California Cured Fruit Association

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Summary
Active

1900 - 1903
Aliases

California Cured Fruit Union

The California Cured Fruit Association was an early grower's cooperative selling dried fruit from California, founded in 1900. The company was described as one of many growers' cooperatives, in the same vein as Campbell Fruit Growers Union or Berryessa Fruit Growers Union; all the local associations in the Santa Clara valley were also members[1]. Branches were also formed outside the Santa Clara Valley[2].

Early proponents were Charles Wesley Childs and Judge H. G. Bond. The company was founded at a convention of dried fruit producers was held on January 15-17, 1900 to discuss the plan[3]. The association would try to maintain a price for the crop. The initial meeting triggered the sign-up of 3,800 growers - 75% of dried fruit growers, and the threshold set by the founders to start the organization. The first act for the association was to negotiate contract with 65 packers to receive and handle the members' crops. The creation of the association spurred the packers to organize their own cooperative - the California Packers Company - to pool sales and earnings. The association's first season of sales was the fruit from the summer of 1900[4].


Fate was against the Cured Fruit Asociation from the start[5]. 1900 was an all-time record crop, as were the crops in France, Bosnia, and Serbia. It was impossible to sell even small California prunes in Europe. Nonaffiliated packers simply set their prices at $10 a ton below the association's prices. Some growers seemed to sell outside the system - rather thn the association's 22 million pounds, 59 million were sold. Only 47% of the crop was sold by June 1901.

There were disagreements over the associations role - whether it should be only a marketer, or should also handle packing. The association's construction of a packing house in Santa Clara in 1902[6] declared the organization's interest in production. Some growers, led by Joshua Newby, sued over the association's act[7]. The Napa Fruit Company association similarly protested the association's expansion[8].

The association went bankrupt in 1903 when they couldn't sell the record crops of 1900 and 1901 at high enough prices.

Locations

Location Years Address Details
Campbell

Interior photo in Sunsweet Story.

San Jose 1902 69 W. Santa Clara Street
Santa Clara 1901, 1906

Packing house

References

  1. September 4, 1901 San Jose Evening News.
  2. Hayward fruit growers have formed a branch of the California Cured Fruit Association: March 26, 1900 San Jose Evening News].
  3. Robert G. Couchman, The Sunsweet Story. Sunsweet Growers, 1900.
  4. List of Delivery Spots: [http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1900-07-29/ed-1/seq-25.pdf July 29, 1900 San Francisco Call.
  5. Robert G. Couchman, The Sunsweet Story. Sunsweet Growers, 1900.
  6. October 11, 1902 San Jose Evening News.
  7. Injunction Dissolved: August 22, 1901 Los Angeles Herald.
  8. Letter to the Editor: July 20, 1901 Pacific Rural Press.