The Organization

By Christopher Zoukis

The next year, 1909, while attending the state fruit growers convention in Watsonville, California, J.P. Dargitz became so disgusted with his farming brethren’s indecisiveness that he decided it was time for them to hear a hell-fire and damnation sermon on the topic.  So he rose to his feet and gave them the gospel according to J.P. Dargitz.  He blasted them, telling them they’d better wake up to the reality of the situation. 

He finished his sermon by telling them that “as long as the imported almonds are the largest portion of the almond supply, the imported nuts will fix the price, which will be the price of foreign almonds, including the duty, less freight from California to New York.  This will determine the price of California almonds.  If the crop is small, then the fixed price means little profit, because we don’t get the fixed price.  For the buyers put the price to us as much below the fixed price as possible.  The goal of the buyers is not to buy low and sell high.  It’s not that simple.  The ultimate goal of the buyers is to undersell the competing buyers when they sell to the jobbers.  Image courtesy www.mark-heringer.com

“The only way to defeat the process is for us to work together.  Then and only then we won’t lose money.  As it stands right now, the local associations of growers are actually conspiring against themselves, because they’re trying to undersell each other.  That’s just what the buyers want.  For it means that everybody loses money, except the buyers.

“Local associations do the best they can and they are a starting point.  But the real need is for a central marketing organization.”

J.P. Dargitz sat down and looked around.  All his brethren were nodding in agreement, but none of them were ready to take the next step.  It was as if they were paralyzed.  J.P. Dargitz snorted in disgust. 

On his way back home, J.P. realized that he had finally found a challenge big enough for him focus all his energy on.  If Moses could lead the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt to the promised land, then he could lead the hostage growers of California into financial freedom.  By the time he reached Acampo, he had made up his mind to keep preaching his message.  Every where he went, to each grower he met, J.P. Dargitz exhorted his listeners.  Chaos in the industry, along with low prices they were receiving for their crops opened the ears of his fellow growers.  The gospel message of J.P. Dargitz made many proselytes. 

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