Herbert Packing Company

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Dried Fruit Packer,Cannery
Main Location

San Jose


Herbert's Extra[1], Buymore

George N. Herbert Packing Company

Pacific Coast Canners.

The Herbert Packing Company was a canner and dried fruit packer in San Jose from 1918 through 1926. The principal for the company was George N. Herbert, a veteran San Jose fruit man. Herbert was the son of a California immigrant; his brother, J.H. Herbert was also in the fruit industry. Herbert sold his George N. Herbert Packing Company packing house to the California Prune and Apricot Growers in 1918. Within a year, Herbert started the ‘’’Herbert Packing Company’’ cannery, purchasing the Smith-Frank Canning Company.

Herbert Packing Company: Cannery at Third and Keyes

In April 1919, Herbert returned to business with the purchase of the Smith-Frank Canning Company at Third and Keyes in San Jose[2]. Frank, like Herbert, turned his packing house over to Sunsweet, and built a cannery for a second try at the fruit industry, but decided after a year to relocate to Sacramento. Herbert inherited a cannery that occupied an entire city block; he also planned to restart a dried fruit business. Directors for the new company included George N. Herbert, S. G. Tompkins, J. Q. Patton, Bert H. Barthold of San Francisco (who was also superintendent), and D. W. Johnson of San Francisco[3]. Western Canner and Packer noted that they expected to can 130,000 cases of fruit in 1919, mostly apricots, peaches, pears, and cherries with a staff of 500[4]. Edith Daley’s visit to the plant in July 1919 highlighted Superintendent Barthold’s pride at the “six-line” plant, with 40,000 square feet of warehouse space, 300 feet of spur track, and available land surrounding for future expansion. Edith Daley visits George Herbert Packing Company.

Ads for the new company billed it as "Herbert Packing Company, successors to George N. Herbert”, offering canned fruits and vegetables as well as dried fruit[5].

In 1922, Van Camp Packing considered entering the California market and considered buying the Herbert cannery. In early April, Van Camp decided against the move, and Herbert announced that he intended to stay independent, with both the dried and canned business expanding[6]. Harold A. Herbert would be in charge of production; H. J. Denhart would be in charge of sales, and John A. Kluge would head the export department. The same article notes Herbert Packing’s purchase of the Reedley Canning Company, purchased from Anderson Barngrover who received it through bankruptcy[7].

In 1923, Herbert contracted to can for the California Canning Peach Growers' Association in 1923 at his canneries at Reedley and San Jose. Each cannery was expected to process 160 to 200 tons of peaches a day to cover the association’s 10,000 tons of fruit; the value of the contract was expected to be $1,000,000. Herbert would advance the canning cost and handle selling. The growers had previously used the California Packing Corporation, but switched to Herbert and two smaller canners after a dispute over prices[8].

Herbert Packing disappeared from news reports by the mid 1920's. The company disappeared from city directories in 1927, and their Third and Keyes cannery was used by Pacific Coast Canners starting in 1928. Another report claims that the cannery was destroyed by fire in 1932; the same article noted that Herbert planned to lease the Hyde cannery's dried fruit plant in 1933[9].

Eunice Alexander was the secretary at the company; a Heald Business School ad described how she was able to move from a telephone operator job with odd hours to working for Mr. Herbert thanks to her classes at Heald[10].

Herbert died in 1941[11].

Herbert’s cannery still exists on the southeast corner of Third and Keyes[12].


Location Years Address Details
Coyote 1916-1920 Former Thomas Fisher estate orchards.
Reedley 1920-

cannery for apricots, cling, and freestone peaches.

Reedley 1922 South of Dinuba Ave.[13]
San Jose 1919-1926 Third and Keyes

Still exists.

San Jose 1919-1926 Monterey Highway

Dried fruit plant.



  1. Label
  2. Herbert Packing Co. Starts Big Concern: April 8, 1919 San Jose Mercury Herald
  3. April 26, 1919 California Fruit News
  4. California Canneries: July 1919 Western Canner and Packer
  5. California Fruit News, July 31 1920
  6. Herbert Packing Company Remains Independent: California Fruit News, April 1 1922.
  7. Van Camp Packing Company To Enter California Activity: California Fruit News, March 18, 1922
  8. Geo. Herbert Signs Contract for Peach Crop: San Jose Evening News, July 21, 1923
  9. Dry Fruit Plant Here Leased to Geo. N. Herbert: June 28, 1933 Campbell Interurban Press.
  10. Advertisement: Telephone Operator Becomes Private Secretary: November 27, 1928 San Jose Evening News. "When George N. Herbert decided to re-enter business in San Jose, he required the assistance of an expert secretary."
  11. George Herbert Funeral Is Held: January 18, 1941 San Jose News. "Herbert started in the fruit business here in 1889 and for many years operated a company bearing his name."
  12. Martha Gardens memorandum to San Jose city planning commission: document.
  13. Kenneth Zach, Reedley.