LA Foodways Backplate

Ch 2: King Citrus and the Selling of the California Dream

The citrus industry fueled Southern California’s growth. In 1895, Riverside had the highest per capita income in America because of growing oranges. By 1920s, oranges were the second highest generator of revenue in the state of California (second only to oil). 

In this episode, David Boule, author “The Orange and the Dream of California;” historian and author H. Vincent Moses and Harold Edwards, President and CEO Limoneira Company take us through the citrus’ unexpectedly important place in the region’s history. It was the first piece of fruit to have its own advertising campaign, which laid the groundwork for selling the “California Dream” of "health and wealth,” attracting a huge influx of people in search of a better life. With images of manicured trees filled with golden fruit, snow-capped mountains and a better life, along with its year-round magical climate, the selling of the California dream went a long way toward altering the landscape from farms, to city, to meet an ever expanding population that occurred directly after World War II.    

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