National Geographic : 1951 Sep
329 Shiny California Olives Ride Past Critical Eyes on Their Way U. S. Department of the Interior to the Packer These ripe appetizers, grown near Friant in the Central Valley, have been soaked and washed twice to remove bitter taste. Rubber-gloved girls in starchy white spend the day at conveyor belts removing damaged fruit. Handwork adds to the price of the "fancy" olives that pass inspection. now eat millions of pounds of canned fruit each day. Even more startling has been the growth of the frozen-fruit industry. Quick-freezing of fresh fruit for home use began com mercially about 25 years ago; most of the expansion has taken place in the past decade. Yet this year Americans will con sume more than 500,000,000 pounds of frozen fruit. Frozen concentrated orange juice, de veloped almost entirely since World War II, already uses up almost one-fourth of our orange production (page 352). So man spends millions of dollars and mil lions of hours of labor each year propagating and caring for his fruit trees and bushes, and picking, sorting, shipping, and preserving the fruit they bear. In return he gets a huge food crop which supplies him with a large part of the vitamins, minerals, and other nu trients he must eat to stay healthy. Americans are lucky to have, within the borders of their country, a wide variety of soils and climates suitable for growing fruit. Thus of the fruits whose pictures and histories are presented on the following pages, all but four are grown extensively in the United States. The Pacific States particularly, with equa ble climates ranging from cool to subtropical, are ideal for orchards and vineyards and now produce about half the Nation's fruit. This year, if you are a typical American, you will eat about 200 pounds of fresh, canned, dried, and frozen fruit-which makes you by far the biggest consumer in the civ ilized world.* * For this article and the biographies which follow, these books have been used extensively as sources of historical material: Origin of Cultivated Plants, by A. de Candolle; the classical fruit description books by U. P. Hedrick and associates of the Geneva, N. Y., Experiment Station; Manual of Tropical and Sub tropical Fruits, by Wilson Popenoe; Tropical Fruits, by O. H . Barrett; The Fig, by Ira J. Condit; Pine apple, by Maxwell O. Johnson; The Citrus Industry, by H. J . Weber and L. D. Batchelor. Statistical data are mainly from the U. S. Department of Agriculture.