Samuel Armor.

History of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present online

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Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 21 of 191)
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doubtless accounts for the domesticated plants yielding good returns on the alkali
soils near the sea coast in Southern California. There is also an indirect benefit
from planting such lands to beets, in fertilizing, aerating and enriching the soil for
other crops, that is said to be even more valuable than the direct benefit. But. to
gain these advantages and produce our own sugar instead of buying it abroad, large
investments of capital are necessary, some of which have been made, and must
be maintained perpetually. Therefore, in justice to such investments and for the
good of Orange County and the country generally, it becomes the patriotic duty
of every loyal citizen to protect the beet sugar industry from hostile legislation,
and to encourage its legitimate development, to the full extent of his ability.



CHAPTER XXVIII

ORANGE COUNTY'S FRUITS, GRAINS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits

Orange County has such an infinite variety and wealth of pi'oducts that it
would be impossible to give a detailed account of each within the limits of this
work. Fairly complete descriptions of the orange, walnut and celery industries
have been presented ; but only a brief reference can be made to some of the other
more lucrative productions without undertaking to give an exhaustive list.

Nearly every kind of fruit known to the temperate zones and many kinds
from the torrid zone have been tried here with more or less success. Some seem
to be well suited to the soil and climate ; but they are seriously handicapped with
insect pests, which experts are learning how to eradicate. Some do better on one
kind of soil than on another ; some prefer higher elevations than others ; and some
thrive best inland and others near the coast. Practically all kinds of conditions can
be found within the confines of Orange County ; and enterprising growers are
constantly experimenting to find out just what conditions and localities are best
suited to each kind of fruit.

Although Orange County is not rated as an apple-growing section, yet con-
siderable of this fruit is grown in some parts of the county. Apples do very well
on the damp lands near the coast, provided the roots do not reach standing water.
They also thrive as well in certain choice localities in the mountains, as they do in
the famous apple regions farther up the coast. The statistician's report for 1910
gives 12,795 bearing and 1,540 non-bearing trees, producing 511,800 pounds of
fruit, worth $5,118. The Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce's estimate for 1919
was $50,000.

The apricot seems to be well adapted to the conditions that prevail in this
county, with one exception. Occasionally the spring rains injure the blossoms and
cause a light crop. Possibly this defect in the conditions may be overcome, or at
least minimized, by continually selecting the most hardy and latest blooming trees
for planting ; but, even as it is, the apricot is one of the moderately profitable fruits
of the county. A good crop of apricots, at the prices which have prevailed for
several years ])ast, will net the grower about $250 per acre. The number of trees
credited to Orange County is 167,240 bearing and 23,370 non-bearing. The
statistician for 1910 gave the dried apricots from that j^ear's crop as 1,700,000



160 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

pounds, worth $170,000; but he took no account of the fresh apricots that were
marketed and consumed before the drying commenced. The pits amounted to
105 tons, worth $12,600. The estimate for 1919 was $200,000.

The avocado was discussed in the April, 1919, Bulletin of the State Com-
mission of Horticulture in part as follows:

"In Volume VI, No. 1 of the Monthly Bulletin, Mr. I. J. Condit of the Uni-
versity of California, listed fifty-four varieties of the avocado that originated in
California, and eighty-six of foreign origin, or a total of 140 named varieties.
With this large number to select from, a real problem exists to determine the
varieties that are best for California conditions. Already considerable experi-
mental work has been done, and it is now known that there are places that are
not subject to frost where certain varieties of avocado will do well. Commercially
the industry is of little importance at present. Fruit sells in the larger cities of
the state for exorbitant prices and seventy-five cents for a single fruit is a price
that is frequently paid by the consumer. Prices have been so high that the fruit
has not yet become generally known in this country, and there is no way of judging
of its popularity, although most people who have tried it sound its praises."

In the chapter on "Semi-Tropic Fruits in Orange County," C. P. Taft gives
a complete account of experiments with the avocado and results obtained. He
mentions one variety whose fruits weigh from two to four pounds or more each,
which would be considerable fruit even though the price is high. As to produc-
tiveness he cites one tree, the "Taft," which produced over $500 worth of fruits
in 1917 and over $600 worth in 1919. He says the "Sharpless" tree, owned by
B. H. Sharpless of Tustin, has done equally well. Both are among the oldest
trees in the county.

In answer to an inquiry about the correctness of the report that his tree had
produced $5,0(t0 worth of fruits and buds, Mr. Sharpless supplied the following
information : The Sharpless avocado was planted in 1901 and bore its first fruits
in 1912, when it bore 2 fruits; in 1913, 20 fruits; in 1914, 75 fruits; in 1915, 250
fruits; in 1916, 700 fruits. He says, "Now you will notice the crop has not been
so heavy since 1916; but when I tell you that there have been 10,000 buds a year
cut from the tree — and buds cut this year take ofl: next year's fruit wood — it is a
wonder there is any fruit at all. And $5,000 is the value of fruit and buds up
to this year. It looks as though there were 800 fruits on the tree for next year,
as the tree has the habit of the Valencia orange, which blossoms in April and
May and the fruit does not mature until the following year." One dollar apiece
or ten dollars a dozen is the price for the Sharpless avocado fruit.

Bearing fig trees to the number of 2,500 were reported in 1910; but nothing
was said about the quantity and value of the fruit produced.

In the early '80s, the grape was one of the leading fruits in the territory now
included in Orange County — especially in the northern part. The first vineyards
were of the Mission variety, either planted by the padres or with cuttings from
vineyards of their planting. These grapes were used principally for making wine.
Later, Malaga, Aluscatel and other varieties were introduced, some of which were
used almost exclusively for making raisins. This locality acquired quite a reputa-
tion abroad both for its wines and its raisins ; besides, a great many carloads of
table grapes were shipped every season to the middle western states. In the latter
part of the '80s some kind of a disease appeared in the vineyard at Anaheim and
gradually spread over the vineyards of Southern California. It was most de-
structive of the finer varieties, and completely wiped out the raisin industry of this
section. The tonnages of grapes for 1910 was 490, worth $3,600.

Grape fruit is highly prized by many people as an appetizer at breakfast and
is therefore grown to a limited extent. The crop for 1910 was valued at $3,840.

The lemon industry has not proved so attractive to growers as the orange
industry, partly on account of the necessity for curing the fruit before marketing
and partly on account of the sharper competition of the foreign article in the



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 161

Eastern market. Relief was afforded on the latter point by Congress raising the
tariff' on lemons from one to one and a half cents a pound; now more lemons are
being planted than heretofore. The crop of 1910 amounted ta 43,392 boxes,
valued at $151,872. The value of the icn9 crop was $3,500,000.

In comparison with the lemon crop, the size and value of the orange crop for
1910 may be given here, although that industry is described elsewhere, as follows:
oranges, 840,960 boxes, valued at $1,261,440. That of 1919 was valued at
$12,000,000.

Very few people in the county have paid any attention to the growing of
olives; nevertheless there were 520 tons raised in 1910, worth $26,000. The 1919
crop value, including olive oil, was $125,000.

Peaches seem to require about the same conditions that apples and pears do
and therefore thrive best in the same localities. The peach crop for 1910 was
reported to be 575,250 pounds, valued at $5,752 ; the pear crop was 108,500 pounds,
valued at $1,085.

There are 1,270 bearing plum trees in the county, producing 38,100 pounds of
fruit in 1910, valued at $762. The county is also credited with 17,320 bearing
prune trees.

A few scattered growers raised 8,000 crates of raspberries, in 1910, worth
$8,000 ; there was also grown 19,000 crates of strawberries, worth $20,900. Berries
of all kinds were estimated in 1919 at $125,000.

Grains

Grouping alfalfa under this head, because it is a forage plant and no sub-
division has been made for grasses, we will take up that product first. Alfalfa,
is the main reliance of the farmers for green feed ; and it will grow anywhere in
the county that other vegetation will grow. It is a deep-rooted, perennial plant
and will not thrive with standing water near the surface ; on the other hand it
will not continue to grow vigorously on the mesa without frequent irrigations in
the summer season. It cannot be pastured a great deal, because the tramping
injures the crown of the plant ; but irrigate it once a month during the summer
.season and eight or nine crops of hay can be cut from it each year. Many of the
fruit-growers have small patches of alfalfa near their barns; but the large-sized
fields can only be found in the dairy, or general farming section. The acreage and
vield for 1910 were reported as follows : alfalfa, 4,000 acres, 20,000 tons, value
$200,000.

Barley is grown both for the grain and the hay. In the former case it is
allowed to thoroughly ripen and is then headed, threshed and sacked ready for
the market. In the latter case it is cut while the grain is in the dough and the
leaves are still green, and is then raked and cocked. As there is no fear of rain
in the summer season, the farmer takes his own time for baling or stacking the
hay, as the unthreshed straw and grain together are called. More often the hay
is baled out of the cock ; but even when stacked it is generally baled later. The
statistician gives the following figures on the acreage and yield of the barlev har-
vested for grain in the county in 1910: barlev, 34,120 acres, 27,296 tons value
$545,920. For 1918, 660,000 bushels or 15,840 tons.

A third of a century or more ago there was considerable corn raised in the
cultivated portions of the present territory of Orange County. They used to tell
fabulous stories about the immense yields in the Gospel Swamp region southwest
of Santa Ana. In fact, good crops of corn could be grown almost anywhere in
the county, if irrigated on the upland, and can yet. In the article on livestock it
is stated that the number of hogs had decreased in the county because the land
could be used more profitably for other purposes than in raising feed for hogs.
Well, here is corn, one of the best of hog feeds, that is not raised very extensively
in a county which is adapted to its growth because the land can be used more profit-
ably for other products. The .statistician's figures for the 1910 crop are: corn,
2,690 acres, 1,345 tons, value $-10,350. For 1018, 36,000 Inishels or 1,033.2 tons.



162 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

Oats are preferred by some people for horse feed; but they are not so exten-
sively grown as barley, because they are more liable to rust. However, the statis-
tical report fo[ 1910 gives the following figures: oats, 4,375 acres, 1,750 tons,
value $52,500.

Wheat is also one of the light crops of Orange County for the same reasons
that corn and oats are light crops : nevertheless there is quite a little of the hill
land devoted to wheat as shown by the figures on the 1910 crop, as follows:
wheat, 5,000 acres, 2,500 tons, value $87,500. For 1918. 5,600 bushels or 168 tons.

Grain hay is given in the report without indicating the kind — barley, oats or
wheat — or how much of each kind is included. These three grains must, there-
fore, be credited collectivelv in 1910 with the following additional yield : grain hay,
25,350 acres, 16,742 tons, value $200,904. The 1919 crop value was $1,000,000.

Vegetables

This _subdivision includes a great variety of products, some of which are
grown for the wholesale market and others for the retail trade. The Chinese and
Japanese gardeners and vegetable peddlers may be grouped in the latter class.
It is doubtful whether the statistician got much of the data on the products
peddled out by the growers, or even on that retailed through the local grocery
stores. However, the same criticism may be applied to the other subdivisions,
though to a less extent ; the report of products consumed at home or sold or
bartered to neighbors must necessarily be incomplete.

The county is credited in the statistical report with producing 38,000 pounds
•of asparagus in 1910, worth $1,900.

The bean industry is becoming one of the important industries of this county.
As an introduction to the subject, a paragraph is quoted from an exhaustive
article by George \\'. Ogden, as follows :

"The lima beans of commerce do not grow to maturity back east. Those
you buy dry in the stores at all seasons are ripe beans and not green beans dried.
They grow in only two places on the globe. Southern California and the island of
JMadagascar. The lima beans of commerce do not grow on poles, but tun along
the ground like sweet potato vines. Five counties in Southern California supply
the United States and Canada with lima beans. England uses the Madagscar
crop, so there is no competition anywhere for the growers of California. The
California lima bean crop of 1910 amounted to 1,175,000 bags, a bag averaging a
little over 80 pounds, and the gross returns to the growers was $5,000,000. Santa
Barbara. A'entura. Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego are the five lima bean
producing counties of California, and within their confines is embraced all the
land in the entire United States upon which this peculiar plant will bring its fruit
to maturity."

Thus is Orange County found to be in very select and exclusive company in
this industry. The real beginning of the lima bean growing on a large scale dates
back to 1886, when James Irvine, owner of the San Joaquin rancho, planted 120
acres as an experiment. Although the industry was successful from the start, the
farmers were slow in following Mr. Irvine's advice and example. In 1909 he
had 17,000 acres of his ranch in beans, which is said to be the largest bean field
in the world belonging to a single individual. Besides the San Joaquin ranch, the
mesa about Huntington Beach and Smeltzer and the La Habra valley produce
large quantities of beans. There were 28,000 acres planted to beans in the county
in 1910 producing 210,000 sacks, worth $672,000. The bean straw makes very
good feed, of which there was 550 tons, valued at $2,200. The lima bean crop in
1918 amounted to 473,000 bushels or 354,750 sacks ; all kinds, 696,000 bushels or
522,000 sacks. The value of the 1919 bean crop (ninetv per cent limas) was
$3,000,000.

Large fields of cabbage are grown in the winter season about Anaheim, Ful-
lerton and other parts of the county: and the product is shipped East when the



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 163

markets of that section are bare of fresh vegetables. The 1^10 crop is reported
at 5,900,000 pounds, worth $54,100. In 1918, 300 cars, worth $120,000.

The celery industry, which is more particularly described elsewhere, yielded
in 1910 1,212 cars, worth $27^,720. In 1919 the crop value was $100,000.'

The cauliflower crop amounted to 11,970 crates in 1910, valued at $5,985.

Melons of every kind are grown in the county, of large size and fine flavor,
and in sufficient quantities to supply the local demand.

Peanuts do well in this county and are grown to a considerable extent between
the tree rows of young orchards ; but, on account of the Japanese competition, they
are not so profitable as some other kinds of crops. The crop of 1910 amounted
to 60,000 pounds, worth $2,400.

Peas are among the winter vegetables that are grown on the mesa near the
foothills, where there is comparatively little frost. The quantity and value of the
1910 crop were reported to be 160,000 pounds, worth $4,000.

The most of the chili peppers are grown about Anaheim, which has acquired
quite a reputation with this product. They are grown in rows like potatoes, requir-
ing frequent irrigation, and are artificially cured in dry houses. The crop of 1910
was reported as follows: chile peppers, green, 40 tons, worth $8,000; chili peppers,
dry, 100 tons, worth $20,000. The Federal Bureau of Crop Estimates says that
practically all of the chili peppers grown in the state are grown in Orange County.
The estimate for 1919 is $1,125,000. First prize for chili peppers at the recent
Riverside County Fair was won by John B. Joplin of the San Joaquin Ranch. He
won second prize for chili peppers at the Huntington Beach Fair.

The soil and climate of Orange County are well adapted to the growing of
potatoes — Irish potatoes, as they are called to distinguisli them from sweet pota-
toes. The potatoes grown in this county, particularly on the upland, are of me-
dium size, with a smooth, clean surface, and cook evenly throughout, producing
a mealy pulp not unlike crumbly cake or well-cooked rice. Two crops are raised
each year, one from the early spring planting and the other from the late summer
or early fall planting. The yield reported for 1910 was 250.000 sacks, worth
$250,000 : the 1919 crop had a" value of $750,000.

Credit is claimed on behalf of the late Thomas Nicholson of El Modena for
introducing the sweet potato into the state. He shipped more or less of his
product to San Francisco and from there the seed potatoes were conveyed to other
parts of the state. He secured a silver medal for his product at the Columbian
Exposition in Chicago. The crop for 1910 is given at 30.000 sacks for the county,
worth $37,500. That for 1919 is valued at $200,000. "The sweet potato now
ranks second in value among all the vegetables of the United States, having in-
creased in this respect more than eighty per cent in the last ten years. The crop
of 1917 was worth $90,000,000 and the crop of 1918 is estimated to be worth
almost $117,000,000. In a recent conference at Birmingham, Ala., representatives
of the U. S. De])artment of Agriculture and horticulturists and pathologists from
the Southern States discussed every phase of planting, cultivating, storing and
marketing the sweet potato. The time when it was allowed to decay in primitive
dirt beds in the open fields has long since passed." — The Youth's Companion.

Pumpkins make valuable food for stock — especially milk cows — and are
grown everywhere the farmers wish. The average size is about that of a half
bu.shel measure : but some of them grow so large that it takes two men to load
one of them into a wagon. Photographs of fields literally covered with them and
labeled "Some Pumpkins" may be seen in almost any collection of picture cards
in this part of the state. The pumpkins are generally Sold by the wagon load
for a lump sum to those who keep a family cow or two, but haven't sufficient land
upon which to raise their own stock feed. They are not shipped any distance;
hence there is no record of the quantity grown in the county.

Thousands of acres of land in the western and southwestern part of Orange
County are well adapted to the growing of sugar beets. Besides suitable land
the industry needs capital to provide factories to work up the product of such



164 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

land. The first factory was established about 1896 at Los Alamitos b}' Senator
W. A. Clark of Montana. As soon as the factory was provided the beets were
grown and they proved to be the equal of any grown elsewhere. It was also dis-
covered that one factory was entirely inadequate to work up all the beets that
could be furnished. Another factory was therefore built south of Santa Ana about
1908; and during the next three years three more sprang into being, one near
Anaheim, another near Huntington Beach, and still another near Tustin. With
the five factories in operation in 1918, they worked up 216.000 tons of beets
grown in Orange County and a considerable tonnage grown in Los Angeles County.
Orange Countv is credited in some of the published statistics with producing
$10,500,000 worth of sugar in 1919, but probably $8,000,000 is nearer the mark.

When once started, tomatoes will propagate themselves like weeds in this
county ; but, like other plants, the better the selection and care the better the
product. So far as natural conditions are concerned, there is practically no limit
to the quantity that might be produced ; the limit is in the profitable disposal of
the product after it is grown. The crop of 1910 was reported as follows : fresh
tomatoes, 2,568,000 pounds, worth $25,680; canned tomatoes. 20.000 cases, worth
$30,000. The crop of 1919, including tomato seed, is valued at $350,000.

The production of tomato seed for the marts of the world is being carried
on successfully by the Haven Seed Company, now located south of Santa Ana.
This company was established in 1875 at Bloomingdale. Mich., by the late E. M.
Haven. The seeds of this company soon attained a world-wide reputation for
purity and reliability which they still maintain to this day. A good name is a
valuable asset in any business, so the company grew and prospered in its first
location for many years'; but, notwithstanding its euphemistic title of Blooming-
dale, the place was badly handicapped for growing plants by its rigorous winter
climate.

Accordingly the Haven family moved to California in 1904. and made their
first planting in 1910 near Tustin. Different tracts were leased year after year,
tut always of increased acreage, until finally a tract containing 100 acres was pur-
chased on Edinger Street, just outside Santa Ana"s southern boundary, and a
half mile west of Main Street. On this tract, shortly after its purchase, an
office building and a warehouse were erected and the headquarters of the company
were established there. In 1918 a fine, large, three-story warehouse was built
of hollow tile, strengthened with reinforced concrete pillars. This building will
give ample room for cleaning, sacking and storing the seed ready for shipping,
and will have a fairly even temperature throughout on account of its hollow tile
construction. The building is equipped with modern machinery driven by elec-
tricity.

Three years ago, that is in 1917, the elder Haven died and left the business
to his sons whom he had trained until they knew every detail of the work. The
company was reorganized with A. B. Haven, the elder son, as president and gen-
eral manager, and L. S. Haven, the younger son, as secretary. The company was
capitalized at $100,000.

In 1918 the company produced 75,000 pounds of tomato seed and about
15.000 pounds of pepper, melon and miscellaneous varieties of seed. More than
$50,000 was paid out in wages. In 1919 the company is harvesting 400 acres
of tomato seed and 200 acres of lima beans, egg-plant, peppers, cucumbers, etc.
It expects to harvest about 100.000 pounds of tomato seed and other kinds in
proportion from the above acreage. That is. it expects to harvest 12.000 tons
of tomatoes from which it will extract approximately 100.000 pounds of seed,
or eight pounds of seed from each ton of tomatoes.

As the price of everything has advanced within the last three or four years
and still is unsettled, it is difficult to give what might be regarded as a fair average
of the annual productions of the company. However, the round figures on sales
for 1918 were approximately $200,000 for all kinds of seeds produced by the com-
pany, and it would be reasonable to expect as much from the 1919 harvest, which



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 165

is not yet completed at the date of this writing, or even more from the increased
acreage, noted above.

As a further indication of the advantageous conditions of Orange County
and the superior merits of its productions, the fact may be cited that this county, in



Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 21 of 191)