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Many labels during this time had


been in production for years prior and received some modern updates to their styles. images, especially of the fruit themselves, were bigger, bolder, brighter, and more eye-catching, with a touch extra humor. Much of it sug- gested a post-art Deco influence. a bear happily leaves a now-


foodless nature site to the befuddlement of a camper in the “Visitor” lemon brand. an ostrich with his head buried “out-o-Site” in the sand was that citrus company’s name of choice. in “Legal tender,” a fat stack of money replaces any sight of fruit on the crate label, perhaps an indicator to the gross revenue earned from a supply of sold-out lemons. By the mid 1950s, however, the avocado took hold as the real cham- pion in Carpinteria farming, and whatever citruses were still grown— lemons remained in Carpinteria until 1978 when a fire destroyed the pack- ing house—were shoved in flimsy, disposable cardboard boxes, fanciful crate labels replaced with a rubber stamp imprint. after the halt in production, crate


labels have since become the rare collectible item among the enthusi- ast, and some, according to collectors Campos and Moore, are valued into the thousands. Both men are part of the Citrus


Label Society, a congregation of label collectors who assemble quarterly in locations across Southern California. the group’s Web site is citruslabelso- ciety.com. Looking at the hobby, Campos


says crate labels are a vivid reminder of the important role lemons and oranges played culturally, and still play, for people across the valley. “in all of the Mexican homes i go


into,” he said, “there’s always a bowl of lemons there.”


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