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Imperial Valley press and the Imperial press. (El Centro, Calif.) 1906-1907, June 30, 1906, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92070144/1906-06-30/ed-1/seq-1/

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Imperial Valley Press.
Imperial Valley Farmers Reaping Phenomenal
Profits From Cantaloupe Growing
Operations of the Packing and Shipping Associations in Different
Parts of the Valley and the Experience of the Individual
Farmers Show Great Profits. A Splendid In
dustry Well Established
Cantaloupe growing is proving such
a money maker in this Valley this sea
son and the growers are getting such
unheard of returns from their crops
that it is almost dangerous to tell it
for fear our readers will call us down
for drawing the long bow. However,
the facts are here to show for them
selves and if our statements seem too
large remember we won't come down
a cantaloupe till those who doubt have
come and seen for themselves. It
will be remembered that some canta
loupes were grown at Brawley last year
and the business fairly established.
The Brawley growers however did
not make any big thing out of the busi
ness except in a few instances but like
the wide awake and progressive farm
ers they are they learned a whole lot.
So that while they all came out ahead
and a few, like Judge Holloway. made
more than one hundred dollars per
acre, they all learned how to. raise and
care for cantaloupes and were encour
aged to undertake it again. So this
year they enlarged their packing house,
got in the latest machinery and planted
about one thousand acres to this crop.
About 300 acres of this was across the
river in No. 8 and consequently was
lost wfth the failure of water on that
side of New river. But the remaining
700 acres was well tilled and received
first-class attention. The first canta
loupes shipped from the State of Cali
fornia and consequently the first to
reach the markets from any place were
shipped from Brawley and since then
it has been fast and furious. Daily
shipments of from six to ten cars are
going forward from that one place.
Their first full car load sold for $2640.
which after paying all expenses netted
the growers more than five dollars a
crate. Since then the price has
dropped to some extent but the canta
loupes so far shipped will bring the
growers net returns of at least three
dollars a crate. The vines are now at
the height of the bearing season, cov
ering the ground with a mass of dark
green foliage and literally teeming with
melons. But nevertheless quite a
number of acres ha\e already turned
out one hundred crates each and are
good for that many more. While the
Brawley growers are leading the van
and reaping great rewards for their en
terprise and careful study of the mat
ter, the farmers of El Centro and Holt
ville are only one lap behind the lead
ers and gaining rapidly.
At Holtville some cantaloupes were
grown last year but as no organization
was perfected or shipping shed built
there were no facilities for marketing
them and none were shipped out.
However, it was demonstrated that
cantaloupes of surpassing quality could
be produced there at just as early sea
sons as any other place. So the Holt
ville people got together and organized
an association and went at it in busi
ness style. The association planted
1 60 acres of its own and it is fair to
say it Is the finest field of cantaloupes
of its size that was ever grown in this
State. The Holtville people have
about five hundred acres planted to
cantaloupes and are shipping out about
two or three carloads a day at the
present time and expect to double this
output in two weeks' time. They have
built and fully equipped a packing shed
and are running their business on the
most up to date principles. Their
output both as to quality and handling
is fully up to the high standard of ex
cellence established by Brawley for
Imperial Valley cantaloupes. And
right here at El Centro there Is quite a
lot doing In 'thcj. cantaloupe line, too.
Our association is shipping two cars of
cantaloupes per day and the output is
increasing right along. With us, as
with Holtville, our vines got started
later than those at Brawley or rather
Brawley planted practically all her crop
at the same time our earliest growers
planted. Consequently while their out
put has probably reached its maximum
ours will more than double within the
next two weeks. There are however,
some of the best cantaloupe fields in
the Valley right here in the El Centro
association and the. demonstration has
been made that our soil is just as good
for this crop.as any in the Valley.
There are abcnit 400 acres of canta
loupes in the El Centro association but
of these probably not to exceed 50
acres were planted as early as they
should have been. There are several
fields though that show forth pretty ef
fectively what can be done on our lands
when they are planted at proper season
and treated right. One of these is the
eight acre field of Messrs. Hart and
Griswold. This was planted about the
middle of February on land on which
alfalfa had been grown, the planters
plowing up the alfalfa and putting the
land in cantaloupes. Their experience
goes to prove that this is a profitable
thing to do for they got the earliest
cantaloupes In the El Centro associa
tion and sold several hundred crates
for more than five dollars a crate net.
They have already shipped about one
thousand crates from the eight acres
and will no doubt five hundred
crates more. It is altogether likely
that they will receive five thousand
dollars net for their crop on this eight
acre field. And there is every likeli
hood that quite a number of other
growers in the Valley will do as well.
E. E. Forrester has six acres of canta
loupes which, while not quite so early
as Hart and Griswold's will no doubt
produce as many melons. He has a
small patch of about one fourth of an
acre planted in his old cow corral that
we believe will turn out the largest
output for its size of any land in the
Valley. All the vines in the Valley
everywhere are free from insect' pests
and disease and while the water short
age caused by the washing out of the
main canal damaged the vines of the
El Centro and Brawley associations
and probably reduced the output at
least one hundred car loads the vines
have recovered from it and everywhere
they are spreading and^ blooming and
setting more melons all the time. In
fact they appear to be at the height of
their growing season and are as thrifty
as they could possibly be. The canta
loupe men are all fl on velvet" so to
speak and hereafter we expect to see
barley ranching at a discount where
the lands, are close in to shipping facil
ities or especially % adapted to canta
loupes. The L. M. Lyon Co. is hand
ling all the melons in the Valley and
this we believe to be a good thing'" for
all concerned. It causes all the mel
ons to be handled through one head
and by causing a proper distribution of
the crop prevents any market from
getting glutted . and breaking prices.
By handling the cantaloupes in this
way the markets can be kept keen for
them, high/prices can be maintained
and everyone of the cantaloupes grown
in this can be marketed so as
to bring the grower big money. There
is no doubt but that the cantaloupe crop
of this Valley will bring the growers at
least three hundred thousand dollars or
an average of nearly two hundred dol
lars per acre for the entire acreage
planted. Mr. Lyon tells everyone to
take just as good care as possible of
their vines, for he can sell every canta
loupe they can raise until August 20th
and get big money for them fort the
growers. As that is seven weeks away it
can be seen that the growers with the
late melons will get just as big a slice
of the pie as the earlier ones. •
And the quality of the Imperial Val
ley cantaloupes as compared to those
raised in Florida and Georgia. This
is best shown by the market reports re
ceived. W hile Georgia and . Florida
cantaloupes are quoted at $1.50 per
crate those from this Valley are selling
for $4.50 to $5.50 per crate right along
side of them. It is the quality that
counts and that gives us the market.
Oar cantaloupes are fit for a king's
breakfast and it is no wonder the = east
ern market gobbles up all of them they
can get and cry out for more.
The cantaloupe narvest is making a
big difference with business in all the
towns of the Valley where they can be
raised and the value of such a crop
and of having good land in close prox
imity to the town has been amply de
monstrated. During the height of the
season the farmers find their hours are
pretty long. We judge this to be the
case by the fact -that they all come to
town after sundown with loads of can
taloupes which must then be loaded in
the cars and the cars iced and gotten
ready for shipment out on the morning
train. The men in the shipping shed
work nearly all night loading and icing
cars. It is a busy scene and the beau
ty of it is that it is as near perpetual
motion while it lasts in making money
for the farmer as one could imagine.
Nearly every day Hart and Griswold
bring In. one hundred crates of canta
loupes and they have brought in as
high as 128 crates in a day. With
these netting them five dollars a crate
as -several hundred of them did they
have a Klondike gold mine beat a mile.
Every farmer who has a good canta
loupe field no matter whether it is
early or late has a little Klondike of
his own right here at home. And as
long as sane business principles pre
vail and they don't cut the business up
ancl get to competing against each
other the cantaloupe growing business
will be a desert Klondike. And it is
remarkable to note what a^ change has
come over some of our people as a
consequence. Their views regarding
land values are undergoing quite a
change, a few who sold some time ago
hustling to buy again and others en
quiring the 'price of "all that joins
them." Just as soon as Mr. Cory is
able to report encouraging progress on
his work of shutting out the "Colorado
floods there will be the biggest kind of
a boom in cantaloupe lands and in fact
in all kinds of Imperial 'Valley lands
except the hard alkaline adobe that
won't raise anything but grain and not
much of that. However, as there is
only a comparatively small tract of this
kind of land in the Valley it. will not
seriously retard the general boom
which will come as soon as the wafer
is under control. Already the people
in other parts of the Valley where can
taloupes can be grown are agitating and
ge.tting ready to organize associations
and engage in the business next year.
At Keystone the movement is well
underway. One land owner, has ar
ranged to cut his 320 acre ranch up
into twenty acre tracts and lease it to
tenants who will be required to put ten
acres in cantaloupes, no more and no
less. It has been demonstrated by
long experience that ten acres is all
one man should undertake to raise
and pick and he will have to, have one
man to every two acres during picking
time. In this way this enterprising
Keystone rancher will form the nucleus
of a cantaloupe association and with
the co-operation of his neighbors will
promote this most profitable industry
in that locality. The lands in the Mes
quite lake basin and in the vicinity of
and east from Keystone are as good as
any in the Valley. It is here that
some of the best and earliest apricots
are grown and here cantaloupes would
thrive to great perfection. Another
locality where a cantaloupe association
will probably be organized is at Heber.
There is a very large area of splen
did lands within very easy distance of
that station and all it needs is people
with vim and enterprise to take up the
matter and put it through. This we
understand will be done and an associ
ation organized and shipping plant put
in at that place backed by an acreage
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Buy One of These
5 or 6 Acre Tracts
Deeded Land
Adjoining El Gentro
$100 per acre and upwards.
Easy terms.
El Centro, California
of perhaps 500 acres of cantaloupes.
Should this movement be carried out
it will mean at least five cantaloupe
associations operating in this Valley
next year and very likely a total, acreage
of 4000 acres planted in this crop next
season. With the rapid growth of the
cantaloupe market and the unequalled
quality of the Imperial Valley canta
loupes there will be no trouble in find
ing a market for all that can be pro
duced provided due care is taken In
marketing them and the farmers don't
get to competing against themselves.
In order to do this it is necessary to
keep the distribution of the crop in the
hands of one firm and not permit others
to "butt in" and ruin the market. The
Southern California orange growers
had plenty of experience along those
lines and the cantaloupe growers can
take a leaf, from their book and save
themselves lots of bitter experience.
The outlook for the prosperity of this
Valley was never better. The farmers
have all made some money this season
and the experiments in fruits, grapes
and asparagus have, all brought the
most encouraging results. To these
facts add the ten strike made by the
cantaloupe growers and it is apparent
that the entire Imperial Valley will
soon be, if it is not already, a veritable
Desert Klondike.
Contractor Peterson arrived back
from Holtville and went to work with
his crew of bricklayers on the Opera
House walls last Thursday morning.
The walls of the bank building are
pretty well up, but little being left to
do, on them but the fire wall. Now the
Opera House walls will soon be up and
the. roof on. Then the work of finish
ing it can be carried forward, even if
j the weather should be hot.
Mrs. W. Van den Heuvel, cf Imper
ial, announces the engagement of her
daughter, Alice, to Homer Ray Bal
com of El Centro. The wedding will
take place in the near future.
NO. 12

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