Monthly Archives: May 2016

California …..from Redlands to LAX

1.14pm, Sunday 1st May, International Departures Ticketing Hall, LAX, Los Angeles, California, USA

Afternoon folks, and I completely forgot that Qantas doesn’t open its ticketing desk here at LAX until 5 hours before the flight. So on my makeshift bench – super dependable Samsonite hard shell suitcase stacked on the luggage trolley with my roll bag as a backrest……I’m making myself comfortable and catching up on my blog – which has been neglected a bit this trip…..only because we’ve been so busy! And in the travelling wine sales road warrior world, that’s a very good thing, as it means folks are interested in what we’re doing in the bottle. That means for the next 4 or 5 hours ….here I am!

So, here’s a nice story from the rad about our Yalumba – Hill Smith Family “Indiana Jones horticulturalist” – Fred Caley Smith. He’s the chap that pretty much had my job 120 years ago……promoting the Yalumba family produce – canned fruit and wine – to the existing solid British Empire market, and the emerging arena of the 1890s United States of America. He also toured the Californian fruit producing areas,  gaining and exchanging  knowledge on the industry – Fred was a recognised fruit tree diseases man – and take it home to Yalumba and its commercial orchards and vineyards……sharing his finds with the Angaston Agricultural Bureau in the Barossa. He wrote extensive articles for technical publications and newspapers both at home in Australia and abroad, and during his travels – went to Redlands, the heart of the Californian ‘fruit bowl’ in the San Bernadino area. This rolling orchard and vegetable country sits on the foothills below Cajon Pass, which separates the  San Bernadino Mountains from the San Gabriel range. 

In Redlands, Fred Caley Smith meets and is interviewed by Mr Scipio Craig, the editor and owner of the local weekly paper – the Redlands Citrograph (Est 1887).  Now the Redlands Citrograph building is still intact, and on the Sunday that I dropped in on the way driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas…….I found out that a lot of the original Citrograph machinery and gear is on display in the office of what is now still a printing company – reproducing the fantastic old fruit case art of the area. 

Here’s Mr Scipio Craig – publisher and owner of the Redlands Citrograph back in August 1893 when he interviewed our Fred.

Best upload this bit now – whilst the airport free wi fi is working!

The original press, and the typeset letter trays….

So, another corner of the world where we’ve been able to track Fred Caley Smith’s travels. He was very impressed with the Washington Navel oranges that he saw in this part of the world, and soldered 1500 buds into a tin of honey – that’s what they did for sterile packing back then – and sent that home to Yalumba. So, perhaps even some of the old Orange trees around the Barossa go back to Redlands, California.