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1916 orange crop report

1916 orange crop report

1916: Riverside County orange packing house near Redlands with room for 250 workers.

This photo was published in the Dec. 24, 1916, Los Angeles Times. It accompanied a story by Howard C. Kegley reporting on the record orange harvest shipped to the East Coast:

The official Christmas tree of the civilized world is an evergreen laden with precious gifts. In the land of frost and snow the pine tree is symbolic of Christmas, but here in Southern California the citrus tree is recognized as the tree which means most at Christmastime, for it is evergreen and laden with big, round, golden balls, which are food for us if we partake of them, and gold for us if we sell them.

Before Christmas Day the citrus trees of Southern California will have laid $1,500,000 at the feet of those who are engaged in the gigantic industry. This magnificent Christmas present of the Goddess of Fruit is gut golden return from what is known as the holiday pool of oranges. Early in December of each year the eastern fruit buyers begin clamoring for oranges to supply the Christmas trade, and it is the harvest which results from this demand that creates the Christmas pool and pours into the pockets of the citrus belt fruit growers, pickers, packers and shippers the hundreds of thousands of dollars which make it possible for them to bestow upon the multitude of stores in the shopping centers an enormous and gratifying patronage…

According to Kegley, the reason for the record harvest was “that a portion of the orange crop matured at least a month ahead of time this year…. The result was that no less than 1,500 (railroad) cars of oranges went from here to eastern cities during the first three weeks in December.”

This photo appears to have been taken in late December 1916. A note on back of print reports the “house running with small number of employees because only a few cars are to be packed…”

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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