Sunlit Fruit Company

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Main Location

Berkeley, CA


Regent, Olympian, Academy, Alta[1] Atwater[2]

California Packing Corporation

Sunlit Fruit Company was a Berkeley-based canner known for its jams and jellies. The company was known for packing in glass[3]. The company existed as early as 1906 according to an eBay advertisement listing. Thomas H. Fallon was the general manager in 1917[4]; F. E. Laney was the superintendent in 1919[5].

The company expanded into a third building at 3rd and Dwight in 1917[6]. A four hundred foot spur behind the plant allowed fruit and cans to be brought in, and product to be shipped out[7]. "The Sunlit cannery is taxed to its full capacity. The switch holding eight cars is occupied every day with shipments of apricots, peaches, berries, and currants."</ref>. The Atwater plant was also expanded in 1919[8].

Sunlit in some cases made multi-year contracts with farmers. A case in 1920 affirmed that these contracts were legal[9] Elmer Jackson, a Yuba City orchardist, signed a ten year contract with Sunlit to sell peaches at $25/ton from his 19 acre orchard. He delivered the first year, but refused after that. A petition for rehearing gives more details about the contracts, with Jackson's heirs claiming that the contracts were negotiated based on wartime controlled prices that could not cover costs[10].

Sunlit was bought by Del Monte in 1920[11][12]. Some employees went to work for Virden Packing. Superintendent Laney went to work for Virden, but managed the Nielsen cannery for Sutter Cooperative Growers in 1925[13].


Location Years Address Details
Atwater 1915[14], 1919, 1920
West Berkeley 1920 2424 Fourth Street[15] Retained by Del Monte.


Photo: Warehouse. Oakland Public Library Fourth Street. Aaccording to caption on photo in Oakland Public Library Oakland Public Library

Photo: Bay shore at Berkeley via Bancroft Library.


  1. Patent logos. From Official Gazette of the U.S. Patent Office.
  2. Sweet potato label., 1910's. Sweet potatoes.
  3. Sunlit Fruit Company advertisement: Corona Club Cookbook San Francisco, 1910.
  4. California Canneries: May 1917 Western Canner and Packer.
  5. Plea is Made for Bean Bags and Rag Dolls: July 17, 1919 Berkeley Daily Gazette.
  6. California Canneries: May 1917 Western Canner and Packer. "General manager Thomas H. Fallon announces that the plant of the Sunlit Fruit Company on the Berkeley waterfront at Third and Dwight Way is being rushed to completion. The plant will be large enough to double the output which means an increase of $1,000,000 in the pack. Employment will be given to 300 more people than before."
  7. West Berkeley News: [,3388687 July 9, 1917 Berkeley Daily Gazette
  8. California Canneries: August 1919 Western Canner and Packer. "Operations were commenced during the third week of July. The pack will be much larger than last year, owing to the up-to-date-machinery installed recently."
  9. Violates Fruit Contract: December 22, 1922 Retail Grocers Advocate.
  10. Martha M. Jackson vs. Sunlit Fruit Company: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, Request for rehearing. Case 3771. Filed October 3, 1922.
  11. California Packing Corporation, 1921 Moody's Guide
  12. Sunlit Fruit Company Acquired by Packing Corporation: January 31, 1920.
  13. Canning Co. To Be Established in Oakland: May 24, 1925 Oakland Tribune. "Sutter Cooperative Growers Take Over Nielsen PackIng Plant in Oakland; F. E. Laney Heads Company. Announcement that the Sutter Co-operative Growers, a co-operative association of canning peach growers in Sutter and Yuba counties. have taken over the plant of the Nielsen Packing Company In Oakland, was made during the last week, and has created widespread interest in East Bay industrial and financial circles. The organization is headed by F. E. Laney as president. Laney has been engaged in the canning business for the past twenty years, leaving been actively associated trith the Sunlit Fruit Company up 'to the time the latter was absorbed bv the California Packing Corporation, following which he was for several seasons associated with the Virden Canning company as general manager."
  14. General Agricultural Review: October 9, 1915 Pacific Rural Press canning of sweet potatoes had just begun.
  15. Handbook of Manufacturers in and Around San Francisco, 1910, The Merchants Association of San Francisco.