Sunday, August 4, 2013

California Produce Labels

Yesterday, Brian and I took Cubscout to the Strawberry Festival in Watsonville, CA. This agrarian town known for its berries is nestled between the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz Mountain Range in California's Central Coast {1 hour drive south of San Jose.}. Its charming historic downtown is lined with Victorian Era building facades, and many of the old produce packing warehouses {many still in use} surrounding the town are painted with beautiful murals and replicas of produce labels.

{Photo is property of Third&Patterson. If you borrow this, please link back to my site. Thank you!}

{Photo is property of Third&Patterson. If you borrow this, please link back to my site. Thank you!}

I love produce labels and am fascinated by the history of these boastful and colorful graphic designs, which illustrate the bounty of California's rich agricultural history. Produce labels were first printed and posted on fruit and vegetable crates in the late 1800's. With the completion of the transcontinental railway system, farmers in California were able to expand their businesses by transporting their produce to the midwest and all the way to the eastern seaboard. When these pallets of produce crates arrived, they were sent to auction. Market owners and individuals would flock to their local auction and purchase the produce without actually seeing the quality of the items first. Produce labels helped auctioneers and buyers know what was in each crate. Farmers invested in bright, colorful illustrations of California's golden rolling hills, large-scale fruit drawings, rows of produce, and Mission Style architecture to catch the eye of prospective buyers. Labels are now highly collectable and make beautiful artwork.

I took some photos of produce label murals around Watsonville to share with you. I'm short one - a big, scary hound dog chased me away from the last warehouse. No, I'm not kidding. I forgot how fast I can run! Brian and I plan to print a couple of these and find a spot for them in the house.

Have a great Sunday!

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