In this stage we use machines called Side by Side. They are settled on each side of the tree to slightly shake the trunk. The fruit falls into the machine and then is transferred to bins.
This process is carried out manually using a metallic element, which is dragged through every branch of the tree, cutting of the fruits that are then deposited in mats and/or backpacks. Once filled, they are emptied into bins.
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It´s a place in the field with no trees where meshes are arranged on the floor for the prune to be distributed on, using solar energy for natural drying. After obtaining them optimum moisture percentage of the fruit (between 15-18%) the prune is collected and placed in bins.
The fruit from the bins is discharged into a cleaning pool to remove any traces of dust. The prune is then transferred to a final receiver through tapes, where trays are filled for the drying stage.
In this stage a final oven drying step takes place, that provides the fruit a complete and homogeneous dehydration.
The trays are filled with prunes. Once this process is completed, they are placed in another tray that is part of a large metal structure, where the prune is distributed for the next stage; drying in the oven.
There are wood ovens that work between 50-70 ºC and operate through boilers. This stage is of great importance as it provides a homogeneous and clean drying to the prunes. Once the optimum moisture percentage is obtained, the prunes are discharged to bins again.
At the end of the drying treatment, the prune is transferred from the field to the selection and calibration processesing plant.
This machine turns over the bins avoiding damage to the fruit.
The prune goes through different bars or sieves that separate the fruits according to their caliber, measured by the amount of fruits weighing one pound. Under the sieve, there are bins in which the calibrated fruit is collected.
The bins are emptied on a selection belt, where the prune passes throuhg and the leaves, branches, sticks and fruits with significant defects are manually removed. Subsequently, it goes to the calibration stage.
The calibrated bins are received and weighed in the storage room, where they are labeled with a lot number and kept until the commercialization or processing.
The prune is comercialized dehydrated. It’s available in bags of 20 and 30 kilos. This type of comercialization implies it will have to go through a process before being consumed.
The prune is hydrated through a process of water and pressure, where it is softened to be "ready to eat". The pitt can be left inside or it can be mechanically removed. If the client requires it, preservatives are applied (potassium sorbate, that helps avoiding the appearance of microorganisms), and/or mineral oil (to improve visual appearance). The commercialisation format is in 10 kilos boxes.