a mile long and think the newspaper was nuts for considering him “innocent” as fresh-fallen snow, but there WAS a reason for it.

    That’s your Dead Trees factoid of the day.

  • skpedaler says:

    Can you give any information on the “how to” for drying of plums?

  • Jan Norris says:

    It’s too long to leave as a comment – and we’re kind of veering off topic to the cycling blog, so if you don’t mind coming over to my food blog for a second (click on my name above to get there) and emailing me from the Contact page, I’ll gladly send you the instructions for drying plums.
    jan n.

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