Growers and Packers
"These people, who have been consistently putting apples in our pies, have survived a Depression, when pear prices dropped to $15.00 a ton and apples brought but little more. They survived the severe early freeze of 1935, and two world wars. Acreage went from tens to hundreds, and then thousands of dollars, and production from boxes to bins to trainloads."
People who made Yakima History (1978), by Gary L. Jackson
The Northwest fruit industry has been tenaciously built up over time by those who grow, process and market locally grown fruit. Here is a brief look at some of those firms.
Pacific Fruit and Produce
Pacific Fruit and Produce began in 1889 as a small grocery and produce concern in Tacoma, WA. By 1910 the company had established links with Yakima growers and was shipping Yakima fruits and vegetables to cities up and down the West Coast. The company's well known Snoboy brand was introduced in 1925. State Seal and Sno Maid were other labels used by Pacific Fruit and Produce. In 1986 the company was bought by Miller Cascade Foods and was renamed Food Services of America.
C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Company
C. M. Holtzinger began his career as a fruit broker in Yakima, WA in 1908. By 1912 he had opened his own office, buying fruit from local growers, then hauling the fruit by wagnon to the closest railroad depot. In 1918 Holtzinger built the company's first warehouse, followed by a coldstorage plant in 1922 and the Holtzinger Building on Fruit Row in Yakima. The company began buying orchard land in the 1930s, becoming growers as well as brokers.
By the early 2000s C. M. Holtzinger Fruit Company was packing and marketing more than three million boxes of fruit annually. In 2004 the company sold off its orchards to focus soley on processing, packing and marketing. In May of 2017 the company began operating as Fourth Leaf Fruit Company. It is now owned by a Seattle investment group.
C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Company's well known labels included Big Z, Blue Z, Yellow Z, Regal Red, and Emerald Green.
American Fruit Growers
American Fruit Growers was a marketing organization that operated across the United States from 1931 to 1961. The company was known for its Blue Goose brand. The company would buy the highest grade fruit from individual growers and packers, and sell the fruit under its own name. In other cases, they would license the Blue Goose brand to individual packers for their highest quality produce. In 1967 the company name was changed to Blue Goose Growers.
H. M. Gilbert and his wife, Marion Richey Gilbert, established Richey and Gilbert Company in 1897. The company had diverse holdings, which included a bank, a hardware store, and orchard land.
In 1948 Curtiss Gilbert (H.M.'s son) established Gilbert Orchards as a spin-off of the original company. R&G, Mascot, Apple King and Snow King are just a few of the many labels used by Gilbert Ochards. Gilbert Orchards remains in business today as a family owned firm.
Marley's Orchard was established in 1925 by George and Florence Marley, who farmed 15 acres on Naches Heights. They added a storage facility in 1934. The company has continued to expand, adding acreage and warehouse facilities. Marley's was purchased by Jack Frost Fruit in 1962, but it continues to operate as Marley's Orchards.
Highlands, Rimrock, and Blue M are well known labels once used by Marley's.
Perham Fruit Company
Perham Fruit Company was established in 1919 by Ben A. Perham, a fruit grower who came to the Northwest in 1879. The Perham labels are great favorites with collectors. Swan, Tulip, Violet, Pelican, and Goldenrod were used during the 1920s and 1930s for the Extra Fancy and Fancy grades of apples and pears that were packed under the Perham Fruit Company name.
Prentice Packing and Storage
Prentice Packing and Storage Company was established in 1926 by brothers Ed and Howard Prentice. The company labels included Kare-ful-pack, OK, INC. and Mr. Apple.
Rainier Fruit Company
Rainier was a brand name developed by Zirkle Fruit Company of Selah, WA. The Zirkle family have grown fruit in Washington State since 1888. Rainier Fruit Company was incorporated in 1976 to market fruit for Zirkle Fruit and other independent growers in Central Washington.
Roche Fruit Company
Established in 1919, Roche Fruit Company is a family owned business that grows, packs and ships fruit. In 1997 Roche Fruit created Jewel Apple to process high quality apple slices for products such as apple pies and pie fillings. The company markets their fresh fruit through Yakima Fresh. Jewel and Yak are two of the labels used by Roche.
Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage
"Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage traces its roots to 1922, when Ralph Sundquist took over the management of an investor-owned fruit-growing operation in the Lower Naches area. Through the succeeding years, Sundquist gradually obtained ownership of these properties, as well as adjacent acreages."
The Ultimate Fruit Label Book (2006) by John Baule