Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Citrus in Orange County

Today's image is another classic Orange County citrus crate label: Red Peak Brand from the Frances Citrus Association in Tustin.
This month's Garden Grove Historical Society newsletter reprints part of Marge Swenson's 1972 article about Bruce Smith's days as a citrus picker in the 1950s. The whole thing is interesting, but I'm only going to excerpt it here:

"...[Bruce] began by learning NOT to pick the entire stem (button) from the orange or it will deteriorate, mold and rot before it gets to the eastern market. A very short stem was ideal! If you pick the stem too long it will bruise the other oranges as they were handled along the way in the field boxes, the trucks, the chutes, and in the packing house.

"...[Pickers learned to use] clippers whose curved surface fit snugly into the palm of your hand. This, plus quickly but gently dropping [the oranges] into the special picker's sack you had over your shoulder. No only did you have to learn how to wear it properly as you got up and down the ladder, but how to quick-release the bottom of [the bag] into your field boxes."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too bad there aren't any citrus groves left in Tustin to go with the sign.