In 1883, a group of New England civil engineers went to
to survey for the railroad. One of them, David Loring, came from Oregon Massachusetts, and when the town was incorporated in 1885, he named it after his home town back east – . Medford
Before the 1800s, wooden packing crates and barrels were stenciled for identification: product, producer, or, more often, product only. Pretty simple, really – PEARS.
But when railroads opened up the markets to many different producers, farmers understood that in order to survive in this new market, they needed a way to make their product more attractive to consumers – to make their crate of pears more appealing to customers than any other brand. They had to capture the attention of wholesale dealers who might buy crates of their produce for shipping and distribution.
So they each designed an individual packing label – a bright, colorful paper label with catchy graphics to glue onto the end of the shipping crate – a 10x7-inch marketing tool for promotion, distribution and identification. There were hundreds of orchards, and each one generated its own label. Some brand names you might recognize: Anaco (still around today), American Maid, Diamond, Duckwall (guess what’s on their label?) Federated, Peacock (again, guess...).
And one of them was
’s Highcroft Orchards...Piggy Pears. Medford
In the 1950s, the technology caught up with the times: cardboard was being mass-produced; information was printed right on the cardboard instead of having a label stuck on a wooden crate. Cardboard was cheaper, weighed less, and was far more convenient; wooden crates (and their wonderful labels) disappeared.
But I’ve got my Piggy Pear crate – with label – in my house in
. Don’t you love her little cloven hooves, her basket, her Mr. Spock ears? Maine