Pacific Coast Prune Growers Association

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The Pacific Coast Prune Growers Association was a packer-sponsored "prune combine" that intended to sell a major portion of the prune market, maintain uniform grading standards, provide a well-known trademark, and make sales as fast as possible with the highest prices possible. The organization was proposed in January 1899, modeled on a similar organization for the raisin packers[1]. An initial meeting in San Jose in February 1899 generated a large crowd, with D. M. Delmas, W. P. Cragin, F. W. Crandall, S. N. Woods, J. H. Henry, Col. Philo Hersey, S. R. Robinson, and T. Ellard Beans forming the committee proposing the plan. Their intent was to form a California corporation, and only begin operation when 75% of prune growers in California, Oregon, and Washington signed contracts with the organization[2].

A December 1899 article by Charles Wesley Childs explains the motivation behind the organization[3]:

"At present a great majority of the fruit growers try to .sell their crops as early as possible for cash, fruit delivered f. o. b. Some consign to Eastern dealers. This indiscriminate competition of individual growers has made the market price of cured fruit so fluctuating and uncertain that many dealers in this product, both in California and in the East, have lost heavily. In Santa Clara county 80 per cent of the fruit dealers, outside of the "associations," have become bankrupt. For various reasons well known to the orchardists the cost of producing cured fruit is greater now than it was five years ago, while the price of cured fruit has steadily declined, so that at the present time orchardizing is unprofitable in many localities."

Within two months, both the East Side Fruit Growers Union and West Side Fruit Growers Association in Santa Clara were considering participating in the organization[4].

Many of the principals were also involved in the California Cured Fruit Association, suggesting that the Prune Growers Association was superseded by the attempt to organize additional fruits.


  1. To Handle the Prune Output, New Fruit Association Organized: January 20, 1899 Pacific Rural Press.
  2. The Great Prune Proposition: [ February 11, 1899 Pacific Rural Press
  3. Fruit Marketing: Co-operation in Marketing Pacific Coast Cured Fruit: December 30, 1899 Pacific Rural Press. Originally a speech at the 24th annual Fruit-Grower's Convention, December 13, 1899,
  4. March 10, 1899 San Jose Evening News