United Prune Growers

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Growers Cooperative


The United Prune Growers of California was a growers' selling organization intended to control prune output and keep prices high during the Great Depression. The group worked to set prices, arrange financing and loans, and work with packers and warehousers. It also arranged advertising, and created prune by-products to use up small and off-grade fruit[1]. The organization was launched in August 1932 in San Francisco[2]. Founding directors were were Arch Wilson (Cupertino), Douglas Chisholm (Windsor), C. K. Schnabel (Yuba City), W. W. Lester (Santa Clara), and Harry Pyle (San Jose).

The group had signed up 80% of production by May 1933[3][4] F. R. Wilcox of the Giannini foundation was the group's leader for its first year[5]. Wilcox later was the chairman of the Prune Control Board. In 1934, the company offered 6,000 tons of prunes to packers[6]. The organization received a $500,000 loan from the federal intermediate credit bank in August 1934 to cover harvest costs[7].

The United Prune Growers was only one of several attempts to set up a prune pool to control production, but one of the few to sign up the majority of growers. Another attempt in 1932 ended in failure with insufficient signups and pressure from "cut-throat packers"[8].


  1. United Prune Growers Work Held Successful. April 22, 1933 San Jose Evening News.
  2. Prune Leaders Organize in San Francisco. August 30, 1932 Healdsburg Tribune.
  3. United Prune Growers Get Crop Control: May 16, 1933 Lodi Sentinel
  4. United Prune Growers Work Held Successful. April 22, 1933 San Jose Evening News. "Despite a falling price level in other commodities, it doubled the previous year's prices for prunes."
  5. Wilcox, Stillwell Top Prune Control Board: August 18, 1934 San Jose Evening News.
  6. United Prune Growers Make New Offering: Hoard Favors Market Agreement Under Government. July 12, 1934 Healdsburg Tribune.
  7. Appropriation to the United Prune Growers. August 28, 1934 Healdsburg Tribune.
  8. Editorial: Double-Crossed: September 8, 1932 San Jose Evening News