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Santa Cruz County History - Making a Living
Shippers and Shipments of Apples [in 1894-95]
As the Pajaro Valley Fruit Exchange is, like a single American coin, but "one of many" of the institutions engaged in the packing and shipping of apples, its experience will serve to illustrate the wonderful increase in that line of business.
The following firms are also engaged in handling the apple crop of this productive sesction: M. Rabasa, M.N. Lettunich & Co., Scurrich Bros., N. Banaz, F.P. Marinovich, J.L. Ivancovich & Co., M. Rilovich & Ro., Puhiera & Strasicich, Gravosa Fruit Co., J.P. Miovich, M. Gerkovich, A.W. Condit & Co., Prettyman & Wolf, and M.L. Woody.
I take the following extracts from the Pajaronian, published March 7, 1895:
"For over ten years this point has been a source of supply for small fruits for the San Francisco market, and has always shipped apples in some quantity; but the growth of the latter interest has been most marked in the past six or seven years.
"Fruit shippers have been in the habit of buying orchards during the spring––'in the blossom,' as it is called. The immunity from crop failure has protected them to some extent in this daring form of purchase. Such a system of purchasing fruit––figuring on a blossom outlook––is unknown elsewhere, and would break the solidest New York apple buyer if he tried it in the apple districts of his State. Year after year our orchards blossom and the trees bear heavily, and our orchardists do not figure on a crop failure in their apple orchards.
"Comparatively but a small amount of the crop is handled by growers. Nearly all of it is bought in the blossom stage.
"In the picking and packing the inspection made of fruit intended for Eastern shipment is as critical as that performed for entries to horticultural exhibits, and with excellence in quality, perfection in form and coloring, and freedom from pests, the Pajaro Valley apple has secured a foothold in the Eastern markets that enables it to stand upon its merits, and they are such as to cause a yearly increasing demand for it.
"In the East apples are packed in barrels containing from three to four boxes, and the fruit is more or less bruised in making up the package.
"In this section the pine or fir box, containing about fifty pounds of apples, is used exclusively for Eastern apple shipments. It makes a neat case, and the quantity of fruit is of more desirable size than the barrel for the retail purchaser.
"Most of the Eastern shipments are of the first grade, and pack four tiers to the box in the larger varieties. Experienced buyers for the Eastern market state that in no section of the United States is the apple as well packed as by the shippers of the Pajaro Valley. Well packed and true to name and quality fruit is bound to find a market, and this fact is thoroughly understood in our packing houses."
The Southern Pacific Railroad agents, E. E. Harvey, of Watsonville, and Mr. Rogers, of Pajaro, kindly furnished the Pajaronian the following list of apple shipments to Eastern points from Pajaro Valley during the season of 1894-95:
Shipments from the Watsonville Depot
|Colorado Springs, Co||1,596||3|
|Kansas City, Mo||1,720||3|
|St. Louis, Mo||1,246||2|
|New Orleans, LA||500||1|
|Ft. Worth, Tx||613||1|
|St. Joseph, Mo||500||1|
|Sioux City, La||550||1|
Shipments from the Pajaro Depot
|San Antonio, Tx||2,510||5|
|New Orleans, La||2,700||5|
Total to Eastern points: 238 cars, 128,596 boxes, 6,429,800 pounds of apples alone.
In the week following the publication of the above figures, seven additional carloads were shipped to the East, which, with the thirty or thirty-five carloads awaiting shipment in the packing houses at that time, make the neat grand total of about 275 carloads of apples as the export product of the valley in the season of 1894-95.
Concluding, in an article on this subject, the Pajaronian of March 7, 1895, says:
"The area of apple orchards has been steadily increased until the acreage now planted will be able--when in full bearing--to supply not less than 2,000,000 boxes annually, or about 4,000 carloads."
It will be borne in mind that the above figures do not include any account of apples shipped to other points on this Coast, nor to any country touched by the Pacific Ocean (where, as stated before, a large and increasing trade has been built up); nor do they include the tons of apples dried in the valley for shipment to State points.
[This is an excerpt from "Santa Cruz County; a faithful reproduction in print and photography of its climate, capabilities, and beauties." 1896. pp. 90-91. RAP–ed.]
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