Prune Plums of the Okanagan
Charlotte’s Plums is named after Charlotte Deacoff. Her memory is being honored by husband Glen and sons Jeff and Scott and their families, who have transformed their orchard from growing apples to growing Italian prune plums.
The History of Charlotte’s Plums
In 1891 the names of James McKenna and Michael Hereron were recorded as having taken up a pre-emption of the northwestern part of the Ellison District. After a few years, they dissolved their partnership and McKenna settled on the north half of the pre-emption. This included property later planted by Captain Harmon, later General Harmon. Around 1910, this became the original site of Harmon’s house, and a part of over 1000 acres he owned.
In 1965, Glen and Charlotte Deacoff purchased six acres with a single story house in the Ellison District. The orchard consisted of cherries, apricots, Italian prune plums, and Red Delicious and Newton apples. It also included Bradshaw plums, Bartlett and Anjou pears as well as peaches. In 1980, the lower bench of the property was replanted with MacIntosh apples.
Most cherries were removed from the top bench in the early 70s and transitioned into horse pasture. Glen and Charlotte both had jobs outside the orchard, but worked the land as well. In 1982, the pasture was converted back to apples, this time Red Delicious.
The Transition to Growing Plums
In 2014, we began removing peaches and apples on the upper bench to replace them with Italian prune plums. Since then, we have planted in stages and now have more than 1,200 existing trees in various stages of growth, as they were planted in successive years.
In 2021, we removed the remaining apple and cherry trees to make room for our expanding plum trees. This will eventually yield a total of approximately 2,500 trees. Italian prune plums begin to bear fruit in about three years, and we have been harvesting since 2016.
Processing of Dried Prune Plums
Harvest season begins in late August or early September and lasts approximately three weeks. The crop will be shaken off in stages. It is then washed, bagged, and frozen with the pits in.
To produce our wonderful dried plums, we slice and pit them from frozen. They are thawed in small batches and then dried and hand-packed in local commercial facilities in Kelowna. We are also developing other products with our plums, including a juice concentrate and a purée.
Where To Buy Charlotte’s Dried Plums
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Available now at: