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Trophy Fruits and Vegetables

June 17, 2013

One of the designated titles for June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, so we take this opportunity to showcase some of our photographs of the remarkable fruits and vegetables in the San Antonio Light Photograph Collection.

Not long after the San Antonio Light newspaper hired their first staff photographer in 1924, they began publishing feature photos of light-hearted subjects.  These pictures were usually unrelated to news events or feature stories.  They served as a break from the serious–and sometimes unhappy–news of the day.  People with objects that represented their individual achievements were common. 

During the 1920s and 30s, people posed with their unique fruit or vegetable was a recurring theme.   The photographer used a large-format camera , so it was preferable for the subject to come to the newspaper building on Broadway to be photographed.  If the grower was unwilling to be included in the picture, then someone nearby would be recruited to pose with the specimen. 

The practice ended at the beginning of World War II and was replaced by views of people working in their “Victory Gardens.”

Ed Lorenzon holds two large beets grown in his back yard on Wharton Street, May 1934.  (MS 359: L-0329-C)

Ed Lorenzon holds two large beets grown in his back yard on Wharton Street, May 1934. (MS 359: L-0329-C)

Ruth Bryant, with sweet potatoes, Loraine Polzin, with a carrot, and Grace Robinson, with a turnip, all grown in the nearby Winter Garden District of Southwest Texas, January 1926.   (MS 359: L-0519-F)

Ruth Bryant, with sweet potatoes; Loraine Polzin, with a carrot; and Grace Robinson, with a turnip, all grown in the nearby Winter Garden District of Southwest Texas, January 1926. (MS 359: L-0519-F)

H. A. Klein with a four pound radish that he brought to the San Antonio Light Building from his farm in Atascosa County, March 1934.  (MS 359: L-0222-A)

H. A. Klein with a four pound radish that he brought to San Antonio from his farm in Atascosa County, March 1934. (MS 359: L-0222-A)

Geraldine White, at family residence, with Valencia onions shipped to San Antonio from her uncle’s farm in Arizona, November 1924.  (MS 359: L-0061-D)

Geraldine White, at family residence, with Valencia onions shipped to San Antonio from her uncle’s farm in Arizona, November 1924. (MS 359: L-0061-D)

Hulda Wilson poses in the San Antonio Light Building with lemons from her yard on Sandmeyer Street, February 1937.  (MS 359: L-1536-ZZ)

Hulda Wilson poses in the San Antonio Light Building with lemons from her yard on Sandmeyer Street, February 1937. (MS 359: L-1536-ZZ)

John Granieri with a 15 pound cauliflower from the Granieri farm on Sutherland Springs Road, January 1932.  (MS 359: L-1332-G)

John Granieri with a 15 pound cauliflower from the Granieri farm on Sutherland Springs Road, January 1932. (MS 359: L-1332-G)

G. C. Reed, sign writer, holds conjoined watermelons grown on a farm near Pleasanton, June 1929.  (MS 359: L-1152-K)

G. C. Reed, sign writer, holds conjoined watermelons grown on a farm near Pleasanton, June 1929. (MS 359: L-1152-K)

Fern Rethemeyer with a carrot that grew through the eyes of a button, June 1933.   (MS 359: L-1463-F)

Fern Rethemeyer with a carrot that grew through the eyes of a button, June 1933. (MS 359: L-1463-F)

Edward Matocha, of Jourdanton, with a fully developed lemon from a blossom he placed in the bottle eight months earlier, January 1935.  (MS 359: L-0460-E)

Edward Matocha, of Jourdanton, with a fully developed lemon from a blossom he placed in the bottle eight months earlier, January 1935. (MS 359: L-0460-E)

Dewel Riley with a carrot, shaped like a human hand, that was grown on a farm near the Medina River, December 1933.  (MS 359: L-0136-I)

Dewel Riley with a carrot, shaped like a human hand, that was grown on a farm near the Medina River, December 1933. (MS 359: L-0136-I)

Boots Eckles and a cucumber “with every appearance of being a real snake” from a Bexar County farm near Martinez, June 1928.  (MS 359: L-

Boots Eckles and a cucumber “with every appearance of being a real snake” from a Bexar County farm near Martinez, June 1928. (MS 359: L-1039-C)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2013 6:14 am

    When first out of college, worked for the Lexington News Gazette in Virginia. This tradition was ongoing. A farmer brought in a zucchini the size of a giant watermelon; the “prized” vegetable became mine by default. We ate this far-from-tender zucchini for a week and were not yet midway finished before finally deciding even we were not that poor.

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