California Cured Fruit Exchange

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1912 - 1916

The California Cured Fruit Exchange was a dried fruit grower's cooperative to control sale prices. The organization was started in 1912 in the northern Sacramento Valley, initially with 6 local associations[1] but expanding to 25 local associations. J. P. Dargitz, formerly of the California Almond Growers' Exchange, was the initial manager[2]; he was solicited to form the Exchange when several exchanges found they could not sell their crop at a sane price[3]. The article goes into serious detail on the operations of the exchange.</ref>. In its initial year, the exchange had control of fifty cars of dried fruit to sell. The next general manger, H. M. Ellis, left in March 1916 to work with Charles Virden at the California Fruit Distributors[4].

The association hit problems in 1916 and disappeared soon after. One likely cause for the failure was that the Exchange could not gain a large enough fraction of the market to control the prices, which the president of the association claimed[5]. The former secretary and treasurer for the association, Samuel Otis Walker, claimed ownership that he had lent money to the organization and placed liens against Exchange property, while the growers argued that Walker has misappropriated $98,000 of the Exchange's money[6]. A. & C. Ham bought equipment from their Emeryville plant in 1917 according to report of packing house fire in 1917. However, the exchange still managed to become "the most extensive cooperative dried fruit packing and marketing association up to that time"[7].


Location Years Address Details


  1. Henry M. Ellis, Cooperation in Selling California Cured Fruits. In California's Magazine, volume 1, issue 1, 1915.
  2. California Cured Fruit Exchange. February 1, 1913 Pacific Rural Press
  3. J. P. Dargitz: In History of Sacramento County, California: Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women.... Historic Record Co., Los Angles, 1913. "In November, 1912, the producers of dried fruits in California were being forced to sell their products at less than cost or not able to sell at all. With the success of the almond growers before them they naturally turned to J. P. Dargitz to help them out and at their urgent solicitation he left the Almond Growers' Exchange December 1, 1912, and became manager of the California Cured Fruit Exchange, just organizing. Its success in the few months since has been amazing to all interested and it bids fair to prove one of the greatest movements for the benefit of the producers of dried fruit ever started in California."
  4. Working Force of the C.F.D. Enlarged: April 1, 1916 Chicago Packer. "H . M . Ellis , who was general manager of the California Cured Fruit Exchange , will be field superintendent for the Distributors. Mr . Ellis retired from the Cured Fruit Exchange while it still was in good condition about a year ago and has been devoting his time since then to his own interests . Mr . Virden announces that the Distributors expect to have their most active year in the history of the business . The working machinery is in good shape and a strong force will be available to handle the crop ."
  5. Speculation Injurious, and comments from President Ogden. Proceedings of the 47th Fruit Growers' Convention of the State of California, State Commission of Horticulture. At Visalia, November 18-20, 1915.
  6. Cured Fruit Exchange Winds Up Walker Prosecution Matters: April 28, 1917 California Fruit News.
  7. Robert Couchman, "Sunsweet Story". 1967, Sunsweet.