Category Archive: Agriculture

Mar 12

Searching for a photo in an almond sack

1966-Almond

Now that Photos From the Vault has been on the scene for a few years it is fairly common to get questions from folks wanting reprints of historic events. Usually the request is very specific but our filing system is not. Here is an example; a reporter juggling taking notes and pictures likely made the …

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Mar 07

Ernst Brothers storehouse and Sperry Flour Mill, Paso Robles

Ernst Brothers grain warehouse slated for demolition.

Wheat was once among the royalty of the cash crops in the region but now it is not even in the top 20. Look at the list of agricultural products in the 2011 crop statistics report put out by the county and very little of it is dry land farming. One of those end of …

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Mar 05

Vessels wanted! Sailing to Guadalupe

Ad from the San Luis Obispo Tribune front page Feb. 6, 1875.

One of the oddities in the all advertising front page of the Tribune Feb. 6, 1875 was this vertical sailing ship. Either it is riding a really big wave or perhaps the ship is sailing south from the equator. More likely the engraving was made too wide for one column. Harriman & Co. had industriously …

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Feb 13

Remembering Kaz Ikeda

Kaz Ikeda is the Farm Bureau's Agriculturist of the Year award recipient. He was photographed in his front yard which overlooks much of the land his family has farmed for about 70 years.
©The Tribune/Robert Dyer

South county lost a patriarch of agriculture and community service on Feb. 11, 2013. Bill Morem is writing a story to be published in the Tribune tomorrow and soon on Sanluisobipso.com. Leslie E. Stevens wrote this biography published in the Tribune July 28, 2000. Rooted in community Arroyo Grande farmer recognized for lifetime of volunteerism …

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Jan 18

Sandhill Cranes land in the Carrizo Plain

The rare and majestic Sand-hill Crane is now wintering in the vicinity of Soda Lake in the Carrisa Plains in eastern San Luis Obispo County and Telegram-Tribune photographer Jack Wilson was lucky enough to catch this flock on the ground and in flight shortly after dawn Friday using his telescopic lens.
©Jack Wilson/Telegram-Tribune

In the mid-1980s when I first photographed the Sandhill Cranes on the Carrizo Plain there seemed to be several hundred flying back and forth between grain fields and Soda Lake. There are fewer acres being farmed out there now, and fewer birds to be seen the last time I was out there. I am not …

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Nov 07

Corral de Piedra Threshing Co.

From the May 14, 1956 Centurama edition of the Telegram-Tribune: THRESHING TIME…This picture of the Corral de Piedra Threshing company was sent in by George Kilbern, 1639 Garden street, Long Beach. The outfit belonged to Kilbern’s father. The photo was taken around 1906 by Frank C. Aston, retired photographer, who chronicled the life of San Luis Obispo through the camera lens for almost half a century. ©The Tribune

Western civilization is built on wheat. The story begins about 10,000 B.C., a cross of three grass species is found to be a rich food source. Wheat farming is woven into the narrative of the United States. Clear the land of unproductive plants (and indigenous people), plant wheat, make money, and build a strong democratic …

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Nov 06

San Miguel fires

This photo of San Miguel appears to be from between 1909 and 1915, Mission in far background.

Digging a little deeper in the San Miguel history folders I found this Lura Rawson column. The town had even more boom and bust cycles than I originally thought. From the Telegram-Tribune May 31, 1990: San Miguel: Like its namesake, a survivor. In an earlier column, I called Mission San Miguel Archangel a survivor among …

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Nov 02

Boom town, San Miguel

Ernest Simon and the old San Miguel building—built in 1897—he's tearing down for scrap.  ©The Tribune

San Miguel is one of the boom and bust towns of the region. Founded July 25, 1797, it is 16th of the 21 California missions. Another significant moment came October 8, 1886 when Southern Pacific built rails into town from the north, then kept right on going to Paso Robles and Templeton where construction paused …

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Oct 25

California Valley barn

California Valley has attracted farmers with big plans but by 1966 this farm had seen better days. ©Jim Vestal/The Tribune

Sunsoaked and rain starved, California Valley is a unique place. This photo was made by Jim Vestal July 15, 1966 but I could not find an article to go with it. The building is unusually tall, perhaps it was built as a grain processing facility. Driving by places like this I wonder what the story …

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Oct 08

Good-bye Squirrels

Booth's Squirrel and gopher exterminator ad from May 8, 1880.

A couple of years ago they waited, watching, biding their time. When my beefsteak tomatoes were three days from harvest they struck. Ground squirrel squads came through the fence and ate all the red, leaving lopsided green-striped tomato tops hanging from the vine. I could hear their high pitched laughter echoing from their dens. Apparently …

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