"Bill" Reed started
with potatoes, but
citrus was to follow

 

Born in Guthrie Center, Iowa in 1915, Jim’s father started his farming career with potatoes in the San Joaquin Valley. But as mechanical harvesting of potatoes began and the dynamics of the agricultural industry were changing, the prospects of growing citrus arose. As a youth, Jim started doing the jobs that must be done in the fields and groves each day. Farming is not about Child Labor Laws; farming is a lifestyle the entire family embraces.

Potatoes-Baked, Mashed, or Chips?
Potatoes-Baked, Mashed, or Chips?

Potato farming in the ‘Kern District’, as described in the 1969 Potato Growers Association of California yearbook, is a multi-million dollar industry that began in 1920 with 300 acres and reached a peak of 65,000 acres in 1946. “Miles of fertile, level land, many days of life-giving sunshine, efficient management, evolution of cultural and irrigation methods – plus the discovery of the White Rose potato …are among the leading factors which contributed to the phenomenal growth of this industry".

1937 More Potatoes
1937 More Potatoes

The yearbook continues, “Imagination and energetic work on the part of Kern County potato pioneers are responsible for this history-making enterprise. In 1912, George H. Peters planted one of the first commercial fields… southeast of Bakersfield. During the early days, no fertilizer was used and on the best land 150 sacks to the acre was considered a bumper crop. Today, through the use of proper applications of fertilizer and modern cultural methods, it is not uncommon to produce 400 sacks."

Then & Now
Then & Now

It would be over 50 years since this 1922 photo was taken but Jim Reed and his father Bill would too own and operate a citrus packinghouse in Edison, California. Although technology has enhanced and made more efficient farming practices resulting in greater yields, amazingly, the same basic packing principals are in place for oranges today as they were back then.

Potatoes-Baked, Mashed, or Chips?
Potatoes-Baked, Mashed, or Chips?

Potato farming in the ‘Kern District’, as described in the 1969 Potato Growers Association of California yearbook, is a multi-million dollar industry that began in 1920 with 300 acres and reached a peak of 65,000 acres in 1946. “Miles of fertile, level land, many days of life-giving sunshine, efficient management, evolution of cultural and irrigation methods – plus the discovery of the White Rose potato …are among the leading factors which contributed to the phenomenal growth of this industry".

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mouse over pictures for captions - click for expanded view

"A farmer must employ all the technological advances available in agriculture to learn all he can about what he is growing. But in the long run, no matter how much the farmer has studied, planned, and projected, he will be forced to make some decisions by the seat of his pants. "

—Anonymous