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Claremont's Citrus Industry

Paralleling the growth of the college community was the spread of citrus ranches, not only in Claremont but also across all the foothill communities from Los Angeles to Riverside. By the early 1900's, all of non-residential Claremont was “set out in orange, lemon and grapefruit groves.” Citrus became a big industry in Claremont. One of the earliest cooperatives to grade, ship and market citrus was established by Claremont growers – an enterprise followed all across Los Angeles County – and adopted as a model for Sunkist.

At one time, there were four citrus packing houses, an ice house and a pre-cooling plant lining the Santa Fe tracks. As the California Citrus Industry grew, so did the need to attract the eye of the produce buyers in the East. At first the packers simply stamped or branded an identification mark of some sort on the end of each crate they shipped. This would help the buyers in the eastern markets to identify where the fruit was from and who packed it. If they liked the particular packer’s quality of fruit they could reorder simply by asking for that specific brand again. Full color lithographed crate labels were developed and came into regular use. The striking graphic designs of these labels were largely the product of anonymous staff artists in each litho house. These labels are collectors’ items today.

Lemon trees and Valley View label photo