Tulare County in California became a fruit-growing region in the mid-1890s.
The area was first planted in 1880 by I.H. Thomas. Thomas planted a ten acre orchard of peaches, pears, plums, prune, apricots, and nectarines near Visalia. When his orchard was successful, he shared the results widely. Frank Briggs and Thomas Jacob, a grower and nurseryman from San Jose, also planted orchards in 1888. In 1890, George A. and Charles F. Fleming, "dried fruit packers and speculators" from San Jose who ran the George A Fleming Company, came to the area in 1889 to buy the dried fruit being pro ducted in the area. The next year, the Flemings and the J.K. Armsby Company bought four hundred acres in the area for orchards.
Menefee's history describes the next few years as a"stampede". Pinkham & McKevitt from Vacaville came to pack crest fruit. New packing houses were opened in Visalia by locals: Evansdale, Encina, and Visalia Fruit and Land Company. San Jose fruit growers opened the Mineral King Fruit Company. A. C. Kuhn & Company, also from San Jose, bought 1100 acres near Farmersville. The Sacramento Canning and Drying Company expanded into the area in 1895. The California Canner's Company also built a plant in Visalia before the turn of the century. The Earl Fruit Company started a packing house in 1907. The Hunt Brothers Packing Company opened a factory in Exeter in 1912.
The area was particularly successful for grapes, prunes, and peaches. Towns in the area included Visalia, Dinuba, and Cutler; on the west side of the railroad tracks, Hanford and Armona were big fruit centers.
- Eugene E. Menefee, History of Tulare and King Counties, California.